So I finally get to this (FINALLY!), and the good news is that next week we get a new episode so this will be a good refresher! Alrighty then, I'm just going to dive in and start with Damon and Elena. Did they break up? Damon ended things with her, but Elena obviously didn't agree. And some have suggested that her throwing her father's journal into the fire was indicative of her letting go of that past and choosing once again to move forward with Damon. I can see that, but on the other hand, it wasn't absolutely clear to me so I'm gonna need to see where we go from here to get a better read there. Based on what we did get it clearly all boils down to what we've been getting from day one. It's all about Damon and his issues.
Seriously, this is what comes of Damon almost never been told of the good he does, but only been told of the bad. He just honestly believes that he's only a crappy dude. Damon thinks of himself as horrible whereas everyone else in their group thinks of themselves as good. Enzo repeating that refrain ("That's just who you are, who you'll always be…a monster.") just once again beat that belief into Damon's brain. And yet it's so ridiculous and no one, except for Elena, at this point seems to realize just how ridiculous and false it is. They have all done bad things, and in fact, Stefan has done worst things than Damon. Every single one of them are "monsters" on sliding scales and yet in their little group, only Damon is tagged as one and only Damon owns that branding. And until the others, and more importantly, *Damon* realizes that he is no more a monster than the rest of them; he will never accept that he deserves to be with Elena. That he deserves to be happy. And until he fully accepts that realization his journey will never be complete.
And, you know, honestly, until this conversation, I don't think Elena ever fully got that. Speaking of, when I first watched this, I had a few issues with how Elena's end of it was written and directed, but there was one particular line—that Nina Dobrev delivered flawlessly (and to give credit where it's due, she was fantastic during the entire scene and elevated it above those slight flaws I had even the first time)—where she told him that she wasn't perfect and she said "I've done horrible things too" and that was so key to me. It was an acknowledgement that was no one else ever makes in their group really. Yes, they all do horrible things. But the others and Damon brush them under the rug as, you know, just things that happen, incidentals, but whenever Damon does something horrible it's proof that he's a monster. Only Elena doesn't see it that way, or at least, only Elena acknowledges that she doesn't see it that way.
And that's another key. I don't think that Jeremy or Matt or even Bonnie see Damon as a monster anymore. But none of them verbalize it. I'm sure that Jeremy hasn't told anyone else all the good that Damon has done. I'm sure he never told anyone that Damon tried to make Jeremy kill him while fighting the compulsion (which he did sooooooooo much better than Stefan did, thank you very much Klaus-y poo!). And I'm sure that Matt never told anyone that Damon's supposed big hissy-fit at the Original's ball involved him stopping Kol from killing Matt. And Bonnie's clearly never told Caroline that Damon saved her life, and Caroline obviously doesn't care that Damon has saved her life twice and Tyler's. And the little things don't matter much to enough of them to be spoken of to Jeremy and Matt because they're at the point where they consider Damon one of them; he's just Damon. Cool, in control, bad-ass, Damon who always gets shit done. They don't see the wounded soul, the broken man inside who feels worthless and rejected and believes that he's such a monster that he's willing to walk away from the greatest happiness he's ever known because he believes that everyone hates that Elena is with him… even if it's really only Stefan and Caroline. *sigh* Oh, Damon.
Going back to the beginning of my post, the good news is, well, did they break up? I mean, Elena didn't agree with him, so we'll see. Hmmm, we'll see. Maybe she'll basically be all 'forget that shit' and roll all over his objections because it's not like he can ever say no to her. With a rewatch and time passing, I will say that overall, I did think the quasi-break-up was well-written and really beautifully acted. As I spent a lot of words writing about above, we really got to the core of Damon's issues and how it obviously is affecting his attempt at happiness. Also Elena really getting hit with this creates not only some good couple angst, but also character growth for her as she navigates those internal issues. It's all so much more interesting than any outside forces and much more true to them. Yes, I had those initial concerns on Elena's end. I just felt like she didn't fight enough for him. However, thinking on it now I suppose that could have come from the fact that she was in shock because she wasn't expecting it. And I just may have wanted more based on my overall desire of, well, wanting more. Because I do still think they dropped the ball in showing us more Damon and Elena as the couple this season.
Knowing that they were going to pull this so early on, instead of just telling us about this great summer of love they had which we saw roughly thirty seconds of we really should have seen a lot more of Damon and Elena as this happy couple, this together couple throughout these episodes. But we didn't. Other than the first three, we barely saw them interacting. I mean we got some good stuff—see below—but that wasn't enough. Damon and Elena fans have waited for five years to get their couple and we barely saw them together as a couple before the show went and broke them up. Instead we were told about what a great, happy couple they were for four months… but we didn't get to see it. Not cool. Just not cool. *double sigh* I'm just saying we should have had more Damon and Elena time, some more stuff with them. A Damon/Elena dance at the costume ball. More scenes like the two snuggling on the couch at the beginning of "Handle with Care." Some random make-out scenes. Having dinner together. Him visiting her in her dorm. Just couple stuff. We didn't get that. And that sucked.
However, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we *did* get some lovely, lovely Damon and Elena moments. Some very, very lovely Damon and Elena moments, some sexy, some romantic, some sad, but still very couply squee-able stuffs and so before I present the maybe break-up (*sniff *sniff) a look back on the goodies we did get….
And then Damon had to let her go. Damnit, Damon!
And before we move on to other aspects of this episode, some Damon and Elena randoms –
- OK, since she didn't exactly accept Damon's all breaking up with her thingie, Elena dang well better fight for Damon! So I really hope those that think Elena throwing her father's journal in the fire meant that's exactly that are right. :Nods emphatically:
- *sigh* So Damon and Elena did the quasi-break up thing where they got together! Parallels, got to love ‘em. :Snort: Stupid fireplace.
- Speaking of parallels, and here we go again with the letting go. With Damon and Elena it always comes back to that refrain with them. "Holding on and Letting Go." "Never Let Me Go." And now Damon is letting her go. Stupid, stupid boy.
- *sigh* (Good one this time!) I loved Damon's single-minded focus on saving Elena. Enzo, OMG! He's alive! Gotta save Elena. Enzo hates me, that sucks! Gotta save Elena. It's story time with Enzo. He's really pissed at me still, hmm. Oh well, gotta save Elena. Oopsie, Enzo. REALLY pissed, wants to fight, guess Stefan will have to do the duties, Stefan, go save Elena! He was just so single-minded in his focus to save Elena. It wasn't until he knew she was safe that he could focus on Enzo and telling him his side of the story, trying to make amends with him.
- And another good *sigh* from me. On the other side, even strapped to a gurney, potential torture and freaky, vampire medical procedures about to be performed on her, Elena was worried about Damon. Say it with me… awww!
- Finally, I loved that Damon noted that Elena found the one good thing in her father's journal because as much as it's in Elena's nature to find the good, it's in Damon's nature to love that about Elena.
And it's in my nature to love that Damon Salvatore is so freaking awesome. "Damon Salvatore is locked in an impenetrable, inescapable, fortified cell."
Seriously when Damon had used his vampire strength to break the rock wall and used the bullet to MacGyver an explosive to open the cell door, I was all booyah! I freaking love Damon. So hard! ♥
And then I weep for him because he has such a freaking death wish. Sitting on the couch, after Aaron asked why Damon wasn't dead since he'd shot him, Damon calmly, happily explained to him the proper way to kill him was to shoot him in the heart, and then he nicely showed him where exactly to shoot him in order to properly, correctly, absolutely kill him. Dude, DAMON! Aaron is a totally screwed up kid who just found out that Damon has been killing his family for 60 years. Every single family member. For 60 years. Yeah, Aaron's a kid, but Damon just made himself vulnerable to this screwed-up kid who tried to kill him a few hours beforehand and one can sit there and say that Damon is being cocky and thinks he's invincible, but we know better. Damon knows he can die. Yeah, he can take out this kid in a heartbeat, but he also knows that things happen and that anything *can* happen so this kid *can* kill him.
He has a freaking death wish. Damon Salvatore has issues. Gah, he just needs to realize he's not a monster, well, I mean, that's not ALL he is. It's like he's so smart, but he's so freaking stupid. He listens to what people says, I mean, he *really* listens and he gets what they're saying, and what they're not saying so he catches things all the time… except when it comes to him. Then he's like the dumbest person on the planet. Whether it's Elena or Stefan or Jeremy or Enzo. He's such a moron. Enzo tells him he's a monster and *that* he takes to heart and runs off and breaks up with the girl who loves him and has made him happier than he's ever been. But when the guy basically tells him that he's the most important person in his life and that he spent the last 60 years missing him, that completely flies over his head.
When Enzo think he's dying in Damon's arms and Damon is desperate to find where Elena is, Enzo tells him "it might be good to miss someone for the next 60 years" he's telling Damon that he, Enzo, missed Damon for the last 60 years. So in his anger he can call him a monster all he wants, but it's coming from a place of hurt because he missed Damon, because he loves him. But, again, Damon is such an idiot when it comes to himself. He just is an idiot. He's no more a monster than anyone in their little gang of misfits (OK, Bonnie, Matt and Jeremy are not, but all but Matt have done some pretty shady shit). Damon has made horrible choices, but so have all of them. And of all of them, he hasn't made the worst… Stefan has. And let's get real, Katherine may be on the outskirts of it, but she's worked with them enough as has Klaus and Rebekah, that they've been in their little group too and those three make Stefan look like a choir boy. So Damon is nowhere near the worst of the bunch. Damon, Damon, Damon.
But hey! At least he had one happy moment in the episode! There's at least that. :) And it was one that I loved because it showed that down the road when reparation (finally) happens to a degree—which it must by series' end to give viewers a reason for the journey—what we will get with Damon and Stefan will be awesome. The brothers as they were, or at least a lot closer to it, in 1864, and that is something that I am definitely looking forward to. Damon is happiest with Elena, yes, but moments like this with Stefan is when we see him happy also. When Aaron kept trying to pipe up to basically tattle on Damon to Stefan (pfft!), and Stefan kept shutting him down to play along with Damon, tag-teaming to rile and talk over Aaron, Damon's ease and smile was a nice moment in an otherwise sad sea of angst. That sadly was not as angsty as I think it should have been… erm, yeah. That brings me to my one legitimate gripe with the episode.
I'm not really happy with Paul Wesley. Look, I get that he doesn't like hero!Stefan. Never mind that hero!Stefan only exists in the minds of delusional Stefan fans, Stefan-haters and Paul Wesley, ie, those who don't realize that Stefan as written is actually as complex a character as Damon with as many shades and nuances of good, bad and in-between. Ahem. The problem is that as of late, as an actor, he's been bringing this dissatisfaction to the screen and frankly phoning in his performances. That hasn't been as evident in a while as it was in this episode. Two specific scenes were quite glaring. This scene was one of them, not this part of it—this part of the scene was amusing and adorable and made me smile. It was the earlier, angsty part of the scene, although, as mentioned above, not as deliciously angsty as it should have been. Forgive me, but I love my brotherly angst.
So Stefan finds out that Damon was held as a torture test subject in the 50's and he's just finding out now. Instead of a look of pain, worry, upset, anything approaching that upon finding this out, the look on his face is a cross between confusion and annoyance. Let me repeat that: Confusion and annoyance. What. The. Fuck? I mean, seriously. What the fuck? How is that the response? Really? Yes, I would have liked more in the script, in the direction, a beat or two longer held on this face, but hey, maybe they didn't hold longer because he just looked more confused or more annoyed which would have made it even worse.
I mean look at the maybe break-up scene with Damon and Elena. I would have liked a bit more in the writing and direction from Elena's side, but Nina Dobrev sold the hell out of every single line, every single moment the camera was on her. You could feel every bit of emotion Elena was feeling and it all felt right. All of it. (And again, now, I'm OK with how the writing and direction of that scene played out.) Paul Wesley did not do that. Instead I was scratching my head trying to figure out why Stefan did not care that his brother, his beloved brother, was held against his will and tortured and he was never told, and his reaction was of annoyance, some confusion. Again, WTF? And then it got worse! Later when Aaron and Stefan were in his room there was some serious, clichéd-CW-level types of acting going on and I do NOT expect that from Paul Wesley—even on his phoning-it-in-days. EVER!
When Aaron was giving his little "Damon's a psychopath, killing all my family, blah, blah" not realizing he's talking to a guy who kills migrant villages and rips people's heads off, etc., etc. and then yells "DO IT!" before Stefan gives his patented long-suffering because my-brother's-such-a-tool look and says with a saintly air "not all of us are like my brother" (because some of us are worse, like me!). I was like, oh, dear Lord, because the acting was SO BAD! So very bad. So bad. And then I forced myself to pull away from the so bad acting and realized that Paul had just played that with zero nuance at all, none, zip, nada. He actually played that as if Stefan meant every fucking single word of that. He just found out that Aaron's family had kidnapped Damon, held him against his will, used him as a science project, tortured him for years and all he could feel for was the other guys? Nothing for his brother? Nada?! Really, Paul?! I mean, again… WHAT. THE. FUCK!?!??!
Damon is not the worstest monster. I do not believe for one second that we are supposed to believe that. There is no way the show wants us to believe that. We have Damon running all over desperate to save Elena. We have Damon being tortured and only committing heinous acts because of heinous acts committed against him. Is it awful? Yes. Is it retaliation? Yes. We have Damon shutting off his humanity in order to walk away from his friend. We have Damon walking away from the woman he loves so much because he believes it's the RIGHT thing to do. This is something that Stefan was too selfish to do no matter how many times he said it was the right thing to do. We have the undisputed heroine of the show choosing Damon. Telling him that no one is perfect and that she has done horrible things too. We have the betrayed guy telling him he's a monster on one hand in his anger, but on the other desperately making it clear how much he misses him.
Clearly, obviously, the show does not want viewers to perceive Damon as a monster. Why on earth is Paul Wesley playing Stefan as if Stefan believes Damon is when we have so much canon proof that STEFAN knows and DOES NOT believe that Damon is one? Stefan has only said that shit in the past because he's afraid he is and doesn't want to lose his brother and because he's petty when it comes to Elena and didn't want to lose her, but at the end of the day, he LOVES HIS BROTHER more than anyone or anything and he knows that it isn't true. Wesley *should* have played that with nuance, letting viewers know that Stefan was playing Aaron to get the information, but instead he not only played the line completely straight, he not only fucking phoned the performance in, he did some of the worst acting I've seen him ever do on this show. Ugh. As a Stefan fan, and as someone who generally praises Paul, I am disappoint.
Sadly, I am also disappointed with the "cliffhanger" because it didn't feel very cliffhanger-y to me. I'm sorry, but I don't actually think Katherine is going to die. I think she's going to be put in someone else's body via the whole Traveler thing-a-majig while Katherine's current body is put on life support or something and maybe eventually a spell will be found that can save her original body. Plus, I thought Katherine's last fake-out death from "Monster Ball" was much, much more awesomely done. To quote from that write-up:
"Boy, oh, boy… how she died! Almost mirroring perfectly, how Jeremy died (the last, *real* time). To get the cure, Bonnie watching Katherine holding Jeremy down while Silas feeds and then Silas' hand reaching up to keep him in place and then Jeremy falling down to his death. Here, it's Elena watching Damon holding Katherine down while Silas feeds and then Silas' hand reaching up to keep her in place and then Katherine falling down to her death. Masterful."
Comparatively, this was kinda… I dunno, blah. Her bag fell, she clutched her chest and tumbled down the stairs and it was, oh, Katherine died? Is dying? Again? Uhm, OK, then. :shrug: I just didn't find it all that compelling or ooh! Bite my nails, frantically waiting for the show to return. Now obviously I don't want Katherine to die because I love her so much. I mean, I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I do think she'll be transferred into someone's body. At first I thought it would be Elena, but really, that's way too obvious. And then I thought it would be cool to be transferred into Damon or Stefan (haha!), but what would be the point other than how awesome would it to be to see Ian Somerhalder or Paul Wesley pretend to be Nina Dobrev be Katherine Pierce? And then… inspiration struck!
I have speculation. Now, you all know I'm almost 99.9% spoiler free so this is almost complete spoiler free speculation. I do have a teeny bit of potential spoiler thrown in here based on (I think) Ausiello's thing where he throws out a "so and so" will happen on guess which show and he offers up a list of suspects. And characters from TVD were in the list of suspects. But that's as far as my spoilers go. Still, I will put that part of how it tied into my speculation under the spoiler bar. If anyone has any spoilers that prove or disprove my theory, please do not share those spoilers. If you know something that completely disproves my theory, by all means tell me: "I know per spoilers your theory is wrong." And just leave it at that. I'm good with that, I will appreciate it. I don't know need to know anything more. If I'm wrong, cool, I still think it's a really cool theory! :D
So, my speculation: I think that Katherine will wind up going into Caroline!! Why? Well, let's list the reasons…
1. A potential couple is supposed to kiss and Stefan and Caroline were on that list. Now as much as I love them and although they've gotten closer, they aren't quite at the ‘hey, let's kiss!' stage. However, if Katherine is in Caroline's body, that would make sense why "Caroline" is suddenly macking on Stefan! Plus, it would explain why Katherine noticed that little something between Caroline and Stefan and even asked Caroline if something had happened between her and Stefan. Of all of them, Katherine does know that there is *something* there between the two and she's the only one. And it would explain why that bit of dialogue was included.
2. Prior to this season, Katherine would have no idea how to act with Matt in a way that wouldn't give away that she wasn't Caroline. At all. However, because she and Matt have been spending time together, now she could fairly easily fool him into believing that she is Caroline since she has an easy, friendly vibe with him now with that slight bit of sexual tension that is still somewhat there with Matt and Caroline.
3. Caroline and Katherine were roomies, just the two of them for a period so Katherine knows Caroline's routines, bedtime, morning time, the whole jig. She could easily overtake her life because she saw it up close and personal.
The benefits of this would be that Katherine, for the first time in 500 years, would be treated like a decent person. She would have friends; she would have people caring about her, looking out for her without manipulation. It would deepen her relationship with Matt. (Yes, I'm still shipping Matt/human!Katherine… hello, did you see their scenes in this episode!?! They are so adorable! I ♥ them so much!)
Plus! On the other side, even though it isn't "Caroline," it would still be Caroline's form that Stefan would be interacting with and he would look at her, see her, interact with her in a non-platonic way so that when it *is* Caroline again… it would open a whole new side to their relationship.
So that's my speculation on what is going to happen with Katherine. I could be totally, completely wrong. Eh, I probably am, but it would be cool. Hey, maybe I'll write a fanfic about it next summer if I am wrong!
ETA: Looks like my speculation is wrong per comments. Oh well. I REALLY hope that it's not going to be the VERY predictable Katherine in Elena's body, Katherine as Elena gets back together with Stefan pronto, Damon goes off the deep end, turns off his humanity and starts vamping on people left and right. Because that would be really, really predictable. Like SUPER predictable.
- For reals, Ian Somerhalder totally knocked it out of the ballpark this episode. From top to bottom, he had to nail about a million different emotions and he got them all and he had me wrapped around his finger the whole way through. I don't think he's had an episode pull him into as many different emotional directions since "The Return."
- And on a completely shallow note… Ian Somerhalder is really, really beautiful.
- So, no Caroline, no Bonnie or Jeremy. :(
- And I still am not impressed at all with Olga Fonda as Nadia, but I do still think she does the softer stuff way better than the bitchy snark, so I hope they continue to give her more of that if we're stuck with her. Of course, I'd prefer if they'd give her the point stuff though… as in a stake. To the heart. Like in the first ten seconds of the first scene of the next episode.
- I still like Enzo. And I really liked him trying to tell his story and then his frustration when they wouldn't listen before he finally got sick and tired of their inattention so he pulled out the chair and threw it across the room. Good one, Enzo. I just loved his 'I don't care about your girlfriend angst, this is about my angst and I'm going to tell my story and you're going to LISTEN!'
- Typical! Stefan finally succeeds in rescuing Elena when he's no longer her boyfriend. I *am* glad that he didn't do the carrying her all damsel-in-distress like though, that's Damon's bag, thank you very much.
- I mentioned above (in length) how Paul Wesley phoned in his performance and pointed out two specific scenes. Sadly, it really was through the whole episode, though. Even with Katherine in their final scene, there was nothing. Again, we should have had some conflict there, some nuance about his feelings, the love mixed in with the hate, the lust, the regret, something, anything, and instead we just got hero!Stefan's sappy smile of regret. Really, Paul? *sigh*
- So we know who Megan was to Grayson. A patient he saved with vampire blood. Eh, kinda boring and nothing scandalous there. OK, then. Meh.
- Two questions: We learned this...
Wes: 4.1 pints drained. 83182 (Elena) still shows signs of consciousness. Note that 15 years ago subject 12144 faded into unconsciousness after losing 2.9 pints. Evolution or luck? Mystery for another day.So what is the deal here? I'm assuming we're going to find out. Does it have to do with her being a doppelganger? Is it Damon's blood? Things that make you go hmmm….
And the second question… Phase II. Obviously, some vampire is going to get stuck with that Phase II vial and start hunting vampires, will it be one of ours? I can't imagine at this point because we've only got the trio and Caroline, OK, fine and Tyler (stupid, fucking Tyler who isn't even on TVD at this point, but they won't just kill his useless ass), so Enzo? But isn't that too obvious? So are they going to just introduce some new vampire to have him stalk our guys to just kill him at the end? Hmm…..
Phew! OK, so there we have it. The last episode of the first half of the season. I enjoyed it overall, the episode and the season. My only problem with this episode is that it didn't feel like a mid-season finale. It wasn't fast-paced and boom!boom!boom! exciting enough, but frankly, that's rather been the problem with this season as a whole. I love Caroline Dries. She's been my favorite Vampire Diaries writer since season season 02, but I don't think Julie Plec should have handed over the reins as completely as she has without riding shotgun alongside her for a bit longer. The pacing is too slow for this show.
I think we should have had the Augustine vampire arc revving up while the doppelganger arc was reaching its climax, and then the Augustine arc should have reached its climax around episode eight with a new storyline, this Katherine one revving up around episode eight and reaching its climax in this episode as a new story began to rev up going into the hiatus. Having one main story going with just a teeny sprinkling of another building is fine for other shows, but The Vampire Diaries has made juggling multiple crazy arcs into an art form and it's just not happening this season. It needs to be ramped up. And Damon and Elena need to be pumped up. You finally have the couple together, you've split them apart, OK fine, play with that, play with the tension, but we've got to see them TOGETHER. This keeping them apart nonsense has to stop. Period. And I don't mean just in a scene (which we've had.) I mean TOGETHER. Interacting like Damon and Elena. They have the chemistry. They have heat. They have passion and angst and sweetness and darkness and light. And just about everything in between. These two bring it like no one else on television. USE IT! WRITE FOR IT! KTHANXBAI!
I'm sorry it took so long to get this up (and it only took me five hours to do it!); I doubt it was worth the wait, LOL! But you know, real life. And hey, refresher before next week's new episode! I did love the episode. I have loved the season so far. And I have loved what we've gotten of Damon and Elena actually. And I have faith that by the end of the season, my complaints now we'll be moot. I'm more frustrated with what we haven't gotten, but go back up and look at those gifs of what we did get… it's been really, really nice. We want more, yeah, but what we've gotten has been really, really nice. And I have really, really enjoyed the overall stories and arcs. A lot. And I look very much forward to the rest of the season. See you next week!