Thanks to some more time passing, some more thinky-thoughts and some wonderful comments from fellow Vampire Diaries fans to my first post on "500 Years of Solitude" (especially florencia7), I am offering up a "Take Two" for this one with just a few points.
The Saint Stefan vs Demon Damon Dichotomy
So I talked about this a bit in that last post, and while I still say that it could have been a less heavy-handed, if they are planning on doing the 'Damon realizes he's not this awful monster arc' that we're hoping for this season, episodes like this make sense. With that said, I am happy to say that florencia7 made some wonderful points that I'm rather embarrassed to admit I totally missed. Especially due to that last flashback that Stefan entered what with him literally erasing the blood, glossing over the bad things in Stefan's past, because, dude, that's nothing if not Stefan's M.O. He just whitewashes things that don't best fit the story he's trying to tell. That is Stefan Salvatore in a nutshell. He whitewashes, and then throughout the episode as he talked about Katherine, geez! that wasn't highlighting Saint Stefan, that was highlighting Stefan-he-who-buries-his-head-in-the-san
And, on the other hand, you've got Damon who can only focus on the guilt--which he is presently wallowing in like nobody's business. And where does guilt come from? All the bad things ya do! So of course that's what he is focusing on, and while he's very good at taking ownership of all the horrible thing he does, he also does still blame Katherine because she did get them started on this whole road. And here comes florencia7 again with a brilliant turn of phrase that had my head spinning. She mentioned when speaking of Damon, the general "vicious circle of abuse" and I jumped on that because it suddenly struck me in how that actually does really pertain to this whole situation going on right now.
No, really, think about it. I know that The Vampire Diaries does NOT do the vampire-sire/children thing (and I'm so glad they don't), but in a way we *can* look at it in that Katherine made Damon and he did learn how to be a vampire from her. Not initially. Because he was trying to be "pure" for her, but once he let that go, he followed the example he'd learned from Katherine. So, yes, Damon would blame her for teaching him to be so bad because, well, she' so bad. And likewise, Damon was teaching Elena to be a vampire, and therefore with all that has happened in the last few days, he would be thinking of that and how then he was maybe influencing her (thinking of what happened recently with Jesse) to be "bad" like him. And that is emphatically something he doesn't want to happen. So it is like that cycle of abuse passed down from parent to child. As far as I can recall, the only vampire to sire teaching-learning from that's actually stuck that we ever have saw on the show was Katherine-to-Damon, and Damon-to-Elena, so this does tie in in some twisted way (likely not realized at all, but only subconsciously) for Damon.
Finally, back to the explicit contrast between Stefan and Damon, I wanted to quote florencia7 here because I just absolutely loved what she wrote:
For some reason this episode felt to me, like there was some kind of a weird cathartic vibe to it, like the writers were showing us what they believe is the defining difference between Damon and Stefan that shouldn't get lost in between all the good & bad things they both have done. And I think this difference is Stefan's ability to let go if the circumstances call for it – and Damon's inability to truly let go of anything ever (not of bitterness toward Katherine, not of revenge toward the Whitmores, not of love for Elena – that's why by the end of the episode he's already talking about winning her back, even if HE broke up with her hours before). And I don't think the episode campaigned for us to see that Stefan's way is the right way. If that was the case, Katherine would have died.And I do agree with that, because there's another key thing the supposed good and bad dichotomy did show us: Stefan was wrong and Damon was right. For all of Stefan's sermonizing and Damon's demonizing about Katherine, Damon was right because at the end of the day, Katherine chose to do bad.
Elena's Lack of Fight for Damon
I had mostly gotten over my first-watch issue to Elena's less-than gung-ho reaction to the break-up, but after reading comments and doing more thinking, I'm even more fine with it and I take back all of my reservations. It really was completely in character for Elena. The very same thing that florencia7 had pointed out about Stefan really did apply to Stefan as well (and is partly why I couldn't stand the two together--they brought out the worst in each other, ugh). It's how they both deal with, or rather don't deal with thing. For Elena, when she can't deal with something, she buries her head and tries to pretend it's not there and so she just puts it aside and buries it. And that's exactly what she was doing. So in character.
And it makes sense that it took Stefan saying something to get her to realize 'duh!' because before it was always Stefan who buried his head in the sand right alongside her. Plus, Elena needs someone to prod her out of her bury-her-head-in-the-sand mindset. Bonnie and Caroline as her BFFS have a job to do in a situation like this and that job is to support her and go along with whatever she wants right now (which is stand by her during the denial phase), but she needs someone to prod her and say you're being an idiot. Normally, this would be Damon's job, but because part of the denial, Damon can't really do it. Now given a bit more time, Matt probably would have done the duty, but Stefan had the first opportunity and was (halleluja!) being a good brother, so it makes sense. Bottom-line, Elena just needed the prodding. Girl's still only 18.
And, yes, she *should* have realized on her own that Damon hates himself, and is pushing her away because of his own insecurities and issues since she's said as much to him in the past... BUT, saying something, knowing something intellectually (months ago) and actually being confronted and dumped because of it are two completely different things... especially after you've been together for months since happily as a couple. And, again, girl's still only 18.
Damon Thinks He's a Monster
I gotta keep remembering this. That pretty much 100% explains the two things that bugged the hell out of me in the roof scene with Stefan. And (again), florencia7 (yeah, she's getting totes lots a shout-outs in this post) pointed both things out. Of course he thinks he has to win Elena back. In his mind, it's not just about him letting her go, it's also about what he did (the killing of Aunt Sarah over the summer which she was obviously very upset with), it's about him re-proving himself to her, proving that all the strides he had made pre-summer weren't for naught. That he is a better man, and that she was right to choose him in the first place. It's the bigger picture for Damon. He wants to be worthy of her because he loves her that much. He doesn't want to taint her, he doesn't want to change her for the worst so he does believe he has to be the better man she believes he is capable of being. That's what it was about.
As for the "one selfless act," this *was* Damon speaking and silly boy doesn't consider anything he does good or worthwhile since he considers himself a monster. Therefore, he would see it as him doing this one selfless act, and Stefan hasn't seen any of the other selfless things that Damon has done so he wouldn't be able to counteract him. Oh, Damon.
- Not so much happy here. The more and more I think about it, the more and more annoyed I am that there was really NO Damon/Elena and not nearly enough Damon. I mean really. This is the 100th episode, you'd think they'd provide fanservice for their most popular character (Damon who was featured less than Katherine, Elena and Stefan and had no stand-out moments at all), and they didn't provide any fanservice at all for BY FAR their most popular couple (Damon and Elena). BAD FANSERVICE. How on earth they could do a 100th episode and NOT showcase Damon and Elena is beyond me.
- So how are they planning on doing Katherine in Elena? I mean, Gregor only took over now and then and it was in the form of blackouts. Mostly it was Matt. With Katherine will she just take over mostly? Will Elena try and fight through? Will the others notice? Or will Katherine succeed for awhile because of things going on the other's lives? Stefan is very good at convincing himself what he wants to believe. And if Stefan believes it's Elena and takes her back, Damon would walk away and wouldn't spend time with her, thus wouldn't see her so wouldn't see it isn't her. Bonnie would be caught up in Jeremy and her anchor-stuff to maybe not notice. Caroline would probably prefer THIS version of Elena (with Stefan, "Elena" would be more fun), and I'm kinda hoping that she'll still find herself attracted to Matt and if she's hitting on him a bit, he might find himself drawn to her what with his Elena-history and hey, I'm all about Matt and Katherine these days, LOL! And Jeremy won't see Elena that much cuz she'll be at college. So who knows? I am intrigued though.
- As for Bonnie not seeing her, well, she wasn't sure what would happen, and since she saw her, but she didn't cross to her, maybe they figure that because of the odd circumstances she won't pass through Bonnie. Who knows?
- OK, finally, should I wait to write my posts so that I have more time to do a thorough rewatch, rethink things or do it right away like I did this one, and if I do rethink things, come up with more thoughtful, more positive takes thanks to comments, more time just do a second take? Which is preferable?
And, once more for the road, please do not reference spoilers, upcoming episode synopses and stills (including your reaction—good or bad—to them), interviews/tweets with cast, crew, writers, etc. Basically anything about the show that hasn't aired yet. Thank you.