Alas, I gotta be honest, I was not really feeling this episode. The writing was good, but direction-wise, it just didn’t have much verve. It just kinda sat there. * *sigh* I mean, it wasn't a bad episode, it just didn't elicit much emotion from me and that like almost NEVER happens. So I'm bullet-pointing this one, but hey, gifs! Still, there ain't gonna be much here tonight.
* I no longer think that my issue was with director Michael Allowitz. As I added to that post, after watching “What Lies Beneath,” while I like Michael Malarkey and think he’s a charismatic actor, I don’t think that he’s necessarily the strongest actor and “Man On Fire” was driven very much by him. I think the lack of verve that I felt from that episode I can now lay to rest at his feet as opposed to the direction because the previous episodes directed by Allowitz have all been particularly fine outings in the directorial department.
ETA: I wound up adding a bit more the Damon/Elena and Damon/Stefan sections thanks to some interesting stuff in the comments.
Damon and Elena
- I loved when Damon first showed up and he was kinda randomly spouting stuff and Elena mouthed "what are you doing?" behind Enzo's back and Damon just kinda shrugged. I don't know why, but that just cracked me up. See? Hilarious.
- And another Damon hero-carry moment with Elena! Aww! I will never get tired of seeing when he does this. Like ever.
- Did anyone else flashback to "Friday Night Bites" when Damon was caressing Elena's face after he laid her on the bed?
And when Elena woke up and looked around, I also thought of her reaction when Damon disappeared after he brought her the necklace in "Rose." Both times, Damon was the one who did something for her (earning hero points), but didn't let Elena know. It even had the blowing curtains.
I just found it interesting that this final scene with Damon and Elena featured moments that were heavily reminiscent of touching and/or heroic moments in Damon and Elena's history and all of them were things that Elena wasn't aware of (even if she became aware of the "I love you and necklace return later) at the time they occurred. And I think they were definitely intentional. Especially because of those blowing curtains. There is no way that was not supposed to make us remember that romantic, hero moment of Damon's first "I love you" especially with Damon commenting later how he had no reason to try and score brownie points with Elena now. It was a reminder to the audience that Damon had actually never really tried to score those points with Elena. For him, it was always about being there for Elena, loving Elena, wanting Elena to be happy, wanting what was best for Elena... not himself. Then and now.
- In the final Elena and Stefan scene, it was interesting seeing them in such a similar and yet different quandary than we've ever seen before. The two of them have kept secrets from Damon before, but in the past it was because Damon was the "bad" guy. But now, they are keeping a secret to protect Damon's heart, to keep him from suffering. And it was interesting seeing the struggle play out on Elena's face. You could see that she wants to tell him the truth, and I believe that were she *with* him, she wouldn't go along with it because she could be there for him, but since he doesn't want to see her, well, she can't. Therefore, it makes sense that she's going along because she knows him and she knows that in this case, well, Stefan's probably right... Damon very well could go off the deep end. Damon does do that.
I know there has been some concern--that frankly I'm a bit mind-boggled by, if I must be honest--that Stefan and Elena decided to keep this secret from Damon for any reason other than out of love for him, mainly to protect random innocents from another Damon killing-spree. I just don't see where that idea comes from at all. First of all, they flat-out said it VERY CLEARLY. Stefan said Damon has had a really bad year, finding this out could destroy him. Both Stefan and Elena were obviously torn as to what to do and not because of innocents unspoken of, but because they were torn between what it would do to Damon and between keeping a secret of this magnitude from Damon.
They were supporting him; they were looking out for him. Because what happened the last time Damon got bad news? Like a month or so ago? He went off the deep end, killed a good friend of the love of his life, went on a killing spree, threatened the life of someone that he does care about (Jeremy) and basically tried to destroy the relationships he has with everyone else he cares about. This is what Damon showed them he does when he's upset. They ARE looking out for him because they love him.
Stefan and Elena are trying to protect him from going off the deep end again. Because now Stefan DOES KNOW that Damon feels guilt for when he does those things. He no longer is under the delusion that Damon doesn't feel any guilt when he does those things, he just hides them better than Stefan. And Stefan doesn't want his brother to have more to feel guilty about. And Elena knows that Damon doesn't want to have more to feel bad about. They are protecting him because they love him, and, again, you could see Elena weighing that decision out when Stefan told her about Enzo and the decision he'd come to and why.
Another key sign that the two keeping the secret was for the love of Damon is the fact that Bonnie is also keeping a major secret from Jeremy. The two secrets being kept are clearly meant to be paralleling each other as they were done in this episode right on top of each other, and Bonnie not telling Jeremy was obviously done for love, to keep him from being hurt just as Stefan and Elena not telling Damon was done for the same reason.
- It was subtle, but I thought the show did a neat trick of showing how Elena was dealing (or rather in Elena's oh-so Queen-of-denial fashion) with Damon cutting her out of his life. Considering how she kept throwing that around at the top of the episode, I'm thinking she's a wee bit in the throes of an anger stage, perhaps? She did not expect that from him and she was not happy with that reaction from him. Again, it was subtle, but really obvious when you think about it. From her constant mentioning it to who she chose to spend her time with.
There's a reason we had Elena mention Damon cutting her out of his life twice in a few minutes. There was no reason to have Elena tell Stefan that. Clearly, he already knew this information, but yet, she was repeating it to him. Then, she repeats that dialogue to Bonnie. This wasn't done for plot reasons especially when we'd just seen it in the previouslies... The only reason we heard it not once, but twice was to show Elena's state of mind. Damon is on her mind constantly. Damon cutting her out of his life is crowding her mind. That is all she can think about. Every person she sees, the first thing she has to tell them is that Damon has cut her out of her life. This was the writers letting us know that all Elena can think about, all she can concentrate on is Damon. That Damon doesn't want to see her. And it's bothering her. A LOT. And that she is upset about it.
Another sign that she's upset? Who is she hanging out with? Stefan! I mean, really! Talk about FLASHING NEON sign (a bit passive aggressive, but Elena is not perfect, which is partly why I love her) that Elena is PISSED OFF at Damon. Of course she went to Stefan to be study-buddies with. That would piss Damon off. 'Fine, Damon doesn't want to see her, then she'll hang out with Stefan. See if he likes that!' What better way to get a reaction out of him? And that's what she wants, right? To get a reaction out of him. To get him reacting to her and NOT not wanting to be in her life. He may be pissed, he may be yelling at her, but at least he's seeing her. And, hey, Damon's more likely to run into her if she's hanging out with Stefan than if she's hanging out with Bonnie, Caroline, Matt or Jeremy, right? Whether she consciously realizes it or not, hanging out with Stefan is the BEST way to get to Damon, and that's exactly what she wants... to get to Damon.
Oh, and hey, the "random" stuff that Damon was spouting off to distract Enzo? Was to Stefan and Elena about them "suddenly being study buddies." So, yeah, he noticed. Uh huh.
Now is Elena consciously thinking of hurting Damon? No, of course not. Elena's not built like that. But... if a spark of a thought did erupt for a split second in her mind, it'd be a spiteful spark that thought, 'fine, he's hurt, well, he hurt me! So there!' Elena is hurt and angry that he cut her out of his life, and by hanging out with Stefan, she's killing two birds with one stone, getting back at him and making it impossible for him to not see her. Not very nice of her, no, but you hurt the one you love the most. Just like Elena can bring out the best and worst in Damon, well, Damon can bring out the best and worst in Elena. That's love for ya. ;)
Damon and Stefan
- I really did appreciate that Stefan was genuinely looking out for Damon here. He was trying to spare Damon's feelings, trying to protect Damon's heart here. He wasn't trying to stop him from going after Enzo because he wanted to be the hero for Elena, but because he didn't want Damon to have to be the one to deal with Enzo. And he didn't want Damon to know that Enzo was dead because he didn't want Damon to have something else to be guilty about because, yes, Stefan now does realize that Damon feels guilt, he just locks it away. But Damon is being more open with his feelings overall now because he's letting Stefan know these things. He let Stefan know that it hurt, that it bothered him that he disappeared for five years and Stefan seemingly didn't care, didn't bother to look for him. When Stefan said that he was a crappy brother, I don't think that he was repeating Damon's assertion, but I think it was his own thought on the matter. Stefan felt that he was a crappy brother, because Damon had been tortured for five long years and Stefan hadn't known.
But that conversation between Damon and Stefan, wow, that was a pretty big step for those two. It was really revealing and open... of course, it was on the surface about Enzo and why Damon wanted to fight for Enzo, but here Damon was revealing his pain over Stefan seemingly not caring, but more than that he actually said that he loved his brother. He didn't say the words directly to Stefan, but it's the first time that we've heard either brother direct words of love about each other in any form post their human state. And it was interesting watching Stefan's face during the whole conversation because you could see that he was torn. On one hand he wanted to tell Damon the truth because Damon was being so open and honest, but on the other he didn't want to because then Damon would be in a whole new world of pain and could conceivably turn that pain inward or outward... back towards Stefan.
Going back to what I was talking about above--why Stefan chose to not tell Damon the truth about Enzo. It had nothing to do with protecting unnamed innocents or not trusting Damon. It was all about protecting Damon's heart. You could see it not only in the earlier scene with Elena, but in this final scene, in Stefan's face... he was aching for his brother. This had nothing to do with not trusting Damon, this was all about his love for his brother. Who was finally opening up to him, being vulnerable and sharing in a way that Damon rarely does. So, Stefan was torn--tell him about Enzo? Devastate him, send him spiraling back into the darkness? Set our relationship back how many steps? Make myself feel better by unburdening myself of this guilt or protect my brother from more pain? And he chose to protect Damon because he loves him.
There was no upset, no distrust in the dialogue, any mannerism or facial expression, any body language, ANYTHING from Stefan, from Elena, to, from, in any way, shape or form about Damon. It was all about protecting Damon and keeping him from being destroyed emotionally. We saw and heard nothing that indicated anything other than that. AT ALL. Damon was the one who ranted that it was his fault; Stefan did not not. Elena did not. It was Damon who assumed the worst, no one else did. In fact, Stefan tried to absolve him of that guilt... *sigh* not that it took. Oh, Damon.
Damon... Just Damon
- This whole lying to Damon about Enzo? Yeah, something tells me that's not gonna turn out too well. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking I'm not. But hey, I thought that Damon keeping Stefan's secret about hiding Klaus' coffin families in season 03 would be a big deal and it wasn't so maybe the same will happen here. :shrug:
- Oh, Damon. Blaming himself for this whole mess. Stefan walks in and Damon starts on the rant, expecting that everyone is already laying it all on him. It's not his fault. I mean, the Whitmore's kidnapped him. Tortured him. Messed with him. Maggie came looking after him. To kill him. With a Whitmore pen in her possession. Of all the kills that Damon has made, this one is gonna go up there as one of the least likely to go under as proof that Damon Salvatore is evil. Poor Damon.
- Hmm, yet again there was Stefan pointing out that Damon has only one friend (Enzo), and we also had Damon telling Enzo that he has no reason to stay in Mystic Falls. In addition, Caroline was screening his calls, and Matt and Jeremy (sniff, sniff) wouldn't even invite him into the damn house. So, we're continuing to get the 'Damon sucks' refrain and it's getting old, peeps! Please to be having a point and one that is reaching its conclusion wherein the Scooby Gang realizes that Damon does not suck. Pretty please.
- Speaking of Matt and Jeremy not inviting Damon in, OK, yeah, they didn't, but I was amused by the fact that they still listened to him by not leaving the house. Sure, he threatened to bust their kneecaps if they left, but like he really was gonna do that. Of course not. They just listened to him. Hahahah! As they should. Because he's the only one with brains in this factory, I swear sometimes, re: figuring out that Tyler has the passenger in him.
- Thanks for clearing up that the last two surviving doppelgangers' blood together does NOT provide a cure for vampirism right away, Markos.
- Seems there is some confusion about the Travelers' magic killing off vampires. From how I understood it, the vampires would have to drink the mixed doppelgangers' blood for that to happen. That's why Sloan reverted to her pre-vampire state because she drank the doppelgangers' blood. All of the vampires would have to drink a mixture of Stefan and Elena's blood in order to revert.
- So, erm, how will Enzo's vendetta do anything to Damon or his loved ones? He's, uhm, dead, so he can't really do anything. And once the Other Side goes poof, so does he. Color me confuzzled.
- I wonder if they will figure out how to save the Other Side or if Bonnie and all the other supernaturals there will go bye-bye. I genuinely do wonder at this point if the show is considering cleaning house.
- I understand why Bonnie lied to Jeremy (just like I understand why Elena and Stefan are lying to Damon), but again, no good will come of this. *sigh*
- To be fair to Stefan, he didn't actually kill Enzo, it was more suicide.
- I liked Enzo, but his only friend or not, he was a really, really crappy friend to Damon. I'm sorry, but he was. At this point, Damon should just get the hell out of Dodge, find himself a better friend, Elena realizes how much she loves and misses him and go find his ass, and then they can have awesome sexytiem adventures together. :)
OK, so, yeah, kinda OK-ish episode. Again, it was good writing, just somewhat lackluster-ish direction. Ah well. Onto the next one. *sigh* Joshua Butler-direction. *double sigh* He generally does well with straight-forward written episodes, so hopefully..... And hey, the extended preview showed that it's not just Damon, Elena and Stefan off at the secluded cabin but Caroline is there too, so... oooooh! So, woohoo! Onto next week!