Sticking with the "theme" theme, this time it's Love, Friendship, Death and Other Things." Catchy, I know. I loved this one. It was really, really good. And you know what? Damon and Elena K-I-S-S-E-D! WOOHOO, BABY!
What I really liked about the Damon and Elena scenes is that other than the tail-end of their first scene and their last scene which were obviously about the romantic aspect of their relationship, everything else was about how good they are together as a team. They were completely in synch. Even something as simple as Elena running late, so Damon holds out the sandwich he brought so that she can take a bite. He describes his planned date night for her and even though her memories are still wiped, Elena knows him well enough now that she can just tell by his smile, by his body language that they've been on that date before. She knows him.
They're on the same wavelength. Plus, that whole interplay was fantastic because it was absolutely reminiscent of how they were prior to their romance when they started keeping things from each other to protect one another. They were both so open and honest. It was wonderful. Hopefully they keep that up this time around. And, and, and!! their cute smiles and copying each other words and inability to keep their eyes off of each other was heart-meltingly precious. As was Damon's a-dor-a-ble hand wave after she was gone. So. Cute.
And then afterwards and throughout the rest of the episode until that last scene what we saw was just this lovely, lovely teamwork. I've said often enough that one of the awesome things about Damon Salvatore is that he gets shit done. He's the plan maker and he brings those plans to execution. What was so great was how Elena was practically his partner-in-arms this time around. We didn't need to see Damon convince or even tell Elena about his plan to use Kai to siphon the magical vampire blood out of Liz, we just cut to Elena standing right by his side and when Jo came in all in her self-righteous (non)glory, Elena was all Damon can explain making it clear that she knew it, she was a part of it, she wasn't apologizing for it… but yeah, Damon could explain (because Jo *is* her teacher). But the bottom-line is that all throughout—other than Jo's (failed) plan to flush Caroline's blood out with human blood—from Damon's plan with Kai to Elena being there for Liz and using her as-she-goes-learning-doctoring skills, Damon and Elena were basically running the show and Elena was fully behind Damon's decisions. Score!
Oh, yeah, and then there was that last scene.
I liked that Damon told Elena that "FYI, this is exactly where we left off," and then we had the light playing over them so similar to the light playing over their kiss from "Home" which wasn't, OK, "exactly" where they left off but close enough. And it was where they left off in terms of where they stood in their relationship, so fair enough.
*sigh* I had hoped that when they kissed, that the kiss of true love would bring Elena's memories back. Well, they kissed. Her memories didn't come back. But hey, we didn't see Elena again after that scene so maybe they'll start filtering through and we'll see that in the next episode?
And if that doesn't happen, I'm still OK with it because this kiss made me realize why I'm totally cool with Elena still having memories of her love for Damon compelled away. We truly are getting Elena "re-falling" in love with Damon, as I've said before, without the Stefan baggage. It's just Damon and Elena without any messy triangle business getting in the way. It's just the two of them and their love story. tj2013 mentioned in the comments that she would have expected the sparks flying, uber-passionate kiss from Denver. Honestly, though, I didn't expect anything like that at all. Why? Because that one was so beyond passionate with Elena literally flying into his arms because she had spent months of desperately wanting this guy. There were literally months of build-up of tension and lust and love and longing for Damon, and well, it was the same for him. This time around, yeah, he wants to be with Elena, but he's been with her. He knows what's waiting for him and he knows they have forever, so he can be patient and not push her.
This Elena's feelings for him are there and she is in love with him and she feels the lust, but it's not like months of lava-hot burning built-up 'OH MY GOD! I MUST HAVE HIM!' That was what the burning flames of YOWZA! that Denver kiss was banked on. If she got her memories back, I'd expect that kind of kiss because it would be an Elena seeing Damon with the memory of 'OH MY GOD! I LOST HIM, HE'S BACK AND I ALMOST THREW IT AWAY!,' but this Elena without her memories? Nah. It's just an 'Oh, hot guy, I kinda, sorta am in love with and he's really, really hot, I'm gonna kiss him, let's see how it goes.' And that's totally fine because that's how a real first kiss should be. And remember their real first kiss (not the kissy-deathbed one), but the one on the porch? That kiss wasn't all that passionate. This was way more passionate because... dun dun dun! No Stefan in the way to muss things up. Now it's just a boy and a girl and the way they feel about each other.
Speaking of boys and girls and feelings… Stefan Salvatore and Caroline Forbes. Yeah, baby. Oh, yeah. So remember when Rose told Jeremy that Elena made Damon a better person? Well, Caroline makes Stefan a better person. Proof of that was in tonight's episode and I absolutely adored the scene that offered this proof. It is now one of my favorite Stefan and Caroline scenes, and absolutely one of my favorite Stefan scenes. I just loved it so much. I'm talking about the scene in the flower shop.
I talk a lot about how Stefan (and Elena) tend to bury their heads in the sand. That's their thing. With Damon, Elena doesn't do that even remotely as much. Because, as Rose said, he challenges her, he surprises her, gets her out of her comfort zone, and more with Elena because she's becoming an adult, she's growing up and with Damon, she's growing out of those old habits. Stefan, on the other hand, has not. We saw that clear as day over the summer when Damon "died."
The sad thing is that we saw, to a degree, Caroline do that as well and that's not Caroline. Caroline faces things head on with positivity and optimism and she deals with things, but because she had no one to turn to and thrust that control-freak can-do-it attitude at, she drowned herself in a hopeless task and all the efforts to bring Bonnie back—which was her task—failed, so she began to bury her head and stopped thinking about it.
So now she made a mistake, a huge one, and she's doing it again. She's shutting it down and burying her head so she doesn't have to deal. And Stefan Salvatore knows this method of "dealing" better than anyone, right? Now when he was with Elena, he enabled this behavior because it was easier for him. It allowed the both of them to tiptoe through the tulips, lalalala and pretend to be happy, normal teenagers where everything was OK… until the real, awful world came crashing down on them. And then he would blame Damon, and then he and Elena would resurrect another bubble of delusion where they could bury their heads. They just enabled each other. (So unhealthy.)
So you would think that Stefan seeing Caroline do this would go along with her. She needs this, it's keeping her spirits up, it's easier for her, it's what she wants, it will make her happy with me if I go along with what she wants and then I look like the good guy. This is what Stefan does. Right? I mean, it's what he did with Elena. He'd tell her to go and see her mom, but only if she wanted. And she might get upset with him and that wasn't allowed to happen, so he'd tell her to pick the right flowers. He'd tell her to do what she thinks that Liz would want her to do. And he'd hope that she'd make the right choice, knowing that she wouldn't blame him because he respected her choice.
But Stefan didn't do that Caroline. He opened up to her. He didn't make it about him even though he was talking about his loss. It felt like he was sharing; as if he was giving a part of himself to Caroline to make *her* feel better. It wasn't about making Stefan feel better because it kept his halo shiny, because clearly it was hard for him to tell her about this. You could see that. He was emotional, near tears. He could barely look her. Hell, he couldn't look at her. But he opened up because Caroline needed it, he did it FOR Caroline.
And that is showing us a Stefan who has been made better because of his love, yes, damnit, his love for her. And it's been so earned. They needed the journey of last season with their friendship re-asserting itself and then the pain of Stefan pulling away over the summer and him hurting her and then Caroline pulling away, him losing her to him having to prove himself because he realized how important she is to him.
Without all of that happening, we wouldn't see Stefan so willing to be so open with her. We wouldn't see Stefan so open to not burying emotions and feelings and loss. We wouldn't see Stefan understanding that in order to deal with life you have to actually *deal* with life and not just put up on a pedestal or keep it in a box. But he's getting that now because he loves Caroline and he wants to deal with life with her and for her. Because she deserves it. Especially after the parade of guys she's had to deal with in her past.
I mentioned last week the back-burnering of Liv and Tyler's love story had rather lost me. Well, while I wouldn't say that I was all a'squee over them this time around, I certainly was in invest-mode and that's a good thing. And a happy thing for me because I genuinely was enjoying, well, enjoying Tyler. I don't want to wish death upon one of the main characters of the show and that's long (loooooong) been a constant refrain from me regarding my human-cockroach hybrid, Mr. Lockwood. However, the re-telling of his pre-werewolf tale and his love story with Liv has been refreshing for me and one I've found myself liking a lot so the lack of heart paid to was a bit of a bummer: Their first kiss glossed over, their becoming an actual couple and obviously their first time… all of it happened off-screen without any fanfare at all and I do find that disappointing and I expressed that disappointment in my last episode write-up.
However, with this episode, I found myself grinning during their opening scene all a'cuddle in bed. I mean, seriously, they just look adorable, all snuggly and precious!
Yes, yes, it highlighted a biggie of the glossed-over couple-dom making it clear that the show doesn't consider Tyler and Liv one of "the" couples, but hey not every couple is going to be one of "the" couples, so I get that. As long as we continue to get super-cute moments like that. I mean, non-existent hideaway post-coital discussion is cute, and Tyler's facial reactions to said suggestions was cute and fitting for Michael Trevino's caliber of acting talent. So yay!
And in addition, we get moments of sweetness like Tyler not giving enough of a flying fig newton about an unexpected knock at the door to give Liv a little kiss on the shoulder while she's clearly having one of her freak-out moments. (To be fair, he's used to freak-out moments from girlfriends.) Plus, we were also given tender moments like the one where Tyler wanted to join Liv and Luke for their father to help convince him to hold off on the merge. You could see in their interaction that both take this relationship seriously; they truly mean something real to one another. OK, that was a bit squeeful.
Finally we had the final batch of scenes where Tyler basically but all else on hold to save Liv which included letting Kai free. And that we'll get to in a bit. Firstly, we had him going after Papa Parker Douchebag as I not-so-affectionately call him and am I the only one who thought for a moment that Tyler had killed him and thus triggered he curse? Because that would have been a definite shocker and would have made the whole merge thing moot with him dead.
I did expect it what with Damon reminding Tyler that he was just a puny human and Luke talking about how healthy his dad was and that he wouldn't be dying soon. Still, did not happen. But Tyler sure tried. He was also determined to stand up to Papa Parker Douchebag and keep Liv by his side, doing his best to protect her. And right now, the two of them certainly seem in synch, when Luke took off and Tyler took Liv into his arms even as she watched her brother walk off, her arms instinctively wrapped around Tyler and in the long shot, their bodies were slightly swaying in rhythm together. Lastly when Papa Parker Douchebag left and Liv broke down, Tyler was there immediately catching her as she began to fall.
So, yes, I definitely recaptured my feels for them, but… going back to my earlier point above and expounding on one I made after the last episode: Is there something about the Parker women that we don't know? Or are we just supposed to be falling for these love stories of Tyler and Liv, and Alaric and Jo? Tyler was willing to let Kai who kidnapped Elena, tortured her a bit, stabbed Bonnie, left her in the prison world, killed his other family members and plans on killing others… and Tyler was more than willing to just go and get 'em to save Liv. Sure, Damon did the same thing to save Liz who was dying, but Damon had a plan that would involve something that had already been in the works for 22 years and in a day or less, the magic would drain from Kai, and boom! they'd get rid of him, it's done.
Yes, Damon's plan would have led to the merging of Liv into Luke, thus her death, but Tyler's plan would have led into the murder and death of lots and lots of people, including Liz. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one. Hello! It's kinda the same thing that's been happening, Tyler (and Alaric) keep choosing the welfare and decision-making skills (?) of these Parker women over their friends who they've literally been in life-and-death situations with like a lot. It's just kinda hinky. I mean, again, maybe we're just supposed to be seeing that Liv and Jo are the ones for Tyler and Alaric (please don't be the case for Jo and Alaric because, yeah, still do not like her), but I don't know.
And maybe they're not even related. Perhaps Alaric's issues are a whole different kettle of fish.
So we may not have had Alaric in this episode, but we once again got reference to the fact that Damon is the guilty one in their friendship. When Damon arrived upon the post-merge scene and saw Jo still alive, he commented: "Good, you're still alive. That's gonna save me a huge blow-out with Ric when he gets back."
It's not on Damon if Jo is alive or dead. It's on Jo. Kai should be dead already because she's the one who decided that Ric shouldn't kill Kai when they had the means and opportunity. They've been keeping him around and alive because of Jo. Damon did what he had to do to save Liz. Why is Jo or one of the Parker twins more important than Liz? Why? What makes them more important? Or Bonnie? Why are they more important than Bonnie Freaking Bennett? And what gives Ric the right to treat Damon like he did something wrong by dying to bring his brother and others, including Ric, back from the dead, die himself, and then get a wee bit upset because his best friend compelled his girlfriend's memories away of loving him? It's just not cool.
And yet that is how this is playing out. But I get it from Damon's end. As much as Damon has grown, and as much self-worth as he has now (which is awesome), he still does tend to lay the blame on himself in nasty situations. So if there's a fight going on and he's involved, he's going to automatically assume that he screwed up somehow, someway, he's gonna buy that he's at fault. I get that. It is completely in character.
And right now there are only two people who would believably be team!Damon and see that maybe, just maybe, Damon is not the one at fault here. Bonnie… who is locked away in a prison world in 1994, and Elena… who has the hots for Damon, yes, but has her memories compelled away of all of the good Damon times, but does remember all of her history with Ric. So she's going to side with Ric, again sadly, even while she's sympathetic to Damon. Yeah.
That brings us to Ric. What the hell, Ric? And I started thinking. Yeah, what the hell, Ric? What if Tyler's 'hey, let's ignore all my friends to save my girl' is really just about the girl because, well, it's Tyler. He picks a team and pretty much screws everyone else once he's picked that team. That's Tyler. So what if with Ric it's not about a Parker girl, but rather because, well, he died and he was on the Other Side for a year (or however long it was in Vampire Diaries time) which could have felt however long to him.
I mean, maybe it messed with him in ways that we don't quite know that haven't been explored yet. And, after all, Damon technically killed his body, and the last few months he was alive, he was hating on Damon pretty hard because of Esther so there could be aftereffects. (Which florencia7 did speculate was possible.) Just think about it, Ric's been a pretty damn crappy-ass friend to Damon and he died and Damon was a big part of why he died… maybe there is something to it that perhaps Ric doesn't even realize.
Speaking of death… aha! The show finally opened the door for me to discuss my long-believed pet theory about Damon and Stefan's mother. Yes! When Stefan said that his father sent their mother away before she died, I about flipped my lid, I couldn't believe it. You see, I've always believed that Damon and Stefan's mother did not have die of an illness (consumption we now *presumably* know), but that she was turned into a vampire! and Giuseppe was so horrified that he sent her away, making her promise to never return to Mystic Falls again. So, their mother is out there in some far-off, hidden place with no clue that her sons are both vampires… and she will eventually make her return. I mean, right?! RIGHT!?! As soon as he said that their father sent her away, tell me I'm not the only one who thought, aha! Mama Salvatore is totes a vampire!!!
Oh, and speaking of vampires and death. I do believe I've figured out the whole vampire blood and why it doesn't cure cancer, and I think it makes sense actually. Cancer is first seemingly healed by vampire blood (see Colin) as in it puts it in remission and then the cancer cells which were in remission are then made stronger because vampire blood can't distinguish between good and bad cells, thus it replicates them, making them bigger and stronger, so, of course the cancer just keeps getting worse and kills the patient, but the vampire blood brings the person back to life because they're having blood transfusions, and the vampire blood just keeps making the cancer cells bigger and stronger, and I imagine the tumors and such would eventually kill the person in extreme agony, squeezing their heart, etc.
Alas, this means that Liz still has cancer and I don't know that just killing her by other means and turning her would work because then wouldn't the vampire blood go to work on her cancer cells? Probably. Damnit, we're going to lose Liz aren't we? Damnit.
Then Kai removed the vampire blood (i.e., the magic) so it was no longer in there replicating, healing cancer cells making THEM stronger. So now Liz is basically in super-remission with the cancer pretty much wiped out by the vampire blood because it wasn't able to stick around and strengthen the cancer cells as well. That makes sense right? For someone who has the vampire blood still in there system for the 24 hours, the cancer cells would come back and start replicating thus making the cancer come back super-quick, stronger, faster and worse. Makes sense, right?
AND OTHER THINGS
- Aww, Caroline calls Stefan when bad things happen (like her calling him when Colin showed up). He's her go-to guy like Damon is for Elena. Double aww.
- Ah well, the new daylight ring wasn't given to her by Damon, but that's OK. As long as it's a new one that wasn't given to her by Stefan, I'm good. Plus, there's always the chance it will fail...since you know Jo made it. (Pfft!) And when Bonnie comes back (because she will!), she'll make a new one and she'll make sure that Damon gives it to Elena. :)
And to add more thought to this (brought about by discussion below with florencia7), even if we don't get another ring, it's OK because it's still a big deal because the ring from STEFAN is gone. The final romantic link between her and Stefan is gone. Woohoo! That's freaking big. But, I really do think it's quite, quite possible that Elena's going to be getting herself yet another daylight ring. Why?
Well, because they made a quite pronounced point of having Elena let Kai know that didn't want her ring destroyed and Kai didn't ignore that fear of hers, even commenting on his lack of understanding about such sentimentality. But, but, but... remember, he can siphon magic from anyone and anything. And because of that little ring-melting moment and Elena's reaction, he would knows that it's pretty important and (this is key!) that Elena was able to set herself on fire after losing that ring.
So, when he notes--which he likely will--that all of a sudden she has another ring... oh, yeah, and Damon, Stefan and Caroline all have rings, he'll start thinking. And Kai will figure out the point of those rings. So whaddya want to bet that at some point, Kai's gonna siphon the magic from that ring and Elena will need yet another one? Uh huh. And, Bonnie WILL be coming back. So Bonnie will make Elena another ring and (because Bonnie ships Damon and Elena) she'll give it to Damon to give to Elena. I bet.
- Elena is actually berating Stefan over a stupid decision. Halleluja! From an Elena-fangirl-point this is a major positive! YES! She's seeing him without a filter, but just as, you know, a guy, not this halo'd white knight of shining perfection.
- Damon verbalizing how important Liz is to him, my heart!
- It's been a while since we've see some Damon heart-rippage.
- Damon, don't be mean to Caroline! I know he's upset about Liz, but Caroline's in way more pain than him right now!
- So, first we had Stefan joking with Caroline about being a control-freak. He laughed about it, but it wasn't like a plus. Then later he admitted to Elena that he liked Caroline's control-freak-ness, and now he won't let Caroline call herself that, instead he says it's not her being a control freak, but just that she's an optimist and it's what is needed. Dude, loves her so much. ♥ ♥ ♥
- I liked the fact that we had Elena interacting with Liz partially because it was a bit awkward. I know that seems odd, but bear with me. Elena has known Liz all of her life, but Liz is still "Sheriff Forbes" to her, her friend's mom despite all of the crazy that Liz has been dragged into. And she's still a connection to Elena's old life as a parental unit and thus her parents. So when we see Elena with Liz, we get a glimpse of the pre-supernatual Elena, just the girl dealing with her best friend's mom, so badly lying to her and dealing awkwardly with an adult situation beyond her control. It felt so much like real life. And then there was the poignancy of knowing that somewhere inside of Elena, knowingly or not, there had to be the feeling that she was having the chance to spend some final moments with a mother figure as Liz is the mother of one of three girls who are like sisters (Elena, Caroline and Bonnie)... a chance that Elena never had with her own mother knowing her death was at hand.
- "I could kiss you right now, you beautiful moron." Oh, Damon, you have such a way with words.
- Erm, uhm, Damon would leave Elena then, really? He's been waiting this long to get her in his arms and he takes off then? Really? OK, fine, I guess since they were kinda dealing with everything, Elena sent him off to check things out after they finished sucking face for a bit.
- My main problem with the whole twin-merge story is that Kai (aka Chris Wood) just does not look 22 to me. He looks mid-20's, even kinda late-ish 20's. Not 22, not at all.
- Oh, Damon! Saying that he compelled the doctor to save Liz. My bb!
- Man, Liz packing up Caroline's baby stuff to leave her life made me choke up. So well-done.
- So was it the shock of seeing Caroline's bloody vampire face that brought Liz back? I'm thinking so. Ooh, ooh, ooh! ghidorah15 had a fabulous point and I think he (and his buddy) are totally right. He wrote: "When Liz was about to die and had that vision of Caroline vamped out, her mouth dripping with blood, my buddy figured that she realized what her daughter could become without her. The grief could very well drive her into shutting off her humanity and becoming a ruthless monster. So she fought her way back in order to give Caroline more time to come to terms with her impending death, to prevent such a catastrophe." Added to that, I'd also say that the guilt of feeding her mom her vampire blood would have really pushed her into shutting off her switch. So, yeah, good call.
- I liked the little bit of Damon touching Stefan's shoulder before he left Liz's room. A reminder that they're brothers, Stefan had just lost him, but telling Stefan that he's still here, he did come back. So small, but so beautiful.
- I knew Kai was going to win because, duh, Chris Wood/Kai, but aww, Luke. Damnit, I've liked him tons from his very first appearance. Chris Borchu you will be missed (even if your latest hairstyle will not).
- Oh man, Liz asking Stefan to be there for Caroline, to make her smile, all the feels!
- Dude, Jo, whatever! Liz over Luke, sorry. Pfft. Why does she think that the Parker family is more important than everybody in the history of ever? I still don't like Jo.
- Kai is turning into a great deus ex machina, isn't he? Get rid of the spell covering Mystic Falls? Call Kai. Get rid of the magical vampire blood running through Liz? Hey, Kai can siphon that right on out!
- Two episodes without Bon-bon? Not cool!
- Ian Somerhalder = Hawt! Seriously, yum!
And that's all she wrote. Great episode. Great, great episode. The much better direction helped tremendously, and no OOC moments were loverly as well. Oh, yeah, and this happened!