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09 October 2015 @ 02:55 am
7.01 - 'Day One Of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give Or Take' (The Vampire Diaries)  
Another Thursday, another new episode of the Vampire Diaries. Yay! Just a note, as always, I'm doing the NO SPOILERS thing, so please do not spoil me on ANYTHING! Thank you muchly. :)

So it was sadness to not see Elena and know that she's technically not around, however, I thought the show did a fabulous job of keeping her presence alive. And that is exactly what I wanted and expected. So double yay!!

Alright, firstly, let's get the pink elephant out of the way. I actually really liked what they did with Damon and Bonnie because I felt like the show played with the expectations of, ooh, Damon and Bonnie as a couple (which, yeah, their shippers will run away with regardless). However, the show turned those expectations on their head and made it clear in both instances that it was *NOT* a romantic, shippy thing.

OK, hold on a second. Let me state on the outset that I do think that Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham have chemistry, but to be fair, I think that Ian Somerhalder has chemistry with almost every one he interacts with onscreen. I thought he had chemistry with Marguerite McIntrye (Liz Forbes), Arielle Kebbel (Lexi)—{shudder} as much as it pains me to admit it, Mia Kirshner (Isobel), Daniel Gillies (Elijah), Cassidy Freeman (Sage), etc. So, regardless of intent, there is chemistry there, and I think that the producers/writers are aware of that. Plus, they're also aware of the shippers and the media's expectation that since Elena (Nina Dobrev) is gone, well, duh, of course The Vampire Diaries is probably gonna go the Damon/Bonnie route.

Not so fast!

Here's how I saw the two main scenes between them that, as I said above, turned that notion on its head in a brilliant way. First, we had the scene where Damon saved her. There was the close-up of the two against the car, them looking at each other which completely played like a stereotypical "romantic" moment. And I admit that I did have a twinge and I thought... 'hmmm... show, why you going there? I am confuzzled.'

And then..... aha! The rest of the scene played out and I had to smile. I rewound and watched the scene and just had to tip my hat to the skill of Caroline Dries. That moment against the car wasn't about some sudden, 'oh, I felt a tingling,' or 'ooh, there's this sudden *chemistry* between us!' And, come on, let's get real! That's almost *always* what those moments mean. Not this time. Nope. That moment was about Damon saving Bonnie... three seconds *AFTER* he should have. Damon *ALMOST* letting Bonnie die because he wants... ding, ding, ding... Elena back so desperately. Because he loves Elena so much. Because he misses Elena so much. Because he saw the chance to get Elena back by letting Bonnie die. In other words, the show used a stereotypical "romantic" moment between Damon and another female in order to re-establish just how much Damon loves and misses the love of his life (Elena).

And then... in the second scene where Damon and Bonnie talked about him almost letting her die again, Dries further used that stereotypical moment to drive home that point about Damon missing and loving Elena so much. And THEN drove a new point home... he didn't let her die because Bonnie is his BEST FRIEND. Key word: Friend. And taking that into account after he just left Ric wherever after not realizing for the last three weeks that Ric was playing him was very much a show as opposed to a tell on The Vampire Diaries part.

Alaric is no longer Damon's best friend. (Whose fault is that? Psst… Ric's.) It's Bonnie. What I mean by "show and tell" is the fact that Damon ostensibly took Ric out on the European world wind drinking tour to help him drown his sorrows over losing Jo, but really it clearly wasn't about helping Alaric. It was about Damon dealing with his sorrow over not being with Elena for the next 60 years or so. If it had been about helping Ric, he and his supposed best friend would have been sharing their woes together. They would have been grieving together, but they weren't. Ric remained as distant and as closed off from Damon as he'd been pretty much since Damon came back from 1994. The two are "best friends" in name only. That is what the episode showed us.

And the episode showed us other things as well. By having Bonnie tell Damon that he's one of her key reminders of Elena. By having Damon call Bonnie his "best friend." By having a stereotypical "romantic" moment used to remind viewers how much Damon loves and misses Elena. All of that? Was done to show us that Damon and Bonnie are best friends. And Elena is the love of his life. So, yeah, I really liked how they played the Bonnie and Damon scenes. Especially seeing the two deciding to work together as a team because that‘s something that I've always wanted to see since I've always felt that together they could get stuff done.

Plus, that cute little smile he gave at the end after ripping Malcolm's heart out was too adorbs! Hee!

     

Ah, that adorable smile was just one of the things I loved about Damon. But what else is new, right? I also really liked what we saw with that final scene because of the placement because it tied into something I was saying to others after the finale.

I wasn't bothered by Damon carrying Bonnie in his arms after he saved her life because I didn't see it as a romantic gesture, but rather as setting Damon up as “A Hero.” And I believed that it rolled Matt into that scenario as well. I feel that we got a continuation of that in this episode. I said then:

I know that many saw Damon rescuing of her as some big, typical romantic moment, but that's because so many people tend to watch the show with shipper goggles on, that's not how I saw it. The writers are not shippers; they don't write the show with shipper goggles (for the most part--that D/E dance--so done FOR the shippers, but considering Nina Dobrev was leaving, that was intentional). We see a guy carrying the "damsel-in-distress" for two reasons:

1. For the sweeping romantic moment.
2. To show that said guy is A Hero.

The purpose of that scene was for scenario #2. Most were looking at the Damon rescue of Bonnie in a vacuum, not at the whole narrative. There was a reason we had the earlier scene with Matt and Bonnie where he told her to leave town because Damon would choose Elena over everyone and would kill Bonnie. That was the first two players in showing that Damon is "A Hero scenario." Then we come to this scene where Damon saves the damsel-in-distress. And it featured the second set of players in "A Hero scenario" set-up. It was important to note how the scene was shot. Once Damon picked Bonnie up, he didn't look down at her, there was no tenderness. Instead he was looking straight ahead, intensely focused, absolutely in HERO mode.

Also, there was no full-shot of him carrying her so you didn't get the whole swooning, romantic effect. The whole point of the scene was Damon saving the day and his focus of doing so, of making that tough choice. And here's where we get to that final scene with Matt driving down the street keeping watching below over Mystic Falls, and Damon above keeping watch over Mystic Falls. It's the final two players in "A Hero scenario."

Matt appears now to be working to protect the town in tandem with the guy in the beginning he thought would choose Elena over everyone else. That middle scene with Bonnie was not about "hero saves the girl;" it was about "despite appearances, this is A hero."

Scene 1 - Matt/Bonnie
Scene 2 - Bonnie/Damon
Scene 3 - Damon/Matt

It all ties together. And that, I believe, is setting us up for Damon and his journey--"despite appearances, this is A hero"--next season. There's a reason that was the final scene of the episode and it's also WHY they included that bit of dialogue in there with Damon and Elena about her knowing that he would make the right choice.
And now we have a splendid parallel in this episode with Stefan standing in for Elena. He tells Damon that he made the choice to make the deal to save all of their friends so that when Elena wakes up, she won't be upset at the choices made. He's doing this for Damon. Prior to that scene we had Bonnie talking to Matt where he essentially blamed her (even if he denied it, he so did) for letting the Heretics loose into their world. Then we get to the scene from the finale with Matt patrolling the streets below, and Damon watching from above, cut to Damon and Bonnie where they decide to they are going to fight.

They are going to take their town back, which to them, is the right choice. It's the right thing to do. The passive decision that Stefan and Matt have made is not something that Damon or Bonnie… or Elena would ever feel comfortable or right doing. When Stefan invoked Elena's name, he wasn't sending the message he no doubt intended. (But then Stefan really never knew the take-action, non-grieving Elena, did he?) Of all the characters Damon, Elena and Bonnie are the most alike, and Stefan, Caroline and Matt are the most alike in temperament… in how they decide to do things, get things done.

Damon and Bonnie are doing the right thing that Elena would have done. They're fighting because this passive giving in that Stefan, Caroline and Matt have signed on for…. that's just death and destruction waiting to happen. So the parallel of Elena telling Damon that she knew he'd make the right choice was there in Stefan invoking her name, and in the three players of the “Hero” scenario: Damon, Bonnie and Matt.

Alas, it looks like Matt is going to continue to be on the opposite side of Damon. The difference this time, though, is that Bonnie will be leaning more towards Team!Damon rather than Team!Matt than she was before. Which leads me to wonder if that little hint of something-something way back in season 03 between Bonnie and Matt is maybe, possibly going to come into fruition with some sparks and opposites attract playing it up now?

I could maybe be down for that.

And, of course, the couple that I'm already totally down for? Oh, yeah, baby, Stefan and Caroline. As awkward as that first Stefan and Caroline scene was, I really loved it (not just because it was adorably awkward), but because of what it really said about their relationship and the foundation there. Theirs really is a relationship based on friendship. They have such a solid foundation laid there, so even when things are awkward, when they aren't on the same page in this new phase of their relationship, they can talk to each other, they can tell each other *because* the history of their relationship is so rooted in honesty and friendship. There isn't antagonism and fighting in their past. And, also, yes, because of the type of person Caroline is, and the type of person that Stefan is and how they mesh so well as personalities together. They are just so suited for one another.

 

And the writing of the pair overall just continues to show how well the the show gets that about these two from the friendship to the romance to all of the little moments in between, including those little "tingly" moments we shippers just adore. Like the Heretic Destruction Plan' discussion bit where Caroline asked Stefan where there was any part of the plan where Stefan wasn't worried about her and he was all "probably not" and they gave each other cute smiles and then they were all looking at each other and they so wanted to kiss, but they didn't and it was just.... oh, my babies!!!!

 

YOU BELONG TOGETHER! KISS ALREADY!! (But they did later, so yay!)

And it continues to warm my heart so very much to see Stefan so insistant in his pursuance of Caroline in a way that he was never about Elena (or Katherine... or Rebekah). Nope, just Caroline. And, that final scene was just so lovely. And showed that friendship coming into play again. After the "weirdness" of earlier, they actually *did* stick to the "plan" and yet when it came down to it, when danger came a'calling again, and when the pressure was off for a bit, Caroline was able to see clearly that Stefan made her happy. Because, yeah, sometimes, time does heal some wounds. So... whee!! Sweet, sexy kisses!

  
 

And since Stefan and Caroline are possibly done after this season (what with Paul Wesley and Candice Accola King possibly exiting the show, ::sniff sniff::), I love how TVD is playing any drawn-out games with them and so we got Caroline's "happy" speech at the end and the kissy-face times. Whee!!! Stefan and Caroline continue to give me ♥ eyes!

OK, just Randoms now ….

- Loved, loved Caroline's pink dress at the deputy graduating class.

- At first when Matt was the only deputy left alive of his graduating class, there was a bit rolling of my eyes there, but then when thinking about it, I was like: "No, it makes sense." Think about it, unlike the others, he *would* know how to handle himself in this type of situation and keep himself alive and safe better than any of the others. So, yay, my Matty lives again! Thank goodness!

- Not much with Stefan and Damon in this episode, but I did like Stefan going to Damon in the beginning and end of the episode (three years from now) and I'm definitely intrigued about what's going on. Although, I will admit I was a tad peeved at how Stefan was (a) keeping things from Damon, and (b) at how he through out the whole "doing this for you" bit at him. It just sounded a bit too much lecture-y for my taste, but ah well, Stefan, old habits die hard, huh? Still love you, boo.

- I was not a huge fan of Damon's hair, I must admit. It wasn't season 02, 03 levels of horrid, but no where near the glory of season 05 or 06, damnit! Grr.

- Well, at least Caroline said she didn't hate Damon. *Sigh* I continue to hope that we'll see some meaningful interaction/discussion/development between these two. We'll see.

- Oh, Enzo! You picked the wrong side. (But you look really cute!)

- So does Bonnie, love Kat Graham's hair. (Even if the sassy do of season 05/06 is still my fave.)

- OK, am I the only crazy person who kinda wonders if it's Caroline who is possibly the one coming after Stefan and Damon at the end there? I dunno. The thought just crossed my mind. The fact that they weren't saying a name, just saying "she" made me wonder. That's three years in the future after all. Things that make you go hmmmm…..

- This was the best use of the show's title EVA! The Vampire Diaries indeed. Loved it.

- Yeah, so, right, we're just not gonna hear about Elena at all. Yeah, Damon/Elena they're just over and done with. NOT! Except for Matt, every single main character talked about/to (via diary entries) Elena throughout the show, and it was clear how deep Damon's love for Elena remained not only three weeks from now, but also three years from now. Uh huh.

- Lots of Liz Forbes shout-outs too. Cool beans!

- Of the Heretics, I do find Nora, Mary Louise, Beau and the grumpy one--the diarist, Valerie, interesting. So, cool. I look forward to seeing more of them. I think Valerie is my “favorite” so far.

- *sigh* The only thing I did NOT love about the premiere? Gah! Pod!Alaric is still Pod!Alaric as he is still all about stupid Jo. Ugh, ugh, ugh. No, show. No. Bad, show, bad, bad, bad. I'm so not here for this. I swear if they bring her back…. I will write many venting rants about it filled with many “ughs!”

- I love Damon; that is all. But I'm sad that my favorite line from the preview: "How long do we have before this evil engulfs the world? I'm just trying to plan my week,” was cut. Well, maybe it will be in next week's episode. Hope springs eternal.

- Question? What happened to make Damon decide to desiccate three years down the road until Elena woke up? Even more of a reason to hmmm…..

Well, so much for shorter posts, LOL! I don't expect much in the way of responses, but I still love this show. And as I expected (YAY!) Elena is still very much present and the heart of Damon /Elena still beats strong. Really good episode. Can't wait until next week! Wheee!!! My show is back!
 
 
 
tj2013tj2013 on October 11th, 2015 11:40 am (UTC)
First things first: yay, our show is back! Yay, you are back, too! Thanks for analyzing everything. It was a pleasure to read.

I told my friend with whom I wath every season premiere and the finales, that now, after the first episode, it's not the tension-nail-chewing-filled "OMG What are they going to do with Damon and Elena???", but it's more like friends have been away over the summer and are now back in my life. It's a really nice feeling. And very entertaining nonetheless.

I loved what they did with Damon and Bonnie. I never expected them to go down the romantic route with them, but since the end of 4x02, when both arrived together at that paper latern thing, I loved the idea of them working together and getting things done. (Actually, no, they even worked together at the 60's dance in season 2, but then they hadn't that friends vibe yet)

Stefan and Caroline were so so adorable. And I liked that they didn't drag it out over several episodes, but that the are in a good place at the end of the first episode.

I miss Elena, but they did a really good job keeping her around, so to speak.

Quite intrigued by the heretics, I like the diary writing snarky one (and her accent), very curious where this is heading now that Malcolm is dead. Good to know they CAN be killed, though. After the failed blow-up I was like - WTF, how DO you kill them???? And now Lilly's first son has killed her first (new) son. She won't like that.

What are they doing with Ric???? I didn't like him in Season 6, and right now I don't like him either. There must be a reason they are doing this with him. Right???

Matt - well, we'll have to see what happens to him. But I definitively like your idea of kindling something between him and Bonnie. They were such a good team at the beginning of Season 3.

Btw, I like Damon's hair, LOL.

Enzo has been a very volatile (is that a word?) character from the beginning. But as long as we don't know his agenda, he could be playing Lilly, too. Or he has simply picked the wrong side... I wonder if we are going to see Sarah Salvatore again this season.

I can't imagine what would drive Damon to desiccate himself. And there was this other coffin (Elena's??) in the crypt. Very strange...

So yes, good start into the new season. Looking forward to next week. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!
Arabian: Bonnie03arabian on October 12th, 2015 09:13 am (UTC)
First things first: yay, our show is back! Yay, you are back, too! Thanks for analyzing everything. It was a pleasure to read.

Thanks. And, yay! Show is back! Honestly, I didn't expect my write-up to be as long as my usual ones (well, except for my uber-major D/E ones or finales--those were always really long). But, nope, this one was not that off, about 3,000 words. Uh huh. :shrugs:

I told my friend with whom I wath every season premiere and the finales, that now, after the first episode, it's not the tension-nail-chewing-filled "OMG What are they going to do with Damon and Elena???", but it's more like friends have been away over the summer and are now back in my life. It's a really nice feeling. And very entertaining nonetheless.

Yeah, I agree.

I loved what they did with Damon and Bonnie. I never expected them to go down the romantic route with them, but since the end of 4x02, when both arrived together at that paper latern thing, I loved the idea of them working together and getting things done. (Actually, no, they even worked together at the 60's dance in season 2, but then they hadn't that friends vibe yet)

Yes, exactly! I've always thought that they would be SUCH a great team, and now I think that they will have that Elena bond between them that will tie them really beautifully. I loved when Bonnie said that he's one of her biggest reminders of Elena.

Stefan and Caroline were so so adorable. And I liked that they didn't drag it out over several episodes, but that the are in a good place at the end of the first episode.

Too bad, she ended the episode kidnapped. But, of course, it's Caroline. She gets kidnapped. Of course.

I miss Elena, but they did a really good job keeping her around, so to speak.

I don't expect it to be SO there in every episode, but I do expect her presence to linger enough and be stronger in some episodes.

Quite intrigued by the heretics, I like the diary writing snarky one (and her accent), very curious where this is heading now that Malcolm is dead. Good to know they CAN be killed, though.

Yuppers all around.

And now Lilly's first son has killed her first (new) son. She won't like that.

We already know she isn't terribly fond of Damon already.

What are they doing with Ric???? I didn't like him in Season 6, and right now I don't like him either. There must be a reason they are doing this with him. Right???

I guess I can go back to my theory from last season? Maybe it's still valid and just a longer game? I dunno.

Matt - well, we'll have to see what happens to him. But I definitively like your idea of kindling something between him and Bonnie. They were such a good team at the beginning of Season 3.

Right? I could really cotton to that.

Btw, I like Damon's hair, LOL.

To be fair, it looked way better on the show than in still pics, but it just looked SO good last season.

Enzo has been a very volatile (is that a word?)

Yes.

character from the beginning. But as long as we don't know his agenda, he could be playing Lilly, too. Or he has simply picked the wrong side...

I think he's chosen Lily's side, but I think he'll wind up on the right side eventually. I think.

I wonder if we are going to see Sarah Salvatore again this season.

Me too.

I can't imagine what would drive Damon to desiccate himself.

I know!

And there was this other coffin (Elena's??) in the crypt. Very strange...

I wondered if it was Elena's too.

Edited at 2015-11-04 06:27 pm (UTC)