Arabian (arabian) wrote,

7.04 - 'I Carry Your Heart With Me' (The Vampire Diaries)

OK, let's get this out of the way. *sigh* Thursday morning I was in a car accident. Yeah, my glorious luck continues. I'm physically OK, just a few bruises, a bit sore. I'm more emotionally distraught. I'm dealing with it and it's going to be a financial annoyance… when you really look at it and how awful (and honestly, fatal, given a few more seconds literally) it could have been, that says a lot about how not bad it was in the big picture. So I'm trying to move on. In other words, hah, I have a good reason for yet another late write-up. There is no need for ‘how are you?'s and what-not. I appreciate the kind thoughts, but I'd rather not dwell. I'm OK and I'll be better. So… onto The Vampire Diaries.

This was a really good episode that was probably better than the praise I'm giving it, but yeah, see above paragraph. My frame of mind wasn't the best to fully take in what the show was offering, but I did really like what I was able to grasp. So off we go.

First I want to talk about Alaric and we'll segue into Damon from there because I think Alaric's theme which I now believe was set-up last season is one that Damon shares. Before I go into the specificity of Alaric, I want to return to a refrain I've been repeating since season 04. I try very hard not to judge any issues I have with the show or an episode, or an arc or even a season, but tell myself to wait it out. Even possibly waiting until the series is over. And if I'm right about where this is going, then this episode is proof of why this practice has held me in good stead. I've lamented about Pod!Alaric since this season began and as we neared the end of the last as I finally gave up on the idea of any explanation for Alaric being tied to Jo so completely.

I will not lie. When Jo's eyes popped open and she came back to life, I groaned. I was not a happy camper. Yes, yes, we saw the twins in the "Three years from now" teaser, but it sure seemed that mommy wasn't around and I held onto hope that such was the case. And then the end happened and UGH! Jo! Noooooo! However, after thinking on it, I haz thoughts. So she's brought back with the Phoenix stone, right? Right. Well, what if it messes her completely all up to the point where she's trying to kill herself, kill others, going out of her mind, etc.

And something (whatever) happens and they have to remove the eggs before she dies again (for good this time again) and, no doubt, have a nice safe plan… which goes cock-eyed. But it's OK because it's been canonically established that as long as a vampire has a steady supply of blood, their body functions normally… so Caroline can carry the babies to term. Which works out since Candice King is pregnant in real life. Booyah!

OK, so that all works out, but what does that have to do with making the whole Pod!Alaric nonsense make sense with the passage of time? And what happened in this specific episode that made it all make sense? And what does any of this have to do with Damon? I believe that the theme of the season is about finding yourself. It will apply to many of our main characters, we're seeing it with Matt, and we'll likely see it with Bonnie as well. As for Damon and Alaric, these two men have in many ways always been defined by the women in their life—not just romantically, but just in the importance of their presence. For Damon it was obviously his mother, and then Katherine and then Elena. For Alaric it was Isobel, and then Jenna, and then Elena (obviously, non-romantically), and Meredith and then once he came back from the Other Side, Jo.

It's always been the women that have driven their decisions, and how they've defined themselves. And with Damon actively making the call to find out who he is without Elena, I think we may be seeing the set-up for Alaric to do the same once Jo is gone for good. This season, actually since the penultimate episode of last season, the show has been setting up Damon and Alaric on the same trajectory. Both of them were set up in love, ready to truly settle down into a "normal" family life and it was tragically taken away from them by Kai. So I think it makes sense that the pattern will continue and the two will be on the same journey, albeit not at the same time. These two men will find out who they are—and in doing so they will realize why the women they loved fell in love with them. And they will become better men, better friends, brothers, fathers.

Now, of course, this doesn't take away the issue with the Alaric/Jo story all along which is the casting of Jo and the lack of chemistry between the actors, but at least now I can see where it's all coming from. And that *does* significantly help my understanding and acceptance of their storyline and how Jo seemed to be all that Alaric was about. I'm not saying that the casting wasn't the only issue. We still should have seen better integration of Jo into the canvas, and Alaric interacting with the other characters as he had before. However, again, at least I get the overall point now. If I'm right and I think I am.

And as I said, I believe this applies to Damon as well. Obviously, that's easier to call what with his letter to Elena, duh. It's important that this happens though. Yes, Stefan was a bit of a jerky-boy again to Damon when he was telling him that he was making all of his choices based on Elena. Blah, blah, blah. But the bottom-line is that we go back to what I was saying at the beginning of last season: Damon Salvatore still has those self-esteem issues.

He still questions how Elena can love him. He accepts that she does, but he doesn't quite get it. Half-way through the season, as he's writing Liz's eulogy he tells Elena "I'm not a nice person." He still thinks that he is a terrible person at the end of the day. Damon still thinks the worst of himself. In the finale, he believed that he would make the wrong choice *until* he made the right one. Elena knew he would make the right choice, but Damon didn't have faith in himself.

Even in this episode, we got continued proof that Damon still sees himself as worth less than Stefan, than others. When Lily arrived to the scene of Oscar's post-ripping through the tour bus, Damon told her that her favorite sons were the rippers and I felt so bad for him because, you know, Stefan was only ten when she died. Damon saying that wasn't a dig at Stefan or even Lily, it was more about Damon's own insecurities and just how it's been his whole life. Damon immediately goes for his own jugular. He's such a self-pitying loser. That's just how he sees himself. Even though he should not. Damon needs to stop seeing himself as worth less.

So Damon deciding to find himself, find who he is without Elena, I really liked because I feel like it confirmed what I had speculated this season would be about for Damon which was fully repairing his relationship with Stefan. Although this is that, but so much more, which is so much better! Repairing not just his relationship with Stefan, but repairing his relationship with *himself* and with others. And *that* is awesome. Especially if one of those others is Matt!

I am really, really hopeful that the inclusion of that Damon and Matt scene was because we are going to see a Damon and Matt relationship explored. I mean, why else have Damon specifically worrying about Matt's life, Matt expressly asking if Damon even cared unless these were things that would be touched upon? I will dream the dream until the dream is ground to dust. And, of course, I want to continue to see the Damon/Alaric and Damon/Bonnie friendships strengthened as well.

Speaking of this theme of men being defined beyond the women they love, I wonder if we're also going to see this with Stefan. Because he's definitely someone we've seen in such a way as well. Elena, Katherine, Rebekah, Caroline, etc. And we know that Caroline and Stefan have some sort of bad end between now and the "Three years from now," so it's possible that we are going to see some definition for Stefan as well. Or maybe… I don't know, perhaps the show is already negotiating with Paul Wesley and he may be sticking around past this season so his character growth will take more time (that is certainly believable!). We'll see.

As for Stefan and Caroline, well, it was interesting. I wrote about last episode wherein I didn't buy that the two were desperate to touch one another, that I just didn't feel it at all between them. And I didn't then, and I didn't feel it in most of their scenes in this one either. In their early scene, or even when they were talking about it. However, when they ran to one another to kiss once they could touch again and as they were gettin' to getting' it on, there we saw the desperation. But, but, but… it was just weird how until *that* moment, I didn't feel it. It should have been there in other moments, not just right before they kissed. So was it bad direction in both episodes, bad acting choices? Or does it go back to what I said in my last write-up?

Is it that Wesley and King don't have that passionate, molten chemistry that leaps off the screen that sells this type of story? I dunno. Don't get me wrong! When they did kiss, the chemistry was there, because they certainly do have chemistry and the kisses were hot and gorgeous and great. I loved it. Even if, of course, the "love scene" was pretty much non-existent. But what can you do? I mean, damn, that Damon and Elena WHOAH! Let's Get It On in "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street" just killed any true love scene ever happening on this show again, didn't it? Ah well, I guess I'll just take joy in the fact that Damon and Elena at least got the closest thing to love scenes after that episode. (A whole whopping thirty seconds or so, but still, they got something!)

Outside the shallow and chemistry, I liked what we got with Stefan and Caroline. I really liked that the contrived obstacle was done away with quickly. And I really, really liked that Stefan and Caroline talked. This is what has come out of the fact that Stefan and Caroline were such good friends who talked so openly and honestly with one another without any kind of romantic undertones prior to romance entering the equation before the became more. They know each other very well and they know how each other's minds and hearts work *in* romantic situations. So Stefan knew exactly where Caroline's mind was going, and Caroline knew exactly where Stefan's mind *could* be going… and they were able to discuss that openly and honestly. Erm, let's see if that continues. Pretty please! Because I do like super lots.

And, yay, sexy times! Even if we didn't get to see the sexy times, they still happened! Whee! Because they are pretty and lovely and they do have chemistry and I ♥ them.

Alas, you know who do not have chemistry? Scarlett Bryne (Nora) and Teressa Liane (Mary Louise). I appreciate that the show is telling their story with as much care as if it were a straight story (i.e., not sidelining it), while still acknowledging that it is a gay story (the bigotry that they face). However, yeah, Bryne and Liane just do not have chemistry. Bryne and Pamela Ricardo who played the bartender had more chemistry in their brief interaction than she's had with Liane in all of their scenes. And I find it a shame because I like Mary Louise a lot, and I think that Nora has possibility, and I want to like their love story. I mean, I really like how Nora loves Mary Louise, and I love their dynamic. I just wish the actresses had chemistry. Oh well.

Perhaps the writing of the overall story, the love story itself and Nora will continue to draw me in to such a degree that it will overcome the lack of chemistry. That can work for me. I do think that there is possibility here, especially with how much I like Mary Louise and how good I think that Teressa Liane is.

Also good? Tim Kang! And his Oscar! Whee!! Now, I knew because of the Phoenix Stone and the preview that there was a possibility (a good one because you don't hire Tim Kang or write a character that awesome and just have them in one episode!) that Oscar would come back to life. And he did! Double whee!!! Yay, yay, yay! I don't know what's going to happen, but I really hope that we get more Damon and Oscar scenes. Pretty, pretty please. Because Oscar is awesome.

Not so awesome? Damnit, I do think that Enzo is totes into Lily and is not working with Alaric secretly. I'd love to think that was the case, but I'm just not seeing it. {Insert sad face here.} However, Lily is clearly not into him since she's obviously all dreamy-eyed about her precious, "saintly" Julian. Oh, and I'm going to take a moment to point out that I believe it's safe to say that Lillian Salvatore is *not* a good judge of character. Ahem. Just looking at her track record. Moving on.

So now Valerie and Enzo are going to be "working together" and we all know how that generally winds up working out. At first when Matt had his gun on her, I was thinking… oh, are they gonna do something romantic with Matt and Valerie? But Matt is so anti-vampire now, I just can't see it. Then Enzo came in and they had their little tête-à-tête and it's the second one these two have had and I switched my matchmaking to Enzo and Valerie. Good, because I'm still banking on Matt and Bonnie! Of course, I'm not expecting right away since, yeah, Enzo's all Lily-centric right now. To which I still say, uhm, OK.

Alrighty then, here we go with randoms –

- I thought that Stefan was being annoyingly too "good" with Mary Louise when they were talking about their romantic problems, but then he went and vervained her and I was like, "Aw, Stefan, good on you! You play her, boo!"

- Even though the Phoenix Stone bringing back Jo would mess her all up, hopefully with Oscar's siphoning power, he would be able to, well, just siphon that effect out of himself and not have the same issue.

- Hah, the clapping on the tour bus after the driver was pulled out by Oscar after they had just complained about it not being scary was hilarious. Hee!

- Yeah, I totally admit, I choked up during Damon's letter to Elena. *sigh* My Damon and Elena! And I loved how once again the show made it blindingly clear that Damon is absolutely all about Elena. Even as he was sending her away and saying that he had to find out who he was without her, he made it clear—the *show* made it clear—that his heart was with her. *Double sigh* My heart!

- Speaking of… *Triple sigh* It slayed me dead that the title of the episode was from Elena's point of view… "I Carry Your Heart With Me." Oh my. Just…. Aaaahhhhh!

- Pop-up HCH again! I can deal with Tyler's appearances like this. OK, then. (And, heh, he's at Damon's beck and call. Of course, he is.)

- And Caroline Dries continues her Damon and Elena check list. This time it's the whole Damon only does good things for Elena. Looks like this will be a season long endeavor! Hah!

So, yeah, really good episode and I continue to really enjoy the season. Oscar lives! (Yay!) So does Jo. (Boo.) Hopefully she'll die again soon for good. We will see… We will see.
Tags: alaric saltzman, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/bonnie, damon/elena, damon/matt, damon/stefan, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv

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