I tried to get this up earlier; I really did. But see lj-cut text. So, yeah, I'm not gonna be able to get out a wordy thinking-thought post for this one… and that really sucks because I LOVED this episode. Like love-love-LOOOOVED this episode. It was my favorite episode since the Damon episode. It was my favorite Stefan episode. Period. It was my favorite Paul Wesley episode. Period. His best performance. Hands down. Period. Absolutely. One of my favorite episodes of the series. It was my favorite Brothers Salvatore episodes. Period. I. Loved. It. Soooo. Much. And yet I'm pretty much giving you a short version write-up because stupid sickness has sapped all of my energy for four days now.
But here I go with what I have in me—
This was an AMAZING episode. Whatever you want to say about Julie Plec, this woman knows how to tell a damn good story. This just opened the show open to a whole slew of potential, awesome adversaries. But that is for the future. Let's talk about right now. I bow down to Paul Wesley. This was, bar none, HIS episode. He was absolutely outstanding. I loved every moment with him. As Stefan!Marty (i.e., Human!Stefan), as Unknown!Stefan (i.e., Evil!Vampire!Stefan), he was on point non-stop. In the first half, my favorite scene was when he was trying to start the truck and was complaining about human ills and then when he got it started and went "Suck it, Marty!" I laughed out loud, legit.
And then, dear lord, I can't even begin to say what part was my favorite at the end, just the whole damn phone conversation between Stefan and Damon broke my heart, made me smile, broke my heart and then uplifted it. I was in Salvatore Brothers heaven. After my realization about Damon, Stefan and their arc of this season, this episode was just sheer perfection. And, dear Lord! How people can't see how amazing this show is really is just beyond me.
OK, breaking down the awesome.
- Stefan thinking he was in hell in the beginning was pretty cool, because of course that's what Stefan would think. And I liked how we saw Stefan treating it with the same ‘been there/done that' annoyance that Damon did in his Groundhog's Day montage. And then when Stefan realized what was going on, his reactions to it—yeah, Paul Wesley played it so well.
- And more of Paul Wesley just kicking ass. The evil!vampire pretending to be Stefan. Pretending to still be Stefan, and doing so badly—I mean telling Damon he loved him. I've wanted to hear the boys tell each other those three little words for so long and I get it. Hah! Jokes on me because it's delivered in such a smarmy, fake way. So well done. And, of course, evil!fakeStefan!vampire has no clue what any of those writings about Damon actually mean, the history, the pain and the back and forth between Damon and Stefan so he's just blathering on… gah, poor Damon. I have to believe that Damon gets it. I have to.
- Hah! Stefan realizing that it sucks to be human. Not so the rosy, glorious picture you remembered, huh, Steffy-poo!?
- By far (and I mean, so, so, SOOOO by far) my favorite non-Salvatore Brother part of the episode was all of the Damon-as-Matt Donovan stuff. I was just… oh my Lord. Give me strength. (No, seriously, right now, give me strength. I feel miserable, so weak and awful.) At first when Damon took the uniform jacket, I just figured he would pretend to be a cop, no biggie. But then he introduced himself (via compulsion) as Matt Donovan, "the finest, bravest, least stupid cop you ever met and if anyone asks that's the lie you tell ‘em," and I lost it. Rewound it about five times.
Based on Damon logic? Oh, he ♥ Matty so! But wait! There's more! Later when Damon wanted to question the witness, the Captain turns to everyone all reassuredly, "Alright everyone, Matt Donovan's got this," as if no one else has to worry about anything else. I just was laughing so hard. So freaking awesome. Loved. It!
- OK, I'm team!Rayna now. I just loved how once she realized that Valerie and Alaric were no longer going to be doing her thang, she was all, yeah, I'm blowing this popstand, !SPROING! breaks the chair like that. It reminded me of Katherine in "Memory Lane" when she was just playing along with Stefan's belief that he had the upper hand. Rayna pwns them all and they don't even realize it.
- In Stefan's delirium towards the end, he saw Damon. MY HEART!!! People, MY HEART WAS BREAKING!!!
- Damon using Stefan's justifiable (I know, I know some disagree) anger with him to push him to get up, start walking so he can kick his ass was awesome. Stefan's stupid (because, dude, Damon has always been there to save you, boo!) belief—but considering the circumstances, I'll let this one slide—that Damon wouldn't be there in time broke my heart because Stefan right now, at this moment, is so broken. Oh, Stefan. Gah! And then he couldn't walk anymore. But, but, but… Damon was there to save him! YAY! So beautiful. I loved it so.
- Caroline is marrying Alaric for the twins. Of course, she is. I mean, hello. Yeah. And also? No, Alaric, you are not in love with Caroline. You are marrying her for the twins too. If you were truly in love with her you would not be down for:
1) Marrying a woman who you were truly in love with who didn't love you.
2) Marrying a woman who is in love with someone else (exhibit A – beautifully framed romantic photo of Caroline with her ex that she's still pissed at THREE YEARS later but yet she still keeps easily accessible beautifully framed romantic photo).
Alaric is in love with the idea of being in love with Caroline because it saves his heart from being brutally ripped out of his chest and horribly destroyed again like it was with Isobel, and Jenna, and Jo. Yeah. Not buying it, Ric.
- That final scene! Oy vey! So terrible and awesome and amazing! The music pulsing, the crowds of college kids. Evil!fakeStefan!vampire glorying in all of it (again, Paul Wesley did SO good!) with the voiceover from Alaric (studly professor!) telling of the unsolved mystery of college massacre. So creepy and awesome. Oooh!! That last shot was fantastic. (Julie Plec really is a great director!) I can't wait until next week!
- OK, before I talk about future thoughts, a brief touch upon Matty Donovan's little crossover on The Originals. A few of the Originals visited Mystic Falls. And they ran into Matt. There were a few things of note.
Matt calmly faced down Elijah and Finn* (and did remember that he had killed Finn). Elijah greeted Matt with, "Matthew Donovan. How adorably inconvenient." Matt told them that he'd gotten all of the vampires out of Mystic Falls making it very clearly that he was pretty durn anti-vampire, BUT (and this is key!) when things went South—as they're wont to do—and Elijah and Finn needed help for why they were there in Mystic Falls… Matt was basically on their side. Yuppers, when push came to shove, Matt helped the vampires he knew. Yes, he did! Uh huh!
*Yes, Finn is alive. As is Kol. It's a long, convoluted story. It involves witches. Lots of witches.
Oh, and the BEST PART!!!!
Yeah, baby! AWWW! Be still my heart! *sigh*
- As for what we have in store? Well, for those who may not have heard, Ian Somerhalder said over the weekend during a convention that season 08 will be the last season of The Vampire Diaries. He could have been talking about himself (which I think answers the question of whether he'll be around next season), but it sure sounded like he meant the show itself. There have also been rumors flying that Nina Dobrev may indeed be coming back. Key word: Rumors.
- Obviously Stefan and Caroline are going to be working their way back together which leaves Alaric and Valerie in the dust. Will Alaric still be around next season? Just one to go, I don't see Matt Davis not sticking around. And if Elizabeth Blackmore does stay, then… well, two lonely hearts might find comfort in each other. Who knows? Alaric and Valerie? :shrugs:
- Then there's my Matty Blue-Blue. I know I had speculated about this once upon a time, well, this episode made my brain go back there. Rayna. When she was in trouble… she called Matt. Without her Phoenix sword and the Hellstone, she's just a badass, awesome fighter chick with all these skills who just has one lifetime. And considering that she feels a connection with Stefan, and obviously Matt to some degree—whether he feels it back or not—and the gang knows about the many evil vampires somewhere out there freed from the Hellstone, well… do the math. It makes sense for Rayna to join up with our crew.
I could see Matt and Rayna butting heads and maybe bumping uglies. So where does that leave my Matt and Bonnie speculation? I'm still leaving that wide open because Bonnie and Enzo are still a question mark. Who the hell knows?
- Speaking of those villains out there… since Damon is the one who kinda sorta led to them all being led out of the Phoenix's box, that right there would explain him sticking around, with or without Elena. He wouldn't go back into coffin-desiccating mode because he has to help deal with the evil!Hellstone vampires. Turning over a new leaf!Damon.
And… if Elena does come back (please, please, please!), we would have an understandable reason as to why Damon wouldn't drink the cure right away because he needs to be vamped up to help the gang. Tada! It all makes perfect sense.
Speaking of my beautiful Damon and Elena… can I just point out, folks! 17 episodes into the season and there has been exactly one episode, just ONE!, that has not mentioned Elena or Damon and Elena's truest of the true loves. Yuppers! (Hah! Elena and Damon/Elena would be forgotten with Nina Dobrev gone. Double Hah!)
Yeah, so this was the short version. Aren't you glad I'm not feeling well? So, erm, I adored this episode. Still loving the show, and I want to address a sentiment I'm getting from the (few) comments I get. No, I don't think the show is less in terms of quality with Nina Dobrev being gone. As a shipper, as a couple-girl, yes, I do think so because I ADORE Damon and Elena desperately. I don't get the OHMYGOD! Rise and shipper squee anymore. I don't have my couple actively on screen.
However, in terms of overall show quality, no, I don't think it's deteriorated. I think it's just as strong as ever and I think that the writers and showrunners have done an absolutely amazing job in keeping Elena's presence alive and felt by all of the characters throughout the season. She still matters, but the quality and the heart, the family, the friendships, the sibling-bond, the love, it's all still there. The writing, the acting, the direction is all still top-notch. This is still the show I fell in love with and I have no complaints.
Do I wish that Nina Dobrev was still on the show? Hell, yes. Do I desperately wish she would come back? Oh my God, yes! Do I think the show is not as good without her? No. When I began to type the sentence "Do I wish that Nina Dobrev…" I was originally going to write "Do I wish that Nina Dobrev/Elena…" but then I stopped because I honestly feel that Elena is *still* a part of the show. I don't think feel that she's gone. Her essence, her presence is imbued in every episode. New characters introduced know exactly who Elena is. They know how important she is to Damon, that his decisions revolve around her. Her name is brought up regularly. Her heart is still the beating heart of this show. And I applaud the showrunners most enthusiastically for that. That is respect for the character and for the fans who love that character.
I love this show; I still love this show.