Ah, so this is Katherine. OK then. Some thoughts… firstly, I thought Nina Dobrev did alright in the double role. Katherine was definitely different from Elena, but the performance of the former felt a bit… erm, studied? Not as natural? I can't quite put my finger on it, but Katherine felt more like a caricature than a character. If we do get more flashbacks, hopefully Dobrev will grow more comfortable with the role. I love her Elena and a lot of that is due to Dobrev's acting and presence so I'm thinking it's a good possibility. We'll see.
As for Katherine herself, well, she seems quite the flirt and very into Stefan, although she was clearly playing both brothers. Methinks that Damon's interpretation of events is not quite how things happened. Hmm, on the other hand, these are Stefan's flashbacks so he would see it that way, right? Yeah, and honestly we've already seen that Stefan has a tendency to leave out pertinent information and he's worked double-time to make himself look good to Elena (understandably), so… yeah. I'm not so sure that it's Damon's take on the past that is off.
Aside from Katherine, the most interesting (and rather sad) aspect of the flashbacks was the relationship between the brothers. Boy, what a difference! Seeing Damon and Stefan as they were—so open and carefree with so much love for each other, it breaks my heart seeing how they are now. There was a lot of affection between them when they were just human boys. A century and half has certainly changed that relationship. Not to mention the change in who they are individually. Stefan is so restrained, a dinged halo of guilt hanging over him in a perpetual cloud. Even when he smiles, the sense of sorrow is there. And Damon? So dark and, just mean. Yes, we've seen a bit of humanity peeking through, but overall, yeah, he is *not* a nice person.
*sigh* How can I love Damon so much when he's so bad? I know how… it's the way that Ian Somerhalder plays him and the fantastic writing; it's damn near impossible not to! The biting line delivery, the very many layers to the character. The mercurial mood switches from the playboy vampire dancing around the house in all of his sensual glory, trashing his brother's room with glee to the transformation to the heartbroken lost soul still pining for his lost love. The angry brother on the phone demanding his ring back jumping straight into the annoyed house owner who doesn't want to see Vicki dripping blood on his expensive furniture.
All of it, every emotion, every shade of Damon is effortlessly, beautifully portrayed. Going from the heights of the sexy rail dance, to the slow dance with the pathetic Vicki before he just *like that* killed her... (YES!) and then casually stepped over her dead body. He's a crazy mix of so much naughty and nice in this delicious package. I just… I love him so much.
And then there's that chemistry between Somerhalder and Dobrev. So, so, sooo good. Their one scene was so charged and intense! Damon all up in Elena's face in that moment was like a sledgehammer of chemistry smacking you like whoah. And added to my above speculation that Stefan's versions of events might not be entirely accurate was the devastatingly delivered line from Damon when Elena claimed she had gotten enough of "the whole story."
"Oh, I doubt that," he said and because of the look on his face, and how he said those four words, suddenly doubt was cast on Stefan's telling of the Katherine tale. (At least for me.)
Which—prepare to be surprised—was not complete. Despite Stefan telling Elena that he would "explain everything," isn't it funny how he failed to mention that his ex of 145-some years ago looks just like Elena? You'd think that might be an important detail. Just maybe. Especially when, you know, there's an actual picture of Katherine—who is literally a dead ringer for Elena—just lying around Stefan's room.
Yeah, yeah, Stefan and Elena broke up (more on that later), but we're only on episode 06, does anyone really think that break-up is going to stick? Obviously, Elena is freaking out now about the whole vampire everything. However, the girl was basically dead girl walking when we met her in the Pilot. Ironically enough—and I love that in retrospect about that first episode—Stefan brought life, light back into her world. I can't see her just easily letting that go. We've already seen how stubborn Elena can be, and she's a strong, young woman. I can see her fighting for him once she's over the shock. The question is what will Stefan do?
I've mentioned in a few earlier write-ups that the very fact that he's with her, has pursued a relationship with her is pretty selfish. It's because of Stefan that a fresh batch of nasty stuffs has come into her life. If he truly cared, if he truly was the good guy that he appears to be, wouldn't he walk away? Especially now that he and Elena are over and his (and Damon's) secret is out. However, "appears" is the key word. We know because he already has made some selfish choices, because he has chosen to pursue Elena. Because he didn't protect Caroline right away from Damon. Because he didn't try harder to keep Damon out of Elena's house or just get rid of Damon for real period. Elena, Caroline, Tanner (asshole), Vicki—and by extension of what happened to her, Jeremy and Matt—all have suffered/will suffer because of Damon's presence in Mystic Falls. And Damon is in Mystic Falls because of Stefan.
So based on already knowing this about Stefan's character, yeah, I'm thinking that when Elena decides to re-up with him (as she totally, totally will), he won't hold out. Or if he does, it will just be an attempt and he'll give in fairly quickly. I mean, he has "to know her" after all, right? Yeah, knowing about Katherine and his caginess, that very first line from him has more than a touch of creepiness, and, yes, selfishness, to it. Let's take a look at it again: "I shouldn't have come home." Duh! "I know the risk." Again, duh! And yet he still did it. He knows that he shouldn't have come back, but he still did it. "But I had no choice." See, that's it, yes, yes, you did, Stefan. You had a choice to not come home, to not involve this innocent girl and her innocent friends in this supernatural deadly crazy. "I have to know her." No, no, you don't Stefan. Selfish, selfish. And let's look at all of his words and actions in this episode too.
He tells her that he won't scare her, he'll let her choose, he'll tell her everything—all of these things Stefan says—as he invades her room after she runs away from him, after he vampire-zooms up in her face, after he keeps information from her, important information that would probably have a significant impact on her. Oh, Stefan, you play the hero, say all the right things, but your actions don't match up. Don't get me wrong, I do like him—I'm loving the shades of gray in all the characters, but he's not quite the great guy he paints himself to be. Now I'm not saying that Damon's this great guy either, because he sooooo is not—but, I still love him so! However, this is not a case of Stefan equals the good guy, and Damon equals the bad guy, no sirree, Bob. (Again, I'm loving it.)
*Sigh* and yet, I did love Stefan standing guard outside her house after Damon threatened Elena. It did touch the romantic in my heart. He may be selfish, he may be making not so awesome choices, but he really does care about her. And, no, he's not "the good guy," but I think he *is* a good guy who wants to do right. And intentions matter, (Damon!).
Actually let me take that Damon exclamation back. Right, intentions do matter and I honestly don't think that he killed Vicki (YAY!) to be ooh! evil bad guy who kills just for kicks. I think that he genuinely was trying to do better for her. In his misery—that fell upon him after seeing the picture of Katherine in Stefan's possession—I think he saw some of his older, maybe human, pain in Vicki. He told her that she was damaged, with no self-esteem and that her life was pathetic. She didn't disagree with any of that and so he—as he said—figured he knew how to help her. Boom! Dead Vicki… and then *sigh* undead Vicki.
Damnit! God, will Vicki not ever die for good? (I'm sorry but I just don't like her.) Well, I mean sure she died, but now she's a vampire. Fan-freaking-tastic. So we're stuck with her for literally forever. Ugh! She's so selfish and treats Jeremy and Matt horribly and they both care about her so much. OK fine, I admit that I did feel a little bad for her after Damon did the deed. Both Jeremy and Matt (of course, of course) assumed that she was on drugs with the way she was acting. Yet for once, she actually wasn't. And she is confused and scared and so damaged, and she has no real clue about what's going on. Unlike Elena.
Yeah, let's touch upon Miss Gilbert once more. Yes, I liked how she pushed to get (what she thought was) the whole story. I also liked that she was all, dude, we are over because, hello! Yeah, plenty o' lies from sexy, mystery guy. Yup, Elena, sometimes (a lot of times), mysteries are hiding not so good things. Still, she was strong in the face of it until… Spoiler: This is where she lost me (I mean, in this episode, I still love the character). Her falling to the floor in agony, her body wracked in sobs because you and your vampire boyfriend (of barely two weeks) broke up? Really?! Finding out he's a vampire? Finding out his vampire brother killed and turned your ex/oldest friend's/brother's sorta girlfriend? Those are reasons to collapse to the floor in tears. Breaking up with a guy you've known, yeah, about two weeks? So not a reason to fall to the floor in tears. This kind of over-the-top teenage cheesiness was best left behind in the first three episodes. Sure if the other stuff hadn't happened (vampires, people killed), I'd maybe buy it. (See above: Stefan bringing life and light back to her world.)
*sigh* I don't know, I guess maybe it was supposed to come across as the build-up of all of that information falling over her, but it just didn't play that way. At least, not to me. She was pretty damn strong in the face of everything else. It was only when she told him that she couldn't be with him that she started to break down, and then, once inside, completely did.
And honestly I think I'm giving the show the benefit of the doubt that is just not there in this instance. Thinking on it some more, I don't think it was intended to be about the EVERYTHING that had happened that day. The direction, the dialogue, Nina Dobrev's performance and the song that played over her breakdown… all of it together created this very clear intent. Elena was falling apart because she broke up with Stefan. I try and make the 'straw that broke the camel's back' argument, but watching it (and I've watched that scene more than a few times to gauge), it just comes across as if it's about Stefan and the break-up alone. And that's just something that belonged in the first three episodes. So for me, yeah, I preferred the last two episodes over this one.
And moving on to random thoughts—
- I loved, loved the pre-credit sequence… how it went from Stefan opening the door in present day to the bright glow of the sunshine in the past of the flashback. That was so cool. Stefan rushing to open the door—and instead of continuing with Elena's "Who are you?" he opens the door to a bright sunny day in 1864. Stylistically, it was just so beautifully done.
- Ooh, I like Nina Dobrev's hair a lot better all curled and wavy looking. I'm not a fan of the super-straight look personally. Either way, though, she's so gorgeous.
- Damon dancing... dear Lord, help resuscitate me because I am dead from the sexy!
- I'm so glad that Vicki did NOT feed on Jeremy to transition. Can you imagine how completely messed up Jeremy would be if he knew about vampires on top of everything else he's struggling with? And that the girl that he's so gone for is now an undead vampire? So I think it's a very good thing that was averted.
- However… oh, well, Jenna, looks like Logan wasn't as bad as we thought he was, but it doesn't matter because he's dead now. Ah, Logan, we barely knew ya! (Good actor though, Chris Johnson is his name.)
- Speaking of Logan's death and a consequence… so why exactly do the Sheriff and her anti-vampire group need Elena and Jeremy's parents' watch? How can it possibly help them? Hmm, yes, yes, things that make you go hmm…
So six episodes in, I really am enjoying this. Yeah, there was a bit more of the cheesy, teenage drama in this episode, but the good outweighed that big-time. Damon is just awesome. Stefan is not one-note, and ooh! flashbacks are cool. I hope we get more!