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02 January 2017 @ 05:26 pm
1.14 - 'Fool Me Once' (The Vampire Diaries)  
More than halfway home, yeah baby!

Where should I begin? Hmm… I know, perhaps with the fact that Katherine is NOT in the freaking tomb! Erm, what?! We've spent the last how many episodes waiting for this and she's not even there!! Damn! That was, to put it mildly, unexpected. I didn't know what I thought would happen exactly once Damon got his wish to open the tomb, but that Katherine was not there was not an outcome I saw coming. Once again, kudos to the show. Ku-dos!

And from that we have to look at Damon. Poor, heartbroken, betrayed Damon. When Anna told him that, "She knew where you were, Damon. She didn't care," my heart just broke for him. And, of course, Anna knew the whole time that Damon was on a fool's errand, but his determination to get into that tomb is exactly what she needed to free her mother. I can't blame her, and when she said the above to him, she wasn't mocking. She was sorry that he was in pain, but it's her mother… she wanted to free her mother.

Yes, Pearl! I get the luminous Pearl in modern times, adapting, getting to live again. WHEE!!! I ♥ Pearl! (Note that the preceding sentence had a lot more exclamation points in my notes.) Hmm, and since Pearl and Katherine were friends (I guess), I wonder if Damon will be trying to get any information out of her. Or is he too broken from the revelation that Katherine wasn't waiting for this big rescue; that he's spent the entirety of his vampire life in delusion? Ugh, poor Damon. "She's not here!" he cried out to Stefan and Elena, frustration, rage and such a deep pain in his voice, in his contorted expression of grief. "Why do you get a happy ending?" he asked of Anna, the pain being all that remained once the dust had settled.

Well, at least he has Elena and Stefan offering support… another unexpected outcome of the events. Despite the fact that the both of them spent the last two episodes lying to his face, they were there in the aftermath of Katherine's betrayal. Even after Damon had threatened her in the previous episode, Elena went to him, embraced him, showing him that he was not alone. She has such an overwhelming capacity for empathy. It's beautiful. And, of course, there was Stefan watching it happen. Just like in "Unpleasantville," there was just the slightest glimmer of an emotion on his face because he was worried. That, yes, what Damon said was true... it is history repeating.

 

Because there is a connection that is building between Damon and Elena. Elena told Stefan that she thought that she could convince Damon to help them even after their betrayal. She believed that she knew him well enough to get through to him, and, of course, she was right. And how that scene played out showed that the bond that Stefan mentioned in "Unpleasantville," is indeed there. Also there? Chemistry and just this simmering tension of, gah, everything!

That Damon was literally stopped in his tracks when he saw her was telling. Yes, it was partially because he thought she was still being held captive by Anna—and was on his way to save her, of which Elena was unaware. But it also seemed to be that he was just struck by the sight of her there, coming to him. And then on Elena's part, how she approached him also showed that whatever that "something" is that is there between them, she feels it too.

 

There was the way that she moved towards him, unwinding her scarf, as if revealing herself to him bit by bit, drawing him in. She spoke of their connection, that "something between us" to get his help once more. And while it was a tad emotionally manipulative (yeah, her and Stefan do have stuffs in common), it wasn't dishonest. Every word Elena said to him was the truth, and she knew that is why it would work. And it wasn't just that truth, it was also the insane amount of trust she placed in him by taking off her necklace and putting herself at risk to do, say anything against her will that he so desired. However, she does trust him and he repaid that truth and trust by returning it. *Sigh*

Oh, and remember that chemistry I mentioned above? Yes, it was there throughout the whole scene, but damn, when he put the necklace around her neck and moved in so close to her, it was on fire. Her eyes were on his face, on his lips, and moving then to his eyes, the tension was so like a third character in the scene it was so very there.

 

As amazing as that moment was, Damon's words right after are what made me sit up and take note.

Damon: I didn't compel you in Atlanta because we were having fun. I wanted it to be real. I'm trusting you. Don't make me regret it.
It was the key word of 'real' that effected me. I immediately thought back to the use of that word in "Bloodlines" during their road trip. And in that episode how Elena's use of the phrase "when it's real, you can't walk away" was spoken in relation to Damon. This despite the fact that when Lexi said that to her, she was championing Stefan. Once again, I find it oh so interesting that the show is choosing to use this specific word which recalls that specific catchphrase about Damon and Elena despite its origin.

This adds to my ever-growing belief that Damon and Elena are *the* couple as opposed to Stefan and Elena. We had the original "real" conversation which ostensibly was about the latter couple used through as a connected theme (Lexi in "162 Candles" to Elena throwing those very words out to stop Lexi's boyfriend when he was going to kill Damon in "Bloodlines" to Elena recalling the road trip in this episode) with regards to Damon and Elena. Very interesting, I think, and this show has already shown itself very good at layering bits and pieces in for future usage with regard to not just plot points, but also character-driven points.

Another aspect to the realness is how it defines how Damon sees Elena. When he told her why he didn't compel her in Atlanta ("I wanted it to be real"), it reminded of my thoughts from "Bloodlines." I wrote then:

Their conversations in this episode proved that Damon sees Elena like a real person, and not a puppet he can just use and abuse and play with. She is someone that he listens to, that he reasons with; she is someone with whom he has actual, non-mocking or veiled conversations. [...] Oh, and taking it a step further, I thought it was even more interesting that they used that very word, "real," earlier when Elena asked Damon if his whole nice act was... yup, you guessed it, real. I mentioned above that to Damon, Elena is real and the show used that word with them in various ways in this episode.
So the continuing refrain of real with them makes me hold fast to my growing belief that Damon and Elena are *the* couple, while Elena and Stefan are merely a stop along the way. For Damon, Elena is real, and to Elena only he shows his true, real self.

Alas, but not to his brother. Not that Stefan doesn't know the truth in that Damon does care for Elena, but how much is where Damon has him wondering. He tried to get Damon to help save her, appealing to those feelings he has for her, but Damon was too angry with Stefan for his betrayal. Any openness that he had begun to offer his brother in the last couple of episodes has gone to the wayside as Stefan once again disappointed him (as in 1864). So he told Stefan that he didn't care if Elena lived or died and left Stefan to stew in his own worries. But meanwhile… Damon had his own plan because he does care for her.

And that brings me to one of my favorite scenes so far. Part of the reason that I love it so is because no one else knew that it happened. (Now this may change, but for now… nope.) I'm talking about when Damon chose to meet with Anna in the square. The phone call she made to Stefan was about saving Elena, but since he didn't have the book there was no sense in him showing up. As of this point, Damon had convinced Stefan that he didn't care what happened to Elena, but the viewers knew the truth. Damon did care, and Damon had the book. He was the one who went to the square, making the deal to save Elena all on his own.

Of course, in the meantime, Stefan had succeeding in finding Elena his own way. Therefore, Damon never got the chance to be the hero, and no one—not Stefan, Elena, nor anyone who had never seen any possibility of good in him (Sheila, Bonnie, etc.)—knew about it. (Again, unless Anna spills… but why would she? So I can see this being an unknown that shows the audience Damon's truth.)

     

Also on a pure level of enjoyment, Anna's "God, it's 1864 all over again," never fails to crack me up. It was such a great delivery by Malese Jow, and a great line, period. Icing the cake was Damon's discomfiture and annoyance at the comment and how right it was. That just added up to awesome.

Also awesome was Damon's continued smarts on display. One Bennett witch had already proved her untrustworthiness (Emily!), so Damon figured that by taking Elena into the tomb with him he could curtail any attempt at betrayal on the part of these two Bennett witches. (And may I point out how much I loved that Elena shut down the complaints because she totally got why he was doing it. Go, Elena!) Alas, Grams was still a step ahead of him. Except… Stefan's couldn't keep from running to Elena's aid when he heard her cry. So, all of Grams' plans to screw Damon over were for naught because Bonnie, naturally, wanted to bring Stefan out. After all, he did save her life (twice) and she wouldn't be able to bear to be partially responsible for her best friend losing someone else she loves. And how could she not want to prevent Elena from more pain when Elena's so good? Truly she is.

I just love Elena Gilbert so freaking hard. There were so many examples of her awesome, amazing self in this episode. Even in the midst of everything that is going on, she was genuinely empathetic to the fact that Anna, the person who kidnapped her, had lost her mother and that is why she had taken the actions she did. And then when Grams died—{{sobs}}—Elena was so there for Bonnie in her moment of need. As Bonnie frantically cried out for Elena, that was when I began to tear up. Grabbing for the spell book, desperately wanting to fix it, before she finally broke down completely in Elena's arms as she realized that she couldn't. It was simply heartbreaking.

 
 

This was the first and only time (as of yet) that The Vampire Diaries has made me cry, but it did the job. Katerina Graham was at her finest; she was damn, damn good. And for such a short-lived character, Jasmine Guy's Grams made an indelible impression and everything leading up to that moment was so well-laid out. When she died, it was a sucker-punch to the gut, and I was a mess.

As was Damon once he found out that Katherine wasn't in the tomb. (Again, that anguished cry of "She's not here!" rings through my ears.) And going back to the point about Elena's empathy, she was the one who was able to get him to leave the tomb. Even Stefan couldn't do that. But Elena could. Because with her, Damon does know that whatever she feels for him is real.

 

And, no, he can't trust any genuine emotion from Stefan right now, but his brother cares too. Once Elena found out that Damon was trapped in the tomb she and Stefan were on the same page about it.

Elena: We can't leave him in there. We promised him. Both of us.
Stefan: I know.
Oh, my heart! I so loved that "I know" from him… it's the first time we've seen a true depth of feeling from Stefan for his brother. That vehement nod that went on even after the words left his mouth. Yes, Elena was upset (and moved) by Stefan's decision to go after her. And I'll be honest, disregarding his lying, cagey history, it was a really touching moment between the pair. And, yes, Stefan was wearing his white knight, romantic look all over the place in response… However, once that moment was gone, they both immediately thought of Damon. Even Stefan.

And when Damon was out, there was Stefan in the end. He sat wordlessly with his brother, offering comfort in the only way he could. Despite everything it is so very clear that Stefan loves his brother… he just doesn't know how to reconcile that with all of the tumultuous history between them. Ah, it's so beautiful! I don't know which relationship I love watching unfold more, Damon and Elena, or Damon and Stefan.

 

On the other hand, I'm still wary of Matt and Caroline. When she grabbed his hand to show they were “together" and he wasn't there for it? So sad. Even after that gloriously romantic kiss… Matt is still uncomfortable with Caroline. It just comes across as if he doesn't really want her. Matt is the walking definition of 'He's just not that into you' when it comes to Caroline. And I continue my rallying refrain: She deserves better! I don't like that she feels that she has to keep explaining herself (via her well-rehearsed speeches… although, adorbs!). My poor Caroline. YOU DESERVE BETTER!

With that said, I did like the Duke from Duke (LOL!) and the Tyler, Matt and Caroline stuff interspersed throughout the middle of all of the tomb madness. I love how the real world and teenage stuff still goes on and then gets mixed up in the supernatural. It's the reminder that life goes on even in the midst of the crazy. Like, oh, Jeremy's adventures in teenage dating colliding with the supernatural insanity. He's finally warming up to Anna, bringing her to the Duke party, and her plan is to drag him into a tomb full of vampires so she can wake up her mother. And she specifically chose Jeremy because he's a descendent of the Jonathan Gilbert who put Pearl away. Poor, Jeremy! But, hey, at least Stefan was there to save the day night (and hilariously so).

Stefan first actually *did* save the day earlier by rescuing Elena… and Bonnie! But his confrontation with Ben at the party was just made of pure awesome. Newbie vampire Ben thought he had the upper hand on Stefan because he doesn't feed on humans. Flat-out told him so, taunting him with his superior strength. Stefan's response: FIREBOMB! Go, Stefan. Ben done been fried. Hahaha! That was awesome.

 

And on that fiery note, here are random thoughts—

- Damn, so Bonnie was taken by Ben and is in kidnap-land alongside Elena. Poor Bonnie. Why, oh why, did she have to find Ben cute?

- Erm, why didn't Elena and Bonnie just throw the curtains open to sun-fire Ben? Eh, the vampire thing is still fairly new to them, I guess. I'll cut them slack for not automatically thinking of that solution in a scary situation especially when the vampires they're used to are in the sun all the time.

- I appreciate that Elena and Bonnie were rescued early on in the episode. Typical of this show, they do not drag things out.

- OK, ya'll know I love me some Grams, but come on now! Knowing what we know about what Damon has done for the Bennetts over the past ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE YEARS, PLUS, I think it's pretty lousy how Sheila treated him. He looked over the Bennetts, kept them safe, keeping his promise to Emily… never mind that *she* couldn't keep a promise to him. Harrumph!

- Another erm, wouldn't it have made more sense to start that second spell to re-open the tomb when Stefan and Elena (and Damon) were waiting at the opening to just step through then? Just a thought.

- Ooh, Jeremy *did* hear stuffs! Looking up 'vampire' on the interwebs! How exciting. (Soon, Jenna will be the only clueless one among them.)

     

- I really did adore the scene where Grams died. Not because I wanted her to go; I've always liked Jasmine Guy and I think she did sensational in the role. But the writing, direction and acting was phenomenal. It broke my heart, and I feel that it was a turning point emotionally in the series for me. That on top of everything else that happened in this episode brought a whole new level of searing depth. It reminded me of the season two-parter in Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Surprise/Innocence") when Buffy and Angel slept together which made him turn evil. I think that was when Buffy became a truly great show, hitting on all cylinders. Previous episodes had been very good or great on their own, as is the case for The Vampire Diaries, but this is when it all coalesced into a whole that was so much greater than the admittedly great sum of its parts.

- *sigh* So all that Grams and Bonnie did, and it didn't even work. Out comes a tomb vampire. Damn!

- Geez! Is there anyone Katherine wasn't playing?

After "Haunted" and "Children Of The Damned," this is easily my favorite episode. Wait, no, scratch that. I think that this one is better than those two. Not that it didn't break my heart into a million pieces. Tears on my face. This episode feels like not only the culmination of what the previous episodes have been building up to, but it also appears to be opening the door for a whole slew of things to come. Along with giving us more insight into Damon (delving into the emotional complexities of his relationships with not only Katherine, but Stefan, Elena and his father), there was also the heartbreaking death of Grams, contrasted with the reunion of Anna and Pearl. Such a beautiful, heartbreaking episode. Bravo!
 
 
 
tj2013: pic#120865641tj2013 on January 4th, 2017 10:48 am (UTC)
Also one of my all time favorite episodes from beginning to end.
Of course the "I wanted it to be real" - scene, but all around it was so good.
Grams dying and Damon sitting alone in the woods, the music score... awesome.
Arabian: Damon & Elena04arabian on January 16th, 2017 03:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, until "Miss Mystic Falls," this was easily the best episode of the season by far. I just checked the various rankings I did (only through season 03), but after 2.11, it was still number 2 on my list of favorite episodes. And by 3.09, it was still in the top 5 at number 4. By that point, a few more rewatches had pushed "The Return" above it--which it hadn't been in my first ranking that included both. And "The Sun Also Rises" was number 3. Even now, without going back and reading all my posts, just going by memory, I think it still might be in the top 10.
Sajen FreybergSajen Freyberg on May 11th, 2017 11:20 pm (UTC)
I loved Jasmine Guy's Grams, I also love that she kept coming back, I think she had an appearance in every season but I think 2 and 7.

I think after the stupid cure, the deaths of Pearl and Anna are the biggest mistakes the show made, they would have been so useful in later battles.
Arabian: Damon06arabian on May 14th, 2017 02:52 pm (UTC)
Of course I agree about Grams. Love Jasmine Guy.

I had zero problem with the cure. Love that we had that. I adored Pearl, but I understood the reason for her and Anna deaths. Anna's death is what opened Damon up to Jeremy and realize that he had changed, wanted to protect the town. And Pearl was too old-school and would have wound up fighting our vampires. Also, she was the catalyst for Anna.... which led to her being the catalyst for Damon, etc. It was all a domino effect.
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on May 28th, 2017 01:35 pm (UTC)
RE: 1.14
"I didn't know what I thought would happen exactly once Damon got his wish to open the tomb, but that Katherine was not there was not an outcome I saw coming." - Yes, it was a really good twist.

"She believed that she knew him well enough to get through to him, and, of course, she was right." - ♥

"There was the way that she moved towards him, unwinding her scarf, as if revealing herself to him bit by bit, drawing him in." - You're right, there was lovely symbolism to that.

"And it wasn't just that truth, it was also the insane amount of trust she placed in him by taking off her necklace" - It tied so wonferfully to their trip to Atlanta. Now she wasn't asking him if she could trust him. She was showing him that she did.

"I'm talking about when Damon chose to meet with Anna in the square." - Yes! I loved it too. For the exact reasons that you described.

"As Bonnie frantically cried out for Elena, that was when I began to tear up. Grabbing for the spell book, desperately wanting to fix it, before she finally broke down completely in Elena's arms as she realized that she couldn't." - It gets to me every time. It was such an emotional, heart-wrenching scene.

"And going back to the point about Elena's empathy, she was the one who was able to get him to leave the tomb. Even Stefan couldn't do that. But Elena could. Because with her, Damon does know that whatever she feels for him is real." - Well said. And it may only be “whatever” at this point, but it’s more beautiful than sad anyway because of how much it means.

“I don't like that she feels that she has to keep explaining herself” - This litetally made me cringe a little. So sad and unfair. On a side note, I always felt that Caroline’s long-lasting negative attitude toward Damon had something to do with how Matt treated her. Since Damon was officially approved in the role of a bad guy, and Matt universally liked, later on she kind of went with that paradigm and focused ALL of her conscious and unconsconscious men-related anger on Damon.

“Erm, why didn't Elena and Bonnie just throw the curtains open to sun-fire Ben? Eh, the vampire thing is still fairly new to them, I guess.” - lol Yes, that must have been the reason.
Arabian: Damon & Elena04arabian on July 1st, 2017 04:59 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.14
"I didn't know what I thought would happen exactly once Damon got his wish to open the tomb, but that Katherine was not there was not an outcome I saw coming." - Yes, it was a really good twist.

Damn, I love this show so much!

"And it wasn't just that truth, it was also the insane amount of trust she placed in him by taking off her necklace" - It tied so wonferfully to their trip to Atlanta. Now she wasn't asking him if she could trust him. She was showing him that she did.

GOD, YES!

"As Bonnie frantically cried out for Elena, that was when I began to tear up. Grabbing for the spell book, desperately wanting to fix it, before she finally broke down completely in Elena's arms as she realized that she couldn't." - It gets to me every time. It was such an emotional, heart-wrenching scene.

So well-done. And it's just the beginning of Bonnie's losses. So whenever people go after Bonnie when she lashes out at any of them or say she hasn't lost anything, I see red!

“I don't like that she feels that she has to keep explaining herself” - This litetally made me cringe a little. So sad and unfair. On a side note, I always felt that Caroline’s long-lasting negative attitude toward Damon had something to do with how Matt treated her. Since Damon was officially approved in the role of a bad guy, and Matt universally liked, later on she kind of went with that paradigm and focused ALL of her conscious and unconsconscious men-related anger on Damon.

Oh, totally. And while as a Damon fan, it was frustrating, it was totally realistic. She did with Tyler and Klaus as well. They treated her shittily (ironically, Matt and Tyler more than Klaus) too, but she just kept going back to Damon--whose freakin' flip was switched--but it does all make sense. This stupid show and their making being true to actual, realistic reactions sthat make sense when you put fangirl bias aside. Grrr!

“Erm, why didn't Elena and Bonnie just throw the curtains open to sun-fire Ben? Eh, the vampire thing is still fairly new to them, I guess.” - lol Yes, that must have been the reason.

It does make sense though. In terms of the timeline of the show. Elena has only known for a few months, Bonnie less than that. And the vampires they know walk around in sunlight ALL THE TIME so it's an easy thing to forget in a stressful situation.
Florencia: Elena (Stars)florencia7 on July 2nd, 2017 12:03 pm (UTC)
Re: 1.14
"This stupid show and their making being true to actual, realistic reactions sthat make sense when you put fangirl bias aside." - lol Yes, absolutely!