Lord help me, I love Alaric Saltzman so damn much. Thank goodness he's got a magical ring that can bring him back to life. Bless you supernatural shows with your thing-a-majigs! I would have been heartbroken had we lost Alaric as we have a few others already. *Phew*
Alas, I do not love Alaric Saltzman with Jenna Sommers. It's a shame because I enjoy both characters (yes, Ric more than Jenna, but I still like her a lot), and I think they deserve happiness. Why not together? Because chemistry and connection matter and I'm just not feeling it with them. I don't think Sara Canning and Matt Davis have an ounce of the former and the latter isn't strong enough to overcome the lack of that spark. Especially when I compare them to Davis and Mia Kirshner (who plays Isobel—she's alive! Well, undead, but still!). We have had six episodes now to see Jenna and Alaric develop as a couple. Yet I feel more for Alaric and Isobel from the flashbacks we've seen previously and in this episode than I do for Jenna and Ric. There's just no *there* there for me with the two. And, yeah, that first kiss just fell completely flat.
On the other hand, I am impressed with how with just a few memories, the show has managed to create a fleshed out relationship between Alaric and his wife. There is the whole opposites attract dynamic with him coming across as the straight-laced type, while she's a bit of a wild child. You can also see how much they love each other, and the passion that is in their relationship. Humor and friendship is also on display. At the same time, we are shown his frustration with her vampire obsession even as he tries to be understanding. But not just making it about him, the show also gives her point of view. We get a feel for frustration as well that Ric just doesn't get it. Despite that, it's clear that she does love him… but maybe that still isn't enough. And with just these few scenes (here and in "Bloodlines") we got all of that insight into not only their marriage, but also Isobel. So we get it, and we understand why she asked Damon to turn her.
And so now Elena has not only a vampire boyfriend, but a vampire mother! Hah! Of course, of course, Ric's wife is Elena's mother because like Disney, in Mystic Falls, it's a small world after all. So does that make Alaric Saltzman Elena's biological step-father?! Weird. I wonder how this will alter Ric's relationship with Elena… because it has to change now, right? I mean, they are semi-related. Hmm… we'll see. I'm looking forward to seeing more interaction between them because, well, yeah, I love both characters. :squee:
You know, as much as I love Alaric, I can't blame Damon for killing him. I mean, Damon actually gave him a warning and Ric tried to kill him twice. Not once, but twice! Damon could have easily taken him out from the second Ric walked into his home, but he did not. Heck, even after Alaric tried to kill him, Damon didn't end him. It was only after Ric just kept on coming at him that Damon finally had enough. For Damon, well, that was impressive. Go, Damon (you know, before he actually did kill him and all.)
Damon's lack of initial killer instinct, I think, may have to do with this very interesting comment he made (after he delivered the death stake, of course) to the history teacher/vampire hunter... maybe: "Ah, this is a shame. We're kindred spirits, abandoned by the women we love. Unrequited love sucks."
Was this just Damon wallowing in his pain and finding a moment of kinship (in his mind) with anyone who could understand? After all, the only other people that he talks to are Stefan and Elena—and as far as he (and we) know they've never experienced the "unrequited" part of love. But, hey! This guy can understand my pain! And right now, Damon is really being hit in the face with being the less-favored. On top of the Katherine revelation, there is also his interactions with Elena. I don't believe that Damon has replaced Katherine with Elena (erm, that would be Stefan?), but it's quite clear that Damon does harbor warm feelings for Elena. Now with Katherine's romantic defection, it's only natural that Damon would see the kinder, caring Elena in a less platonic light. He's not waiting for Katherine anymore, so all of a sudden, there's room in his heart now… oh, and look! Elena Gilbert has already wormed her way into his affections.
However, as made perfectly apparent in this episode, Elena is not on the same page. Even though she definitely has some unacknowledged heated *something* for Damon…
… *something* that she is aware of enough to know that she doesn't want Stefan to see her with Damon in any situation like the one he walked in on when she was buttoning Damon's shirt. Still, she was quick to make it clear that she is team!Stefan, and was just as quick to jump down Damon's throat when he did something she didn't like. (And, yes, I'll be discussing that further down.) Before I circle back around to my point regarding Damon's kinship with Alaric, may I just point out how OMG! Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev's chemistry is? Whoo! Hella hot. When she was buttoning up his shirt and then found herself staring at his lips while they stood so close to each other… ooh, so, so hot.
Ahem, to my point… Damon's feeling of rejection must be stinging on high-alert right now what with Katherine and Elena, so it makes sense that he would have a moment of feeling some sort of connection with a fellow participant in the 'love sucks' department.
Obviously that feeling of kindred connection with Ric was not enough to keep Damon from being *such* a dick to him about his wife. Clearly the guy is still mourning her if he's tracking down the person he feels is responsible for taking her from him.
Damon: She came to me. All pathetic, looking for vampires. There was something about her, something I liked. There was something special.Ouch! Damn, Damon, way to kick a man when he's down. Telling the poor guy that not only did his wife want a supernatural life more than she wanted to be with him, but she also cheated on him? That was just wrong. And, sheesh, that was on top of his lovely taunting at the Bachelor Auction. Tsk, tsk, Damon!
Alaric: You turned her because you liked her?
Damon: No, I slept with her because I liked her. I turned her because she begged me to. Yeah. But you knew that, too, didn't you? Hmm… I guess she wasn't happy at home, wasn't happy with life in general, wasn't happy with you.
Especially if he were thinking straight, he would realize that he might actually be able to get Alaric's help in tracking down Isobel. (For entirely different reasons, of course.) After all, Damon figured out that Katherine must be related to Isobel somehow with her biological daughter, Elena, looking just like his former vampire love. Obviously, Damon is not ready to give up on his 'unrequited love,' and Ric sure seems to be holding onto his. Of course, Ric has solved the mystery of Isobel's 'death,' while Damon has a new one taking hold. His desperation to believe that his love for Katherine was not one-sided is now manifesting itself in this belief that she sent Isobel to him. Oh, Damon, how does that even track? It was a few years ago and Isobel clearly never gave a clue of that being the case. Damon, Damon, Damon.
Of course, Isobel was clearly good at keeping things close to her chest. While Ric knew about her vampire obsession, when she found out the truth of it, she didn't tell him. Just like she didn't tell him that she'd had a child before they met. Oh, Ric, what you did not know about your wife....
One thing I hope that he tries to hold onto is that she *did* love him. No, she didn't love him enough to give up her dream of a supernatural life, but since she knew about things that go bump in the night, she protected him. Yes, the ring. We now know the purpose of the ring that Ric has been wearing, and it was gift from Isobel… as a token of her affection.
On Isobel, let's move on to her high school friend and Elena's investigation into her past. Aha! Nice callback to Matt's assertion that Elena would not stop digging. We saw that when she figured out Stefan's secret and now, she got her payoff again. The probing with Trudie, picking up on the vervain, the lack of an invite was perceptive of Elena. Too bad she just blurted it out, though. She was having a nice moment there getting information on her birth mother, and, once she figured that Trudie knew something, she could have probed a bit more on that front. Ah well, sneaky isn't exactly in Elena's profile, is it?
But it sure is in Isobel's, huh? There's the history of her lies to Ric, and in present-day compelling a guy so that he can kill her former best friend, and then off himself by walking into traffic. I mean, damn! The Isobel of today is not the Isobel we saw in Alaric's flashbacks. We'll know that for sure soon enough, though. Because, ahh!, that was most definitely her voice on the other end of Elena's phone call. So she's out there and vamping away her life. Poor Ric, and poor Elena? Or not.
What secret is Isobel trying to keep from Elena? Is it just her existence or something more? Hmm… I mean, she specifically had that guy tell Elena to leave Isobel alone… and then, yeah, car!splat. Too bad for Isobel that Elena is such a smart, little cookie, grabbing his phone and using the recent calls to keep on digging—that's my girl. I'm so proud of her.
Also? I'm quite proud of Stefan. He is being a pretty dang awesome brother to Damon right now after his devastating loss. Even though he didn't agree with Damon's new-found belief that Isobel was a sign from Katherine, he wasn't unkind about it; his raised voice wasn't done in anger, but in concern. He was trying to get through to his brother. I love that Stefan is genuinely trying to look out for Damon.
That is obvious in how he is walking on tenterhooks around him in all their scenes. Stefan knows how hurt Damon is about Katherine; he has also noticed the ways in which Damon is starting to change. He wants to believe that will continue and by being there for him, he clearly hopes that will keep Damon on the right path. The bottom-line is that Stefan just wants his brother back. Gah, I really do love their relationship. Paul Wesley and Somerhalder have such a fantabulous chemistry and connection.
There was not one, or two, but three scenes in which Stefan normally would have chided to flat-out gone after him hard. However, he didn't. Coming upon Damon and the Tri-Delts, Stefan was as understanding as he could be. Beyond actually, in my opinion, because Damon… not cool. "Exploit some women in the name of grief." Ugh, gross, Damon, however, Stefan just let it slide. Coming upon a dead history teacher who also happens to be his girlfriend's biological step-father… sure, no problem. Calmly asked Damon "What happened? What did you do?" and then showed more concern for Damon's delusional renewed faith in Katherine than the dead guy lying on his carpet. (Phew! Again, so glad that said dead guy did not stay dead!)
Finally, even when he walked in on Damon a wee bit close to Elena—while she gazed as if spellbound to his lips, he didn't say a word. He just gave a tight smile. He is going to be there for his brother, damnit!
Just like Elena… Damon comes out half-naked and wasted and Elena asks how he is doing. She even agreed to get up all close and personal with him and help him dress. While she and Stefan may have lied to him about helping get Katherine out of the tomb, they are both trying to make up for it at least. Elena's also opening up to Damon, bringing back memories of their interaction in "Bloodlines." And that led to possibly my favorite moment in the episode. She was near-giddy with excitement over finding out about her birth mother and Damon's initial response of "Who Cares?" appeared callous and just mean. But I was all 'aww!' when he explained his reasoning: "She left you. She sucks." And the look on Elena's face showed just how touched she was too.
On the other hand, their other conversation about her mother did not quite go as swimmingly. And while what Damon did to Isobel appeared to be horrible on the surface—we know now that Damon was giving her exactly what she wanted—Elena's attitude towards him was still not fair. She was upset with him for 'killing' Isobel. Damon did that *before* he met Elena and clearly had no idea that she was Elena's birth mother.. what with not knowing of Elena's existence then.
She told Stefan that she thought what had happened with Katherine might change Damon. But the second she finds out something that Damon did she doesn't like (and it was pre-Elena), she's back on the bad!Damon train? Just not cool. Judging Damon on things he did before this change was going to happen, how is that fair? Or was it because he was taunting Ric? That doesn't make it right either. She didn't know what has being going on with Ric. She wasn't aware that Ric has been all mysterious, asking questions. Damon *knew* that something was up with this guy, but didn't know more of the story thanks to Stefan keeping that information from him. So Damon was trying to figure it out on his own; he was deliberately goading him in order to get a rise out of him. Instead of getting all of the facts, though, Elena just barreled right into attack-mode, believing the worst of Damon. Elena, Elena, Elena. Ah well, she is only seventeen. She's going to have less than exemplary moments.
Of course, Matt's mother, Kelly Donovan, does not have the excuse of tender years to explain her appalling plethora of less than exemplary moments. My goodness! Talk about mom of the year, right there. Off with some guy while her teenage children (mostly Matt) have to bear the responsibility of bills, putting food on the table, general, you know, life-stuff. Dang! Caroline might want to re-think her opinion of her own mother.
Speaking of Caroline, of course Kelly Donovan loves Elena, but not so much the young Miss Forbes. Oh, and continuing the theme of Matt just not being worthy of my Caroline, didja all notice how he made zero effort to make Caroline feel better about his mother's awful treatment of her? I did. Bad, Matt, bad!
I will say though that I thought the portrayal of Kelly was great. Of course, I might be biased, I love Melinda Clarke! I've followed her career since she played Faith (a very, very good girl) on Days of Our Lives in the late 1980's! (Yes, another soap opera alum. I know them all.) Here, she continues her much more well-known oeuvre of playing a very, very bad girl.
And on that note, random thoughts time—
- Good casting with Harper the vampire. There is a gentle way about him. Like in that first scene when he apologized before chomp, chomp!
- Gah! I can't help it, I just love Alaric and Isobel. I know, I know, hopeless... but, they just melt me. And she's not dead! So there's hope, right? Ugh, I know, they're probably bringing her back just to give Ric closure and move on with Jenna. Blah, separately those two characters are great, but together, no bueno. But Ric and Isobel? ♥ ♥ ♥
- Oh my, that high school cheerleading picture of a young Isobel and Trudie? So, so fake. Dear lord, brush up on your photoshopping skills, show.
- Hah! Jenna 'binged it.' Oh, the CW… trying to make the Bing search engine a verb like Google. Not going to happen!
- Aww, I'm kinda liking this burgeoning sorta quasi-friendship that seems to be developing between Damon and the Sheriff. It almost sorta slightly in a way-ish seems just the teeniest bit genuine on Damon's part. Maybe. Possibly. Perhaps. Just a wee bit. OK, maybe I just want it to be at least a tiny bit real because I can't help it, I like the Sheriff, and Kelly Donovan's not-so-nice comments about her are not endearing her towards me. I mean, a grown woman using childish, insulting nicknames? Ugh. (Still love Melinda Clarke, though!)
- Hmm, so I wondered above about a potential change in interaction due to Elena and Ric's new found relationship. One potential downside of that scenario is that because of Elena's relationship with Stefan, we will probably continue to have scenes between Ric and Stefan as well. That is not really a great thing, in my opinion. Wesley and Davis don't play off of each other well at all. There's just no chemistry there.
- How freaking hot is Ian Somerhalder!? When he walked out, pulling that shirt on, but it was all unbuttoned and those pants riding sooooooo low on his hips. Oh boy! So, so, so hot. How Elena did not jump him right then and there is beyond me. Nope, instead she was all cool and casual. Whatevs, Elena!
- Damon acting like he couldn't button his shirt to get Elena close to him, oh, Damon, you naughty boy! And then, hah! casually buttoning it up with ease and sending a knowing look her way once Stefan was in the room. Hilarious. As was her 'WTF? Jerk!' face in response. Hahahaha!
- Oh, Carol (Lockwood, Tyler's mother—she of the Daisy Buchanan flirt-a-thon with Damon in "Haunted"), you and your lust for Damon. Cheating to get a date for him via the auction? Hah! But really, who can blame her? Certainly not I.
- So, the tomb vampires are getting together in some poor, compelled woman's home. OK then. Yeah, this looks good. Not!
This was a really good episode, no, this was a great episode. Actually, since "Haunted," I think every episode has been great with a few ("Children of the Damned" and the follow=up, "Fool Me Once") being excellent. I really believe that this show, in the very early stages, has already found and is hitting its groove. And I am more than happy to be along for the ride.