Arabian (arabian) wrote,

1.16 - 'There Goes The Neighborhood' (The Vampire Diaries)

Alrighty here we are with the next one up...

So I'm just going to get this out of the way first. Stefan, Matt, Elena and Caroline reacted in ways that I was not entirely pleased with during this episode. Not so surprising from the boys (I love Stefan, like Matt, but they have their moments…), however, my awesome girls too? Yup, them too.

I'm talking about when Stefan, Elena and Caroline (Matt gets a pass on this one) glared all judgmental at Damon after they caught him in the near-act with Kelly Donovan. (See why Matt gets the pass for this? She *is* his mom.) The attitude from Stefan, Elena and Caroline (OK, she gets a slight pass too because seeing your ex-boyfriend making out you're your current boyfriend's mother is squicky) was just not warranted. Damon did nothing wrong in this situation. Nada. Zero. Zippo.

Seriously, as much as I adore Damon, when others judge him, I usually agree or at least I understand where they are coming from. This time? Not the case. Take the vampire equation out—which is fair since it hadn't even remotely come into play as of yet—and what you had was two single adults having some mutually enjoyable sexytiems in the privacy of one of their homes.

So, yeah, Damon did absolutely *nothing* wrong. Let me stress this point: Damon Salvatore (and Kelly Donovan) did not one solitary thing wrong, not even against society's perceptions since Damon is in his mid-twenties (cough), well above the legal, get your cougar on, age. On the other hand, Elena and Stefan—and, yes, even Caroline joining in on the condemnation—were completely wrong to judge him. Pfft!

Now, I'm not saying that I was super-thrilled that Damon was getting his sexy on with Kelly. I'm not yet at the point where I don't want to see Damon Salvatore do kissy-face of any type with anyone but Elena Gilbert, but I'm getting there. It was hot, but it just didn't do anything for me. Honestly, while Ian Somerhalder does have chemistry with Melinda Clarke (duh), it was more on the mild side, nothing really to write home about it. On the other hand, ooh boy!, call me crazy, but I would have preferred Damon getting down with Jenna. I know, I know… that's so very wrong. But, but, but… I think they have more chemistry. And she *does* think he's ridiculously hot after all, LOL!

Yes, Damon and Elena are officially my OTP on this show, but damn, if there isn't a small part of me that wouldn't mind seeing Damon with Jenna in the interim period now when Jenna is distancing herself from Ric (so boring) and Damon is mourning Katherine and nowhere near Elena's orbit romantically. To be honest, I don't even get why I feel this way because it's SOOOO not me. But, yeah, I do. Their brief interaction on the show so far (in "Children of the Damned") and this one, I'm all—dang! they have chemistry.

I thought that Ian Somerhalder had some with Candice Accola (Caroline), but aside from the obvious wowza sparks with Nina Dobrev, I really like his chemistry with Sara Canning the most. And when you think about it, of all of the characters on the show (OK, except for Jeremy) Jenna is the one who seems most likely to be drawn to and accepting of who Damon is. I know, I know.


No, dangit, seriously… the look on her face when Damon gave a brief synopsis of his woes was so, gah, it tugged at my heartstrings. I liked the whole exchange there actually.

Jenna: Don't be grumpy. It can't be that bad.
Damon: You'd be surprised. My primary reason for existence has abandoned me and after today's events, the remains of the shaky ground that I walk on are about to go kaboom.
And after he says "kaboom," is where you see Jenna look at him in the above gif with such sympathy and empathy. All Kelly cared about what his hotness (OK, I can't blame her), but Jenna noticed that beneath the charm and alcoholic joie de vivre he was in pain. Aww! (Yes, I did edit out Kelly's reaction to Damon's comment because I was highlighting Jenna, and Kelly's really was more of 'oh, we're getting deep, OK, then.')

Alas, it probably is a good thing that it doesn't appear that the show is even hinting in that direction. (Kelly was clearly the intended object of Damon's sexual allure.) Even if it might be something to see, my ultimate preference is, of course, Damon with Elena and I can't really see Elena ever looking at Damon like that once he's done the dirty with her aunt. So, yeah, this probably best resides in the land of crack-ships, LOL!

Speaking of one-half of that crack-ship, it's nice to see Jenna with the protection of the vervain. It only took forever for Stefan to FINALLY give some to Elena in order to defend her friends and family. Sure, he did this in "Unpleasantville" (a few episodes back, number 12), but, hey, I only suggested some form of safety measure back in "Family Ties" (eight episodes before he actually did it, Stefan!) At least, he did it. Otherwise, Jenna would have been dinner for Frederick. (Of course, it also could have been avoided had she been the one to head to the Boarding House with Damon instead of Jenna, hehehehe.)

Oh, right that… remember when I said that Matt got a pass while I was annoyed with the other teenagers when they caught his mom and Damon? Yeah, the whole "his mom" thing was the key there. Despite the fact that Damon did absolutely nothing wrong, (and really neither did Kelly specifically, it was just wrong in that it was part of her not-so-good pattern), Matt was completely justified in being upset with his mother. Again, see: Not-so-good pattern. I may have some issues with how Matt treats Caroline, but damn, his mom has sure made his life downright miserable. I felt so bad for him in almost every scene he shared with her. He's just trying to be a kid for one night and he can't even get that despite his mother being back in town. Poor Matty!

Except… there are those issues that I have. Starting with how his mother treats Caroline… he knows that his mother is a hot mess; he knows this. Yes, I get that one can say/feel negative thoughts about those you love that others are not allowed to do in kind. However, what he said to Caroline about *her* treatment of Kelly was damn-near mind-boggling.

Matt: We can watch a movie at my place.
Caroline: With your mom and a six pack?
Matt: You know, you don't really help the situation. You could at least try to be nice.
Caroline: Oh, I'm sorry. It's hard for me to show kindness to people that hate me. I'm not that evolved.
You tell him, Caroline! Caroline went above and beyond when she met Kelly; she was sweet and kind, the very picture of nice… even after Kelly threw a few nasty barbs her way. That Matt not only didn't appreciate what Caroline tried to do, but appeared to not even notice is very telling.

As badly as I felt for Matt with his maternal situation, it didn't make me feel any less bad for Caroline. She was talking about how she was the back-up choice, the back-up best friend—and these are two things that we've already heard her mention (back-up choice in the Pilot, and back-up best friend in "History Repeating"). We know that she isn't just pulling these insecurities out of thin air. My poor Caroline. Her self-esteem is so low and she just wants the boy to like her. And specifically with Matt, she likes him so much that when he offers pretty, soft kisses and what she *thinks* are the right words, it's enough to win her over. Oh, oh Caroline.

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here, but as I've said numerous times now, despite the cuteness these two can display (and I still loved that street kiss… :swoon:) because of the way he treats her, I just can't get behind Matt and Caroline as a pairing. Let's take the double-date, shall we, and state this plainly: No, he did not pass the test. He *did* talk about and with Elena all night long. He basically ignored Caroline to be all about his ex-girlfriend. And I haven't dinged the show much at all past the first three episodes, but once again, I have an issue that revolves around… you guessed it, Stefan and Elena. It was totally in character that Matt acted the way he did, whether I liked it or not. We've been dealing with the fall-out of his unresolved feelings for Elena since the Pilot, and Caroline's lack of self-confidence when pitted against her best friend (at least in her mind).

However, what was not in character or realistic to me was the fact that Stefan was totes cool with the non-stop barrage down memory lane. Sure, a few memories would have been understandable, but when based on what we saw (and what Caroline confirmed), Matt and *Elena* talked about their exploits and adventures all night long when they were on dates with different people, Stefan would not have been a happy camper. Elena has been about Stefan practically non-stop and for her to not focus on him to such a degree, but over an ex and he's fine and dandy with it? I don't think so.

So, yeah, that's a ding on the writers. Stefan should have been, at the very least, annoyed at a certain point. As for what did happen, well, Caroline had every right to be upset and Elena should have realized she was in the wrong as soon as one of her *best friends* pointed out what she and Matt had been doing.

What can I say? The teen romances on The Vampire Diaries are just not my jam. From the first episode, this has been the one aspect that hasn't quite worked for me. This episode, unfortunately, spent a good chunk of the story on not just one, but both of the teen romances. *sigh* At least, Elena overall is still coming across as a wonderful, empathetic, smart, awesome young woman. The same cannot be said for Matt, alas. As the series began, he was above everyone but Damon, Elena and Caroline and close to Bonnie in terms of my favorites. Now? Tyler is the only character that I like less than him. (Although, to be fair, Kayla Ewell's Vicki has been replaced by Matt Davis' Alaric in the series regular cast, so that hasn't helped.) Ugh, this Matt and Caroline romance is really just making me not terribly fond of Matt. I do not like, show!

But like I said, at least Elena is still likable even with Stefan (for the most part). Yeah, uhm, that parenthetical phrase is coming into play now. During their locker conversation, I about threw my hands up in the air, saying aloud: "Really? Come on, now!" Stefan and Elena trying to be "normal" is just annoying... and stupid. Do you know why? Because Stefan is NOT normal. He is a freaking vampire. Like "fetch," NORMAL is never going to happen… not for him, or anyone he is involved with. These two are trying to live in some pretty bubble of delusion and that is not going to work for very long.

Oh, for example, how about we take a look at his girlfriend's brother. Yeah, Jeremy, remember him and the trauma he has already suffered because of Stefan entering Elena's life? It sure looks like *he* is beginning to. There he was in a vampire chat room trying to find out answers about the reality of vampires. Oh, Jeremy, if you only knew… All he has to do is eavesdrop on his sister and her "normal" boyfriend. Hah, or heck, ask your sister's boyfriend's brother—the one who doesn't pretend to be what he's not. With some prodding, Damon would probably spill all.

Hmm, I may have just picked at Stefan a bit, but I have to say that as much as I love Elena, I do think that she's to blame for where Jeremy is right now. Why she hasn't told her family about what is going on, I don't even know… Yes, it's crazy and unbelievable, etc., etc. but, Elena can easily prove it and the reward? Jenna wouldn't be as susceptible to creepy vampires who want to eat her for dinner. I mean, what if she hadn't decided to wear that vervained-perfume? Oops, there goes Aunt Jenna!

Now here we have Jeremy, and oh boy, he wants to be a vampire. No, Jeremy, just no. And why? Oh my, because he thinks Vicki is a vampire and he wants to find Vicki. Of course, he was halfway right. Vicki was a vampire, "was" being the key word as Stefan made her go bye-bye for trying to eat Jeremy's sister.

However, Jeremy doesn't know either of those things for sure; he's still hung up on Vicki despite whatever Damon told him under his compulsion. If he knew the dangers, pitfalls, etc. of vampirism, maybe he wouldn't be so quick to want to run headfirst into death. But he's all about Vicki still. *sigh* JEREMY, SHE'S NOT WORTH IT. Vicki Donovan was never worth it… not to you!

But, Jeremy—like his sister—doesn't give up. So there he was all but attempting suicide with that trick. Damn, Jeremy. Thank goodness that Anna is an older vampire, not on Stefan's animal diet and can control herself. Also—big plus!—she does clearly care for Jeremy. Still, dang that could have ended very, very badly! Oy, Jeremy. Elena… tell your family what crazy is going on. That will protect them alongside, and better, than just vervain. I'm just saying.

But hey, the Gilbert family has a history of not always being the most awesome, don't they. After spurning the resplendent Pearl just because she was a vampire (pfft!), Gilbert ancestor (he of the famous journal!) then took her freaking property! Geez! My poor, precious Pearl. Aah, Kelly Hu is so awesome in this role. (The casting remains supremely excellent.) She made me laugh, eyes widen in shock, marvel at her bad-assery and cry, all in one episode. Oh, Pearl, Pearl, locking you up for 145 years was so very wrong!

Here, let me list her awesome ways. Firstly, Pearl is soo bad-ass. Damon don't be playing games with her. "I have four hundred years on you, little boy. I'll rip you from limb to limb without even blinking and you know it." Shivers… I love my Damon, but Pearl pwned his ass like nobody's business. Pwnd his ass and squished his eyes into oblivion! Yikes! (Good thing to know that vampire healing takes care of that! Wouldn't want to miss gazing upon those gorgeous blue eyes of Mr. Somerhalder.)

Ooh, and more Pearl being bad-ass (and a much more fun pwning since, you know, I love Damon and all) was the amazing stand-off with her and Frederick. He was still looking at Anna, while Pearl poured blood in a glass for him. She calmly took the glass and a wooden spoon, held the glass out to Frederick and then, bam! stabbed him with the end of that blunt, wooden utensil. While he's reeling, she casually put down his glass, threw the spoon in the sink, sat down, pouring more blood for Anna this time and calmly said: "Next time you'll listen."

So freaking bad-ass. And also? Charming with Jenna, adorably humorous learning and showing modern gadgets to Harper, and *sigh* heart-breaking with Anna. When she asked her not to fight her too, I just felt all of the love, the frustration, gah, just her everything. Seriously, Kelly Hu is amazing. Can we have Pearl forever?

Speaking of one of her frustrations… let's talk a bit about Frederick. First off, soap opera alum! Stephen Martines played Nicolas Cassidine on General Hospital for a few years in between the actor who originated and is playing the role now. Back to The Vampire Diaries, so… hmm, Frederick knew Katherine too? My, my, she did get around, now didn't she? But him? He's a nasty piece of work. There were just little things that showed how Frederick is definitely vampire of the more or less evil variety. His attempt to partake of Jenna, and feeding on poor Miss Gibbons even though clearly she was too weak. But, eh, he didn't care. I like how the show is not making any of the vampires stock characters, they all have their own personalities like humans do. Some are good, some are bad… some are shading gray, light or dark.

Like, oh, our Salvatore brothers. Frederick, Frederick, Frederick… you done got your girlfriend killed dead. Don't be going after Damon and Stefan, especially when they are together. Damon is going to kick-ass, obviously, and they are totally going to tag-team to protect each other. Pearl was right, indeed.

Now… randoms—

- Poor Damon, he's been spending all of this time getting cozy with the council and all of their secrets and Pearl is back in town and she's gonna mess it all up.

- I liked how Elena casually played off the creepy Frederick thing—him calling her Katherine—and then texted Stefan to let him in on it. Smart girl. She's remembering the vampire tips and tricks. (Recall that she didn't even try and open the curtains to burn Ben and get away in "Fool Me Once.")

- Seriously, just look at them? So pretty! And all but eye-sexing each other in the first, and having a ball in the second. (Just ignore Kelly in the middle and on the left. This is not the droid you are looking for!)


- Boys and their love of cars. Maybe that's why Stefan had no problem with his girlfriend waxing on and on about her ex… At least it allowed him to get an in with someone with whom he could wax on and on about cars.

- That was smooth how Frederick found out where Damon lives. And, aha, he knew Damon too… or maybe of him? I'm thinking the Salvatores were a big deal in the mid 1800's.

- I may not like how Matt treats Caroline, but damn, Kelly really does kinda suck. I feel so bad for him in that department. He's just trying to be a kid for one night and.... nope, ain't happening.

- There they go again, showing someone brushing their teeth in the Gilbert bathroom. Weird. *sigh* And sad because both Elena and Jeremy are lying to each other about their (not) normal day.

Another great episode… well, great-ish, the teen romance dinged it for me a bit, but that may be subjective since I have issues with both couples. Overall, though, I love this show so much. It's really, really awesome.
Tags: caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/elena, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, jenna sommers, jeremy gilbert, matt donovan, the vampire diaries, tv

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