Arabian (arabian) wrote,

1.17 - 'Let The Right One In' (The Vampire Diaries)

Skipped a day, but I'm making up for it...

First there was "Haunted" and then the one-two punch of "Children of the Damned" and "Fool Me Once," with the latter hitting every mark and just about achieving perfection. Well, now this one has topped even that. Wow.

I'm going to dive in with my favorite relationship showcased in this episode. Surprisingly it was not Damon and Elena (I had the issues!) or Damon and Stefan (a squeak of one)… but rather it was Damon and Alaric! Yes, despite Ric hating Damon (for quite understandable reasons) and Damon having exactly zero issue with Ric's hate-on, these two worked together so freaking well. It also helps that, unlike Matt Davis and Paul Wesley, Davis and Ian Somerhalder have tremendous chemistry.

From their first scene—Damon all sarcasm and smiles—to their final scene—drinks and punch!—they were like a well-oiled machine of awesome. Let us recount!

It was a small thing, but Damon's "Coward," bit in Alaric's direction was amazing. Of course, at this point Damon was prepared to use every weapon in his arsenal to get Ric's help because he needed to save his brother. When Elena's appeal didn't work—though why she thought that "It's Stefan" would do the trick since Ric isn't sleeping with him, and, you know, Stefan has only threatened him a couple of times—Damon stepped in. He threw out the wifey-poo possibility of a clue about how to find her. When Ric didn't immediately bite that was when Damon tried to ding his vanity, thus "Coward." And, dear Lord, the delivery… it was sublime. Ian Somerhalder truly knows how to to get the most out of a line. This was one single word but he made it sing.


And then there was their glorious take-down of the house of vampires. It started with a little philosophical discussion ("She is human!" / "And I'm not! So, I don't care.") to Damon's dismissal paired with an order to get "rid of the [human] body" that was at the heart of their exchange to Ric's unexpected return. Ah, that return… Alaric shooting Frederick to save Damon, Damon giving him a look of WTF?, but then quickly recovering. Without thanking him (because, you know, Damon), he simply told Ric—including him once more as a part of the team—that he's going after Frederick. Meanwhile, Ric barely moved, probably shocked at his own actions. But it made perfect sense to the viewer because of what had happened earlier in the scenes between him and Damon and Elena.

Damon quoting a cheesy love songwas hilarious. (The line itself, and… wait for it, Somerhalder's delivery. So, so good!) But, the moment quickly turned real. And all the while Alaric was watching the two. Damon was affecting an attitude of snark, trying to act like he doesn't care all that much, but his true emotions—his fear over what is happening to Stefan, for what could very easily happen to Elena—were on display through his facade more than they usual.

We know this; Elena knows this… but Alaric? For him, well, he hates Damon. He thinks that he is pure evil, etc., etc., but in this moment he is seeing that this heartless monster has genuine love for his brother and that he obviously cares about Elena as well. On top of that, it's just as obvious that Elena does trust Damon and actually gets the guy. Plus, she's not even remotely afraid of him. We are clued into all of this about Alaric, not through any of their dialogue, but through their interplay, the looks that pass in-between them, the expressions crossing their faces. The dialogue is fantastic though, as is (per the norm) Ian Somerhalder's delivery.

Elena: I'm going with you guys.
Damon: No. No. No. No. No way.
Elena: You need me. I'll get in. You could distract them, and then I'll get Stefan out.
Damon: You'll get yourself killed. You're not going in there.
Elena: I'm going.
Damon: {Looks to Ric, ignoring Elena.} So, when you get me in, get out as quickly as you can. I know how to sneak around where they can't hear me. You'll basically just be in the way.
Elena: Damon, now is not the time to be the lone ranger.
Damon: Fine. Elena, you can drive the getaway car.
It was here that Damon briefly gave up pretending to be anything other than sincere.

Damon: You're not going in the house.
Elena: You can't stop me. It's Stefan we're talking about here. You don't understand.
Damon: Oh, I understand. I understand. He's the reason you live. His love lifts you up where you belong. I get it.
Elena: Can you just not joke around for two seconds?
And it is at this point that he drops the pretense completely, making it clear just how dangerous this would be for her, and how her interference could risk not only her life, but Stefan's, Ric's and his own.

Damon: I can't protect you, Elena. I don't know how many vampires there are in there. {Snaps his fingers.} That's how long it takes you to get your head ripped off. I have to be able to get in and get out. I can't be distracted with your safety or this will end up a bloodbath that none of us walk away from... including Stefan. I know. I get it. I understand.
The intensity we get from him as he lays out the reality of the situation is just amazing. But what I loved most was that once Damon stopped the snarkiness and got real with Elena, the camera angle switched back and forth not just between those two, but to one that revealed Alaric carefully watching Damon, and the interplay between the two. We could see the wheels turning in his mind that there was actually more to Damon than he believed possible.


So Alaric choosing to come back to help, and ultimately save Damon's life made perfect sense in the context of that earlier scene. However, he does still understandably have Damon-shaped issues so… the final scene between the two made as much sense. And was also awesome.

Thinking back on Damon's comment to Ric before he killed him (oh, this show!) that the two were kindred spirits, one imagines after the events of the day that Damon is thinking that once again. After all, Alaric has prepared, planned, created a life for himself that revolved around his lost love. Damon clearly gets that. On top of that, even though he's a human, Alaric equipped himself very admirably in a fight against a boat-load full of vampires. Plus, despite his issues with Damon, he worked with him; he didn't let that get in the way of what needed to be done (for the most part). Damon would totally respect that. The pragmatism of it all is something that Damon must appreciate.

After all, whenever the plan changed—Elena showing up, Alaric coming back—Damon didn't waste time arguing with either because they didn't listen to his orders. Nope, he assessed the situation and then made the best use of them that he could. He never lost sight of his goal—saving his brother. He gets the bigger picture. Have I mentioned recently how much I love the character of Damon Salvatore?

So let's get back to that bar scene between Alaric and him. First up, when he sat down by the vampire hunter, he was full of camaraderie. Even though he knew that Ric hated him, he let that slide with his whispered "Everyone hates me." (Oh, Damon, more on that later.) Despite the danger, the positive end result had Damon in a good mood and Ric was a big part of their happy ending that evening. So, sure, Damon was all smiles and in a good mood. As for Alaric? Eh… However, I think maybe his right hook was a good thing for Ric. ) Remember earlier in the episode he said he was going to kill Damon; and he did not sound like he was joking at all. Now, obviously, they were in public so it's not like he would have done anything there, but (a) he saved his life in the vamp house, and (b) there was no real heat behind the punch. It was as if he was getting it out of his system. The bottom-line is that while Ric may not think that Damon is the bestest ever, Damon was right… they *were* bad-ass.


Not so much bad-ass, but mostly pretty lovely to see from a Brothers Salvatore stan like I am was Damon and Stefan. My heart! I just love how their whole 'we hate each other' thing just fades into nothing when the other is in trouble. Elena is ignoring his calls, being snitty with him and all he cared about was his brother's absence. And, my goodness! When Damon saw Stefan hanging limply and in pain the look that passed between the two brothers in the house that he could not enter, again, my heart! They love each other so much!


And everything that Damon did—going to Elena (who is mondo-hating on him right now), to Alaric (who tried to kill him), going after an entire house of vampires, *sigh* it all done in the name of saving his baby brother. Yeah, and baby brother is what really came to mind in the final scene. His pathetic, so very guilty, little-boy face when Damon walked in on him (human) blood-binging, my heart broke for him. Oh, man Stefan!


Yes, yes, I was a wee annoyed with Stefan for his response to Elena's snippiness early in the episode. ("He makes everybody cranky.") I know that he wants to present himself in the best light ever to his girlfriend, but she was in the wrong there, dude. And he knew it. Stefan, Stefan, Stefan. Still, by the end, I was all awash in feels for him and his love for his brother… and vice versa.

Alas, I never really quite got there with Damon and Elena. I've picked up that just about everyone else loves the scene in the rain between the two, but I didn't really see it as a swoon! moment for this pair. To me, that scene was all about Stefan… from both of their perspectives. Damon was worried about Stefan—especially after what he had just seen and heard. Damon was frustrated, struggling with his inability to save his brother. And he was also aware that Elena was just as worried, so his comforting of her was about her feelings for Stefan. Yes, clearly, Damon cares for her and that was also on display. So, from that point of view, I liked it as a Damon and Elena shipper, but my earlier issues with Elena's treatment of Damon still rankled.

Let's get to those. In the scene near the top of the episode with them and Stefan, Elena was pretty snippy with Damon. And it was unwarranted. When Damon mentioned that Pearl was going to help him get Katherine back, Elena sniped some nonsense about Damon always getting what he wanted. Hah! As if! Then the sulky little miss added "No matter who he hurts in the process." At that point, I literally told Elena to shut up. (That is something that I have not been moved to do since the back-and-forth of her merry-go-round teenage love woes with Stefan.) Wasn't she there when Katherine was not in the tomb? Oh, right, she was… offering comfort and beautiful empathy.

But, oops!, she hears of some bad deed he committed years (literally) before he met her and, yup, that empathy is just out the window. I get that Isobel (the bad deeded against, but not really, Isobel wanted it) is her birth mother. But that shouldn't have any bearing on today. The whole idea that she and Stefan have been championing is that Damon is CHANGING... as in a work in PROGRESS! Therefore judging him on things he did before he had, you know, begun *changing* does nothing but make him less likely to want to do so. After all, if he's going to continue to get ragged upon regardless of his *changed* behavior, what's the point, I ask. Being petty and snippy, ignoring his calls… it just was not cool, Elena.

And then we come to the rain scene. Like I said, for me… that scene was about Damon and Elena's love for Stefan more than anything else. I can appreciate Damon's concern for her (so beautiful), but I was side-eyeing Elena's 'everything is copacetic' attitude towards him. She has been acting like he's the same jerk who first came into town, but when she needs his help suddenly she is treating him like he's a changed, well-behaved Damon. What's up with that?

Still, this scene spoke so highly of Damon. He just let her contrary treatment of him slide off of his back because he wants to save his brother. And his softer feelings for Elena shone through as well. There were no jokes or insults, and *sigh* the way he was stroking her hair, cradling her face in his hands. Even him refusing to let her put herself in danger was sweet, oh Damon. (Ah, the chemistry, though! Damn!)


Alas, it also showed that Damon clearly has some self-confidence issues. Because as great as it was to see Damon just brush aside the negativity thrown his way, it was also sad. He didn't just do so in the moment of his brother (and Elena's) need. He also did it in the earlier scene with the two and with Alaric at the end of the episode. We saw that Damon is willing to allow himself to be treated badly and he not only accepts it as due course, but he also doesn't refute or defend that behavior. He doesn't insist on being regarded better because he clearly doesn't believe he deserves it. Oh, Damon.

Did I bring up a lack of self-confidence? Why, yes, I did… now, who else does that remind of us? Oh, right, Caroline Forbes. Hmm, you know Damon's ability to get right to the heart of Caroline's self-esteem issues and hit the bulls-eye makes a lot more sense now. He's been there, read the book, joined the program and knows where to dot every 'i' and cross every 't.' Oh, Damon. Oh, Caroline.

Caroline, Caroline, Caroline, my precious, precious Caroline… Matt Donovan does not deserve you. And I'm going there this time around despite zero issues with Matt's treatment of her in this episode. Their opening scene and on the phone, when she was about to go on her way, and caught in the storm were sweet. He was open and loving, concerned and just really the perfect boyfriend. Until he got the news about his sister. {Sobs, not for Vicki, but for Matt and Jeremy… and even Kelly and Tyler who had their own screwed-up relationships with her.} Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming Matt for how he responded in his grief. It just is that it made it crystal clear that despite "good" moments of their relationship when Matt is the perfect boyfriend, when push comes to shove, she's not the one he wants. She is a placeholder for Elena.


Caroline was trying so hard to be a good girlfriend. She was trying to be there for him, comfort him, make him feel as better as he possibly could under the circumstances. He wanted to be left alone; that is understandable. So she left him alone. She stepped back to give him his space. And then literal seconds later, she saw him break down—when he'd only showed her a stoic expression—and accept an embrace from Elena. Yeah, Elena… his ex-girlfriend, the one that Caroline fears that he still loves. Instead of choosing comfort from his current girlfriend, Caroline, without hesitation, he lost himself in the support that his ex offered. The look on her face was just heartbreaking ... oh, Caroline!

Excellently done by Candice Accola, I must add. She said so much with that one look. Caroline is falling for Matt, but she loves Elena. Elena is one of her very best friends, and she knows how wonderful, how empathetic Elena is. She also knows that Matt and Elena have been very good friends for years, and that their romantic relationship was built on that friendship. Matt is suffering right now, and any comfort he can get is a good thing, but it still selfishly hurt Caroline that he sought it from Elena and not her. And all of that was clear from Accola's expression alone. So, so good. It was a small moment, but such a sucker-punch to the gut.


I'd say that she doesn't have anything to worry about since Elena is in love with Stefan, but…. Yet again, this episode gave more proof to my theory that these two are not destined for the long run. Despite her concern for him that ran throughout the episode, there were two specific things that stood out to me. The first was when Elena fed Stefan her blood in order to save his life. She's a human and he's a vampire and in quite a bit of vampire lore the feeding between two willing partners is much more often than not shown as a near-sexual thing. It's a pleasurable sensation for both the human and vampire. However… that's not the case either on on this show, or maybe just between these two. Yes, him drinking her blood was presented as a big moment, but, it was a painful one for her. There was nothing romantic, sexual or swoon-worthy about it at all. Elena was not feeling it. That I thought was interesting.

Not so much interesting, but just sad and delusional was the second thing. I was reminded of what I wrote about the two in "There Goes The Neighborhood."

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."
That thought crossed my mind when Elena and Stefan tip-toed around his attack on Frederick. She told him that he was like this other person. Oh, Elena, honey, no, no, he wasn't. Stefan is not a human boy, he is a vampire and that is what vampires do. But of course, Stefan has done such a marvelous job in convincing her that, no, he's not like that. He's not like other vampires. So Elena has continued to happily live in this delusion that Stefan's really just a vampire in name only. It doesn't work that way.

And then even worse, she blamed herself. No, no, no. Yes, she fed him, but she only did so in order to save his life. Thank goodness, even Stefan nipped that one in the bud. At least he was honest there in the ways of being a vampire. It would be nice if he was completely honest about all things vampire-related, but, this is Stefan McLiarson Salvatore we're talking about.

On the other hand, Anna is rocking that department. Whatever question Jeremy asks, she tells him. She is giving him the full downlow on the whys, wherefores and ways of vampirism. To be honest, though, I really don't care about Anna and Jeremy all that much. I just don't think that they have much chemistry, and while I don't dislike Anna like I did Vicki, I don't really care all that much about her as a character either. I don't dislike her; I just don't, well, I guess, like her. I'm neutral. I mean, in the few episodes that we've known Pearl, I think she is awesome. I don't just like her, I love Pearl. (Even if she did slap Anna, *sigh* But, hey, different time period and all that she comes from. Plus, you know, the whole, being a vampire thing.)

It's funny though because I do enjoy a lot of scenes with Anna, but not because of her specifically… if that makes any sense. What I like about those scenes is Anna in relation to other people—Pearl, Jeremy, even Damon. What I'm saying is that I like her *interaction with* Jeremy, but not so much her *and* Jeremy as a couple... because, yeah, lack of chemistry. Does that make sense?

I dunno, but I did enjoy their scenes, both the lighthearted ones and not. Again, I was totally up for her telling him vampire rules, and the teasing about movie vampires and such. Plus, a big positive in the column for Anna is, yeah, she is one of the better vampires (all of the bad things she did were in service of getting her mother back, so come on…). She didn't just immediately give in and make Jeremy a vampire. Also, she made it clear what a big deal it is to turn someone. Of course, this rather showed how little Ben meant to her, or maybe, just how *much* Jeremy does.

I said I enjoyed the light as well as the darker moments between the two, but I suppose I should amend that. I didn't enjoy the moment when Anna found out that Jeremy wanted to be turned so that he could be with someone else (Vicki), but it was such a beautifully played moment. A beautifully painful one, but it was beautiful none-the-less. Anna has been defending Jeremy to her mother—and even decided to turn him to prove Pearl wrong about him—only to find out that for Jeremy it's been about another undead girl. Oh, Anna.

*Phew!* OK, let's move on to randoms—

- Damon and Elena in the doorway all in silhouette and Ric by the desk was just gorgeous. Honestly, that was one of my favorite shots so far this season just because of how beautiful it was. There's a reason it's my icon for this episode.


- So, Tyler remains my least favorite regular character of the cast, but I did actually like this bit about his father and Pearl to Matt.

Tyler: Guy's not even subtle about it.
Matt: Who is that?
Tyler: It's not my mother.
Just a small little dig at his father for being such a dog and it was a nice moment that showed Tyler isn't blind, and loves his mother.

- Aha! So, Ric *did* become a vampire hunter because of Damon per this exchange:

Damon: Teacher by day, vampire hunter by night.
Alaric: I have you to thank for that.
- Aww, Damon reached out to give Elena a reassuring arm rub when they left Ric's classroom.


- "Are you insane?" Damon said to Elena when she showed up in the vampire house of doom. OMG! The delivery was FANTASTIC! My goodness,, Ian Somerhalder is king at delivery. Also, how awesome is Damon that once she was there, he didn't argue, he used her assistance. Such a smart guy.

- OK, so some people complained that Damon did a lousy job burying Vicki that she could be found so "easily." I heartily disagree. That was NOT an easy find. Let's break this down:

(a) Caroline was driving on back roads that were rarely used.
(b) Caroline walked off of the road to try and find a signal.
(c) It was raining and had been heavily storming for hours.
(d) Caroline slipped on a mudslide and went sliding down the side of a steep decline.
(e) It was in the buried mud that Vicki was found.

I think that was a pretty dang awesome bury spot that normally wouldn't have been found. It was just a crazy confluence of events and timing. So there!

- Poor Harper! Boo! Frederick! I like Harper (even if he did kill that innocent hiker, but, he had been starved for one hundred and forty-five years). He's truly a good vampire (Stefan!).

- So eh, continuity error alert! Damon compelled Vicki in "The Night of the Comet." He told her that Stefan bit her, as opposed to himself. He did this in order to get Stefan to start drinking human blood again and be a "real vampire." He told Stefan that all he had to do was drink Vicki's blood so that he, Stefan, could compel her to say it was something else that caused her situation. However, in this episode, Damon killed Miss Gibbons because he told Alaric that you can't compel over another vampire's compulsion. So, yeah, tsk, tsk, there's an error there! Unless!! It's in the blood that allows siblings to do it, LOL! Eh, I doubt it; I'm pretty sure it was a continuity error.

- Speaking of... I don't like that Damon killed that poor woman, but as he told Alaric, he's a vampire, she's a human, and as mentioned above, his changing... it's a work in progress.

- Ah, we had a case of Chekov's gun in this episode. Towards the top, Damon told Stefan: "I've got two liters of soccer mom in the fridge." At the end, we saw Stefan devouring blood bags… likely those of the soccer mom.

Man, oh man, this episode… the thing that gets me in the gut is that EVERYONE is miserable at the end. Every character is just wrenched and ripped apart. This is the second episode that has had such incredible emotional depth (the first being "Fool Me Once"). Both broke my heart because I know and love these characters. The difference between that one and this is that at least in the former, some people (Anna, Pearl, Caroline and Matt) were happy, and Jeremy was pretty OK. But… geez, at the end of this one, everyone—absolutely EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER FEATURED!—is miserable, depressed, upset, beaten-down, plain beaten, heartbroken, you name it. Just wow! And I never know what gets me more: Caroline seeing Matt choosing Elena in his moment of need while she was brushed aside, or Anna realizing that Jeremy wanted Vicki all along, or Stefan giving into his bloodlust, or... gah, it just goes on. Absolutely heartbreaking.

Still, although it is very, very depressing note, I think that this episode is the best of the series thus far. Unexpected finds (Vicki!), unexpected teamwork (Damon and Alaric!), brotherly love (my Brothers Salvatore!), heartache and heartbreak, all entwined so beautifully to create an hour (42 minutes) of perfection. Very, very sad perfection, but still… so, so good.
Tags: alaric saltzman, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/elena, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, isobel/alaric, jeremy gilbert, matt donovan, stefan salvatore, the vampire diaries, tv

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