Arabian (arabian) wrote,

1.21 - 'Isobel' (The Vampire Diaries)

I know this is a few days late; it just took me forever to get this one done. The length attests to that. Yes, I do plan on getting up 8.07 before the new episode airs on Friday night, but I want to get S1 done first, only one to go. Also, I'm going to rewatch all of season 8 too—ooh, all 6 of them, plus the last. Anyhoo, on with the show…

This episode is called "Isobel"and it's a very fitting title as almost everything that happened revolved around Isobel. That connection was either seen through her past, her present-day shenanigans, and their effect on our characters and their actions as a result. Other than Damon and Elena, the Matt and Tyler broken friendship and some nice character stuff with Jeremy, and Caroline, everything else was Isobel-based.

Ah, Isobel… and Alaric, my ship that sailed long ago and chances are it is one that is pretty close to sunk, but, oh, they move me. I probably wouldn't feel this way still had we not gotten that last scene between the two. There Isobel showed all of the warmth and love that was the very opposite of what we saw in their first scene. And that one, oh my, it was just a killer. Ric was trying to deal with the fact that Isobel was sitting right there, trying to contain all of the emotions that such an encounter was bound to bring up. We had just seen him (well, in the last episode, but timeline-wise, earlier that day) finally decide to give up on the search, the fight to find his wife. Then, oops!, she popped right up at his favorite bar. And then adding insult to injury, Isobel calmly informed him that he couldn't find her because she wasn't lost. Ouch.

That comment was characteristic of her attitude during the whole conversation. She was cold, making casual small talk. Isobel treated him more like an old acquaintance rather than someone with whom she once vowed to spend the rest of her life. And then he was less than even that as she coolly asked him to be her messenger boy. He refused, of course he did… but that led to an even further demotion of Alaric's status. Forget acquaintance or messenger boy, he just became a tool to her and one that she was going to get to do what she wanted, coerced or not. After his refusal, Isobel was suddenly and completely not his wife at all anymore. She was a vampire, threatening to kill everyone, starting with his history students—kids, man! And then after the threat was delivered, she casually threw him to the ground and walked away.

What a contrast to their final scene… one that I simply adored. While everything that we had seen so far indicated that Isobel no longer had a heart, any humanity, this showed us that she's simply chosen not to feel. But she does, she truly does… she doesn't want to feel because it hurts too much. Seeing this, I realized that both Stefan and Damon's speeches in the last episode laid the groundwork beautifully for everything that we saw with Isobel in this one.

Damon told Stefan that his guilt was there to feel if he wanted it. And told Alaric in this one that there is a button you can press to turn your feelings off, and Isobel chose to do so, "Isobel chose the easier road, no guilt, no shame, no regret." And we found out in this final scene that Damon was exactly right, she chose not to feel those things, but when saying goodbye to Ric she pressed that button. She turned her humanity on just so that she could free Alaric from loving her; so she could tell him that she loved him, and that walking away from him to become a vampire was her biggest regret. And the difference that we saw in Isobel from that first scene with him to this last one underscored exactly what Stefan told Elena about his pain, and his fears.

Stefan: It hurts me. It hurts me, knowing what I've done, and that pain… that pain is with me all the time. And every day, I think that if I just… if I just give myself over to the blood, I can make that pain stop. It would be that easy, and every day, I fight that. And I am so terrified that one day, I'm not gonna want to fight that anymore, Elena. And the next time I hurt somebody it could be you.
That is exactly what we saw here. Isobel gave herself over, and she did hurt the person she loved. Emotionally and physically.


Ah, but in that final scene between the two, it was Isobel who was hurting emotionally, and it was because of that hurt that she's pressed the button. It was clear to see the love that was there between them—love that both still feel, and love that Isobel released Alaric from. I'm not gonna lie, it gets me a bit misty-eyed because it's such a beautiful scene. *sigh* I know that I keep on saying it, but yeah, as much as I like Sara Canning, again, I do think that Kirshner has so much more chemistry with Matt Davis than does Canning. If Isobel comes back, I could so ship her and Alaric… hard.

But back to Isobel in the here and now, a surprising revelation beyond her love for Alaric still in existence was that all she has done—including the events of past episodes, and kidnapping Jeremy and hurting Elena's friends in this one—was done in an effort to protect her birth-daughter. Elena would have just kept on digging until she got her answers. (Hmm, just like Isobel wouldn't stop digging until she did…) By presenting herself at her very worst, Isobel was able to kill any further curiosity that Elena would have about her. Of course, kidnapping Jeremy served not only that purpose, but it was also about getting the device which would lead to the downfall of all of the Mystic Falls vampires.

Including Damon and Stefan Salvatore. Isobel (and John) wanted to protect their child from vampires—even Isobel herself. Damnit, I can't help it. I love Isobel. Oh, and, yuppers, John is Elena's father. (Duh! Says Damon.) Can I say, though, I love so very much that we got the absolute confirmation in the episode that all but laid out those DING!DING!DING neon clues in the same episode. The scene where Damon explained to Stefan the connecting of all the dots was right before it was confirmed, so it's not as if the show expected viewers to be "surprised" an episode or two later. I appreciated that. A lot of shows do not do that. Not only that John was Elena's father, but disclosing Isobel's reasons for all she has done.

However before that reveal, we saw an Isobel who was plainly awful to Elena which, of course, is why the final scene with John where we learned that everything she had done was for Elena was so heartbreaking. That wouldn't have worked as well as it did had we not seen so much despicable behavior beforehand. Not that her appalling attitude and actions changed my early feelings for her. Even before we saw the good in Isobel, I know I shouldn't have, but I still thought that she was kinda amazing. This exchange was terribly awesome:

Elena: Why did you compel that man to kill himself? Right after he told me to stop looking for you.
Isobel: Dramatic impact, wish it had been more effective. (Editor's note: Hah!}
Elena: Human life means that little to you?"
Isobel: {Smiling sweetly.} It means nothing to me.
Damn, she was just so quick with the replies and so coolly, calmly humanity-free. Obviously she was terrible in those moments, yeah, but she was awesomely terrible. And hah, my favorite part: Isobel wondering why Elena would pick Stefan over Damon. (My question exactly!) And then: "Or do you enjoy them both?" Elena's side-eye her way in response was hilarious, but her WTF? expression after she added a lilting "like Katherine did" was the icing on the cake. Oh, Isobel, you're a keeper! Come back! Be filled with enough humanity that you and Ric can be together again, please!!

Ah, but the humanity button was mostly in the off-position during this episode. Insulting Caroline, which was the one non-cool Isobel moment, I thought. I like her and all her cool, detached evil ways, but she was wrong about Caroline. Pfft, obnoxious. Caroline is AWESOME! And in this episode we got a one-line description that clarified exactly why I love Caroline Forbes so much. Per Bonnie about her blonde, bubbly best friend: "You channel Scarlett daily." And as Caroline responded: "So true." Yes, it is. OF COURSE, I love her. Caroline is reminiscent of Scarlett O'Hara, and duh, journal title… Gone With the Wind lover here. Yes, Caroline is SO Scarlett. No wonder I love her so! Isobel, you've got my girl pegged wrong.

On the other hand, she was quite right about Matt Donovan. Uh huh. Caroline's future ex, indeed. And that is how it should be (and soon), but not because of Caroline, rather because Matt does not treat her like the queen that she is! And I say this as one who does like Matt—when he's not treating Caroline as he should… which is way too often. Yes, she can be needy and self-centered, but her good qualities far outweigh any negative ones. For instance, she was trying to be a good friend; she wanted to help ease the tension between Elena and Bonnie, but she couldn't. Why? Because Caroline is right… she can't help them fix things if she doesn't know what is going on.

Poor Caroline, she is just so on the outs; she has no clue of the crazy that has overtaken her friends' lives. However, we know why they can't tell her. Caroline has already shown how she would react to anything even slightly mystical. So yeah, but it doesn't take away from how awesome she is. Trying to help Bonnie and Elena, trying to smooth things between Tyler and Matt, doing what needed to be done and getting Matt to the hospital (and Stefan is the one who told her... he has faith in her!). Caroline can (and does) think about those she cares about when push comes to shove.

Oh, yes, speaking of that hospital necessity… I wasn't terribly surprised when Isobel orchestrated that little maneuver that led to Matt's injury, because, yeah… evil. However, I was taken aback when she kidnapped Jeremy. That was another 'damn!' moment. Talk about doing her research… to get Elena to do what she wanted, she went straight for Elena's ultimate weakness. Of course I wasn't worried that Isobel would kill him, though. Yes, yes, this show does kill series regulars (sorry, Vicki, still not missed), but this is Elena's brother! This is the person that Elena loves most in this world (Sorry, Stefan, but it's the truth… don't feel that bad, you love your brother more too!).

Anyhoo, yeah, I wasn't concerned about Jeremy biting the bullet. At the time, I thought it was only because I couldn't see the show killing him off, but I absolutely thought that Isobel was capable of it. Elena certainly thought so (as did Damon and Stefan). It was only after all was said and done, that we saw that it was more likely that, no, Isobel wouldn't have killed Jeremy because it would have hurt Elena. Still, doing what she did was just… not cool. But a vampire birth mother's gotta do what she gotta do. Like reading the room, scoping out the situation and laying some awkward truths on Elena and her escorts. Doing her best to keep Elena away forever, she did her job well judging from this lovely banter:

Isobel: Don't look for any redeeming qualities in me. I don't have any.
Elena: Thank you for being such a monumental disappointment, keeps the memory of my real mother perfectly intact.
Mission accomplished, Isobel… on more than one front. Oh, Elena, so sassy with her comeback to Isobel's query if Elena actually thought she came alone. "Did you really think *I* came alone?" And then out stepped the brothers Salvatore! Alas, that little move just proved Isobel's point. Her little dig that Elena isn't Katherine—which Elena would take as a compliment—was a very clear warning. As she said, "As long as you have a Salvatore on each arm, you're doomed." Katherine, of course, pulled that off but then left when the going got tough to save herself. Elena is not built that way. Isobel, as we found out, is just looking out for Elena in advising her away from the Salvatore boys, but Elena is not like Katherine. She's loyal and she wouldn't walk away from those she cares about. Even if some of those she cares about care just a wee bit more about her than she does about them. Ahem. Yes, let's discuss Isobel spilling the beans about Damon being in love with Elena. (Cue Elena looking at Damon, Damon looking at her, Stefan looking at Damon, and then Damon looking away. Uh huh.)


It was certainly shown in many small ways throughout this episode, but It also has been building to this point. Going back through the last batch of episodes post Damon finding out that Katherine was never in the tomb (1.14 – "Fool Me Once"), I have noticed a progression indeed. In the following episode, I wrote:

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.

- - 1.15 - "A Few Good Men"
There was no meaningful interaction between the two in the next episode, "There Goes The Neighborhood." All we had was Elena's disappointment with his Matt-mommy-sexytiems. However in the following one, while more a highlight of Damon's love for Stefan, we still did get the clear indication that his affection for Elena was very there.

[…] 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.

- - 1.17 - "Let The Right One In"
After that was the lovely rose moment and that, I feel, did show us that Damon was seeing Elena in a less-than-platonic manner.

I also loved Damon picking, sniffing and then giving Elena a rose […] Damon noticed the rose, it was beautiful, it had a lovely scent and he was standing next to the beautiful, lovely Elena so naturally, the romantic in him without thought or pause, offered it to her. Nothing deeper than that. Or was it? […] That was Damon, the romantic—which we know he is because of his Katherine past—coming to the fore. And, again without even thinking about it, he offered the rose to Elena. The rose, a symbol of passion and love… he offered it to Elena. This was a romantic gesture, subconscious or not, it was. I think the point of that moment was to show that whether he realizes it or not, Damon has definitively begun to think of Elena in a romantic light.

- - 1.18 - "Under Control"
Of course, in the next episode there was quite a bit. Yes, Damon spent a lot of that episode worrying about, protecting, and covering for Stefan. However, there were two key scenes that showed viewers that while Damon may love his brother, he also is falling for Elena. During the dance, there's no way that Damon was thinking of anything but the girl in his arms. And in that final scene… well, I'll just repeat what I said after that episode regarding both that and the "All I Need" swoon-fest.

[Damon] was dancing with Elena in this old-style dance, with her fancy dress and softly-curled hair... three things that were much more reminiscent of Katherine than the Elena he knows. Does that last bit mean that I think that Damon was reacting to the similarities as opposed to just Elena herself? Not consciously. However, there was a subtext of his attraction for Katherine there that I don't think he's even aware of. But it's just a subtext and certainly not the overriding measure of his feelings for Elena, which the last scene made clear.

It revealed, in my opinion, a depth of feeling that was completely beyond egging on Stefan, memories of Katherine, and his friendship with Elena. Damon had no intention of sticking around to wait for Stefan to come to. I don't doubt that he loves his brother—despite their tumultuous history—but Damon is not a soft, caring, stick-around kinda guy. Also, there's still a lot of baggage that goes with that relationship, so, as far as he's concerned what he's done the last few days (telling Elena about Stefan's problems, confronting him about it, protecting him and going after him to clean up his mess, going along with Elena's plan) has been more than enough. So he didn't stay because of Stefan; he was literally turning to walk away, pausing only long enough to wait for Elena. It was only after she said she was staying and slid down that he decided to stay. Fully and completely for Elena. That brings me back to my earlier point that while there may have been an underlying, subconscious pull to the Katherine-similarity of Elena during the dance, that it was just a tiny pull. Unlike Stefan—who appears to be more drawn to the fact that Elena is NOT Katherine, for Damon, it is who ELENA is that has drawn Damon to her.

- - 1.19 - "Miss Mystic Falls"
Finally, while there wasn't much in the episode after that and prior to this one. That was no doubt because Elena was all about Stefan—to the point of uncharacteristically not being so nice to Damon! However, we did have one small moment.

I loved this exchange between Damon and Elena when discussing her avoidance of (ugh) John:

Damon: So, you'll be here again tonight?
Elena: Is that a problem?
Damon: Yes. You're a complete nuisance.
Elena: I'll see you later.
Damon is so smitten; it's adorable."

- - 1.20 - "Blood Brothers"
Such a throw-away comment from me, really, but that was my take-away from Damon's attitude and interaction with Elena in that moment. Looking up the definition of the word, I came across this: "Smitten means overwhelmed or struck by something, usually love. Smitten is related to the verb smite, which comes from the Old English smitan, meaning "to hit, strike, beat." What do hitting and beating have to do with love, you may ask? Well, when some people fall in love they report feeling as though they've been 'struck by lightning.'" So coming into this episode, my frame of mind had moved from believing that while he cared for Elena, she hadn't replaced Katherine in his heart to "Damon is so smitten," i.e., struck by love for Elena. That development over the last six episodes plus what we saw in this one made it clear that Isobel knew exactly what she was talking about. Yes, indeed, Damon Salvatore is in love with Elena Gilbert.

Let's take all that happened in this episode that drew attention to that reality beginning with Damon's attitude in Ric's classroom. He was focused on asking questions, trying to figure things out, and even getting all up in Ric's face. However, throughout the conversation, he kept shooting looks of concern Elena's way. When he spoke to her, his voice went all soft and sweet and that was when Stefan looked at Damon. And, ooh, the look! Oh, he is so aware that Damon cares—a lot—about Elena. He's so very aware.

Then there was the scene at the boarding house when Elena asked Damon for the device. That one had some telling moments. Such as the fact that even as Damon refused to give them the device, he said that he would rescue Jeremy himself (and he absolutely would have come up with plan, if given time… there just wasn't any time). I just oved when he said that; I loved what it showed about Damon's feelings for Elena. Damon was willing to try and save Jeremy… for Elena.

Also, a seemingly simple thing, but so huge for Damon Salvatore. He trusts Elena Gilbert.

Elena: We're doing this, Damon. And we're doing it my way. Now give me the device. We're wasting time!
Damon: {To Bonnie} I don't trust you, I tried to kill you.
Bonnie: You're right. You can't trust me.
Elena: But you can trust me. {After a moment, Damon hands her the device} Thank you.
As Elena told Damon that he could trust her, she was looking at him, and he was looking intensely back as if testing his own faith in her. Just as interesting was that while their gazes were locked on one another, Stefan was looking at the both of them and their silent communication. Once Damon gave over the device, Stefan was just looking at Damon. Oh, yes, he knows.


I do think that this episode proved two things: 1) that, yes, Damon is in love with Elena, and 2) that Damon is, if not over Katherine, getting over her enough that it wouldn't take much to get him to that point. That final blow would probably take him actually being confronted by her in truth and being shown just about little she cares to fully, finally let go of the dream. Still, I do think that he is getting to that point because of her betrayal, and his feelings for Elena. He's very much at the edge of letting go completely of his love. (Note his enraged defense of Elena and not-so-nice endearment for Katherine—"that little bitch"—with Isobel earlier.) As for now, well, he certainly trusts Elena more than Katherine!

Alas, while they both were right—Damon couldn't trust Bonnie, but he could trust Elena—the one thing that they didn't count on was that Elena couldn't trust Bonnie. Man, those Bennett witches! Oh, Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. Seriously, guys, we can't trust these Bennett witches. How many ways are they going to keep screwing over Damon Salvatore?

One of the things that really struck me was that the Bennett witches are promise-breakers. We had Emily Bennett who promised Katherine that she would save and protect her, and then we found out in "Fool Me Once" that Emily set up a spell to seal the vampires in. In other words, you know, not protect them, but instead seal them in forever to desiccate in excruciating agony. Earlier we found out that Emily had made a deal with Damon that if she protected Katherine, he would protect her lineage. He kept his promise, saved her descendant's lives, refrained from killing Bonnie (really, that's not as bad as it sounds—Bonnie had something he really, really wanted!) all because a "deal's a deal." Yet, when Damon confronted Emily (possessing Bonnie at the time), she flat out said that she was breaking her end of the deal.

Then we have Sheila Bennett (Grams, promise-breaker or not, I miss you!) who told everyone involved that she was going to unlock the tomb, break the seal, etc. and yet she never planned to do it. Another promise broken. By another Bennett witch. Now, Bonnie who promised—her best friend no less!—that she would help de-spell the device, and then… chose not to. Yes, I get that the promises were all made to and for vampires, but the fact of the matter is that each of the Bennett witches made big promises with no intention of keeping those promises. Realizing that, it made me wonder if we're not quite supposed to see the witches, or rather Bonnie, as the good guy.

Nah! I mean, just because two of our main characters are vampires, I don't think we're supposed to root for their evil vampire ways to flourish, but rather for them to overcome pushing that humanity-less button. So while the Bennett witches did and do break promises, they are all done in an attempt to stop vampires from doing bad, bad things. And Bonnie is just too good to not be the good guy. She was still understandably upset with the whole Elena and her vampire boyfriends situation, but when she saw Elena looking so sad in the Grill, she was all ready to push that to the side and go to her friend. Alas, then she saw Stefan. *sigh* Stupid Stefan. I'm sorry, Stefan, you're not stupid, I love you, but… grr, Stefan, stay away so that Bonnie and Elena can hug it out!


Oh, wait, he did and they did! Yay! See and this is why I love this show so much. It's so not just about the "triangle" and "teen romances." Bonnie showing up at Elena's because she couldn't sleep since, well, I'll let her explain: "Hey. I couldn't sleep last night. You were obviously upset about something and I just walked away. It's not me. That can't be us. You're my friend, Elena. If you need me I'm here for you and I'm sorry I couldn't show you that yesterday."


That genuinely had me feeling emotional in the best way. Then… then… ah, how Elena just kept getting more and more emotional herself as Bonnie talked was beautiful. And then Elena didn't even have to tell Bonnie anything beyond the simple, but devastating statement that she had met her birth mother. Bonnie knew what that meant because Elena has been her best friend forever. She had her in her arms so fast after Elena crumpled when she asked how it went. Aww, my heart swelled to see them reconnecting. I love that friendship matters so very much on this show.


Even when it has fallen apart. Oh, Tyler… yes, you are a dick. And just acknowledging that doesn't make it OK. I can't say that anything that Tyler did in this episode was out of character for the Prince Douche of Mystic Falls. I mean, what was he thinking? Expecting Matt to just be cool with his offer of help after he caught him making out with his mother! And when Matt didn't accept his bumbling, obviously not-rehearsed attempt at an apology immediately—throwing out a "Whatever"in response after Matt walked away—just proved his own agreement with Matt's assessment of his character. Still, I felt for him. He wants to repair this friendship, but it's too soon and he's just got to accept that Matt is not ready yet. For very understandable reasons.

And, yet, another set of very understandable reasons has not stopped Damon and Alaric's wary friendship from continuing with its awesome. So much gold with Ian Somerhalder and Matt Davis. I especially liked these two exchanges:

Alaric: Damon, thanks for coming.
Damon: Sorry, I'm late. My dog ate my uh… never mind.
Haha, you just know that Damon has been waiting to make that joke since Ric began to sorta not hate him, and they found themselves working together. Oh, Damon. I admit it; I laughed out loud. And then this bit here where Damon kept battering Alaric with question after question and got nothing in return before Ric returned sass for sass!

Damon: Did you ask her about Uncle John? Are they working together?
Alaric: No.
Damon: No they're not?
Alaric: No, I didn't ask.
Damon: What about the invention?
Alaric: Didn't ask.
Damon: Did she know about the tomb vampires?
Alaric: I don't know.
Damon: Did words completely escape you?
Alaric: No, I was a little too distracted by my dead vampire wife to ask any questions.
>Gold, people, pure, shining, awesome gold! From their discussion about Stefan's desire to experience every episode of How I Met Your Mother thus his refusal to press his humanity button off to their classroom banter, I was loving them. Again.

Ooh, and speaking of that discussion… interesting! So vampires can turn off their humanity like a switch? OK, OK, but, erm, I distinctly recall that in the early episodes, Stefan kept going on (and on) about the fact that Damon had no humanity left at all. Do I sense a bit of retcon? Maybe, but this makes a lot more sense with the writing of Damon and also explains his actions better when he came to town. He had this button or switch or whatever pushed so what he did to those people he killed, what a horrible jerk he was to Caroline, how mean he was to Bonnie, all of that was a Damon with his humanity in off-mode. And Stefan's assertion that his humanity was all gone was just Stefan being hyperbolic (so not out of character). Meanwhile, as Damon has spent more time with his 'black and white, there is no gray!' brother, and of course, the lovely Elena, it does ring true that the Damon we've been seeing more and more is one whose button has been pushed less and less.

After all, there is definitely a difference between the Damon we first met and the Damon we see now. Just like there was definitely a difference between the Isobel of most of this episode, and the one we saw with Alaric in the school hallway and final conversation with John. Cold and detached, that's how Ric described her and that was a perfect description. So cold, such a perfect illustration of what a vampire with that humanity switch shut completely off is like, but one who's not inherently a cruel person. As I'm rather thinking that Katherine is. Meaning that in life she was probably a cold-hearted one and being a vampire just brought it to the fore.

I'm thinking this is so because even while being cruel, we can see strains of the good people they were in Isobel, Damon, Pearl, Anna and Stefan. Of all of the vampires we've met, I think that only Katherine and Frederic were nasty pieces of work in life as well as undeath. Maybe. Who knows because we've only had glimpses of Katherine, and that has been filtered through both Stefan and Damon's perspectives. She could have had her reasons for leaving the boys as she did. Maybe Isobel wasn't implying something negative when she told Elena that she wasn't Katherine, but rather she meant ti when she said that Katherine was smart to get away when she did because she saw the bigger picture.

Or maybe Isobel only knows what Katherine wants her to know. That certainly was the implication I gathered during her little tête-à-tête with Damon. And what a fabulous bit of awesome that was, now, wasn't it? Damon getting in her face, in her dance space, stalking Isobel around the room was insanely tense and sexy at the same time. Dayum! There were so many little touches that just made this scene sing. For instance, I loved that when Isobel handed him a glass, he just calmly set it right back down as he continued to stalk her. She was trying to set the stage, control the situation, but Damon was not about to let her get the upper-hand. He kept her off-balance from beginning to end. Damon had Isobel fully believing that he was just the same, old Damon. She submitted to his seduction (and, yes, that was hot) before he flipped everything upside down and just went all medieval on her ass. The way he grabbed her throat, and delivered the most amazing line ever ("I do believe in killing the messenger. You know why? Because it sends a message."), followed by that emphatic head bang… ooh! It was just chill-inducing.


And wrapped around that fantabulous line (seriously, I loved it so much… and Ian Somerhalder's delivery? Dear Lord, superb) was everything that Isobel (and viewers) needed to hear to realize that Elena now takes a higher precedence than does Katherine.

Damon: You do not come into my town, threaten the people I care about. Going after Elena? Bad move. You leave her alone or I will rip you to bits because I do believe in killing the messenger. You know why? Because it sends a message. {Slams her head against the floor} Katherine wants something from me? You tell that little bitch to come get it herself.
Yeah, chills. So, so good. Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite scenes in the series so far. Of course, it helped that Somerhalder and Kirshner have really good chemistry. Hawt!

And with that, at last, we have come to random thoughts—

- Let's start with Damon and Elena and their oh-so-cute phone conversation. I just could not help but grin. The banter, the back and forth, his jokes, and inappropriate comments ("Have fun with the Mystic queen, I know I did." God, Damon, just NO!) and Elena couldn't help herself from smiling in response just a little bit. Ah, they're just so adorable. I know she isn't flirting with him, and he knows it—which is good—but he *is* flirting with her just a teeny bit (making sure to not cross the line). That Elena allows it is enough for him. Also what struck me in that scene was something that led me to a greater realization: Elena smiles A LOT when talking to Damon, and I love that. I love that not just as a Damon and Elena fan, but as an Elena one because that is just not something that she generally does much anymore. So score one for Damon. :D

- Speaking of that phone call… Heh to Damon's casual "Elena called" to Stefan as he walked in after Elena and he had hung up, LOL. Damon could have called him at any time to let him know that Elena was calling… of course, Elena could have asked to talk to Stefan herself. Uh huh.

- So this was essentially the same conversation that Stefan and Damon had in the third episode ("Friday Night Bites"), but much funnier. Likely because unlike Damon with Stefan, Isobel has little regard, concern or respect for John Gilbert. (I can't blame her. "Teenage waste of space" indeed.)

Isobel: Cherie is a little jazz singer that I picked up in a blues bar in Brooklyn. And I got the cowboy at a gay rodeo in Amarillo.
John: He's gay?
Isobel: Not right now, he's very good to me. {To her companions} Hey Cherie? Cassez vous! {They leave} I'm teaching them French. Oh! I can smell the judgment coming off of you.
John: Well, they're people, Isobel, and you're treating them like dolls.
Isobel: If we're gonna be partners you really have to stop being such a hater.
I love her so much!

- Despite my preference for Damon with Elena, I must admit that I thought that Elena taking advantage of a vampire's super-awesome hearing to talk to Stefan from a distance was sweet.

- 'That's right, Jeremy, Do NOT trust John! That rat bastard! He killed Pearl!' Yeah, this was randomly what passed through my mind when John was oh-so-not subtly digging for information on Anna from Jeremy.

- Shirtless!Damon was SO hot. So, so, very hot. Such a beautiful, sexy living dead person!

- Hahaha! Oh, so rich. Bonnie casually telling Elena that, "Yeah, according to Emily, Jonathan Gilbert never actually succeeded in inventing anything. Emily secretly spelled them all with magic. Compass, rings and the mystery device you told me about." What a complete and utter non-shock! Jonathan Gilbert was a loser who never invented anything. Of course he didn't.

- Man, I love how Jeremy was just so calm in his anger, all but telling Elena: 'You're a lying liar who lies, so tell me if you know where Anna is, you lying liar who lies.' And then when she had no information, he just walked away.

- Heh, "I like being a living dead person,"said Damon who won't give the device over (at first) because, well, yeah, he likes being a living dead person. Hah!

- I thought that Bonnie's book trick to "prove" her power was kinda lame honestly. I'm pleased that Damon called it a parlor trick, because, really, it totally was. Sorry, Bonnie.

- There was a cute moment between Damon and Elena when Bonnie was taking the device apart. He made a mocking, mystical noise, and on cue, we cut to Elena and she was giving him a look like 'behave!' Damon responded by rolling his eyes. Hee!


- Jeremy's grown up so much. He really has. Obviously, understandably he detests what Elena did, but when Damon took his suffering away, it did allow Jeremy to find a balance in his life. That gave him the chance to re-find himself and he's a better person for it in a way, as awful as the cause of it was. Her intention was noble, and the results have been good. It was just the act without his consent that was so wrong.

- So where was Anna after Pearl was killed {sobs} before she came to Jeremy? Was she just at the house, crying, burying her mother {sobs} and Harper? Hmm, I guess so, that makes sense. *sigh* I get why she came to see Jeremy, but this worries me because, John (that rat bastard) is so going to kill Anna now, isn't he? Die, John, die!

- So Stefan, naturally, decided to have a talk with Damon about Isobel's revelation. Cool, cool.

Stefan: So, at the risk of sounding like uh… like a jealous boyfriend.
Damon: Oh, there's no risk, you do.
Stefan: History will not be repeating itself where Elena is concerned. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Damon: Sure. Sure.
Stefan: Do you understand?
Damon: Whatever you say, man.
Aside from the HI-larious, "Oh, there's no risk, you do," this conversation looked pretty tame on paper, right? Except… that Stefan did it again! Between asking Damon twice if he understood, Stefan vamp-sped to him, getting all up in his face. Dude! Again... Stefan goes into intimidation mode, even with Damon. So annoying! I really DO NOT like this aspect of his character!

- Oh, Damon, I love you so. First of all with his snarky: "I know you two don't like to keep secrets from each other," when we all know, those two LIVE to keep secrets from each other. And then his, "Am I the only one with the ability to put two and two together around here?" Sadly, Damon, I think that may be the case. It's OK, it just is yet another sign that Damon is the most awesome evar!

- Heh, Damon was cracking me up with his whole "I'm Elena's friend" and I'll be here for her as "her friend" while she is dealing with the (awful) news that Uncle Daddy John Sark is her biological father. Stefan may have tried to be intimidating, but it clearly doesn't work even a teeny, tiny bit with Damon. He has so much fun messing with his brother. Ah, Damon is so bad… and I love it!

- Hmm, so Katherine wants all the tomb vampires dead, why?

- Ugh! There was way too much eye make-up on Ian Somerhalder. 'Tis annoying because he's so very, very pretty and he really doesn't need all of that. Seriously, Vampire Diaries make-up artists, you are dealing with near male physical perfection here, you don't have to try that hard.

- I have to say that I am impressed with the show's new writer, Caroline Dries. She co-wrote "Miss Mystic Falls"—my favorite episode so far—and she also co-wrote this, each one with a different writer. This one wasn't as good as MMF, but it was still freaking awesome and probably in my top five for this season. (We'll see what happens with the finale.)

Phew! There had been quite some build-up for Isobel, as Elena's birth-mother, Alaric's wife, and her vague connections with John and Katherine. As usual, the show did a wonderful job in casting and Mia Kirshner who had been seen only as Alaric's loving, if unfulfilled, wife, was fantastic in this version of the character. She beautifully gave us vampire-Isobel, cold and uncaring as ice, and then showed us that last-minute reveal of the soul buried deep. Writing, direction, acting… all so very spot-on. There was also the reparation to Elena and Bonnie's friendship, some more great moments with Damon and Alaric (gold!) and my single favorite line in the entire series (thus far) courtesy of Damon and a twist to a well-known saying. "I do believe in killing the messenger. You know why? Because it sends a message." Yes, it does Damon! Beautifully so.
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/elena, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, isobel saltzman, isobel/alaric, katherine pierce, matt davis, matt donovan, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv

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