In this week’s instalment of The Vampire Diaries, every single bit of storyline hits the fan in no uncertain terms. If this was Plan B, I’m a little sad we never got to see how Plan A would have gone…
My title this week comes from Angel, or more specifically Angelus, taunting a couple of his own crew with some of the spectacularly bad decisions they’ve made in the past. Whilst I don’t expect Bonnie or Damon to ever turn into Faith or Wesley (oh, but if only), this week’s episode showed a lot of people either beginning to accept more of the consequences of their actions or taking the sort of reckless decisions which will give us exciting plot consequences for weeks to come.
This was the first episode this year to include all the regular cast, and as a result some of them didn’t get much to do, but they served an important purpose in highlighting the consequences of others’ choices. Alaric, Jenna, Matt and even Tyler were all just there to be moved around by the plot this week, but through no fault of their own they are all now in Katherine’s direct line of fire because of the choices Stefan, Elena and Damon have made over the last few episodes. Sheriff Forbes has her choice taken out of her hands by her own daughter, and I do wonder whether Caroline will come to regret that decision. It seems mature and sensible of her, but we’re seeing with Matt the problem of pushing people too far away – you fail to keep an eye out for them because you’re trying to avoid them. Given that the Sheriff will continue to hunt vampires, how dangerous is it for her to not know that the most evil resident of Mystic Falls right now looks exactly like her daughter’s friend?
The Gilbert family takes the lead this week in being aware that actions have consequences, surprisingly. Jeremy forces his way into Damon’s plans despite being fully aware of Damon’s usual methods, and I have to give him credit for the way he deals with the torture (and ensuing murder) of Mason. He’s not comfortable with any of it, and he does his best to show Damon that, but at the end of the day he’s not Elena and Damon isn’t going to be dissuaded by him. So he does perhaps all he can do in that situation – leave, uncertain as to whether the pragmatic choice was the right one, and leave Damon’s decisions up to Damon alone. Whether Damon will regret so thoroughly destroying his innocence over the last few episodes remains to be seen, but certainly one thing Jeremy has in common with Elena is that they will tolerate a lot if they feel included and accepted. Elena has taken quite a bit of stick from other commenters this week for her needy texting of Stefan, but I completely understand her need to know what’s going on. For a long time she was the only reason the Salvatores worked together on anything, so by default she ended up involved and with the final say on what the plans would be. Now that they’re getting along without needing her as brotherly glue, they’re making plans and working together with no need for her to be involved. Given Stefan’s desire to protect her and Damon’s general tendency to work on instinct without consulting anyone else, if she doesn’t fight to be included then she won’t be.
Of course, Stefan and Elena’s joint decision to continue their relationship in ‘secret’ (except really obviously) has its consequences this episode, and Elena is the one who faces them better. Stefan still can’t quite man up sufficiently to actually end things for now, but thankfully Elena does it for him. Which is entirely consistent with both of their characters, so well done show for letting the ickle bitty girl heroine show her strength of mind and make an unselfish sacrifice for the people she loves. Elena has mostly been in the background this season so far, taking second stage to Katherine as a protagonist and mostly only existing to support Stefan’s choices and criticise Damon’s. I’m very glad to see her start to make some of her own again, however this pans out over the next few episodes. It’s clearly not permanent even within the show, as the unspoken subtext is ‘if we can get rid of Katherine, I’m right back in your bed tomorrow.’
Katherine, however, will clearly take some getting rid of. I’ve seen a promo for next week, and I really don’t think it’s going to be as easy as ‘let’s all try to kill her together.’ I’m not sure yet quite how perfect a planner she is, but she clearly likes having plans and she’s prepared to improvise when they go wrong. Given that she’s up against the most reactive group of characters in the history of the universe, I imagine she can continue to wreak havoc for quite some time yet with them always a few steps behind her.
I can’t finish off discussing consequences, of course, without mention of Damon. For the first time in the history of the show that I can recall, he not only accepts that his actions had a negative impact on others, he consciously tries to accept blame for it even when people aren’t blaming him. Together with his trying to mend the Stefan-Elena rift over blood-drinking in Kill Or Be Killed, he seems to be developing some true sympathy for others and remorse over hurting them. Of course, that hasn’t yet stopped him making dumb impulsive decisions, but there’s some potential here as regards his relationship to Stefan: I really hope we get some non-1864 flashbacks sometime that start to flesh out all those times that Stefan said he tried letting Damon into his life and it worked out badly. I’d like to see – eventually – some consequences for a century and a half of trying to make his brother’s life misery all because Katherine is fickle and Damon is insecure.
Of course, given that this is The Vampire Diaries, any consequences that do result from any of the multiple happenings of this episode will probably only appear for an episode or two before getting swallowed in the next round of plot twists – but I’m hoping they’re delicious enough to make up for that.
The interesting part of Bonnie’s exposition about magical aneurysms, for me, is that this means Katherine can’t be specifically immune to witchy anti-vampire headaches, because that’s not what they are. Given that she’s not immune to pain (we saw some level of response to vervain which I don’t think she was faking), presumably a Bonnie aneurysm would hurt her just as much as it does Damon unless she’s been on a regular diet of aneurysms for the last century too. Which I doubt. So I wonder whether Katherine may actually have something of even more use – some talisman or spell providing her with protection from all other witches’ spells. If that’s the case, Bonnie truly will be helpless against her, and I’d like to see some more of that.
Also interesting: the only reason it works on supernatural creatures is that they heal fast. So does this mean she could accidentally use it on a human and just kill them? Or is this just me missing Faith again?
Does Damon still love Katherine? He’s doing a really good impression of someone who doesn’t, but he was a bit too defensive about how Katherine had to be using Mason or else why would she be with him, and he later looked properly surprised as Mason said she loved him, like he’d just been prodded in a wound he’d rather forget he has. I think he still needs/wants some acknowledgement from her, even if he knows he’s not going to get it.
Bonnie was almost likeable in this episode. Wow. Of course, she probably doesn’t know yet that Damon killed Mason, or that Caroline ate two deputies only last week, so there’s plenty of opportunity for her to go all judgy about vampires again whenever she pleases.
A lot of people seem shocked/sad that Mason is no more – based on my logic from the last episode, I was expecting him to die this week anyway. But it’s also true that I’m not terribly sad about it because, despite the pretty, I didn’t really feel I was given a reason to care about him.
Niggle which would prevent me giving this episode an A+ if I rated it (which I’m glad that I don’t because I couldn’t deal with the pressure) – when Stefan is dragged out of the well, his clothes are completely dry. And Caroline helps lift him down without going ‘ow, vervain.’ Stupid errors which the show should not be making.
Entirely digressional note from a long-time Veronica Mars fan regarding episodes called ‘Plan B’: Jenna stabbing herself in the gut probably had about the same ‘holy crap’ factor as Weevil getting a stadium demolished on top of Thumper, but without the same gut punch of a likeable character doing something awful. Plus, Logan and Veronica didn’t get to dance together. Clearly, The Vampire Diaries still has room to improve…