So this review is a
little lot late, partially because I was busy and partially because I had no idea where to actually start in talking about this episode. There doesn’t really seem to be a theme beyond ‘everything happens all at once’…
Obviously, I was going to hit this problem sooner or later. It takes me quite a bit of thinking about each episode from different angles to identify some of the unifying themes tying separate storylines or characters together, because I don’t do this for a living and haven’t done it at all in a while. But I shall not be daunted – even if themes are not apparent to me right now, the likelihood is that once I’ve written 1000 words about the episode, a few will have become apparent. Analysis is good like that. So let’s just take each story on its own and see where we end up…
Firstly, the B-plot. How is this a B-plot?! Even on a fast-moving show, ‘regular character kills someone and turns into a werewolf’ ought to be enough to sustain an episode on its own. But not here, no. This show revels in throwing twenty curveballs at us at once and leaving us reeling in the aftermath, so Tyler has to deal with his biggest plot point yet amongst a morass of other things occupying everyone at this newest formal party invented by the denizens of Mystic Falls to prevent any of these characters ever having to go back to school. It was always inevitable, of course, that Tyler would become a werewolf, so I suppose the show is due some credit for keeping such an obvious plot point from stealing the limelight and making us all complain that we could see it coming a mile off. What interests me far more, actually, is where his story goes next. We know that Katherine ‘needed’ a werewolf and is willing to go to double-compulsion lengths to get herself one. I assume that she needed one for something to do with the moonstone, although her purposes there are nowhere near clear yet. Given the character of Katherine’s usual plans and the fact that a curse as strong as the one that seems to be under discussion here almost always involves blood/death/both in every supernatural universe, my current suspicions are that the werewolf wouldn’t be around to see the effects of breaking the curse (or whatever it is she planned to do). If that’s the case, then obviously becoming a werewolf is just the beginning of Tyler’s problems.
Those problems, however, are probably still a few episodes away (once Katherine escapes from the tomb and/or the masked kidnapping people make their demands clearer). The more immediate problem facing Tyler is to learn to successfully be a werewolf – controlling himself at a full moon for starters – but also, and possibly more importantly, not pissing off any vampires by the name of Salvatore. I hope Caroline told him what she is in that scene where we cut away just as she looked like she might – he really needs to know that. Firstly, Caroline has recently gone through a similar learning experience and I think Tyler needs to feel someone else is in a similar situation to be able to deal with this (or to want to – I can see him going into denial and not even trying to restrain himself if he believed no-one knew). Secondly, since I don’t want Tyler dead within an episode, he needs to know about vampires. He needs to know he’ll automatically try to kill them, even above humans – and that he can. He also needs to know that if he tries it, even once unintentionally, Damon will not be forgiving. I am uncertain whether he needs to know that Damon actually killed Mason – it might be best for him to find out as soon as possible, but on the other hand I don’t want that silly unending feud to just carry straight on. If it does, then Mason’s death doesn’t really serve any useful purpose, and I’d rather it did. I’d also rather that it rebound on Damon at some point, which is I think why I’d like Tyler to find out later rather than sooner, when he may actually be able to enact some better revenge on Damon than just ‘try to kill him and die.’
Speaking of dying, bye-bye Sarah and Aimee (whose names I had only just learned to remember and spell, respectively). Sarah was clearly cannon fodder from the start, but I’ll admit to being a little sad that Aimee is gone. She seemed to have a little bit of character, her interactions with Matt and Tyler were quite nice, she was non-white and a non-witch, which is unheard of on this show, and she was a non-supernatural character on a show that could use one or two more of them just to balance things out a little. But she’s dead, and much as her death was awesomely executed by Katherine in one of the scarier moments she’s had on-screen, I’m a little sad. I’ll admit I’m mostly not sad for Aimee – I’m sad for Matt. Matt is an adorable character who they need to keep around, but he is the only named teenage character left with no knowledge of things that go bump in the night, his only friends appear to be a) a werewolf b) a vampire or c) a vampire doppelganger with vampire boyfriend(s), and he needs something better to do than just be ignored by all of them. I don’t know if I want him to find out about the supernatural side of Mystic Falls – he’s adorably normal – but then so was Caroline, and look how well that’s turned out. I could actually see Matt becoming a mini-Alaric far more successfully than Jeremy, whose Gilbert family history and slight hero-worship of Damon confuse the issue somewhat. Obviously if Caroline and Tyler start spending any sort of time together as part of Tyler’s supernatural education, Matt’s going to be right in the middle of an unintended jealousy triangle (and this episode seemed to hint he and Elena may create one with Stefan as well), but I’d like him to get meatier storylines than just teen angst if it’s possible.
Tallking of love triangles, then, brings us on to the A-plot. Which involved, as so many good things do, people stuck in a room with each other. Or, indeed, stuck in a group with each other, when that group is the Non-Judging Killing Katherine Club. Bonnie finally got to both explain and confront her problems with being stuck in the middle of supernatural feuds going on around her. I’m glad that she managed to do so in a way which was more than just her Grams’ complaint of witches getting sucked into vampire troubles, and make it more of a broad concern about having to pick sides or at the very least try to arbitrate between different supernatural factions. It makes me more forgiving of her ‘judgy’ attitude if she doesn’t really want to be taking that role but feels she has to because someone should and she’s the only one who can. I also feel that this was an episode where she absolutely did the right thing in coming on board with the Salvatores, but she retained enough distance from it to be able to step back from them again, not get sucked in like Elena or Jeremy. It probably won’t last that I like her for more than two episodes, but at least I have been reminded that she can be interesting and even sympathetic when she gets a little more screentime.
Why do I keep finding tangents to take me away from discussing the Stefan and Damon stuff? I don’t know. I think it’s because, good as several of their scenes were, this was an episode of reinforcing all the relationships in that triangle and cementing their current status. There was no real forward motion to the character arcs – Katherine revealed no more of her plans, Stefan worked out a few things the audience had already guessed and Damon snarked muchly. Perhaps the most interesting thing came from Stefan and Damon trying to bolster each other’s determination to kill Katherine, with both of them worried about each other’s commitment to actually doing it when push came to shove. And perhaps that was justified, given that she doesn’t end up dead, but it fascinated me that they both aired those concerns and yet also were willing to trust each other once they’d done so. Stefan takes Damon at his word that he won’t hesitate, even though the over-defensiveness of the statement screams otherwise. Even more interestingly, perhaps, Damon sincerely tells him that “I’ve got your back” and Stefan seems actually reassured by that. There’s no indication as they fight Katherine together that either of them is hanging back, and I guess I am just loving how believable and effective they are as brothers. Sooner or later I am sure something will come along to turn them against each other again, but I am glad the writers are giving us this exposure to the bedrock of their relationship such that that inevitable breakdown will mean a lot more than if it was just an accepted reversion back to their original status quo. Either way, their united front here probably thwarted Katherine more effectively than their violence did (though admittedly less than a pissed-off witch, which is why you shouldn’t piss off witches).
And so… I have sort of found a unifying theme. Perhaps there is something to be said for being trapped in situations you wish you could get out of, whether that is becoming a werewolf, being stuck in the middle of vampires waging war, being stuck in a room with your psychotic ex, being stuck in a love triangle that you can’t defuse, or being stuck in a tomb for eternity. Your true colours start to emerge, and you drop the masquerade to reveal what you really are.
(Hurray! Not just a theme, but one that ties into the episode title too. I’m so awesome at this. Heh.)