A lot happens in the space of two days and nights in Mystic Falls, doesn’t it? A special science-fiction (kinda) double feature here since I was too lazy to write up last week’s episode in a reasonable timespan.
And when I say ‘lazy,’ I mostly mean ‘distracted by the shiny.’ It’s true that I’ve been too busy/tired for blogging recently anyway, but it’s also the case that Damon’s latest round of melting down has had me forcing friends to catch up with me in their viewing and then emailing them rambling incoherent thoughts which would not be best suited for public display. Ahem. So now I’ve had a bit of time to collect my thoughts – and to remember that some other things happened in these episodes too – let’s get down to business. Messy, bloody, wolf-ridden business.
I guess I have to start with Damon, because when it comes to arcs it’s either him or Tyler and Tyler is more directly involved with everything else going on in these episodes, so it makes sense to discuss his character in context. Damon, on the other hand, is very much off on his own little backburner character arc which is taking him somewhere uncertain while everybody is focused on other things assuming that Damon is mostly stable and doesn’t need watching any more. Stefan even thinks that needling Damon about his feelings for Rose will be somehow helpful – why is it that Stefan can never accept any good action or emotion from Damon without adding an overtone of ‘now wouldn’t it be better if you were like this all the time?’ It doesn’t seem to help. On the other hand, maybe after a century and a half he knows his brother better than, say, Alaric, who seems to be the only one paying attention to Damon’s new girlfriend’s sudden scarf addiction but doesn’t even seem shocked by the idea that Damon might be eating people again. Which, I suppose, he shouldn’t be. Alaric doesn’t know a lot of what’s been going on with Damon over the last season or so, and he became friends with him despite knowing he killed people for the hell of it, so he wouldn’t see this as a relapse or as anything unusual – just Damon being Damon. On the other hand, his weary plea for Damon not to complicate his own life any further by killing a friend of Jenna’s might actually carry more weight than Stefan or Elena’s holier-than-thou approaches. On the other other hand, since I don’t expect the pretty new character with very few lines to outlive another episode or so, perhaps not. But I was pleasantly surprised that Damon hadn’t actually killed her at the end of Daddy Issues, which I thought he had. Interesting that he would tell her how much he likes killing but then not actually kill her, especially since that ‘I like to kill people’ rang false against his ‘I miss being human’ from an episode earlier. Pick a side, Damon. That’s what this is about, isn’t it? He actually looked conflicted/confused about having killed when watching the news, even if just for a second – and that is something new for him. But I also think he wants to be found out, wants to be punished or judged or… something. He let the dead girl’s body be found, and if him snacking on Andie is obvious to Alaric it’d definitely be obvious to Stefan or Elena (or Caroline!) if they were looking his way. But they’re not. And he’s trying to get their attention but I don’t honestly know whether they’ll react the way he wants/needs when he finally does. I am reasonably certain that Elena, at least, is in the wrong place to help him with this.
Maybe Elijah could help him with his problems over a nice cup of tea. Dear goodness, Daniel Gillies and Ian Somerhalder have some amazing chemistry. Every scene with them in Crying Wolf was excellent, partly because it’s always fun to see Damon at a disadvantage but mostly because you can see that he can’t help but admire Elijah’s style. Heh. (But not his hair. Alaric, are you blind?) I’m not sure exactly whether Elijah was trying to build a bond with his comment about how many times he’s now saved Damon’s life, but I am fairly sure that slash fanfic is now blossoming out of every corner of the internet…
In the grander scheme of things, I’m also still not sure exactly what Elijah’s plan is. At all. Per Luka’s version, he wants Klaus to break the curse because that will weaken Klaus and make it possible to kill him. Which makes it sound like Elijah cares less about the curse being broken and more about Klaus being weakened. But why would he be? What we know of spells on this show implies that the ones casting the spell are weakened – but we know Klaus is not a witch/manwitch/vampwitch since he’s apparently enslaving other witches to work for him. So does that mean Klaus is involved in the spell somehow? I guess the sacrifices are pretty drained by it too… (*cackle at own terrible pun*). So, maybe the person who breaks the curse gains something additional from it which would be a powerful enough lure for Klaus to involve himself? Or maybe he was involved in the original curse being laid and therefore has to be involved in the undoing? Or… there’s something here we don’t know, something major. There has to be. There’s still been no sufficient explanation as to why Originals would want to level the vampire playing field and allow daylight competition for meals, just to ensure that werewolves can never break the curse. (And if that’s all they wanted to do, surely they’d just destroy the moonstone.)
I’m inclined, right now, to think that Elijah is objectively speaking a good guy. He wants Klaus dead, and everything we know about Klaus says that’s probably not a bad idea. He appears to work in partnership with Luka and his father rather than forcing them with coercion and bribery a la Klaus or Katherine. Talking of Katherine, the only way in which I can see that John is ‘working on it’ to get her out of the tomb is that he provided Damon a way to kill Elijah. One assumes that if a vampire dies, a compulsee is freed? John definitely isn’t doing anything to convince Elijah to let her out. So that puts Elijah on the opposite side of the battle to both Klaus and Katherine – both of whom, we know, want Elena dead and the curse broken for their own ends. I’d say it’s not the craziest idea to assume Elijah might be, by and large, on the side of good. (Albeit the side of good that is willing to accept the occasional human sacrifice as necessary in the grand scheme of things. I think Elijah would have fitted right in on Angel…)
The werewolves, however, seem to be an annoyance to everyone except Katherine, who did her best to keep one around (and forced both Mason and Tyler to turn, and we still don’t know why. If you need them for the sacrifice, why not wait until you’ve got everything lined up for it, rather than land yourself with a boyfriend who could accidentally kill you once a month?). They certainly annoyed me. Jules was interesting for being a less easily-defeated werewolf, nearly equal to our vampires in strength and agility even without a full moon (and making up the difference with lots of gadgets), but as a character she still leaves me completely cold. Somebody kill her, please. Brady was a ridiculously cartoonish villain and was disposed of as easily as he was introduced – with even Tyler apparently being unbothered by Stefan ripping his heart out? What? I did find myself entertained by one-episode-only hat-wolf, though, whose crowning moment came when he tried to hide from Elijah underneath his own jacket. Way to regress to the ‘dog’ side of your personality at entirely the wrong moment there, dude. Bwaha.
Tyler himself, though… sigh. I had really liked his arc this season so far, but for the sake of the plot in these last two episodes they sacrificed a lot of his integrity and loyalty – which was honestly about the only thing he had going for him in the first place. He switched sides more frequently than the Salvatore brothers change their shirts, and I ended up relieved he left town in the end, because I just didn’t want the show doing any more immediate damage to his character. I hope he can return and be awesome to watch again, but I’m not at all averse to a break from Lockwood drama right now. That said, his betrayal brought out the absolute awesomest in Caroline. I keep thinking that they can’t make me love Caroline any more, that the new amazing thing she did is surely the best it can get, and they keep proving me wrong. She suffered through torture and betrayal as stoically and wonderfully as either Salvatore ever has, and she was able to be comforted by a girly slumber party afterwards. 24 hours later she’s busy prodding her friends into hooking up, and trying to rescue her own complicated love life. She’s a supergirl-vampire and I love her.
Elena, on the other hand, is trying to be strong and stoic but nobody wants to let her be. Again. I’m glad she’s smart enough that she noticed Elijah’s careful phrasing the same as we all did, but if we’re returning to the argument of who’s allowed to save whom I hope it goes somewhere interesting this time. For the record, I think they’re all right to fight to stop each other trying to die for them, but Stefan veers dangerously close to ‘you’re a damsel and I must protect you’ territory at times and it annoys me that Elena doesn’t seem willing to have that argument. (Though, er, personal disclaimer, having that argument can definitely break up a relationship. Not that I have experience of anything at all like that. *cough*) I just don’t think Stefan’s justification that he’s older than her so he’s allowed to sacrifice himself carries any weight at all. I’d like to see more exploration of the divide between them on issues like this – remember when Elena said she felt good about fighting back? Way back in the episode with the 50s dance and dumbo hoodie vampire? And Stefan’s only response was that she shouldn’t have to. Well, Stefan, if you’re caught up in a mess like Elena’s life, you absolutely should fight it. I hope she does.
As you can probably tell from the rambling above, I have no particularly coherent thoughts on the overall themes of these episodes, other than that they were a lot of fun and restored the sense of purpose which I was finding a little missing in the January episodes. That’s definitely good. It’s especially good that they can do that whilst essentially only setting the scene for the rest of the story still to play out in the remaining episodes of this season – no major game-changing events actually happened here, but still the plot rolled on. And Elijah and Damon snarked beautifully together. Let’s not forget that.
– while I’m on that topic, who/what is Elijah eating? No additional corpses in town, and the show seems to be trying to keep him sympathetic at the moment by not showing a compelled landlady a la Katherine or a human suckee for Elijah to snack on. Blood bags don’t seem classy enough for him, though. Maybe Originals can survive on tea?
– I found it absolutely hysterical how Stefan broke off his make-out session with Elena because he’d noticed that the wall was hollow. Stefan’s sudden mood shifts are one of my favourite parts of the character, something unpredictable and slightly inhuman that Paul Wesley plays very well, and this was a lighter version of those times when Stefan goes from homicidal to curious in the blink of an eye.
– Bonnie: mind-raping your wannabe boyfriends now, even when they beg you not to because it could sign their death sentence? Nice. Embrace that grey on grey morality. No wonder Jeremy likes you…
– John planting doubt in Jenna’s mind about Alaric: oooh. Oooh. Not unwarranted, as Alaric is keeping some pretty big secrets from her, but not cool, John. I hope it backfires on you somehow. But mostly I’m just excited because I would love our remaining human characters to be drawn into the web of vampire lies and deceit. I’d have preferred Matt, but I’ll settle for Jenna if I have to.
– I love how frequently people call other people dicks on this show. When did that stop being a serious swearword?
– More Alaric and Damon please. Always. I’ll admit to being a sucker for the look of relief on Damon’s face when he realised Alaric was wearing his ring – only a season ago, Damon, you were killing him yourself. Also, Alaric’s little round-in-a-circle walk outside the front door as a reaction to seeing Damon and Andie was pitch-perfect. Hee.
– And I found it hard to think of a title for this that hadn’t already been used by someone on other recap/review sites as a wolf-related pun, so you can imagine how pleased I was when I remembered this line from Sondheim’s Into The Woods, which is sung by the Big Bad Wolf in that musical but could be Damon’s thoughts verbatim as well. 🙂