I ended up having to trash my original review, because my “timeline-style” wasn’t working for this episode. Instead I’ve gone with a relationship-based outline for this episode. I think it worked better this way (at least for me). I do have a few general comments at the end that didn’t really tie into the rest of the review very well.
Jules - I have to say that this opening scene was really unexpected. We’ve seen Mason as he tried to control himself, but she is totally not bothered at what she’s done overnight. (I’d be interested to find out if allowing herself to roam is her normal style or if she just did that to try to bite Damon.) I think because of the coolness that she killed the police officer, that’s her normal full moon style.
Elena and Stefan - If I had to pick a single scene that felt out of place in this episode, this was it. From the “good morning” (Really, is it morning? In just a few minutes, we’ll see Jules eating salad at the Grill...and Alaric’s drinking....I think it is much later in the day.) to Elena’s “I don’t want us to ever be apart” to the fact that Elena’s even out of her house, this section feels like a couple of days have passed post-Stefan-gets out of the tomb rather than the hours we discover during the Tyler/Caroline scene.
I don’t think Elena’s the “I don’t want us to be apart” kind of girl (this hints to a book scene in my opinion, but I don’t see Elena as clingy as book Elena was) - especially since they still have a lot of issues to work through. Also, when did they discuss all the Elijah compelling, Elena’s deal, the plan to drink vervain? Maybe they had a really long night and that’s why Stefan just called it morning? Who knows....
I think this whole scene exists to show the conflict between Elena and Stefan and his plan to go find Isobel. I wish they hadn’t rushed past it, but Stefan is TRUSTING KATHERINE HERE. After all the times he’s called her a liar and manipulative and told EVERYONE (including Damon and Elena) not to trust her...he is. That’s HUGE. I hope the writers build on this. (I know I did in my fanfic.)
Alaric and Stefan - Not too much to say here except for the fact that it is clear that Alaric is becomingly increasingly close to Elena. Even if he doesn’t want to, he’s becoming more fatherly to her. He wouldn’t look for Isobel’s number to help Rose, but when Stefan mentioned Elena, Alaric couldn’t say no. I can’t help but wonder if that will make things easier or harder when working with Uncle John....
Tyler/Caroline/Matt - My husband said it best...this trio was in this episode to break up the tension. Each scene was just long enough to give us a break from the sheer terror of Elena trying to escape Rose’s dementia (or the utter bleakness of later in the episode) before ending in some type of sweet or funny line. (I do have to say thank you to the writers, though, for giving us the “morning after” scene since it helped me keep my timeline straight.)
Elena and Rose - Rose hit this one on the head. Why is Elena being so nice to Rose? (Elena said it was because she was human.) That’s not why. Elena’s being nice to Rose because Rose is important to Damon. Right now, Elena may have misinterpreted Rose’s importance to Damon, but Damon asked her to take care of his friend...so she is. And, at her core, Elena’s a generally nice person. She wants to help. She has good intentions - even when they’re missing the point.
I like the fact that Rose is also challenging Elena here. Rose has pushed Damon to come to terms with the fact that he’s in love with Elena. I wish we’d had the “it’s ok to love them both,” but I think it may still be too early for that. Right now, the issue at the top of Elena’s issue list is the fact that she is prepared to sacrifice herself for everyone else (although she seems to think that once she’s bait, she’s going to be able to walk away unscathed...I’m thinking that’s a really bad assumption on her part). Rose is pushing Elena to fight - both for her life and her humanity.
Elena, Damon, and Rose - Watching the three “people” interact has given Elena a new insight on Damon and vice versa. Damon watched Elena reach out to someone she should be angry at in order to ease her pain. Elena saw a side of Damon that he desperately wanted to hide (so much so he made her leave at the end). She also heard some incredibly important words. “You went on a killing spree - it happens.” (Yes, I messed up the quote, but you remember the line.) That’s a fact of being a vampire. No matter how careful, how much they DON’T want to kill, sometimes it is going to happen. She’s seen the brutality of Katherine and Damon early in the series. If Damon and Bonnie hadn’t stepped in, Aimee Bradley would be dead as well due to Stefan’s actions. Vampires kill - especially when they’re out of control. (I hope Elena is able to remember this when she’s dealing with the implications of Damon’s actions.)
I wish we were able to see the conversation between Elena and Damon when she told him about Rose’s home. Somehow, I think she might have been nervously prattling on when they were on their way to the high school..but I don’t know.
When Damon made Elena leave, I truly believe she knew what he was about to do - that’s why she came back to check on him.
Damon/Rose - Wow. I’ll admit that the level of emotion Damon was dealing with confused me at first, but then I stopped to think about it. Rose really did seem to be Damon’s friend. She’d told him she’d help him protect Elena. In some odd way, she could see Damon as he truly was when so many others couldn’t. If she’d lived, I think she could have truly been his Lexi.
He felt guilty for her situation. His actions with Mason - and his carelessness with his words now had dire consequences for Rose (just like they did with Jenna).
He hated to see her suffering. She pleaded with him to make it stop (or something like that), my mind still blocks out some of those scenes. I think this shows the sweet, compassionate Damon that Katherine knew. When the time came, and he couldn’t stand by and watch Rose suffer any longer, he couldn’t let Elena see him at his most vulnerable. He was protecting both of them at that moment - not making Elena watch as Rose died but not letting her see his truest self....the one that he doesn’t like to admit exists because it causes him too much pain.
When Damon came back to discover Elena in the house, I like the fact she already had his drink ready for him. She knew he’d be having trouble dealing with the situation. Just like she was the one to get through to him in the tomb, his words seemed to be the only ones who’ve gotten through to her on the “sacrifice” issue. She constantly calls him on “giving up,” but he told her that’s what she was doing as well. For the first time, I think a hint of that began to sink in.
She was reaching out to him, but he’d already gone far beyond his emotional capacity for the evening. I think she almost kissed his cheek but caught herself in time.
Damon alone: Watching him break down in front of the random girl was heart-wrenching. For so many years, he was a monster because that was the antithesis of being human - his biggest regret. Now he’s trapped - he’s let people he cares about into his life. Potentially losing Elena (as in...she dies, not that she’s truly his to lose) is shaking him to his very core. He’s willing to make the biggest sacrifice - not acting on his feelings for her - because it would weaken his alliance with his brother and make her even more vulnerable.
-Elena must have talked with Bonnie at some point before arriving at the Salvatore house. She knows about Bonnie and Luka potentially breaking the moonstone curse. She’s smart enough not to believe it happened. (And, Bonnie had to let her leave the house.)
-Here’s my biggest area of speculation. Who did Elena call when Rose was freaking her out? My theory - Stefan.
If Damon had realized Elena was freaked out, he would have gone home. When he arrived, he seemed surprised that anything was out of the ordinary. She couldn’t have called him.
When Damon and Elena were at the school trying to find out-of-control Rose, Elena’s still trying to reach Stefan. She’s confused as to why he isn’t calling her back. She thinks something may have gone wrong while he’s looking for Isobel.
And then Elena goes home...fresh off what is probably one of the most emotional days she’s had since her parents died...and there’s Stefan. He hadn’t returned her calls. She needed him, and he ignored her.
She’s concerned about Damon and Rose. She KNOWS what Damon’s doing right now, and she’s worried that he’s there alone. And what has Stefan done? Brought home her dad - totally not the person she wants to see.
Well, that’s it. If you made it this long, congratulations!