Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's All A Matter of Trust - "The Dinner Party"

Elena reading journal flashback -
Elena is beyond surprised at what she learns from the journal. Apparently Stefan took out Honoraria Fell, Thomas ____ (Fell?), and the original Jonathan Gilbert. Jonathan already had his ring of anti-death at this point. Wonder if that’s why the Salvatores don’t get invited to the Founding Family stuff anymore (“Family Ties” reference)?

Stefan at the dock -
Stefan pensively looks back at Elena reading in the lakehouse. He knows she’s reading a Gilbert journal. Does he know what she’ll find?

His phone rings....Damon’s calling. One of this episode’s strengths is the way it looks at the relationship between the brothers. Stefan continues to watch Elena (is he judging her reaction?) while Damon brings him up to speed on his plan. (Just have to take a moment - Damon and I have the same phone - that is all.) I’ve seen a lot of comments scattered about Damon’s irresponsible plan. I do think we need to point out that Stefan is very much aware of what Damon’s planning to do. He only reminds Damon to be careful, though, he doesn’t try to talk him out of attempting to kill Elijah. He might not have been one to formulate the plan, but Stefan doesn’t disagree with what Damon’s about to do.

Jenna, Elijah, and Alaric -
This seems very random, but I believe this info about the witches coming to town earlier than the Founding Families will prove to be really important the the second half of the season. The werewolf chapter may be over, but the witch chapter is just beginning.

Love the interaction between Ric and Elijah here. Elijah points out to Ric that he’s on Elena’s list. Elijah’s so at ease with who he is...I’m really going to hate losing him.

Bonnie/Jeremy ... I don’t “do” witch stuff. This might be a long series of episodes for me.

Elena/Stefan -
Elena practically jumps out of her chair when Stefan comes in. You can cut the tension in the room with a knife. Stefan’s still angry about what he’s learned about Elena’s deal with Klaus. Elena’s equally upset, but she’s reacting to the information she’s learned from the journals.

It is interesting that Stefan has waited until this point to fill her in on “his side” of the story. Elena is so disappointed here. I think she’d assumed that Stefan had already filled her in on the truly important details of his life. Yes, she knew he had done some things he regretted - he hasn’t always been a non-HB vampire, but I don’t think she realized that he’d known the people he’d killed.

If he’d truly only wanted her to hear the story from him, why did he wait until she brought it up after reading the journal? My POV - I think he was waiting to see if he’d been mentioned in the journals. If he hadn’t been mentioned, I don’t think Elena would have ever gotten this section of the story. His wording was interesting here - “We were angry at the founding families....” Only one brother seemed to be eating them. One fact that really shows the depths that Stefan has descended to - he’s killing the people he’s known all his life - not just random people.

The brothers’ roles are reversed here. Stefan is killing with abandon. Damon is the brother trying to take the morally correct path - telling the girls to run and not think of the place again. I hope we get to see the moment that Damon shatters at some point. He’s still a reluctant vampire here. How does he become the monster we see in the pilot episode?

Back to the lakehouse -
Elena compares early Stefan to Damon. I DON’T think she means the “current” version of Damon. She’s using past tense here to describe Stefan, but I think she’s also going with the Pilot Version of Damon in her comparison. A year hasn’t passed in Mystic Falls since the opening of the series (or at least I can’t tell that a year has gone by). The “monster” Damon is still fresh in her mind. Yes, she’s aware how much he’s changed - we saw that in “Daddy Issues.” She wouldn’t still think of him now as the monster Stefan is describing.

Interesting that Stefan describes himself as “worse” than Damon. Stefan killed friends - people he knew all his life until that point.

Mystic Grill -

Alaric is having jealousy issues with Elijah’s relationship with Jenna. Interesting how far his relationship has come with Damon. He’s sitting there with the compelled Andie and Damon - he mentions it is weird, but he doesn’t say it is wrong.

I can’t help but wonder if Damon had already compelled her to suggest a dinner party if Elijah happened to show up.

The Tomb -
I had to laugh at Damon bringing Katherine a change of clothes. He thinks he knows her so well. Sadly, she knows him even better....

Her word choice is so specific here. Damon “can’t do it.” It would be a “suicide mission.” I haven’t figured out if Kat knew Damon would die if he used the stake. (I’m holding out for no - I think she has a plan for the brothers, but she almost seems to be trying to give Damon a message here. I truly don’t know if she was aware he’d die. If she’s getting part of her information from Uncle John - and the Gilbert journals - I can see where he might have kept that little piece of information to himself.)

Jenna will later mention what seems to be the “theme” for this episode - trust. If Damon is the heart of the series (and if he’s not, we wouldn’t always go “visit” him during every episode since the true main character is Elena), this episode highlights what is one of Damon’s big personality traits.

If everything is magnified when someone becomes a vampire, Damon’s rash decision making isn’t his only “big” trait. Damon is also EXTREMELY trusting. He might fight it, but blindly trusting people is a part of who he is.
- He truly believed Katherine loved him - despite watching her interact with Stefan.
- He doesn’t question Katherine’s fear of being stuck locked in the tomb.
Elena and Stefan have both said they don’t trust UJ. Damon believes UJ is there to protect Elena, and he doesn’t question why UJ gave HIM the dagger.
Elena was able to “play” Damon so early in the season to find out about “the ring” issue.

Back to lakehouse -
If Damon’s trusting, Elena’s forgiving.....
Elena’s really, really calm now. I’ll admit that I find her perspective on the whole “Stefan used to be really bad” kind of questionable. It is nice to see Lexi again, though.

Dinner Party -

Please don’t let a John/Jenna/Alaric triangle happen. There are too many triangles (or wanna be triangles) going already.

Love the fact that Andie makes the “Damon tells me everything” comment. Honestly, he really does. He just then compels her to forget what he told her.

Alaric seems to realize that something’s off with the dinner party. He’s been around Damon long enough to know that Damon has to have another motive for the party. He is trying to minimize the risk to Jenna and Andie, though. He’s planning on Andie keeping Jenna out of harm’s way.

Gilbert house - sorry, more witch stuff...

Elijah’s entry -
I have to stop and comment here because it ties in with the question I’ve seen raised about whether or not Damon was on Elena’s list. Every person in that house (except for Andie) is on Elena’s list. And yet, Elijah says he’ll kill them all if there’s any plan to hurt him that night. Elijah was very careful with his wording in his deal with Elena. His witches would protect the friends from the werewolves and Klaus. He never said a word about not hurting the friends and family himself. (Elena seems to realize this later during her re-negotiations.) He can make the comment about keeping Damon alive because he’s useful because HE hasn’t chosen to kill Damon yet either... He’s already injured Damon once. Elijah’s actions weren’t part of the deal - even though he does have to follow through and keep Damon safe when he’s threatened by the werewolves.

Dinner party again -

Elijah’s giving us more info on the plot for the rest of season 2. Book nerd moment - I love the idea of ghosts - thanks Uncle John. I’m sure Damon DOES know the location of these witch burnings. I think he talked more with Emily than we know about. Andie may very well prove helpful for the next little while - she probably has killer research skills.

Back at the lakehouse - again

Elena’s doing some more reading. Uncle John is trying to off Elijah and Damon at the same time. Now we know why UJ showed up at the party - he doesn’t want to miss the show.

Elena doesn’t look pleased that Stefan left her out of the loop again.

Dinner party -
Alaric and UJ - the person who once slept with Jenna and Isobel (and IS Elena’s dad) is facing off with the person who was married to Isobel, IS sleeping with Jenna (and acts like Elena’s dad). The writer in me loves the irony here.

Damon and Elijah are having a moment in the study/library. I think Damon could actually be helpful here. He knows more about the witches than he’s letting on. Way to go Alaric - glad you answered your phone so that Damon didn’t end up dead.

John/Damon/Elijah - Elijah’s comments confuse me a little bit here. Elijah is a man of his word, but does he only consider other vampires worthy of making a real agreement with. I know people have picked up on the “I only allow you to live” comment to Damon, but what about the “I let Elena live here as a courtesy” statement. He’d also said that when she made the agreement that she’d be allowed to go on living her normal life. I think he left his own actions out of the agreement. (Yes, I kind of contradicted myself here, but Elena’s agreement - and who/what is covered confuses me.) I totally believe that Damon’s on her “friends and family plan” since Tyler seemed to be as well.

Go Alaric! Really, words can’t describe how proud of him I was at that moment. He’s well aware of the threat to Elena. He also is afraid for Jenna, since she’s spending so much time with Elijah. He’s eliminating the threat when he has the opportunity to do so. (And yes, I love Damon’s surprised expression here.) Too bad Elena hadn’t had the chance to read on before this point.

Lakehouse part 4

I really do love annoyed Elena. In fact, I’m going to say she’s beyond annoyed and is outright mad. Yes, I realize she’s lumping Damon in with Stefan on the “lie to me” thing. I think she’s angry at the plan Damon set in motion that Stefan didn’t tell her about. She’s treating them as a unit here because they were working together in a way.

Yes, Elena, yes...I think Stefan was trying to distract you here - but not from what you think. Stefan is telling you the story to distract you from how angry you were at him that he didn’t tell you about his past with Mystic Falls before.

Lexi and Stefan -
I love this section of the flashback because it mirrors Stefan’s “in the woods” conversation with Caroline.

Back to the present -

Stefan wants Elena to fight for her life just like he fought for his humanity. I understand - I totally don’t want to lose Elena as a character. I adore her. Even though they’re not yelling at each other at this point, their relationship is clearly not back to normal. He kisses her head, and she doesn’t meet his eyes. When he walks away, tears are forming in her eyes, but I can’t really decide if they’re from frustration, confusion, or something else.

Salvatore dungeon -

Damon’s trying to make light of the fact he lied to Alaric. Alaric grabs his arm and challenges him. They truly are friends. Alaric isn’t afraid of Damon here. I love seeing them together.

Elena’s reading again -

Boy, that paragraph would have been so important about 30 minutes earlier. Once again, Stefan is truly freaked out at what’s potentially about to happen to Damon. (Also, I think it is interesting that Elijah didn’t immediately kill everyone at dinner party, despite what he told Damon. His priority is getting Elena into his hands.)

More witchy stuff, but this is actually really pretty important. Jonah shows up...throws Jeremy against the wall, and takes Bonnie’s powers. I think this is a big deal that it happens AFTER the agreement has apparently been violated. Jonah is now free to deal with people on Elena’s list....

Elijah visits the lakehouse
Elena’s proving to be a very good liar. Even though she’s desperately trying to renegotiate, she knows her plan is just to get close enough to stake him. (In her renegotiation, I think she’s adding some things in here. She wants him to honor his original agreement but also is adding the clause that HE won’t harm anyone on the list. I don’t think he was part of the original plan.)

Elena remembers her conversation with Katherine a little too well - she does the stomach stab - which is very effective, but not immediately fatal. Once she has his word, she seizes her opportunity. (I can’t help but wonder if the deal’s still in place after he’s unstaked...come on, you know that’s coming. She was very clear about not harming anyone who’s tried to hurt him.)

Elena stakes Elijah (the only part of the episode that surprised my husband). The plan works much more effectively when Elena’s actually “in” on what’s going on. No, Stefan didn’t vamp out when Elena was bleeding everywhere. He was totally freaked out by how close Elena came to dying. (Interesting that they’ve now had Elena voice the idea of turning herself as a way of defeating the curse.) There is also no make-out scene here. Stefan is holding Elena, but that’s to give her support since she was just almost passed out on the ground.

Gilbert house -
PLEASE someone let Jenna in on what’s going on. (Personally, I’m hoping that person is Isobel who clues her in....)

No! Alaric must not give up the ring. I can’t wait to see what Damon and Isobel think about Alaric being ring-less. I don’t think either of them want Alaric unprotected.

Salvatore dungeon
Elena wants to be in charge. Must be a Petrova thing. Stefan wraps his arm around her, but in the next shot, she’s pulled away. She may have decided to fight like Stefan wanted, but I don’t think their issues are over.

I hate this next section, although I think it is realistic. It hasn’t been that long since Damon killed Lexi - at least not in show time. They haven’t really dealt with the issue.

I wish Stefan knew that Damon asked Lexi to help Stefan. The brothers were too much at odds with each other for Lexi to try to work with Damon too. Damon made the choice to separate himself from Stefan. His issues weren’t about control, though, he seems to have been doing alright with that. He’s still dealing with the issue that Katherine turned Stefan as well. He wasn’t prepared for that.

Damon’s bathroom

As much as I hate the fact that Damon got played by Katherine, I love the fact that she knows the brothers so well. She knew Damon would trust her - his desire to protect Elena and kill Elijah would keep him from questioning anything she said.

She knows Stefan just as well. At some point, he’s going to trip up. Those feelings for Katherine are there - and they’re very, very real. I want Elena to see Stefan interacting with Katherine.

I have no problem with the fact that Katherine knew Elijah compelled her. He didn’t take the memories away. He just told her to “stay.”

I know there wasn’t a lot of DE in this episode, but I still really enjoyed it. I think Katherine will prove to be SE’s downfall. If Isobel is able to help them defeat Klaus, Stefan will have to deal with the fact that Katherine told him the truth in the tomb. That will have an impact on him - whether or not he wants to deal with it is another story. Elena will have to sort out the fact that Stefan, despite all the times he told Elena that Katherine is a liar, actually trusted Katherine enough that he did what she told him to.

I’m still content to look at the long story arc. KW described Damon’s journey to be a 100 episode arc. TVD is very much Damon’s story just as much as it is Elena’s. It is slow for us (but not when you look at time passing in Mystic Falls).

This week’s episode all boiled down to trust:
Jenna doesn’t think she can trust Alaric.
Damon trusted both John and Katherine.
And the million dollar question...has Stefan broken Elena’s trust? Yes, she listened to him. Yes, she was disturbed by Lexi’s loss. But will she remember what he DIDN’T tell her after their “no more secrets” discussion from last season? While it may not have come into play this week, I think we’ve seen another hint at what will eventually break Stefan and Elena apart. He trusted Katherine enough to go find Isobel. He didn’t trust Elena enough to think she could handle his past.

I liked this episode, but that’s mainly for what’s been set in motion for the future.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad I wasn't the only one that noticed that Stefan got caught in a red handed lie and he doesn't even know it. At least Elena knows that Damon will tell her the truth no matter what and we have seen that even the one time he did lie to her he felt bad about it and than told her truth. I so want to see what trouble Katherine will bring to S/E since I so believe he is lying to himself and is still in love with her. I blame Stefan for not telling Elena what was going on because I don't think Damon would have kept that from her. Plus she knew Damon wasn't going to stop until she was safe even if she will not admit it to herself. I also love how they save each other without even trying it just comes naturally to them. I love your recaps, and going to read more of them now.