Friday, April 29, 2011

The Last Day

Meandering Moments......

This is going to be a recap like no other. I have about 30 minutes to write it. I’ve watched it twice. I’m just hitting the highlights (or...lowlights) in no real particular order. This episode had too many really “big” scenes to let it fall victim to my out of town trip.

Let’s go!

Team Blood and Beer! Oh my goodness - I never realized how much I missed their interaction. From the fact that Alaric felt comfortable enough with Damon that he went in to break up the fight between the brothers to when he asked Damon just what he needed him to do in the bar...this pairing is total greatness. If something happens to Alaric during the sacrifice (or as a result of Jenna’s new status), I’ll likely be wearing black for a week.

Let’s take a nature walk! I know a lot of people have issues with this section of scenes (and the way Elena spent her “last” day), but I’ll admit that it actually worked for me. That’s probably because it ended with one of my favorite scenes...ever....on this show.

First up, at first I wondered why Elena wasn’t spending more time with her family. Then I realized that’s because she knows she’s not really about to die. She’s about to turn. She’ll see everyone again - just in a different light. Jenna’s aware of what just happened to Elena. She may be in shock, but her niece is now not going to die as a result of the sacrifice, but she is going to be facing a major life change. Jeremy and John don’t count because they don’t seem to be in this episode.

Elena needed some time away to process what was going on. She didn’t need to be in the boardinghouse where Damon, Elijah, and who knows who else might be listening in to her talking through what was happening. A nature walk is as good a way as any to give her some time to think.

And she did.

If I could have her speech framed, I would. It was so very Elena. It showed the whole depth of conflict she’s been through - not only now, knowing that her human life was coming to a close - but “the box” that she didn’t want to open back at the lakehouse has apparently been cracked open. She knows she had no intention of becoming a vampire - not yet. She wanted the picket fence and kids on the lawn...or at least the option of that choice.

Very telling, she admits that she doesn’t know if Stefan is her “forever.” She knows she’s too young for those type of decisions. She wanted the chance to grow up.

Mind games!
When Damon realizes the implications of his actions and begins to try to correct them, he’s ready to collect on the debt Katherine owes.

If she doesn’t play ball, she’s going to have to share Stefan with Elena...forever. That’s enough to get her talking. If Katherine’s ever loved anyone other than her family, I believe it’s Stefan.

Shared regrets...
Damon comes from his room, nursing his wounds. Elijah’s there packing up his questionable elixir. I found it delightfully interesting that it wasn’t Stefan, Elena, or Alaric that made Damon realize the true impact of what he’d just done. For just a moment, there was a palpable connection between Elijah and Damon. When Elijah spoke about Elena hating Damon forever - there was such regret in his voice. Somehow, I think he’d made the same choice Damon did at some point in the past.

Does the Kat have feelings?
When Damon woke up, and Katherine broke the news about the “backup” vampire, she honestly seemed sorry she’d lured Jenna out. I think the memory of what Klaus did to her family still truly haunts her. Here, when Klaus thought Elena had betrayed him (and left with Stefan), he’s back to his old tricks - seizing the member of Elena’s family who is perhaps the most vulnerable.

An insanely bad decision...
Yep, I saved it for the end. I’ve seen Damon’s actions called a lot of different things...insane, obsessive, selfish. I’m going to say it’s none of these.

On their hike, Stefan stressed again how being a vampire makes you “more” of yourself. No one is a better example of this than Damon.

Elena once said that everything Damon had done early in season one...she honestly believed he did for love. Once again, we meet the brother who loved too much (and I’ll get to the one who didn’t love enough).

Damon isn’t obsessed with Elena. He’s been content to stand back and watch her with his brother.

He is deeply and passionately in love with her. He said in “The Last Dance” that he’d be okay with making decisions that caused her to hate him. We saw that here. He doesn’t care if she detested what she became - it was enough for him that she was just still breathing.

But it wasn’t the right decision. Elena should have had a choice, and when he spoke with Elijah, he realized that. For the first time, Damon has truly allowed the dire consequences of his actions sink in.

And back to the mountaintop... I know this was likely just my point of view, but I was also deeply saddened by the moment when Elena asked Stefan why he didn’t ask to turn her. He said he knew it wasn’t what she wanted. A part of me questions that. He should have at least mentioned it to her. When they were going through their list of options, it was a possibility for them - she’s watched Caroline and her development. She’d still be something of who she was.

I can’t help but wonder if they’ll revisit this sometime. Is Stefan the brother who didn’t love enough once again?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not So Fond of Klaus

This one is going to be short and sweet because I don’t have a ton to say about this episode - other than I’m still more than a little fuzzy on some details.

Since DH and I actually spent quite a while discussing this episode, I did want to share some of our (mainly his) random musings, because I think he was spot on in several points.

Unlike my normal recaps, I’m not going scene by scene. I’m going to be hitting some of the major points.

To my SE readers, I have to note at the outset - this analysis contains the most intense criticism of Stefan’s character I’ve ever put into writing. Please remember that these are my personal views, and this is my personal blog. If you’d like to discuss my points about Stefan, I’d prefer it if these comments didn’t find their way back into the SE discussion area. Feel free to discuss by PM, comments here, or in the general episode discussion thread.

Y’all know how I feel about timelines. I have to start off with trying to figure out the timing between this scene and the Damon/Elena scene at the close of TLD. When Elena talked with Damon, she was clearly ready for bed - no makeup, sleep t-shirt and shorts. She’s either not able to go to sleep without talking to him or she’s awakened and can’t go back to sleep because she’s bothered by slapping him.

As she leaves, she focuses on Damon’s jacket on the bed. Since Andie clearly isn’t at the Salvatore house at this point, Damon leaves at some point. Once he’s gone (and Stefan’s asleep), Elena dresses and goes down to wake Elijah.

Andie’s back, and I’m surprised to discover I don’t dislike her as much as I once did. Damon allows her to call the shots as to whether or not he feeds on her that morning (even if he’s not thrilled). When she says no, he doesn’t force her. I think she’s a bit like Alice in Rose - she finds Damon hot enough that she doesn’t care if she’s also a snack.

Interesting that Stefan doesn’t like Damon feeding on Andie. Is he not still feeding on Elena? I really wish they’d clear that up.

Flashbacks - I’m always intrigued by what they choose to show us in the flashbacks. The Katherine we see here when Elijah is playing tag with her reminds me so much of the Katherine playing with “our boys” before they were turned. I believe these scenes are intentionally mirroring each other.

Another point I have to address is how incredibly similar Katherine is to Elena in some of these scenes. She’s comfortable talking with one brother while obviously in the relationship with the other.

And on the brothers comment.....I’m going to go on record here. (First, I totally called the fact that they were brothers too.) Elijah is the “Damon” brother. Klaus is Stefan. At some point (and we’ll go more into this in a second), Klaus lost the love of the one he’d chosen - and it pushed him over the edge. Elijah is tightly wound, and he doesn’t seem to flinch at killing someone when he deems it necessary. Klaus is a different animal entirely. He’s powerful and controlling. At one point he was deeply in love - and he seems to be in denial about that fact.

Elena/Elijah interaction - I see where she’s trying to save Bonnie (and everyone else), but I’m just not sure here.... Rose said Elijah was a man of honor, but what if there’s someone else he made a deal with first? I don’t think we’ve heard the whole story about what’s involved in the sacrifice. There are still too many fuzzy areas. If the doppelganger’s life could be saved, then why did the Martins believe Elena would die in order to bring an end to Klaus?

Something’s just not adding up.

Which brings me to the curse. I’ll admit it. I totally don’t understand it. Supposedly the curse is Klaus-specific, but I think there’s another element to it. Werewolves can procreate (the traditional way). Vampires can’t. If Klaus wants to create a whole new race, he’s got to be able to have little werepires. I’m almost convinced that if the curse is lifted, the whole “vampires can’t procreate” thing’s going to be tossed out the window.

And now we’re onto the whole curse thing. I haven’t tried to analyze it too much, but I think an attempt to try to save the Original Petrova lead to the family becoming vampires - and they’ve lived to regret it (much like Damon didn’t want to live forever if he couldn’t have Katherine back in ye olde Civil War days).

Jenna and Elena - that scene was so very sad, but I did want more here. Even though it would have caused a visit from the exposition fairy, I would have enjoyed seeing more of the interaction between Elena and Jenna while Elena tried to bring Jenna up to speed.

Somewhere around here Katherine dances. At first I didn’t think we needed the scene, but (I think it was Thomas Galvin who suggested this first) this moment so shows the parallels with Damon. Watching Katherine doing her “drunk dance” was so similar to when Damon danced with Vickie. I appreciated this scene more on viewing two.

Clearly Stefan is disturbed at Elena’s growing closeness to Damon. Even though the viewer didn’t “see” it, I imagine Stefan saw Elena dancing with Damon. While she’d been locked in her pit of worry while dancing with him, Damon was able to pull her out of that melancholy for just a few moments to when Stefan hadn’t been able to do so.

Stefan and Damon had reached something of an agreement at the end of Rose. The brothers realized they couldn’t fight over Elena and still protect her, so they called a truce.

I think Stefan wanted out of the truce. He deliberately provokes Damon at numerous points during the episode, but at the end, Stefan finally hits Damon where he knows it will hurt most.

When he makes the comment that he has something that Damon will never have, he doesn’t say “her love.” (He’s been troubled since the finale of last season on that point.) He says “her respect.”

Stefan hit Damon at his most vulnerable point to provoke the fight. The instant Stefan says “respect,” Damon snaps and throws the punch.

Damon never had the respect of his father. I believe he’s been the victim of a lifetime of psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of their father, and Stefan knows exactly how to taunt him to get Damon to be the one to break the truce.

(Scene from Children of the Damned....)

“You’ll forgive me if I have trouble respecting a deserter.” Papa Salvatore

“I never asked for your respect.” Damon to Papa Salvatore

Papa Salvatore rounded on Damon. “Good for you, Damon, because all I have is disappointment.”

Comments from the husband....
After basically a season and a half of seeing very little of Stefan’s personality, the more I see of his true self, the less I like him. At this moment, he’s dealing with the only family member he has left - his brother. Instead of walking away and honoring the truce, he taunts and digs and uses his past insecurities against him. Elena hasn’t witnessed this side of Stefan. What would she make of this Stefan?

My disappointment with Stefan reached record levels with this episode. The way he was willing to grovel at Elijah’s feet - acting like he was the only one concerned with Elena’s safety...all the while knowing about Damon’s comments the night before.

Damon doesn’t trust Elijah, and he’s not afraid to make that known. It might be going against what Elena wants, but he’s going on record here. He’s not buying what Elijah’s selling.

Damon and Andie....this scene pained me so much. He TRIED to make her leave. He warned her that he was dangerous. He was so conflicted. He almost won....until she said she wanted him to know that someone cared about him.

Andie’s not who he wants. He couldn’t take it any longer. Yes, he snapped, but he also gained control of himself. Reigning himself in while he’s beyond angry is a huge moment for Damon. I didn’t want Elena to walk in while he was attacking Andie, but unless she’s deaf - I don’t see how she would have missed what was going down. I really hope we see a moment where Elena realizes the huge stride he’s made.

In a nutshell...I didn’t enjoy Klaus as much as I’d hoped to.

Much of that had to do with the breakdown we’re seeing in Stefan’s character. Elena’s so blindly in love right now (and rightly so...she doesn’t need a lot more on her plate right now). She’s not seeing this other side that he’s revealed to us during his dealings with Damon in this episode. I hate seeing Damon reduced to what he’s become. I firmly believe he’s more on the “hero’s journey,” and when you’re trying to build a hero - you have to take him to depths even a writer isn’t certain their character can handle. At some point, he has to hit bottom. I hope we’ve witnessed that lowest point.