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.
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?