Ok. Here goes. First up, this review isn’t going to be as detailed as most. I’ve been working on something else all day, and I don’t have time to rewatch as I’m trying to write this up. This is from memory. Please be kind.
I’ll hit the high points. Add some commentary. Then, at the end, I have a couple of concerns.
Still with me?
Opening at the house out in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, that’s not going to end well. Klaus’ American accent does NOTHING for me. Then, I don’t understand why the girl didn’t run like heck when he switched into his British accent. He hadn’t compelled her yet. Surely, the accent switch was a sign that the dude was dangerous.
Yikes. Stefan standing blocking the doorway was chilling. This scene was one of the only times I really felt the “ripper” aspect of his nature.
Loved the parallel between Damon in the finale and Elena here in the premiere. They both opened curtains (to songs by the same artist) but for much different reasons. Damon had been trying to end his suffering, and Elena was beginning her adult life.
So, Jeremy’s got a job....and he doesn’t seem to be too enthused. Alaric’s been sleeping on the couch. Yep, life goes on in Mystic Falls. Speaking of, Caroline’s planning a not-surprise party while also passing on leads for Stefan’s potential whereabouts.
Damon apparently really likes his bubble baths. I really thought he’d be in the bath with Andie, but it doesn’t appear that’s the way it went down (or she got out a LONG time ago). I like the fact that he was already on his way downstairs to get more liquor when Elena got there instead of somehow arriving in the living room just to flaunt what he’d been up to.
She’s obviously been spending a lot of time at Casa Salvatore over the summer, since she just waltzes into the house without knocking or anything like that. Yes, she got an eye full. Her reaction made me laugh.
Jeremy sees dead people while at his job. Haven’t figured out the ghosts’ purpose other than to make Jeremy backpedal from all the progress he made last season - when I actually began to like his character. Now he’s back to drugs and that’s just putting MORE pressure on Elena. Not a fan at the moment.
So...I understand that the show is wanting us to realize that quite a bit of time has passed, but I don’t really understand why Tyler was in this scene with Elena’s party preparations. (Isn’t it kind of sad that Elena’s having to help decorate for her own 18th birthday party?) Tyler and Caroline have a very unique vibe going here. I’m not anti-Forwood, but something isn’t working for me. I think it might be that Tyler’s here at all - I’d rather that this would have been a scene with just the girls.
Apparently Damon and Ric have actually been taking Elena’s words to heart, even if they didn’t let her know about it. I’m assuming Damon needed Ric here to help him get in the house. This has to be one of the ickiest scenes in TVD so far. And...since this is apparently Stefan’s “signature,” this is where I move into commentary mode for the first time of this recap.
The fact that Damon apparently was well aware of this side of Stefan is a continuity error for me. There is NO WAY on earth that Damon would even tempt Stefan with human blood knowing what it turned his brother into....at least he wouldn’t have done it once Damon began to feel for Elena. This Stefan is DANGEROUS and twisted. Damon would never have let Elena walk into the room in Miss Mystic Falls to vervain Stefan if he’d known this is what Stefan on too much blood turns into.
Pretty sure we were back in the bar here. Sorry, the human darts game was so disturbing that I’m just going to scurry on past this scene. It was twisted. Yes, we understand Klaus and Stefan are evil. Yuck.
And now we’ve hit one of the three highlights of the episode for me.
The necklace scene.
They had me at the music in the background. Seriously, I think this section of the episode is likely one of the most beautiful moments we’ve seen on the show. I think I like it as much as the Miss Mystic Falls dance....the way they looked back and forth at each other in the mirror, the way Damon choked up when he spoke to her. Gah!
This is my recap and I can give this scene three paragraphs if I want to.
“This is the starting of my greatest fear...” Damon’s been left alone with Elena. In many respects, he’s the only one capable of protecting her right now (sorry, Alaric, but...you’re not the best babysitter). He’s in love with her, but she’s beyond emotionally fragile right now and he knows it.
“This is the starting of a brand new day...” The looks between them speak for themselves. If ever there was a time that I hoped there was a meaning behind the song choice on this show, this one is one of them. She’s just confessed that she’s likely going to break down before the cake - and once again he’s her rock. Supporting her as she needs it. Literally in this case, since he offers her his arm to lead her into the party that she doesn’t want to have.
I think Stefan and Klaus are still playing darts here. Klaus learns that Damon’s following them. And, this is an important part for later, Stefan volunteers to take care of it - and is given NO instructions by Klaus. What Stefan chooses to do is all on him.
Ok, I’m going to give Jeremy a pass at the drug use just because it allowed us to have my third favorite scene in the episode. When Elena sees her brother, she doesn’t confront him herself, she charges outside to find her “guardian.” When she commands Damon to hand her his drink...and he gives it to her....speaks volumes to the closeness of this pair. She takes Damon’s drink, downs a few sips, and hands it back to him. They are so comfortable together now. Having her around so often must be killing him. I’l get back to that later.
Andie’s alone at the station. Once again, this isn’t going to end well. When she was running in terror, I felt like I was watching a horror movie. She’s relieved to see Stefan, but she really shouldn’t be. I don’t think she was in on the whole “how Stefan’s been spending his summer” discussion.
Elena needs to take a breather from the party and happens into Caroline having a snack. While I understand that her friends aren’t wanting her to waste away - I don’t think that Elena was really ready for this conversation, even though she probably needed it. I’m glad it was Caroline here. Interesting how her main source of support has shifted from Bonnie to Caroline throughout the past few months.
Now we begin the most disturbing segment of the episode - and after “human darts,” that’s really saying something. Stefan meets Damon in the darkened studio (and, he doesn’t really own that “Hello Brother” phrase). After Stefan tells Damon to stop following him, Damon makes a quip about having a birthday girl to take care of (or something like that).
Then we see how deeply disturbed Stefan can really be.
The guy’s not currently at the mercy of the blood (which is how Damon explained Stefan’s actions for mutilating the girls earlier).
No one compelled him to do anything to hurt Andie.
He’d just made a deal with Klaus to save Damon’s life....and this is how he decided to keep his brother from following him any longer.
He compelled Andie to stand at the edge of the catwalk. He made her bring Damon to him - and she was probably aware her life was about to end. Then, to emphasize his point, he made her jump to her death while he forced Damon to watch as he pinned him against the wall.
Stefan is one scary dude.
A emotionally drained Damon arrives back at the boardinghouse, and he’s no longer in the mood to party. When he goes to his room, he’s met by Elena. She’s found his Stefan-tracking area and wants to know why Damon hasn’t told her what he’s been up to. He wants her to forget Stefan...because this Stefan isn’t the one she used to know. Her Stefan won’t be returning in her lifetime. (I understand Damon was still wanting to protect Elena, but WHY didn’t he tell her about Andie here. The girl needs to understand how far he’s gone.) Elena is shocked and hurt here. I so wanted to see Damon come back and level with her about why he lashed out...sadly, that wasn’t meant to be.
Jeremy and Matt bond over ice cream. Matt doesn’t understand that when Jeremy says he sees Vicki, Jeremy means he sees Vickie. Poor Matt. This supernatural stuff is hard.
Tyler and Caroline have some serious pent-up needs to take care of. Seriously? This is probably the hottest sex scene we’ve seen on the show...and it’s between these two characters? I guess the emphasis was on what happens when two supernaturals get together, but yikes! Whichever Salvatore happens to bed another character in the future, the standards for intensity have been kicked up a notch.
And now we’re at my second favorite scene - not because I like seeing Damon in pain (totally the other way around), but because I liked seeing Damon’s control. Yes, Damon trashed Stefan’s room, but he didn’t physically hurt anyone here. This situation is so similar to after he lost Rose - he could easily have wandered out and found a wasted teenager wandering home from the party. Instead, he even stopped destroying Stefan’s room mid-explosion.
Damon’s face as he leans against the table speaks for itself. His worst fears are confirmed. Stefan has truly gone over the edge.
If only Stefan fully understood that. By calling Elena here, that’s really cruel. Yes, she earlier told Caroline she just wanted to know he was alive, but that’s likely because she still thinks he’s doing these things because Klaus is forcing him to. Listening to her plead with him, promising him that she’s still in love with him.
Soundtrack moment two: The song playing here speaks of changes in the weather. I think the conclusion of this scene likely signals a change of seasons for the show. The Stefan and Elena season is over - even if Elena doesn’t realize it yet. Stefan may be trying to fight through here, but he’s given himself over to Klaus. He may cry because he’s conflicted, but no one made him kill Andie the way he did.
Elena doesn’t understand how far gone Stefan is. She doesn’t know what he’s really capable of. When she was with him, she bought the story of the man he tried to be...but that’s not really who he is.
Now onto my comments:
Let’s talk Damon’s hair.... No, this isn’t one of those comments. I think they’re having him grow out his hair as an outward expression of his inner turmoil. The guy’s in over his head. He’s having to be the good guy, and we know he doesn’t think of himself that way. Like when he was letting himself go and partying down with the college girls after losing Katherine, he’s not functioning at full capacity here.
Poor Elena. The girl’s in denial, but it’s because she doesn’t really have all the facts. I’m beyond afraid that she’s not going to really believe that Stefan’s really as far gone as he is until he physically hurts her. I don’t want to see it (and Damon’s reaction would likely be beyond frightening), but she doesn’t seem to understand exactly how detached he is.
And now I have to be honest. These recaps take a lot out of me. I rewatch the show at least 4 times before I’m ready to do these. Right now, I can’t invest that level of emotions. This episode was painful in its intensity. I’m not certain if I’ll be up to doing these full-blown reviews for a while. Seeing the connection between Damon and Elena, while neither are willing to act on it because of each or their duty, honor (can’t figure out the right word here) to Stefan is just too much for me to watch more than once.
I’d love to know what you thought of this one, though.