Friday, November 16, 2012

We Have a Lot to Talk About - Commentary on TVD Ep 406

Sometimes this show's easy to recap - here's a list of what I are some things I didn', wasn't this scene great!  This week's episode wasn't so easy - not because I didn't like it - by all means, I thought it was an amazingly strong episode.  But, a lot of what I liked about it came from other episodes.

So, this week, I'll be going with more of a "fireside chat" first today, and later I'll come back with a more thorough review.   Hope you don't mind.  Buckle your seatbelts, because we have a lot to talk about.

First up, while the fast pace of the show lends itself to exhaustion (and multiple rewatches to understand exactly what all happened in a single episode, I think that the sheer volume of things we learn each week can sometimes hinder us from seeing the big picture.  This week, I'm focusing on stringing some threads together that started....well, back in season 3.

Let's talk about Stefan and Elena's break-up.  First off, I'm still annoyed that Stefan got to come across as a saint for tolerating the changes in Elena until it just proved to be too much for him.  But, in the long run, it's likely better that the blame falls on him or Elena would alienate a large portion of the fandom.  Still...I think Elena had a lot of reasons why Stefan was no longer right for her - not just the fact that Damon suddenly makes her heart go pitter patter.

Who did she call?  When Elena was at one of her low points (because there really were a lot of them in this episode), she called Damon for help.  He's always been there to help her with Jeremy - we've seen his interaction with Elena's little brother all the way back in season one when she needed to make Jeremy forget about Vicki.

This time was different, though.

She chose him over Stefan.  She didn't want Stefan to be there - at all.  She wanted Damon there at the house when the hallucinations forced her to do something she'd NEVER do.  Just the day before, Jeremy had told her that he knew she'd never hurt him, and now he was lying dead on the floor.  And Elena called Damon.

I thought he'd understand.  In episode 401, Elena tried to confide something in Stefan - the animal blood made her sick - and he blew her off.  I was totally appalled at how little attention has been paid to that moment, until I realized that was the final time she'd confided in him.  From that point on, whenever she needed help, she's gone to Damon.
- She confessed her problems keeping animal blood down to him.
- When she was sick in the basement of the church, she called Damon for help.
- After she'd killed her brother, she called Damon.


She doesn't trust Stefan any longer.  Stefan even commented it on their porch discussion, and it wasn't just that Damon was able to get through to Elena when she was at her most confused....when Jeremy, Matt, and April were being held hostage in the Grill, Stefan told Elena that she just had to trust him.  He couldn't explain what was happening, but he'd never asked her to do anything that was more important than trusting him right then and there.

And she didn't.

I killed him because you told me to.  For Stefan, I think the nail was in the coffin when Elena stood next to Connor's body and said that she'd killed Connor because Damon told her to.  She wasn't blaming Damon for her actions - she admitted to Connor that she killed him because she was angry that he'd staked her.  Her words showed just how deeply she trusted Damon - and didn't trust Stefan.  After Stefan had begged her...pleaded with her to just trust him...she couldn't.  Something had changed along the way, and as the three of them stood over Connor's body, their relationships would never be the same.

So we're back on the Gilbert porch...the place of so many spectacular relationship scenes for this show. It was on this porch that Damon had his first hero moment.  Stefan and Elena broke up.  Damon and Elena kissed for the first time.  It was also where we learned that Elena could be like Katherine.  And Elena lost all the sense of self she'd developed over season three as she begged with Stefan to show that he cared for her again.

Stefan needs to talk.  Elena's feelings for Damon are becoming stronger - she's trusting Damon instead of Stefan.  Damon is connecting with her in a way that Stefan can't.  When she was possessed by Connor's spirit, she could still see Damon, but with Stefan...she only saw her tormentor.  I think Stefan's lying to himself a little bit here.  His issue isn't simply that he can't overlook Elena's love for Damon any longer - it's that he no longer loves her enough to do it.  Damon's question cut deep last week - did Stefan want the cure for Elena, or did he want the cure because Stefan couldn't love Elena as a vampire?  "Katherine" asked Elena the same question while they were locked in Klaus' room.
Stefan loved human Elena enough to overlook her love for Damon.  He doesn't feel the same way about vampire Elena....and that's okay.  Elena's been changing too.

Elena's feelings for Damon have been magnified since she turned.  Why not her feelings for Stefan?  Honestly, I don't think they've been the same since he left with Klaus.  They reunited and seemed happy (even though we haven't seen them between the sheets), but they never really dealt with the issues that came from Stefan's "I'm a jerk" phase or the time he tried to drive her off Wickery Bridge.  She stayed at his side because that's what she was supposed to do....she chose him that night because it's what her friends expected her to do...but I think somewhere deep down, she knows she hasn't really loved him for a very long time.  She just hasn't been able to admit it.  She's wanted to, but something in their relationship broke - and Damon had already snuck up on her to fill the void left by Stefan.

So where do we go from here?  I don't think Damon and Elena have an easy road ahead of them.  Elena's already rejected him a number of times.  Damon's still trying to mend fences between Stefan and Elena.  I hope that Damon and Elena are able to take the risk and give themselves a chance....I guess only time will tell, though.

Hope you enjoyed it!  I'd love some comments.  I'd like to discuss how you perceive their break-up.

I'll be back with an actual review of 406 - probably sometime Saturday.  Thanks for visiting!


  1. I feel like the writers are preparing us for a possible Delena relationship. The way that Stefan has been trying to control Elena and her transition has really bugged me and has made me really dislike Stefan and the idea of Stelena. In this episode we saw Elena get angry at Stefan and that was good to see. Because how he has been treating her is not okay. I think Elena is ready to try something with Damon. We've been faced with these "Almost" and "Could they" moments through out the entire show. Now it seems like that Elena, with Stefan declaring that he can't do it anymore, could actually consider Damon seriously. Ideally though, I'd liked for Elena to stop being stuck in this triangle because she's going through something very difficult and life changing and I think all this love triangle stuff is putting a damper on her character development.

  2. Oh, definitely. I enjoyed seeing Elena finally stand up to Stefan when she was too overdrawn emotionally following stabbing Jeremy to have a deep conversation.

    I think Elena's really fallen victim to allowing herself be controlled by Stefan for too long. I agree that it'll be interesting to see how her character develops now that she's out from under his thumb.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Yeah I have to admit that I was a bit all "Oh you go girl" when she was telling him off. I've always been neutral when it comes to the love triangle because I have been happy to just watch and enjoy the show, but one thing I can never stand to watch/read is a guy controlling a girl because it sends out bad messages. So now I'm kinda rooting for Delena, not religiously though.

    Elena admitted in the episode that she has changed, she is not who she used to be so perhaps that has allowed her to see that Stefan has been controlling her. I hope that the writers, following the break up, don't have Elena all hung up on Stefan. Like I said, she could go through some great character development and I feel it's about time she got to deal with some stuff. Over the past 4 seasons she has been through hell, the amount of people that have died or been hurt, and she has never really lost it. That for me is the unrealistic thing, not the vampires and stuff, the fact that she hasn't lost it.

    And that is no problem, Stefan has been really annoying me.

    1. Thanks for your reply. I agree that Stefan really deserved the moment Elena chewed him out while she was trying to get in the shower.

      I agree that most of us would probably be medicated if we'd been through the amount of "stuff" Elena's experienced over these past two years. That's one reason I'll always be a big Elena supporter.

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. I completely agree, and it's great to go back and look at the bigger picture to see how it's all been slotting into place all the way back in the previous seasons.
    It's really bugged me seeing Stefan get a free pass like this for everything he did last season, but it's been really interesting to see the dynamic of that perceived good brother and bad brother dynamic and watch as it all gets thrown around. I'd love to see more of bad Stefan come out to play, but with the other characters actually having to witness it and acknowledge that he is worse than Damon a lot of the time. Looking back I don't think that anyone other than Damon and Ric really saw how awful Stefan was being, so that might explain a little why the others haven't gotten off Team Stefan yet. I would love to see some of that come out to play soon.

    I hadn't noticed that was the last time Elena confides in Stefan, but I agree, I was appalled that he brushed her off like that.
    I really hope that we get to see more of Elena standing up and fighting her corner, that has bugged me all the way through from Season 3 as well.

    I really hope that we do get to see a decent shot at Damon and Elena, it's been being built for so long now that it would be damaging I think to get this far and then not give them a decent shot. However I agree, I doubt it's going to be easy, and that's fine, so long as they get somewhere!

    Anyway, I look forward to your full recap, but I loved seeing your thoughts about this aspect of the relationships and shifting dynamics.

    1. Real life got in the way of a real recap, I apologize.

      I went through the episodes really carefully - the "blood issue" honestly was one of Elena's last deep discussions with Stefan. I'm not sure if they've been honest with each other for quite a while.

      I hope we get to see the potential for Damon and Elena explored - and it isn't just a one episode "here you go - see, they're pretty together" kind of thing.

      Thanks for visiting!