Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Case of the.... The Vampire Diaries - Episode 4-7

Just last review I was remarking how selective the writers have been about vampires’ super hearing (most notably, Caroline, Haley, and Tyler openly acknowledging their ploy seconds after Klaus left the house), and this week’s episode featured numerous instances of vampires blatantly using that very ability.

The development between Jeremy and Stefan (and by extension, Matt) does intrigue me.  It feels a bit rushed, however.  Jeremy was only just activated and only killed one vampire.  The prospect of him going mad as he fulfills his destiny, culminating with him having murderous thoughts about his sister, is incredibly interesting.  However, it should have been built up throughout the season.  I’m not saying the climax needed to happen in the finale – but surely it’s a story that warranted more than being christened and resolved in a single episode.  I also like the introduction of a morally conscious – yet still ambiguous – non-Ripper Stefan.  Last review I brought up how many people have died because of Elena (by no fault of her own), and it’s also worth noting how often certain characters need to compromise their morals in order to protect her.  Damon and Stefan killed Bonnie’s mother and turned her into a vampire without even thinking twice – in fact, they almost seemed casual about it – in order to protect Elena.  Stefan killed loads of people when he was pretending to be the Ripper.  He even killed Damon’s girlfriend.  So in addition to all of these people dying in order to protect Elena, but as an extension of that, others have been forced to severely compromise their morals as well.

That’s very apparent with Stefan – who isn’t even romantically linked with Elena anymore – who not only killed somebody and made them into a vampire, but then he forced Jeremy to kill the vamp, even after he told Stefan that he’s losing his mind.  Normally, I’d imagine Stefan would be sympathetic in that scenario.  Here, however, he actually threatened Jeremy.

We’re learning more about Professor Shane, which is a relief.  I especially liked his scene with Damon, where Damon used his super speed, prompting Shane to say “subtle.”  Damon, in response, says, “as if you didn’t know.”  Fun scene.  We also learned that he will play a role in potentially ending the curse – and that he has some sort of relationship with Haley.  I’m still not quite sure which side he’s on and what his end game is, but it adds an interesting layer to the already complex alliances we’ve seen this season.

Is it me, or was Elena’s decision to stay at the Salvatore house a little curious?  I mean, Caroline and Bonnie are both supernatural (to an extent) entities that could protect her if Jeremy (or anybody else) went wild and tried to kill her.  Yes, she had a tense altercation with Caroline earlier in the day….but surely that couldn’t have possibly been any more awkward than sharing a house with your ex boyfriend and his brother, who you’ve been lusting over.  Yes, yes, the big reveal at the end did shed some light on that, but it still seemed like an unusual thing to do.

I LOVED the ending.  I often criticize shows for hammering home certain points and not having faith in their audience’s intelligence by allowing them to piece together the information for themselves, but I was honestly glad that Stefan finally dumbed it down and explicitly stated that Damon sired Elena.  To be honest, I wasn’t entirely piecing together where Caroline was going with her observation.  Of course, once it became clear, I thought it played out great.  You had Caroline putting together the pieces and realizing that Elena’s devotion wasn’t entirely a matter of attraction.  She was doing everything Damon wanted her to do because she was compelled – in the literary and not vampire sense – to do so.  And it brings up a question – is the fact that Elena is lusting over Damon based on the natural heightened senses of a vampire, or is it attributed to the incomparable bond she feels towards him due to the fact that he’s her sire?

For what it’s worth, I did really enjoy the way they handled Elena and Damon’s consummation.  I’ve repeatedly stated that I hope Elena ends up with Stefan, so that might surprise some.  But I thought it was clever to use the Miss Mystic Falls pageant – which gave us our first truly sweet Elena/Damon moment years ago – as a backdrop to the episode where they would finally sleep together.  And since this is a moment so many fans have waited for, I loved the way the writers scripted it so that, just as it happens, the romance and sweetness of the moment is stripped away as we come to realize that Elena was essentially “forced” into the situation due to an intense attachment with Damon that she was unaware of.  It’ll be interesting to see how Stefan reacts to Elena and Damon sleeping together, and how Elena and Damon each individually react to the fact that the former is sired to the latter. 

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