Friday, January 6, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: The New Deal

"I can...but then someone's getting naked..."
First let me welcome back The Vampire Diaries, all the previews promised an epic return and my hat is off to cast, crew and writers...boy howdy did you deliver and then some!

Previously on The Vampire Diaries

Check out our post mortem on Homecoming if you need a catch up, because we're diving into this episode full tilt.

The beginning opens with Bonnie venturing into the house of the dead 100 witches.  They haven't spoken to her since she resurrected Jeremy, so the whispers beckoned her on and she took the long, creepy walk down the stairs until she came across the coffins. Opening one, she found Klaus sleeping (or dead), his mother's necklace wrapped around his fingers.

A sound behind her startles her and Bonnie jerks awake.  Remember Klaus in the coffin and the necklace, I have a feeling this plays a huge part later this season.

Coffin Chat

We see a lot more of the coffins through the episode, so let's just get the chat about the coffins out of the way right now. There are four coffins in the witch house. Four coffins that Stefan stole.  But there were five coffins back when Klaus woke up Rebecca.  So we can presume he didn't take Rebecca's empty coffin.  That leaves coffins for:

Elijah - Daggered at the end of season 2
Kol - Cast and will be seen soon
Finn - Also cast and will be seen soon
And behind coffin number 4?

My money is on Mama or the original that Elena and Katherine are a doppelganger of, I would bet more money on Mama.  Klaus 'killed' his mother.  But we all know Klaus is a narcisstic psychopath with delusions of affection for his family.  Who else carts around their corpses for the day he deems to wake them?  What if he tried to turn his mother ... it would explain the Original Witch's powerful hold from the other side.  It would also mean that necklace Rebecca is wearing is the key to opening the magically locked casket.

Just saying!

Paranoia, Parenting and Personal Sacrifice

At the Grill, Bonnie confesses her dreams to Elena and Elena expresses her paranoia over waiting for the other shoe to drop with Klaus.  When she was out for a run earlier, she thought someone was chasing her...and of course she was right.  Just because you're paranoid Elena doesn't mean they aren't all out to get you.  At least you stopped running around painted with the big red "Bite Me" sign.   Damon and Alaric are at the bar and Damon has a whole counter top full of drinks and he's trying to get curmudgeonly Rick to join the party because he can't drink it all.

Well I can drink it all, but then someone's getting naked...  

Oh Damon, if only that were true.  We would all watch you drink yourself right out of your clothes.  Rick's worried about Jeremy, turns out that he's back sliding.  He copied his term paper from the Internet, been fired from his job and is a no show at home.  Is Jeremy back on drugs?  Well, considering how cold Bonnie has been to him and the fact that everyone he's ever loved is dead except for Bonnie and Elena...well, yeah, the slip is understandable.

Older Siblings

Since the series began, one of the strongest parallels the writers have drawn is the power and responsibility of the older sibling.  We've seen it with Klaus and his brethren, with Mayor Lockwood and Mason, with Aunt Jenna and her adulation of Elena's adopted mother and more pointedly between Damon and Elena and their respective siblings.

They are the eldest and with that comes the responsibility to look after their younger brothers.  Stefan and Jeremy both have 'addictive' personality types and real problems coping when life goes off the rails.  Damon and Elena both try to shield their siblings, making hard choices and ambushing them (or driving a branch through their gut, you know, whatever works). 

At the Grill, Elena is now worried about Jeremy as well as Klaus and what the hell will happen next.  Damon is trying to make it light for her, and points out that Jeremy hasn't lost everyone he loves. He still has her.  When Elena points out that it's pretty bad, because Damon is day drunk and that it's not his most attractive look.  He playfully flirts and asks what is his most attractive look.  Elena's smiling when she verbally back pedals that she wasn't saying he had one, but if he did, then this was the least attractive of them.

Duly noted.

Of course, this is the moment the other Klaus shoe drops.  Elena jumps, but Damon is right there, already moving between her and Klaus.  The physical body language in this scene just gave me chills.  Damon is no physical match for Klaus, but he never hesitates to body block, even if it only buys Elena seconds, he'll get them for her.

Klaus drops the bomb.  Stefan stole from him.  Elena and Damon need to get it back or there will be problems.  Color Delena confused because isn't that a Stefan/Klaus problem?  Gotta love Elena's snark there.

Bad, Bad Brothers

Stefan follows Bonnie to the witchy house and loops her into his plan to keep Klaus from the coffins.  Tyler and Jeremy are shooting beers and the shit over being dumped by their respective girlfriends.  When Jeremy drops by the Gilbert house, Alaric and Elena confront him about his behavior and he retaliates by inviting hybrid Tyler in.  The conversation twists to the danger of Tyler's being sired, with Tyler blandly confessing that if Klaus told him to rip his heart out, he would, what's the problem?
Hey look, Jeremy actually seems shocked.  At least Tyler told him how to kill a Hybrid earlier – very USEFUL information.

Meanwhile at the Salvatore house, Klaus shows up to shake his rocks at Damon.  They have an awkward testosterone and vervain laden drink together where Klaus tells Damon he can't compel him, but since he responds to violence anyway, his little phone call should do the trick.  Apparently Tyler's only been hanging out with Jeremy to get off of vervain so Klaus can compel him.  He tells Jeremy to take care of the little issue they discussed.

That little issue is Jeremy taking off his ring and walking outside to stand in the street.   Alaric and Elena race outside as a black SUV guns toward Jeremy.  Alaric barely knocks him out of the way in time only to be smashed into the grill, the windshield and then the ground.

One Ring To Resurrect Them All
Fortunately, Alaric is wearing his Gilbert ring.  Unfortunately, his death was only 'supernatural' sorta.  He was hit by a car, driven by a supernatural.  I think this glitch is why the ring brings Alaric back to life, but still leaves him badly injured.  Elena and Jeremy take Alaric into the house where Damon finds them. Damon demands to know why Jeremy isn't wearing his vervain and they put the pieces together.

Jeremy wants to runaway, leave Mystic Falls and all the craziness behind and then takes off to confront Tyler.  The scene between the two uneasy friends is painful.  They had a real chance at friendship once upon a time, but too many supernatural secrets and twists have come between them.  Tyler warns Jeremy that Klaus is far from done with them and he needs to stay safe.

Confronting Stefan

Damon and Elena track down Stefan at the witch house (thanks to Bonnie).   Allow me to pause and mention here that the friendship between Caroline, Bonnie and Elena remains one of the strongest and most strategic foundations in this show.  Their adaption to the supernatural aside, they are real friends.  From telling each other hard truths to slumber parties to confessing conspiracies, they have each other's backs and these are the kinds of friends we always wanted to have.

At the witch house, the spirits won't let Damon in without futzing with his ring and burning the hell out of him. Elena tells him to stay outside, she'll confront Stefan.   He's a real bastard to her, cold and edgy.  He tells her Jeremy is her problem, not his.  His war is with Klaus and she needs to go away.  There's something to Stefan's manner that suggests he is aware that he will hate himself later, but his emotions are still shut down and I don't buy that this is his plan – it has Katherine written all over it.

Heartbroken, Elena retreats to the outside where Damon has listened to the whole conversation and boy is he pissed.  He gives Elena the keys to his car and tells her to go take care of her brother, he is going to take care of his.  There is a pulse of trust that flashes between them and understanding on the most visceral level that has been building for weeks now.   She doesn't like it, but he let her try, so she has to let him. 

Damon charges through the house, whipping from shadow to shadow and taking the vicious burns from the rays of sunlight until he gets to the basement.  He tells Stefan he doesn't give a crap about the coffins, he wants to talk to him.  So, Stefan says, talk.

Damon drags him outside, kicks the hell out of him, rips off a tree branch and drives it through Stefan's gut.  It's a thing of pure, violent beauty.

He demands to know why Stefan turned on them, baby bro confesses after a few more painful thrusts of the branch that he did it to save Damon.  Damon, true to form is pissed.  He stabs him again and tells him "When are you going to learn baby brother, stop trying to save me."

It really never goes well.

Elena Plays Her Cards

When Elena arrives at home, Alaric is waking, but seizes up and coughs blood.  She calls for an ambulance, but Klaus' hybrid sends them away and tells Elena to let him in.  He'll save Alaric with his blood, but Elena for once, fights the urge to invite someone in (go girl) and Jeremy shoots the hybrid with a crossbow bolt from behind.  Then he stalks into the house, grabs the cleaver and cuts off the hybrid's head.

I'm sorry, Elena's horror was hysterical, because with everything she's ever seen – that one really got her.  It's gruesome though, just how dead Jeremy's expression is as he says "Now he's really dead." 

With Alaric off to the hospital, Elena makes a choice.  It's a dangerous gamble, but she has to protect her brother.  She calls Klaus, invites him to the Salvatore boarding house and gives him Rebekah back.  But, she confesses that she was the one who daggered her and that Rebekah will want Elena dead when she wakes.  Klaus is sure he can take care of it.  Not so fast, big bad.  Elena points out that Rebekah knows the truth about their mother and that Klaus killed her.  She hates him too.  The poleaxed look was beautiful…because Klaus' narcissism and impulse control knows no bounds.  Rebekah won't love their mother's murderer.  He tries to threaten Elena into helping him with Stefan again, including threatening Damon.

But it won't do any good. Klaus destroyed Stefan's feelings for her, he made Stefan into a monster.  Stefan is Klaus' problem, not hers.

Yes, I was cheering that.  Go girl. 

Meredith, Hmmm

Welcome Paul Wesley's real life wife in the role of Meredith Fell.  Is this our Meredith from the books? It could be, but with so many changes in the series, anything is possible.  The doctor can't figure out how Alaric healed so fast, but now she's curious and she's founding family…you do the math.

Meanwhile, Damon and Stefan strike an armistice and Stefan reveals the coffins.  They agree to keep Elena out of it. 

One Door Swinging Closed

At the Gilbert house, Elena's washing bloodied rags in the sink, her expression tortured. Damon arrives.  He's disposed of the body and visited the hospital, his blood will heal Alaric (lol a fact that Alaric would rather have head trauma than owe Damon a drink, but that's for later).   Elena is clearly upset,  she's cleaned off the blood from the porch, but her hands are red-rimmed and stained.  Damon tells her it will be all right and she confesses her deal.

Damon's worried, he knows Rebekah wants her dead and she says Klaus won't let that happen.  Does she trust Klaus? No. She doesn't trust Stefan either.  But she had to protect Jeremy.  Damon understands and he tells her that his brother is playing his own game and she says that her brother just cut off someone's head.

She whispers that he's sixteen and he shouldn't be going through all of this.  (Point of Order sweetheart, you're eighteen, you shouldn't be either, but you're not running away).

I knew what she was going to do in that single instant and sure enough, Alaric, Elena and Damon arrive in Jeremy's bedroom and I think Jeremy understood it too and he didn't argue.  Damon tells him they are going to have one of their chats and his eyes dilate and he tells Jeremy he is moving to Denver to live with friends, he's going to go to school, take some art classes, meet some girls .. living girls…and he's going to have a great life. 

Alaric adds that he should leave Mystic Falls and never give it a second thought.  Damon glances at Elena to confirm and she nods tearfully.  Damon impresses the message on him and it's over.  Elena is giving away her last family member to keep him safe.  Like Katherine before her, she is willing to trade that love and connection for that person's safety (never forget, Katherine kept her baby a secret).

One Door Swinging Open…

Outside, Elena wrestles with emotional exhaustion.  She is terrified she is making the wrong choice.  Damon tells her it will be fine.  Jeremy survived and living is better than dead.  If the compulsion ever breaks, he will forgive his sister….he's very lucky to have a sister like her.

Elena thanks Damon, not just for the day, but for everything.  He's been there for her, constantly and she doesn't know how she would have survived without him.  It's a poignant moment and Damon tells her why Stefan betrayed them.  This is a true mark of the depth of trust between these two, they aren't keeping the hard truths from each other.  He says Stefan did it to save Damon's life, but Elena has no idea what that means – is he feeling? If he is why is he being a douche? And if he isn't? Then why did he do it?

Damon shrugs, he just knows that it makes him an idiot because just when he didn't think he needed to feel guilty anymore.

Elena: "Guilty about what?"
Damon: "For wanting what I want."
Elena: "Damon…"
Damon: "…I know.  My brother's girl and all that."

Small note here, that's not the look Elena had on her face.  She's not Stefan's girl anymore.

Damon starts to leave and then stops himself, turning around and saying, "No. If I'm going to feel guilty, then I am going to feel guilty for this."

And Delena fans everywhere went up in flames as he caught her face in the cradle of his hands and kissed her.  The kiss held for seconds, her hand came up to catch his, holding it, as she kissed him back.  When he pulled away, she was leaning into him and when he whispered goodnight, the shock and awe on her face could only have been better if she'd grabbed him and kissed him again.

But hell yeah and it's about damn time….the Vampire Diaries is back baby. 

And yes, it's that epic…

Three notes worth mentioning:

Klaus is setting up house in the place Isabel claimed in first and second season.
Caroline's absence was sorely missed, but maybe Tyler is getting a clue about Klaus' control over him.
Klaus daggered Rebekah again rather than face her anger and hatred.

Is next Thursday here yet?   What did you think of our 'new deal'?

All images copyright of the CW.  


  1. I noticed that her name was Fell but didn't make the connection and catch her first name being Meredith!!

    My only comment, when she said her name was, "Fell!! Like Fell's Church!! Awesome!"

    Duh. Can't believe I missed the name. *fingers crossed that she is THE Meredith!*

  2. Yeah, I am waiting to see if she is too. I am also loving the beautiful parallel between the real kiss and the first time Damon 'thought' he kiss Elena (Katherine) at the end of the first season, on her porch, in the dark, after a tumultuous day.

  3. It is about time that Damon kisses Elena.

  4. I've missed 3 episodes this season and apparently they were key episodes. Must find repeats!

    That kiss - spontaneous human combustion. When he let go and walked away, I was dust.