Friday, February 10, 2012

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Dangerous Liaisons

That grating sound you heard last night was  The Vampire Diaries slipping off the rails in a massive train wreck.  Don't get me wrong, there were some good moments.  Everything with Caroline was just absolutely brilliant, I could go on at length about just how amazing Vampire Barbie was, but the contrast with Elena bugged me to no end.

So I will apologize now, because this post mortem is going to be a rather pointed deconstruction of character destruction and seemingly OOC (out-of-character) behavior that fed into one contrived plot point.  That contrivance fed the a rail into the spokes and crashed the train with a lot of favorites on board.

Mummy Dearest

I said last week that I didn't think Esther came back to forgive her son and I said that to kill him, to kill any of them, she would need to strip them of their immortality and I would bet dollars for donuts she'd need Elena's blood to do it.  After all it was Tatya's blood she used the first time.

Now, knowing all of this, Elena gets a personal invitation from Esther.  She wants to meet Elena.  Damon's opposed because Esther's already tried to kill her once -- see what happened to Rick's car earlier in the season -- you know when Vicki tried to torch it with Elena inside.  But Elena wants to meet her.

Why?

Does she want to ask her a million questions like what's up with the doppelganger?

Does she think she can mean girl a thousand year old witch who tried to kill her from the beyond the grave?

Does she think that she can actually tickle the woman's compassion?

None of these questions are actually answered.



Contrivance Number One


The episode picks up within hours of last week's episode. As in, Matt and Elena have taken Alaric to the hospital for observation.  Probably a good plan since the ring didn't work so well last time, but we're going to assume he's fine.  But someone is watching Elena and Matt, is it the 'Founder Killer'? Or is it ...

Rebekah.

Oopsie, Rebekah's more than a little pissed that Elena stabbed her in the back, literally.  She's going to rip her throat out, but Elijah drives her off.  From the first time Elena and Elijah met there's been this odd sort of courtesy between them, an ancient understanding. Elijah's affection for her is probably traceable back to the Original Petrova, but also to her manner in dealing with him -- you know compassionate, honest, straight-forward, all of the qualities that we admire in Elena.  He tells Elena they have a lot of catching up to do.

The next morning, she is putting away her cleaning supplies (and damn that girl is getting good at cleaning up blood) and filling in Damon and Stefan on what Elijah told her.  She says Esther was in the box, the family is reunited, they want to live in peace and Elena and her friends were all safe.  Damon's puzzled, but Elena says, "Elijah promised."  and "I believe him."

Why?

The last great promise he made to her HE BROKE. He didn't kill Klaus.  Elena died. Jenna died. Jules died. John ended up dying.  But Elijah didn't kill Klaus. He broke their deal, he broke his promise.  For the very moral Elijah that's something huge and wasn't addressed.  Why would Elena trust him?

Nope. That felt a little forced.  Now if they'd SHOWN us the conversation between Elena and Elijah, I might have believed it more.

Contrivance Number Two


The invitation arrives summoning Elena to the ball.  Damon's opposed. Stefan is for it.  Stefan doesn't really care if it gets Elena killed because he's still mooning over how to drop Klaus down a very deep well. Damon's not keen because a house full of Originals isn't safe and she can't protect herself.  Elena wants to go, at this point, the only thing she really has left to lose is her own life so I can get why she's willing to go.

But when Stefan points out that keeping Elena alive is Damon's job, Damon jerks the invitation out of her hand and says he'll go, she'll stay, end of story.

Up until this point, this season, Damon and Elena have been working REALLY well together. They've been talking, planning and plotting -- and yes, arguing.  But they've rarely made moves without the other letting them in on it.  Elena gave Rebekah to Klaus, but she and Damon did talk about it and she didn't do it until she felt she had no other choice and yes, Damon let Stefan go, for much the same reasons, but again, they were talking. They worked together.

Damon shutting her down is romantic, heroic, and just not in keeping with the changes they've undergone, this was more Season 3, Episode 1 Damon than the Damon who kissed her, the Damon she thanked for being there and the Damon she planned stuff with.

So what does Elena do? She decides to go anyway and tries to enlist Caroline. Caroline has no intentions of going until Rebekah asks Matt.

Contrivance Number Three


Damon's annoyed that Elena's at the ball, but he's still blown away by her beauty.  She enters on both their arms.  They have a moment when Esther displays herself with the family and they announce the dance.  Damon won't let Elena see Esther alone (you know cause witches are judgy little things and Damon doesn't trust them).  Then he distracts Elena and gets her to dance.

It's a great moment, until Elena and Stefan talk.  Now -- Elena hasn't trusted Stefan in weeks, but suddenly she's taking advantage of the fact that he doesn't care whether she lives or dies and is willing to trust her decisions whereas Damon doesn't so can he help her distract Damon so she can sneak off to meet Esther.

Elena could have done a lot of things, she could have said, hey, if Esther wants to see me, she can see me with Damon or not at all.

She could have told Damon she wanted to go up there, but she wanted him to let her meet on her own and hashed it out until it was done (it's not like they were on a deadline).

She could have done a lot of things, but texting Damon to meet her in the library and then Stefan snapping his back that way and 'killing' him?

Really?


The lack of reaction on Elena's face screamed Katherine.  It was among the most cold-blooded things I've ever seen her do and to no purpose.  Stefan let her go and off Elena went.

Oh and by the way, Elijah paused her to ask that she find out if his mother was serious.  He'll believe it if Elena tells him what his mother says.

What?   Dude, we really needed to see that earlier conversation between Elena and Elijah.  But then, Elena's sterling honest reputation precedes her and her honorable intentions and her great integrity and compassion -- all of which she left in the library with Damon's broken body and apparently her brain cells.

Contrivance Number Four


Left alone with Esther and her magically, muting sage.  Esther says "You must have a million questions for me?"

The first thing Elena asks is "How are you alive?"

Nope. Not my first question.  Not by a longshot. I don't care why the old witch is alive, my first question would have been why the hell did you do this to me? What is the doppelganger? And why do you want me now?

Yep, more or less.  But Elena NEVER asks these questions except to Katherine who could only tell her about Katherine's experiences.

Btw, I was right about Ayanna and the Bennetts.

Mama says that she's been punished for a 1,000 years for creating vampires.  Now she has come back to undo what she did. Elena goes, "you're going to help us kill Klaus."

Um, note to Elena, he's not the only vampire.  Undoing the spell of immortality may doom her family, but I am thinking longer term ramifications, what happens to the rest of the vampires: Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Tyler....

Oh and when a 1,000 year old witch says, I need your help.  You say "WHY?"  You say "What will it do?" You ask questions, you don't just pony up your blood and ask why afterwards.

This is the TSTL moment that had me beating my head on a wall.  Everything that has revolved around Elena's blood has ended up having the WORST consequences for her and she just gave it up?

Then she went downstairs and lied right to Elijah's face and let him drink the champagne.  By the way, Julie Plec confirmed that even though it looked like he didn't drink it, he did.

Train Wreck Moment

Damon finds Elena and tells her it's time to go. This after he recovered from his 'death' and Stefan's comment that it was Elena's idea. Still pretty sure it wasn't her plan to snap Damon like that, but whatever.  Damon asks her if she got what she wanted, she says actually yes.  He says good, tell him on the ride home, they're leaving.

He grabs her, but she struggles and he releases her.  She says no, she's sorry she cut him out of the plan and he tells her there shouldn't have been a plan, she shouldn't even be there.  She asks him if he thought she liked going behind his back?  She didn't, but if she hadn't, Damon would have tried to play the hero and ruined everything.

Note to Elena: He probably would have gotten himself killed and that's what you needed to say there.

Damon: Sorry for trying to keep you alive.  Clearly Stefan doesn't give a crap anymore.
Elena: Now you're mad at me for including Stefan?
Damon: No, I'm mad at you because I love you.
Elena: Well maybe that's the problem.

Now, I know Elena didn't mean that the way it came out, it is part of the problem that Damon will do anything to keep her safe.  He'll die for her and I know she doesn't want him dead.  I can even see that in her mind, she's lost everything except Damon and she doesn't want to lose him.

Estranged is better than dead, remember?

But that line delivered a brutal note to Damon and he reacted to it, but unlike his self-destructive behavior in the past where he kills or maims innocence, he took a very point action. An action directed right at Elena.

He slept with Rebekah.

I can't wait until Elena finds out and I hope it hurts. I know it will.  Damon said it, he finally said it outloud to her and Elena ran as fast from it as she could.  She tried to reach out to Stefan only to be slapped down and at the end of the day she was alone.

Katherine Part Deux

A few weeks ago, Stefan said Klaus took everything from him and all he had left to live for was revenge. Klaus didn't take everything from Stefan, he's taken it from Elena.  She's lost her family (John, Jenna, Jeremy) all directly related to Klaus' actions.  She lost Stefan.  She blames herself for what happened to Caroline.  The distance between she and Bonnie continues to grow and recently between Stefan scaring the hell out of her on that bridge and Caroline's father's death and Alaric's close call - again -- I think Elena's never been more alone.

Elena has held onto her humanity, her compassion, her integrity through it all -- until now.  We've always known she had the capability to become Katherine, but how far did she have to be pushed to get there?

She is now in the same position Katherine found herself when she was in Klaus' court with one, notable exception:  Damon.

I like to think she's pushing him away to protect him, because she's confused and can't process everything that's happened to her and at the end of the day, she's an 18 year old kid whose been through hell.  I like to think the writers will bring us back from this brink.  That they will redeem her, after all, they've done it many times with Damon in the past.  But in all of those cases, they showed us what was happening in his head and right now, I don't know what's going on in Elena's.

Quibbles



  • Elena didn't have a dress for the homecoming dance but she had that gorgeous thing just hanging around? Did Elijah send her a dress the way Klaus did Caroline?
  • Why does Elena assume Damon started the fight with Kol because he was misbehaving? He was saving Matt.  Geez. I hope Matt smacks that sense into her.
  • Damon and Kol have met before, we'll see.
  • Damon and Stefan both seemed to recognize Mama Original.  Why?
  • What the hell does Stefan want? He wants Elena? He doesn't want Elena? He's sticking it to Damon for loving Elena? Ugh

Highlight of the Night:  Caroline telling Klaus to not go there about her father and that of couse she can dance, she is Miss Mystic Falls.  I also loved it when she tore into him for what he did to Tyler and pointed out that he controls people because he doesn't think they'll love him.  And he's right.  Go girl!

So, come and tell me your thoughts, my friends.  Purge.  Let it out.

2 comments:

  1. Okay, you caught a bunch of things that I hadn't caught and would have annoyed me further.

    I was sort of lost in annoyance at the TSTL bloodgiving and general horrible relationship choices to catch some of the finer points.

    As usual, I LOVE that you do this. So many bits that I would have missed and now I can look for answers on Thursday...

    Which suddenly feels a long way away... *sigh*

    If only THIS were a show that was aired everyday. lol

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    Replies
    1. Oh hell no. If it aired everyday, it would probably feel too rushed. I would be quite happy with 52 episodes a year and they could even make some two hour movies if they needed a week off.

      What? I'm just saying

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