UH SO ALL OF THAT HAPPENED.

I literally do not know where to start this week because HOLY SHITBALLS IT'S ONE OF THOSE WEEKS. SO LET'S JUST GO.

1) Damon giving Elena blood is the worst thing he's done in two seasons. And since he kicked off ep 3 by eating Stefan's history teacher, that is saying something. I cannot--you guys, I love Damon so much, and I get it, okay, and he actually does not-entirely-dumb things otherwise this week, but THAT? That is the kind of shit that makes me look back fondly on that week Stefan was starving him to put him in the family crypt for 50 years, so he could learn some manners. DAMON SALVATORE ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. WHEN MY MOMMA YELLS AT ME LIKE THIS IT IS BECAUSE SHE LOVES ME--

2) Elijah is only in one scene this week, but I just. Can he show up periodically, like a genial-but-murderous uncle? Like really old John Gilbert, thinking all of these kids need less sugar?

3) TYLER LOCKWOOD I MISSED YOU. Do not ever leave again! You are awesome! You and Caroline should date and be awesome and make me roll my eyes at how cute vampire/werewolf pairings are when Stephenie Meyer doesn't get her nose all up in them.

4) I don't know who did Carol's stunt re: falling downstairs, but they need a medal. And maybe spinal surgery holy shit.

5) It took me 'til Stefan's "how could you, of all people" before I remembered that turning Elena? Is literally the worst thing Damon could ever do. Remember, he hates being a vampire. Stefan's made peace with it, but Damon? Damon would rip it out of him, make it a separate person, and beat that person to death with a baseball bat. Jesus CHRIST, Eldest Salvatore, you are gonna be working this one off longer than that time you ripped out Bonnie's trachea oh right you're still working that off.

6) Seriously, this was just a good stunt week. First Carol, then the (actually very pointed) Stefan/Damon fight. OW. Do you think Paul and Ian's stunt guys get hazard pay? Because maybe they should.

7) Technically, the Petrova doppelganger counts as a supernatural being, so the Gilbert ring wouldn't work on her.

8) "It's me!"
"Prove it."
"The first night, Jeremy walked in just as--"
"It's him."

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Gilberts: cockblocking Mr. Saltzman since 2010.

9) ALARIC SALTZMAN I MISSED YOU MORE. Just--missing for three days! Missed some stuff! "what else did I do?" all grim-faced, because this is Mystic Falls, and--oh God, I hope someone told him about Isobel. That's not shit you should casually mention four months later, guys. Also, he is gonna be so pissed when he finally gets home and finds out Katherine's totally depleted his bourbon stash.

10) "She's the same Caroline."
"She's not the same. She's a vampire."

Aaaaaaand this is where Liz loses me, because if there's one thing this show has proven, it's that being a vampire just makes you more of who you are, especially in the short term. (From the little we've seen in flashbacks, Katherine, Stefan and Damon seemed like 90 degrees of different person. You live long enough, lots of things change.) Vicki had her first real taste of power and handled it badly; Caroline freaked out at first and is coping great now. She's still Caroline! She just...has a couple of severe allergies and different dietary requirements. But she's still Miss Mystic Falls, she's still on like ten different extracurriculars, and she's still the girl who loves her mom and friends. She's just--more.

11) Elena, it's not that Damon doesn't understand your plan, it's that he doesn't care. Big difference.

12) Elena's faith that things re: the sacrifice ritual vs. Damon's total lack of faith in anything but himself is really the main reason Damon/Elena is never gonna work out. It's not like the books, where she's tempted by him, lured in by the darkness; she loves him, yeah, but as a friend--and even that is iffy, right now. UNDERSTANDABLY.

13) "Jenna, go downstairs, get some blood bags." Alaric being all calm and in control! Jenna with a crossbow! HAVE I MENTIONED I LOVE HUMANS ON THIS SHOW. Seriously, between that and Matt with the sniper rifle, this was seriously humanity's week on this show. --I mean, within reason.

14) "I screwed up." Alaric Saltzman, ladies and gentlemen: the only person (other than Elena, arguably) Damon Salvatore would ever say those words to without whammying being involved. HE MISSED HIS BRO.

15) It is really fucking creepy to see Klaus just walk into the Grille like that and start talking to Damon and Alaric. Stop that! Evil is not supposed to show up next to Good and start having a drink! Not on! It's like when the Mayor walked into the Sunnydale High library and I got really fucking creeped out. SEPARATE CORNERS, EVIL. NOT ON.

16) "I want you to go somewhere with me. It's not far. It's just for today, I promise." The first time I started crying.

17) So between By the Light of the Moon and this week, it's been a month. ONE MONTH. I am gonna pin down timelines on this show if, like Julie Plec promised, it makes blood come out of my nose.

18) "I'll have bought her one month."
"And you'll still be dead."
"...are you gonna help me or not?"
"What do you need me to do?"

TEAM BADASS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. I want a CafePress store, and I want it yesterday.

19) I am just saying it now: if it comes down to Bonnie vs. Greta, I...will be horrified? But not surprised? Although I am somehow unsurprised about Greta being on Team Klaus, and I feel like the ghost of her dad should show up and kick her in the knee.

20) While Klaus is proving more badass than I thought, I am still legitimately sad he's not a nutter in a dirty raincoat, throwing lightning and offering people mice with their tea while singing what appear to be sea shanties. (Of course, I'm the person who's still sort of sad Damon can't turn into a bird, so I have no room to talk about anything on this show.)

21) AHAHAHAHAHAHA OH GOD THEY GAVE MYSTIC FALLS AN ACTUAL WATERFALL. (In the books, as in 1864, it's Fell's Church, only in the books it's named for Honoria Fell. You know, who Stefan ate in 1864 during his unfortunate Interview With the Vampire period.)

22) "I didn't think you'd be dumb enough to come back."
"Someone had to be dumb enough to invite him in."

AND THEN ALARIC INVITES DAMON INTO HIS APARTMENT. Which means you're no longer the smartest man in town, Saltzman, but on the other hand, DOLPHIN NOISES.

23) And then OH SHIT MATT SHOOTS LOW-RENT CHANNING TATUM WITH WOODEN BULLETS. (They also kill witches! You know, by virtus of being bullets.) And then Damon cracks him in the head with the rifle, because he's been shot like six times with those things, and it is getting old.

24) ...can we come up with reasons for Damon to need a deer rifle again at some point? Because that. Yes.

25) "Imagine competing with Elena for Stefan's love for, oh, ever." Yeah, Katherine, that's totally your kid right there. Gets that from your side of the family and everything.

26) Katherine faking out Klaus and actually burning herself = SORT OF GREAT. Ten bucks says she lives through the end of the year.

27) "I don't want to be a vampire, Stefan." Oh look! The SECOND time I started crying!

I--you guys, she doesn't want to be a vampire. She wanted to get old and maybe have kids and have a life. And she can get old, but she'll always be 17; she'll have a life, but it won't be the one she meant. Having kids means condemning someone else to this existence. Being a vampire means everything is, to an extent, a lack of inertia; you change, but you don't, not really. You make peace with what you are, and like Stefan said, parts of it are great: beautiful things are more beautiful, everything's more immediate. But eating always involves death or, at best, pain; anger becomes rage, sadness becomes despair, a bad mood becomes the end of the world. That's as horrifying as it is lovely. And the fact that Stefan thought about it but never brought it up - that Elena never wondered why he didn't - proves he knows her, he knows what it means for her, and while part of him might be glad she'll never get old or fade away, she'll never--she won't be the same girl he fell in love with when he saved her from drowning. She'll be like him.

(I think it's fairly telling that neither of them talked about the transition/grace period. She doesn't have to choose to be a vampire, remember: she could always just...not taste blood. Takes about 12 hours; what killed you originally just catches up with you. I also think it's telling that Stefan doesn't want it for her, that he's not talking her into it, considering that the worst thing he ever did - by his own admission - was talk Damon into it. He's not the same guy who got shot by his dad. He--I don't know, you guys, I just really fucking like Stefan Salvatore a whole lot.)

28) Elena thinks about things in a rational manner, does not obsess about her vampire boyfriend, and looks forward to growing old and maybe having children. For the most part, barring a couple shitty weeks, she defends her own life when threatened. She will slap you if you do stupid shit. Say it with me, guys: EAT IT, BELLA SWAN.

29) "Close your eyes." Because Elena doesn't want Stefan to see her go oh look! Crying again!

30) I will give Damon this: when he goes on a kamikaze run, he motherfucking goes on a kamikaze run.

31) As soon as I saw Damon wince, I sort of...not called the werewolf bite? But this is my unsurprised face. On the other hand, if this ends up where I think it might, I WILL HUG KEVIN WILLIAMSON IF I EVER MEET HIM HOLY GODDAMN SHIT.

(For those of you who have read The Return: the end of Shadow Souls--look, I know we're all trying to forget it, but Stefan's kitsune friend? With the bouquet of flowers? And Damon smells it, and then--YEAH THAT PART. NO, NOT SAGE.)

32) "First rule: always have a backup plan." I know, realistically, we have to kill Klaus at the end of the year, but the man is not stupid. Unlike, I don't know, certain Virginians of Italian extraction I can name DAMON SERIOUSLY STEFAN I AM ALSO LOOKING AT YOU.

33) Is it weird that I clap when Damon treats Caroline like an equal? I'm starting to think he honestly does not get why people hold grudges against him. "What? I treated you like a fuckable snack bar for like a fortnight, you didn't die, you're a vampire now. Just don't be a bitch to your mom. Here is a gun; handle Tyler if he shows up. I'm kind of busy."

34) Original plan: Low-Rent Chaning Tatum/Caroline/Tyler. First backup plan: Greta/Damon/Jules. Third backup plan: Greta/Jules/Jenna THAT'S RIGHT JENNA SOMMERS IS A MOTHERFUCKING VAMPIRE. Sorry, Saltzman, this is your lot in life: falling in love with ladies who can rip out your spleen. DO IT JENNA.

--oh my God, by the end of the night Jeremy's gonna be the only one who can invite people inside.

Next week: we go back to the WiFi caves! The next two episodes take place on the same day as this one! TWO WEEKS LEFT. "The Sun Also Rises", next Thursday.

ALSO: For all interested parties, tomorrow morning at 8 AM EST, SyFy will be showing Fireball, aka "Damon Salvatore and The Andromeda save Lake Tahoe from a roid-ragey Russian Pyro knockoff via shit-talking in a nuclear reactor". THIS IS A REAL MOVIE.

(It is also a movie where a female scientist dresses appropriately for her job and the sexual tension is secondary to the plot, and people act like grownups even in weirdass situations. Also, Ian Somerhalder yells like a five-year-old like six times, and the phrase "geographically star-crossed" is used. I own this movie on DVD. UNIRONIcALLY. So if any of those things sound interesting, you should maybe set your DVR and watch it when you get home. Or wake up. Or after the Royal Wedding, whatever. WATCH IT.)
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