OH SHIT YOU GUYS ALL OF THAT JUST HAPPENED. NO ONE CHECK TWITTER ON THE WEST COAST 'TIL YOU'VE SEEN IT.

1) FOR THOSE OF YOU JUST JOINING US: this time "last year"--back in Season 1--Caroline was voted Miss Mystic Falls, Damon and Elena had a surprisingly smoking-hot dance, and Stefan got alllll coked up on human blood and came within like three seconds of murdering a Fell in the woods. (You know, the one they go to school with. Fells are just in piles, I swear to God.)

2) ALSO, LAST TIME: After a whole half-season's subplot where Elena has to ~choose~ between Stefan and Damon, Elena chose Stefan; ten minutes later she was a vampire, and now she's all overcome by brand new super-strong vampire feelings for Damon, so Stefan broke up with Elena FOR HER OWN GOOD, because he is suddenly a dickhead, thus freeing us up for Delena shenanigans for a season and making me want to drink, because Elena is a baby vampire, and should maybe refrain from fucking ANYBODY 'til she's got that under control.

3) Also also--look, I get that Elena is at least as much a lady-related dick contest between Salvatores (not a lot! Just kind of! But that's definitely a thing!) as the girl they both love, but NEITHER OF YOU SHOULD BE TRAINING HER, OH MY GOD. Lexi's dead and can't do it, and Jeremy as a baby hunter is in no position to try and grab her like he did Rose last season for advice, but you know what? CAROLINE IS RIGHT. FREAKING. THERE. And I hate, hate, hate that the excuse is "oh, Caroline wouldn't understand, she's never had to deal with this", because--do none of you remember THAT TIME SHE ATE A CARNY? Because she did that. Like, five minutes before Damon tried to kill her. She bitched about people smelling delicious and feeling everything cranked up to thirty, except that at that point, Stefan was in a place to help her; Stefan was *her* Lexi. He paid it forward. I just think it's stupid that the show isn't letting Caroline pay it forward, because if there was ever anyone who needed Lexi, third-hand or otherwise, it's Elena Goddamned Gilbert. ANYWAY.

...wow, the show hasn't started yet. This doesn't bode well.

4) I will say this: of the Salvatores--not of people on this show, mind you; of a really specific subset--Damon's the one more likely to see threats coming. Stefan's very "Elena and/or Klaus, with a subroutine for Shit Damon Is Doing", while Damon's like "HEY! Creepy professor took over Sheila's job and Bonnie sounds sort of cult-y about him in a way that Bonnie doesn't really...do, we should maybe do something about that--" and then something happens with Elena and he forgets about it. I'm just saying, people in the immediate vicinity should start writing some of this shit down to follow up on it later. Like, before shit's on fire. Just sayin'.

--seriously, I am probably gonna be chatty this week. Get snacks.

5) You know it's gonna be a good week when Stefan's doing rage calisthenics in the woods.

6) See, okay, while I don't love that Caroline is all "go Stelena!"--seriously, NO ONE FUCK, SHE IS A NEW BABY--I get that she hates Damon. She has reason to hate Damon. She is not being a douchecanoe because your newbie vampire girlfriend admitted something awkward, STEFAN.

7) "Elena's right. Being a vampire really has changed her." Oh my God, Stefan, if you're going to be a fuckface all episode you can just listen to Mumford & Sons in your room and write bad blank verse, okay? There's a pageant going on, I have no time for this nonsense. Also, NO IT REALLY HASN'T. Any worse than it did you, Guy Who Once Ate a Migrant Village.

8) Oh, man, nobody tells Damon anything. Honest to God, you guys, PHONE TREE.

9) Maybe the saddest thing I have seen all season that's not Saltzman-related? Damon trying to commiserate with Stefan. "Hey! Come on, little bro, let's go get drunk and eat sorority girls!" You guys, he loves his baby brother! And he doesn't hate him for the first time in a ridiculously long time! Except now Stefan is being an asshat and blaming Damon for LITERALLY NOTHING DAMON DID, JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. He needs a hug.

10) Professor Shane is a judge this year! That's not gonna be terrible at all.

11) You know, I have to say I don't hate the Littlest Gilbert this year? But for real, Jer, when you develop hunting-related superpowers, you do not SHOW OFF YOUR SUPER-STRENGTH where just anyone can see. I know the Masquerade in this town is basically a passing nod, but for real: we still give it the nod. Jesus Christ, guys, come on.

12) Gabby Douglas! Who is wee and cute and getting bossed around by Caroline about following her floral placement chart! Cutest cameo ever? I think so.

13) Aaaaaand--okay, look: I like Stefan. I do. I think, like everyone, he's a work-in-progress; his main problem isn't the whole murderer-shame-spiral-penitent thing, it's that he's really committed to the Stefan Salvatore Is the Good Brother & Damon Salvatore the Evil One story, which is not a story that exists anymore. Sorry! You both chose to stay in Mystic Falls, and get to know other people, so now we know that that story is scripted at best, like reality TV. The sooner he accepts that, the sooner he can work on himself.

However: the minute you start TURNING PEOPLE INTO GODDAMNED VAMPIRES, murderers already or no, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY WORSE THAN YOUR BROTHER. I mean, God knows Damon has his problems, and he wouldn't hesitate to do it, but he wouldn't be all "I hate doing this". He would just straight-up do it and get on with his day. Damon hates himself, but he lies to make himself look worse, not better. (A lot like the books, actually; the original four are great, read 'em if you haven't already.)

Just--I don't think I like you so much these days, Littlest Salvatore. I don't think a lot of people do.

14) For real, all of those MMF dresses are fugly. Strapless red boob-holders for April? Caroline's awful puke-green-and-black-latticework thing? No. No no no. Elena and, arguably, Haley look the best, and they are not actually doing anything! The hell?

15) Is there anything cuter than Caroline Forbes, Crazy Organizational Person? Not especially.

16) OH MY GOD KLAUS LIKES HER SO MUCH. He is literally the scariest thing on Earth and impossible to kill, and Caroline is pissed at him, and he thinks it's cute. Normally I would get bitchy about thinking that's because she's a girl, but no: he does the same shit to guys, and also, HE IS DOODLING "MR. CAROLINE FORBES" IN A LISA FRANK NOTEBOOK, OKAY?

17) You will note my unsurprised face that MMF is at the Lockwood house. You can't see it, but please note it.

18) --oh man, sidebar again, but: which town is scariest, Mystic Falls or Beacon Hills? I think it's a tie. MF has basically replaced its water with bourbon and barely holds onto the Masquerade anymore, but BH has long periods of normal followed by, like, three months where about 20 people have died, we have like 7 new baby werewolves, and the police force is literally Johnny Cage because all of his deputies were killed by a lizard boy controlled by a pissed-off teenager who held a grudge against The Flash. Different kinds of horrible, really.

19) And now Jeremy's dreaming he's murdering Elena, because why not make Gilbert holidays 15 times more awkward than they were going to be this year anyway?

20) Holy shit, Matt Donovan cleans up nice.

21) "Get out, lurker!" followed by Caroline tossing a hair tie at Damon. You know, I am legitimately sorry those two can't be friends, because that would be comedy fucking gold.

22) I don't--I said it before, I'll say it again: I don't think Elena should be dating ANYONE right now, because she is a baby vampire and that is hard enough. But Stefan being a dick about Elena having feelings for someone who isn't him is gonna get old reaaaaaally fas OH WAIT IT ALREADY IS. (Also, there is something hinky re: Elena automatically agreeing with all of Damon's opinions, but I will chalk that up to baby vamp feels.) I will say Damon is showing surprising restraint on not just jumping on her.

23) Be careful, Professor Shane! Damon has a history of murdering his enemies at public events! (Seriously. Or just tossing 'em off balconies.)

24) Valerie Fell! ...okay, this is starting not to get funny anymore. One day they're just gonna be the entire Council. Just Fells. THE REST OF YOU, TO BABYMAKING IMMEDIATELY.

25) "Did you just accuse me of mass murder in the middle of a high school pageant?" There are lines, in the four years of this show, that just sort of sum everything up. This is one of 'em.

26) Okay, shut up, Haley and Tyler mocking the pageant as a whole was sort of cute.

27) I really do love that, because they're in Virginia, the whole high school pageant involves traditional dancing. Less thrilled that this year's song choice has lyrics, but hey.

28) "Please don't tell me you've roped Jeremy into a world of crazy." Would that he could, Elena. Would that he could.

29) Aaaaaaaaaaaand then Jeremy can't trust Stefan anymore, KNIFES HIM, and books it out of the murder tunnels. Nice one, LS. You accidentally a goddamn Terminator.

30) "It'll all make sense eventually." I--God help me, between this and the hummingbird story (which might be BS; you literally cannot tell, with Klaus), I kind of...don't hate him? I especially don't hate him with Caroline. WHAT DON'T JUDGE ME.

31) And then we get my new Favorite Klaus/Caroline scene, dethroning the previous title holder, That Time He Drew a Picture of Her And a Horse: Klaus Reads Caroline's 2011 MMF Application Aloud (While She Giggles). "What, did you run out of words that end in '-spire'?" And he's legitimately laughing! He is being flirty and cute! God help me, there are moments when I forget he's basically a slavering monster.

32) Being a hunter slowly twists you 'til all you can think of is killing vampires. Yeah. Good one, Witch Who Created the Five Who (As We Later Learn) Was Probably Ayana: you made killing machines that probably all go nuts! That...that is not something people who aren't horrible do.

33) Aaaaaaaand Bonnie's the only one who can unseal Alexander's sword, being a Bennett witch. Jesus God, we really underestimated this whole "Bennett witches = useful" thing, didn't we? Also, hey, is Lucy dead? Because she's also a Bennett. Just sayin'.

34) And April Young is the new Miss Mystic Falls! Kind of a foregone conclusion, but I like April, so yay!

35) "I would never do anything to hurt you." To be fair, Elena, you did kill the kid in a hallucination daze like three days ago.

36) AND THEN! Elena attacks him, Jeremy stabs her in the neck, and Matt and Stefan have to pull him away from killing Elena! His sister Elena! Not a separate Elena we have not met before! The HELL, Littlest Gilbert!

37) There is something about Haley's curse being triggered by a drunk boating accident that makes me wince in sympathy. Still don't like her - for totally valid reasons, as we'll see - but still: sucks.

38) I swear to God, if I never have to tell another character on this show that X doesn't need fixing because X isn't broken, it'll be too fucking soon. I just think it's sad that it's Stefan and Elena, this time.

39) SO: Matt's staying at the Gilbert's (OH THANK GOD I BET THEY HAVE HEAT), Elena's staying at the boardinghouse, and Stefan - in a fit of pique, and probably without asking Liz - is staying at the Forbes'. Musical homes that require invitations!
40) And in a plot twist that does not really surprise me as make me start trying to figure out how the fuck this all links: Haley is working to free the hybrids for Professor Shane. In case you're keeping track: Haley + army of freed hybrids + Bonnie + Jeremy + Professor Shane involving something having to do with Silas and Qetsiyah, and possibly the cure to vampires. Seven weeks in, and I officially have no goddamned idea. Well-played, show!

41) You know what? It's totally impossible, because everyone involved is dead (except Elena), but ideally? Lexi (or Rose) would take Elena out of there for a year and teach her about being a vampire. She's too close to everyone in town; the emotions are too strong. Stefan learned to love Lexi as a friend, but their relationship worked as well as it did because he didn't know her; even if Damon hadn't hated him at the time, they couldn't have done it together. Everything there shone too bright, burned too hot. I'm just sorry she doesn't get that.

42) Aaaaaaaand then: the inevitable. Damon and Elena fuck so hard they break the boardinghouse. I'm unsurprised! And sort of skeeved out for both their parts, given what Caroline and Stefan figure out at the exact same time, namely--

43) --that, because this town is the rarest of snowflakes, Damon accidentally sired Elena. GOOD ONE, MEREDITH.

Now, it's really easy to say that this is Damon's fault--and if he finds out and continues to take advantage of it, then yes, he is a horrible fucking person. But right now, he honestly thinks Elena is overcome with ~passion~ and totally into him. Which makes this awful for both of them, because for real, Elena is never going to stop barfing when she gets this fixed.

(Not because she doesn't have feelings for Damon, mind you; that part's true. But Elena is almost as bad re: not having agency as Damon is, so for real: barfing for weeks.)

44) Mind you, the main problem now is two-fold:

a) How do you break a vampire sire-bond? Not like Elena can repeatedly turn into a giant fucking wolf; and
b) How do you make Elena want to break it? Can't make someone break the bond if they don't want to.

OH SHIT YOU GUYS THIS IS SIMULTANEOUSLY FUCKING HORRIFYING AND SORT OF GREAT. I know! I'm a terrible person. I live with it.

Next week: Stefan drops knowledge on Damon! Damon and Stefan give their all for the war effort, and coming dangerously close to breaking the Flashbacks = Terrible Wigs rule! All that, plus this season's Contractual (and Awesome) Lexi Appearance! "We'll Always Have Bourbon Street", next Thursday, 8 PM EST.
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