Previously on TVD: I completely missed last week, as my mom was in the hospital. (Update: hopefully, she can come home Saturday. Yay!)

This week: Christmas! Whiplash, motherfuckers, we specialize.

1) I realized today, reading the TWOP recap of last week's ep, that sire bonds are, in fact, really rare, and most vampires have probably never heard of them oh my God it's a hipster thing. I'm gonna go lie down in traffic now.

2) I'm not going to go into the whole thing from last week, because the whole "Damon and Elena are together because of the sire bond" thing is creepy as fuck, and the show...isn't presenting it as such? I mean, they kind of are, but nowhere near to the extent they should be, because Elena literally has no agency where Damon is concerned. Even worse, she doesn't seem to want any. I know Tyler was all "the bond changes how you act, not what you feel"; that's fine, I get that. I don't know how different it is when, as a baby vamp, Elena still isn't used to her emotions being all jacked up in general, and towards Damon in particular. And the show, instead of presenting it as "oh my God, this is awful and we need to find a way to break it", is going with "this just proves that Elena's always had feelings for him!" Which is valid and true, but - even if she didn't, even if she started to hate him, she literally can't not do what he says. That is fucking horrifying, to me. And while I'm totally okay with love stories being horrifying, I'd rather they be up-front about it.

3) On the other hand, nobody else is doing any better, frankly. Caroline is being reaaaaaally judgey here, and not in the way I would expect ("No, I don't like Damon, for the NUMEROUS REASONS I WILL NOW LIST, and think you being with him is sketch at best, but you're my friend and I love you, so I'm going to shut up while you do something I think is a terrible fucking idea, because you are a grown-ass lady who can make her own decisions"). No, she's a giant Stefan/Elena shipper - when that isn't any better, Care, Stefan IS ALSO A GODDAMNED SERIAL KILLER; at least Damon owns it - and just. "Say what you want about Ripper Stefan, at least he isn't a man slut"? Well, no, because RIPPER STEFAN IS A FUCKING SERIAL KILLER, CAROLINE (and a fucked up one, at that), and because "slut" is a stupid, outdated concept that has no place with either gender. (Also, for real: there are literally a hundred worse things you could call Damon than "man slut", and that's what you use? Really? Weak sauce, Forbes.)

All that, plus we still have no real reason why Lexi never liked Damon. Oh, sure, the whole "you and Evil Me kind of made him the Ripper" thing as a reason not to go overseas with him in WWII I get, but not the fact that she never liked him.

4) ALSO ALSO: Damon, I get that you didn't mean to do it with Charlotte any more than you did with Elena - a fuck of a lot less with Elena, actually - but wouldn't you think, upon realizing that Meredith gave Elena your blood and essentially making a baby with you without your consent (ALSO EFFED UP, FELL), that you should maybe keep an eye on her on the off chance that she's sired to you the way Charlotte was?

5) Seriously: I don't care how shit-hot Damon is. Any rational person would be fighting against the sire bond just because, you know, free will is awesome. And Elena's not, which is hinky as all hell.

6) Klaus is painting! Sue me, I like callbacks.

7) "Why would I lie to you, Stefan?" Fair point. Klaus, as a rule, doesn't lie. He omits pertinent information like that's his job, but if he says rain is wet, rain is, in fact, wet.

8) And then Tyler volunteers to let a rando witch jump Klaus into his body, then get encased in concrete long enough for all the freed hybrids to scatter. Not the best plan, but not awful. It'd work better if Caroline didn't immediately tell Stefan all this for Elena-curing purposes.

9) Seeing Littlest Gilbert in an undershirt, making Crazy Hunter Eyes and wielding an axe, is not a good sign.

10) Oh, great! Professor Shane! Because this isn't sketchy enough!

11) Aaaaaaand then of course Elena gets invited in, and Jeremy promptly tries to kill her.

12) Possibly my favorite rando Winter Wonderland decoration, other than the fake snow, is the giant WIN POTTERY CLASSES sign in the Grille.

13) Damon's little "I'm a terrible liar" noise is just...you have been here not even two years, Salvatore! Did you forget how?

14) I like JoMo's interpretation, that he's not sure that Klaus loves Caroline or if he thinks she's lovely and is fascinated by a woman he can't immediately charm or whammy. I think Klaus is old enough, and hasn't been human for a long enough period of time, that he confuses the two pretty easily. I don't know if there's a difference, for him.

15) Tyler, do not threaten Happy Fun Salvatore, okay? You might have twelve freed hybrids, but all either Stefan or Caroline have to do is talk to Klaus for ten seconds.

16) "You're not allowed to feel this sorry for yourself unless you're sitting on a bar stool." Again, why is that not in the Welcome to Mystic Falls pamphlets you get from the Chamber of Commerce?

17) Elena! Damon is legit trying to not be awful! Normally I'd be all "wooo, owning your emotions!" but you are literally whammied to do what he says! STILL CREEPY AS FUCK. When the man is trying not to be creepy as fuck, GIVE HIM SOME LEEWAY.

18) Going by Jeremy's subconscious little speech, I'm starting to wonder if The Five aren't programmed the same way Evil Alaric was. And if they were--well, Jeremy got it in the end, didn't he?

19) "Well, this isn't awkward at all." Good to know Damon can still bitch in the face of terrible things.

20) Sooooo Shane's wife and son died. Ten bucks says that's related to the Council dying, and Qetsiyah and Silas, and the cure, and all of this.

21) "Quick, a toast before people can judge us."

"Mom, say something."
"...you're going to miss graduation."

UGH SHOW IF YOU HURT CAROL LOCKWOOD I AM PUNCHING YOU.

22) So the version of the Silas story Shane told Elena - Silas and Qetsiyah were beffies, but Qetsiyah got jealous and buried Silas alive, taking the cure for immortality with him. That's...not the version he told at the talk, with Silas and Qetsiyah being lovers before Silas threw her aside for a mortal woman he wanted to live forever. You know who revises stories according to whoever's listening? SKETCHY-ASS DUDES.

23) And then Hayley snaps Caroline's neck DONE WITH YOU NOW, PRINCESS.

24) Matt Donovan, you keep your adorable little head away from all this, I don't need to start hoping you don't get murdered until at least the back half of the season.

25) New plan: put Klaus in Rebekah. This will totally not happen, because I have seen this show before, but still: nice looking out, Forbes.

26) I do love that everyone's freaking out about minors having champagne. Every party has a keg and your drinking water is bourbon! THAT SHIP HAS SAILED.

27) "Remember the detour. Choose the right path." So Shane needs a witch and a hunter--and, as we learn, 12 freed hybrids for the sacrifice--to...bring back the dead? OH MY GOD DO WE GET ZOMBIES TELL ME WE GET ZOMBIES.

28) Klaus keeps letters from his victims in his safe, much the same way Stefan has the Closet of Shame. That's not creepy at all.

29) I just--again, there are ten seconds during the whole "I am staggeringly lonely" speech where I feel bad for Klaus, because I'm pretty sure he's telling the truth. And then he goes and does...that, and you realize: oh, no, he's a fucking monster, RUN CAROLINE RUN.

30) And then Caroline tries to whammy April, except she's got Jeremy's vervain bracelet, and OH SHIT APRIL KNOWS THINGS. THIS WILL NOT END WELL.

31) Haley! I wanted to like you, lady, but you straight-up sold out 12 hybrids, not counting Tyler, to--what? Get back your dead parents? Because ten bucks says when he gets Silas and Qetsiyah, you're gonna be dead.

32) "You can't keep telling me that this isn't real." Okay, yes he can, and also IT IS AT BEST REAL-ISH. PARTS ARE REAL.

33) UGH SALVATORES LIKED CHRISTMAS WHEN THEY WERE TINY HUMAN CHILDREN.

34) Aaaaaand then Damon sends Elena away for her own good. Still sketchy as fuck, but: baby steps, Salvatore. Baby steps.

35) Aaaaaaand then Caroline rats out Damon, because I guess this year everyone is in charge of Elena except for Elena, and the only person I don't want to punch a little is Matt. MATT GODDAMN DONOVAN.

36) Show: we'd better get like six episodes of Jeremy and Damon being awkward training bros.

37) Also OH GOD IF WE CAN BRING BACK THE DEAD DOES THIS MEAN WE GET LEXI AND ALARIC BACK? I CAN FORGIVE A LOT OF SHIT FOR ALEXIA BRANSON AND ALARIC SALTZMAN, SHOW.

38) I will say, the use of Christmas music this week, especially as a counterpoint to murder, is surprisingly lovely. High five, Chris Mollere.

39) And then April - still in her MMF dress and sash, trembling, terrified - opens the coffin and finds a daggered Rebekah. Welcome to the X-Men, April Young. Hope you survive the experience. (Odds are not great.)

40) And then Carol--tired, a little drunk, but happy nonetheless--sits at the edge of the fountain and calls Tyler, who's supposed to be her sober cab. It's been a good night; long, but good.

Out of the darkness, Klaus approaches. He's quiet in a way he doesn't usually get - quiet, and covered in blood. And Carol--who lost her husband to vampires; whose son turned out to be a werewolf, and then a hybrid; who once handed Liz Forbes' only daughter over to try and be "cured"; who's held this town together by her fingernails, despite (I'm pretty sure) never being duly elected--Carol looks at him, and doesn't run. Just asks, quietly, that Klaus leave Tyler alone. "He's all I have."

"And you're all he has," Klaus says - not gentle, but not cruel, either. Tired. Dull, maybe. It's been a long night for him, too. "There's a beautiful symmetry in that, don't you think?"

And then he holds Carol's head underwater until she stops thrashing.

41) It took me a long time to like Carol Lockwood. She was a functioning alcoholic, at best; the words "trophy wife" and "boozy society matron" would also not go amiss, as descriptions. She was a snot to Vicki Donovan for being from "the wrong side of the tracks"--never mind that Mystic Falls doesn't really have tracks. She got drunk and hit on Damon, who may or may not have hit that. She made appearances. She was--there.

And then her husband died, and she had a teenage son to raise by herself, and a town to run, and--she did it. Not always well, most often with brittle grace; I wasn't kidding when I said she held MF together by her fingernails. She made deals that were sketchy at best, with the Mikaelsons, for the good of the town. She kept the Masquerade in place as best as she could, paper-thin though it is right now. She and Liz Forbes did the best they could under terrible circumstances, and she never let her chin drop, even when she got arrested for five whole minutes before Pastor Young blew up most of the rest of the Council.

She didn't run, in the end. She didn't beg, or plead, or lose dignity. And maybe that's the best you can ask for, in Mystic Falls.

Next week: There is no next week! We're off until January 17, 2013, but then we're back--complete with undaggered Rebekah, a dead Carol Lockwood, and April Young: Newest X-Man. See you then!
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