So here's where we are after this week:

STEFAN: Stefan has toned down the "being a dick to Elena" part of his personality this week, instead ramping up the "GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY OLDER BROTHER, ASSHOLE". Which is a welcome change, let me tell you.

ELENA: Despite a couple of falls into the Pit of Oh My God, Once Again This is All My Fault, Elena was doing okay - 'til she ran into Katherine Motherfucking Pierce and got derailed, and now she's the Last of the Gilberts. So yeah, she should start going batshit right about...now.

DAMON: Damon basically got to be Vaughn's stalking horse this week, trying to catch up to Bonnie and Jeremy and being a real dick about it. (So basically, himself.) He's coming dangerously close to being a decent person, which means we're about due for him to eat a baby or something.

CAROLINE: Caroline's boyfriend is fleeing into the hinterlands to avoid being killed, and the guy who condemned him wants makeouts. I know we've spent a lot of time obsessing about who Elena's banging this year, but for real, can something good happen to Caroline? Anything? Can she get a sandwich? SOMETHING.

TYLER: And once again, it's time for Tyler to flee Mystic Falls, this time with a head start, since Klaus has vowed to kill him. And again, he's alone.

KLAUS: Since Bonnie's been (possibly) mortally wounded, Klaus is out of the Gilbert house and trying to mack on Caroline - whose boyfriend he just condemned to torture and death, but he'll give him a head start first because he loves Caroline so much. Dude cannot read a room.

REBEKAH: Found out there was only one dose of the cure and promptly necksnapped Stefan before getting killed by Vaughn. She and Damon are hanging out in a cave, exhaustedly debating whether or not Damon is becoming a decent person.

BONNIE: After finding her way into Silas' tomb with Jeremy, Bonnie's been stabbed in the back (literally!) by Vaughn. Odds are she'll be fine, but after this week - shit, like I know.

JEREMY: Dead. Getting drunk with Alaric and Jenna a few feet away, God willing.

PROFESSOR SKETCH: Stuck in a cave with a broken leg, bemoaning that his whole crusade might be a lie. Literally the least of our problems, this week.

VAUGHN: Another of the Five, Vaughn carted Damon around like a divining rod and talked about how he's going to kill Silas. Sadly, that...is not what happened. Also, he stabbed Bonnie, so he is right on my shitlist.

KATHERINE MOTHERFUCKING PIERCE: OH LOOK, GUESS WHO'S BACK. OH LOOK, JEREMY'S DEAD.

***

* I think I've figured out what my main problem with this season has been. The previous three years, there's been enough of a breather between horrible things to have relationship talks, but not this year; between the giant "let's cure Elena" storyline and Kol trying to stop Silas and the Five and everything else, we haven't had a week to really dig in on "let's have a long chat about who's fucking who". So you end up with a lot of talk about who Elena's fucking while you're on Demonreach and Bonnie and Jeremy have been kidnapped by the sketchiest human in the known universe, which is really not the time for it.

* I'm not going to lie; I kind of love that Sketch had the tombstone to bribe a mercenary witch. "Oh, it's full of Qetsiyah's calcified blood, no big." That is in no way going to be horrible in the future! Or for Bonnie in particular!

* I don't know why anyone looks surprised Klaus speaks Aramaic. Dude's like a thousand years old.

* "You need me to get to Bonnie Bennett? You picked the wrong vampire." And again, I don't think so. Damon and Bonnie sort of - get along? For various meanings of the term? They do fine in a fight, and when it comes to making sure Elena's all right; and just...IDK, I don't get the sense of personal hatred between them that I (TOTALLY CORRECTLY) do with Damon and Caroline.

* I love that the bottom of the ghost-talking wishing well is loaded with sharp rocks for the apparent express purpose of seeing dead loved ones. Way to plan ahead, Qetsiyah And/Or Associates Who Buried Silas.

* "I get very upset when I can't provide for my friends." Okay, 1) PLURAL! 2) the last time I bounced like that, Alaric and Damon were toting a temporarily-daggered Elijah into the Salvatore basement.

* "Your attachment to your friends will be the death of you."
"You don't know my friends."

SHUT UP OKAY THEY ARE GOING TO BE A FOUND FAMILY IF IT KILLS ME.

* Legitimate best part? Rebekah's been temporarily murdered by Vaughn, Damon's being choked out, and Stefan's first thought isn't Elena, but "Damon!" UGH YOU GUYS SALVATORES ARE THE BEST. I--seriously, both of y'all need to let Elena be on her own for a while and travel around trying to reconnect as brothers. Road trip! Take a summer before Stefan starts college for the sixteenth time.

...also if Damon attends college next year I am going to plotz OH SHIT WHAT IF HE'S TEACHING.

* Okay, so all the loved ones whispering about how bringing back Silas will let him resurrect them are all hallucinations in some way brought on by Silas. So now I'm wondering if Silas is a Hurley (sees legit dead people), a Miles (sees dead people as long as the bodies are nearby, and in one piece), or a Man in Black (straight-up takes the shape of dead people to fuck with your head). They said six years of Lost would never pay off; I think it just pays off in fucked-up ways.

* I also love that Klaus "reveals" that Caroline likes being a vampire in the tones of someone unveiling a magic trick. We know that! That is fairly obvious, Mikaelson, what the actual hell. (Also, hey, you know when's a really bad time to hit on a lady? When you just told her boyfriend to get out of town with a head start before you FIND AND MURDER HIM.)

* "I will live a happy life without you. I will forget all about you. And I will never, ever...think about you again." Which is when I started tearing up, because--look, I love Tyler, but every time the guy leaves town part of me wonders if he's ever coming back. This week is not good, in that regard.

* Also great? Silas being mummified in place like Akasha in Queen of the Damned. (Check out the movie, if you haven't! It is hilaribble.)

* And then it's seven fights all at once: Vaughn stabs Bonnie! Vaughn and Jeremy fight! Elena knocks out Vaughn, because Hunter's curse! Littlest Gilbert still not great in a fight!

* "I don't mess around with witches." Congratulations, Vaughn: I don't know how long it makes your lifespan - see the previous titleholder, Alaric Saltzman - but you are now the smartest person on this show.

* "What else was [the cure] for?" Note to witches in the future: if you are leaving the cure for immortality buried with a guy, and you mean for it to be jammed down his throat and kill him? Maybe leave a note. Like, in writing, and not in body art on select vampire hunters.

* And then--

I forgot. I forgot, the same as everyone else did. We got lulled in by Julie being all, "Katherine's not gonna be anywhere near Klaus. She's not dumb." And where's further away from Klaus than an island 200 miles from Nova Scotia?

* And then--

Jeremy Gilbert was dumb. Not loveable dumb, either; sometimes the kid was like a sack of hair. He didn't do well when his parents died; he became a stoner, and started dealing on the side, and fell in love with Vicki, Tyler Lockwood's girlfriend who he partied with one eventful night. He dressed like a manager at Hot Topic. He was basically catnip for lady vampires. His first real girlfriend wasn't Vicki, but Anna, whose mom was stuck in a tomb under the town and who loved him right up until the end.

Jeremy's life sort of sucked. Vampires were real! ...and holy shit, did they like to bite him. It was okay, though; his uncle gave him his dad's old ring, and it kept him safe when something in the darkness killed him. (This happened a lot. Hazards of Mystic Falls, really.) But after Anna, he fell in love with Bonnie--Bonnie! Elena's best friend, who'd known him basically his entire life. He lost his aunt, and gained an uncle in his history teacher; he found out his sister was his cousin, and couldn't have given less of a shit if you paid him. Blood is blood.

He died, once, and Bonnie brought him back, only now he had a superpower: he could see ghosts. He got to see Anna again, and Vicki, and a bunch of other people--including Alaric, the night he died. It wasn't useful in a fight, but Jeremy did okay. He taught himself how to use a crossbow, and an axe; one time he made a friend and it turned out to be Kol, which proved that Denver was just as sucky as Virginia. He really hated that his sister kept dating vampires.

He was kind of a pain in the ass, and had a fondness for hot-and-crazy; he could draw like nobody's business. And not just nightmares! Beautiful things, things he'd only dreamed of. He drove Elena crazy, and Elena drove him crazy, and he was there to hold her when Jenna died. He lit lanterns with everyone else, that night in the park. He loved his sister so much, he let Damon - who he was never really fond of, what with that time Damon murdered him - teach him how to be a more effective killer. Bonnie taught him to remember that he loved his sister - his sister, not the vampire. They're not the same thing.

And I'd like to think when he died, down there in the dark, that it was - not okay? But that he wasn't alone. That he looks pissed off right now, a few feet away from his body, going "What the fuck?" while Ric says "Jesus, I know" and Jenna just hugs him, because being the ones who watch people do dumb-ass things is actually worse than doing them yourself.

I never really liked you, Littlest Gilbert. But a lot of people loved you, and that doesn't mean you won't be missed.

Next week: --so hey, that happened! Let's watch Elena go crazy when Meredith picks now to come back to town and have goddamn awful timing. "Stand by Me", next Thursday, 8 PM EST.
.

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