excelsis: disney's aurora holding her hands happily (♰ the weight of the world)
[personal profile] excelsis


 

This episode started out really strong! Because Elijah was beating the absolute stuffing out of Klaus and it was delightful... and...


yeah. But! The absolute snarl of disgust, hatred, and annoyance on Elijah's face. He's not seeing Klaus his brother, he's seeing Klaus, a snake, an insect, allowed to torment for far too long. I've been wanting this to happen to Klaus since his horrible comment about his pleasure in killing women in such a "harmonious" way at the ritual last summer. Jenna died only for your pleasure in symmetry and symbolism? Fuck you! Hi, this is me projecting my frustrations with the writers but my God, between Klaus' poor me schtick and his deluded dreams of happily ever after, I love Elijah even more for throwing his insipid brother through a wall! 

How much do I also love that instead of retconning Elijah's hair style, they just make it look like after the throw down with Klaus, Elijah went to a hair salon and perhaps a tailor, before meeting Damon! This guy has class. <3

    It was easier to do that than to wonder why you never came back for me    

Bonnie I love you! If I was told to list all the ways it would outnumber the stars! 

The Bennett lineage has always been a fascinating subtext on the Vampire Diaries, and I feel like it's almost a fandom secret the show runners are unaware of. To that end, I am almost deeply frightened should they discover and ruin this, too, but I'm so happy about Bonnie getting some meaty screen time that I could be swayed! 

Tears were down my eyes in several scenes tonight, but Bonnie gets me because of the contrast of the other scenes that made me cry: Caroline and Elena were together, Caroline and Elena and Matt were together, Caroline and her mother were together, and Elena and Matt were together over Alaric. Bonnie was completely alone, and her placement in the frames emphasize negative space. She was called to do magic, she says almost robotically at times. Bonnie has accepted and even enjoys the magic within her, but she never had a choice. She's a soldier, a jaded, dedicated superhero, at seventeen. Because she was called to and there was no one else to stand up for her friends. Her duty is thankless and taken for granted. It's overwhelming in its scope of power. But she is not power hungry, she is not haughty. Likewise, she was called to find her mother. She accepts it, but in her mind this is not about happy reunions. This is about need. I love and cry for Bonnie's pragmatism, it's so tragic and heartbreaking and awesome to watch, always. You can almost see how broken she is, the damage by both the magic, and before the magic (though this was also about magic): her mother. 

  I had no memories of you. so you know what I used to pretend? You were dead. It was easier to do that than to wonder why you never came back for me.   

You left me, Bonnies says to her mother. She's really saying you had a choice. And Abby is sorry, but she doesn't get yet that Bonnie never had one. Bonnie never even let herself think it (heroes have a tendency not to!). It's a different sort of 'you weren't good enough' that Caroline goes through with her father, when he chooses death rather than continue to help her, and he admits it's largely because of his priorities. But they both deal with parents running away from their children to something easier, safer, and leaving them to the wolves. Ouch, TVD!

PS: Stefan Salvatore you stop being a jerkface to Bonnie this instant! Go back to your pragmatic alliance earlier this season, because it's certainly too much to hope for your wonderful, organic friendship from season one! :(


Caroline is like a Carebear mixed with a kitten. Fluffy but also self-absorbed? Anyway, so hurting Caroline, show, is the equivalent of punching a Carebear and a kitten. Why must you do this? You already ruined her birthday.

I was hit hard by the compare and contrast of Bonnie and Caroline's themes: Abby in the past didn't love Bonnie enough to stay for her; Bill died, not loving Caroline enough to live for her.  And then you have Elena, the girl who's birth mother died, and did it by turning her over to Klaus, and then killing herself, joyous with how free she finally was; and her birth father, who died to bring her back to life, dying with the hope that his death would free him a bit too. Don't forget Matt Donovan, the child of parents who didn't love him enough to stay either. Here are the thematic orphans of Mystic Falls, the ones left behind. You never came back for me.

Caroline's father died in her bed; Bonnie's grams died in hers. Elena's brother died in her arms, Matt cut off his sister's ghost from him; they both "saved" their siblings from themselves by pushing them out and away. These are the ones viewers count on to save the day, who cling to each other. 

#so much messed up I unable to handle

I am so glad that Sheriff Forbes is the lone biological parent who actually does not set out to destroy her child. It makes sense, and I love the positive twist on the theme that "sheriffs" are the most trustworthy people in a genre when it comes to protecting people. Between her and Esther, I like how the mothers are some major players coming up this season!


If I shipped this I think I would be in so much trouble! I'm actually a tad surprised I don't: age difference, height difference, messy relationship lines, mentorship, lots of people are picking up on it. I suppose they're too much like a new model of Buffy and Giles to me! She needs someone who will be an adult for her, someone who will comfort and guide her, and teach her, and someone who can be all of that and still be someone she can look up to. And poor Alaric doesn't see what he has to offer her, which makes it all the more innocent and sweet. He treasures and cherishes Elena all the ways John Gilbert didn't: he never puts her down. That Alaric treats Elena as neither an adult or a child, that he never brings up any sort of age card at all, really resonates. She's just Elena Gilbert to him, and that is so amazing.  

But yes, a lot of their scenes are... settled married couple. See when they were making dinner together and discussing Jeremy in 310! And this episode they keep setting it up that Alaric is the only thing holding her up that isn't her martyrdom complex. Caroline's dad just died, Bonnie's mom is in her life and very untrustworthy, and Matt has enough to do as a human. Stefan is too busy being an asshole about his issues, Damon is way too inclined to iron over Elena's issues, and Jeremy was becoming an even worse version of her because he was even younger when this all started. So she can't go to them when they have enough to deal with. Then there's that Jenna was murdered, she has no relationship with her friend Caroline's mother, and forget any of the Lockwoods. Caroline has her mother, Bonnie has her gram's iron will and support crossing the bridge of life and death to support her, and she has her father; Matt has his normal life to keep him centered, Jeremy has been set free, and the brothers have each other. But Elena? She's so young, and she needs Alaric. I really think without him, she'll go nuts. 

So of freaking course she had to kill him this episode. What is your fixation on traumatizing Elena Gilbert, writers! But you know what? She saved him! Elena needed this, she's been trying so hard to save someone she loves, and in her mind she's kept failing: she didn't save her parents, she didn't save Jenna, she didn't save her father, she didn't save Stefan, and she didn't save Jeremy. Her mother burst into flames in front of her, and Katherine made Caroline a vampire because she was jealous of the attention over Elena. Elena being a doppleganger meant Bonnie's life was over the second she was born. I'm sure in some fashion she even blames herself for Tyler becoming a hybrid. Saving Alaric? The way she climbs on top of him and grabs at his hands, shoulders, neck, cheek - any part of him she can touch, any part that's moving, any part that proves he is alive and she saved him... perfect. 

I remember all the way back when Klaus was possessing Alaric, and I remember the instant the spell was off Alaric looked right at Katherine and, thinking her Elena, was immediately concerned. Instinctive, he's spent and used and dark, but place "Elena" in front of him and Alaric's mind demanded the assurance she was all right, because she looked scared. That concern was above everything. That isn't just a genuine teacher, a genuine adult reaction! 

This episode as soon as Alaric can open his eyes he is all about giving Elena comforting looks. He's clutching her hand back tightly, he's shifting and rolling his body toward her. Alaric is a parent, and he's the best one in Mystic Falls next to Sheriff Forbes! Again with the Buffy vibes, because all adults and parents sucked or were useless but for Giles!  

Also in my head canon, Alaric had been continuing to get upstairs after he'd been stabbed because 1) he was running the hell away for weapons, 2) he was headed to Elena's room out of pure instinct to protect her if she was there. He needs to save somebody too, since he couldn't protect Isobel or Jenna or Jeremy, and Damon doesn't want anyone saving him. 


I love this intimate, platonic route with Matt/Elena. This cast has so much chemistry together I just consistently buy that these kids have spent their whole lives growing up in each others' pockets. I buy in this instant that Elena hasn't fought for Matt like she has Stefan, she hasn't screamed for him like she has Jenna, and she hasn't compromised herself to protect him like she has Jeremy, but he's Matt, and she's played in sandboxes with him and done homework with him and walked to school with him and shared tears with him. Over his mom, over her parents dying, over Vicki dying, over Jenna being stabbed, and now this. The first half of this season was so choppy and dull in execution with Matt, but this midseason he's picking up again as that outside observer terrified for his friends that made me love him in the first place. I hated Xander on Buffy, so I hate to say he's the Xander, but Matt is the human, he's what Bonnie, Caroline, Tyler, and Elena all subconsciously cling to and are maybe even envious of. He's 100% human, and I think without him in the few scenes he's in they'd have all lost themselves, unable to remember sneaking beer in the woods, cheerleading and football tryouts, and the most anxious thing being a test they might not have studied enough for.

Matt isn't a perfect guy, either. He treated Caroline pretty horribly imo! He never tried to dissuade her insecurities over his old love for Elena. Some of his cruel behavior was at least contributing to Vicki's deaths and his own screwed up life. But! Matt was still that guy who went up to Stefan and befriended him rather than have a dumb pissing contest over Elena. I felt that guy who started carrying a crossbow, who drowned himself, who went after Tyler while he was transforming, who stared down Klaus when the Original came for Caroline - in this scene! I felt no ulterior motives, no manpain about his unrequited love for Elena. I felt bare human shock at Alaric, and pure concern for Caroline. I felt him torn as to where he should be! I felt two lost kids waiting for their teacher to wake up. 

It makes Klaus' statement of how Elena should get with him all the more crass. All of this weight they are carrying, the history between them, the layers of their relationship, the family they have and Klaus doesn't have! That has no blood! They are a fragment of their larger family that is above all. And Klaus sees them as cattle to be mated and produce his hybrids. Downright frightening and sick.



I was a flailing fangirl because Elijah asked about Elena, and he called her, once again, the "lovely Elena." I believe the last time he called her that was 2x08?  He amusedly told the tomb-trapped Stefan that "the lovely Elena drives a hard bargain." This is interesting to me.

The last time he was around Elena they were on the same side and had a deal. The last time he spoke to Elena, he was in awe of her humanity. The last time he saw her, she was dead with her blood all over Klaus' lips and teeth. Yet here he's repeating a phrase he once said with very detached humor, when he didn't know her. Is he that calculating man again, factoring in how she might ruin his plans? Was it pretend condescension for Klaus, seeing as the original plot of Tatia being between them is coming up? Or is it a stumble, accidentally showing his mild affection?

The deal they had might have been a relatively recent one to him, an Original, therefore a bit less important than the long con and deal he's been living "for centuries now" for his family. Even killing Klaus was about his family, so you can't say he even really betrayed his own original goal.

But it still happened. And he did it to Elena. She's probably the closest he's come to liking someone in a very long time. I don't say that in a romantic way. He fully admits to appreciating and admiring and respecting her, and perhaps most importantly, trusting her. Other people he didn't trust, he just trusted himself to be able to predict them so as to stay ahead of them. He could not predict Elena, his only option was to trust her (and since then he was never able to stop).

Put together all that history, and I'm interested in where these two stand. Will they be negotiators along the truce line for their respective teams again? Create a third team, a third option, like once before? I definitely don't see Elijah and Damon lasting beyond this episode, made very clear in Elijah playing both sides and then ditching both. I have to add Elijah's plan would have worked had Esther not been reawakened. Stefan is likewise too arrogant and immature, and Bonnie has enough to deal with to even consider a grey relationship with a vampire. 

Also: "so Stefan, where is the lovely Elena tonight?" Amid all the upcoming grossness, this line made me squee, because how he says it, like, "where has Elena chosen to be, what has she chosen to do with her time tonight, because Elena Gilbert takes care of herself fine enough without you two." I just love any one hinting that Elena is pretty awesome, not just that it's unhealthy for her to be around the Salvatores because they're so dumb

But then the conversation turned very, very disturbing and uncomfortable!


I mean, really, Vampire Diaries? Really? This episode was just not complete with not just a rehash of Stefan and Damon's feelings for Elena, but also done in a very gross tone, as if Elena has no agency in this relationship whatsoever? I really can't ship Stelena right now, as I've said before this season, but this episode really really cemented it. More than his traumatizing her over her parents' death, more than shoving blood down her throat, more than being a serial murderer, more than ... argh. Stefan was so casual about treating Elena as this doll for him and Damon to fight over during the dinner, and with the rest of the episode, it wasn't a front to fool Klaus or anyone. I'm used to that grossness with Damon, but Stefan? The writing seems to be SAYING Stefan is coming back, that his dark arc is over - which, ALL MY TEARS, I WANT MORE RIPPER STEFAN!! - but douchey stuff like this just makes that claim very sloppy, and his "I love her" to be so very, very hollow and false. Even when he'd been compelled there was a very brutal, powerful thing there, still. I felt longing, I felt regret, I felt apology, I felt love. But now I just don't feel anything. I'm no longer being shown Stefan loves Elena, only told, in a tone that is very condescending with a similar context surrounding it. Or that he even likes her. "Ask Damon"? Like Damon should be asked 'where Elena is' because Damon "has" Elena and owns her? Like Elena only does things with Damon's permission? Like Elena involves Damon in every moment of her life? Shut up Stefan and show! I don't like this tone, so knock it off when you keep positioning as how Elena needs to love these two.

Combine Damon and Stefan's really boring, self-involved bitching over Elena, with Klaus laughing about the joke, it was all creepy and no good, TVD. And it doesn't feel intentional, which is always worrisome when I am watching you.

Then of course we have a retread of two brothers fighting over one woman. Does the magic of the doppleganger have a power that people who meet one feel compelled to adore them? To keep them safe? Since they're an abomination of nature, that's their defense mechanism? This is a legit question that came to mind when Klaus mentioned that all men desired her love, though she'd been pregnant (side eying and waiting for slut shaming). Like how some animals secrete hormones or whatever "don't mess with me, I have claws", dopplegangers send out "see me as harmless and lovable" vibes? 

Normally I love finding more about Damon and Stefan's relationship at present and in the past, but like much of this season this episode just leaves it with a bad taste in my mouth where I'm sick of both of them. Not in a fond way! D: Stefan, I am neutral/uncaring about Damon because I expect him to be an irrational, creepy asshole, but you have spent this entire season telling Elena you kill people, and now you give her the stink eye for her believing you when a body shows up with a weapon few people close to Elena have access to? BS!

Next week, all I care about is 1) Bonnie either crashing the party, setting fire to the party, or using the party as an opening to do some magic that will kill off Klaus, and 2)



The way he looks at her! The way he only looks away when their glasses clink, lol, how much do I overanalyze this when I interpret Elijah always being mindful of wardrobes being ruined? And Elena, dear lord. Not only have I been getting heart palpations seeing her in this dress since the photos leaked, the way her smile grows as her eyes work their way up until they come to him and she looks satisfied. I feel they've reached an agreement: they are plotting Klaus' death, or at least negotiated the safety of her friends and loved ones again. And Elijah is just so taken with her for that. 



Date: 2012-02-05 02:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amethysth.livejournal.com
I wish I had something to add to this, but all I have to say is YES TO EVERYTHING. This episode was awesome and ridiculous all at once, and can I just say that re: the stefan/damon bitching about Elena... How ridiculous is it that Stefan has been the one driving Elena out of his arms for his own sick, masochistic reasons, and Damon, despite his flaws, has been there with her through it all - even when Damon acts like a petulant child and ruins things, he still fixes them - and yet, Stefan still acts like he has CLAIM over Elena, like they're still dating, like Elena's feelings regardless, Damon should back off because he had her first. That entire conversation made me want to punch him in the face, which is more or less what I've been feeling all season. And YES, I can't ship Stelena at all. Actually, okay, I never shipped Stelena, but where they are now, it is an impossibility and even if it wasn't, because of the way he's been acting and treating her, I wouldn't ship them at all. Stefan rarely tells Elena anything and he always acts like he knows better. Even when Damon acts that way, he still keeps her informed, and later, he realizes he's been as ass and apologizes for it. Both relationships have their own versions of unhealthy, but I just love the way Damon and Elena are with each other. They have this friendship and trust that endures all their flaws. I really hope the writers gradually bring them together, in a realistic and honest way. Part of what I've always hated about Stefan/Elena is that it didn't seem real. They barely knew each other before they went out and they had no time to get to know each other after then, but they acted like they knew for sure it was love. But Damon and Elena had to work toward friendship and then work toward where they are now, so I think they have a real chance. OR at least I hope so...

Either way, TVD has just gotten really intense again and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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