Let me spin a little tale for you. Follow me and imagine!
It is two weeks ago. The air is positively warm. Snow has not yet covered our lovely Ithaca with is death-glaze. It is safe to walk the streets; the bars are warm and dry, as are our coats, boots and socks. I have not known the triumph and heartache of physically dragging my roommate back to my house through four feet of the lesser of white powders. [Ed. There’s a video. For reals. — Julie] It is also the week of the fourteenth episode of The Vampire Diaries. Are you there? It begins...
... With the scenes from last week! This whole half a season has been leading us here — to the, er, middle of the season, ahem. Stefan and Damon have been circling around each other like wolves, WOLVES! Maybe they were working together to find the grimoire, maybe they weren’t, I don’t remember. But I do remember that Damon has found that damned spell book to release his lost love/sire Katherine, who resides in Emily’s tomb in all her desiccated glory (this is gonna be gross). Meanwhile, Jeremy is all googly eyes over “stalker chick,” who, unfortunately for everyone, is a pissed off little vampire with mommy issues. She was there when all hell broke loose and Salvatore the elder/Hitler/the neocons/KKK/McCarthy/Andrew Jackson/ “The South” were rounding up the vamps and saw her mother, Pearl (possible bang-maid to Jeremy’s great grand-something Jonathan Gilbert and friend to Katherine) get locked up. Let’s see who gets to the tomb with a grimoire and a witch first! I love races.
Anna, the aforementioned stalker, doesn’t care much about the Gilberts or mother spurners, so she’s kidnapped Elena and Bonnie. Let’s see how they’re doing! Meh, they’re holed up in a shitty motel with the dummy dropout who’s been helping Anna and putting the moves on Bonnie. I’ve seen better moves; he nearly lets both girls escape when Bonnie lights his arm on fire, score! Anna’s definitely running the show. She has no love for Katherine, whose shenanigans were a major security risk for all the vampires. She’s planning on using Elena to both encourage Bonnie to work her magicks and force Stefan and Damon to pool resources and let her see the book. Oh, what a tangled web! Too bad the Brothers Salvatore have regressed to school-boys: “Go ahead, Grovel Again ... oh wait, I don’t care.” We are all brothers and sisters in the family of Gaia, Damon. Jeez.
Stefan is trying to make amends with Damon. Too bad several lifetimes of hate doesn’t really evaporate with some sad faces and hugs. Now that Damon is closer than ever to getting the real Katherine back, instead of a doppelganger he can only creep on, he’s over the whole let’s-be-nice-to-Elena shtick. It’s a bit of a bummer. I sort of like their little three’s company deal — weren’t they the three worst friends that anybody could have? At any rate, Damon refuses to relinquish the book, and seeing as Stefan is a vegetarian weakling, he can’t fight big bro for it. Damon decides to meet scheming Anna in the town square. They plan to meet at the church in the woods during ...
“Duke’s 10 kegs,” a SUPER RAGER in the woods, and the construct of the week. I really missed out on the suburban childhood. High schoolers, beerz, an old church, vampires and witches in the woods. Should be super sweet bro. I hope everyone takes his or her tick-repellent. Those suckers are nasty.
All the gals (who aren’t locked up in sleazy motels, so basically Caroline) are abuzz: Cheery is SO JAZZED about getting note-booked in the middle of the street by Matty that she’s being sweetness and light, inviting loner little brothers to sweet ragers. She’s also delivering a nice little speech, something to Matt about relationship escape-hatches and low self-esteem, sigh ... young love. Even poor Anna gets a surprise, when Jeremy, instigated by the cheery one, finally decides to ask her out — to the big rager, of course! She accepts partly because the party is by the tomb and she can use Jeremy as leverage. Still, she definitely has eyes for him, eyes I tell you. Thankfully, Bonnie and Elena may also get to go to the party / Vampire resurrection; Stefan finally discovers their top-secret motel in a small town and releases them back into the wild.
In Damon’s Losing-friends-and-alienating-bitches plot of the week, we’re finding out that witches are, shockingly, not friends of Damon. Oh wait, we already knew that because he ripped out that one’s heart and bit that one in the woods and called that one’s spirit from a crystal, whatever. WE GOT IT. Too bad for Damon, Bonnie’s Grandma is a tough lady. She gives him a migraine!
Grandma’s still cool with Stefan. She, Bonnie, Stefan and Elena get together for some plan making. Their plan is, I kid you not, to appeal to the better man in Damon. She was protecting the people she loves, Damon! We’re all on the same side! I didn’t want to trick you! Didn’t we have fun that time we got drunky in ATL? I guess I’m just a little confused by Damon’s character here. We know he’s conflicted and that he’s still essentially human, with feelings and things. I just don’t see him joining up with these fools again after everything that’s happened. He seems less megalomaniac, more bipolar child. What else was the history in the 1800s for other than to show us that Damon the dandy/ deserter has some intellectual faculties, even while in false love with a crazy lady? But who cares, they’re the three worst friends that anybody could have again!
The party is a-raging? I must say, this party is pretty much the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I feel vaguely nauseous. I forgive you Cornell for being covered in black ice, for you are always covered in rage. The mayor’s son is looking for weed. Jeremy is being reminded of his old vampire girlfriend, Vicki (best character ever, RIP), while waiting for the new one. He tries to get close to Anna, who’s apparently “moving away with her mother,” but she gets vampire eye, which kind of looks a lot like pink eye in the dark. Thank goodness the dummy dropout arrives to knock him out. Cheer-face is seriously freaking out Matt. Good, I wasn’t the only one. Where I come from we take all the peppy ones at age 10 and shoot them. Bahaha! I kid. Seriously, she’s a great girl.
The vampire freedom party is heating up, while Duke’s kegs continue to depress me. This little exchange was pretty funny:
Damon: What are they saying?
Stefan: Sounds like Latin
Elena: I don’t think it’s Latin
Didn’t Stefan go to Harvard or something a couple of times? Get it together. This is vastly becoming a quasi-pedantic word of the week episode. How many examples of the word “leverage” can we include in a teen drama? Can you use it in a sentence? What does Latin sound like? Anyway, Damon is dragging his leverage, Elena, into the tomb. Let’s get to the dried-up vampires already!
Unfortunately, we can’t because Stefan is confronting the dummy dropout with a flame-thrower. Ok, I’m not mad that we haven’t gotten to the vampires yet. Flame-throwers are better than 10 kegs.
Woah, the cast of Thriller! How’d you guys get in there? Is MJ here? It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white anymore! Unless you’re in, well, a lot of places, but we do have TVs. Right, so Elena and Damon, quickly followed by Anna run into the tomb. Too bad for two of three, Bonnie’s Grand-mama has hoodwinked the lot of them. The seal isn’t some shmancy door, it’s invisible and it keeps vampires in the tomb. Finally, Stefan runs in, in order to protect Elena, or just heighten the drama, whatever. Elena can get out, but the others are magicked in for EEEEETERRRRRRRNITY. I wonder how they’ll conveniently get out at the end of the episode?
Elena is not pleased with the situation. Bonnie’s grandmother strangely decides that she’ll help at least Stefan and Damon get out. It seems like this woman, who’s all about “protecting her own” would leave them in there. But, not to be deterred, the plot jettisons Anna, Pearl, Damon and Stefan out of the tomb.
But WHERE THE DEVIL WAS KATHERINE. Poof she wasn’t there. No Katherine vampire zombie for Damon, and he is sad. He thinks he sees his lady coming down the hall, but its only stupid Elena calling for him to escape. Let us all be sad for Damon, king of the friendless. Then let’s be mad at him again, because he spatters a package of blood all over a tomb full of starved vampires. Intriguing!
In all seriousness, poor Damon! No one really cares about him a whole lot, seeing as he’s a murderer and a little weird. Now, the love of his love, the woman he’s been searching for since 198-something, isn’t where he left her. In fact, she’s been here, there, and everywhere. Damon confronts Anna and Pearl: “Why do you get a happy ending!” Good lord, that’s pathetic. Damon really thinks the only way to achieve happiness in his long life is this lady. Too bad, she doesn’t give a shit about him. She ensnared a guard back in the old days and convinced him to let her go. She’s living is up, knows he’s looking for her, and doesn’t care. That’s cold. Naturally, a breakdown ensues. Good thing he has Elena (what?) to give a big hug ...
Even the coming together of Cheery and Matty by the firelight of the kegs can’t dim the parade of bummers at the end of this episode. Worn out by all the chanting and scheming, Bonnie’s Grandmother, the only witch capable of anything serious, is dead. Meanwhile, confused Jeremy is googling vampires and some real-life vampires are crawling out of a crack in the tomb (a crack ... seriously).
I’m not sure what exactly to say about this episode. It was entertaining, but felt slightly off. I had been thinking we were moving toward a more clear delineation of faction. The witches are preparing to fight their own fight, Damon moving farther and farther away from humanity, Stefan and Elena on the right side by skirting the boundaries of morally objectionable. This episode sort of took us backwards. Elena is happy to play nurse to Damon this episode. She appeals to the good man in him, drags him out of that tomb, gives him hugs. This guy tried to kill your friend, lady! Damon is at his lowest point, more pathetic than ever.
Nevertheless, I don’t hate that all the characters are starting to move towards a morally grey area. Bonnie will certainly have to learn some darker stuff. I think Elena’s campaign for Damon’s soul is really more of a darker attraction. Perhaps, Elena’s origins will tell us a bit more about why, despite his ridiculousness, she is inclined to find good (other things) in Damon. Then we have the other brother, Stefan the goodly, torching freshly made vampires, go you! Doesn’t matter if you’ve got blood, as long as you’ve got a weapon. See, humans are good for many things other than eating, like military technology! Finally, Jeremy is awakening to all the biting and killing going on, despite Damon’s Jedi mind-tricks. Of course, there’s going to be some sort of battle — or battles — happening soon, now that the vampires are awakening. There’s nothing like a war to make even the best high school students get their hands dirty.
Finally, what is all of this about?? I think I hit upon a good one today (which is two weeks ago, remember?). It’s the women. If there’s one thing I really like about what this show has become (become is the key word), are the ladies. This episode really highlights the power that the female vampires, most especially, but also the humans have over men. It’s quite a change from stupid old Caroline getting bitten for laughs, Vicki giving it up to the whole town so people will like her and Elena existing to give Stefan some dimension. When Stefan tells dummy dropout about how Anna is controlling him, he’s most definitely talking to Damon and himself as well. Katherine hoodwinked all of them, especially Damon. Anna is our replacement Katherine. She makes her own slave, encourages him to think she cares, and then discards him.
This rather militant form of, shall we say, feminism is the most constant. Yet, Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie have finally dug up some agency in the woods. Caroline is actively going after something nice, something she wants, and she’s not scheming to get it. Good for her! Bonnie turned out to be fighter, after all the whining. And Elena doesn’t make me want to kill myself anymore. Whatever it’s all about, she definitely has a power over Damon that isn’t just emanating from her replicant style. She gains control over both brothers, to differing degrees, and is, thus, becoming more like Katherine with every episode. Except she’s still a nice person ... for now.
In sum: men are weak, vampire guys doubly so, and witches and women are AWESOME!