They might as well have called this episode “Hard Truths,” or “Sudden Surprises!” or “See? This is What Happens When Klaus Finally Leaves Us Alone. Happy Now?” It was an uncomfortable episode, in other words. Distressing, in terms of what’s going on with some of my favorite characters. And upsetting, in terms of what this means for the show’s long-term plans.
Meredith Fell reminded Elena of a hard truth that we tend to forget—she dates vampires. Okay, we don’t forget that, but we might forget what it means: she is willing to forgive a lot of bloodshed and drama. She claimed in her talk with Matt that she was drawn to Stefan because he couldn’t die. That didn’t seem to be the case in those early episodes, but it makes sense that Elena would feel that way now: she has lost so many people, immortality must seem even more attractive.
That attraction to immortality, along with the bad luck to be surrounded by so much mortality, means that Elena knows many inherently violent people, and her definition of normal might not be the same as everyone else’s. Does Elena have bad taste in friends? Is she so wrapped up in the craziness of her life that she can’t see Alaric for what he is? Does “borderline alcoholic vampire hunter” really sum him up accurately? Or is Meredith just blaming Elena because Meredith is kind of a bitch and doesn’t love our heroine as much as we do?
Elena and Meredith might join forces now that they’re both convinced Alaric is the serial killer. To which I say: What the frak? What the holy frankenfrak? That the ring has side effects makes sense, but I just don’t want it to be true. At all. Alaric is a force for good, no matter how many times he was arrested as a kid. All of the bad news about Alaric’s past feels like a massive ret-con: Isobel filed two restraining orders against him before they were married? Is that just her inherently dramatic nature, or was he a creepy stalker?
But why was that ret-con even necessary, since it’s apparently the ring that causes the trouble? Maybe that’s why I’m so disturbed. We didn’t need weird upsetting backstory to make the ring-theory work, right? I assume 1912 Samantha Gilbert didn’t harass women or get into underage bar brawls. But Elena and Meredith’s independent discoveries of Samantha Gilbert’s insanity seems to be a vote in favor of the theory’s accuracy. Grr!
In the flashbacks, Samantha Gilbert was just a minor player. The real focus was Sage, who I fully expect to appear in whatever the present year in Mystic Falls is. It’ll be nice to have a new love interest for Damon, especially now that he had undibbed Elena. And perhaps Sage can slip into Lexie’s role as fairy godvampire: helping Stefan understand how to control his formidable powers and rage. With boxing.
Damon, too, wants to help Stefan, and their talk at the end of the episode was the loveliest defense of co-dependency that I’ve ever heard: “I watched you go over the edge, and I didn’t do anything to stop you…I could have. But I just didn’t want to. But I want to now. Whenever you go to0 far, I will be there to pull you back, every second of every day, until you don’t need me. Because right now, you’re all I’ve got.”
• My list of quotes was so long it’d break the internet. So I’m going to let you put your favorites in the comments. (And I hope someone votes for the “wonder twin powers”!)
• There’s a terrible, terrible casting spoiler floating around on the internet. As hard as it may be, let’s keep it out of comments in case there’s someone who still maintains their delightful innocence.
• No Bonnie or Caroline this week. I miss Caroline! I don’t miss Tyler.
• I enjoyed Rebekah wandering around, asking people about trees. If the whole serial killer thing weren’t so distracting, I’ll bet someone would have noticed just how weird that was.
• Nice call back to Alaric’s drunk dial in “Bringing Out the Dead.”
• Is Matt back in the running as a love interest for Elena?
While I enjoyed the bromantic elements, I’m far too upset about the Alaric situation to be able to rate this dispassionately—and I’m still hoping we can blame Meredith Fell for all of this, somehow. So I’ll leave it to you: how many squirrels out of four?
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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