I went to a wedding this weekend. It was just far enough away, and required just enough bizarro preparatory errands, that the whole adventure took about 26 hours spread over two days. So I spent all week complaining: what were my friends thinking? How could they schedule a wedding now, when I’m so busy? Could I just not show up? Maybe I’d get a flat tire…that would be useful. There are some great potholes on Sunset Blvd.
It wasn’t until I was there in the church, waiting for things to get started and pretending to text because I’d forgotten to bring a book, that I realized my priorities were completely out of whack. Miss a wedding because I have too much work to do? These kindly folks have asked me to celebrate a hugely important ceremony with them. To stand up at their wedding, to be part of the community they’re forming by binding their lives together. That’s more important than work. That’s life.
The penultimate scene of “Memorial” has the same message: no matter how crazy things get, sometimes we need to stop and engage in an important ritual that reminds us of who we are and what we’re working for. Sure, for Team Mystic Falls, “work” means “perpetual turgid supernatural soap opera,” but whatever. The message is still the same: stop, breath, be with your friends and loved ones.
Of course, Damon didn’t find the same cathartic joy in the memorial ritual that everyone else did. He preferred to mourn in his own way. Drunk. In that final scene, Damon’s earlier statement that he’s “just going to pretend like there’s someone there, because the alternative is just too depressing” finally made sense. He’s not willing to let Alaric go, and sadly doesn’t know that Alaric is there, in a ghostly “over there” kind of way.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with tragedy, of course. Tyler and Caroline have sex. Mrs. Lockwood schemes to keep her son safe. Bonnie mopes on the couch. Damon plans for the worst; Stefan hopes for the best. He referred to Elena’s humanity switch like it’s an easy, obvious thing—an actual switch. But haven’t we learned that for some vampires, like Damon, it’s not that easy? And is Elena going to be stuck drinking “from the vein” for the rest of her unlife? Maybe Matt has found his new purpose.
If Connor Jordan has his way, Elena’s unlife might not be overly long. There’s a certain poetic symmetry to a new vampire hunter coming into town so shortly after Alaric’s death, but this vampire hunter doesn’t seem destined to become besties with Damon. The vervain glove was a neat trick, but his willingness to use April Young’s blood just to smoke out any vampires at the funeral was horrifying. And what is he planning to do with that note from April’s father? Forge his handwriting?
April will probably, soonly, have our heroes looking out for her. I’m curious to see what’s up with her father: I got the impression her weird reaction to his loss was a bit more than just wacky grief. And now, with all of our heroes (except Matt) supernatural and bound together against a common foe, they can take good care of April. Needless to say, I loved the scene of everyone working together at the funeral to keep each other safe. Even Tyler, with his sacrifice for the good of the community.
• Caroline: “A bunch of people died and we’re having sex.”
Tyler: “Grief sex. It’s healthy.”
Caroline: “So selfish!”
Tyler: “It’s natural! Besides, if we stopped having sex every time someone died in this town, we’d explode.”
• Stefan: “I think we have a new vampire hunter in town.”
Bonnie: “Hmm. That’s bad timing.”
• Connor: “We have not met. Connor. Jordan.”
Damon: “Damon. Germaphobe.”
• Damon: “We love visitors, and the scenery is to die for. Oh! Funeral parlor. Too soon.”
• Damon: “Mid-service snack. Church always makes me hungry. You know, that whole blood of Christ thing.”
• Apparently the Stefan-narrated recap at the beginning of each episode is here to stay. Alas.
• Did anyone else think of vine-ripened tomatoes every time someone talked about drinking from the vein?
• I loved Stefan punching Damon while he was down.
• And Caroline helping Elena become a better vampire.
• What’s up with Jeremy’s ability to see Connor’s invisible tattoos?
Four out of four mid-service snacks.
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