Vampire Diaries: My Brother’s Keeper

“My brother wants to kill me.”
“Welcome to the club.”

Thank goodness for the last scene. While watching, I started to formulate an angry, intense, and unwelcome feminist rant about how VD was ruining Elena—and possibly young girls everywhere. I didn’t want to write it, but I couldn’t see any way around it. God bless Caroline, vampire extraordinaire.

Let’s start at the end. Elena has been sired to Damon, whose blood (via Dr. Fell) made her an unintentional vampire. That’s why she can’t drink from blood bag, why she agreed with Damon in even the oddest of situations—and even why she has become so volatile: Damon told Elena that she’s more like him that she realized, and that’s why her behavior has been all over the map. Caroline and Stefan weren’t party to that conversation, but I’ll bet someone puts two and two together soon enough.

And again with the thanks and praise. All together, now!

That’s not to say that I hated the Damon/Elena sex scene. It was incredibly sexy, and I make no secret of preferring Damon to Stefan. But it didn’t feel earned, and if those two kids do get together, I want it to matter. Even before Caroline’s realization, it felt rushed: a product of Elena’s wacky uncontrolled emotions, which have been a thorn in my side since the season premiere.

Jeremy has some wacky uncontrolled emotions, too. (Isn’t it interesting that VD has come to rely on supernatural personality changes rather than organic ones?) He is, in Damon’s phrase, undeniably becoming Connor 2.0, and I suspect things will only get worse. In fact, I suspect that the hunters map is going to reveal that the only cure to vampirism is to kill a hunter with a complete mark, and Elena will be unwilling to sacrifice her little brother for her own urges. She certainly wasn’t too happy about Stefan pushing Jeremy into killing vampires.

That’s assuming she regains her real self, of course. We know from Tyler’s and Phoebe Tonkin’s attempts to de-sire the hybrids just how difficult a task that is. How would it work for a vampire? Maybe if Damon asks her to do something she simply can’t do, like killing Matt or Jeremy? Whatever the solution is, surely Stefan will find it. And hopefully he’ll resist rubbing our noses in the fact that he was right: it turns out Elena isn’t being the person she is supposed to be.

Is Jeremy? Why is he a hunter, after all? And can he be de-hunterified when/if Elena is de-vampirized? I’ve never been a huge Jeremy fan, but I like his friendship with Matt, and I’m still curious about whether he and Bonnie are still dating. If Jeremy dies, I might never find out.

Meanwhile, there’s trouble in Tylerland. Our resident galoot has decided to become jealous about Caroline’s pseudo-relationship with Klaus. The whole “fake relationship threatens to ruin real relationship” trope feels a little tired, but I’m happy for anything that brings me more Caroline.

Bites:

• Prof. Shane: “Professor by day, pageant judge by other day.”

• Prof. Shane: “I’ll just follow the scent of hairspray and world domination.”

• Prof. Shane: “Did you just accuse me of mass murder in the middle of a high school pageant?”

• Damon: “Just because her dad blew up in a house with a dozen people in it doesn’t mean she should get a tiara.”

• Prof. Shane: “I must be the least intimidating mass murderer in existence.”

• Caroline: “You and her—epic.” Nice callback to the pilot episode, there.

• This episode had great, sparkly dialogue. If I missed any great lines, add them in the comments!

And Pieces:

• I think it’s really weird, sire bond notwithstanding, that Elena chose to go to the Salvatores’ house and not, for instance, Caroline’s.

• The excellent Buffy episode “Something Blue” came to mind while watching this. At least Damon didn’t suggest that Tyler and Caroline get married, or that anyone get the “funny syphilis.”

• Everyone looked so pretty in this episode. I loved Caroline’s peplum jacket. It went perfectly with her sassy attitude.

• Does Prof. Shane remind anyone of a cut-rate James Frain?

I feel like I should apologize for giving VD so much grief; I suspect that I should be more trusting of my favorite shows in the future. What do you all think of the revelation about Elena’s sire bond?

Four out of four least intimidating mass murderers.

21 comments:

Nadim said...

Oh wow we really disagree on this one (and this season in general). I thought this was the worst episode of the season. I hated the sire revelation. I felt Elena and Damon was very earned after four seasons and found that final scene to be spectacular until Caroline's revelation. It really irritated me and made the whole sex scene srot of rape-y.Maybe it's just me.

Josie Kafka said...

At this point, I'm choosing to believe that Damon doesn't know Elena is sired to him.

ChrisB said...

Wow, Josie. My “angry, intense and unwelcome feminist rant” has been running through my head since I watched this show Thursday night. I was really looking forward to reading yours! :-)

I’m afraid that I have to disagree with you about the end. I thought the revelation about Elena being sired to Damon was a huge cop-out on the part of the writers, not to mention icky on so many levels. To the best of my knowledge, we have never had even a hint that one vampire can be sired to another. Now, it feels like a contrivance to keep the triangle alive and to make Elena’s choosing to sleep with Damon a decision that was, finally, not hers to make. I agree with Nadim; it sounds a lot like rape. Even if Damon doesn’t know, it doesn’t really matter if Elena could not make the decision from a place of free will.

Stefan’s actions this week continued to infuriate me. He is still doing everything he can to “cure” Elena, make her the girl who loves him and wants to be with him. For someone who has always espoused that people are free to make their own decisions, he is removing that ability from those around him. He wants to “fix” Elena, even if she doesn’t want to be fixed. He manipulates Elena’s brother (stop and think about that for a second), forcing him to kill (stop and think about that for a second). As a result, Jeremy is not sure if he can control himself around his sister. Great result. When Jeremy staked Stefan, I actually cheered.

By making both brothers so unpleasant, it will interesting to see where the writers take the triangle over the rest of the season. At this point, I'm hoping that Elena comes to her senses and realizes what a great guy Matt is.

P.S. Was that Gabby Douglas carrying flowers?

Billie Doux said...

I thought it was a four out of four, too, Josie. Wow. TVD keeps taking controversial plot twisting to whole new levels.

I'm sure Damon has no idea. He can certainly be devious, but I just can't believe he's capable of this level of devious. He was ready to leave the field of battle and let Stefan have Elena back. Damon wants Elena to love him for himself, not to be his slave. I did feel a bit cheated that that incredibly hot love scene was a lie -- but we've also known for a long time that Elena is strongly attracted to Damon and that if he hadn't glamored the memory of meeting first out of her, she might have moved in his direction long ago. It's not like it was, say, Klaus sire-slaving Caroline into sleeping with him, right?

And what a great episode for Caroline. Loved it.

Mark Greig said...

Sorry Josie, but I have to agree with Nadim and ChrisB on this one. The ending was a complete cop-out, followed by a slap in the face, a kick in the balls and a huge tax bill. Honestly, a sire bond? This is just the show's writers try to please everyone at once. They're giving the Damon/Elena fans what they've been after for so so long, while at the same time telling the Stefan/Elena faithful “It's okay, it doesn't count, she's sired”.

This really doesn't make much sense. If sired vampires are supposed to do everything to please their makers how come Elena still wasn't able to keep down Damon's blood after he told her to drink it? Or why she didn't feed on the college girl when he told her to? When Tyler was sired he did whatever Klaus wanted, whether he wanted to or not. I really want to believe that there is no sire bond, but I doubt that is likely. Now we are going to have to put up with an endless quest by the brothers to break Elena's sire bond.

Suzanne said...

As always I love reading your reviews! However, I am not living this season of Vampire Diaries. It was fun seeing Caroline as Columbia at the end of the episode, but I feel this twist still makes Elena look weak. Why is she the only vamp yo be affected in this way? I really hope Damon doesn't know what is going on because then it will be really creepy as everyone has mentioned.

Josie Kafka said...

What wonderful comments! I've reviewed some controversial episodes before, but I'm usually in the angry group. It's weird being on the other side.

ChrisB, it almost seems like you're talking about narrative rape--Damon isn't using Elena against her will, but the writers are. (That's my very postmodern interpretation. Don't blame me. Blame Jasper Fforde; I'm reading the Thursday Next series again.)

I feel like we'd have to rewatch some of those scene you brought up, Mark. Maybe he phrased it oddly? Because surely the writers knew where they were going.

Suzanne, I do agree that if Damon knows what's going on, that'll be a bridge to far.

PlatinumRosebud said...

I think the writers will think of a way to get out of this sired thing later on.
I agree with those that say it's pretty weird because of its inconsistencies.

Colin Peabody-Verteuil said...

I followed the episode live from France and couldn't help but notice the scandal that came with it (OMG, Twitter because Delena central) and I am also on the other side, Josie, I loved it. I love that the writers keep bait and switching us, that's why I loved the show in the first place. Whenever they make it darker and more twisted, I think it improves.

shruti said...

ChrisB, TVD mentioned about siring before. I think it was 3X06 or 3X07, when Damon tries to explain what is wrong with Tyler. He says that he is sired. The quote was something to this effect
" Sired. It means he feels loyal to Klaus because his blood made him. He seeks his acceptance. Its very rare in vampires. But may be not so in Hybrids"
So well... they did introduce the concept but it still feels like a way to keep the triangle alive. I am sure Damon had no idea she is sired though..Sigh! I soo wished Elena had finally made up her mind to go to Damon :(
Josie great review... I liked the episode a lot too though for Klaus and Caroline scenes :) Love them together. And do remember..Klaus figured it out before Caroline did :)

shruti said...

Just went back and checked... It was episode 3X06 and Josie mentioned about it in the review...
http://billiedoux.blogspot.in/2011/10/vampire-diaries-smells-like-teen-spirit.html

ChrisB said...

Josie -- postmodern, indeed! I have been really upset with the show for the past several episodes and I'm sure that some of that has bled into my viewing of this one. I actually watched the show again after reading your review and posting mine. My original post was vitriolic, to say the least, but I was able to see your point -- at least to a degree.

shruti -- fair enough. I had forgotten about all that. I still believe that it was a manipulation by the writers. I agree with Mark's assessment about keeping everyone happy. Unfortunately, they seem to have pissed off a great number of people at the same time!

Josie Kafka said...

Your vitrol was welcome and interesting, ChrisB--it makes me feel better for being so angry for the past few episodes. :-)

In thinking about the different reactions to this, I came to a realization about why I like this episode but disliked the earlier part of the season:

"Elena is out of control of her emotions because she is a baby vamp" felt insulting to the character. She was undergoing physical changes that affected her moods and judgment: that makes me think of tacky menstruation/adolescent metaphors. Because that conflict was internal, it felt insulting to the character's ability to manage her own existence in a way that rubbed me wrong.

"Elena is basically brainwashed, via an odd sire-bond" doesn't bother me because it's external. It's not her fault, and these past few weeks in which she's been so crazy are due to an external influence--which is harder for her to manage than an internal conflict.

Examples: if I go on a murdering rampage--that's my fault. If I'm brainwashed into doing it, that's not my fault. And I'm happy that Elena's behavior of late doesn't reflect any inherent character weakness.

ChrisB said...

That's an excellent point, Josie. I'll keep it in mind next week and try not to get so upset!

:-)

Samantha Gomes said...

I agree and disagree with you guys, lol. I don't think the sex scene was like rape. It was not at all. Or have we forgot that they would have done it a while ago if it weren't for Jeremy's unwelcome interruption? Sparks had been flying around them since she was still human in season 3. If the sire-bonding relation had to do with love and desire, wouldn't all the hybrids Klaus created wanting to be in bed with him, male and female alike?
That being said, I felt cheated, like Mark Greig said, for I also had the impression the writers wanted to please every one. Let's give everyone what they want - that's impossible and an easy way to get everyone displeased.
Let's just wait for the next episodes and see where they can go with the sire-bonding plot.

Juliette said...

Absolutely hated the ending, to the point it almost killed my VD-obsession (which might be good for my mental health!).

A whole episode of Damon and Elena doing their best impression of Lizzie and Darcy (all those longing looks) totally wasted.

A whole half-season of character development means nothing (if Elena doesn't stand up and tell Stefan that no matter whether she becomes human again or not, her recent experiences haven irrevocably changed who she is, I will stake her myself).

The show reverts to Stefan as the one she will always choose when she has free will AGAIN, which is a big problem as (unlike Angel or Bill Compton) I actively dislike Stefan (not the actor's fault, but the character is dull as ditchwater).

And there are definite uncomfortable rape-y subtexts if Elena is sired, which will be 10 times worse if Damon knows about it. Urgh and urgh again. I was really enjoying this season until those last 5 minutes. Grow up and let your characters grow up VD!

(Phew, I've ranted, I feel better now....!)

Juliette said...

Oh, and I love Klaus and Caroline together, but Klaus's hummingbird story sounds like Joey magic sex story from Friends

PlatinumRosebud said...

I agree with you, Juliette on the Klaus and Caroline thing. They look well together.
I just wish that Klaus stops making up stories about his past life. Well, let's give him some doubts about this. Perhaps Caroline will be his one an true.
But wait.... Klaus doesn't like to have an Achilles Heel. Being "the most powerful vampire" (he claims) that he is. :)

Jolyn (Netherlands) said...

Great review! Again!

I really loved this episode. What a stunt! I never saw this coming, the whole season makes perfect sense now and I think it was beautifully written.

Yeah, that sexscene didn't feel earned for me too. In that sense I was glad to know while watching it was not real. That it was calculated DOOM happening in front me, not cheap-assed writing. Still, I'm glad there was a sex-scene. (Well, first of all because yum, and) it makes the story from this point that much more tragic/interesting.

Damon took all. That dirty work just needed to be done. Nothing says The End louder than sleeping with somebody else. Damon thinks there is nothing left about Elena only Stefan once had. They now seem equals in that battle again, but thursday he is going to find out he doesn't really have Elena's heart.

Is Damon going to be able to accept the girl he has been in love with for so long did not only not fall for him too, she also only slept with him because of some rare chemicals and a misplaced sense of loyalty? That nausiating bucket of ice is going to define Damon as a character and -er- 'Delena' and the relationship between the brothers too. If Damon gives in to any temptation after he knows he is Elena's sire... it would mean war. Stefan is allready accusing his brother of rape-ish behavior and it would mean the end for Delena if Elena ever un-sires and finds out. But it's such a small and easy step to evil.... Wow. Such a gorgeous crossroads. Awesome writing.

Boy, gotta love fiction. And Caroline. Her too.

Dr. Alice said...

Wow. Definitely on the "loved it" end of the spectrum! This is the kind of twist that made me love this show! I can't wait to see what the fallout is for the characters. I was never a "yay Damon" viewer, but I really felt bad for him after this episode. I don't think he knows anything about the sire bond - he just thinks the woman he loves, loves him. Poor guy can't catch a break.

Having said that - half of me expects that the next twist in the triangle will be that she is unsired and STILL chooses Damon. I guess we'll see.

And Stefan.. Really?? Forcing Jeremy to kill??? Again, can't wait to see how this plays out with our characters.

-A

P.S. Great review!

JK said...

HATED that ending. I've been a Delena shipper since somewhere around the first half of season two (which, to me, was about a week ago), so that revelation was like a shot to the gut. And after Stefan spent the episode acting such a...

Good news is, being a latecomer I don't have to wait a week to see where this goes. Back to the trenches...