Okay. Let’s start with a recap, because there’s a lot going on, and I’m overwhelmed. The biggest goal, right now, is the cure. The “race for the cure” has three clear teams (Stefan/Rebekah, Klaus/Damon/Jeremy/Elena, Bonnie/Shane), a dark horse (Kol), and a mysterious entrant (unknown vampire who compelled that guy to bite out his tongue, possibly Elijah).
Each team—each character—has its own reason for wanting the cure. Stefan wants to get his girlfriend back, and to get a little revenge on Damon and Elena. Rebekah wants to get her vengeance on Klaus. Kol is acting as agent of chaos, because he is afraid of Silas—and Silas is Shane’s goal for finding the cure. Actually, Silas is Shane’s goal and finding the cure is the excuse he’s using to motivate Bonnie, whose new goal is to save her Grams from eternal witchy torment in the afterlife. Damon wants the cure because Elena wants the cure (and the sire bond makes him understandably uncomfortable); Jeremy wants the cure to cure Elena; Elena wants the cure to cure herself. Jeremy has a minor goal of completing the hunter’s mark, as part of the process of finding the cure, but struggles with actually killing any vampires. So does Elena, except when those innocent people-turned-vampire are part of Kol’s sire line, in which case she’s all for mass slaughter, albeit at a few removes. I can’t remember why Klaus wants the cure.
Caroline has no real goal, which is probably why she wasn’t in this episode, which is a pity. Everyone could use a healthy dose of Caroline, since crazy is the name of the game this week. Well, crazy and compelled. Which brings us to…
Stefan is motivated by his anger at Damon and Elena, and appears to be switching off his humanity to deal with his rage more comfortably. Rebekah is motivated by revenge. Damon is motivated by love for Elena. Shane is motivated by a desire to raise Silas, either because he is a crazy acolyte or because he’s lost someone and wants them back. Jeremy is motivated by love and an intense desire to kill vampires. Elena is motivated by her desire to protect those she loves. However…
Many characters are forced to grapple with external stimuli that make them actually work against their goal. Elena wants to protect everyone, but the sire bond continues to trip her up. Jeremy wants to find the cure, but is uncomfortable with the changes that his emerging hunterness is causing to his personality. Damon was compelled by Kol to chase down Jeremy, which would make him violate his promise to Elena. (And, although Damon has tried to kill Jeremy twice, he does seem to have a soft spot for the kid and doesn’t seem to want him dead.) Stefan’s character is changing, as he dehumanizes under Rebekah’s influence and starts to realize that he no longer loves Elena. Bonnie wants to be a force for good, but because she doesn’t have access to natural magic anymore, she is forced to use expression. And expression + the influence of Shane = Crazy Bonnie.
Well, the biggest result is one darn good episode. “Catch Me If You Can” was fast-paced, interesting, and lots of fun. “Fun” in the way that “crazy sex” is fun—you know it’s a bad idea, but you have a great time doing it. Rebekah and Stefan make sense in a cold-comfort sort of way. Damon chasing down Jeremy while telling him what he was doing wrong was hilarious and perfectly in character. I’m glad Damon realized he was compelled sooner rather than later. Jeremy was unwilling to kill Damon, which fits his character, too—he knew what it would do to Elena, and I think Jeremy looks up to Damon.
Now, though, Damon has to be locked up and bled out to keep Jeremy safe, which means Elena and Jeremy are trapped in a burnable cabin. Sitting Gilbert ducks for Kol, unless they accept Klaus’s help. Or Stefan’s. Or Rebekah’s, although she would probably draw the line at actually killing Kol, no matter how willing she is to stake him.
All the backing-and-forthing pushed Elena and Stefan to an important confrontation. When Stefan said, “You don’t know what I look like when I’m not in love with you,” Elena looked injured. I understand why she feels that way—after all, she still loves Stefan—but she has been wanting to have it both ways. She wants to experiment with Damon but have Stefan waiting in the wings. I don’t think she knew she was being so selfish; break-ups are hard that way, and people often are more thoughtlessly cruel than they would be otherwise.
Bonnie, meanwhile, is going off the rails. Is her father right—is she weak-minded? Or is she just a teenager who is too entranced by her own power to realize that Shane has put her into a terrible position? It’s horrifying that Shane was the one to talk her down from her anger, telling her that she was in complete control. That she couldn’t do that herself means his influence is stronger than her own moral compass. At this point, she’s a time bomb with or without his guidance. I hope she gets herself under control, since I don’t love stories about (female) witches whose power becomes too much for them to handle without paternal/masculine influence. But surely the writers won’t do that to us.
Bites and Pieces:
• Shane: “I’m not crazy. I’m just passionate.”
• Damon: “You’re running from a vampire, and now you’re bleeding?”
• Damon: “He shot me in the head. Stupid idiot borderline brain-dead moron!”
Three out of four headstones. Because finding that was important, but I lost sight of it in all the other wacky, delightful shenanigans.
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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