Vampire Diaries: Catch Me If You Can

“It’s Mystic Falls. It’s actually one of the least ridiculous things I’ve heard.”

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).

Goals

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…

Motivation

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…

Character

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.

Results

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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Klaus wants the cure for Elena so she can continue to give him blood to make his hybrids.

ChrisB said...

I can’t remember why Klaus wants the cure. He wants to cure Elena so that she is the doppelganger again and he can make more hybrids.

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. I really, really hope you're right, but I have lost faith in the feminist instincts of these writers and producers. In this episode we, once again, had Stefan doing something for Elena's good -- keeping her away from Damon. Seriously?

During the course of this episode (and last week's as well), I realized that I am beginning to see these characters the way I see someone with whom I am about to break up. I remember when I loved them, but now I can't really remember why and all they are doing is annoying me. I'm afraid the inevitable is only an episode or two away unless something drastic happens.

PlatinumRosebud said...

Oh, boy.
Everyone in this show is someone's
puppet.
For me, it's becoming a comedy parade of sorts.
Sorry.

Billie Doux said...

Just saw it and I loved your review, Josie, because tracking what everyone was doing and what their motivations were was sort of nuts; I feel like I lost track awhile ago. Maybe it's getting too twisty?

I loved Damon chasing after Jeremy while telling him what he was doing wrong; it was a very Damon thing to do. And Bonnie going whacko on creepy professor was actually sort of fascinating. I usually don't find Bonnie interesting, but her storyline is more, pun intended, compelling this season.

I'm not a fan of Rebekah or the Originals (except Elijah, who has been gone forever) but I'm enjoying Elena in love with Damon and Damon trying in his own Damon-y way to be worthy of her. I even liked Stefan telling Elena that this was what he looked like when he wasn't in love with her. Good for him because Elena was just expecting Stefan to pine for her forever.

I have no idea where they're going, either. Will they actually find the cure and will they cure Elena? On other shows, possibly. On this show? Not a clue.

Anonymous said...

I need a flow chart to follow this show. And a review certainly helps, so thanks. I still care about Elena and co but this is getting way too twisty.
Anna

Josie Kafka said...

I'm so relieved you guys were confused! I like to think I'm smart enough to follow a CW show, but VD nearly did me in this week.

I think part of the reason we're confused is that, as Platinum Rosebud said, everyone is someone's puppet. So no one's actions make perfect sense given what we've known of them before.

I hope the Originals spin-off works; it might give the chance to step back and re-set some of the insanity.

Juliette said...

I'm assuming there'll be some big twist with the 'cure.' For one thing, wouldn't a cure for immortality mean the person ends up... dead?

Maybe as long as you haven't been a vamp long, you can take it, but if you're over 100 years old, no chance, you'll drop dead of old age.

I don't want Elena to take it because I like Elena as a vampire, and with Damon rather than Stefan (who's so much more interesting without her). But on the other hand, there doesn't seem to be any other way of getting her unsired (which I assume is why Damon wants to find the cure for her, whereas initially he didn't care about her being a vampire and just wanted to help Stefan). So maybe what I really want is for her to take the cure, sort things out with Damon, drink his blood again (I may have watched too much True Blood) and then get killed again and re-vamp. Which would be weird and kind of pointless, but would end up in the right place!

Nadim said...

Chris what you said really resonated me. Something is so off about the show now and I'm nowhere nearly as attached as I used to be. Of course I will NEVER stop watching TVD because I never give up on my shows but I'm really disappointed.

As Billie said, maybe it is getting too "twisty". And Rosebud, the puppet thing is also quite accurate. I'm just confused! So Thank you Josie for at least helping me organize the teams, motivations etc... in my head!

Ultimately, it feels like this should be an epic season, but I'm just not thrilled :(

Anonymous said...

Elena is not "experimenting" with Damon and I honestly don't think she's expecting Stefan to pine for her. He wasn't "moving on" with just anybody. Honestly, the amount of praise Stefan has been getting from fans for his attitude is really disturbing. He's being a complete asshole to Elena and basically said their relationship meant nothing to him just because she's not in love with him anymore. Not to mention he hasn't seemed to consider the fact that she felt like a broken toy when she was with him. All this misogyny is bugging me.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Stefan is acting like an A-hole. And extremely immature. Elena still cared for him after their break up is all, like she cares for all her friends, she has tons of heart. She never expected him to pine over her, she was disappointed in Stefan because he was saying they had never mattered, he was being an ass. Doing something to deliberately hurt her just because HE is hurt. I wish the writers hadn't done that to his character.