Vampire Diaries: Pictures of You

“It’s exactly what prom should be: friends and memories.”

I had a realization during “Pictures of You.” An obvious realization—you’ve probably figured this out, even if it took me a while. (I’m not real bright.) The Vampire Diaries is a show about forgiveness. Or, perhaps I should say, it’s a show that depends on forgiveness in order to continue.

My realization came in a simple moment: Rebekah asked Matt to dance with her. Matt, we may recall, has consistently gotten the short end of the stick, losing many of his loved ones to various vampires. And Rebekah almost killed him at the end of last season. Matt managed to put all that aside to help a girl at a dance.

Should he have? Would I have? Probably not. I’m grudgy sometimes, and still hate to be reminded of Damon’s treatment of Caroline back in Season One. Caroline’s grudgy, too, although I think she’ll forgive Elena once Elena’s humanity gets turned back on. In the world of the show, humanity-switching allows a loophole: favorite characters can do bad things, then regret it later, and we get double the cathartic pleasure.

Caroline likely will forgive Elena for stealing her dress, but maybe not for Elena trying to kill Bonnie. That showdown was interesting, even if Bonnie screaming “Get out of my head!” reminded me of Andrew from Buffy. Elena is maintaining a precarious control over her emotions (which always seem to be about 2 centimeters from the surface), and Bonnie is maintaining an equally precarious control over expression.

Damon and Stefan are similarly attempting to regain control over a difficult situation. Locking their mutual love interest in a cell is, I suppose, a good start, although both Salvatores are clearly struggling with controlling their own emotions for Elena. Stefan’s dance with Elena was sexy, and everything Damon and Elena do is hot. But they’re both realizing they can’t try to seduce Elena back to her normal self without falling for it themselves, too.

Stefan asked Caroline how anyone could ever move on, and I think that question is related to the problem of forgiveness, which is one way of wiping a slate clean and dropping emotional baggage (and then mixing metaphors). Stefan and Damon are unable—or unwilling—to disengage from Elena, just as Caroline is unwilling to disengage from Tyler, despite his necessary absence.

The Originals struggle with forgiveness: Klaus, Elijah, and Rebekah have centuries of ill-will built up, and their every interaction is fraught with background. I wonder if part of Rebekah’s desire to be human is a desire for a fresh start so she can disengage from the cycle of blame and anger those siblings seem to enjoy so much. I liked Rebekah for the first time tonight, as she violated her promise to Elijah in order to save her former friend April. Rebekah deserves a shot at humanity, at the least.

She may or may not get it, given Silas’s shenanigans throughout this episode. Silas’s ability to appear as anyone dead is interesting (although not the most original thing the show has done). It’s more powerful when he appears as a living undead person: it took me a minute to realize Stefan was really Silas—actually, it took until Stefan/Silas stabbed Damon. After that, everyone was suspect.

Now, Silas has the cure, and Bonnie looks to be brokering a deal. We’ll have to wait a while to find out what that means, though: next week is the Originals spin-off back-door pilot episode, and that review will be brought to you by the inestimably awesome Billie Doux.

Bites:

• Matt: “Why do I feel like we’re at a practice-run of Caroline’s wedding?”

• Damon: “Oh, c’mon. What bad-ass senior is complete without a prom date that’s slightly too old for high school?”

• Bonnie: “This is what you do. You wait until I lose control and then you swoop in and save me.” Was she saying that to Jeremy or to Silas?

And Pieces:

• Was Jeremy’s Silas-voice supposed to have an accent from…a place?

• April is back! I feel like we haven’t seen her in a long time. And I wonder what the casting call describing her character was: “Needed: one perpetual victim. Perky desirable.”

• Bonnie won prom queen. Hooray, Bonnie. Given how rarely anyone seems to attend school, it’s amazing any other students even knew who she was.

• I really don’t understand the rules for “emotions” and “humanity” on this show. Fear is an emotion, but isn’t disdain one, too? Oh, well.

Three out of four proms

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

9 comments:

Nadim said...

It's so sad but I'm really sick of this show Josie :( I feel like I have zero attachment to the characters now which is a true pity as I was the biggest fan of the show during its first three seasons. This season has just felt like such a mess to me and although it had a standout episode or two (particularly with Jeremy's death and Katherine's return) I've been so bored with the show (especially this last hour).

I did love reading your review through and I hope I'll regain my love for the show before the season is over. TVD does excel in finales after all. Let's see...

Billie Doux said...

Well, I always enjoy TVD. It's been a bit off this season, but it's still one of the few shows I watch while it's airing. I have no investment at all in the Silas stuff, but some of what's been happening has been fun. I honestly don't know if Elena will get the cure (and feel guilty for everything she did as a vampire ever after, including stealing Caroline's gorgeous red dress) or if she'll get her emotions back and continue as a vampire. I also don't know which brother Elena will be with at the end of the season.

And I haven't a clue what they're doing with still dead Jeremy, or if the dead really will return. I'm sort of hoping they do.

I liked Rebekah in this one, too. It's pretty obvious that she would be happy as a human for five minutes and then she'd regret her decision, but I liked that she tried so hard, and that she gave it up for April. And April is just the strangest character; she's like a standing joke that actually works for this show. I laugh out loud when she comes in at odd moments when the most horrible things are happening.

I liked Matt in this one, too. He's a sweetie, a nice guy, a human coping well with his friends being superhuman. I thought he was a nothing character at the beginning of the series, and this season, I've come to realize that I'm darned fond of him now.

Tyler can go away now. I haven't missed him a bit.

Enjoyed your review, Josie. :)

M said...

Maybe this hasn't been the best season, but VD is still one of my favorites. I still look forward to it every week and I rarely wait more than a day to watch a new episode. I still care about the characters, I still think it is funny, and it is still better than 99% of what is on television at the moment.

Why does everyone hate Rebekah? I love her! Poor thing has been abused and rejected by pretty much every single person she has ever loved for 1,000 years. Plus, as she stated quite eloquently a few episodes back, her behavior is no different than our "heroes'", and is generally motivated by love. I want her to be happy. A happy vampire. I think her sweetness would surface if she could just get away from Klaus and find a solid, kind, genuine person to love her. Ahem, Matt.

I agree, Billie, the April thing is unexpectedly funny. I used to wonder what they were going to do with her character, now I sort of hope she will just remain the Jonathan of VD.

M said...

Also, I was disappointed that Tyler wasn't actually Silas in disguise. Why won't he go away?

Anonymous said...

Ugh Tyler..stay gone. Rebekah is kind of endearing now in a way..she did save April after all. I hope she gets what she wants. She'll go off to join the spinoff won't she?
I hope Elena's humanity gets turned back on..I'm done with her trying to kill her best friends and being sulky.
And killing innocent waitresses.
Anna

ChrisB said...

It's interesting to read the review and the comments and to see how polarizing the show has become this year. People seem to fall into either extreme -- love it or hate it.

I fall into the latter, yet I keep watching it. I can't seem to give up on it and move on. Maybe with the Originals moving to New Orleans, we will see a re-vamp (tee hee) of what was once great.

I miss the great bromance; I miss characters who didn't whine all the time; I miss stories that were compelling (tee hee again!). I'm over the triangle; I'm over Silas; and, I am so over Bonnie.

Great review as always, Josie. You help me to see the good that is still there.

Swoooze said...

"Why does everyone hate Rebekah? I love her! Poor thing has been abused and rejected by pretty much every single person she has ever loved for 1,000 years."

I am glad someone else asked that question as I have no idea why everybody seems to hate her. She's possibly my favourite character on the show and I just can't work out why anybody dislikes her yet forgives Damon, Elena & Steffan for all the horrible things they have done.

I also like Tyler too however. Besides Matt he has to be the be the most noble and good of all the characters. Everyone else acts on selfish impluses (even Rebecka) but Tyler seems to see the bigger picture and is the heart of the show.

Marianna said...

"Given how rarely anyone seems to attend school, it’s amazing any other students even knew who she was."
I've actually wondered how they all haven't been expelled given how little they go to school. Maybe the vampires compel their teachers into giving them good grades.

Mallena said...

Marianna, I think this show exists in an alternate reality where they don't have to go to school if they don't want to. Also, they don't have to work, clean their houses or watch what they eat. They are beautiful at all times. Buffy was more grounded in reality which is funny if you think about it. Life on the Hellmouth did include school, parents, money troubles, lovable nerds. I forgot to ask if this was your first time watching this show. It's my first time and besides all my nit-picks, I really like it and Elena is growing on me though she is no SMG who blew me away every epi as Buffy. I'm a chronic nit-picker, just ask my family.