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.
• 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?
• 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?)
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