Vampire Diaries: No Exit

“I don’t abandon my friends.”

Although the current plot arc has elicited divided reactions from the fandom, I continue to enjoy the “roller-coaster” of Damon’s stubborn resistance to friendship, salvation, kindliness, rainbows, and puppies.

Damon likes to reject love, because doing so gives him an excuse to indulge in bad behavior while beating himself up about it: he gets to have his cake, drain its blood, and smear red food dye all over his face, too. The whole feeding-on-vampires thing is basically designed for Damon’s complicated approach to screwing up friendships. Enzo is an interesting foil, although his character isn’t completely clear to me. He seems to have one defining characteristic. He won’t abandon his friend. Ever. Even when it would be logical to do so.

Back in Mystic Falls, Nina Dobrev did an excellent job of playing Katherine playing Elena: a downright Shakespearean level of character complexity, and one that was a real pleasure to watch. Katherine’s version of Elena is a bit too quick with a quip, a bit too knowledgeable about history, and a bit bustier (how did that happen?) than the real Elena. Part of me is shocked that it took Caroline and Stefan this long to figure out what was going on—I kept thinking Stefan knew, and was just hiding his knowledge. Instead, I guess he was just trying to keep his emotions in check and figure out what looked like Elena’s own emotional roller coaster.

While the Katherine hijinks are fun (aren’t they always?), I most enjoyed the Caroline/Stefan conversations that bookended Stefan’s roadtrip with his “ex-friend” complicated doppelganger impersonator. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” hinted at a possible new triangle between Caroline, Stefan, and Elena, and it is interesting to consider whether or not Caroline and Stefan would make a good couple. I think they would, but I also think they’d be so stable that the show’s romantic wackiness would die on the vine.

I was less enamored of the Katherine/Nadia plot, because Matt once again revealed his superpower of making an unlikeable character (vis., Rebecca) completely likable for reasons I absolutely don’t understand. Is it Matt who has the power? Is it the actor, Zach Roerig? He could market it. I think a 45-minute episode of Matt hanging out with Attila the Hun would make me like Attila. That’s incredible.

Anyway, I started to feel really bad for Nadia as Matt described the co-dependent cravings of the adult children of both alcoholics and vindictive, amoral vampires. Nadia wants something so basic—time with and care from her mother—and she is repeatedly realizing that she will never, ever be her mother’s top priority. Right now, she’s just her mother’s lackey.

It was also interesting to see how easily Matt lied to Caroline and Tyler in an attempt to figure out how to save Elena (and, presumably, his own life). Matt has so little in the way of power that he must go entirely off his likability to keep himself alive and his friends safe. Having said that, he does have remarkably bad taste in women, as Tyler reminded us. Is Matt drawn to the dark side? Can he just see the best in people? Or is he working through some Freudian mother-abandonment issues by canoodling with Rebekah, then Nadia?

I suppose we could ask the same question about Katherine’s affection for Stefan: why does she love him? Sure, sure: doppelganger prophecy. But what makes her so willing to engage is so much risky behavior for the ultimate vampire do-gooder? It seems like a contradiction in terms. Moreover, Katherine clearly didn’t think through the way that Stefan would feel about being pushed into killing his brother. Did she really think he would do it? She has a fundamental misunderstanding about how the Salvatore world works.


• Caroline: “Nice coffee. Although I usually take mine with a little more awkward silence.”

• Kelena: “Damon’s spiral requires a little more than an overnight bag.”

• Enzo: “I told you, our pride isn’t worth either of our lives.”

• Enzo: “He’s about to chomp into my neck until my head falls off in a grotesque but slightly comical fashion.”

• Matt: “Somehow this is my fault?”

And Pieces:

• According to Enzo, Damon needs to feed every eight hours. Using my phenomenal logical powers, I deduce that Damon spent eight hours with dried blood dripping from his mouth. That’s disgusting. Someone needs to get him a hanky.

• It took a heck of a lot of googling, but I figured out which song was playing during the Stefan/Kelena seduction scene, which I think has a Portishead thing going on: Fleur Blanche by Orsten. Enjoy:

Three out of four awkward silences.

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


Billie Doux said...

I'm enjoying it all, too. It has to be fun for Ian Somerhalder to be so bad again. I love that Nina Dobrev is so good that we can see her as Katherine playing Elena. I don't think Katherine would have fooled the gang for five minutes if she hadn't compelled all that Elena info out of Matt.

Why *is* Matt so lovable? He feels like he should be a forgettable character but he so isn't. I care when he gets hurt and worry that they'll kill him off. Maybe it's because he's the only remaining human character and he sort of represents us.

Josie Kafka said...

It took me a long time to love Matt. I think it might have been watching Friday Night Lights and seeing his very different character there that made me like him on TVD.

lisa menaster said...

I'm wondering if Tyler will cure Nadia's hybrid bite in exchange for giving Elena her body back

Josie Kafka said...

I thought only Klaus could cure hybrid bites?

J.D. Balthazar said...

That's been Klaus' line for a while now. I don't think any hybrid besides Klaus has tried to cure a wolf bite, but I'm not sure about that. At this point though, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them had a vile of Klaus blood on hand just in case.

Good point about Enzo, he doesn't seem to have much left outside of Damon, and maybe that's the point. He was imprisoned and tortured for how long? I doubt he has much of a sense of identity anymore.

Love the idea that Caroline and Stefan would be so stable that the romantic merry-go-round would have to revolve around them. It is curious that it took them so long to figure it out though. Elena has been acting weird since Kathrine 'died', and they knew that Kathrine could body jump. Not sure why someone didn't go... hey wait a minute.

Nice review!