Vampire Diaries: The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

“I’m not supposed to be alive.”

The title of this episode—taken from a Morrissey song—raises a question: What is being ignored? The obvious answer is Damon. But I think the real answer is the fractured nature of this group of people and the way it affects communication.

The opening scenes emphasized this. After the hurrahs and confusion of Damon’s return, everyone started to focus on denying communication: Damon doesn’t want anyone to know about Bonnie. Elena wants to avoid Damon. Caroline is confused about how Damon came back. Matt is confused about which vampires we’re supposed to like, and he plots with Alaric and Caroline to figure out how to confuse Tripp. Stefan didn’t tell Damon about Tripp, or about Enzo. Elena had to tell Jeremy about Bonnie—false info, too—by cell phone.

That’s why Jo’s conversations with Elena and Alaric were so refreshing. She called Elena out on the snooping and revealed that she’s a witch. (Hooray, a witch! We can get Bonnie back!) She called Alaric out on his attempted compulsion. She is, in short, a grown-up. Thank goodness.

Plus: Alaric is human again! He can enjoy food and stop craving blood and have a solid relationship with a beautiful, sassy doctor who has the hots for him. Alaric’s life is finally, finally turning out okay. (I hope that doesn’t mean he’s about to die.) (TVD, do not kill Alaric. Not again.)

I love this new twist on the Mystic Falls boundary: it strips magic away, but a little decent medical care can then save the person before they die of whatever made them undead. Would it work for Elena? She drowned, so CPR might change things. What about Caroline (although she seems to like being a vampire)? The Salvatores? So many possibilities…

That scene, by the way, was brutal. Ivy’s death at the beginning of the episode was confusing at first—I couldn’t figure out why her head snapped or why that other vampire got a brand-new hole in his head. But once Stefan and Damon started to bleed, it made sense: with the magic of vampirism stripped away, their bodies returned to the state they were in before the magic too effect. It’s very sweet and redemption-y that Stefan risked his own life to save Damon and Enzo, but it looked painful.

Sort of like the Damon/Elena conflict. Now that Alaric is human, he can’t undo the compulsion. Could another Original, or is compulsion non-transferrable? That could be an interesting crossover. Until that happens, though, they'll be persistently separated by a metaphor door:

A Metadoor

When Elena decided she didn’t want to forget Damon anymore, she wondered how anyone can figure out what to do if they only know half the story. Maybe this episode's resolutions--which included Matt telling Sara about the Salvatores, and Caroline telling Stefan she didn't want his friendship--marks a turning point in our characters' ability to finally tell the whole story.

Bites and Pieces:

• Matt: “I’m sorry if I’m confused about which vampires we like and which we don’t.”

• Damon: “Professor Saltzman. What, you couldn’t compel yourself a PhD?” That sentence makes no sense. “Professor” is a job title. “Doctor” denotes a degree, like a PhD or an MD.

• Alaric: “How’s this? My best friend just came back from the dead. But now I have to save him from a vampire hunter before he’s driven across an anti-magic border before he’s killed again.” This reminded me of Wesley’s line in Angel: “We lead complicated lives.”

• Damon: “Why did Stefan [turn you in]?”
Enzo: “Probably jealous of my accent.”

• Stefan: “To her, you were just gone.”
Damon: “I guess I still am.”

• Despite all the scenes set in the Salvatore kitchen—both in 1994 and today—I never noticed the big monogram over their kitchen hearth before. It’s tacky. Who monograms a kitchen hearth?

Three out of four adventures in the flannel hellscape of 1994. Vive l’Alaric!

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 was wondering how they were going to keep Damon and Elena apart for the rest of the season, and voila. It'll be interesting to see how they resolve this. At least Alaric is himself again, and you're right -- the new witch means there's a way to get Bonnie back.

That opening scene -- man, if I had to die that way, how awful that I'd have to do it to very loud, twangy country music? Tripp is too cruel.

J.D. Balthazar said...

Nice review, and I agree with you on all of it. At first I was very frustrated with the Alaric development, not because he's human (although that effectively undercuts any conflict the character had), but because of the whole compelling Elena thing. I don't want another forced triangle with Liam the boring. Since Stefan is totally out of the picture now romantically speaking.

But I might come around to like this, if it is done well. We'll see.

Josie, for us mortals without a degree, the idea of a professor is usually tied with being very well educated. The joke is, you compelled yourself into a professorship, why not go all the way and make yourself a doctor too.

Anonymous said...

If alaric's not a vampire anymore wouldn't that mean that his compulsion over Elana would break. I'm not sure if i'm remembering it right but wasn't it explained when Elijah was keeping Katherine in that room that vampires have to maintain their compulsion?

Josie Kafka said...

Anonymous, the next episode answers that question.