Vampire Diaries: Katerina

“We’re talking centuries of truth mixed with fiction.”

A long, long time ago, the first vampires were made—The Originals. The original Original is allegedly Klaus. Compared to Klaus, Elijah is “the Easter Bunny.” At some point in time, a shaman cursed both the vampires and the werewolves: vampires cannot walk in the sun; werewolves can only turn on a full moon.

The moonstone governs the curse. If the vampires use the moonstone to break the curse, they will have the ability to walk in the sun, but the werewolves will still be bound. If the werewolves break the curse, they will get to choose the moment of their turning, but the vampires will still be nightwalkers.

In “Bad Moon Rising,” we learned that the curse was orchestrated by an Aztec shaman. No mention of Aztecs this week, which is interesting, given that Elena’s story starts in 1490. I imagine that choice was deliberate, but it would seem to imply an alternate history of the contact between the New World and the Old. The Aztecs dominated Central Mexico from about the 13th century to the early 16th, until their fateful encounter with Hernando Cortez. There has been some speculation, although I’m not sure how truthful it’s thought to be, that the Aztecs may have gotten as far north as Utah (about 500 miles north of the current US/Mexico border) before the arrival of the Spanish. While the first known European contact with any part of the New World is Leif Erikson in the 10th century, it is unlikely that he had contact with any people as far south as the Aztecs were. (Although there was a mention of “Scandinavian skinwalkers” in “Bad Moon Rising,” as well.)

So how did Klaus (the original Original, remember) get from the New World to the Europe? Or, if you want to argue that with a name like Klaus he’s probably not a Native American, how did the moonstone itself get to London in 1492? Are these originals so powerful that they can cross oceans without boats? Or did he take the long way, through Asia and the Bering Strait? And, most importantly: how can the curse be bound by Petrova blood if the Petrovas are Bulgarian?

All of those considerations are secondary, of course, to the real peril that Elena suddenly faces. Petrova blood binds the curse; both the blood and the moonstone are needed to break it. (Fertility metaphor, anyone?) The Petrova doppelganger was “created” to maintain the Petrova bloodline, which was assumed to have died out by people who didn’t know that Katerina had an illegitimate baby, much like Isobel did. Also needed: a werewolf and a vampire. (If they killed Tyler, that would get rid of one of the key ingredients.)

Enough with the history—that’s not really while we’re here. I’d originally objected to Katherine being stuck in the tomb, as it seemed like a cop-out that would result in a mid-season hiatus cliffhanger return. But I really enjoyed Elena and Katherine connecting in the tomb/well/therapist’s office. Neutered, Katherine is a useful source of information and weighty possible foreshadowing. The only way to escape being sacrificed is to turn into a vampire? What does that mean for Elena? (That is not a question that is meant to be answered in the comments.)

Although they look alike and share a bloodline, Elena and Katherine are quite different: Katherine has always looked out for herself; her only weakness seems to be her long-dead family. But if selfishness turned Katherine, selflessness will probably turn Elena. She wouldn’t become a vampire to save herself, but I’ll bet she would do it to save someone else, or lots of someones.

Elena’s heart-to-heart with Katherine was paralleled by Bonnie’s talk with Luca and Stefan’s talk with Caroline. Bonnie has found some new witches—although they prefer “warlock”—and while Luca is (hopefully) a good guy, his father is definitely playing for the evil team. This is good news for two reasons: one, warlocks are cool, like fezzes. Two, Bonnie and Jeremy are, at the least, put on pause.

Just as Elena and Katherine played a game of cat-and-mouse inquisition, and Luca’s Dad and Bonnie played “what does the other guy know,” so did Caroline try to distract Stefan from Elena’s ill-fated quest. I still think Caroline and Stefan are adorable together, and their chemistry is strong enough that I wonder if the actors are dating. If so, I wish them both the best of luck, or at least a spin-off sitcom. Perhaps they can be Ben and Locke’s wacky neighbors.

Damon’s conversation with Slater was equally interesting, mostly for what Damon didn’t say. He just smiled wryly when Slater asked him why he would want to prevent the curse from being broken—even though it means choosing Elena’s (short, mortal life) over freedom from having to keep track of his sun ring.

That conversation was interrupted, of course, by the incredibly cool coin trick that Elijah pulled. It’s worth noting the series of trades and exchanges that are going on here: Katherine’s life for her freedom; Damon’s freedom for Elena’s life; Stefan’s life for Elena’s life (if Elena is right and he would die trying to save her). Our heroes will have to trade Katherine’s freedom to re-gain the moonstone to break the curse, too. Coins also symbolize exchange. In this context, they symbolize our heroes not knowing there’s another trader on the market.

Things don’t look good for our heroes. I find myself longing for a Joss Whedon-style funny episode to cut the angst a bit. It would be bizarre, but still kinda awesome.

Bites:

• Elena: “Caroline, do you promise?”
Caroline: “You had to break out the girlfriend code.”

• Katherine: “You have the Petrova fire.”

• Slater: “Trevor was a good man. Helped me with my dissertation on sexual deviance in the Baroque period.”
Rose: “Slater’s been in college since ’74.”
Slater: “When I was turned. I have 18 degrees, three masters, and four PhDs.”
Damon: “What’s the point?”

• Stefan: “You’re seriously not going to tell me where she is?”
Caroline: “She’s not in any danger. I would not have let her put herself in danger.”
Stefan: “Put herself in danger?! Where? What are you…She’s with Damon, isn’t she?”
Caroline: “Eww, no.”

• Stefan: “You manipulative, psychotic, bitch.”
Katherine: “...I’ll be the safest psychotic bitch in town.”

And Pieces:

• Nina Dobrev’s Bulgarian is very convincing to this non-Bulgarian-speaking reviewer. She’s Bulgarian; I wonder if she grew up speaking it?

• It appears that there’s some sort of game thing on cw.com that has to do with all of this mytho-historical stuff. I might try to play it before the next episode (December 2nd) to see if I can clear up some of these exciting dates and tantalizing places.

• Damon drinking right out of the cut-glass decanter: what happens when really wealthy people hit the bottle. Oh, and sexy shirtless Damon having sex with Rose, who put the lie to Damon’s emotion-switch.

Three and three quarters out of four coins.

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

7 comments:

Mark Greig said...

“warlocks are cool, like fezzes”

True, but bowties are cooler :)

Billie Doux said...

I sort of liked Slater, although the eternal grad student has been done before. I also liked the Elena/Katherine scenes in the tomb; I was thinking that if this were another show, Elena would do something stupid while pushing the drink toward Katherine with the stick and Katherine would get it away from her or something, but that would be too obvious for VD. And for some reason, I'm liking Lauren Cohan as Rose. I hated her as Bella on Supernatural.

jo said...

Thats where i recognised the actress from ! Thank you, Billie

samantha gomes said...

Seeing Damon shirtless with Rose makes me feel sad it's VD and not True Blood.
So much info to digest I feel like rewatching it all again. This season is amazing!

Anonymous said...

season 1 was all about shameless exploitation of Damon and Stefan's bodys, but i think this is the first time we've seen any shirtlessness! I hope there's more to come!

On a less superficial note, great episode! When i watched the first few episodes of VD I had no idea it would become so complex and just so damn GOOD

Anonymous said...

dobrev is indeed bulgarian and speaks it fluently as well as english and french.

Patryk said...

I bet they changed Katherine's backstory (from the book) to fit Nina Dobrev's background. Too bad Stefan doesn't have an excuse to speak polish. :/