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Vampire Diaries: Our Town

“Rest in peace, so that you can move forward.”

Our Theme of the Week is birthdays. Or, more specifically, those moments in which we suddenly realize that we are not-so-suddenly different, and come to terms with our new, older selves. Both Elena and Caroline said goodbye to their previous incarnations, and both of them seem ready to live with the new normal.

Watching Elena and Bonnie wrap Caroline’s locker reminded me of just how young our heroes are: these are still high school students, with imperfect myelin sheaths and raging hormones and high levels of sentimentality. But not for long: here, as in the first few episodes of the season, our characters are realizing that youth has passed them by. Our heroes deal with epic, tragic, grown-up stuff on a daily basis. Locker wrapping is a thing of the past.

After being in absentia last week, Caroline almost took center-stage this week with what might be the sweetest “collateral damage” scene I’ve ever watched. Her sadness about not turning 18 fit her character perfectly, and the mock-funeral was a beautiful choice. The end of youth, though, doesn’t mean the end of life. For most people, it means the beginning of taxes, dismay, and incipient wrinkles. For Caroline, it means so much more than that: she will bring her youthful enthusiasm to thousands of years (I hope) of discovery and beauty. And, knowing Caroline, she’ll organize it all and eventually become Queen of the Universe.

It took Klaus’s touching speech to make Caroline realize that her birthday/funeral-day wasn’t a tragedy. As horrifically disgusting as his statement about “collateral damage” was, he showed real tenderness as he coached her on the possibilities of immortal life as a nubile beauty. Is he just a caring guy under all the…everything? Or is this a hint that Klaus is developing an April/November crush on my favorite vampire? Is that better or worse than the Caroline/Tyler/siring triangle?

Elena, on the other hand, has to come to terms with her own adulthood beyond her realizations in the season premiere. The most horrific thing about the high-speed car scene wasn’t the risk that Elena would become a vampire and die a horrible symbolic death on the same bridge the Stefan saved her from. It was what came after: Stefan revealing that he just didn’t care about Elena, her attempting to see this as him putting distance between them, and her giving up on her youth.

Is Elena right? Does Stefan want to show Elena how callous he is to make her move beyond him? Or is he just a jerk? Is Klaus right—does that sort of love never die? And did Damon know about Stefan’s plan to use Elena as vampiric bait?

Either way, Elena isn’t a little girl anymore. Nina Dobrev won this year’s People’s Choice Awards as the first-ever write-in candidate, and she deserves it. She has aced the full range of Elena’s emotions, and her ability to sell Elena’s pain without descending into sentimentalism has been what keeps VD great rather than melodramatic.

Meanwhile, Alaric is Meredith Fell’s new white knight. In unrelated news, Meredith’s ex-boyfriend is dead in the woods. A murder! I so, so, so hope that we have a denouement scene as cool as this one.

Also meanwhile: it’s all about outwitting people and crazy propaganda. Klaus is getting the founders on his side by playing up the sympathy angle (“He took my family!”) and enticing Mayor Lockwood with his “cure” for Tyler. Turning the council (or at least part of them, since not all of them know that the Salvatores are vampires, right?) is a big deal, especially since it pushes Stefan further away from any sort of community as he attempts to be the “better villain.”

When it comes down to it, though—despite the speeding cars, ripped-out hearts, double-crosses, and “accidental” brainwashed biting—this was an episode about the strength of those friendly bonds that stay with us as we change.

Bites:

• Stefan: “Friends don’t strip friends of free will.”

• Klaus: “Stefan was just leaving after failing to make his point.”

• Bonnie: “S’mores, campfire…”
Elena: “…cake, like when we were little.”
Matt: “Except with tequila!”

• Caroline: “I am stuck in a filler year.”

• Damon: “He’s operating on crazy right now.”

• Damon: “It’s just not right now.” :-(

And Pieces:

• Damon smiling in the shower while Elena worked off her... tension.

• I really worried that Caroline would die, because the funeral did feel like a funeral. Thank you, VD, for not killing Caroline.

• All the talk about “What’s in the coffin?!” made me think of Se7en.

• Elena mentioned the “Fell ghost.” Maybe that’s what killed Brian.

I feel silly giving four whatevers every week. What do you say to a:
3.8 out of 4 evil/not-evil dimmer switches?

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

10 comments:

  1. I'd say this worth at least a 3.9, Josie.

    Caroline and Klaus, eh? Sure as hell didn't see that one coming. But I'm willing to supporting it because now Caroline finally has potential love interesting who is actually, well, interesting.

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  2. I hope Tyler is ready to die, because...good god, he's boring. And Michael Trevino is so weak.

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  3. Thank God, Trevino is damn hot because Tyler hasn't been interesting since he first turned into a wolf.
    Also, I'm not sure how Caroline would feel to dating the guy who killed Jenna but I'm digging this Caroline/Klaus possibility ! (Challenge : create a name for this couple, juste like Stelena. Harder than you think.)

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  4. Hehe, kline means to make out in norwegian... :-D

    Citten

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  5. Great review Josie!

    I really liked that this episode took the time out form it's usual violence and break neck twists to really examine the characters some more. I really liked what you said about Caroline's sadness at not turning 18 suiting her character; she's almost the average teen in that she's been thrown into this world which is filled with so much craziness, yet she still thinks about what she's going to miss out on, like birthdays, and college (maybe).

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  6. Kloline? I'm liking that possibility. Talk about dramatic tension!

    I loved this episode. It ranged from the hilarious beginning - Ric's face when Elena said she was working off some tension - to the bittersweet end. Matt really is a quiet hero.

    The best moment was Damon (as it nearly always is): "Just not right now." Sigh...

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