Vampire Diaries: Memorial

“He made me understand how important it is to be part of a team, a community.”

I went to a wedding this weekend. It was just far enough away, and required just enough bizarro preparatory errands, that the whole adventure took about 26 hours spread over two days. So I spent all week complaining: what were my friends thinking? How could they schedule a wedding now, when I’m so busy? Could I just not show up? Maybe I’d get a flat tire…that would be useful. There are some great potholes on Sunset Blvd.

It wasn’t until I was there in the church, waiting for things to get started and pretending to text because I’d forgotten to bring a book, that I realized my priorities were completely out of whack. Miss a wedding because I have too much work to do? These kindly folks have asked me to celebrate a hugely important ceremony with them. To stand up at their wedding, to be part of the community they’re forming by binding their lives together. That’s more important than work. That’s life.

The penultimate scene of “Memorial” has the same message: no matter how crazy things get, sometimes we need to stop and engage in an important ritual that reminds us of who we are and what we’re working for. Sure, for Team Mystic Falls, “work” means “perpetual turgid supernatural soap opera,” but whatever. The message is still the same: stop, breath, be with your friends and loved ones.

Of course, Damon didn’t find the same cathartic joy in the memorial ritual that everyone else did. He preferred to mourn in his own way. Drunk. In that final scene, Damon’s earlier statement that he’s “just going to pretend like there’s someone there, because the alternative is just too depressing” finally made sense. He’s not willing to let Alaric go, and sadly doesn’t know that Alaric is there, in a ghostly “over there” kind of way.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with tragedy, of course. Tyler and Caroline have sex. Mrs. Lockwood schemes to keep her son safe. Bonnie mopes on the couch. Damon plans for the worst; Stefan hopes for the best. He referred to Elena’s humanity switch like it’s an easy, obvious thing—an actual switch. But haven’t we learned that for some vampires, like Damon, it’s not that easy? And is Elena going to be stuck drinking “from the vein” for the rest of her unlife? Maybe Matt has found his new purpose.

If Connor Jordan has his way, Elena’s unlife might not be overly long. There’s a certain poetic symmetry to a new vampire hunter coming into town so shortly after Alaric’s death, but this vampire hunter doesn’t seem destined to become besties with Damon. The vervain glove was a neat trick, but his willingness to use April Young’s blood just to smoke out any vampires at the funeral was horrifying. And what is he planning to do with that note from April’s father? Forge his handwriting?

April will probably, soonly, have our heroes looking out for her. I’m curious to see what’s up with her father: I got the impression her weird reaction to his loss was a bit more than just wacky grief. And now, with all of our heroes (except Matt) supernatural and bound together against a common foe, they can take good care of April. Needless to say, I loved the scene of everyone working together at the funeral to keep each other safe. Even Tyler, with his sacrifice for the good of the community.

Bites:

• Caroline: “A bunch of people died and we’re having sex.”
Tyler: “Grief sex. It’s healthy.”
Caroline: “So selfish!”
Tyler: “It’s natural! Besides, if we stopped having sex every time someone died in this town, we’d explode.”

• Stefan: “I think we have a new vampire hunter in town.”
Bonnie: “Hmm. That’s bad timing.”

• Connor: “We have not met. Connor. Jordan.”
Damon: “Damon. Germaphobe.”

• Damon: “We love visitors, and the scenery is to die for. Oh! Funeral parlor. Too soon.”

• Damon: “Mid-service snack. Church always makes me hungry. You know, that whole blood of Christ thing.”

And Pieces:

• Apparently the Stefan-narrated recap at the beginning of each episode is here to stay. Alas.

• Did anyone else think of vine-ripened tomatoes every time someone talked about drinking from the vein?

• I loved Stefan punching Damon while he was down.

• And Caroline helping Elena become a better vampire.

• What’s up with Jeremy’s ability to see Connor’s invisible tattoos?

Four out of four mid-service snacks.

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

13 comments:

Billie Doux said...

What a terrific episode. Great review, Josie.

I honestly didn't catch why Damon wouldn't let anyone sit next to him in the bar; Dan realized that it was because Alaric was supposed to be in that seat. What a nice touch. The blood everywhere was a nice touch, too, except that it was super messy, not nice -- it kept reminding me of (and forgive me in advance for mentioning it) menstrual blood, especially since Elena kept ruining her clothes.

One more thing. I thought it was very interesting that Elena lied to Stefan because she didn't want him to know she was in trouble, but she asked Damon secretly to help her. There was an intimacy to it that I liked; she was treating Stefan like a boyfriend that she wanted to impress, but she was treating Damon like a husband, or at the very least, a close friend.

CrazyCris said...

Another great episode, no sense of things slowing down so I'm happy!

A bit worried about this new vampire hunter. He now knows about Tyler and Damon, it shouldn't take him too long to put together the rest of the pieces.

I really like the scenes between Elena and Damon!

And I knew straightaway Damon was saving that seat for Alaric. He had me in tears at the end of the episode when ranting drunk over Rick's tombstone! *sob*

I think Elena will be able to stop "drinking from the vein" after a while. Her system probably just needs to finish getting used to blood and all that. I hope.

Nadim said...

I thought this episode was epic! I recently reviewed it and couldn't stop praising it; so touching, thrilling and darn FUNNY! I seriously love the entire cast and how intelligent the writers are.
The church sequence alone was magnificent in the way it juggled so many different things. And of course the lantern stuff was brilliant. Really Elena's transformation is taking the show to a whole other level! Can't wait for the rest of the season!

ChrisB said...

What a fantastic review, Josie, of a wonderful episode.

I couldn't figure out why Damon was saving the chair at the bar until the end. I loved the scene with the bottle and the stone with the wrong birthday. Even when he's mourning, Damon can see the big picture with humor.

Like Billie, I spent a lot of this episode wondering what Elena was doing with Stefan. She seems to rely on Damon much more. The whole feeding from him thing certainly had overtones. I don't think it was a coincidence that we saw Tyler and Caroline in bed immediately afterwards.

Chela Madison said...

I loved this episode. The church scene was amazing. Our whole team (just missing Bonnie...poor Bonnie having a rough time as usual) supporting each other and united. So cool. I really liked the Stefan, Elena, Damon dynamic. I found it very realistic. I agreed with Billie's comment: "There was an intimacy to it that I liked; she was treating Stefan like a boyfriend that she wanted to impress, but she was treating Damon like a husband, or at the very least, a close friend." Stefan is so good to her and, he's not perfect, but for the most part he's very steady and very aware of right and wrong. Elena doesn't want him to think she needs human blood. She wants to do animals only and impress him, sort of be on his level. So, she's not going to want to tell him she's not handling it well (she sort of tried and he said not to worry which reinforced her not wanting to talk to him about struggles). She doesn't want to fail him (even though he loves her and wouldn't feel this way). Damon on the other hand is not opposed to the natural vampire way of life, and he can handle the mess, the failure. It was kind of like having 3 friends were the first is having a good day, the second is having a good day but often has bad days and can handle talking about bad days, and the third is having a terrible day. That third person is more likely to go to the second friend I think. Anyway...that was too drawn out. Loved the church scene, loved the team dynamics, thought Damon and Elena's relationship was very real, and respected Stefan's maturity at the end when he was expressing his anger/hurt.

Also is feeding on someone a sexual thing? A sexual thing and a bond thing? Elena should have told Stefan that she didn't understand what it meant.

Johanne said...

Another awesome episode!

I won't repeat what you've already commented on, I just had to mention that you forgot my favourite Damon quote:

“Japanese lanterns are a symbol of letting go of the past. Well here’s a news flash, we’re not Japanese!”
- that one still cracks me up!

Also, I'm very curious about the "nice ink" that Jeremy saw, and what that means..?!

Steve said...

I believe that Jeremy could see the tattoo because it was from the other side. I'm guessing that the new vampire hunter has help from spirits - maybe at some point he will have direct contact with the recntly deceased council members.

Juliette said...

Hmm, I think I'm getting attached to the Vampire Diaries. Largely because of Damon. Can't resist a snarky vampire (though the show nearly lost me all together when the 3rd or 4th episode I saw was the 3rd season finale and she chose Stefan, which I find utterly incomprehensible!)

PlatinumRosebud said...

Vampire or no vampire, Elena couldn't keep away from Damon. This, Stefan has to live with for thousands of years. :p

PlatinumRosebud said...

Good and enjoyable review, as always, Josie.
Have a nice day! ;)

Morgan India said...

The lantern lighting scene really bugged me. They talk about everyone who has died, but not John or even Isobel?
Sark may have been pretty dick-ish throughout the series, but shouldn't he still warrant a mention, seeing as he gave his life for his daughter?

I don't know, I'm just not impressed with Julie Plec or whoever wrote this episode.

I did get a kick out of Stefan punching Damon. Stefan punching Damon always makes me feel better.

Deborah said...

Just now catching up on Vampire Diaries, so this is definitely a late comment.

Maybe this has been answered with more current episodes, but...

I'm getting confused with VD and True Blood lore more and more. It seems like VD is constantly moving closer to the TB understanding of how vampires work. Feeding is apparently sexual in nature, vampire blood has healing properties, etc.

Has this always been the case in VD and I'm just now noticing it or are they slowly adding in new elements as the series goes on?

Don't get me wrong... I like it. It would be so much easier not to have to keep different vampire legends straight. :)

Deborah

P.S. great episode and review!

Mallena said...

With the arrival of a hunter to Mystic Falls, now I'm having a harder time knowing who to cheer for..the hunter or the home team. It's especially hard since the guy reminds me of Gordon from Supernatural. He was a mean hunter, too. I have to keep reminding myself: vampires good, hunters bad. Watching a normal person like Elena drinking blood is more disturbing than when a character is a vampire from the beginning like Damon. Stefan's being real sweet to her and Damon's trying to hide his lonely pain with snark like always. Hopefully Elena is more fun as a vampire than as a human. That Klaus will just not die!!!