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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Why Elena is greater than all you other girls


During this week's “The Vampire Diaries,” my main thought was, “Thank goodness for Elena.” It's not very often that you get a heroine like Elena (Nina Dobrev) in the vampire genre. (“Buffy” is a very special exception since she also killed the creatures she sometimes loved.) From the beginning of the show, Elena has been more than the girl you want to be because she's in the enviable position of being caught between so many good-looking guys. She commands respect. She fights back to the best of her abilities. She demands to be heard. She cares strongly for her girlfriends and doesn't let herself be defined by boys. She makes up her own mind.

It's because of those things that what Damon (Ian Somerhalder) did in “The Last Day” is truly horrible. Fearing that Elijah's (Daniel Gillies) elixir would not work and that he'd lose Elena, he fed her his blood so she'd come back as a vampire. And he did it against her will. Rightfully, Elena was horrified and upset. He took away her ability to choose. Making things even more disturbing, the imagery of Damon forcing his blood down her throat was dangerously close to the idea of someone forcing themselves upon another person. It was a violation and a breach of one's personal space and ability to feel safe and secure in their own skin. I'm sure the show will eventually find a way to overcome what Damon did, but right now, it's looking pretty unforgivable.

To get her mind off things, Stefan (Paul Wesley) took Elena on a hike to the top of a mountain. Along the way, he laid out the good and the bad things about being a vampire. Good: You feel like you can do anything, you love more passionately. Bad: Blood, obviously, the bad emotions are amplified, forcing some vamps to turn them off so they don't crumble. It was very matter-of-fact and honest. Stefan also admitted to Elena that he's thought about her as a vampire and would love to spend forever with her, but could never ask something like that of her. It has to be her choice. Bless you, Stefan. Elena finally confesses that she doesn't want to be a vampire, she never has. She's supposed to grow up, she tells him through tears. She's supposed to have the option to start a family and grow old. I have never loved Elena more than in this scene because this was a choice she was making for herself and not because of some romanticized idea of eternity. She chose not give up her life, literally, for a guy. Unfortunately, the sacrifice is still going down and Elena still has Damon's blood in her system.

Damon spends most of the rest of the episode trying to postpone the sacrifice. Seems someone is feeling a bit guilty. He gets Katherine (Dobrev) to tell him where Klaus (Joseph Morgan) is keeping his werewolf Tyler, who has returned home to check on his mom (she looked pretty amazing for being thrown off a staircase, no?), but he gets more than he bargained for when he goes to free him. Klaus' lackey attacks him, throwing him around like a doll, until Matt (Zach Roerig) shoots him with wooden bullets. Go, Matt! Naturally, poor Matt's hero moment doesn't last. Damon knocks him out with his own gun. Meanwhile, in the tomb, a locked up Tyler and Caroline (Candice Accola) are sharing a moment. Caroline, breaking my heart into a million pieces, wants to know why he left her. Tyler says she hated him, but Caroline responds that she was angry and upset, but she could never hate him. Tyler gives her a quiet, loaded half-smile. Caroline, your boyfriend's right outside unconscious! Damon interrupts the moment, freeing the two of them, but the full moon is already rising. Tyler starts starting to turn. It looks every bit as painful as the first time. Caroline and Matt lock themselves in the cellar while Damon stays behind with Tyler. How Damon didn't notice that Tyler bite him until the end of the episode, I don't know. Despite the deadly bite, I'm willing to bet money Damon's not going anywhere. Maybe Bonnie can cook up an anti-wolf bite potion?

More worrisome was the fact that Damon's bite was for nothing. Klaus has a backup wolf in Jules (Michaela McManus) and a backup vampire in –- drum roll –- Jenna (Sara Canning)! In fewer than two episodes, Jenna has gone from learning the truth about vampires to becoming one herself! This does not bode well for her longevity.

Other brief thoughts:
–- Some great acting in this episode by Dobrev and Wesley, especially. It can't be easy playing the least flashy vampire on the show, but Wesley brings wonderful gravitas and decency to Stefan.
-- Close your eyes and think of Buffy and Angel circa the Season 2 finale, Stefan.
-- Damon to Katherine: “What if I tell you Elena has vampire blood in her system. Imagine how much fun that would be competing with Elena for Stefan's love for, I don't know, forever.” Speaking of love... Elena's got to know Damon's in love with her without Stefan having to tell her, right?
-- Present-day Klaus proved to be cool, collected and calculating. The scene between Damon and Klaus in Mystic Grill was a treat, especially Damon's of-course-this-is-my-life-like response to Klaus' unexpected and pretty casual entrance. By the way, how nice was it of Damon's boyfriend Alaric (Matt Davis) to check on him?
-- Sadly, no Klaus and Elijah present-day meeting in this episode. I'm really looking forward to that.
-- Greta (Lisa Tucker) tells Elena that her bother and father shouldn't have been looking for her because she was never lost, but that's all the characterization we got about the witch and why she'd abandon her family. Could Klaus be compelling her to stay?
-- I'm very nervous and scared about what Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre) is planning to do to Caroline. Thank goodness Matt finally came to his senses and disbanded from her, but now we don't have an inside source.

Show Trackers, what do you think of Jenna as a vampire? Is what Damon did unforgivable? Did Elena make you as proud as she made me? Are you happy about Tyler's return? He seemed a bit more mature and composed, yes?

Complete "The Vampire Diaries" coverage on Show Tracker

-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Photo: Elena (Nina Dobrev) makes a confession to Stefan (Paul Wesley). Credit: Bob Mahoney / The CW.


Comments () | Archives (9)

Loved this episode. It's amazing how this episode was clearly just one to set up next week's, but it was still amazing and action packed. Jenna as a vampire would be cool, but I don't think she's going to make it. They've already gone through that storyline once this season with Caroline. While her death seems to be an obvious one, I think the writers are actually going to go through with it.

Damon's not going anywhere. You are 100% correct about that. When Rose died earlier this season, I knew that it was just a set up for someone else to get bit. If Caroline got bit, being a little more expendable than Damon, I would be a little worried. But Damon is Damon. Without him half of the show's dynamic is gone. And Elena will forgive Damon by the season finale. There's something about a dying vampire as hot as Ian Somerhalder that makes you want to forgive everything.

While the Sacrifice is going to be intense next week, I can't wait to see what happens with Tyler, Caroline and Matt. Matt and Caroline never really got a chance to talk. Especially about the fact that Sheriff Forbes knows and is plotting against her own daughter.

Should be an amazing final two episodes.

Tyler and Tyler/Caroline ARE the show for me. So well done! <3

Great episode as always! So glad that if Damon goes down, he goes down by the hand, or should I say teeth, of Tyler. Can`t wait to next week`s show! The ratings might be down because the NFL draft?

Should I be ashamed of this? I am 46yrs old and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show! I was on my couch, yelling at the TV screen most of the hour, shielding my eyes and then looking back for more! I was a MAJOR Buffy fan and never missed an episode. This show gets me excited like Buffy did.

I feel the writing is excellent, the actors are stellar and the show truly keeps you on your toes with the twists and turns. Jenna becoming a vampire? NEVER saw that coming -- Not in the least.

The look on Damon's face, wondering with Katherine why he wasn't taken as a backup vampire sacrifice for Klaus and finding out he was bitten was just horrible! But in a fitting, sick twist -- he killed Mason, Tyler's werewolf uncle and gets bitten by Tyler! Ugh!

To be honest, in as much as I WANT to see next week - I DON'T want to see what happens next week as it's all too nerve wracking. And for a a show to do that to a viewer, I guess they've done well!

ps...Not really feeling the 'menace' of Klaus yet..But maybe that will happen next week with the ritual. LOVE Elijah though!

Vlada - You said it, about Elena. And your comparison of Damon's actions with those of an assualt are great - I think his actions are forgivable depending entirely, though, on what he does to earn that forgiveness from Elena, right? Yay - Tyler's back! Though, who IS Caroline going to choose? Matt being the one to kill off Klaus' lackey - awesome! Did not see that coming at all. We need to see Matt in the fray some more. Though, I wish you hadn't said that about Jenna, even though I think you're spot on. What a bummer - I actually liked Jenna, Elena's only genuine parental figure in her life (Uncle John just doesn't cut it). Alaric's character seems to be moving into the fringe as well and I'm not too optimistic about him staying around either - perhaps he'll die trying to help Jenna? You know, I'm beginning to develop a slight resentment towards the writers and producers because of a somewhat cavalier attitude they have with making any of the characters of the show so expendable - that our (the viewers) investment in certain characters doesn't matter to them. There's an aspect about the season finale that I'm not looking forward to because I know there will be casualties that will be a huge bummer making the idea of watching something unpleasant. The suspense of seeing who'll make it through can be thrilling at times but can easily cross over into disheartening and a let down. That being said, I'm still glued to the TV when the show's on. Maybe they should be applauded because they're taking unconventional risks with character mortalities/fatalities? Guess I'm feeling conflicted about it! lol :)

Jenna as a vampire would be very interesting! Approved
Damon IS forgiven! The episode itself said all the reasons why:
-Vampires have stronger emotions, they get desperate when sad and so on. Damon always shut down him emotions and now doesn't know how to control them.
-He was willing to DIE. So Elena would "have her choice". Alaric pointed it all several times and he didn't care. All he cared about was postponing the sacrifice so he could fix the mess he made because he acted out of impulse.
- He only got bitten by Tyler because he didn't want her to become a vampire. What means that he could die ( he won't, but he could) just so she could be happy.
[Forgiven by me]

Never really liked Elena but, this episode definitely made me proud of her :D
Tyler's return was just what I needed!!! He's so handsome :D

And let me add, I don't find Klaus really terrifying or menacing.
But he sure is Hmm hmmm hmmm delicious. That man is SEXY!!! He is sexy scary. I can only compare his sexy scary to Lestat (a la interview with a vampire).
I am fanning myself as I type. I look forward to seeing more from that actor. He just got a fan for life.

I think Elijah's elixir can save Damon somehow. It's going to help somebody, it's been introduced for a reason.

Where is Elijah? He said he would be at the house before dark. Elena didn't return until after. No sign of him.

Didn't see Jenna turning into a vampire at all. It would be horrible to lose the character now. And horrible for Alaric to see another woman he loves become a vampire.

I think deep down Damon still has something for Katherine because he keeps turning to her for more info. The connection is too deep. I don't want them together but there is a definite link between them.

Great goodbye scene between Elena and Stefan. I miss Bonnie and Jeremy. And I agree about the Sheriff, what is she up to?

I completely agree with you, Vlada and TKB.

I think the potion that Elijah had will come in handy, even though Damon doesn’t think it’ll work. So, if it is Matt that acts courageously to save Caroline from werewolf Tyler, they could always bring him back, but will probably leave us hanging until season 3 to use that card. I don't think it can save Damon, or even Jenna simply because Elijah mentioned that it doesn't work on the supernatural. "vampire blood rendered it useless," Jenna has vampire blood in her system which is why she's now in transition.

As far as Damon being bitten, I think the only thing, or person that can possibly save Damon is Bonnie and after he helped her with Klaus, she might not need that much convincing. Maybe a spell or even him drinking her blood could cure him of the bite, seen as Witches seem to be at the top of the supernatural food chain. Also, basically stated by Elijah in the episode before.

They really need to start showing that more. Witches rule!

Hopefully we'll see Lucy in the finale, she did reassure Bonnie she'd see her again.


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