Monthly Archives: September 2013

Episode 3.11 TVD – “Our Town” or “The Hardest Part of Playing Chicken is Knowing When to Flinch”

“The only way to call someone’s bluff, Stefan, is to be willing to lose everything if you’re wrong.”

Damon Salvatore


For me, the high points of this episode – which left me breathless at every turn – were:

  • Stefan’s game of chicken with Klaus
  • Caroline coming to terms with being 17 forever
  • Klaus and Caroline

There was a common these in this episode for many of the main characters – coming to turns with their lives.

Tyler is trying to come to terms with being “sired” and admits to Caroline that he can’t put her first – and he’s sorry.  So is she.  He gives her a birthday gift – a charm bracelet.  This is significant.

Klaus and Stefan are locked in conflict.  Stefan is pushing all of Klaus’ buttons.  This is also significant because Klaus likes to do that – and Stefan’s pretty good at it.

Klaus is moody – just ask his siblings.

Stefan gives him an ultimatum – get your hybrids out of Mystic Falls.

Klaus pushes back – I’ll be forced to retaliate – kill people.

Stefan pushes further – go ahead.  Or maybe I care enough to drop Elijah in the Arctic.

Klaus – maybe I’d be willing to lose one brother if it meant killing yours.

Stefan – try me.  Let’s find out.

Mindy? (Really? I haven’t heard a name like this since “The Preppy Handbook” in the 1970’s).

Stefan takes her out with a single, decapitating blow (shades of Elijah!)

Caroline is not “feeling” her birthday.  She’s stuck at 17 – a filler year, between Sweet 16 and the significance of 18.   Being Caroline, it’s clear she will persevere, but she wants time.  Her friends encircle her to help her along that processing path.

Meanwhile, Klaus is compelling Tyler to take a nip out Caroline, and Tyler doesn’t even realize it.  This is a chess move – and it’s going to happen.  And I hate Klaus even more than usual now because he’s going to use Caroline as a pawn in his chess game with Stefan – sweet Caroline!

Elsewhere, Damon and Alaric are contemplating whether or not there may be a gray area between the on and off switch for Stefan’s humanity.  A dimmer switch.


Elena, Bonnie, Matt and Caroline take the birthday party to the Fell crypt at the cemetery to give the “old” Caroline’s life a proper funeral.  Honestly, I thought this was a terrific idea and it worked well, right down to Bonnie lighting the candles on the birthday cake.

Caroline’s wish!  Don’t you wonder what it was?

The Founder’s Council is having one of its meetings and there is a fund raiser for restoring the infamous Wickery Bridge, scene of the death of the Gilberts.  And who shows up?  Dr. Melanie Fell, who is fully aware of the history of Mystic Falls (she’s a Fell, don’t you know) and is also a member of the council, undoubtedly brought in to replace the Fell who was sacrificed during “Ghost World”.

It strikes me as rather creepy that the citizens of this town behave so “normally” in the midst of all these supernatural creatures and their plans and schemes.  Carol, Klaus and Damon standing around talking about no more hybrid decapitations over cocktails is just too absurd in any other reality but the one in Mystic Falls!

At the birthday party/funeral, the drinks are loosening inhibitions, judgment, and tongues. Caroline is texting Tyler (who just broke it off with her) to join the fun, Bonnie is judging Elena’s controlling of Jeremy’s destiny (and thus his removal from Bonnie’s life) and Matt seems to be the only one with the sense to realize that the party is not the right occasion for this.

Sheriff Forbes, being a mother, knows that Carol is only complying with Klaus’s desires because he’s “protecting” Tyler, but she wants Damon to get Stefan to back off before someone gets hurt – little does she know.

Alaric, meanwhile, gets a taste of who Meredith might be – a “psycho” according to her boss and former prom date.

And Stefan takes yet another provocative turn – until Damon intervenes with the rules, one of which is “no dead hybrids at the Founder’s Party”.   It’s nice to see Damon taking Liz Forbes’ warning seriously but Stefan is pushing for all it’s worth and declares that Elena’s safety is Damon’s responsibility now – he’s not going to let anything stop him from exacting his revenge on Klaus. Damon says he’s got to be smarter, but Stefan responds that you’ve got to fight fire with a bigger, badder fire.

Tyler shows up at the party.  And he’s sure he has everything under control.  Things heat up and wham, Tyler takes a nip at Caroline.  I don’t know who is more shocked – Tyler, who realizes that Klaus is still controlling him – or Caroline, who knows exactly what the bite of a hybrid means – and can’t believe it came from Tyler!

Stefan snatches Elena as she and Matt search for Caroline in the woods. Next thing you know, he’s racing down in the road with her in his car and calling Damon with Elena’s phone to tell him he’s making his next move – he’s going to feed Elena his blood and drive his car off Wickery Bridge – thus rendering Elena useless to Klaus as the tool to create more hybrids.

Say what?????

Damon tells Klaus that Stefan has just upped the ante, but at first, Klaus is sure Stefan would never do anything to hurt Elena.  He claims that even if Stefan is “operating on crazy”, that kind of love never dies – he’s bluffing.  But Damon reminds Klaus that no one knows Stefan better than his brother – and Damon doesn’t have a clue how far Stefan is willing to go.  He thinks Klaus should blink.

All of this reminds me of another classic game of chicken from the film “The Hunt for Red October” – the infamous submarine challenge.  There is a great line in that film….

“The hardest part of playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.”

Damon is sure it’s time for Klaus to flinch.  I am sure Klaus has his next (and next, and next) moves already set up in this chess game, but when Klaus answers Stefan’s call, Stefan is feeding his blood to Elena and planning to drive her off Wickery Bridge.

With Elena screaming in the background, Klaus blinks!

Matt, who has found Caroline and carried her home, arrives at the Forbes house where Liz tells him to bring her in.  What is Caroline’s reaction to her mother’s concern?  “I’m sorry Mommy.”  Even in this situation, Caroline’s first concern is not with herself – it’s for her mother.

I LOVE Caroline Forbes.

Back at the bridge, Elena leaps out of the car in a rage.  Stefan tells her that Klaus had to believe that he would go through with his plan – so her fear had to be real.  Elena wants to know what would have happened if Klaus hadn’t backed down.  But Stefan is sure he’s latched on to Klaus’ single weakness, and that knowing it is the key to being able to destroy him.  And ultimately that is what he plans to do.

Elena questions Stefan’s priorities – is that what matters most?  Destroying Klaus?  Stefan believes that he lost Elena when he left town with Klaus and that he will never get her back so the only thing he has left is his humanity and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get that back.  For her part, I think Elena now knows that Stefan no longer believes that he deserves her – after everything he’s done, whether he did it of his own free will or not.  And if Stefan believes he doesn’t deserve her, where does that leave Elena?

Back at the Forbes house, Klaus shows up.  And yes, this is all part of his plan – the plan he set in motion at the beginning of the episode when he told Tyler to bite Caroline.  He wanted Tyler to bite Caroline so he could save her with his blood.  And of course Liz is going to allow him in to her home because what mother would not want to save her child at any price?  So although Matt and Liz are not happy about it, it’s Klaus to the rescue.

And here starts one of those absolutely incredible scenes on TVD – you know the kind I mean.  Intense, shocking, emotionally devastating.  These scenes leave you crying, or breathless, or both – but they reach deep into the heart and stay there.

Klaus walks into the room.  Caroline asks “are you going to kill me?”

“On your birthday?  You really think that low of me?”  says Klaus, with a look on his face that is total despair (as in “I am hurt to my very core that you would think such an awful thing of me”) – even when we know that what he really means is “I’d kill you on any day unless I could use this occasion to my advantage.”

And sweet Caroline is no fool – she knows it too.  Her response?  “Yes!” YOU GO GIRL!!!!

As he looks at Caroline’s wound (notice, please, that Caroline is wearing Tyler’s bracelet gift) Klaus explains that she is collateral damage.  How comforting.

He touches the bracelet – “I love birthdays”.

Caroline – “Yeah, aren’t you a bazzilion or something?”

Klaus “As a vampire you have to adjust your perception of time, celebrate the fact that you are no longer bound by trivial human conventions, you’re free.”

Caroline doesn’t see it that way “No, I’m dying.”

Klaus sits on the bed next to her and begins the seduction – what else can you call this?  Twisted and sexy at the same time, the man is nothing short of devastatingly charming – in the way I imagine Ted Bundy must have been!

“I could let you die, if that’s what you want. If you really believe your existence has no meaning.  I’ve thought about it myself (tears in his eyes!) once or twice over the centuries, but I’ll let you in on a little secret (smile, no more tears).  There’s a whole world waiting out there for you, great cities and art and music.” (He touches her bracelet again). “Genuine beauty – and you can have all of it.”

Klaus – You can have a thousand more birthdays – all you have to do is ask.

Caroline – I don’t want to die.

Klaus – There you go sweetheart – have at it.

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Did you see that momentary waiver in Caroline’s face?  Totally heartbreaking.  She’s going down and she knows it.  But honestly, what 17 year old could give it all up just to prove a point?

Elena, still smarting at Stefan’s methods, is not willing to agree with Damon that Stefan was the better villain – he got Klaus to blink.  Damon is proud of him.  And he exercises control, not pushing Elena to kiss him because he knows she is more conflicted than ever.

Stefan may have been the better villain – but Damon (as always, in my eyes) is – finally – the better man.

Good bye Jeremy.  I am so glad we knew about this and that we know he’s coming back because otherwise this would have been really ugly.

Caroline wakes up – fine.  And finds a jewelry box.  With a card – from Klaus.  Inside – a bracelet.  Platinum hearts and diamonds.

Uh oh.

Matt meets Elena on Wickery Bridge.  She reflects on his comment about being stuck.  Elena feels that she is holding on to the girl who was supposed to die here with her parents and had a normal life.

Matt tells her she’s not that girl any more – and it’s OK to let her go.  Matt believes in this Elena and symbolically lays the old Elena to rest.

And we end with Alaric and Meredith about to bond at the Mystic Grill bar….

…and Damon and Liz discussing the murder of the medical examiner.  And not by supernatural means.

Wasn’t this the guy who called Dr. Meredith “a psycho?”

Episode 3.10 TVD “The New Deal” or “A Relationship Matures”

If you follow my posts, you know that I’ve never been much of a “shipper”.  Frankly, it took me a very long time to figure out exactly what a “ship” was when I first saw it referenced out on Twitter.  When I finally caught on, I could see there were two camps – Stelena (Stefan and Elena) and Delena (Damon and Elena).  Even after I figured it all out, I didn’t get it.

I never understood why Elena was so attracted to Stefan.  Stefan is NOT my favorite Salvatore brother – largely because I don’t go for the sensitive types.  Stefan was “too nice”.  Not enough passion there.  I like passion.

Damon, on the other hand, is the character that I’ve always found the most interesting – and despite being a vampire, the most human.   His pain is responsible for some of the best lines on the show – delivered by Ian Somerhalder with a mastery of his character that is a genuine pleasure to watch week in and week out.

In the past, I have felt that the tension between Damon and Elena was delicious, and that the push-pull between them provided Damon some of the best moments of the series (I am specifically recalling the single tear in “Rose”).  But I also felt that Elena was not “good enough” for Damon in a strange way.

Yes, Elena is fiercely protective of the people she loves and she would do anything – including sacrificing herself – to protect them.  But I could not get over the fact that her love interest was Stefan, who I have always seen as the weaker of the two Salvatore brothers.

However, this season, it is apparent that both characters have matured.  Elena is stronger and wiser.  Damon appears to have mastered his deeper emotions.   And we don’t really know how far gone Stefan is.  But I really loved Damon’s logic at the end – “if I am going to feel guilty all the time, I might as well do something to feel guilty about!”

Rather than being disappointed that the tension would be all gone if the relationship between Damon and Elena were “consummated”, I felt that they had finally arrived at a place where they deserved each other and a deeper relationship now makes perfect sense.  I was relieved when I didn’t get that sinking feeling – you know the one, like all the air is suddenly leaving the balloon.  (Last time I had this feeling was when House and Cuddy got together, and I haven’t watched that show since!)

I don’t know what will happen next in this relationship.  But what I believe is that although they’ve kissed (and therefore acknowledged their deeper feelings for each other), they will not rush into a deeper level of Intimacy.  At least that is what I am hoping.

These are two people who are serious about each other, but are still surrounded by incredible danger.  They are not a strictly “romantic” couple, the way Stefan and Elena have been.

They are partners.  Yes, they love each other, but it’s not all hearts and roses.

It’s life and death.

Other thoughts on this episode:

Jeremy – I understand the need to protect Jeremy, but I am going to miss him.  He has matured perhaps more than any other character on the show, and I was really enjoying him as an Alaric-like vampire hunter.

Bonnie – Now that Jeremy is not around, it’s a perfect time for the return of Bonnie’s mother and I am looking forward to seeing how that relationship plays out.

Dr. Meredith Fell – A very pleasant surprise!  Really looking forward to what the writers do with a character who can combine the history of Mystic Falls (she’s a Fell, after all) with the attributes of the book version of Meredith.

Rebekah’s absence – I hope it doesn’t last long.  I absolutely love her character and the way she interacts with Klaus.  Now that she knows the truth about her mother’s death, I want to see what happens between them.  And where is Klaus keeping her?  In the Salvatore basement?  He can’t put her back in her coffin, when and if he gets the coffins back.  One of the brothers will un-stake her and the cat will be out of the bag about Original Mom!

Who’s in the coffin that won’t open?  This is interesting because we know it’s not Rebekah, and Elijah, Finn and Kol are in the other 3, right?  So who can this be, and why is the coffin presumably spelled shut?

Original Mom (yes, Klaus, Elijah and Bex were standing over her grave, but who’s to say that Klaus didn’t dig her up to cart around?  He’s weird that way, no?

Perhaps it’s the Original Doppleganger.

Or maybe it’s a branch from the old White Oak Ash tree from which other stakes can be carved to kill Klaus!

My guess is that whoever or whatever is in there is definitely the key to eliminating Klaus – and since I love Joseph Morgan, I am hoping we don’t find out for a very long time!

Episode 3.09 TVD – “Homecoming” or “Honor Thy Father

As he promised Mikael, Stefan is luring Klaus back to Mystic Falls.  The ruse?  Telling him that they (Stefan, Damon and Elena) have killed Mikael – which interestingly enough, they have…sort of.

Elena, being human, has driven a dagger with white oak ash into Mikael – so he’s dead until someone pulls the dagger out!  Rebekah confirms the story to Nick over the phone – he is on his way home (from Oregon, where they apparently have a lot of werewolves so he’s been busy creating his army.) Elena pulls the dagger out of Mikael so he can be ready to kill Klaus with a special stake from the white oak ash tree – before it was burned.

Meanwhile, when Mikael awakens, he is greeted by a hostile Rebekah, who tells him that none of his children were born killers – HE made them that way.  She holds him responsible for destroying their family.

As Elena helps Damon prepare some wolf’s bane grenades and conveys her concern over Rebekah, Damon tells her he’s got a secret contingency plan.  He can’t tell her about it because Stefan will overhear.

Rebekah has dressed for the dance and is confessing to Elena that she’s never been to a high school dance before.  She also warns Elena to be careful because Mikael cannot be trusted – no one in her family can be trusted.  She’s spent a thousand years alternating between loving and hating her brother but she never thought she’s help drive a stake through his heart.

When she asks Elena how she looks, Elena tells her she looks amazing, but she’s missing one thing – and she takes out Rebekah’s mother’s necklace.  I confess, I would have been disappointed if this hadn’t happened.  It was perfect.

But the next moment shocked me.  After putting the necklace around Rebekah’s neck, Elena daggers her – she can’t take a chance that Rebekah will tell Klaus what they are up to.  Afterward, Damon compliment her on the “Katheriness” of the act, but Elena is convinced Stefan is right – someone’s humanity is going to get in the way of the plan and she’s sure it will be hers – she is the weak link.

Damon assures her that he’s got it all under control – and if she trusts him, he will carry out the plan.  Elena does trust him – how far they have come!

Meanwhile, a flood at the high school makes it impossible to have the dance there – so Tyler moves the venue to his house!  Why do I think Klaus had something to do with that one!  As Caroline freaks out about the fact that the party at the Lockwood mansion looks better than any she’s ever thrown, sure enough Tyler tells Stefan it’s all what Klaus wants – Tyler is just following his orders.

Elena and Matt show up, and are greeted by Caroline, but they are being all cloak-and-dagger like.  Caroline tells them Klaus is there. Neither acts surprised and Elena leaves to find Bonnie.  When Caroline asks why he’s not there with Rebekah, he says cryptically “Plans change” and makes a hasty exit.  Caroline is left standing there looking piqued.

Klaus tells Stefan that the party is his idea of a funeral for his father and he is going to reunite his family.  “The people you carry around in coffins?”  Klaus says none of that matters – bygones will be bygones.  Stefan denies knowing where Rebekah is and is commanded to bring Mikael to Klaus. Stefan bargains for his freedom – and Klaus agrees to give it to him once he has Mikael and his weapon.

Back at Casa Salvatore, Damon tells Mikael that Rebekah has gone to the dance.  Mikael reveals the white oak ash stake – a very fancy affair and the only weapon that can kill an Original (which means that once they use it, the other Originals are truly immortal – interesting).

When Stefan arrives to tell them that Klaus is expecting them, Mikael takes him out of the equation by biting his neck and rendering him unconscious.  (And the repartee between Mikael and Damon in the exchange that follows makes me want Mikael to stick around.) But off they go to carry out their plan.

Meanwhile, Klaus points out who the guests are – his army of hybrids, all sired by him and there to do his bidding.  He makes it clear that if anyone makes a move against him, they will attack – which puts the citizens of Mystic Falls in danger!

Tyler goes right to Caroline – who is not in the loop.  But Tyler still wants to keep her safe, bless his heart.  A vervain hypo to the neck and she’s out.  Then he tells Matt what’s about to happen and asks him to get Caroline and their friends out safely if he can.

Klaus is admiring Elena’s ability to dagger an Original.  She reminds him it’s not her first time.  He reminds her that he’s always one step ahead of the people after him so she and her friends should take their best shot.

Damon arrives and before you know it, he and Tyler are fighting and Damon pulls out the stake to use it on Tyler – but before he can do it, Bonnie gives them both one of her specialty juju migraines.  She sees the stake but Damon warns her off before she can say anything.  Damon has it because he’s the only one who can get inside the house.

But one of Klaus’s hybrids tells him Mikael is here.  He sends her off with orders to move everyone out back and special instructions to one of his minions – Tony.  When Klaus greets Mikael, he lets him know that if he snaps his fingers, his hybrids will tear him apart – which won’t kill him but will make a hell of a mess.

And Mikael calls Klaus a “big bad wolf”!  You gotta’ love that one.  He reminds Klaus that his hybrids are part vampire and can be compelled – by Mikael – who proves it by having several of them show up at his side – with Elena.

What ensues is a game of cat and mouse – with Elena as bait.  Mikael says he will kill her – ending his ability to enlarge his army of hybrids.  And he doesn’t stop with the threat.  He proceeds to expose Klaus’s loneliness – how the only people loyal to him are those he’s forced.

But Klaus calls his bluff.  And Mikael stabs Elena while Klaus watches, horrified.

And at that moment, Damon rushes Klaus in order to stake him.  Before he can finish the job, Elena rises to her feet in front of a shocked Mikael, who realizes it’s Katherine!  She throws the darts at the wolf pack, as Stefan knocks Damon out of the way.

Quick as a wink, Klaus grabs the stake and uses it on Mikael! The stake, and Mikael with it, burst into flames!  Guess the stake is one time use only, and now it’s gone!

And Stefan has earned his freedom from Klaus’s compulsion.

In the end, here is the situation.  Tyler and Caroline are at odds.  He’s the way he is, and he is not unhappy because having control over turning into a wolf leaves him free from pain.  But Caroline can’t accept that he is under Klaus’s control.

Damon is angry that the plan failed.  He and Elena can’t understand Stefan’s betrayal so they assume that he’s lost. And they are prepared to let him go.

But there is something they don’t know.  Stefan is with Katherine and he tells her they don’t need to know the truth.  That when Klaus was talking to Katherine, he told her that his hybrids were under orders to kill Damon if Damon killed Klaus – and the hybrids would do it even if Klaus were dead.

So Katherine conspired with Stefan to keep Damon safe. Katherine actually counted on Stefan’s love for his brother to foil the plan – and it worked!  She counted on a vampire’s greatest weakness – humanity.  She convinces Stefan that turning his emotions on is worth it for what she wants to do next.

Revenge.  When Klaus goes to his truck for the “family reunion”, he finds the coffins of all his family members gone!  And Stefan’s got them, and he’s not letting Klaus know where they are!

Welcome to the Vampire Diaries hiatus!  I can hardly stand the fact that we are going to have to wait until next year to meet the rest of the family!

Episode 3.08 “Ordinary People” or “Rocking Becky’s World” (11/09/2011)

This episode was everything I was expecting, and something I wasn’t. I did not expect to find a personal connection with Rebekah – but I did.

The moment that stood out the most for me – in a stellar performance – was the moment in which Rebekah discovered that her brother had lied to her a thousand years ago in order to bind her to him. Such a moment is called a paradigm shift – when everything you believe falls away and the world as you know it changes profoundly.

I know exactly how Rebekah felt in that moment because I had such a moment myself – the moment my story changed.

I was adopted as an infant. My adopted parents never kept this from me. When I was 4, they told me in a wonderful way that made me feel special…chosen. In fact I was so proud, I went up and down my street knocking on doors telling our neighbors! (This was obviously back a few years when a 4 year old could walk up and down suburban streets alone knocking on doors!)

Naturally, as most adopted children eventually do, I became curious about my roots. My mother told me what she knew about my natural parents, and her story was consistent from year to year. Although my parents eventually divorced, I adored my mother and would not have entertained the idea of looking for information on my natural parents while she was alive. It was not important to me and as far as I was concerned, I knew exactly who my parents were.

Eventually, however, both my parents passed away and I decided to write to the “authorities” (there are always authorities in these cases – especially in the “dark ages” of adoption when all adoptions were closed) and register with the Adoption Information Registry at my birth state’s Department of Health. Once I did that, I never gave it another thought. Based on what I’d been told, I had no expectations of learning anything new.

Eight months passed. We’d moved from California to Texas, and one Saturday when I took in the mail, I noticed a yellow forwarding sticker on an envelope from the Dept. of Health. I knew what that meant. But on this particular morning, I was running errands. I was in a hurry.

I opened the envelope, read the form, my world spun off its axis, and I tried to right it by going on my way with my plans – handing the envelope and its contents to my husband and saying “I’ll talk to you about this when I get back.”

My husband was completely familiar with my adoption story. He read what I had read. When I came home, he was as perplexed as me, but at least his world hadn’t tilted on its axis. So I sort of clung to him in order to maintain my equilibrium.

You see, all my life I’d heard a story and my life was that story. I was adopted 6 weeks after my birth. My father had been killed in the Korean War and my mother, who was 25, had contracted a post-partum infection and had died. She was friends with my adopted mother, and specifically requested that I be adopted by the parents I wound up with. It was a death-bed request – otherwise it might not have happened at all. My parents were in their late 40’s and childless – no adoption agency would give them an infant without extenuating circumstances.

Also, my adopted mother knew my adopted father was an alcoholic. They’d been married for nearly 3 years when I came along – long enough for her to know the score. But when a dying woman asks you to take her baby – and tells you she cannot die in peace unless she knows you will – what do you say? Especially if you never expected to be a mother at all – but badly wanted to be?

So that’s who I was. An adopted orphan. An only child. The one with the alcoholic father. The one with divorced parents when divorce was still unusual. We all have a story, and this was mine.

But the paper I’d received said two things that blew the whole story up in my face. First, my mother was 32 when I was born, not 25. And she had had another child before I was born.

Ever had vertigo? That feeling that the floor has dropped out from under you and the room is spinning? That was the feeling. I was no longer “me” – or at least not the “me” in my story, because my story was gone. It was completely shattering and I could think of little else for weeks. Ultimately, I did nothing with the new information. But I haven’t been the same since.

And neither will Rebekah.

By the time I’d had my paradigm shift, I was 50 years old, and my parents were dead. I’m glad I waited until they were gone because I know that bombarding my mother (the keeper of the information) with questions and accusations at her advanced age would have been difficult, unpleasant, and ultimately damaging to us both. I prefer to think that she acted out of the purist of motives. There is nothing to prove otherwise.

But Rebekah has had her story for over a thousand years. So when she turns on Elena and repeats “Shut up, shut up, shut up”, it is because her “story” is no longer true. Rebekah went into denial. She has clung to this story for hundreds of years. It is inconceivable that there is a different version.

Later, when she reflects, she realizes it may be true, and she feels hurt and betrayed in the worst possible way. She cries inconsolably in front of the fire. This is a death as powerful as any other. And there are stages to grief that Rebekah must go through.

Becky and Nick will have a confrontation and they will come to blows over this. And Elijah will be dragged into it as well. And it will be ugly and painful – for everyone.

Yet within this story is another story – of two young women, both of whom have lost mothers much too soon, who choose to love despite great risk, who value family ties in all forms, and who stubbornly refuse to give up on people they care about. On the other side of her despair, I believe Rebekah will find Elena ready to meet her where she is.

And ultimately, I believe that Rebekah will find it in her heart to forgive her brother. Because, as she herself says, she is immortal and what are her other choices?

Episode 3.07 TVD – “Ghost World” or Redemption and Hope” (10/28/2011)

I know it’s only October, and last night’s episode of TVD was a Halloween special, but to me it felt like a Valentine.

According to a tweet from Julie Plec, “Ghost World” was a gift to viewers.  And it was very, very special.

I know that today’s technology – social media in particular – makes it possible for fans and producers/directors/writers/actors to interact in a new, immediate and powerful way.  But there is nothing compelling (no pun intended) the creators of TVD – or any show – to act on fan
feedback.  The fact that they did shows just how much they appreciate the fans, and who doesn’t love that?

Moreover, TVD is some of the best television ever, with its rich characters and complex plot-lines.  Yet these people took the time to weave into this incredible tapestry some of the most beloved former characters in a way that closed out the past, included just about everyone (Tyler was the
notable absence last night), and not only did not destroy the integrity of the current story line – Klaus and the Original family – but enhanced it.

And because of that, I continue to be awestruck by the production, writing, and acting on this show.  That it doesn’t get recognition from The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences or SAG is criminal.  This show defines the term “ensemble”. But the acting and writing stand on
their own merits, individually as well as collectively.

In a season that has so far been marked by one standout episode after another, this one was particularly sweet.  And if you didn’t cry – at least once – you have my deepest sympathy.  This show is superior because of the way it makes the fans care about the characters. Their happiness – and their pain – is ours as well.

So what happened?  For me, it was a story of redemption and hope.

Vicki is gone.  But Anna is still there, and Mason has appeared.  And Mason appears to be out for revenge against Damon.  So Damon finds Bonnie and gives her an order – “fix it”.  Bonnie is concerned because if Mason is here, things are much worse than she imagined.  Vicki and Anna are bad enough, but just how many ghosts are there?

Her grimoire drops and falls open to a page with a manifestation spell to reveal “veiled matter”.  Say what?  In a word – ghosts.  Bonnie and
Caroline are off to the old witches house (the one where Bonnie brought Jeremy back to life) and Bonnie starts chanting the spell.

Suddenly, ghosts start to pop up everywhere.  And they are corporeal – they can touch people and people can see and feel them!

Lexi appears to Stefan, and she has one of the best moments of the night.  When Stefan is less than happy to see her, she cracks his head against the side window of an SUV and knocks him out!  Lexi was beloved for her spunk as much as her humanity.  She’s the kick-ass precursor
to our beloved Caroline!  She is there to help Elena get rid of the Ripper and get the “feeling” Stefan back.

Mason shows up at the bar next to Damon and Alaric – and Ric can see him! Mason is not there to mess with Damon – he just wants an apology, and to help.  He knows where there is information on how to kill Klaus, and that will free Tyler.  He even accepts the left-handed, half-assed apology that Damon offers up!  I always liked Mason.

Elena enters the restroom at the Grill and sees Jeremy – kissing Anna – she can see Anna!

And Sheila Bennett shows up in the abandoned house.  Grams!

Bonnie starts to cry but Grams tells her there is no time for that.  When Bonnie brought Jeremy back from the dead, she upset the balance of nature.  Grams is going to help her to get the balance back.

In an unexpectedly sweet moment, Caroline greeting Grams with “Hi Miss Shelia” and it had just the right touch of southern gentility and respect for her elders.  Anyone who is not in love with Caroline has a hard, hard heart.

Grams explains that the Original Witch gained a foothold into the human world when Bonnie opened the door for Jeremy to enter.  And then she used Vicki, knowing that Bonnie would send her back – which only opened the door wider.  Basically, anyone with unfinished business can come back now.  They need to destroy the OW’s talisman (the necklace) to send all the ghosts back and close the door between this world and the next.

It was very fitting that Grams was the one who got to explain what’s going on, including the information about the Original Witch, the necklace and the warning about staying out of Original Vampire business.   Jasmine Guy nails the part of Grams once again.  Sheila Bennett is the perfect combination of maturity, beauty, wisdom, compassion and love.  She is stern, but in a way that conveys love and concern.  It is why she is so beloved.

Caroline calls Elena and tells her that Bonnie needs the necklace – the OW is using it to draw power from the living.  Elena says she doesn’t have the necklace – Damon does.  Bonnie and Caroline are off to Casa Salvatore to look for it (even in the soap dish), but it’s not there.

Mason sets off on a hunt on the Lockwood property with Damon, looking for something that will help Tyler – information on how to kill Klaus.

Lexi gives Elena lessons on how to rid Stefan of his Ripper impulses and restore his humanity and emotions.  It’s basically a course in tough love.  Turns out that the necklace was a symbol of hope to Stefan in his darkest time.   (It’s perfect that a talisman that represents hope wound up with the character who, among all the characters in Mystic Falls, best represents hope.)

But not every ghost who has appeared is there to help someone.  Frederick and some of the tomb vampires appear in the square, ready to resume their vendetta against the founding families, and they start with a Fell – of course.  (Those Fells just can’t catch a break.)

And it turns out Anna, who really does love Jeremy, loves her mother too.  She took the necklace because she doesn’t want the door to close before she can find her mother.  And if she can’t find her mother, she wants Jeremy.  She doesn’t want to be alone.  She can’t quite believe that
there are people on the other side who have found peace because she hasn’t.

Elena tells her she is not being fair to Jeremy, but Anna knows that.  Jeremy tells her he believes there is peace on the other side, and she gives him the necklace.  He takes it to Bonnie (who –now that she knows about all the love between Anna and Jeremy – is really pissed.)

Bonnie takes the necklace, throws it into the fire – and starts to chant, and suddenly Grams is beside her, slipping her hand into
Bonnie’s hand and chanting along with her.  With a crack and a pop, the necklace disappears.

And suddenly, Damon is alone.  Mason is gone.

Mason provided one of the key moments of the night with his “revenge versus redemption” speech.  He understood he made bad choices in his
life, but they are over.  He wants to help Tyler.  His part in the story was the key to what is going to happen in the next episode, because he leads Damon to the location of information on Klaus and the originals – information that may provide a way to kill Klaus – and free Tyler from his grasp.

Lexi passes the “de-Rippify” torch to Elena, and she is gone.

Lexi got to offer Elena hope – that Stefan is still in there somewhere, regardless of what Klaus has done.  And now Elena knows how to knock the Ripper out of him, if she is so inclined.

Grams tells Bonnie “You’re stronger than all of this.  I’m proud of you.”  And she’s gone.

Bonnie finally gets closure with her Grams.  Sheila passed away unexpectedly in Season 1 and Bonnie spent a good deal of time away from
Mystic Falls mourning her loss.  Sheila is one of those earthy characters that ground everyone around her, and that her last words to Bonnie were words of encouragement felt so right – yes, it was one of the crying moments.)

Finally, the sweetest moment was with Anna.  As the ghosts disappear one by one, we see Pearl in the middle of the road.  (I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it as I write this…)  Anna sees her and they run to each other, pure joy radiating from their faces.  And they disappear together, holding each other.  Best moment of the episode – in an episode that was full of best moments, as always.

But we’re not done yet.  Because this is- after all – The Vampire Diaries.

Ric has found his way to the Lockwood caves and Damon.  And discovers some interesting writing on the walls!

With a flash, crackle and pop, the necklace suddenly reappears on the hearth!   It would not make sense for something that represents hope to simply disappear.  Besides that, if you cheated (like I did, naturally) and saw the pictures of Original Mom wearing that necklace in next week’s
episode, you know it’s not really gone.

Looks like the Original Witch is one powerful Bitch!  She will not be stopped.  She must really hate Klaus.

(WARNING:  If you have not yet seen the promo for next week’s episode, you might not want to read further.  If you can’t stand the wait, carry on!)

Next week?  Well, it is impossible for me not to comment on next week’s eagerly anticipated episode about the Original Family back before they were vampires. When the short promo was posted, it wasn’t long before we had screen caps to show details of who we will see – some old
friends, some new.

And apparently, these people have a Viking heritage.  As usual, a hint of this was dropped in a past episode by Rebekah.  Everything on this show is done with deliberation.  Nothing is wasted. Rik tells us the writing on the walls of the cave is Viking script – and it includes the names of the Original Family members.

Original Mom, in episode stills, is wearing the necklace, so either she is the Original Witch (play on words?) OR she is wearing a gift from someone else.  While she may be a witch, I still think she’s a Petrova.  There are no Viking Petrova’s as far as I know.  Mikael may have picked
her up on a previous journey across the seas. And I don’t think she’s the Original Witch (mother’s don’t hate their children, no matter what they do)  – but I do think she’s the OW’s BFF.

It also looks like presumed youngest Original sib is dead (in Klaus’ arms).  We don’t know really if he’s the youngest sibling of the Original Family, or the child of one of the Original siblings.  We just know that he sure looks dead in Klaus’s arms.  Did Papa Werewolf and his clan
attack the Original Family Settlement?  Is Original Dad Mikael sword fighting with Original Werewolf Dad – or Klaus?

And I think I see a tree burning in the night sky?  The oak?

As usual, the anticipation is killing me.  Let the countdown begin.

Episode 3.05 TVD – “The Reckoning” or “Once Upon a Time…” (10/20/2011)

After so many months of wondering just what was going to happen to Matt, he turned out to be the most important character in this episode – and proved that he loves his friends enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for them.

Matt and Bonnie accidentally happen upon Klaus in the gym, just after he’s killed “Not Now Dana.”   Klaus informs Bonnie that he needs information from the Original Witch on how to make his hybrid army – and promptly forces his blood into Tyler’s mouth and snaps his neck to add a dash of urgency to his request.

The look on Matt’s face when Klaus snaps Tyler’s neck is priceless – go Matt!

Despite feeling alone and isolated, Matt determines that if Jeremy could talk to the dead after dying and coming back, so could he.  He then trusted Bonnie’s skill with CPR and stepped off the deck and into the pool, with a big old weight hooked to his belt.  He drowned, but before he is completely dead, Bonnie is able to save him, and he gives her a message from Vicki – so that Bonnie can save Tyler.

If Caroline is the character who represents cheerful perseverance, Matt is the one who represents genuine loyalty.  It is going to be interesting to see what happens now that he can communicate with the dead.  Vicki’s motives – despite her love for her brother – are clearly suspect.

Matt’s story arc – and specifically the information he gets from Vicki before Bonnie successfully revives him – provides key information for Klaus.  And I am left marveling at how the writers have – once again – made the best use of all the characters to weave an irresistible story that, once disclosed, not only explains the past but moves the plot forward yet again, all while dropping yet more interesting clues as to what may happen next.

It seems that the Original Witch hated Klaus, and told him that the doppelgänger needed to die in order for him to become a hybrid.  Vicki tells Matt that Elena must die in order for Bonnie to save Tyler.  But Klaus suspects the information and tries an experiment.  Rather than killing Elena, he has Tyler drink her blood – and Tyler, unlike the other hybrid attempts – does not get the bloody eyes, go rabid, and die.

Rebekah reflects that the Original Witch is still screwing with Klaus after a thousand years.  But Klaus says it makes sense if you look at it from her point of view.  The intent was that Klaus would be alone for eternity.  The Original Witch hated him.  So this isn’t about balance at all – this was revenge.

But for what?  I have a theory on that – read further please.

Now that he knows he can breed his hybrid army with Elena’s blood (a supply of which he is taking by compelling hospital staff),  Klaus reveals to his sister Rebekah that the whole point of creating a hybrid army was not for power, but so he would not have to be alone.

The look of pain on Rebekah’s face is perfect.  Klaus had a loving family – one that he apparently can’t completely abandon because he’s carrying them around with him.  But Rebekah knows that Klaus destroyed it.  And now he wants to turn around and create a new one.  Klaus is ashamed in the moment and tries to hide his shame from his sister, who walks away – just as Damon shows up.

From Damon and Katherine’s road trip (with Jeremy in the trunk) we learn that Katherine’s friend Pearl knew about Mikael the Vampire Hunter, but did not divulge the information to Katherine – only to her daughter Anna – thus the need for Jeremy.  Anna tells him (with a little persuasion from Damon) that Mikael is asleep and you don’t want to wake him. But Damon tells Klaus that Mikael is on his way to Mystic Falls.

Klaus is so terrified that he leaves, presumably with only the blood he’s managed to get from Elena so far, because he leaves without Elena and his new hybrid, Tyler.

Damon carries Elena home from the hospital, returns the Original Witch’s necklace to her, offers to compel her to forget (this is progress for Damon – he asked her permission), which she refuses, and tells her he will never leave her again.

But Stefan unexpectedly enters the room, takes a drink, and announces that he’s Klaus’s watchdog – and Damon and Elena are free to “carry on”.

I strongly suspect that Stefan has not “turned off” his emotions at all.  I think it’s an act.  Klaus is gone, but little sister Rebekah remains behind and will undoubtedly be reporting back to her big brother.  Klaus himself said he’d never seen anything like the love Stefan has for Elena – and regardless of what Elena thinks she saw happen, I don’t believe Klaus was truly able to compel Stefan to turn off his emotions completely.

After all, Klaus’ test of the compulsion was for Stefan to feed on Elena – and Elena’s still alive.  What happened to the Ripper?  My suspicion is that Klaus – now a hybrid – has lost some of his Original Vampire power, including the power to compel another vampire.  Or it could be something else?

Mind-control vs. compulsion?  Where have we seen that before?

At the end of the episode, we see Katherine and Jeremy (how’s that for an odd pairing) at a crypt with the name “Pickett” on it, in the oldest wing of the largest cemetery in Charlotte, NC.  Mikael was apparently entombed there in the 1990’s by a witch.  (I’m betting that witch was Sheila Bennett, Bonnie’s grandmother.)

Why is Mikael – a vampire – hunting vampires?  I think he cultivated his reputation as a vampire hunter for the sake of fear, but that his true mission was to kill Klaus before he could remove the curse and become a hybrid.

I am also guessing that the Original witch hated Klaus because she was aligned with the Original family BEFORE they became vampires.

So here is my theory.

The Original Vampire Papa is Mikael, and his last name is Saltzman, and his descendants include Alaric Saltzman, Mystic Falls’ resident Vampire Hunter.

The Original Vampire Mama is Esther, and her last name is Petrova, and her descendants (through her daughter Charlotte) will be the Petrova doppelgänger.

Her best friend was the Original Witch, whose descendants will be Bennetts, and the origins of the Bennett animosity towards vampires is explained further below.

When they were human, Mikael and Esther had 7 children, but Mikael was not the father of one of them.  Esther’s secret shame is that she sired a son by another man (who happened to carry the werewolf curse).  This son was Klaus (who has inherited the werewolf curse).

When the family was still human, Klaus fell in love – with the daughter of the Original Witch.  Klaus’s older brother was also in love with Original Witch daughter (the proverbial triangle).

Two events occurred that altered both families in profound ways.

First, the Original Witch discovered Esther’s shameful secret.  Mikael – outraged by his wife’s betrayal, tracks down the other man and kills him and his entire family, thus creating the seeds of animosity between the werewolves and vampires.

Second, Klaus, as a result of being “outed” by the Original Witch, is now a virtual outcast from his family.  He attempts to kill her daughter (who, once the secret was revealed, wants nothing more to do with Klaus, isolating him even further.)  The Original Witch intervenes in order to save her daughter – who escapes.  The Original Witch, however, is mortally wounded.

Feeling betrayed by her friend, and angry that her daughter had been put in danger because Klaus’ lineage and attempted murder, and knowing her end is near, the Original Witch puts a curse on the entire family, turning them into vampires.

But Mikael begs the Original Witch for help.  He wants to know if there is any way to kill a vampire.  He will take care of exacting revenge on Klaus.  She tells him that she only way to kill an Original Vampire is with a dagger carved from the wood of a white oak tree.

Mikael, following the witch’s instructions, attempts to kill Klaus with a dagger carved from white oak, but because of his werewolf blood, Klaus is completely unaffected.  Stunned by his Father’s attempt to kill him, and angry with his family, Klaus sets the white oak tree on fire.

Enraged, Mikael comes after Klaus again, but Klaus side-steps him and Mikael plunges the dagger into his wife, Esther, who dies instantly.

Now, knowing that her spell will be ineffective on Klaus, the Original Witch curses him further and very specifically.  Although his werewolf blood is protecting him from death by means of the white oak dagger, the Witch suppresses his werewolf attributes with a curse, which she seals with the blood of a Petrova –Esther.

Klaus – knowing that she is dying – forces the Original Witch to tell him how to remove the hybrid curse.  She reveals that he will need a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, and to drink the blood of a Petrova doppelgänger (who will come from Esther’s Petrova lineage through her daughter, Charlotte) until she is dead.  Klaus then kills the Original Witch and fleas his home, accompanied by his loyal brother Elijah.

Klaus, whose sister Charlotte had children, now begins a hunt for Charlotte in order to track the Petrova doppelgänger – while the Petrova family members take pains to protect Charlotte and her descendants.  In 1490, Katerina Petrova – a doppelgänger – gives birth to a baby girl.  The baby is immediately removed before Katerina can even hold her.

Katerina is banished and winds up in England, where she meets Trevor, who recognizes her as a Petrova doppelgänger. Wanting to ingratiate himself with Klaus, he introduces her to his brother, Elijah, who immediately knows who she is, and who is struck by her resemblance to his sister Charlotte.

Klaus, believing he has found his doppelgänger, makes plans for her sacrifice.  Katerina thwarts his plans.  Klaus goes on a murderous rampage, killing everyone in her family.

But he doesn’t stop there.  He then starts killing off members of his, Original family.  Believing Elijah has betrayed him, Elijah becomes his first intended victim.  But Elijah escapes Klaus’s wrath.

Those in his family who can do so escape.  Klaus spends centuries hunting them down and killing them with daggers dipped in white oak ash, but places them in individual coffins and carries them with him wherever he goes.)  Due to his hybrid lineage, using the dagger and white oak ash doesn’t kill Klaus when he uses it to kill his vampire family members.

Mikael, however, eludes Klaus at every turn.  Mikael becomes the first in a long line of Vampire Hunters, tracking Klaus across the centuries in order to get his family back, and to prevent Klaus from becoming a true hybrid and creating a hybrid race.

I can hardly wait for the next few episodes for those breadcrumbs that the writer put into each episode as they continue to weave the story of these people and their families.  I don’t care if I am right or wrong about any of my speculation.  The Vampire Diaries is like a great book that you can’t put down.

Best Show On Television!!!!!

Episode 3.04 TVD – “Disturbing Behavior” (10/10/2011)

I am going to do something I rarely do – speculate.  The reason I rarely do it is because I have proven to be terrible at it.  No matter how closely I pay attention, how detailed my notes are, and how much I analyze the plot, the writers of TVD are so incredibly clever, they almost always dish up a total surprise.  I may catch a clue here and there, but where the story is ultimately going never fails to have me saying “WTF?” at my television set.

But before I speculate, I have a few comments on “Disturbing Behavior” and Season 3 in general.

My major disappointment so far this season is that Damon appears to be reverting to Season 1 Damon – the selfish, impulsive vampire, which we’ve already seen.  What made Damon so great in Season 2 was that we saw his struggle.  In Season 3, perhaps we will see Stefan’s struggle, but it’s not nearly as interesting to me as Damon’s.

However, now that Katherine has shown up, and Damon is about to go off with her to who knows where and what, I will likely change my mind.  I think now that Damon’s made up his mind about Katherine, having the two take on an adventure could be a kick.

The least interesting part of Season 3 for me is the whole Jeremy and the ghosts of Anna and Vicki thing.  I love the actresses who play them, but not this story line – yet.  But I do think the “environmental” aspects of Anna’s new universe are interesting – she’s alone – I wonder if all vampires who “die” are alone.  I also like the fact that Jeremy seems to have caught on quickly to his part in controlling how much of them he sees.  We shall see.

LOVE LOVE LOVE Caroline – no matter what happens to this girl, she is unerringly cheerful and smiling and enthusiastic.  Nothing keeps her down.  When she shows up at Elena’s door with her bowl, she is fairly bursting with happiness and enthusiasm!  Who can resist her?

But I think Caroline’s remark to Elena- about changing Damon – is misplaced. Elena is not trying to change Damon – she is trying to come to terms with him, and her relationship to him.

I think this comment, and the fight later (which I loved) are all about Caroline’s history with Damon.  Who can blame Caroline for wanting to give Damon a good ass-whooping at the least provocation?  I love how she stands up to him – and a part of him lets her!  I think Damon has a soft spot for our Vampire Barbie, just like everyone else.  He even stands up for her with Bill – in his own way, of course.

And honestly, I don’t believe that mad trumps age in a show of strength between vampires.  Yes, Damon has a soft spot for our dear Caroline, just like everyone else.

I also loved that when she offered her Dad her own blood in order to heal him, and he refused, she tells him to “Grow up” with a touch of exasperation.  There is no better illustration of the deep ties of family than this scene – Caroline defending her father.  The same bigoted SOB who can’t accept who is daughter is now is saved by her.  She is his loving child regardless of the fact that he tortured her.

Caroline is the most emotionally honest and resilient character on this show.  She’s just been tortured by her own father, but she is keeping her friends honest, building a new relationship with a new love, and just being there for the people she cares about the most.

Strength + Courage + Loyalty = Caroline!

(Note:  Bill has vampire blood in his system – I think it would be poetic justice if he were killed and came back as a vampire – becoming the thing he hates most. But I’m not holding my breath.)

RIP Gloria.  I believe Gloria was a Bennett witch, not too far removed from Emily’s generation.  And I believe the Original Witch was also a Bennett, and that is why retrieving the necklace was important to Gloria.  It may have superior juju, but it’s also a family heirloom!

As Julie Plec promised, this is truly the season of family.  It is all over the opening scene with Rebekah, Klaus and Stefan – and I especially love the dialogue between the siblings.  It’s so very real.  You can just hear the family history between brother and sister.  Even the lines exchanged between Stefan and Klaus seem “brotherly”.

We can also see it in the final scene between Stefan and Rebekah.  She tells Stefan that her brother is a vindictive little bastard, but Stefan responds that Rebekah cares about him nonetheless.  There is an echo here in the relationship between Stefan and Damon – no matter what Damon does, Stefan loves him.  Blood ties are strong.

Rebekah also reveals that Klaus has told her the only reason Stefan is with him is because of the bargain between them – that if Stefan joined him, Klaus would give him the cure for Damon’s werewolf bite and let him live.  Rebekah says she thinks Klaus secretly admires that quality of loyalty in Stefan – that Stefan would sacrifice anything for family.

But Rebekah is so jealous of Stefan’s love for Elena that she betrays Stefan to Klaus.  Clearly Rebekah’s own loyalty is to her brother – not the man she once loved.  Blood is – once again – thicker than water.

In other news, after snapping his neck and killing him (again), Damon arouses Alaric with his own “breakfast of champions”.  Ric is not in a forgiving mood – and he runs off to demand a role on the town council.  He wants to protect the “actual people” in the town.  It sounds like the “vampire hunter” lineage in the Saltzman family is starting to show up again.

Which brings me to the central question of the episode – who is this Vampire Hunter – Michael – and why is Klaus, an Original Vampire who cannot be killed – afraid of him?

One aspect of this “Vampire Hunter” storyline line is that this guy – Michael – has been chasing Klaus and Rebekah (and who knows which other family members) across the centuries.  So, either he is also a vampire, OR he has had a spell cast on him – possibly by the original witch – in order not to age.

Some are speculating that Michael the Vampire Hunter is actually Vampire Papa.  I think this is a good possibility.  But I have a theory of my own.

I think Michael – the Vampire Hunter – is Vampire Papa, and that he has a last name – and it’s Saltzman!

Yes folks, he’s an ancestor of Alaric’s.  Remember, the writers have already told us that the Saltzman’s showed up in the US in 1755.  The writer’s don’t drop hints for no reason.  I think this hint is about to become important.

It’s very possible that the Saltzman’s started out as world class Vampire Hunters – until one of them (after marrying and siring 6 children) was bitten and turned by one of the vampires he was hunting.  I mean think about it – this is a dangerous occupation and getting bitten is always a possibility.  One day, it finally happened.

But old habits die hard, and once Klaus’s true lineage was discovered (and the possibility that he could be truly immortal and reproducible) that old skill came right back to Daddy and he’s been hunting Klaus and his loyalists ever since.

I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Alaric is starting to separate himself from his supernatural friends.  Again, the writers do not divulge information for no reason.  We know that Alaric was married to Isobel – and we know that Isobel was studying the supernatural, vampires in particular.  If the Saltzman family was originally in New England, how did Alaric wind up in Virginia – with a woman studying vampires – who’d had a baby with the most vampire-hating family in the state – the Gilberts?

Surely this is not all coincidence.

As I said, I’m really bad at speculation, but that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it until the writers spring the next fantastic, unexpected, epic plot twist on us all – you know, the one absolutely none of us sees coming!

Episode 3.02 TVD – “The Hybrid” or “Make Room for Daddy!) (09/27/2011)

Every week, we are treated to this show where there are enough standout moments in one episode for an entire series.   These are my picks for outstanding moments of Episode 302.

Daddy’s Home!

It seems that for most of the Twitterverse, the end of this episode had a “head exploding moment” with the reveal of Caroline’s “Daddy”.

I am feeling my age.  There had been chatter on the web that Jack Coleman would make an appearance as Caroline’s father.  I am feeling as if I am the only one who recognized him when he stepped across Carol Lockwood’s threshold.   Is that because I am old enough to have watched him as Steven Carrington on “Dynasty”?  He was, of course, younger then – and blonder, but he doesn’t look all that different.  At least, not to me.

As soon as he entered the Lockwood Mansion, I immediately Tweeted “Daddy’s Home”.  No one responded.  I didn’t even feel guilty that perhaps I’d Tweeted a “spoiler” – although perhaps I should have….

In any case, Bill Forbes is a direct descendant of the original Sheriff Williams Forbes, one of the Founding Families of Mystic Falls (and yes, I will be updating the TVD Family Tree to reflect that.)  This explains his extreme hatred of vampires – which apparently extends to his own daughter, our Sweet Caroline.

Although Carol Lockwood tries to call him off, he’s determined.  “My family has been committed to this fight for years.  I know what my obligations are.”

Hatred this ingrained over so many years is going to be hard to overcome.

Speculation generally doesn’t work out for me, but in this case, I’m taking a shot, pun definitively intended.   I am betting that the present day Sheriff Forbes shoots her ex to protect their daughter.  We shall see.

But I Did Everything I Was Told!

In the scene where it is clear that Klaus’s dreams of his hybrid army are going awry, my first thought when he uttered this line was “Told by whom?”  Interesting plotline there and I am anxious to see where it leads.  My suspicion is that witches are involved.

But I also had a major flashback because of the way Joseph Morgan delivered the line.  Generally, he’s great at being sinister with an impish twist.  But in this moment, he was as petulant as a small child who’s just been told he won’t be getting any dessert after all.

The flashback took me to all the way back to 1967 – and an episode of Star Trek entitled “The Squire of Gothos”.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It is one of the all-time best episodes of that series.  A fabulous actor – William Campbell – played a character named “Trelane”.  He caused Capt. Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise all kinds of trouble for the entire episode.

And at the end, when Capt. Kirk is about to be hanged by Trelane, it is revealed that Trelane is a child of an alien race who has been given his own planet and told he can play with other creatures as long as he behaves – which he has not.  His “parents” (floating clouds with voices) apologize to Capt. Kirk and tell him their son will be punished, as Trelane whines.

And it is that scene which sprang to mind.  When Klaus said “But I did everything I was told” I saw the whining Trelane, stamping his foot and repeating “But you said I could, you said I could…”

So what I imagine was supposed to be a very serious moment was, for me, hilarious.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t catch on to the part where Klaus kicks back into gear when he sees something in Stefan’s face in reaction to the “killed the doppelganger” part of the recipe.  It just didn’t have the impact it should have.

Lost in Translation

In an episode that moved so many plot threads forward – Jeremy and the ghosts of Vicki and Anna, Tyler’s werewolf reveal to his Mom, the introduction of Bill Forbes, and Klaus’s plans not working out that well – the moments that stand out for me are always the ones with the strongest emotions, and they often involve Damon.

Blood is thicker than water and we can always counts on the Salvatore Brothers to be there for each other, regardless of what they may say.   So although Stefan is not happy about being tracked (“What part of ‘Don’t follow me anymore,’ got lost in the translation?”) he is not about to let his brother get eaten by a rabid hybrid – especially when he’s got a rabid hybrid bite of his own to worry about.

As a result, Damon later admits to Elena “I changed my mind because even in his darkest place my brother still can’t let me die. So I figure I owe him the same in return. I’ll help you bring him back.”

Damon loves his brother, but he also – still – loves his brother’s girl.  He’s going to take care of her because that is what he promised to do – and I’ve always maintained that Damon is a man of honor.

However, doing the honorable thing often hurts.  For Damon, it hurts badly and often.  So Damon interrogates Elena about why she abandoned her search for Stefan when she was so close.  And he won’t let her off easy.  She cares about him, and he knows it, but he needs to hear her say it.  When Elena asks why knowing it isn’t enough, Damon let’s her have it.

He’ll help her bring Stefan back but “I want you to remember the things you felt while he was gone.”

A hundred years cannot repair a moment’s loss of honor.

Episode 3.01 TVD – “The Birthday” or “Boyz II Men!” (09/22/2011)

…and, we’re back.  With a bang.  The Vampire Diaries has finally returned with yet another outstanding episode.  The boys are back, and they’re all grown up – especially Jeremy.  Tyler, Matt and Jeremy have gone from boys to men, and it’s probably couldn’t come at a better time, now that there will be hybrids to deal with.

The other thing I noticed is that there’s a lot of testosterone around.  Even Mrs. Lockwood’s packing a punch.  But wait….I’ll get to that later.  My point is that Elena and Caroline did the female heavy lifting in this episode.  Bonnie made only a brief appearance by phone, and Andie made her final appearance.  Other than that, it’s the boys’ show all the way.

I left Season 2 with “choices” and started Season 3 by saying we’d see where those choices are leading.  So here’s what I’m seeing so far:

Jeremy – As I said, Jeremy left Season 2 a boy and came back a man.  He’s still seeing the ghosts of Vicki and Anna, but so far, he’s choosing not to share that with anyone except Matt, who doesn’t want to believe him.  To escape, he’s apparently regressing by smoking weed.  He may look like a man, but he’s returning to where he was way back in early Season 1.

Matt – he’s still feeling the pain of his life (and apparently dulling it by joining Jeremy for a smoke) but at least he’s not isolating himself.  He came to Elena’s party, and he even talked to Caroline, sort of.  And he’s talking to Jeremy – albeit under the influence.  It’s a start.

Tyler – he’s remained in Mystic Falls, and he’s not getting any!  Confessing that problem to Caroline gets him some, but there’s a price for that.

Caroline – I love how Caroline is still true to her original persona (super party-organizer) and yet is coming to terms with her new vampire traits very quickly.  She continues to persevere, and she’s going to enjoy herself.  She also has the absolute best lines in this episode, including this classic.

“Just because I tell you things doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them”.

She compels Tyler’s party date to leave and then they have their way with each other – but that has some unfortunate consequences.  Mrs. Lockwood shoots Caroline – our dear, sweet, “Vampire Barbie”!  How does Carol Lockwood know Caroline is a vampire?  Who told her? And what does she know about Tyler, if anything?

Alaric – he remains in Mystic Falls but he’s not feeling great about being the adult in the Gilbert household, so he chooses to leave.  To me, Alaric is the third Musketeer with Damon and Stefan, so I am hoping he winds up at Chez Salvatore.  Damon needs his buddy.  Alaric remains a loyal friend, if not a great role model.

Elena – abandoned by Alaric, she’s in charge of her own life now.  She’s trying to track down Stefan, refusing to believe that he will completely abandon her and give himself over to his darker side.  She continues to endure by holding on to her love for Stefan, and refusing to believe Damon’s statement.  “Stefan is gone and he’s not coming back.  Not in your lifetime.”

Damon – he gives us the greatest reveal of the night.  And now we know he’s known the depths of his brother’s depravity all along.  It is a terrible burden to carry.  Stefan, as “the Ripper” apparently feeds on his victims, and the blood lust drives him to literally rip them into pieces.  Once his thirst is satisfied, he feels remorse and attempts to put them back together again.

Didn’t work with Humpty Dumpty – won’t work here.  The scene of this reveal – the head falling of the first victim’s body after Damon describes the process to Alaric – is chilling.  I don’t know anyone except Alaric who could listen to it and see it and not be shocked senseless.

Damon, seeing the evidence of his brother’s relapse into his darker side – and probably feeling guilty at being the cause of it – returns to the Salvatore mansion and starts to tear Stefan’s room apart.  He stops after a few seconds, probably realizing it will do no good.

Stefan – I have formerly confessed I am not a Stefan fan.  Some people may like Stefan as a bad boy this season, but that final scene between Stefan and Elena sent me right back to “the breakup” and the Stefan of the quivering lip.  Romantic Stefan.

Bah!  My opinion is that Stefan leads with his head.  It is Damon who leads with his heart.  Note the look on Damon’s face at the death of his “toy” Andie.  This is a man who – despite the act he puts on – CARES about people. He just doesn’t want to show it.

In contrast, Stefan is bone-chillingly cold in this scene.  He knows Andie. He was contemptuous of his brother’s treatment of Andie.  Now, he treats her far worse than Damon ever did.  He doesn’t rip Andie apart – he doesn’t even bite her.  He compels her to walk off a 30 foot ledge in front of his brother – because he KNOWS that Damon cares about her, and Stefan is sending a message.

“Leave me alone.”

Stefan’s RIPPAH persona works for me because only someone who leads with the head would be able to fake out on such a bad-ass as Klaus.   Stefan and Katherine have that in common.  They lead with the head – they “don’t let love get in the way”.

So while Elena’s entreaty in their final scene touched me, Stefan’s response felt disingenuous.  I don’t think he should have called Elena at all.  But when he called he should have hung up as soon as Elena answered.  He’d have heard her voice and that would be just enough.

Damon, on the other hand, allows love – and his other emotions – to drive him.  But he won’t let his emotions compromise his values.  Yes, Damon loves Elena, but I think viewers who are “Delena shippers” will be disappointed because Damon also loves his brother and he won’t compromise his integrity – or the love that Elena and Stefan have for each other – to fulfill his own selfish desires.  Damon will be Elena’s protector – not her lover.  Especially since he knows the sacrifice his brother has made to save him.

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand that Stefan’s behavior – especially towards his brother, but also towards Elena – is motivated by love.  He wants to protect them both.  So he wants to keep them distant from him – because he is with Klaus, and Klaus is still a danger.

I just think it’s not necessary to get soft or sentimental in order to make that point.

With Damon, no matter how bloody or cruel his kills, I always felt his sarcasm was a mask and that he was redeemable because he felt something underneath it all.  Now that Stefan is the “bad” brother, I find him much less sympathetic – but much more frightening, because he’s less emotional and more rational than his brother.  I am really looking forward to seeing how I will feel as the story advances.

Last but not least….

Klaus – he’s decided to create his werepire/vampwolf army, starting with…..Simon – from Seventh Heaven?  Simon apparently spent too much time with Happy!   Nice to see him again, even if he’s a werewolf now, but I have a feeling it may not be for long.

We still don’t know what Klaus’ true motives are, or why they involve Stefan and his particular “talents” but I am looking forward to the next episode and seeing where the story goes in Season 3.

Episode 2.21 TVD – “The Sun Also Rises” or “Love, Revenge and Family” (05/10/2011)

I was touched on so many levels by this past week’s episode that it is difficult to know where to start.  As with all the episodes of this show, there were many excellent lines in the script, but four in particular stood out for me.

John Gilbert: “It’s no easy task being an ordinary parent to an extraordinary child.”

The opening line of John Gilbert’s letter to Elena struck me at a deeply personal level because I am the mother of an extraordinary child myself.  Not in the way that Elena Gilbert is extraordinary, but extraordinary nonetheless.

So when John Gilbert’s voice read what he’d put on the page, his words resonated with me in a powerfully personal way.  As parents, we always want to do our best for our children.  But we are human and we often come up short.  I am sure that any parent would make the sacrifice that John Gilbert did for their child, whether that child were extraordinary or not.

As much as I have disliked the character of John Gilbert in his appearances on the show, it was really nice to see that he had a noble side after all.  A life or death challenge often brings out the best one has to offer.  It certainly did in John Gilbert’s case.

Rest in peace, John.

Katherine Pierce: “I didn’t let love get in the way.” 

Contrasting with the ultimate expression of love – sacrificing your life to save another – was the completely selfish act of Katherine, who betrayed Jenna in order to save herself.   Katherine Pierce is one of the most totally selfish beings I’ve ever encountered.  And Damon is right – she will spend eternity alone.

Because even when you are surrounded by others, if you don’t have love in your heart, you are utterly alone.

Contrasting sharply with Katherine’s selfishness was Jenna’s unselfishness in her final hours. Admitting to Elena that when the call came for her to be guardian, she had wished it had gone out to someone else, she showed up despite her personal desires.

And despite her feelings of inadequacy, she tried to do the best she could in a role for which she was ill-prepared and perhaps ill-suited.  In her final act, she made a desperate attempt to save Elena by taking a bite out of Greta.  Unfortunately, Klaus had his way.

Rest in peace, Jenna.

Elijah:  “Sometimes there’s honor in revenge.”

No, Elijah, I think what you really wanted to say is “blood is thicker than water”.

After all his assurances to Stefan, Bonnie, and the rest of the gang, Elijah sacrificed his integrity at the altar of family ties.

Elijah is so totally devoted to his family that he allowed himself to be swayed by Klaus, who told him that he did not destroy the bodies of the Original family members, and he can take Elijah to them.  Ah, Klaus, a master at knowing everyone’s weakness and exploiting it fully.

Damon was right – they should not have trusted Elijah.  Everyone has a weakness – even a 1000 year old Original Vampire!

Andy why was Damon right?  Because Damon and Elijah are reflections of each other.  I mentioned in a previous post that I believe Damon (and Elijah) lead with their hearts – whereas Stefan leads with his head.

And people who lead with their heart – while almost always well-intended – often make a bad situation worse (Damon and Elena in “The Last Day” comes to mind.)  Whatever else you can say about Damon, he is not stupid.  In real life, we don’t always see our own failings, but have no trouble seeing them when manifested in someone else.  That’s what makes them stand out to us – they are familiar in some way – a way we are, perhaps, not ready to admit to ourselves.

Damon was right because he knew instinctively that leading with the heart can lead to that nasty thing we call “unintended consequences”.

We also learned that Elijah is Klaus’ older brother, something that Damon and the rest have known all along.   As Stefan’s older brother, who is in a better position than Damon to know just how far family ties extend and what Elijah might do in the clinches?

Yes, Damon was right, but who among us would have made a different choice than Elijah did?  Blood really is thicker than water.

Jeremy Gilbert:  “I still have you.”

At the end of this episode, we see the essence of family – not in the traditional sense, but family is not always about blood ties.  The mourners are a unique group.  The situation is informed by who is present as much as it is who is absent.

Elena and Jeremy have lost everyone – they are truly orphans now.  But to paraphrase Jeremy, they still have each other.

And so do the Salvatore brothers.  Despite everything, Stefan wasted no time in declaring that they will find a way to cure Damon’s werewolf bite.

Caroline is the child of an absentee father and a mother who hates what Caroline has become.  Bonnie was essentially raised by her grandmother, who is gone.  We never see her parents at all.  And Alaric, the lone adult in the group, has lost both of the women he loved.

And who is not there?  Tyler, of course, but whether or not this is due to his wounds or for another reason is not clear.  Until he tells Stefan, Damon is the only one who knows Tyler inflicted a bite on him.  Perhaps Tyler, knowing Damon, Stefan and Caroline were attending the funeral, just doesn’t feel comfortable among so many vamps.  No way to know at this point.

But the most telling absence in this group is Matt.  Matt, who is as alone as Katherine Pierce.  Matt, who just can’t handle “all this”.  Matt, with no Father, an absentee Mother, a dead sister, and a lot of responsibility – school, a job, and bills to pay.  His personal life is in such a mess, he can’t handle all the drama of the supernaturals in his intimate circle.

Poor Matt – this group of intimate friends is exactly what he does need, but he can’t see it.  He’s on overload.

These friends at the Mystic Falls cemetery are a family.   And I believe that as we approach the end of Season 2 of The Vampire Diaries, we close the chapter on the saga of “The Curse” and open a chapter on “Family” in all its many forms.  As Julie Plec herself said “The show, at its core, is about family. It’s about the love of family.”

I believe we will continue to see each of the remaining regular characters continue to develop in ways we can only imagine.

And we will not lose Damon to a werewolf bite.  As I said in my prior post, the Elixir may save him.  A witch and a spell may save him.  Or something completely unexpected may save him.

Ultimately, I’m betting love will save him.

Stefan is right – whatever it takes, they will find a way.  Stefan is not going to lose his older brother – not now.

I can hardly believe there is only one episode remaining in Season 2.  I am already wondering how to get through the summer without my weekly fix of this wonderful show.  Thankfully, I have Season 1 on DVD, and Season 2 on my DVR.

But the creativity of the story lines on this show reminds of those wonderful books that you can’t put down because you want to know what’s on the next page! I have stayed up for hours plowing through books like that many times.

In this case, there is no book, and the wait is beyond our control!  We are forced to wait until the fall to learn what happens next!!  The wait is already killing me!