Episode 2.20 TVD – “The Last Day” or “Never, For a Vampire, Is A Very Long Time (05/04/2011)

Impulse control.  This is a serious issue for Damon.

His impulses caused him to do something with some very serious consequences.  To save Elena’s life, he forced her to drink his blood.  Now, if she dies, she will turn into a vampire.

His motive was to prevent her from dying – to keep from losing her forever (even when she told him he wouldn’t).  But now, if Klaus is able to carry out the ritual of the sacrifice, Elena will become a vampire.

And as we now know, this is not something she wished for herself.

Elena wanted what every young woman wants – to live the natural progression of life.  To marry, have children, and grow old – she wanted to experience life in terms of the human timeline.

Now, she may well have to give all that up.  Although she loves Stefan, and can share eternity with him, this was not her plan.

But Damon – with his inability to control his impulses – took her choices away.

And according to Elijah, Elena will never forgive him.

Elijah: “And never, for a vampire, is a very long time.”

But is Elijah correct?  I don’t think so.

If Elena has demonstrated anything at all, it is that she has an open heart and she is emotionally strong.

  • She bore up well upon the death of both her parents.
  • She fell in love with a vampire because she wasn’t      afraid of him.
  • She watched her natural mother self-immolate and did      not collapse in fear.
  • She has overcome her antipathy towards her father in      order to try to have a relationship of some kind with him.
  • She stabbed herself, and then “killed”      Elijah.
  • And, she has forgiven Damon for “killing” her      brother.

Now since people who are killed on this show don’t always stay dead, perhaps it’s easier to forgive.  But I think being compassionate and forgiving is Elena’s nature.  She will give just about anyone she cares for more chances than they deserve.  I think she will forgive Damon, eventually.

And why?  Because, as Stefan himself tells her…

Stefan:  “He did it because he loves you.”

But what if Elijah is correct?  He’s has been a vampire for 1000 years, and there is a melancholy quality about him that makes me think that not only does he personally know that his statement is true, I believe he has a lot more in common with Damon than we know.

Elijah – in his youth – was in love.  Perhaps he fell in love before he and his family became vampires – perhaps after.  It doesn’t really matter.  The woman he loved was mortal and I think he turned her so he wouldn’t lose her.

And then she turned on him, because – like Elena – it was not her choice.  This woman is still “alive” and she’s made Elijah pay for his decision ever since.

So when he tells Damon that Elena will never forgive him, Elijah is speaking from personal experience.  He also tells Damon that although he talks a good game, he doesn’t really know anything.  And based on the 1000 years of Elijah’s existence compared to Damon’s 150 – give or take – this is certainly true.  Elijah has seen it all and probably done it all.

What I find fascinating is that for some reason, Elijah not only allows Damon to live (after all, Damon killed him once and helped kill him a second time), he is kind to him.  It’s for this reason that I believe Elijah sees himself in Damon (albeit a younger, less mature, more impulsive self) and will perhaps turn into a mentor of sorts.

Lord knows, Damon could use one.

There was a part of this episode that did not ring true to me – the whole “walk in the woods” thing.

The first thing was the idea of Stefan taking Elena on a hike.  If this were my last day on earth as a human, I think I might want to spend it with other humans – especially since it might be the last time I have an opportunity to relate to them as human.

But what do I know – it’s not like I have ever experienced my last human day with the prospect of death and rebirth as a vampire looming before me.

The second thing that was off was the appearance of the falls.  Elena seemed surprised.   She’s been living in Mystic Falls for 17 years and doesn’t know of the existence of the falls?  That didn’t work for me.

But it looked beautiful.

Finally, Elena’s speech about wanting to live her life – grow up, decide to have a family, have children, etc. – it felt disingenuous.  Although Elena wants to believe that she can find a way to foil Klaus’s plan, she has said continually, throughout the series, that if it is a choice between herself and the people she loves, she is prepared to die.  She even stabbed herself to make a point with Elijah.

So if she thinks she may die, and she’s willing to die, how’s she going to have all that growth and all those human experiences?

Do you see my problem here?

While I appreciate the fact that the hiking scenes were an opportunity for Elena and Stefan to talk about their future and Elena’s feelings about becoming a vampire, it didn’t work for me emotionally because it felt insincere.  Although I believe that 17 year old Elena has believed all along that she loves Stefan, now she’s not even sure she knows what love is?

What presumably was intended to be the emotional apex of Elena’s character arc just fell flat for me because emotionally it was false.

It’s been clear from the beginning that Stefan loves Elena and wants to spend forever with her.  And I thought that Elena loved him enough that she would eventually get to the point where she would make the decision to become a vampire.  Now it almost sounds like she’s been leading Stefan along.

Worse than that.  It sounds like break-up time to me.

Please feel free to throw darts, but please help me see where I am wrong about this.

Interestingly, the one part of the hike that I did appreciate had to do with emotions!  It was Stefan’s explanation to Elena of feelings as a vampire – happiness turns to joy, sadness to despair, anger to fury.  That was absolutely genuine and illuminated further the strains of Lexi’s words to Stefan when they first met.

It also helps to explain Damon’s impulsivity – a vampire with a supernatural form of ADHD!

As for Damon, despite the bite – whether it’s a wolf bite from Tyler or something else courtesy of Klaus – Damon is going to survive.    He will drink some of Elijah’s elixir – the one with the mystical resuscitation properties – or he will rub some on the bite, and he will be fine.

I believe the bite came from Tyler, and I strongly believe that Tyler is an alpha wolf.  That gives Tyler special supernatural properties, and it would make a bite from him different than a bite from a garden variety werewolf.  Maybe an alpha-wolf’s bite is cured with the blood of another wolf!

Or, there is no bite.  What we all see (including the characters) is the result of a suggestion implanted into everyone’s consciousness by Greta – or another witch hanging around someplace.  I think Klaus may have a posse of witches!

In any case, Damon will live.  If the bite is real, he may descend into madness, and that may be an experience that results in enormous emotional growth for him.  But he is not going to die.

The writers will come up with something.  They are so incredibly clever at finding ways to bring dead characters back to life, nothing would surprise me.

And I don’t believe Elena will turn into a vampire – at least not this Season.  If Elena is not dead within 24 hours of taking in Damon’s blood, it will wear off and she will be fine.

There are only two episodes left.  And there are so many dangling threads.

  • Will Damon survive his wolf bite or will facing his      death bring the redemption he so desperately desires?
  • Will Jenna actually turn into a vampire or will she die      in the ritual?
  • Or will John Gilbert sacrifice his own life to save      Jenna and Elena?
  • Will Elena be sacrificed and turn into a vampire or      will something or someone intervene?
  • If Elena turns into a vampire, and Damon lives, will      she forgive him?
  • What will Elijah, Katherine, Damon, Stefan, Tyler,      Matt, Caroline, and/or Jeremy try to do?
  • Will Bonnie’s strength be strong enough to kill Klaus      during his transformation – and will she survive?
  • And what about all those Original family members?

One last thought.   I absolutely love what Joseph Morgan does with Klaus.  Clearly he is a sociopath, but Morgan plays him with some humor.  And when he smiles that impish grin, I can’t help but be reminded of the character Puck in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, a mischievous imp.

A cold-blooded, demonic, murderous vampire with a smile like an imp?  Deliciously terrifying!

Episode 2.19 TVD – “Klaus” or “Love Is A Vampire’s Greatest Weakness” (04/26/2011)

There you have it folks – from a man who should know. Right? Just one problem. This “man” is both a vampire and a werewolf, so presumably what he says next is true too – at least for him.

Klaus: “And we are not weak, Elijah. We do not feel and we do not care.”

Ah, there’s the rub, because devoted viewers of this show know, vampires do feel and they do care.

Stefan’s friend, Lexi, told us the truth about vampires in “The Dinner Party”.

Lexi: “Love, Stefan. That’s the point.”

Stefan had been using the dying men in the triage as a source of blood to feed his cravings. In order to feed, he felt it was necessary to shut out his emotions. But Lexi made him face his emotions. She let him know that while it may be difficult at first…

Lexi: “Once you can hurt, you can love.”

It is not that vampires have no feelings – it’s that all their feelings – both pain and pleasure – are intensified. So as Lexi said, when they hurt, they really hurt, but…

Lexi: When we love…”

We can’t choose what we feel – that’s the tough part about emotions. In order to feel love, we must also feel pain.

I believe that what Klaus says is true for him. He doesn’t feel and he doesn’t care. Whether this is because he is a hybrid, or because he’s been repressing his emotions for a thousand years, or because he’s fooling himself is unclear.

It is also possible that his thousand year quest for the elements to end his curse, and his desire for power, have indeed – as Elijah suggests – driven him mad.

But for Elijah, feelings remain.

We see it when he regains consciousness in the Salvatore’s house and thinks he is looking into the face of Katerina Petrova.

Elijah had feelings for this woman back in 1491. It is plain in the look on his face when he first sets eyes on her at his brother’s birthday celebration. He even says so.

Elijah: “You remind me of someone”.

And his smile is full of warmth and remembrance.

We also see a glimmer of recognition on Klaus’ face when he first sees Katerina from across the room. But Klaus’s smile is not warm. It looks more like smug satisfaction.

Who is the woman that Katerina reminds them of – a former lover? Is this history repeating – two brothers, falling for the same woman, losing her and chasing her across the centuries? At this point, we don’t know.

What we do know is that Elijah, unlike his half-brother, has not lost his capacity to feel emotions. It is his emotions that have driven him to find a way to protect Katerina – the doppelganger – while still allowing Klaus to break the curse.

But Klaus won’t risk it. He accuses his brother of “falling in love” as if it were a death sentence.

Klaus: “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness. And we are not weak, Elijah.  We do not feel and we do not care.”

That may be the way Klaus views love, but it does not apply to Elijah. He carries a torch.  He remembers.

Elijah: “We did once.”

And I believe that the reason Elijah treats Elena with deference and trust is because Elena reminds him of the Katerina he first met.  Or the woman Katerina reminds him of.

Katerina: “True love is not real unless it is returned.”

Elijah replies that he doesn’t believe in love, but contradicts his statement with a subtle look – a memory he is reliving – or a feeling he is having in the moment. Katerina doesn’t appear to apprehend the look, but her next statement is a key to the woman she was then.

Katerina: “If we cease to believe in love, why would we want to live?”

Elijah may have fallen in love with that Katerina. But once she discovered Klaus’ true intentions, Katerina appeared to take on Klaus’ perspective. She abandoned her feelings in order to survive.

And Elijah will not make the mistake of trusting her again. Falling in love with her nearly got him killed at his brother’s hands when Klaus discovered Katerina is a vampire and can no longer be used as the doppelganger to help him break his curse.

For Elijah, Elena represents the nobler characteristics of the original Katerina. And he relates to her on that basis. Whatever he discovered in 1491 that would have protected Katerina will work on Elena now.

For some, it is almost irresistible to compare these two love stories, and many people would draw parallels between the two sets of brothers – Damon to Klaus, and Elijah to Stefan.

I disagree. I think those pairings are wrong.

Elijah is not like Stefan – he is like Damon – pining for a woman he cannot have, wanting his human feelings back because he misses them, yet guarding himself against their pain.

I can see the obvious similarities between Damon and Klaus – the “loose cannon” aspects. But Klaus is a cold-blooded killer and there is nothing human about him – whereas Damon longs to be the human he once was, so he is moved by nobler – albeit misguided – motives.

I’m not buying the match-ups of Elijah-Stefan vs. Damon-Klaus. There is far more similarity between Damon and Elijah. They are both noble men…

…Stefan is simply romantic.

One more observation about love. It was said by Andie to Damon.

Andie:Love does that Damon – it changes us.”

Klaus has no love in his life. He ceased to be human centuries ago and has remained unchanged for 1000 years – unchanged in his single-minded search for the elements needed to break his curse, unchanged in his lust for power, unchanged in his hatred for his brother and anyone else who gets in his way.

But Damon’s love for Elena has changed him. When he first came back to Mystic Falls, he was much more Klaus-like. He was single-minded in his pursuit of mayhem with the sole of purpose of making his brother’s life miserable.

His love for Elena has moved him to allow emotions back into his life and take on a horrible struggle with them in order to protect her.

I believe Elijah’s feelings are genuine. I believe he will protect Elena. And I believe it because, like Damon, Elijah is a noble man. I trust him.

For all of us, love is not a weakness. It is a strength. We are all capable of great things done in love. Sometimes, love hurts. But ultimately, the pain is worth it.

“As food is needed for the body, the same way love is needed for the soul. Food strengthens the body while love strengths the soul. A person is incomplete without love.” Unknown

Episode 2.18 TVD – “The Last Dance” or “Here’s to Duplicity” (04/20/2011)

I have another confession to make.

It took me a week of following other TVD fans on Twitter for me to figure out what “ship”“shipper” and “ship wars” meant.

And as far as that goes, I don’t see the point of arguing.

Clearly, the dramatic tension of “The Vampire Diaries” lies in the conflict between Damon and Stefan being in love with the same woman – and in Elena being in love with Stefan, but having feelings for Damon.

Take away that tension – i.e. have Elena confessing her love for Damon and throwing Stefan overboard – and the whole point of the show is gone.

The best part of this show for me – besides the complicated plot lines, the history, and the characters – is Damon’s struggle with his emotions.

I’m a Damon lover, but I love him precisely because of his struggle.  Lately, he’s been trying to manage his emotions, but they continue to plague him.

Lexi was right – they will be his undoing – unless he can learn to control them.

But while Damon goes through his emotional hell, he continues to serve and protect the woman he clearly loves – Elena.

Now I don’t know about you, but I did not have friends like these kids when I was in high school.  Nor can I honestly say that I felt strongly enough about anyone to say I’d die for them.  Lucky for me, I was never in a situation where I had to make that choice.

But this is Mystic Falls, and things are different here.  Elena and Bonnie have a BFF bond that’s tighter than anything I’ve ever seen, and it was played to excellent effect in this episode.

Once Elena finds out the risk that Bonnie is about to take, she implores her not to do it – but Bonnie explains that if she doesn’t use her power and something happens to Elena, that would be worse for her than dying.

And then Bonnie lays it on the line to Elena.

“Would you do it for me?”

And we all know what the answer it.  Case closed.

Again, I did not have friends like these!

After the initial confrontation with Klaus, Damon and Bonnie make their plan.  With Damon stating clearly that he’s willing to do whatever it takes – “Klaus does not get to win tonight – are you still willing to do whatever it takes?”  – Bonnie agrees.

Bonnie puts on one heck of a power display against Klaus. She protects her friends by shutting the door and keeping it shut, but it appears she kills herself in the process – and does not defeat Klaus.

Elena and Stefan finally get into the room only to find Bonnie dead.  Elena comes unglued and Stefan is helpless to do a thing to comfort her.  Damon comes to the rescue, offering to get the body out of the way before she is discovered and all hell breaks loose.

The moment when Damon shuts Bonnie’s eyes is as warm as their moments together on the dance floor, and it was very nice to see.  No one loves Elena more than these two.

Not even Stefan.

So it makes perfect sense to me that they are united in their plan to protect Elena.  No matter what lengths they have to go to.

But Bonnie is not dead.  Quickly and cleverly, Damon and Bonnie devised a scheme that has Klaus thinking he’s won this round, and Bonnie continues to be the “secret weapon” for the moment.

Alas, when Damon arrives back at the Salvatore mansion, Elena is furious to find out he knew of Bonnie’s plans to sacrifice herself and didn’t tell her.  And before he has a chance to tell Elena the truth, she smacks him across the face.

Then he tells her that Bonnie is alive.  That they had to deceive everyone in order for their reactions to be real – and get the upper hand against Klaus.  If they all believed it, so would he.

Brilliant!

Damon leaves the room, with Stefan following close behind to find out why he wasn’t let in on the plan.

And Damon tells him.

Stefan would not have agreed to it – would have told Elena, and would have been too concerned about what might happen to everyone else.  Damon, therefore, is always left to make the difficult decisions.  She may hate him, but he will be the one to keep her alive.

The look on Damon’s face when he confronts Stefan is heart-breaking – it’s “I love her more than you do – I am willing to do ANYTHING to protect her – you can’t make the tough decisions – why can’t she see that and love me?”   He’s controlling it all, but it is there, on the surface, ready to erupt.

Like I said – heartbreaking.

When Elena comes to Damon’s room to apologize, he drinks a toast to duplicity.  And although he is referring to the deception that they’ve pulled off, for me it is significant that it’s Elena he is saying it to – because he’s been duplicitous with her.

Loving her but not letting her know it.  Telling her but not letting her remember it.

But he does let her know where he stands.

“I will always choose you.”

To Damon, no one is more important than Elena.  He would let everyone else die if it meant she’d be saved.

“I hope you find another way.”

Elena has always been willing to sacrifice herself so no one has to die.

So just like that, she finds another way!

She goes straight to the Salvatore basement, straight to Elijah’s body, and she pulls the dagger out!

And already I am wondering how the team of “Bad-Ass Bonnie” and “Duplicitous Damon” are going to protect her from whatever comes next!

Episode 2.17 TVD “Know Thy Enemy” or “The Bravery of Bonnie Bennett” (04/13/2011)

First, a confession.  I’ve never been a fan of Bonnie Bennett.

I know, I know.  She’s Elena’s BFF.  But until recently, I did not find her …forgive me…compelling.

It is a testament to the superior quality of the writing and acting on “The Vampire Diaries” that Bonnie has grown on me through her development as a character.  In Season 2, like Caroline, she has gone from being Elena’s best gal pal (albeit a pal with powers) to being really interesting.

In Season 1, Bonnie began as perplexed and then excited by her special abilities, then transitioned to guarded about when and how to use them,  and arrived as the reluctant “keeper of the flame” upon the death of her beloved mentor and grandmother, Sheila Bennett, aka “Grams”.

It was the death of her grandmother that really made Bonnie evaluate when and how to use her powers, and on whom.  But it was this event that also drove a wedge into her relationship with Elena.

Bonnie blamed vampires for her grandmother’s death, so she hated them.  The fact that Elena is in love with a vampire created a rift between these two best friends.  However, as time passed, Bonnie appeared to mend the bond with her friend, and she saved Damon and Stefan from death at the end of the first season, solely out of loyalty to Elena.

In Season 2, Bonnie became a more integral part of the story, as the theme of the Sun and the Moon Curse developed.  Since the elements to break the curse involve a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, the moonstone and a doppelganger, Bonnie’s powers took on a whole new meaning.

But what we have seen the most in Season 2 is Bonnie’s most admirable characteristic – her loyalty to her friends…all of them.

Bonnie is the one who convinces Damon to give his blood to an injured Caroline in order to save her life.

After the initial shock of facing Caroline as a newly turned vampire, Bonnie casts a spell on a ring so that Caroline can walk in the sun like the Salvatore brothers.

When Stefan is caught in the well full of vervain, Bonnie helps Elena and Caroline rescue him.

When Elena is kidnapped, Bonnie “finds” her by pushing the boundaries of her developing powers, rendering herself unconscious in the process.

When she needs to know what the Martins are up to, she casts a spell on Luka, and brings Jonas’ wrath upon herself – resulting in the loss of her powers.

But that was just a temporary setback.  Those powers, and additional information, are returned to her by Jonas upon his own death.

There is nothing that Bonnie won’t do for her friends.  She has demonstrated time and again that she is even willing to help Stefan and Damon if it is in service to Elena.

In “Know Thy Enemy”, Bonnie comes into the absolute fullness of her power.  At the witch’s burial ground, she is able to absorb all the power of the witches who have died there.

But, this power comes with a terrible price.

Apparently, in order to use it all – which is what Bonnie will have to do in order to kill Klaus – she will have to sacrifice her life in the process.

So Bonnie is faced with a choice – her life, or the lives of her friends.

And she has chosen her friends.

Although Jeremy is horrified, Bonnie explains herself.  She believes that this is what she was born to do – that this is her part in the history that is being played out in Mystic Falls.  Her power is not about floating feathers or blowing out candles – it is about overcoming evil and preserving the lives of her friends, especially her BFF, Elena.

Although this post is a commentary on “Know Thy Enemy”, I also offer this speculation.  I believe that Bonnie Bennett will meet her death in the final episode of Season 2.  It may be in the form of a cliff-hanger that has us wondering all summer “Did or didn’t Bonnie Bennett survive?” but I don’t think she will.  She will be one of the 3 characters who die by season end.

And I believe her place will be filled by (get ready fans of the books) Meredith.  I don’t know how the writers plan to introduce her, but that is my prediction – that Meredith will show up in Mystic Falls shortly.

So prepare to say good-bye to the incredibly brave Bonnie Bennett.  May she find peace in the next world and be reunited with her beloved Grams.

Episode 2.15 TVD – “The Dinner Party” or “History Lessons!” (02/21/2011)

Does your brain hurt when you watch “The Vampire Diaries”?  This show is so rich and complex, I’ve actually had to draw a diagram with a timeline in order to keep track of what the heck is going on!

But I LOVE IT!!!  Rarely have story and character gripped me as tightly as it has on this show.

This past week’s episode was another history lesson. Or two, or three.  But first, a few observations.

As much as I missed the presence of Tyler and Caroline from “The Dinner Party”, I understand that it was necessary to focus on certain other aspects of what goes on in Mystic Falls.

Bonnie losing her powers at the hands of Jonas?  This is radical, but I also feel that it is temporary.  It was a Father’s emotional reaction to an act that may have jeopardized his daughter’s safety – perfectly understandable, and I suspect easily undone.

Witches, after all, stick together like no other supernaturals.  And Jonas has the largest collection of grimoires in the world.  I doubt there are many spells he doesn’t know.

Bonnie will be fine.

Alaric – finally a hero in this episode – albeit only temporarily!  But how appropriate.   He is, after all, the town’s history teacher, and history is central to the town of Mystic Falls.

Did everyone notice that there were actually two dinner parties in the episode?”  One took place in the 1860’s and the other occurred in present time at the Salvatore home.  Brilliant!!!

And that brings me to the “history lessons” of this episode.  I love that some of what we learned came from “The Vampire Diaries” – literally.  Most of the information came from Elena reading the journals of her ancestor, Jonathan Gilbert.

What did we learn from the flashbacks?

Well, we see that back in the day, Damon and Stefan’s current day roles were reversed – Damon was the good guy.   I always suspected this, but my fondness for Damon is no secret to anyone who frequents “Bite On This” and has read my other posts.

Elena learned that Stefan nearly killed her Gilbert ancestor, Jonathan and did kill Honoria and Thomas Fell, and a host of luscious young ladies.  With relish.  Stefan was a monster.

Until he met Lexi, Stefan’s oldest vampire friend.   She was instrumental in helping Stefan stay in touch with his human side.  Lexi provided one of the best lines in the episode, “Once you can hurt, you can love.”

Lexi also wisely predicted Damon’s fate – that his anger would eventually consume him.  I really enjoyed seeing her again.

The journal also revealed the vital information about the dagger that caused Elijah to finally be killed (third times’ the charm?)  But I have a feeling we will see him again.  They need that dagger in order to kill Klaus – so somewhere down the road there will have to be a choice between Originals – Elijah or Klaus!

We also learn the most interesting fact in the history of the founding of Mystic Falls, from none other than Elijah, our favorite BAMF!

The town was not, in fact, founded by the founding families at all.

Two full centuries earlier, a group of witches left Salem, Massachusetts to escape the witch trials (circa 1692), founded Mystic Falls and created a community where they felt safe.  Ultimately, they were all rounded up, tied to stakes, and burned alive in a field, and their remains are buried there.  So much for safety.

Elijah wants to know where this field is.  And Damon seems to know. Recall that Damon has a special relationship to the Bennett witches.

In the 1860’s, when Katherine showed up in Mystic Falls, she arrived with Emily, her “maid” from…Salem, MA!  Emily is a Bennett witch and Bonnie is her direct descendant.   When Damon fell in love with Katherine, and her life was threatened, he entered into a bargain with Emily, to protect her descendents if she protected Katherine.  As Katherine is still alive in 2011, Damon is still obligated to protect Bonnie as a descendant of Emily.

Remember, Damon and Stefan both wear rings that were spelled by Emily – these rings have provided them with the ability to walk in the sun.

I have a feeling Damon knows a lot more about the history of the Bennetts and Mystic Falls than has been divulged so far.  I am sure the importance of the “witch burial ground” will be explained in an upcoming episode.  I’m guessing it may be the place where the curse of the sun and the moon can or must be broken.

The witches truly are a powerful element in this interesting mix of supernaturals.  They are the ones who forged the dagger and spelled it to bond it with the ash of the oak to kill an Original.   But when did Jonathan Gilbert write this entry in his journal, and why was he concerned about killing the Originals?

My guess is that is has something to do with Katherine!

In this town, we have arrived at a place where supernatural creatures in the forms of vampire, werewolf, witch and warlock come together and form an unusual alliance.  And I believe that the reason they are able to do this is bound up in the town of Mystic Falls itself.

There is something about the town and its history that is binding on all its inhabitants, especially anyone who is a member of one of the Founding Families – and that would be virtually ALL the main characters.  The Salvatore brothers – Damon and Stefan; the Gilberts – Elena, Jeremy and even Uncle John (but not Jenna); the Forbes (Caroline); the Lockwoods (Tyler – yes, Tyler will definitely be back!).

But it also includes Bonnie, through her grandmother’s connection to the original founders, the witches from Salem.

In some powerful way, Katherine has a connection to the town as well.  And as we already know, her knowledge of the history of Mystic Falls is going to be critical to keeping Damon, Stefan and Elena alive as the story moves along.

History – it’s always been my favorite subject!

Episode 2.14 TVD – “Crying Wolf” or “Tyler Lockwood and Damon Salvatore – Two of a Kind?” (03/18/2011)

If I had to sum up Season 2 of TVD in one word, it would be “growth”.  All of the characters on the show have grown in ways we could scarcely have imagined in Season 1.

I have written previously about Damon’s character (“Damon’s Dilemma”, “The Nobility of Damon Salvatore”, “The Quality of Mercy”) and how my opinion of Caroline has been completely transformed in Season 2 (“The Compassion of Caroline Forbes”).

Caroline and Tyler, particularly, have matured in countless ways – and the growth has come through their transformations from human to supernatural beings, and the challenges they are facing as a result.

We have watched Tyler’s transformation – both literal and figurative – and his reaction to his fate.

But what struck me in “Crying Wolf” is that a lot of his behavior is remarkably similar to Damon’s more noble moments.

In the final scenes of the episode, we see Tyler leave home with Jules.  Before he goes, he does three things that showcase his new-found maturity.

First, he buys flowers for his mother and leaves them in a prominent place with a note, the contents of which we can only guess at.  No doubt he reveals only that he is leaving for a while to sort things out; and he probably tells his Mom he loves her and not to worry.

But I am sure he leaves no hint of whether or when he may return.

The next stop is to the Mystic Grill to speak with Matt.

For a while now, there has been a triangle building among Caroline, Tyler and Matt.  But Tyler is seeing things a bit clearer after his experience with the wolf pack.

He tells Matt as little as possible about what’s going on with him, and how much help Caroline has been.  But he reveals that he’s fallen for her.

Then Tyler tells Matt that Caroline deserves better than him – she deserves Matt.  (This is reminiscent of Damon telling Elena that she deserves someone better than him – she deserves his brother Stefan.)

Tyler then tells Matt in unmistakable terms that Caroline loves him, and he needs to take care of her.  What a guy!

Finally, Tyler makes a stop at Caroline’s home – but when she comes to answer the door, Tyler is not there.

This is a subtle reminder of Damon erasing Elena’s memory after he confesses his love.  I believe that, like Damon, Tyler doesn’t want Caroline to be conflicted – he wants her to be clear that her choice of Matt is the right one.

Tyler has transformed from an angry young man into quite a noble one.  I know that we have not seen the last of him and I can’t wait to see what his next move is.

I have a feeling it is going to be heroic.

Episode 2.13 TVD – “Daddy Issues” or “What Do Damon Salvatore and Melvin Udall Have in Common?” (02/04/2011)

“Love changes us”.

This is my favorite line in a series that brims with great lines.  But this one, in particular, struck a chord – because of its universal truth.   (OK, OK, this is not the exact line in the script, but it’s the thought behind it!  Please, bear with me.)

At the end of last night’s episode, Damon is, once again, pondering his existential dilemma – and when he says he can’t be who he is because Elena wants him to be a better man, I could not help but be reminded of a very similar situation in a fantastic movie released in 1997.

Perhaps you’ve seen “As Good As It Gets”.  It stars Jack Nicholson as Melvin Udall, a misanthrope suffering from OCD, and Helen Hunt as Carol Connelly, the waitress who appears to be the one person in the world who can actually tolerate Melvin and his weird behavior.

If you have never seen this film, please rent it and watch it – immediately.   It is an Academy Award winning film and a brilliant story about the redemptive power of love.

During the film, Melvin and Carol begin to develop a relationship.  In a pivotal scene at a restaurant, Melvin – having insulted Carol’s choice of dress – is directed by Carol to pay her a compliment “right now” or she makes it plain that she is leaving.

Melvin attempts to tell Carol his feelings by describing how much he hates to take his medication, but recently, he’s started taking it again.  Then he tells her why.

Melvin to Carol – “You make me want to be a better man.”

Carol to Melvin.  “That’s may be the best compliment of my life.”

Now, perhaps it’s unfair to compare a vampire to an OCD sufferer – or is it?  Both of these men actually have the same problem – a “nature” they don’t like or accept but seem powerless to overcome.

In “As Good As It Gets”, Melvin is nasty and insulting to virtually everyone, including Carol.  When he is not insulting people, he’s fighting his internal demons – going through the long and painful ritual of washing and rewashing his hands, locking and re-locking his door, avoiding cracks on the sidewalk – all those things that someone with OCD is compelled to do.

In “The Vampire Diaries”, Damon is nasty and sarcastic to virtually everyone, including his own brother and the woman he professes to love.  When he is not insulting people or hurling sarcasm at them, he is biting them and/or killing them, ripping their hearts out, or compelling them to do his bidding – all those things that a vampire is compelled to do by their nature.

In “As Good As It Gets”, Melvin was able to overcome his nature – and his illness – by caring more about another person than he did about himself.  In other words, he got “out” of himself and in doing so, he got away from his demons – those things that drive someone with OCD to perform the rituals that consume their lives.

By the end of the picture, Melvin is walking on a brick sidewalk and has forgotten to be concerned about stepping on the cracks because he’s focused on Carol – not himself and his “rules”.

Damon’s behavior is a lot like Melvin’s.  When he is focused on the feelings of someone else, and actually being the “better man” that Elena asks him to be, he is at his best.  If you look back at every episode, the best Damon is not throwing his snark around – he’s brave, strong, and focused.

He loves Elena and he sacrifices for her, confessing his love and wiping her memory of it.

He cares for Rose and when he ends her pain by ending her life, he cries.

He is strong, and noble.  He is his best self.  It is evident that he is quite capable of being “a better man”.

But Damon doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love – especially Elena’s love.  He doesn’t let people get close, because he doesn’t believe anyone could really care for him.  Damon sees himself first as a monster that kills – and how could anyone ever love a creature like that?

“I don’t trust myself around anyone.  I’m bad, Andie.  I do things – I kill people.  I like it. It’s in my nature – it’s who I am.  But then I have to stay together to protect her – she wants me to be a better man, which means I can’t be who I am.”

But Andie, although compelled by Damon, sees clearly what Damon does not.

“Well, maybe this is who you are now.  Love does that Damon – it changes us.”

If love can conquer OCD, and prove strong enough for mortal enemies – vampires and werewolves – to bond in order to fight against a common foe, I have no doubt it is strong enough to change Damon Salvatore’s basic vampire nature.

He already is the man Elena wants him to be – he just doesn’t know it yet!

Episode 2.13 TVD – “Daddy Issues” or “Who’s Your Daddy?” (01/13/2011)

I must confess that when I saw the name of this episode, I jumped all over it.  I mean, is there anyone in Mystic Falls who doesn’t have Daddy issues?  With apologies to Caroline (who may not actually have Daddy issues – but she sure has Mommy issues!), the most interesting father-child lineups are:

  1. Elena and her real father, John Gilbert
  2. Tyler and his father, Mayor Lockwood
  3. Damon and Stefan Salvatore,  and their father,      Giuseppe Salvatore
  4. Katherine Pierce – her anger with her father at taking      away her child OR and her possible Gilbert father issues (based on my      previous speculation)
  5. Katerina Petrova’s baby – who is her father?

Spoiler sources tell us that John Gilbert may make a return to Mystic Falls, so it’s possible that this episode concerns his return and his relationship to Elena.  The man she thought was her father isn’t, and she hates the man who is!  We may see paternal concern from John Gilbert – concern about her safety – concern about the danger from “the Originals”.

John Gilbert comes from a long line of vampire hunters and his hatred towards them is as intense as that of Giuseppe Salvatore.  This may now be a form of self-hatred.  He is the one who sent Isobel to Damon for research (he must have known, therefore, that Damon was a vampire) and we know what happened from that meeting.  He may also know a lot more about the town history and the history of the Founding Families than has been revealed so far.  Could his return shed new light on all this history?

Or, the issues could concern Tyler and his father, Mayor Lockwood.

Tyler has now been through his first, painful transformation.  Mason told Tyler that his brother the Mayor didn’t know about the curse.  But is that true?  Mayor Lockwood’s temper can now be explained away, but none of the physical hurt that Tyler ever suffered at his father’s hands is as painful as keeping a secret this important.  If he knew, one can’t even rationalize that Mayor Lockwood was trying to protect his son – he also knew there isn’t much control over triggering the curse.  If he knew, and he said nothing, that might just be worse than any beating he ever gave Tyler.

Another possibility?    More revelations about the relationship between the Salvatore Brothers and their father, Giuseppe Salvatore.

Lord knows, there were major issues between Damon and his father.   They are evident in “Children of the Damned”.  Giuseppe disapproved of Damon.   In the same episode, we see cracks in the relationship between Stefan and his father.  Stefan wants his father to consider fairer treatment for the vampires – Giuseppe won’t hear it.  And during Stefan’s final time with him, his father’s disgust at what he has become is apparent.

Giuseppe Salvatore was an intolerant man – how far did this intolerance go?  In “Blood Brothers”, we see how far – all the way to killing his own children.

Are we going to learn more about the Daddy issues between Giuseppe Salvatore and his sons?

We have seen that when Katerina Petrova’s baby was born, it was her father who insisted that the child be taken from her immediately.  After all, she had shamed the family with her behavior.  Katerina may well have hated her father for this action.  She did not lovingly touch his face in the drawing she was looking at during the closing scenes of “Katerina”.  Will this episode reveal anything about their relationship?

Or does Katerina have other Daddy issues?

I previously speculated that perhaps Elena is a doppelganger because she is the result of a mating between someone descended from the line of Petrova (Isobel – descended through Katerina’s baby daughter) and the line of Gilbert (John).  This means Katerina Petrova may also have been the result of such a match – Petrova on her mother’s side and Gilbert on her father’s.  Perhaps something like this will be revealed in this episode.

I said that when Katerina fled to England, it was to her Gilbert father’s home, so she may have known at the time that he was her father.

But suppose she didn’t know.  Suppose that when she was kicked out of Bulgaria because she shamed her family by having a child out of wedlock, that she did not know she was going to her father’s house – she was simply sent there.  And now here it is nearly 500 years later, and the truth is revealed.

Imagine what it is like to grow up with a set of perceptions about your family and suddenly find out they are not true at all.  Talk about rocking your world – a paradigm shift of those proportions is intense, and unsettling.  I’m guessing that something like this may be about to happen to Katherine.

Finally, Daddy issues could also be about “the Big Reveal” – who is the father of Katerina Petrova’s baby daughter?

I’m betting there are more than a few fans who are wondering if there is any possibility that the father of this little girl, the survivor who made Elena possible, is none other than Elijah.  I think that’s an interesting angle, but since we know (don’t we?) that Elijah is one of the originals, he was probably already a vampire when this child was conceived so it’s not likely Elijah is the baby daddy.

But it is a delicious thought, isn’t it?

We don’t know who is going to have the Daddy Issues among the residents of Mystic Falls.   All we do know is that it could be virtually anyone!

Episode 2.12 TVD – “The Descent” or “Damon’s Dilemma” (12/31/2011)

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”  Abraham Lincoln

If there was ever any doubt that Damon Salvatore is a noble man,  this week’s episode puts that doubt to rest.  Damon Salvatore is a heart breaker – not because he is a “lady killer” but because when he allows himself to feel, he can break your heart wide open.

If you failed to be moved to tears during this episode, you have my deepest sympathy.

This week, Damon performed a mercy killing.  We suffered with him as he manipulated Rose’s final dream, and at a moment of peace and anticipation, drove a stake into her heart, ending the pain and torture of her descent.

But the tear that rolled down Damon’s cheek as he thrust the stake into Rose’s chest signaled the beginning of Damon’s own descent.

For while he is a noble man, Damon Salvatore is also a tortured soul.  Observing him in his guilt and anguish, there can be no doubt that vampires can feel and thus, they can suffer – for an eternity.

Rose did.

Rose admitted that she never forgot what it was like to be human – that it has haunted her for over 500 years.  And she told us that Damon is like her.

And he is.

“Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.” Anonymous

Rose cared enough about Damon to be honest with him, and make him be honest about himself.  Rose never let Damon get away with being dishonest about his feelings.  This is the source of his incredible guilt – he cared about Rose and she died because of him.

Elena also cares about Damon, but because Damon loves Elena and knows she does not return his love, he cannot bear to be honest with her.   He cannot even bear her embrace as she hugs him.

I think it is valuable to look back at who Damon was in life.  Damon Salvatore – the man – was a kind, compassionate, sensitive human being.  Damon of the 1860’s refused to continue to participate in what he felt was an unjust war.  Damon did not believe in slavery.  He did not believe that one human being had the right to own another – he believed in humanity.

He valued humanity – his own and everyone else’s – and then it was taken from him.

And now we know – he misses it.  He has missed it for well over 100 years – this is the source of his torture.  He has feelings, but he doesn’t think he is entitled to them.

And, they hurt.  Every single time Damon begins to feel something, anything, he makes a joke or gets angry – he does something to deflect the feeling.  Rose told us that Damon wants to care, but when he does, he runs away.  He doesn’t want to feel pain, but more than that, he doesn’t want to be reminded of what being human is like – because it’s something he no longer is and can’t ever be again.

With Rose’s death, with the pain of feeling her loss – because he did care for her – and the guilt of knowing that Jules intended him – not Rose –  to be her victim, Damon finally cracks.

But instead of letting the people who care for him in on his terrible secret, he tells a total stranger on a deserted road.

He declares that he is lost – “metaphorically, existentially”.   He believes he can’t help being a monster, but he desperately wants to be human because he misses it “more than anything in the world”.

He confronts his existential dilemma.  He conducts a short debate with himself and his captive audience.  And, believing he is a monster, and that he is beyond redemption, he gives in to his monstrous vampire impulses – the blood-lust.

He kills.

There is no one there to remind him that he is worthy – that he is capable of great love (for Elena – sacrificial love), great compassion (killing Rose was an act of mercy) and great loyalty (despite everything, there is no doubt of Damon’s love for his brother, Stefan.)

And in his loneliness and despair, he descends.

“One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul, and yet no one ever comes to sit by it.”  Vincent Van Gogh

 

Episode 2.12 TVD – “The Descent” Speculation (posted 12/29/2010: scheduled to air 1/27/2011)

The legend says that a werewolf bite can kill a vampire.  The details of how the death occurs were not specified, so the presumption has apparently always been that the bite is immediately fatal.

Death by bite – the end.  Sort of like the stake to the heart (unless you are Elijah!).

But now we know that once bitten by a werewolf, a vampire does not die immediately.  It’s pure speculation, but I am guessing this episode will be about Rose’s descent into a state of madness due to the werewolf bite she received from Jules.

It will also be about the reaction to this situation by witnesses to the event – specifically the vampire witnesses.

When Jules broke into the Salvatore Boarding House and bit Rose, it first appeared that the bite was not fatal, and she healed immediately.  Shortly thereafter, however, Rose’s flesh appeared to be infected.

From previews of this episode (scheduled to air at the end of January) Rose’s flesh appears to be erupting and falling away, she is in excruciating pain, and she is overcome with a lust for blood.  Jules also asks Damon if she is having chills or showing signs of dementia.

Actually, she is not asking Damon- she is taunting him.

All the other vampires in Mystic Falls – Katherine, Damon, Stefan, and Caroline – may get to see exactly what happens when a vampire is bitten by a werewolf.  And they will all respond in their own way.

Caroline is a young vampire.  She hasn’t even been “undead” for a year.  For her, Rose’s madness may seem very similar to her experience with Tyler – more specifically, the experience  of first watching Mason’s werewolf transformation experience on video, and then Tyler going through this very same experience himself while she stood near, unable to help him.

For Stefan, who has been “undead” for over 150 years, and has had a long time to get used to living eternally, observing Rose’s slow demise and fall into madness may be painful in a different way.  He may be imaging what Rose has become attached to in her time, and how the loss of those attachments might feel.

Stefan may also be feeling guilty – suppose Jules had hit her intended target, his brother Damon?  Stefan was the one responsible for turning Damon, and now he must witness what it may be like if his brother, who has been marked by Jules, is ultimately bitten.  Perhaps he is imagining his brother’s own descent into madness.

For all we know, Katherine, who has been around nearly as long as Rose herself, may have witnessed the death of a vampire by a werewolf somewhere in her distant past.  Surely she has been around werewolves at some time in the past 500 years.  And we have seen that Katherine doesn’t seem to mind when anyone dies, as long as it isn’t her.  In fact, the only thing she’s seen that upset her in any way was Elijah!  And Katherine doesn’t reveal any information that doesn’t benefit her in some way.  So I am betting that for Katherine, Rose’s predicament is not a big deal.

And for the lady herself – Rose?  When she was bitten, we heard her say she didn’t want to die.  She has been “alive” for over 500 years.  And for most of that time, she’s been on the run.  She has just begun to enjoy her new freedom – and now this!  To be stuck in a slow, agonizingly painful death – most of us would not wish that on our worst enemy.  Rose did nothing to deserve this fate – presumably it was Damon that Jules had come after.  Rose simply got in the way.

Ah, Damon.  Although we know he is in love with Elena, we also know he is “in like” with Rose.  They were enjoying each other intimately and there was no reason to believe their relationship would not have continued – until Jules broke in between them.  And now Damon has to watch Rose suffer in his place because he knows that bite was meant for him.

And he has to watch the descent into madness Rose is suffering – and which he, or his brother, or Caroline – may yet suffer if they can’t do something about their werewolf problem.

What effect will this knowledge have on the relationship between any of these individuals and Tyler?  After watching Rose suffer and fall, how will they ever be able to trust Tyler during a full moon?

So the legend is true – the bite of a werewolf is fatal to a vampire – but not in the way anyone expected.