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.

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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!

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!