Do I do what I want to do? Or do I do what I should do?

May 13, 2012 10:33

Ok, so I'm still processing the finale, and I have thoughts. Actually, I have too many thoughts, so I decided to break them into three separate posts. This is the first one, the other two (maybe I'll be able to combine them in one?) will appear some time this week.

Warnings: I overanalyse teen vampire shows. In order to make it more bearable, I ( Read more... )

meta, fandom: the vampire diaries, fictional vampires ruin my life, yes i'm always like that

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Comments 24

ever_neutral May 13 2012, 08:47:36 UTC
in 2009, Elena Gilbert acted on want, went for a party, and got her parents killed; in 1864, Giuseppe Salvatore acted on principle and shot his sons for treason. That's how a theme was established. The “good brother” shapes himself into who he thinks he should be. The bad brother does whatever the hell he wants.

Excellent, excellent point. Elena is Damon and always has been (she met him first) but she made herself into Stefan and now it'll always be Stefan. Because she made the "wrong" choice first.

TVD asks a fundamental, real question: when you have a dilemma, and you don't know what to do, do you trust your principles, or do you trust your instinct?


The episode ends with Stefan doing the right thing - respecting Elena's decision, because this is what you should do when you love someone.
And you know what? It gets Elena killed.

SO FUCKING GOOD. Bless the show for crushing this dichotomy so brutally.

You act on “should” or you act on “want”, and people still die because of your choices. Selflessness is ( ... )


upupa_epops May 13 2012, 09:24:04 UTC
Elena is Damon and always has been (she met him first) but she made herself into Stefan and now it'll always be Stefan. Because she made the "wrong" choice first.

THIS. People die when Elena does what she wants. So no more "want". It's all "should". And now she did the right thing, and died anyway. S4 Elena will be VERY interesting.

Bless the show for crushing this dichotomy so brutally.

The way this episode problematizes agency is stunning (apart from the parts when it's terribly heavy-handed).


By now I have a separate Persian rug for you to lie down and cry tears of blood and black mascara.


vergoldung May 13 2012, 13:15:00 UTC
I want all your thoughts, always. I think the whole problematic you develop is extremely interesting. And I absolutely agree about the show refusing to draw out clear patterns of right and wrong. What fascinates me is how the show itself keeps reminding us, how everything is only a question of point of view (or is it?). Jeremy's compulsion is a great example of that, because of the various opinion the show provides through the different characters (except for Jeremy, alas). Things aren't judged for themselves (and when they are, it's usually Bonnie who carries the unpopular judgment), but within context. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Perspective can change everything. I'd say the Andy-affair is one of those cases where perspective is everything. But is it? Because in the end, rape and suppression of free will could never be a good thing, right? Is there a different degree of wrongness between Andie's and Jeremy's compulsion? Does the show's judgment, the characters' judgment and the viewer's opinion depend on the act, on ( ... )


upupa_epops May 13 2012, 21:41:55 UTC
Is there a different degree of wrongness between Andie's and Jeremy's compulsion?

There is, because Jeremy was only compelled, while Andie was compelled AND raped AND fed off. Three crimes instead of one.

Hmm, I'm not sure if Andie is a good example. What Damon did to her was flat out wrong, just like Stefan playing bloody twister was flat out wrong. Neither of them faced any dilemma here. They were both aiming to hurt, they consciously did what they did with malicious intentions. We can't talk about a moral problem or about subjective views on right or wrong when the characters harm someone just because they can.

But, what I don't understand, is why I'm the only one to be so fucking traumatized by Elena's "should"? How can anybody even JUDGE her (thus by determining wether she is right or wrong), when she is clearly UNABLE to make any choice.What's interesting is that, after the finale, it seems to me that it's mostly ELENA who judges herself for not being able to make a choice? Because she's wrapped in her circle of self-blaming ( ... )


vergoldung May 13 2012, 22:28:26 UTC
Oh, no. There is no question wether what Damon did to Andie was wrong or not. I didn't mean it like that. Actually I exactly did. My point was (why do I try to make point by asking questions? I have issues) that Jeremy's compulsion takes place within a different context. And that different context (Elena's reasons for compelling him, the fact that the compulsion wasn't placed on him in order to hurt him) changes the way we perceive his compulsion. The thing is, the fact that Damon physically rapes Andie isn't intrinsic to his compulsion. He could have raped her without it. He could have compelled her without physically raping her. Compulsion per se already is a form of rape - of the mind. I think it's very dangerous to consider Jeremy's compulsion less wrong, because he wasn't hurt as much as Andie. But again, that's what's so fascinating about TVD's moral grayness. The fact that killing or compelling are wrong is never a question. The question is wether it's acceptable or absolutely unforgivable. And that's when the context makes all ( ... )


upupa_epops May 14 2012, 05:23:03 UTC
I think it's very dangerous to consider Jeremy's compulsion less wrong, because he wasn't hurt as much as Andie.

I would say that there are degrees of evil here. There's a difference between Damon compelling Elena to forget that she met him in the forest and Damon compelling Andie to not be afraid of him. In both cases its a violation of the mind, and it's wrong, but with Andie, it's even more wrong, because the violation goes further. Not just erasing a single, insignificant event, but messing with a genuine emotional reaction. With Jeremy and Andie, the difference is slight, but there are degrees of evil in compulsion. (Or I'm morally depraved...)

Thank you for explaining, much clearer now :D.

And I can't help but think that in the back of her mind she automatically associates that with Stefan.

Sure she does. Stefan saved her life, he's "the good brother", she makes her be the better, nicer, more functional version of herself. It's perfectly understandable that she does it. Sick, but logical.


mugma May 13 2012, 14:27:37 UTC
I really shouldn't wirte so long posts in English

Ugh, your post clearly helped me to gather myself after this episode. I said before "how Stefan could not saved her?!", but the thing is, I understand it, although don't understand a concept of it. Damon would save her no matter what and this is how love sholud works for me (my perspective, yes). You save people you love even if it means they'd hate you. It was right for Stefan to save Matt first, because he respect Elena and her choices (it was theme of basically second part of this season). And because Damon doesn't respect, it means he doesn't love her? I don't get this kind of thinking. Both Stefan and Damon have made wrong decisions in their life, but Damon is constantly judging, and Stefan is Elena's epic love no matter what. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of this whole concept "true love always win, because fuck you, that's why". I hate that this whole season of delena epic moments in the end means nothing more than "I care about you". Maybe I'm getting this wrong, but this is how ( ... )


upupa_epops May 13 2012, 21:48:08 UTC
See, I think it's not about who loves Elena "better". The show will never answer that question. Of course there's been some terrible framing in the last few episodes (the trauma of 3x20), but the finale had it pretty clear: some people do this, some people do that, and you will never be able to tell who was right. The finale didn't confirm the Epic Love. The Epic Love got Elena killed.

I hate that this whole season of delena epic moments in the end means nothing more than "I care about you".

I actually think it was glorious, but, again, I'm making a separate post on this.


mugma May 13 2012, 21:57:36 UTC
The Epic Love got Elena killed.
Yes, thank you. Ugh. I'm still confused by the finale, so maybe I'm really getting things wrong, so I'm looking forward for your next post. You can write it as long as you want :)


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upupa_epops May 13 2012, 22:01:52 UTC
But now this characters who act out of want versus out of should scenario makes me wonder if Elena will retain being motivated by "should" instead of "want" now that she is a vampire, particularly because should is what lead to her drowning (both Stefan and her choices).I think it would make sense for her to do just that, but exactly not because "should" got her killed. She's had two car accidents on the same damned bridge, and every time there was a single choice that brought her there: the first time, she acted on "want" and went to a party; the second time, she acted on "should" and was coming back to Stefan. In both cases, she still fell off a bridge. So, while the first accident led Elena to believing that everything is her fault, and that she needs to pay for it by never acting on "want", the second one turns everything upside down. It doesn't matter what Elena does. It doesn't matter who she is. Everything is because of HER, but not because of her choices, because terrible things happen no matter what she does. She's wrong, she ( ... )


vergoldung May 14 2012, 06:46:02 UTC
Sorry to but in...

BUT THIS : It doesn't matter what Elena does. It doesn't matter who she is. Everything is because of HER, but not because of her choices, because terrible things happen no matter what she does. She's wrong, she's evil, she's a monster, she's cursed. People die around her. YES TIMES INFINITY!!! WHY DO YOU SAY EVERYTHING BETTER THAN ME. YOU ARE THE WORST/BEST. UGH. Carry on, with you despicable perfectness.


badboy_fangirl May 13 2012, 21:16:08 UTC
The dichotomy of "definition of Damon" (will violate Elena's freewill to preserve her life) versus "definition of Stefan" (will preserve Elena's freewill ~somewhat manipulatively at the violation of his own better judgment) is why the triangle will NEVER DIE. Because pretty much you're either going to think Damon was right or Stefan was right, or at least lean one direction or the other, and it causes all kinds of problems. And you're right, neither seems to win (or be *right*), regardless ( ... )


upupa_epops May 13 2012, 22:23:56 UTC
YAY therapeutic watching :D. Frankly, interacting with people about this show is more fun than the actual show for me :).

Because the idea of choice might be giving them all too much power--maybe there isn't choice, there is just inevitability.

I think there's choice. All the characters make choices, and their choices have consequences. Only there's no punishment and there's no reward, bad things happen to good people for no reason (but there's always a cause!), and nothing can be done about it. You choose -- but you choose blindly. You can never fully predict the consequences of your choices. So, yes, Catch-22. Damn if you do, damned if you don't -- take your bloody pick! Frightfully realistic.

There is the whole "it's not right / it's right, just not right now" because there is simply no other thing that can happen.Huh, that's a head-scratcher... But then, can we trust Damon on this? Is he a reliable narrator, or is he a lovestruck idiot expressing his wishful thinking? Or maybe he says it not because he thinks it will happen, ( ... )


badboy_fangirl May 14 2012, 02:36:27 UTC
Damon is both a lovestruck idiot and a reliable narrator. Damon so often speaks the truth about the whole show--Sun and Moon Curse not real, Stefan needs to learn to control his bloodlust, not repress it, Elijah isn't trustworthy, Ric would want them to put him down, not let him be a psycho, etc. So, in this case, in this particular theme about the triangle, I choose to believe him.

I was hoping for more time today, but I'm fairly certain I will not get to the other until tomorrow! Too much stuff!


upupa_epops May 14 2012, 04:57:53 UTC
Yes, the show often uses Damon as the truth-teller, but he's the king of unreliable narrators just as often. He's right when he talks about other people, but wrong when he talks about himself. "You're the liar, Elena" in 2x01, when she totally told him the truth. Talking about the vampire switch with Rose right before Rose revealed that it's just a myth. I wouldn't have done that for you to Katherine; nice bravado, boy, but remember how you died for her?

The show uses Damon as The Jester who reveals the truth about the entire narrative, but, at the same time, lets him say some total rubbish about himself. He's both a reliable narrator and a lovestruck idiot... but hardly ever both at the same time. Obviously, D/E will happen (because it would be a dumb marketing decision if it didn't), but it won't happen the way Damon imagined it in 3x10. I mean, how could he have foreseen that Elena would become a vampire?


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