TVD 4x02, Memorial

Oct 21, 2012 01:49

I promised real thoughts on this episode, so here it goes ;). I'm terribly late with replying to comments and reading other episode reactions, I know. It's just that school started, real life takes up a lot of time, and when I actually have some internet time, I try to write fic. I'll do my best to be less late, but I'm not sure if I can catch up on everything. Fandom life was so much easier when s3 started, you know. I was totally artblocked, didn't write fic for months, and had time for EVERYTHING.

WARNINGS: this post contains Elena-stanning, shipper bias and overanalysing a teen vampire show. Also, I still like this show. You have been warned.

Anyway. Here be spoilers:

I am done with my graceless heart
A TVD 4x02 episode reaction

Banner made by the amazing fluffyfrolicker (that's in case you suspected this post isn't All About Elena)

I'm actually enjoying S/E a lot right now? This is the way the world ends: Not with a bang but a whimper. Elena couldn't have left Stefan last season, when stakes were high, because she saw their relationship as trial by fire. She thought she owed him. No matter what he did, she had to prove her loyalty, because if she didn't, it would've proven she was a terrible person. She made the final gesture in 3x22, she chose Stefan, and then she died. She closed the chapter (which is why I actually like that Elena and Stefan are acting as if s3 never happened? They had a problem. They put it behind them without solving it. Now it's behind them, aka in a perfect position to bite them in the ass). Now we're in a story after the story, and we have a couple that can't communicate, because their problems suddenly are all about things they don't talk about. Stefan is projecting like hell, because he wants Elena to be The Right Vampire, someone better than him, someone he can look up to. Elena lets him do all he wants, because he is better than her (Elena saves people, and they don't get a say, because she is that selfish). He tells her to close her eyes, and she does; they both walk into this mess with their eyes closed, not looking at each other, and saying I'm smiling right now (yes, I know, it's 4x01, not 4x02, whatever). Guys, she's CRYING while drinking animal blood, but she still does what she's told, because she has to live up to expectations. This ship is all about lack of trust, delusions and inferiority complex, and finally it looks like the show is actually aware if it! I'm game, especially after Elena started losing it in the church, and Stefan could only offer platitudes, no real solution. Matt The Last Human handled a baby vampire better than Stefan, because Matt was thinking practically. S/E, on the other hand, are so busy creating an illusion of "functional" that they can't do "practical" any more. Now I'm waiting for them to slowly fall apart, and only then Elena can start blaming Stefan for all the shit he pulled in s3. If she blamed him now, they would've fallen apart yesterday. This is the girl who sat down a few months after her parents' death and told herself: "get over it". That's exactly what she's doing with Stefan right now, she's forcing herself to get over it. And then she won't be able to get over it, and she'll set the world on fire, and it will be an amazing story.

FYI, if this doesn't happen this season, I'm going to cut the most epic bitch I've ever cut.

I love the visual of Elena being all girly, sexual and smiling with Stefan, being the Perfect Girlfriend, undressing him, kissing... and then running away to vomit. THERE IS NO WAY THEY DON'T WANT ME TO READ IT AS A METAPHOR. She throws up right in the middle of living up to All The Expectations. She literally can't stomach being The Good Girl. And then she calls Caroline in secret, because Stefan is coming in with champagne.

(Btw, the champagne scene? LEGIT CREEPY.)

Damon/Elena gave me ALL THE FEELINGS. All of them. I was expecting that the brothers' disagreement about "what kind of vampire Elena will be" will be quite obnoxious, and, surprisingly, it isn't? Mostly because Damon doesn't step in unless explicitly asked by Elena. Like, he argues with Stefan, he immediately shuts up when Elena comes in, and only resumes talking because she asks him a question. Of course he's only acting like that because he's mad at her, and he wants to emotionally isolate himself from the whole mess. He wants to give as little as possible. But narratively speaking, I really appreciate the lack of a gross "two dudes try to establish what kind of person the female lead should become" trope. While in 4x01 there were some heavy-handed Good Brother vs Bad Brother vibes, 4x02 is 100% Teenage Brother vs Adult Brother. I love that, of all things Damon could've said in the end of their first conversation in this ep, he chooses to say You're gonna be miserable. All practical, and also right. Because, guess what? She ate that fucking deer, and then she CRIED. Not because Bambi is now dead, but because she was hungry, exhausted and grieving (can we please give ALL THE AWARDS to Nina's face for the "eating Bambi" scene?).

Shoot me, but the blood sharing scene was a bit disappointing? Something was off for me. I really liked the writing, but something went wrong with the visual. Either Nina and Ian overdid a bit with the facial expressions, or it is just that everyone looks ridiculous while biting into someone's palm, and I should get over it ;). Anyway, about the writing. I've seen a few different interpretations of what happened, and I guess I'm into the simplest explanation possible? Blood sharing is personal, because it's literally sustaining someone with your own body. It can't be a universal vampire sex&blood magic, because when Mikael fed off Stefan and Katherine, there were no sexual overtones at all. Blood sharing is not a vampire thing, it's a Damon thing. Feeding Elena is personal, because when he was human, he used to feed Katherine, and it means something for him: it means surrendering himself, it means sharing his body, it means expressing love. It's intimate, and he throws himself into it, because Elena asks him for help. Because her physical survival is No 1 priority right now. He can't lose her, he's that selfish. He'll do whatever it takes to help her survive, because he can't handle her dying on him yet again.

The fact that she calls Damon after she vomits blood again is awesome on several levels. First of all, Elena vomits blood because she can't stomach being The Good Girl... and then she calls the guy who doesn't expect her to be one. She calls the Adult, decides to go for a grown-up solution, asks for human blood. Secondly, it's a nice callback to how Elena and Damon were a team in s3. That's what they learned to do: they faced a problem and solved it, quick and efficient. Thirdly, the emotional charge of the bloodbag scene is so excellent and intense I had chills. Finally, THEY TALK ABOUT SURVIVING. Elena thinks the world would be better off without her, and she says it out loud to Damon, because she doesn't have to worry about his good mood. And because he will tell her not to die.

And then she runs away from him, because she has a standard to live up to. Which would be really depressing if it wasn't for the fact that this episode shows explicitly that she can't live up to them, can't be The Good Girl, and disaster is close. Every detail is there. The S/E codependency is so deep that Elena even waits for Stefan's approval before she feeds from Matt. Like she needed Stefan's permission not to starve. And yet she had no problem feeding from Damon behind Stefan's back. What Stefan doesn't see doesn't hurt him.

Elena's speech in church broke my heart. The worst day of loving someone is the day that you lose them. Elena Gilbert, the girl who can't lose any more people :(.

The Caroline compulsion lesson was brilliant. Let me tell you how much I love that Elena's transition isn't written solely in the triangle context. Caroline gets a say, and she's the best teacher Elena could have. She gives Elena confidence, she stands right beside her in case something went wrong, and she believes in her. Helps her stand on her own two feet.

Now I also need Bonnie to start having scenes with Elena, and I can die happy.

Extreme Shipper Bias Time: is it just me, or was the S/E library scene a deliberate mirror of the 3x05 D/E scene? Elena is sitting in the same armchair, and a Salvatore is fixing her a drink. The difference is, Damon in 3x05 was wired and worried, kept close to her, offered some comforting touch. Stefan here practically throws her drink at her, he's annoyed and visibly separated from her (stands by the table instead of sitting next to her, the way Damon did). Even when she starts crying and shouting, he doesn't come closer, he dismisses her in a very cold manner. Your emotions are a bit heightened. The way the room is filmed is very similar in both episodes, even Elena's reaction to bourbon is identical, but the brothers' behavior is contrasted. It fits with the emotional distance between S/E 4x02 keeps bringing up. MAKES SENSE.

Damon and Elena both talk about loss in this episode, and they tell essentially the same thing: when you love someone, and then you lose them, it hurts like fuck. Thank you, show, like I needed even more D/E parallels to fuel my obsession.

Things That Weren't About Elena:

-- Tyler's speech about the importance of being a part of the team? While he's taking one for the team? FREAKING AWESOME.

-- I loved how the brothers kept calling each other out on shit. I didn't love how Stefan punched Damon while he was freshly shot. With wooden bullets. Halfway through helping him to get up. Like, dude, seriously? How was that necessary? You couldn't have punched him at home? Or right after he told you about the blood sharing?

-- DAMON AND THE WHOLE MEMORIAL THING! I love how he separated himself from the kids, I love that he actually said it out loud that he's the only adult, I love how he's constantly grieving Alaric in silence. DAMON IS THE ADULT, AND HE'S STUCK WITH THE KIDS. It's not like Damon can't grieve. He just doesn't like it loud, hates shows, hates lofty speeches. Drinking with Alaric's headstone is actually moderately healthy, as far as Damon's ways of grieving go. He simply doesn't want to have lanterns, because Damon happens in the dark. Also, was it just me, or was Elena on the fence with the whole lantern thing? She was the last to speak, and she only did after Stefan gave her a long, intense look. Like she had half a mind to go away with Damon, but eventually she chose not to (lalalala, shippers gonna ship). Everyone else looked like they wanted to be there, like they really needed to express their grief like that (which, totally cool, people deal with loss in many different ways). Elena wasn't sure, but she was determined (see how I managed to sneak her into the "Not About Elena" part?).

-- Ghost!Alaric still drinking with Damon. Or, at least, being there when Damon's drinking. Amazing, and also heart-breaking. LOVED EVERY SECOND.

In short: this was a good episode, and it should feel good.

note to self: less talk, fictional vampires ruin my life, yes i'm always like that, elena gilbert is amazing, damon omg damon, dear lord, how unfortunate, fandom: the vampire diaries, caroline forbes is awesome

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