Maybe I Should Kill Myself (an Elena Gilbert 4x06 meta)

Nov 16, 2012 16:24

So, remember how I just had an Elena appreciation week and vomited tons of feelings? Yeah. I'm just gonna keep doing that. Only without gifs this time (by all means, feel free to gifspam me), because I can't be fucked to spend five hours sorting through all the screams and flail on my tumblr dash. I WILL DO IT AFTER MY BRAIN STOPS SCREAMING. Which means, at some point after Easter.

Warnings: I'm not even gonna pretend to be objective. I love Elena recklessly, I ship D/E like burning. You'll find nothing but rainbow vomit and a verbose overanalysis of a teen vampire show here. Trigger warning: suicidal tendencies.

Maybe I Should Kill Myself
an Elena Gilbert 4x06 meta

4x06, aka the episode that consists mostly of Elena Gilbert talking to her own brain. AND I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

First, to get the plot stuff out of the way. I loved how the plot was utilized to explore the character here. It would be ridiculous to have Elena go through something so horrid over a “normal” kill (it would just be an unbearable “Elena is infinite goodness” show, and I DID NOT WANT THAT), and it would be tedious if she just went mad for a “supernatural” reason that made her not be “herself”. But this? SPOT-ON! The hunter curse pulled Elena's deepest, darkest fears right out of her brain and LET THEM LOOSE. Didn't take that long to convince her to kill herself, did it?

We have Katherine and Miranda talking Elena into committing suicide. Not only she's tortured by hallucinations rather than an external ghost, no. The hallucinations take form of her double and her beloved mother. The woman her body is shaped after and the woman who shaped her mind. The very core of her self turns against her, because no one can hate Elena Gilbert like Elena Gilbert herself (though, to be fair, some people in fandom try).

Can we take a minute to appreciate the frame here? First, the beginning. You know, that moment when ELENA KILLS HER BROTHER BY STABBING HIM IN THE NECK WITH A HUGE KITCHEN KNIFE? We've been talking so long about how Elena is like Damon... and this scene just captured the crux of a D/E parallel in the most perfect, subtle way. Elena kills Jeremy like Damon killed Jeremy, and it's the beginning of the day of terror for her. Being like Damon is not all sunshine, puppies and badasserey. It's blood, horror, guilt and self-examination. Elena's journey into the heart of darkness (=into the self) begins with repeating the most horrid (from her perspective) thing Damon has ever done to her, and ends with jumping off the Wickery Bridge TOGETHER WITH DAMON. After the hallucinations have stopped and Elena's painful crawl through her guilt and self-loathing is over, there is still her deepest fear to confront. And they both literally jump into this fear, because that's the only way she can survive. Because D/E is not, in its core, about the relationship between Elena and Damon, it's about how Elena and Damon hold up mirrors to each other and force each other to look into those mirrors. It's about being forced to look at this version of the self that is covered in brother's blood. About embracing each other and jumping into the greatest horror together. About being there when the other person says “I don't deserve to live”. About crawling out of those moments of self-destruction hand-in-hand, because, fuck you, THEY WILL SURVIVE THIS. They always do.

Damon even washes Jeremy's blood off Elena's floor. #what does your ship do?

Anyway. Moving on.

I love how ANGRY Elena is in this episode. It's all about anger, both directed at herself and others. She snaps at Stefan and calls him out on the things that have been hurting her (“This is my brother's blood on my hands, Stefan! I stabbed him in the neck last night, so forgive me if I'm not in the mood to listen to you try to talk your way out of this!” - How long do you think she's been pushing thoughts like that out of her mind?), flat out yells at him, but also her hallucinations are very violent. Connor literally tries to strangle her, Katherine is verbally aggressive - this is all Elena's own brain, her own suppressed anger turning against her, blowing up. Her own brain forcing her to scream about how she loved the kill. Her own brain hissing at her that she's worse than Katherine. Her own brain repeating, over and over again, that she's a monster, she doesn't deserve to live, Stefan doesn't love her, SHE DOESN'T EVEN EXIST (“I was you before you even existed”). Actually, let's talk about identity.

I can't believe that the show actually took a minute to explore Elena's identity issues. The very fact that she hallucinates Katherine, of all people, is simply stunning. But the things Elena's inner Katherine says? BLEW MY MIND. “I was you before you even existed.” Elena doesn't just fear that she'll turn into Katherine. It's not some childish fear of becoming ~evil. It's a fucking identity crisis. She fears that THERE IS NO ELENA, there is nothing that truly belongs to Elena, because she's only a copy. Basically, Elena's mind tells her that she's nothing but the doppelganger, and that's the part of her mind we'd NEVER see in any other circumstances, because it's so deeply buried. The show actually bothered to acknowledge this fear in her, even though it had nothing to do with her transition or guilt. It could've been omitted. It wasn't. I can't.

Elena isn't just guilt-ridden and self-loathing. She's flat out annoyed with herself. “Don't you ever stop crying?” Because Elena doesn't think her feelings or fears matter. She feels obliged to be okay, she's angry that it's impossible for her to ignore her own pain anymore. And it makes SO MUCH SENSE. This is the Elena who took Stefan back after he almost drove her off a bridge, because her own trauma wasn't important enough for her.

Right now, Elena is in the strangest place. She already snapped, she started rejecting Stefan, she started acknowledging her own feelings, but she's still angry with herself for doing that. On the metaphorical level, this is fucking PERFECTION. The moment Elena stops placating Stefan and starts acting on anger (see: the forest scene in 4x05), her own brain turns against her and puts her through hell of self-loathing and guilt. THIS IS HOW IT HURTS WHEN YOU TRY TO STOP BEING THE GOOD GIRL. Is anyone still wondering why Elena was clinging to this persona for so fucking long?

In a way, we can say that this is the third time Elena dies on Wickery Bridge. The Good Girl dies so that Elena could live, and Elena lets it happen (she doesn't stop Damon from pulling her into the water, even though just a few seconds ago, before the hallucination ended, she slipped away no problem). The Elena who gets out of the water can dump Stefan even though she now knows that he lied to her because he was working to save her humanity. She's not indebted to him anymore. She can reject him even though he's so “noble”, she can reject him even though he's trying so hard for her. She can reject him because she doesn't trust him. Because after she gets out of the water, it suddenly MATTERS that she doesn't trust him. She's so calm and unapologetic in that breakup scene. There's no conflict anymore. She doesn't trust him, she doesn't want him, and it finally matters.

And the last thing. Can we please talk about how Damon jumps off that bridge with Elena? He could've pushed her off, it would've served the purpose. Instead, he takes her in his arms and jumps with her. This is Wickery Bridge, the place where people started dying on her, the place where people started leaving her. But Damon promised he would never leave her again, remember? So he can literally TAKE THE FALL with her, and it won't harm him, it won't make him leave her. People die around her, but Damon doesn't. Damon jumps into her worst fear with her, and they both get out without a scratch. He identifies her fear (= finds her on Wickery Bridge), leaps right into it without hesitation, and then cracks a dumb joke about teenage suicide when she's trying to thank him (on a side note: I LOVED how Damon kept making jokes all the time. Taking off the edge, taking off the drama, making himself unimportant, because this so wasn't about him). He saved her life and she's not in his debt, because less than a year ago she did the very same thing for him. D/E is not about gratitude, and this episode wasn't about Elena Gilbert finding her new savior.

It was about Elena Gilbert finding herself.

There are probably many things I left out, I am aware. But: 1) I need to leave some stuff for Alex to vomit about; 2) I really want to go on tumblr already.

meta, fictional vampires ruin my life, crystal will destroy my soul, alex is a life-ruiner, yes i'm always like that, elena gilbert is amazing, shame is redundant, how unfortunate, fandom: the vampire diaries, too many emotions

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