The Simple Intimacy of the Near-Touch
Yeah, ok, so really – what the flip is Elena still doing with Stefan? Now the whole, ‘he’s a good vampire who doesn’t eat human blood’ safety net is gone, Damon is so far the superior choice, and not least of all because he’s actually got his addiction under control to the point where it’s not really an addiction. That being said, I like that they’re still dangling this possibility in front of us – as they’ve been doing all season – but not quite making it live. Tonight we got closer than ever as the near-touch lacked appeal and even seemed silly when Stefan was the partner, but was speed-my-breath-up-a-little once Damon stepped in at the Founders’ Ball. The heat is there, no doubt. I’m just waiting for Elena to clue into it! I suppose in the end, the show is giving us the experience of near-touch…so exciting to watch the impending possibility of attraction between those two, but not quite giving us the connection until they’re good and ready.
Stefan was quite terrifying and incredibly creepy last night. First of all, he’s a great liar! It was fun to see a little of Paul Wesley’s acting range as brooding gave way to self-assured, manipulative and even some twisted version of happy. But lines like “I want to rip into your skin and feed on you” were so viciously violent and “I’ve been drinking the human stuff and it’s messing with my head” were so strangely blasé that I was surprised by the level of ferocious, dark evil the show had escalated to instead of its usual more campy brand. On the one hand, I’m shouting to Elena to escape what looks like an abusive relationship, and on the other I’m impressed with her for taking responsibility for her role in where Stefan now finds himself. It’s a complex situation; one not easily resolved…especially not when we only have 3 episodes left!
It was good that Caroline won the ball, especially after she convinced Elena to stay in it, being the better friend. Elena does get everything her own way most of the time in ways that leave Caroline out in the cold. It was good to see the girl who actually deserved it win. And despite it all, in the end the show doesn’t take itself entirely seriously, evidenced by the pageant candidate whose community service was due to her DUI! Yeah, that was pretty funny, even if the non-founding family candidate almost wound up dead in a forest!
Thank God Bonnie is finally back, and badass at that with kicky new bangs. I was getting worried that they were trying to take her out of the show. Her new level of maturity, both as a woman and a witch, seems important. First she is able to act with wisdom in her relationship with Elena, refusing to make her choose between a friend and a boyfriend. But it seems she’s also developed in her magic skills as she was able to sedate Stefan’s fuming. This will surely be helpful in the weeks to come with the three leftover vamps at the house. Even though they don’t seem too threatening yet, I can’t help but think a showdown between Bonnie and Harper is on the way, while I also continue to wonder if as two descendants of a slave family that had close ties to the Salvatores and Katherine, they might be in some way related.
So was I the only one last week who thought that John and Isobel’s connection was in the past? It seemed tonight that they might still be working together. And what is that Pearl had, but which wasn’t the real watch (can someone please remind me where the real watch ended up…I can’t quite remember).
On a lighter note, outside of its vampire problems, I think Mystic Falls might have its own set of drinking problems, and I intend to start tracking them…last night, the first time we saw someone a bourbon was at 7:02. That’s pretty fast! No one does anything without some brown liquid in their hand in this town. And this week it was creepy Uncle John who kicked us off. Who will it be next week? And how early will they appear? I’m curious to find out.
Also, I love that the string quartet at the Founders’ Ball was playing Coldplay. Just saying.
It is me again – slipping back in for some on the sly commentary, in between eternally feeding baby and trying to decide which matters more to me, a shower or a nap.
As a reminder of how much we are still on the same wave length, if I had chosen a title for a post on this episode, it would have been exactly the same as yours. And for very similar reasons – the dance between Damon and Elena was a definite increase in the mounting sexual tension between them and I was very glad to see Elena acknowledge the tension, even as she tries to deny it. The real question for me is: how much does Damon both acknowledge it and want it? Earlier in the season I could see him trying to seduce Elena away from Stefan in order to punish and manipulate Stefan. But then I became convinced of his true and undying (if twisted) love for Katherine. However, he does not seem immune to Elena’s charms, even as he seems much more in control of the situation and able and willing to deny whatever attraction he might feel to honor her feelings for Stefan. I’m not saying he wouldn’t go for it if she made the first move, but do we think he would make that move himself? If he did, what would it mean for him?
I guess it all boils down to your point about control over his addiction. I was very compelled by his speech to Elena that Stefan’s compulsive denial of human blood for 150 years has led to the state of uncontrollable, immature addiction. And I agree with your point from last week: what is up with all these self-denying vampires? I’ve been re-reading the Twilight series on my Kindle while I nurse non-stop and I am finding it even more frustrating than the first time. Only if I think of the Cullen coven and their other “vegetarian” friends as some sort of allegory for sanctified eternal life does it make sense at all. That is, they are a wonderful cover for the life of self-denial and restraint leading to beatified eternal familial happiness (we’ve talked about this all before…). But the Vampire Diaries doesn’t pretend to offer any such allegory. As Damon says, vampires are supposed to drink human blood. It is in their nature. An existence that denies that nature entirely does not lead to sanctification, but rather to complete lack of self-control, restraint, or proper self-denial. While we’ve seen just how unrestrained Damon can be, it is true that he does seem to have much better control over his impulses, dutifully drinking bagged blood when the fresh stuff would draw too much attention to his presence. If part of the fantasy of the vampire is the incredible self-possession they offer – complete and utter control over their super-human bodies – then Damon is really the consummate vampire, extending his mastery to his own desires, while acknowledging them and honoring their reality.
It is interesting, therefore, that both Damon and Elena have decided that the way to proceed is to cut Stefan off cold-turkey. I get that a blood-crazed vampire is a bit much to deal with (for Damon) and not particularly attractive (for Elena), but if Damon is right, shouldn’t the course of action be to help Stefan learn to control his urges instead of pushing him toward greater self-denial?
I am intrigued to see how this plot line will play out alongside the brewing showdown between Damon and Uncle John and Jeremy’s new knowledge. Also, how long do you think we will have to wait until Bonnie and the vampires reunite for some larger purpose, or is the split eternal? (I am also SO glad Bonnie is back. Her more serious/mature attitude was a reminder that the show does intend at least some of the outlandish plot lines to have lasting consequences…).
OK, back to the nursing couch and more brooding reflections on the unreasonable restraint of bloodless vampires.