The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Why is She Here?

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Hey Kathryn,

Ah, the old fake break-up – does that ever work?! Vampire Diaries tends toward the soap operatic, but this certainly pushed it over the edge.  I am, however, excited for its possibilities – sure, we’re going to get a lot of annoying Stefan-Elena pained, hidden reunions (“oh it hurt so much to fight” junk), but we might also get full episodes moved away from the centrality of their relationship.  The show has been better every time we’ve taken that step, and I’m excited to see what their separation will make room for…especially if it’s some sort of fun escapade involving Katherine.  So I kind of take back my comment last time about Dobrev’s acting chops – it seems her ability to portray evil hangs mostly on her ability to pull a blank face and gently shake her head from side to side.  Nevertheless, I am dying to see whyit is she really is here.  My sense is that it’s some combination of love for Stefan (her good bye to his transitioning dead body made that clear – the question then is, has her love lasted?) and whatever is going on with that moon stone.  Does she want it back, and why?  Why does Mason want it, and does he know about Katherine?  What does it do?!  Is it another of Emily’s enchanted objects and, if so, does that mean Bonnie can replicate it?  And most intriguing to me, why did Katherine tell Elena that she was asking the wrong questions – what should Elena be asking if it’s not, “why do we look so much alike?”

Mason was, for me, the star of this episode (even if my favourite moment was Damon’s hilarious drawing of “Dances with Wolves”).  His calm maturity really showed the vamps up – from his “ladykiller” comment right down to his avoidance of the pie cutter – pushing Damon further and further into frenzied frustration.  I believed that he wanted a truce, and found myself disappointed that Damon couldn’t resist the path of violence.  But I found myself wondering why he was so hesitant to tell Tyler what triggers the curse.  Sure, he might not want to admit that he’s murdered someone – but wouldn’t he want to give that vital piece of info to his nephew so he doesn’t inadvertently do the same?  Likewise, fill him in on the silver secret, and perhaps any other helpful wolfy info…I’m kind of hoping for a training montage at some point in our future!

Um, and speaking of that BBQ: a) didn’t Jenna feel all the weird tension in the room?!? and b) how irresponsible are the adults in this town that they’re reveling over doing shots together in the afternoon while the kids are still around?  We’ve mentioned this before, but Jenna seems to be descending into teenager-dom, with the hiked up cleavage and hoopy ear-rings to match!

In the end it seemed that all our supes – like with most of these shows – are continuing their struggle to be human; not just Stefan, but Mason too.  And even Katherine.  If I believe she does love Stefan, I believe it’s a twisted love – one developed over a century plus of obsessing about that one man who made her feel human, who told her she was an angel.  And the longer she hangs on to that obsession, the more I wonder if there is one small part of her that still longs for humanity – even in the most twisted of ways.  The tense agony of Damon’s struggle isn’t quite there with Katherine – but something like it lingers.

Ok, round up of random questions – Can you really build a vervain immunity?  Is a Doppelganger an actual supernatural thing?  If Stefan fell in love with Katherine – without being compelled – once, will he do it again?  Do werewolves really just exist in books and “really bad movies” – I love the constant mocking of Twilight, even as the show comes closer to performing more and more of Meyer’s central tropes.  And oh, oh who was singing that song in the car, I have to know? Goldfrapp.  Thank you Ford Focus for your handy new gadgets!!

xoxo,
Natalie

—-

Dear Natalie,

Agreed on many fronts: 1) Mason was awesome this week. Who knew he was so level-headed and mature? I actually believe his whole “surfer boy” persona now – he really is trying to mellow out and control his woofy nature. And his earnestness when he apologized for attacking Stefan was so believable. Of course, there is going to be a vamp vs. wolf showdown now, but I kind of liked imagining them banding together for some common purpose. You know, like fighting Katherine, especially since she clearly wants the moon stone too; 2) which brings me to your diagnosis of Debrov’s acting – yes, Katherine was a lot less compelling as evil vixen this week. Though I like how they keep emphasizing how badass she is. What? She was faking being tortured and could have broken out all the time? Talk about emasculating… 3) the continued and astonishing irresponsibility of Mystic Falls adults. 4) the ridiculousness of Damon’s wolf in tutu. Let’s just pause for a moment to celebrate the bizarro-world of Damon. Is there another character on television with more campy one-liners and wacko facial expressions? How does Ian Somerhalder walk the line between absolute absurd and kind of compelling? He is weirder and weirder every week and I mean that in a good way. 5) the awfulness of Stefan and Elena and their mushy soap operatic blah, blah, blah. I heartily agree – may their fake break-up force them to spend some real time apart.

I liked that this episode gave us some back story on the werewolf and vampire feud and let us into Katherine’s original plan to escape the burning church. But more questions were created than answered: why did Katherine have to/want to leave town so badly? What is her past that she claimed caught up with her in 1846? Why has she come back? And as you so wisely ask, what is the moon stone? Just as in last season, this mystery circles around a physical object which holds the key to the world the characters inhabit and promises to stay central to the show in episodes to come. I used to think it might prevent the transformation, but George Lockwood didn’t seem like the type to want to curb his supernatural violence, so I am not so sure anymore.  I think the most interesting question yet to be answered is the enigmatic (and kind of annoying hint) that there is something stranger going on in the connection between Elena and Katherine than just genetic similarities. It is not at all clear how they can even be related since Katherine couldn’t have children and we’ve never been told what the biological relationship between Katherine and Isobel is, if any. Which leaves me wondering with you if there is something supernatural about their similarities – like a Doppelganger is in fact a being of some sort, as you ponder. But does that make Elena Katherine’s Doppelganger, since Katherine was around first?

Here’s hoping next week pushes us a bit further into answers instead of spinning out more entangled mysteries that threaten to get lost in one too many mournful glances between Stefan and Elena…
Kathryn

Written by themothchase

October 1, 2010 at 8:57 am

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