The Moth Chase

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

Hell Hath No Fury

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Well, if things seemed like they had slowed down last week, they were back all engines rarin’ this week! When we opened on Stephen and Elena all goo-goo eyes in bed (and really, come on people, teenagers can just have sex in their bedrooms in the early morning and all they get is flirty jokes about it from the adult in charge later at a party?!) my hopes for the episode plummeted. And then it turned out to be a trick – or a device, or a joke, or whatever you want to call it – and we got to see Katherine and Mason act out a kind of inverse love scene. For all the stuff they’ve done with the doppelganger hi-jinks, this worked the best! Katherine was smooth as silk and cold as ice – somehow conveying malice, danger, and cruelty in her professions of love – which was perfectly offset by Elena’s warm, gushy, but oh so sincere love (and did you notice the Twilight joke, when Stephen tells Elena staring at him while he sleeps – pretends to sleep? – is creepy? Yes it is Edward Cullen).

But the best part about this episode was that it really wasn’t about Elena and Stefan. The action centered around Mason and the moonstone and the whole gang had to band together to figure out the mystery. Katherine’s presence hung like an ominous shadow over all their plotting, and it was clear she was going to pull a punch in the end, which made it that much more fun to wonder when and how. Even Jeremy is part of the team now, though after watching Mason lose his heart (literally), he might have second thoughts about signing on to the supernatural team. I am kind of there with him: poor Mason was a sap, but I think he was an honest sap. He really did love Katherine and deluded himself into believing she loved him too (though as Damon points out, he clearly had some reservations hiding the moonstone in a vervain-filled well). But the torture? Was all that necessary? I know this will be unduly political and out of place, but since I think a lot about the representations of torture in popular culture, I was sort of taken aback, again, to see its depiction so front and center on a teenage soap opera. Has it really become so common place to think that torture is both necessary and effective that we can show something as graphic as a hot iron piercing flesh and the inside of a mouth being burned out in a show like the Vampire Diares without flinching? I was kind of depressed when I thought about this…

But Caroline quickly distracted me. OK, let’s say it again. Caroline as a vampire is absolutely amazing. She has always been a bundle of conflicting, hard-to-control desires, and it is fabulous to see her trying to tackle her neuroses head on as one of the undead. After her campy bloodfest coming out party last week, it was great to see her put her super hearing and super strength to use. Watching her and Bonnie use their supernatural skills this week, it kind of made me sorry for Elena, who is just a human whose only special skill is providing her boyfriend with tiny quantities of blood. I am so glad Bonnie is back in the action and I think we have the makings of a pretty incredible A-Team to take on Katherine when the time comes. She might be judgy, but she is a handy witch to have around. Besides, it is kind of nice to have at least one person reminding everyone that vampires are not cuddly creatures, no matter how charming or how good a kisser. I was also really moved by Caroline’s bonding with her mom. When she gave up that new found closeness to protect her mom by compelling her back to ignorance, it reminded me of Buffy’s vexed relationship with her own mom. Caroline is way more like Buffy than Elena, in a great way, besides being a vampire and all. I’d love to see that parallel continue.

When Katherine does show her face again, it is to remind us that she has a lot more mischief and malice up her sleeve. We still don’t know exactly why she needs the moonstone, or why she needs a werewolf, or what she is doing in Mystic Falls, but her plan B involves compelling Matt and Jenna to do her dirty work and potentially get themselves killed. Which leaves me with my final question: now that Matt and Jenna are being drawn into the supernatural world (against their wills), how much longer until they actually know what is going on?

And a bonus question: how long will Elena and Stefen stay apart for real? My bet is one episode tops.

Posted by Kathryn.

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