Call it God or mystical energy…
The Vampire Diaries returned to their roots: family and the ties that bind us together, in this case quite (mystically/magically) literally. We’ve been tracking the way the teenage protagonists are in vexed or absentee relationships with their parents/adult guardians all along and this episode brought that emotional distance to a physical reality. Most obviously, Elena lost her only two parental figures. It has been hard to take Jenna seriously as an adult guardian to begin with, and when Elena said it was she who had failed Jenna and not the other way around I realized just how much I think of Elena as Jenna’s protector. Yet, there was something gratifying to see both Jenna and John offer their lives in some kind of parental gesture of love and protection. It made them seem just a little more adult. Maybe especially I was moved by John’s sacrifice. I haven’t been a fan of the slicked up, spiky hair John – I preferred the weaselly version from last season. But he came through for me last night in his big exit. For all the ways self-sacrifice is bandied about on this show as an easy or obvious choice, John choosing to tie his life-force to Elena to prevent her from becoming a vampire was the closest we’ve seen yet to a sacrifice that didn’t seem nihilistic. Maybe this is because it was an adult and a parent sacrificing for a child instead of a teenager flippantly throwing her life away. Or maybe it is just because we don’t feel as attached to John.
John and Jenna’s deaths weren’t the only reminders of vexed child/parent relationships. Caroline discovers that her mother knows she is a vampire and probably wants to kill her and Matt reminds Caroline that his absentee mother means he really is self-sufficient. Even the Elijah and Klaus story hinged on family drama. Elijah wants revenge not because Klaus hunted down and killed all of their family, but because he pretended to bury them at sea so that Elijah could not see/mourn their bodies? Really, the prospect of seeing his dead family member’s graves was enough to stop Elijah from destroying his murderous, power-hungry brother? I knew things weren’t going to go to plan when Stefan and Elijah had their big pow-wow about honor, but I didn’t think the excuse to spare Klaus would be so lame. Also, while were on loose plot ends, why do you think Klaus wanted Stefan alive? My theory is that he was planning on biting him and turning him into the first were-vamp in his new army.
So Klaus is on the loose and something tells me we’ll see more of him next season. I have to wonder if clearing the stage of all significant adult figures and bringing Matt – finally! – into the supernatural plot is setting us up for a more serious teenage supernatural gang. I speculated about this last week and it seems even more obvious now. Elena already has the potential to become a vampire (I don’t for a second think that possibility is completely off the table, even if John’s sacrifice forestalled it for a while). What about Jer and Matt? What if they joined the supernatural fold too? And we had a cohort of supernatural beings trying to figure out their new identities and fight off a super race of were-vamps?
Speaking of which, how much do you want to bet they are going to find a cure for Damon’s werewolf bite? Or maybe not a cure, but what if we find out that a “nip” is different than a “bite” and Damon is somehow on his way to becoming another were-vamp hybrid? Just the one to take on the newly empowered Klaus.
Did everyone else know next week was the season finale? They haven’t been hyping up the count down (“only three episodes left!”) so I was sort of surprised. Write in, dear readers, and make your predictions now!
I’m surfacing from my dissertation-writing stupor for two possible alternative predictions regarding Damon: either, breaking the sun/moon curse, thus breaking down the wall in some supernatural way between vamps and weres, means that there will now be a cure to the wolf bite or, more awesome, the bite of a vamp/were can cure the bite, and Klaus is going to make *Damon* his first hybrid soldier.
Wouldn’t it be fun to see Damon go all bad, just for a bit?
Can’t wait for tonight!
ps: I would like it if tv shows stopped over-using cruciform body placements. We get it, Jenna was sacrificing her life – really, you don’t then need to spread her arms out to the sides too. The pose is way overused at this point – you pretty much can’t have someone die sacrificially without placing them in it. There are other symbols and gestures to be had!