Isolation leads to misery
OK, so I’m over torture as a regular device on a teen soap opera. It barely seems worth pointing out how many things are wrong with the assumption that inflicting intense physical and psychological trauma on anybody (even somebody who heals so fast we barely have to see the effects of the torture) is a good way “to make them human.” Much less given Stubenville and the likes what is wrong with the picture of two dashing young men torturing a young woman who doesn’t feel what they want her to feel. There is so much wrong with all of this. But it is all so blase, I’m with Rebekha and Katherine on this one: yawn. And don’t even get me started on why everyone has stopped mentioning that all of this is Damon’s fault in the first place since he commanded a then-sired Elena to turn off her emotions. It really does seem like the interesting gender dynamics of seasons past have devolved into male agents whose actions are barely questioned and female agents who suffer their affects and then are blamed for them. I’d ask you to help me come up with a better interpretation, but I’m not sure I care.
Can we go back to New Orleans, please? Or maybe just bring on the apocalypse already. Because I think last night was the final moment when I just stopped caring what makes Elena a human or if she is even much of a good one. If her entire return to humanity is just so she can feel rage and try to kill Katherine, which will just become one more cog in the “will they open the other side or not” wheel that has been rolling fitfully all season, then I am not sure I am more interested in her than I was when she was a soulless vampire. At this point I think the best thing that could happen to Mystic Falls might be bringing down the veil between the living and the dead: at least we’d get Alaric and Jer back, and Vicki and Jenna. Anything to get us out of the endless cycling around the Stefan-Damon-Elena triangle and the questions about Elena’s essential nature.
If the next two episodes could be all about Bonnie claiming her power in some badass way, that would also be pretty cool, because I’m not really sure what we are supposed to make of Bonnie right now. She has harnessed her power, sure, but what is motivating her? There could be something profound about her mysterious power, but I also worry that it is just one more sign that Bonnie is a cipher for whatever anyone else makes her to be, or for someone else trying to wield and tap into her power. I really hope the next two episodes prove me wrong! I’d also settle for watching Caroline’s feathers get ruffled by Klaus, but something tells me we’ll have to wait to see her visit New Orleans until The Originals airs.
It turns out Damon was wrong: isolation does not lead to misery, but enough contact with this bunch seemed to do the trick.
Did the episode redeem itself for you, Natalie? Dear readers? Come on and change my mind!
Bad girls don’t get nice jewelry,
I’m absolutely with you and Rebecca on the whole, yawn at Elena thing. And a thousand times yes to your read of the torture scenes! I was appalled at how quickly Caroline gave up on the kindness route – she offered a momentary moral counterpoint to the guys’ plan, but then Elena said a couple of catty things and she immediately reconciled with the idea that torture is the only way. For a moment, I thought the inefficacy of the torture would point to, well, the inefficacy of torture – but in the end it turned out that the message is, torture only works when the subject really believes in the harm being inflicted on their loved ones. The extent to which Elena lives at the whims of what these guys think is best in any given moment is utterly ridiculous, and the torture in this episode only made visible the utter lack of agency with which she is imbued throughout her narrative.
So yeah, I’m with you – that storyline sucked!
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed this episode. I suppose Silas stalking Caroline doesn’t offer a much better image of powerful men and disempowered women – particularly in the ways Silas exploited Caro’s own desire to get at her. But the horror sequences, scary chase scenes (during which I wondered why, if Silas can appear anywhere, he wouldn’t just appear in her passenger seat rather than behind and then in front of her car) were genuinely fun. That ‘he was in the house all along’ offered the denouement to that story arc made it even more perfect. Caroline still lives so wed to her high school life (and doesn’t that make you wonder if Rebecca was as lovable as Caro once upon a time?) that it seemed fitting for her to live a few high school campfire ghost stories to move the story along. I’m glad her mum came back to life here…although I’ll admit I was hoping she was about to come back as a vampire. Why is it that all vamps have to be under 21 in this show??
And let’s not skip over the fact that poor human Matt just had his first supernatural experience! Given that passing back and forth across that veil has had both psychological and supernatural ramifications for other characters, I’m intrigued to see what slippery slope Matt just set himself on…and whether or not the impending end of the other-world will have any bearing on him now when the veil comes down.
I’m a little worried about Bonnie too. At this point I’ve given up on her actually stepping into her own power. But as with Buffy, we do have a vampire story here in which the Big Bad gets bigger and badder season by season (and did you notice the explicit use of that language in this episode?). Damon, the Originals, even Kathryn have all ended up fighting in the next season on our team’s team…will the same happen with Silas? Or will Kathryn get what she wants, become immortal herself, and offer a whole new Big Bad for us next season who I might actually want to watch?
Oooo, I’d love to have Alaric back! I sure do miss that guy!