Now that was some diabolical fun. And kind of violent? I wonder sometimes if Vampire Diaries episodes and our reactions to them could be used as some sort of psychological test — because I do not know what it says about me, but it was a delight to watch things get a little more out of control than usual in Mystic Falls.
Most notably: Stefan. Nothing like keeping a character bottled up for seasons (save for a Ripper vacation or two) and then letting him smoke some witchy weed, beat up his brother, and get down with an ex-girlfriend for some doubly crazy sex. Amazing. Stefan wasn’t the only one with little devil whispering into his ear to just let go: Jeremy is thrown into hunter overdrive thanks to Klaus and Damon’s plan; Damon is compelled by Kol to hunt and kill Jeremy and keep Elena a vampire forever; and Bonnie is being toyed with by Shane, who lets her become overwhelmed by her new and limitless power only to rein her back in with his hypnotic mantra that she’s in control. And then there’s Miss Sire Bond, who doesn’t realize she’s not making the same choices as the old Elena despite Matt and Jer being as plain as day about how it’s changed her in relation to Damon. Add in Shane’s fanatical devotion to raising Silas, and Kol’s determination that that will never happen (going as far as to raise the white oak stake against his sister) and Catch Me If You Can is chock full of crazy. Their ids no longer in check, these characters just don’t recognize their behavior as that bad, and it’s wildly entertaining. They’re not crazy — just passionate!
While I am admittedly not that interested in anyone finding the cure ever, the race to find it first became nicely complicated with the various teams and their mythological assets, including the mystery team with the poor bite out your tongue compelled guy. Shane continues to be weirdly compelling, and Bonnie’s dad’s insight into his character doesn’t stop him from being hoodwinked by him. Bonnie’s right to not trust Shane but, as with so many other uneasy alliances between characters (see: Elena asking Klaus for help), she needs his guidance to prevent her from becoming a power-obsessed “time bomb.” He’s created a monster in Bonnie and proven his necessity in controlling her power.
Though Kol did threaten to rip off Jer’s arms (very creative workaround to the hunter’s curse!), seen from a different perspective, Kol is not so much a villain, as the guy who could save the world. His perspective on the larger picture: raising Silas could mean the end of time. Of course, he’s not motivated by general do-goodery to stop a group of self-obsessed vampires from ending the world in order to see if a girl really loves one guy or the other. Kol has his own selfish motivation: he’s immortal and he’d rather not die, thanks. But why does Kol so fervently believe in the threat of Silas, where the others brush it off as a scary story? The followers of Silas he met and killed a few hundred years ago?
Far from being a villain, it is interesting to see Elena turn into the object of derision and frustration. It’s been a hard year to be an Elena fan, and with this episode the characters basically just got fed up with her lack of perspective on the whole sire bond issue. Matt tells her that the old Elena wouldn’t trust Damon with Jeremy after he sided with Klaus’s plan to kill a dozen (or so) innocent people. Jeremy reiterates that Damon does not care about him, but cares about him as a means to an end — as a hunters-mark-to-be-revealed. Whether or not that’s true, it’s a logical assumption for Jeremy to make. And when she repeatedly says she doesn’t want to hurt innocent people or have her loved ones do horrible things, but then fails to make decisions that prevent that, Elena comes off as a hypocrite. Or from Rebekah’s perspective, a child who only thinks of herself. I have to say, the Elena-bashing in this episode was oddly satisfying, and I am a longtime hardcore supporter of that character.
It’s her delusion of having self-control that makes Elena frustrating to the other characters. This season has been peppered with compulsion and overwhelming mythological urges for witches, hunters, and vampires alike but, like Damon in this episode, most realize that they are being manipulated. The hybrids broke their curse. Damon does his best to right the course he’s on by warning Jeremy, by asking him to kill him. But his killer instinct, his hunger for Jer’s blood can’t be derailed by Elena’s request that he fight the compulsion. And she hasn’t fought hers either. Who knows how long it will last, but at the moment Elena is cut off from both Salvatores and at her brother’s side coming up with master plans. Kill Kol, and with him kill his entire line of vampires. It solves one problem — Jeremy not really being keen on a life of slaughtering vampires — but her hypocrisy continues. Who are the vampires in Kol’s line? Are they the Caroline and Lexi types? Or are they incorrigible killers? (Like Stefan or Damon!) The problem with loving vampires who’ve done their fair share of bad, bad things is that when you set out to kill another nameless vampire, you’re not killing an abstract monster, you’re murdering someone. It’s an arguably unavoidable result of the basic premise of this show, and one that creates a strange immorality in the characters we have grown to love. (So back to that TVD psychology test idea: maybe we are like those people who visit serial killers in jail? Is that why I like The Following so much?!)
Oh Stefan. I have to say (as I did on Twitter) this Stefan is my favorite of all the Stefans. Watching him agree to let go, to stop caring (as much as he can…he’s still Stefan), to see his pleasure in snapping his brother’s neck, in bleeding him out to weaken him, and in having a legitimate reason to keep him under lock and key. It was a nice throwback to the season 1 animosity between the brothers, but instead of Stefan being tortured about his brother the monster, there’s a devil-may-care attitude in Stefan that is … just… be still my twisted heart. Though an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind, there was something extremely satisfying in Stefan having his moment of hurting Elena right back after her (compelled) cruel honesty from last episode. A powerful moment, and one in which he not only counters her not-in-love-with-you with one of his own, but calls her out on her hypocrisy. Yes, Rebekah has tried to kill her (and all of them, really), but what has Damon done? Nobody’s perfect!
And speaking of the one and only Original sister, how nice was it to finally see Rebekah in a power position? Leader of her own team, easily seducing the last man she loved, being smart about the tombstone, standing up to both of her brothers (with mixed results, admittedly), and showing off her appreciation for other cultures while she’s at it. She’s something of an underdog among the Originals and, while I don’t believe for a minute that she’s given up on love, it’s a pleasure to watch her pretend.
Compelling moment: The Stefan and Rebekah moment in Shane’s office.
The Rules: We get a refresher on the subtleties of compulsion: only the vampire who compelled a person can “de-compel” them. If you take vervain after being compelled to do something (like bite your own tongue off), the vervain only prevents further compulsion — it doesn’t erase previous commands. (Think Katherine stuck in Alaric’s apartment even after Damon gave her vervain.) Kol, like Klaus before him (with Katherine in the sunlight), tests that Damon is actually susceptible to compulsion by making him stab himself. If an Original is daggered, their compulsion over someone ends. (Like when Katherine escaped the tomb thanks to Elijah being daggered after dinner.)
Other thoughts & questions before A View to a Kill (EP412):
- Best line: “It’s Mystic Falls. It’s actually one of the least ridiculous things I’ve heard.” (Also, did Sheriff Forbes get a new office? That place looked unfamiliar.)
- How many people has Kol turned in his 900 years? (He spent from 1910 ’til last season daggered.) Just how large of a vampire genocide would Jer be committing if he could get his hands on the white oak dagger and kill Kol?
- Why does Kol hate Damon so much? Is there some un-mined backstory there? (Remember the Originals’ ball and all that drama?)
- Who was the Mystery Man? Is there another team in the Race for the Cure? Team Katherine? Team Elijah? Team Character-We-Haven’t-Yet-Met-But-Has-Been-Cast?
- Will Stefan and Rebekah stick with their no feelings, no attachments rule?
What do you think of Catch Me If You Can?
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