Happy TVD Thursday! What better way to prepare for tonight’s new episode than to revisit last week’s. (Sorry for being so tardy with this post, my friends.) Let’s flashback to a time of horrible Franken-storms and an election on the horizon, college road trips and glorious 12th-century Klaus hair…
The Five was an episode with flashbacks, rather than a flashback episode, in my opinion, and while it is always welcome to see the wigs, Elijah, and a Rebekah-heavy arc, the storylines felt as if they were operating in isolation from each other, rather than integrated in a way that makes a TVD episode really sing. Compare it to Bad Moon Rising (with its Damon and Elena plus third wheel college-road-trip while Stefan stays at home to investigate the new supernatural element in Mystic Falls) or Klaus (best flashback episode ever?), where even when apart the characters are pushing toward a common goal — whether it’s a plot point or emotional beat or both.
Between Elena’s learn-how-to-feed road trip and the revelation of Rebekah’s past love affair with one of the Five, there was a common thread of getting so caught up in something that you lose sight of what truly matters to you. We witness what Klaus sees as Rebekah’s ultimate betrayal: choosing the promise of love — and humanity — over loyalty to her family, to her brothers whom she promised to stand beside always and forever. Klaus’s biting observations about Rebekah’s desperate need for love and affection, her “pathetic” trusting nature that leads her into one betrayal after another. And when you consider what we know of Rebekah’s history, it’s quite tragic. She’s been ‘killed’ by so many people she loves and trusts: her father when he turned his children, her lover Alexander, her brother (multiple times), her mother; even new pal and confidante Elena daggered her. And in The Five, she walks right into Klaus’s trap despite knowing better, despite knowing his tricks and manipulations. Klaus uses Stefan, and Stefan uses her undying romantic spirit to get from her what they want. What prevents her character from being a total sap is her ferocity. She is smart, she knows the game that’s being played and has been for a thousand years, but she refuses to change who she is. She is fundamentally the same as the day her mortal life ended. Her humanity is unwavering: she loves earnestly and desperately and she always will. She has her dibs on Donovan, and it’s important to note that she hasn’t compelled him. She wants to earn his forgiveness, wants him to properly love her. She won’t cheat at something so important. Here’s hoping that someone notices Rebekah’s absence soon and gets that dagger out of her. April? Help a girl out.
Step Away from the Edge: Onto Elena and her foray into being a Damon-style vampire. Loved the initial feed on Roofie Guy. Loved how hardcore vampire this scene got, with blood streaming down Elena’s neck while she gleefully danced and fed. Then the party was instantly over. With Bonnie as witness, Elena snaps out of her fun-time frenzy and starts thinking again — questioning what she’s doing and moralizing about it. Which, fair enough, is what Elena does. But what’s been slowly bringing me down this season so far is not that Elena is struggling with her vampirism, but how she’s struggling.
Each episode so far this season, in one way or another, she’s said that she can’t survive this. Now that she’s immortal, she’s feeling the least herself, not in control, incapable. Her everything-will-be-okay spirit is gone and — while it’s totally plausible that she’d react this way; it’s a big life change becoming a bloodthirsty vampire — it makes her journey hard to watch. Her moments of joy (whether standing on a speeding motorcycle, or feeding on unwitting college students) are fleeting. Instead of the usual Gilbert can-do attitude, Elena thinks of all the reasons things won’t work (like how Caroline can’t be her blood-control teacher — give it a shot!) and worries about how terrible things could be (thinking she’ll be a ripper too — aren’t they, like, super rare?). And then there’s Stefan’s high-alert concern that Elena will lose her humanity. More than with other new vampires, he seems to believe that Elena is a greater risk of turning it all off and keeping it off forever. Is she? Or is she uniquely prepared to not lose her humanity, thanks to what she’s witnessed, who she loves, and her own compassionate personality? While Elena’s and Stefan’s concerns are very much in character, they’re also kind of, um, a drag. And perhaps they’ve been overplayed a little to set up the importance of what was introduced in this episode: the Cure.
There were a lot of “please make this turn out to be the Sun and Moon Curse part 2” reactions to this twist, and understandably. If there is a cure for vampirism, what happens to our show? The quest that Stefan and Klaus are on has a game-changing result if things go as planned and things are what they seem. Of course we know that with The Vampire Diaries, it’s always wise to be less trusting than Rebekah.
Let’s consider how reliable our source is. Alexander told Rebekah that there was a cure for vampirism. To gain her trust, to betray her, he was telling her what she most wanted to hear: that she could be human again, that they would be married, that he loved her. And in the present day, the cure stands to make other dreams come true. What does Klaus want most? His hybrid army, and the cure could make that a reality. What does Stefan want? Elena to be human again. Was Alexander telling the truth back in 1114? Could he even know what the “weapon” was? The thing about a story told by a crusading knight who looks like a Disney prince, which sounds too good to be true, is that it probably is too good to be true. After all, a cure for vampirism is not necessarily a cure for death and every single vampire’s human life ended on their way to becoming immortal.
At any rate, Stefan would be wise to remember that when you make a deal with the devil, you lose more of yourself than you bargain for. It wasn’t hard for Klaus to get Stefan back into his clutches — willingly doing his dirty work for him, manipulating and betraying Rebekah, and now keeping a big secret from Elena and his brother. The plot thickens!
Compelling Moment: Connor’s daring, determined escape was amazing. And super gross. That man is a certified bad-ass.
The Rules: The Five are hunters with supernatural power, created through magic (like vampires). They cannot be compelled, and have superior strength. While the original members of the brotherhood had their full tattoos, Connor’s grows with each vampire (or hybrid) he kills.
Foggy moments: Why didn’t the 1114 A.D. vampire released into the sun run at vampire-speed into the shade? Poor survival instincts! Don’t frat boys live in a frat house? I assumed Damon and Elena would require an invite in, one more personal than a flyer passed along by Bonnie. When did the Original family leave Mystic Falls? At some point, Finn fell in love with Sage there — was he just on a little side trip to Italy with his siblings or had he left her behind? What happened to the girl whose drink was roofied?
Questions & thoughts before tonight’s episode, The Killer (EP406):
- What kind of truck did Rebekah buy Matt?
- Who was the witch who created the Five with her “dying breath” (and with fire)? How did she choose her five hunters? (Other than high-level of general fitness.) Did she forge the daggers? Or was there a Mystic Falls connection, say Ayanna, who knew the details of the original vampire-making magic. How did the Five know that their tattoo was a map to the weapon/cure? How did they learn about the Originals? Was there someone else guiding them?
- How does Professor No-Last-Name fit into this puzzle? He tells Bonnie he’s not a witch, but has alternative ways of practicing, and he holds enough power over Connor that the vampire hunter follows his order to go to Mystic Falls. Is Professor Shane also a member of the Five, or a mastermind behind it? What happened to Connor’s buddy from the army who marked him as a potential? What was the Five up to for the past 900 years?
- Was each of the Five’s tattoo identical or do all five markings fit together to create one super-map?
- Is it Jer’s “true destiny” to become one of the Five? What caused Connor’s tattoo to one day start appearing? Could that happen to Jer? (He’s already decapitated a hybrid, so first kill isn’t the ‘activation’.)
- Elena can’t keep anything down but blood from the vein: “call it the doppelganger curse.” What about Miss Katherine? We’ve seen her drink blood not from the vein on a few occasions, but she’s also a lady capable of acquiring a high tolerance for poisonous vervain by drinking it on the daily over a hundred years. So, has she overcome her “doppelganger curse” . . . or did she ever have that problem? (Katherine, please come back, we have a question for you.)
- Here’s my nutrition plan for Elena: supervised feedings from Matt, Jer, and Meredith. Then team up with Sheriff Forbes and go Dexter on the criminals-at-large in the MF area. Win-win.
- How long til Bonnie hooks up with Professor Shane?
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