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Posted by | November 25, 2012, 12:00 (EST) | 71 Comments
Category: In Review, The Vampire Diaries TV

Vampire Diaries In Review: We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes (EP406) - Losing ElenaIt’s that wonderful time of year: the moment in the season of The Vampire Diaries when the disparate plot threads start coming together into one super story-line, and with We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes it feels like we’re just on the cusp of something big in the final episodes before the winter hiatus.

Though the Salvatores literally lose Elena twice, it’s Elena nearly losing herself that’s at the heart of this episode. To put it mildly, she’s had a rough go of it this season so far, feeling that she is betraying herself, who she wants to be, and becoming a monster undeserving of the love and loyalty that surrounds her. With Connor’s spirit needling away at her, taking on the form of Katherine (so good to see even an imaginary version of her) and Elena’s mother, Elena is forced to deal with her demons, and when the sun rises on Wickery Bridge, it feels like she’s finally more at peace having waged that battle and nearly lost herself in it.

What struck me about this episode was its eyes-wide-open confrontation of the moral failings of our heroes. At the center, of course, was Elena facing the consequence of killing Connor. But it was the solution to that problem — Jeremy killing Chris to free Elena from the “hunter’s curse” — and Tyler’s reaction that really brought to light how far astray the good guys have gone. Stefan, Damon, Caroline, Bonnie and Jeremy just straight-up conspired to kill someone, and did Klaus’s wet work for him by taking out the hybrid who had betrayed his boss and broken his sire bond.

Think back on season one Tyler and imagine that that guy would be the one to help strangers, to call baloney on the excuses made to justify actions, to believe that the team he’s a part of (as he said in Memorial) extends beyond the Mystic Falls born-and-bred to other “monsters” who are without a will of their own. Tyler knows that the red shirts — whose necks have been so easily snapped or hearts ripped out by our two leading men — are just like him, hybrids forced through their sire bond to Klaus to betray their own sense of right and wrong. Even without a sire bond, our gang has done terrible things when forced into a corner (see: Bonnie, always). What was interesting about We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes was Tyler questioning what is acceptable and whose lives matter. Caroline brushes off Chris’s death, because he was a stranger to her, but he was a friend to Hayley, and to Tyler. And as Damon pointed out to Elena at Widmore in The Rager, everyone is someone’s sister or aunt or lover or brother. Even a serial killer who’s brutally murdered countless people is loved and cherished and would be mourned…right, Stefan? In the TVD world, is there such thing as a justifiable homicide?

One of this show’s refrains is that there is always a choice. (Like, the gang could have locked up Elena in the old vampire jail cell and left her there, safe from hurting herself though tormented instead of killing Chris.) But the poor characters are very deliberately given no time to be thoughtful about how to respond to a deadly threat. (Those dastardly writers!) So The Vampire Diaries often showcases a frenzy of questionable (or flat-out bad) decisions — like Stefan’s willingness to turn someone just to sacrifice them (as he texted to Caroline) or Jeremy’s decision to behead a hybrid, both to save Elena from what amounts to extreme psychological torture.

That frenetic pacing and normal lack of deliberation was so perfectly contrasted in the break-up scene on the porch. Stefan and Elena’s relationship this season quietly lead to this moment where both are being as honest and grownup about their feelings as they know how. It’s no easy task to admit that what they had hoped for in their forever together hasn’t panned out. That dying and becoming a vampire changed Elena, and pulled her away from Stefan — just as his return to being a ripper did last season. It’s a beautiful, almost understated scene with Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev so in control of their characters that a subtle look can express the complicated reality of their feelings for each other, and hers for Damon.

Whatever the fallout from that break-up will be, it will play out in concert with the uncomfortable alliance with Klaus. He acts in Elena’s “best interest” — trying to protect her from the consequence of killing a hunter by locking her up (in a room with a bevy of makeshift weapons available to a creative mind) — and, while this vampire cure is in play, his motivation aligns with hers. As much as he wants her alive for his future hybrid-making, there seemed to be something personal there too. That he “felt time” for those 52 years, 4 months and 9 days of being psychologicaLlY tormented by the hunters he killed — is that part of what makes Klaus so…Klaus? I loved that little glimpse of his humanity, like when he told Caroline on her birthday that he’d thought about ending it once or twice over the years or in this episode when he gallantly told Caroline that, if he had the power, he’d have never let Tyler hurt her. Twisted? Yes. Delightful? Hell yes.

Klaus further embroils himself into the lives and futures of our beloved Mystic Falls kids, and Jeremy as the “next Chosen One” is no exception. He’s now just as crucial a part of Klaus’s plot to discover the cure, and under his protection. What the Original Hybrid will want, presumably, is for “Little Gilbert” to kill as many vampires as he can to complete his tattoo. Jer’s on dangerous ground. Doing that may help his sister but becoming a killing machine requires a certain attitude toward those you kill. We’ve seen Jer try on the role of hunter in the past – half-heartedly whittling a stake to attack Damon with – but he’s been a firm believer in the fact that vampires are not wholly evil monsters that deserve final death. His new identity as a hunter, spelled by witches with extra power and singular purpose, is at total odds with who Jer has chosen to be.

Thanks to P.I. Matty Donovan, we know that the deceased Pastor Young was calling Professor Dreamy Atticus Shane daily. Which helps explain why Connor showed up at the cabin in Memorial. Besides touring mystical objects around local high schools, what is this creepy-until-proven-otherwise professor up to? What was with that mythology bomb he dropped: Silas, an immortality spell, a big old rock, and his betrayed lady-love witch who buried him alive?

Compelling Moment: The porch break-up. Just perfectly, quietly devastating.

The Rules: After a hunter is killed, he can haunt the vampire who killed him, trying to torment him or her into suicide. A “potential” hunter is activated by killing a vampire (or vampire-werewolf hybrid) after getting his initial hunter’s mark.

Foggy moments: How does Connor know how to best wear down Elena? Is he assisted by dead witchy powers that know Elena’s deepest fears and insecurities? Does he have some access to her psyche now that he’s a ghostly hunter? Where was Carol Lockwood the whole time that teenage hybrids were getting hammered in her house? Slumbering it with Liz? How long did it take for Damon to find Elena’s ring? It is rather amusing to picture him sifting through river mud.

Other questions & thoughts before My Brother’s Keeper (EP407):

  • Seems like Klaus’s visions of the hunters must have ended because new hunters were activated. So there have been five active hunters since the late 12th century?
  • Since Jer beheaded a guy in the Lockwood foyer, is Tyler and Jeremy’s friendship kaput?
  • What will Caroline and Klaus do on their date?
  • Damon’s never-ending memorial for Alaric just breaks.my.heart.
  • How is Professor Atticus Shane connected to Pastor Young?

 
 
Crissy Calhoun is the author of the Love You to Death companion guides to The Vampire Diaries: Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3. Find her online at crissycalhoun.com and tweeting @crissycalhoun.

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  • dman

    I thought this was a really good episode. On first viewing, only “the break-up” scene really interested me, but when I watched the episode again I got a real feel for everything that was happening. There were some things I liked and some I didn’t, but the episode achieved what it wanted — a culmination of recent storylines, a sad end to a once great relationship, and the transition to new beginnings. 

    Elena’s hallucinations were pretty graphic. Almost gratuitous. I mean…that was a lot of blood! But what really bothered me about that whole situation is why she needed to feel sorry for killing Connor. I liked Connor. I thought he was a very compelling character and a great addition to the show. He brought a lot of intensity that the show desperately needed and I loved how he kept everyone on their toes. But he was a villain. A vampire hunter, yes, but still a villain. His methods were dangerous and terrifying, and he had no problem using whatever means at his disposal to achieve his objectives, including hurting innocent people. So Elena’s guilt about his death is a little uncalled-for. I understand she’s a compassionate person, and that’s one of the reasons I love her, but Connor did try to kill her, multiple times, and he also tried to kill her brother, so her feeling sorry for him was entirely unnecessary. I was happy to see Katherine though, but was a little disappointed she wasn’t really there. I guess it’s better than nothing. Hopefully, next time we’ll get the real thing. Elena’s “thoughts” and actions in this episode weren’t really surprising. I think that’s the way she feels most of the time. She’s racked with so much guilt over everything that has happened in her life, it’s fitting it didn’t take that long for those “thought” to influence her in ending her life. I’m just glad Damon was there to save her. Hopefully in time she’ll snap out of this emotional pattern she’s been in since her parents died. 

    Everything comes to an end eventually. That is the reality of life. So sadly Stefan and Elena are no more. But I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. For the past couple of season they were already drifting apart. And even though they were together, off and on, with Elena choosing him in the finale, they were never able to reclaim that spark and connection they once had. Something seemed to be always missing. Their relationship just didn’t feel right. It’s like something was weighing them down. It’s as if a giant Elephant was sitting on their backs. That Elephant, for a long time, has been Damon, and the way Elena felt about him. She wasn’t able to overcome her feelings for him, and he couldn’t stop loving her. When Elena became a vampire, those feelings were magnified, and she began to rely on him more and more, eventually to the detriment of her relationship with Stefan. But Stefan didn’t help himself in this. He should’ve been more understanding with her. He should have listened to her. He should’ve been the person she relied on. Instead he created an atmosphere of dissatisfaction and distrust that Elena couldn’t function under. His insistence on animal blood, and only doing things his way drove her to his brother, the one person she felt understood her, and the one person she felt she could trust. I’m glad he was able to see the writing on the wall and ended things when he did. Why drag something out that just isn’t working anymore? Why stall the inevitable? It’s time for him to move on, and It’s time for Elena to really sort out her feelings for Damon without the confines of a relationship with Stefan. Despite my amusing take on “the morning after”, I think they’ll always love each other, and will remain friends. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but things will eventually settle down. At-least I hope so.

    So, what is my take on this potential relationship with Damon? Well, like I said before, everything was moving in that direction, and despite my personal objections about a brother dating his brother’s girlfriend, or being a root cause in their break-up, I feel that the show owes it to that storyline, and that fanbase, to explore things further. Elena needs to find out what she really feels for Damon, and Damon needs to have that feeling of finally getting something his heart desires. It’s been a long time coming, and the time is now.
    I’ll be interesting seeing them together though. Not only because of the unfamiliarity they would present, but also the new relationship dynamic they would bring as a couple. How would they act around each other now that they’re together? I mean…it’s much easier to act a certain way when you’re in pursuit of something, but what happens when you finally have it? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

    I know I’m a little late with this, but wow, Jeremy’s a hunter now. Good for him. It’s about time he got a decent storyline. But what effect would that have on his relationship with Elena? Would he see her as the enemy now? This is a storyline I’m really looking forward to. It has the potential to create a lot of conflict, with some devastating results. Cause, if Connor’s attitude and methods were because of his hunter’s status, Jeremy could become a really dangerous, unsuspecting adversary that could wreak some serious damage in Mystic Falls. I can’t wait to see what happens. Fun times ahead.

    This is the first time in a while I’ve actually been upset with Caroline. I didn’t like the the fact that she, Stefan, and Jeremy decided to kill that guy Chris. I know he was one of Klaus’ hybrids, and they needed to kill a vampire to save Elena, but did they have to kill him. I mean…he was a nice guy that was just trying to get way from Klaus. He even tried to help Elena when she was Klaus’ prisoner, and also helped Stefan rescue her. But still they decided to kill him. That was just a bad job by all of them. I totally understand Tyler and Hayley’s outrage, and I don’t blame them for feeling that way. That was their friend and it was terrible what happened to him. I think they could’ve found another vampire to use. Once again, another person dies to save Elena. I’m her biggest fan, but the body count just keeps going up and up and up.

    I can’t wait to see My Brother’s Keeper. It seems like we’ve been talking about it forever. Over 1200 comments can attest to that. Shannon! lol  I hope it’s really good, and begins the process of answering questions fans have always had and creating storylines that would transition TVD into it’s next chapter. 

  • kellygreen17

    *clap clap clap clap* bravo, I loved and agreed with everything you just posted. It was a well thought out, un-biased, and educational (that’s not the word I want but I can’t think tonight lol) review of the episode. Thank you for this :).

  • dman

    Thank you Kelly. I’m glad you liked it.

  • S.

     Someone on IMDB put it this way: She loves both of them, but her love for Stefan is comfortable and comfort magnified just makes you sleepy, but her love for Damon is very passionate and passion magnified is wow.  I also agree with some of the other comments about how she lost trust due to what happened in season 3 and that lack of trust is now magnified – actually a lot of good comments on this thread all around.

  • dman

    I was a staunch SE fan, but I think Elena feels like she can be herself with Damon. She doesn’t have to live up to some ideal, or be this perfect person as she was with Stefan. She can be free. And that’s one of the reasons she’s so drawn to Damon. Especially now.

  • Manon

    I like your thoughts! Lovely comment :)

    [but since I'm still a DE shipper, the only thing I do not agree with is your view on a brother dating his brother's ex-girlfriend... One can't choose who he (or she, in this case, too) falls in love with. The unfortunate thing here is we're talking about brothers... though it's equally bad if Damon and Stefan were just friends. I think their relationship can overcome this, since it survived for +/- 150 years.]

  • Manon

    He wanted to kill her in season 2… she would have been the vampire to be sacrificed, if Damon hadn’t saved her and Tyler.

  • dman

    Thank you for the compliments, but I was looking at things from a guy’s perspective when I made those statements.

    There are certain unwritten rules among men in regards to female relationships between friends/brothers in which there are clearly define boundaries that should not be crossed. And Damon, on multiple occasions, have crossed those boundaries. From his constant flirting with Elena, many love confessions, provocative holds and touches, numerous bedroom encounters, to him kissing who he thought was her in ‘Founder’s Day’. He has been the giant Elephant that has weighed their relationship down, and he was a major cause in it falling apart.

    Now, you say that one can’t choose who they fall in love with? Yes, that is true. But one also has a choice on whether they act on that love. And Damon acted on that love, instead of doing the honorable thing and keeping his thoughts and feelings to himself.

    Can their relationship overcome this? Possibly, given that something similar happened in the past. But like before, it would take a lot of time. Fortunately, time is something they do have.

  • Dreamlover08

    forgive the philosopher in me but i think elena killing connor would more or less fall under self-defense/ defense of others versus homicide. murder is when you kill someone without an overwhelmingly good reason. it’s clear connor wouldn’t stop hunting them and even throwing innocent humans in the crossfire so as sad as it was that he probably had loved ones somewhere, he kind of brought it on himself. and it’s not like elena felt good about killing him so i think we can define justifiable killing as taking a life when there is no other alternative to protect yourself or your loved ones. even the courts allow for that. now the hybrid killing was murder because he really wasn’t a threat so morally i think mfg is responsible 4 his death but not in the case of someone who is clearly a threat to the well being others.

  • Manon

    You’re right! Damon definetely shouldn’t have acted on his love… but he did, and I can’t say I’m bothered by that :)

  • dman

    Well, at-least you’re being honest. But I’m curious if you would apply those same sentiments to a real life situation, cause I wouldn’t.

  • kellygreen17

    Well, this isn’t real life we’re talking about or all of our main characters would be up for murder charges at the least. I get where you’re coming from completely, but this is a fantasy TV show about vampires, so real-world morals don’t always apply. I still believe the “heart wants what the heart wants” aspect though, and sure, Damon could have been even more discreet in his wanting, but where’s the entertainment/drama in that?  If this was the real world, things like this do happen (2 siblings falling for the same person and that person loving both back), so going there in TV is feasible.  I’m just glad they didn’t go the Ménage à trois route as that’s a bit to skeevie for this show in my opinion lol.

  • dman

    I think things like that are wrong on TV or in real life. Obviously I’m going to be more tolerant when it happens on Television, but it doesn’t mean I have to agree with it, or even like it.

    So yes, I do see the distinction between television and the real world, but with me, I’m just a little less liberal with my morals.

  • kellygreen17

    Fair enough, you have the right to your opinions and morals even if they differ from mine :). Intelligent discussions on forums like this are what enhance this show and make the “TVD Family” so cool.  We don’t always have to agree on every point to make discussing it enjoyable :D.  Hmmm I think that was me over-explaining again lol, I’ve been told I do that quite frequently.

  • dman

    You’re right. Having intelligent, worthwhile discussions about the show are one of the many advantages of this website. It definitely enhances the TVD experience, that’s for sure.

    I have a tendency to over-explain things myself. lol But I think when you have a point to make, especially if it’s important, you sometimes say more than is necessary so the person understands exactly what you mean. Though in your case, your explanation was fine. It’s nice discussing things with you Kelly. You can always “explain-away” if you want. lol

  • Tiaserena

    Very well put!

  • Tia Serena

    Yes, I am actually disappointed by the fact that even as a vampire, Elena has needed constant “saving”. I was hoping for a breakout point, that she would be more self sufficient, take a level in badass and not need saving as much! They keep giving us glimpses of Elena the Warrior Princess, but she still gets poisoned by beer, and when she kills Connor in self-defense she is tortured by his ghost and needs the whole gang to “save her” – AGAIN! 

  • Tia Serena

    Somebody pointed this out in another forum… and I think it is a valid and EXTREMELY FOGGY MOMENT:
    Jeremy died with Elena’s blood in his system – I would say less than 8 hours between she fed him her blood to save him in “The Killer” and stabbing him in this episode. Shouldn’t he become a vampire?On the other hand, he got his hunter’s mark after Connor died. Didn’t that mark him as a mystical creature – therefore the Gilbert Ring would not work????
    Poor Jeremy!

  • Tania Rahman123

    Elena’s first kill, the first time she can save her brother and she ends up killing a hunter and having hallucinations. She can’t even transition into a vampire ‘safely’. Again, we see just how self centred and obssessed Klaus is with creating his hybrids, as he only ‘protects’ Elena, having just daggered his own sister, to get her out of the way. 

    The writers are making too big a deal out of Connor, but the Katherine hallucinations are spot on, she tells Elena everything she does not want to hear about herself, ‘don’t you ever stop crying’. Maybe everyone should let Elena just be a vampire for a while. Then again, Katherine could be talking about herself. Of course its a product of Elena’s subconsious, just as the hallucination of her mother.

    Has Stefan lost his mind, making a deal with Klaus? It always ends badly, or does he hate the idea of Elena being a vampire so much?
    Professor Shane is a great addition, he knows everything, is always there when needed and we don’t know anything about him yet.





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