Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’: Wise men at their end know dark is right
“Is this the part where you give me a dream? Rainbows? Rolling green hills?”
Last week we learned that Damon never told Elena about what he did for Rose in those last moments of her life. But we learned this week that in a moment of drunken weakness Damon told Alaric about what he’d done to ease her pain and suffering.
And I only wish someone had done something to ease my own pain and suffering during last night’s episode. Because even if you’ve only read a couple of my reviews, you probably know that Alaric Saltzman is my favorite character that this show has ever given life to. I’ve said time and again the best thing the writers ever did was keep Alaric alive at the end of season two. And I stand by that statement.
I don’t think killing Alaric will ever serve any sort of purpose – aside from ripping out mine and Damon’s hearts – despite whatever message the writers think it makes. His death would not advance the plot, it would not force the Gilbert children to grow up. If anything, Alaric’s death would weaken them and further strengthen my theory that death is Elena’s gift. Killing off Alaric would set the Gilbert siblings back. They’ve literally lost everyone who has ever played the role of guardian in their short lives. And killing off Alaric would be an unforgivable mistake.
And sure, maybe I’m just a tad bit biased and blinded by love for the character of Alaric Saltzman, because, hello, I have eyeballs, but I have no problem admitting this. Matt Davis ruled this episode; he made it his bitch, just like the episodes last season that were focused on him as he was being possessed by Klaus. He’s got a screen presence, especially when paired with Ian Somerhalder, that makes him unlookawayable. And I can’t imagine the show without him.
I suppose if you want to look at it from an unbiased point of view you can point out that Alaric has been a character to rally around. He’s truly been this show’s punching bag, and the one character that’s been through hell and still alive to tell the tale. You just feel bad for him and for all of the pain he’s gone through that you simply want to see him make it to the other side (not The Other Side) in one piece.
When we first met Alaric he was a vampire hunter searching for his missing wife, Isobel, who’d been kind of obsessed with vampires. And who was also Elena’s birth mother. We later found out she had asked Damon Salvatore to turn her into a vampire, and that he’d granted that request. After returning and stomping on poor Alaric’s heart for a bit she died last season.
Alaric eventually started a relationship with Jenna Sommers, the aunt and legal guardian of Elena and Jeremy Gilbert (“Well, I’m naked. So I’m gonna go”). But then Jenna was killed at the end of season two and Alaric was thrown into an even deeper pit of despair. His drinking became worse – the only thing that seemed to keep him afloat was the idea that he was somewhat responsible for the well-being of these two children. And even though he wasn’t the best father figure, he was at least there to give them some much needed guidance and advice and to try to protect them from getting hurt. And to think that these children might have to go without again makes my heart hurt.
At one point last night I thought my review was literally going to be just the word “NOOOOOO!” over and over and over again. Because I didn’t know how I was going to tackle the death of my favorite character. I think there was a point in time where I was curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth weeping, trying to figure out how I was going to go on living in an Alaric-less world. And then I remembered Damon. And I found myself wondering how he was going to go on living in an Alaric-less world.
Those two were bros for life. And for Damon to be there, at the supposed end of Alaric’s life, that meant a lot to everyone involved. I haven’t been on Tumblr really, but I’m assuming there’s been thousands of gifs made of that scene. The fandom loves their bromance, just like I do. In fact, the Damon/Alaric bromance has been a part of the show for so long that I can’t even remember a time before I wasn’t using the “Damon and Alaric – bros for life” tag on Tumblr (though I’m betting it was probably sometime in 2009). An Alaric-less world is not a world I want to live in.
So in those last moments with Damon I was trying to come up with every possible scenario for him to live. And somehow the Bonnie twist didn’t cross my mind. Mostly because Bonnie never crosses my mind except when I think about how much I hate her character.
I was hoping against hope Damon had spiked the bottle with human blood – I mean, how much blood does he possibly really need to complete the transition? But alas it was not meant to be. That being said, I’m pretty sure Alaric was dead dead by the time possessed Bonnie got there and forced her blood into his throat. But you won’t really find me quibbling over that fact since it means Matt Davis’ pretty face is still, at least for now, a part of this show.
But let’s take a step back for a minute and discuss a couple of other things that happened in last night’s episode. I know, believe it or not, some other things happened outside of the Alaric drama.
First and foremost, Jeremy and Matt are among my favorite bromances now. Jerematt? Mattermy? I don’t know and I don’t care, I just know that I love it when these two bond and hang out together. Remember that time they got stoned and their conversation was basically, “Words, man. Words.” Those two make my heart happy. I hope to see more of them.
Secondly, it was the decade’s dance. And for once, there was no Damon and Elena moment (I know everyone thinks dances are a Delena thing; I think that’s stupid, but whatever). I don’t know how I made it this far into a review without mentioning these two – especially after last week’s hot and heavy groping session in that motel, but there were more important things at hand this week. But even if with everything else going on the writers still found plenty of time to remind us that Elena is Conflicted. She has feelings for both brothers and doesn’t know what to do. So after trying out a little Damon last week at the Mystic Falls Beef Cake Buffet, this week she’s opting for the younger, broodier brother.
And you know what she found out? Stefan still tastes delicious. And that’s because Stefan is still Stefan. He’s always going to be perfect and sweet and their love will be pure and puppies and butterflies and rainbows. And I admit that I love that about them. But will he ever really challenge her? Probably not. Stefan is a great guy and an intriguing character, but I don’t see Elena choosing him. Not right now at least. Maybe after she gets a taste of what Damon can offer, but for the foreseeable future, no.
Because as beautiful as Stefan and Elena’s relationship is, I think she has to choose Damon. And I’m not just saying that because I ship Damon and Elena. I’m saying it because, 1) the Pacey Witter Theorem dictates it, and 2) because Elena will eventually come to blame Stefan for not being more like Damon. She will begin to resent him and their perfect monotonous life together. It’s science. And by science I mean the science of television.
But even more important than the love triangle relationships, is the Team Salvatore relationship. Looking over my notes from last night’s episode I wrote, literally in all caps, “AS MUCH AS I LOVE DAMON AND ELENA, I WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE DAMON AND STEFAN. ALWAYS.” This came right after Damon said, “Well, he already has a brother. Not to be, you know, territorial or anything.”
And with that one statement I found myself tumbling (not Tumblring) back into my Team Salvatore obsession. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, these two are the reason this show exists. And I’m afraid that this one thing – their mutual love for the same woman – the same love that once brought them together, will also be what tears them apart. Ian Somerhalder gave an interview last week to E! in which he said, “Damon and Stefan really start to love each other. In this situation, heartbreak and failure and triumph brings them together.” But the question that’s left unanswered is, “But for how long?”
I don’t like things coming between my bromances, whether their blood brothers or brothers in alcoholism and bad choices, I don’t want anything getting in the way. But this week it looked like the Brothers Salvatore were both on the same page, probably because they were trapped in the high school after Esther pulled a ‘Hocus Pocus’ and poured a ring of salt around the school making it impossible for them to leave the school grounds. Now, I have some questions: Where the hell did that bitch get all that salt? And how much did it cost? Did she pour it herself? How long did it take? Because to go all around the freaking high school must have been a big chore. I’d have gotten bored halfway around and been like, “You know what? Vampires? They’re really not all that bad after all. I could really use a soda.”
But whatever, I’m not a witchy woman. I don’t hate vampires when they look like the ones on this show. But you know, I feel like someone should have been able to kick some of that salt around to misplace it, thus breaking the ring and the spell, but that seems WAY too obvious and logical and Bonnie has to have SOMETHING to do other than annoy the crap out of everyone. So she’s called away from making out with that guy from ‘Cousin Skeeter’ and has to help the vampires she loathes in order to once again save her best friend and Alaric and all of mankind. But she’s going to pout about it and give everyone really mean looks while doing it.
Meanwhile, back in Oblivious to the Plight of Their Friends World, Caroline and Tyler are being adorable at the dance. Until Klaus walks in in his dapper attire and is all, “I don’t have to prove anything, love. I am the alpha male.” He said some other stuff too, but all I really heard him saying to Caroline was, “IIIII can showwwwwwwwwwww you the worldddddddddddd.”
I might love Klaus, but I don’t think I can support a Caroline/Klaus relationship. I enjoy Tyler, and the relationship of Forwood too much to ever really pay attention to anyone else.
This thing is already too long, so I’m going to wrap it up with a few stray thoughts:
- This episode was titled “Do Not Go Gentle” which is from a poem by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. And as someone named after his wife (though she spelled her name with a C) and who would have been named after the man himself if I’d been a boy, I was very excited to see this episode title. If you’ve never read the poem before, click here to do so. I’m not a fan of poetry in general (I subscribe to the Jess Mariano school of Poetry Opinions), but once you read the poem, you’ll understand why it was actually a perfect title and why Alaric accepting death was not for him to go – going out fighting is more his style. And while I hope he doesn’t go out at all, if he does – it should not be in such a sad way.
- I liked seeing everyone’s reactions to Alaric’s death. They were all very fitting. Jeremy did a shot with Matt. Elena freaked and started cleaning out his vampire hunting weapons and broke down about her and Jeremy being alone again. And Damon pretended that it wasn’t eating him up inside.
- I hope Rebekah makes it though this season and into the next. Because I love her. Seeing her get stabbed in the heart made me want to cry.
- Speaking of crying – that tear that slowly tickled down Alaric’s cheek at the end? Yeah, that made me cry. Like, a lot. I couldn’t take it. I think I also started to possibly hyperventilate. I understood him not wanting to transition, but I think Alaric as a vampire could and would work. Sure, he’d have to work at it, since Esther poisoned his mind from the Other Side every time Damon (or someone else) killed him. But it could be done. Plus, I like the idea of Damon and Alaric’s bromance lasting for all eternity.
- I loved the final moments between Damon and Alaric. Especially this exchange. Because it says a lot about them: “Sorry I killed you. Twice.” / “Do I have to actually die to get a real apology out of you?” / “Drink?” / “Actually I’ve been thinking about cutting back.”
- I was a little disappointed to see Bonnie in next week’s preview. I was really hoping that Alaric drained Bonnie. Because homegirl is a major buzzkill. And I hate her.
What did you guys think? Did you cry thinking Alaric was really dead? Did anyone else get really annoyed that they couldn’t just kick the salt ring apart?