Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’: Teaching Elena Gilbert
Today, the Twitter world was abuzz with the generic spoiler that something huge would be revealed in tonight’s episode of ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ And I know what you were all thinking: this is the episode where Damon Salvatore finally bares all. But this isn’t HBO, folks, this is the CW, so get your minds out of the gutter and get back to the drawing board.
The idea that we fans would be enticed by the words “huge secret revealed” is a little offensive. Because that spoiler means nothing in the world of TVD. Something big happens nearly every week. And the reveal midway through the episode – that there is allegedly a cure for vampirism – felt a little stale because of it.
I don’t know if I’ve just become numb to the huge reveals on the show, if I don’t care about anything now that Alaric is dead, or if I’m bothered because I swear I read this book/seen this movie before*, but something about tonight’s episode and the entire storyline relating to the Five was a bit anticlimactic.
It’s also possible that I was distracted by the truly hideous/awesome hair that Klaus and Elijah were sporting back in the 1100s. I don’t know how Klaus got his curls to hold, but whatever he did, I would like to know.
Anyway, like I said, the idea that there is a cure for vampirism isn’t new in terms of vampire folklore. But in the context of the show, the mere possibility of there being a cure is reason for many of our favorite Mystic Falls inhabitants to be concerned, or at the very least, intrigued.
If there is a cure, it could be the key to Elena, and even Stefan, being able to return to their human states. They can have children and grow old together – die together, Stefan says. And he’d willingly trade eternity for all of that because of how much he loves Elena.
Klaus, however, has a different idea as to what the cure could mean. If a cure exists, he can return Elena to her human state and once again harvest her human blood so he can create more hybrids. Because both ideas involve Elena being human, Stefan is more acquiescent to help Klaus find out what he wants to know – which is the location of the key, because the key is necessary to read the map. Confused yet? The map is the invisible tattoo that Connor is sporting and that only Jeremy can see. With every vampire that he kills, more of the map appears on his body.
In order to read the map to find the cure, one needs the key, which is a sword that once belonged to the the head of the original Five and with whom Rebekah fell in love once upon a time. It doesn’t matter that he eventually staked her and the rest of the Originals, because she really loved him. We eventually find out that the two were supposed to wed and after Klaus murdered him, Rebekah buried the sword with his body at the church where they were set to get married. Kind of rude to kill the bride, even if she is a bloodsucking monster, no?
The only problem that no one seems to be mentioning is that if Elena is cured, Stefan will almost be forced to remain a vampire in order to protect Elena from Klaus’ maniacal obsession with using her blood to create more hybrids. I sincerely doubt that Stefan would let Damon be Elena’s sole champion. Even if they’re not in a fight (that was a great brotherly scene, by the way), I don’t think Stefan would ever sign off on Damon being her sole protector, not because of his unethical or unorthodox methods, but because deep down, I don’t know if he trusts Damon enough.
And speaking of the elder Salvatore, he spent the majority of the episode on another road trip with Elena. He and the newbie vamp crashed Bonnie’s college visit to meet some dude who took over her Grams’ classes, and used the time away from Mystic Falls as a teaching lesson.
Damon, determined to prove to Elena that being a vampire isn’t all bad, teaches her how to feed on humans without draining them. She relies on Damon’s help because she doesn’t believe that Caroline can help her, as she has the world’s best self-control when it comes to drinking blood. She simply doesn’t understand how difficult it is for Elena to cut off before draining someone. And she can’t very well ask Stefan to teach her how to feed, when the poor man can’t have even a drop of human blood without going into full on Ripper mode. So that leave’s Damon, who’s more than willing to teach her the ways of vampirism.
After a few false starts (Elena finds that she can’t feed on a lovely blonde co-ed after seeing a photograph of the girl with her younger sister on her iPhone), Elena and Damon find themselves at a Murder House frat party, where Damon, in what I choose to believe is a cheap shot at his brother, dresses as Jack the Ripper. It’s at this party where Elena is finally able to let go and feed. And she’s able to figure out how to stay in control when drinking the blood of strangers, and then erasing their memory of the entire exchange.
Not only does she learn how to feed, but she gets high on the rush of it all, and soon she and Damon are careless in their exploits, drinking from people right on the dance floor as blood drips down both of their faces. They dance together (because that’s their Thing) and it isn’t until Bonnie returns from meeting with the anthropology professor who took over Grams’ classes that Elena realizes just what she’s done and rushes out of the house in horror and disgust.
For all of her declarations about how she doesn’t want to be like Damon, she is like Damon. There’s always been a part of Elena, even as a human, that thrived on his zest for life and his passion for which he did things. Now that she’s a vampire, Elena is changing, and she’s letting go of her inhibitions (starting with that motorcycle ride last week). She might love Stefan, but he’s probably never going to be OK with what Elena as a vampire means. He’s always going to feel the need to protect her, to keep her out of harms way – and that’s great, but now that she’s a vampire, she needs more than a protector. She needs a partner, someone who isn’t afraid to let her experience everything that her new state offers. And as much as I love Stefan and admit that this episode belonged to Paul Wesley and his hair, their relationship is doomed and it has been ever since Elena took her first breath after her death.
If her intimate scene on the front porch with Damon is any indication, I think it’s safe to assume that Elena is wrestling – even if she isn’t quite aware of it yet – with more than just her ability to feed without killing. Stefan might be her past, but Damon, whether she wants to admit it or not, is her future. At the end of the day, he’s the one who’s going to help her successfully transition and adapt to what it means to be a vampire.
Some stray observations:
- I can’t believe Klaus really thought something that was created during the Inquisition would be able to withstand the strength of a vampire hunter, especially one who has the marks of a member of the Five. In my head, I imagined that Klaus’ preferred form of torture was to tickle Connor until he gave in.
- Bonnie’s newest friend, the man who took over teaching her grandmother’s classes at the university, as it turns out, is Connor’s boss. Which surprises absolutely no one, I’m sure.
- Jeremy had his memory wiped. Again. I feel like Will Smith in ‘Men in Black’ when he’s concerned that wiping someone’s memory too many times can cause brain damage. I mean, we all know that Esther was manipulating Alaric and making him evil every time he visited the Other Side when he died, so who is to say that all of those times that Jeremy’s had his brain wiped isn’t detrimental to his neurological health? I mean, who’s to say that Stefan didn’t accidentally erase geometry or something? What if one day he just can’t process any new information and winds up with short term memory loss like in that terrible Adam Sandler movie? I’M JUST REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT JEREMY, OK?
- Too much Bonnie and no Caroline at all. I want a do-over.
- There was about 8 seconds of Elijah this week. Whoever thought that was enough needs to be fired. I demand that next time Elijah surfaces it’s in the present and he does something completely fabulous. K?
- Rebekah has dibs on Pudding Pop, y’all. She bought him a new truck to apologize for running him off the Wickery Bridge and nearly killing him. Aw, puppy love. And speaking of Rebekah, she’s been daggered by her own brother, and just after Stefan had promised her a clean slate with both himself and Pudding Pop too. Tough luck.
- Rebekah: “You took me for granted.” Klaus: “That’s what big brothers do, sweetheart!”
What did you guys think? Were you surprised at the revelation as to who Connor is working with? Were you shocked at Elena’s blatant disregard for secrecy and decency at the frat party? Did you just want to hand Damon some mouthwash when he had all that blood in his mouth?
*I really have read a book where people actually believed vampirism was a disease and that you could cure it. Of course, I can’t remember for the life of me what the book was and it’s killing me, so if you have any idea what it might have been, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
Note: Photo courtesy of the CW.