The College Years
The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 4 recap
So when you become a vampire, you don’t get your period anymore, right?
This is a ridiculous question, but it was the first thing I thought of when Elena and Damon were hanging out in a lecture hall. Someone in there has to be on their cycle – can Elena smell that? What about in the party? Remember how when you got to college you heard these types of questions for the first time that were sort of titillating and also intriguing? You dragged yourself to lectures, but then they are kind of exciting and if you feel that way, does that guy two rows over feel that way, and can you both remember that feeling when you run into one another later on that night?
One of the things The Vampire Diaries does so well is to keep apace of the “regular” lives of these characters. It could all be one endless fight against Klaus, and sometimes it is, at least in the B-plot, but for the continuing progressions of jobs and first loves and changing opinions.
One of the first things you start really examining when you get to university is sexuality and promiscuity and interactivity. It’s just a basic fact that comes from everyone around you also having an available bed nearby. What’s okay? What’s not? What is a version of it that doesn’t look like what we usually think of it?
I find Klaus tiresome, most of the time, but I have always loved Rebecca, a girl who wants too hard to have a young person’s life, no matter how many times she is thwarted at getting it. So this time when she goes to see her brother, he tries to make everything all about slut-shaming her. It’s her fault she was with one of the brothers, it’s her fault they’re now dealing with a vampire hunter. She is a cold-blooded killer and all, but he still manages to make her cry without trying.
And what method does he use? Slut-shaming, obviously. Why is this so effective? I mean effective in two ways, because even though it pissed her off royally, not least because she’s still victim to him every time he wants to toy with her – like she can’t not go running back – it also leads her to get real, yet again, about how much she hates him and his expectations for her to be just his silent support. That, I’m down with.
But we knew Klaus was a bad guy (and thank you, show, for backing off of Klaus + Caroline) and we knew Rebecca was petulant. What kills me is how Stefan thinks he’s good. Or that the ends justify the means – that he can trick Rebecca and help Klaus because a cure would be the best thing for Elena, and for Stefan, who would have her all to himself again.
Sorry, but do we not see this as selfish? I have always beat this drum – that Damon wants Elena as she is, and Stefan wants her as he wants her to be – i.e., in a way where only he can possess her. Elena is talking herself into feeling that way, too.
Because did you see her at school? Drinking and partying and being delighted with Damon? Feeling like everything, including all those feelings, were happening in just the exact way they were supposed to? He lets her be free! He’s not pushing her, he’s doing what he knows she needs. I feel pretty strongly that this is true. That her sexuality – oh, I’m sorry, I mean vampirism – can be allowed to feel like it’s a gift instead of an albatross around her neck… with Damon, at least. She and he were so happy together…until Bonnie.
Bonnie is jealous. Yes, I said it. Jealous of the connection that Elena and Damon have, because here’s someone who understands you totally. (I couldn’t even begin to wonder what’s up with Jeremy and Bonnie.) Jealous that Elena has a situation in which she can be as free as she wants to be. Bonnie, on the other hand, has to restrict herself all the time. She can’t be free. She can’t feel good – she got punished. Witches love their consequences, don’t they?
But Bonnie, like Stefan, wants Elena to be who she was back then because it’s easier for her. Because then she doesn’t have to change to adjust to her friend, just like Stefan doesn’t have to change to accept that Elena has sexual feelings – I mean, sorry, vampire feelings – that he didn’t teach her. He’s not confident enough in their love that she’ll come back to him once she sees the world that’s out there, beyond his close, stifling embrace.
It’s a bad move, Stefan.
In other news, glad we’re getting some villains who look like they’re bad – ear-post ripping Connor and the buddy who’s the professor. Klaus may have been scary at the end of season two, but his poncey bluster has really died out, even if he is still a misogynistic ass.