Before The Battle
Courtesy the CW
The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 17 recap
Okay, it's Mystic Falls Friday and all, but before we get to it, a little housekeeping. Thanks for your responses to yesterday's article. Click here if you missed my post on What Do Fans Deserve. I maintain that it's a balance to engage fans while still not letting them drive things - and my point was made last night when Julie Plec did a live chat with Entertainment Weekly during the episode. Someone asked whether Paul Wesley's Stefan was going to get a non-Elena love interest, as he's been hinting in the press he would like.
What Paul wants and what paul gets are sometimes different
There is a whole lot of richness there that we can imagine into. All I'm saying is, see? You don't know what she's got going on that informs the decisions she makes.
I knew my feelings on this episode were going to be tainted early on when I realized that I am an old, old, old lady because during the scene with Damon and Rebecca, when they're at the... lemonade table, the music was so damn loud I couldn't understand a word they were saying. So I'm sure there were delicious sexual innuendoes as he invited her to a sex party, but I couldn't actually hear them.
That's how I felt about a lot of the episode: that there was something there, but that they didn't quite get to the meat of what they were aiming at. Which can happen, when the run-up to the end of the season is coming but not quite here - the idea that there's a lot being held back made the cliffhangers a little bit weaker than usual.
In particular, Damon and Rebekah and Sage felt like it was marching in place a little. I don't know if it's because we just met Sage, or because she looks alternately 25 and 45 on my TV screen, but her “I control everyone” vibe rang somewhat false, and her love for Finn confounded me. This powerful creature, who's captured Damon's interest for years, is in desperate love with an original vampire who strikes me as nothing so much as a slightly off-kilter preacher? I like Damon and Rebekah together, of course, and they annoy each other in just the right ways. But this storyline seemed as though it could have happened without Sage, and though I'm sure we'll meet her again before the end of the season - the woman stronger than so many men - she didn't make me truly worried about the fact that she's not on our boys' side. I like Rebekah's ability to fly off the handle at the drop of a napkin much more.
The story's slow pace was highlighted by all the sex and dancing; if they have to throw that much eye candy at us and there's still no real excitement or titillation, that's when you know it's kind of a slow one. However, I did giggle endlessly at Damon burning his family journal without bothering to put clothes on. He's so hilariously wealthy-poncy, it kills me. However, the idea that Damon and Stefan once again have a common enemy is exciting, and I like that however mopey Stefan is (really? The control over the blood thing, again?) he's always up for a fight. So a heritage sign will be the weapon that saves them. Right. Forward we go.
Meanwhile, of course, Alaric is a sometime-psychotic, and Elena, with the good doctor Meredith Fell, is trying to prevent him from knocking off all the members of the Founding Families. This had its moments, most notably the systematic way that psycho-Ric got rid of the tranquilizers - but I wish we could have kicked this up a notch. It's still only episode 17, so I understand why his victim wasn't somebody closer to home but the combination of Meredith being relatively new to us, as well as maybe-possibly still kind of suspicious (Oh, and Paul Wesley's wife, in case you didn't know) made her victimhood at his hands predictable and not all that scary. Just me?
The problem with Alaric, I think, is that he's still not linked to anyone that much. He lives with Elena in an understood live-and-let-live environment; the idea that he's actually going to guard her in any real sense is long gone, of course. Despite his note to Jeremy, we all know he's out-of-sight, out-of-mind. If he were still a teacher, caring for innocent young Mystic Falls youth, I might be more worried about his murderous streaks. But since he still hasn't gotten close enough to someone we really, truly care about, it's hard not to think he should be this year's expendable adult of the family - no matter how much I love he and Damon together, and how much I'm looking forward to next week's bromance house arrest.
And of course, Stefan and Elena. He made some strides this episode but her feelings on this are muddy. She seems more like a reproachful aunt these days than a lover, and of course that's for self-preservation, at least for now. She can't love him the way she used to, and she'll never admit that that part of her has been becoming increasingly more Damon-shaped anyway. Stefan's ability to resist human blood is a milestone but what does it mean for him and Elena going forward?
One thing I do really like is how systematically they are stripping Elena's support away. No more Ric, and, as we saw this episode, Jeremy is still a child (though I really thought they were going to reveal that the “friends” he was going out with were some unsavoury characters, possibly of the hybrid persuasion), and although she and Bonnie hugged, that is a chasm that might never be fixed again. She's alone, with only her two vampires...
Finally, of course, there is Bonnie and mom Abby. I did like what they did here, with Abby still scared and ready to run. Didn't Damon at one point tell us that a vampire's personality just gets more heightened from the mortal they were? She hid from Bonnie before, so this felt right and in character. If she was weak about facing up to terrifying things before, well, more so now. And if this affects Bonnie's unequivocal forgiveness of Elena, well, so much the better. For both of them. Bonnie has been learning all season that it being all about Elena is going to hurt, ultimately. And as for Elena, if she's going to grow into the adult she's been thinking about becoming all season, she's going to have to stand on her own feet.
Attached - photos from next week’s episode The Murder Of One.