Life's too short
The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 22 recap
Isn't that right? No matter how long a time on earth, isn't the person always gone too soon? Isn't there always more you could have said or done? Greater wishes you had to be with them, say the last thing? Nobody ever says, at the end of a life, “well, that was about the exact right time. Well done”.
There are questions over whether what happened tonight on VD was “too soon” in the myth of the story - but isn't that exactly the point? Too soon to play out all the lives she could have lived on earth. Too soon to have those children Elijah was talking about. Too soon to make a choice about who she loves that wasn't pressured by which of them was going to die in the next hour.
It was too soon for all of that, but it's done. Elena as we knew her is gone. Too soon? Too bad. We move on, because we have no other options. Though the actual revival of Elena wasn't that much of a surprise, I did like that it turned out to be her own choice. She expected to die. She made her plans and her peace with how it was going to go down. That's her freedom of choice, that's what Stefan was so adamant she retain.
Which made him the outlier in this episode - possibly artificially. He's always been the slightly more soft-spoken of the motley crew but the incessant screaming by various men (including Jeremy here is, of course, generous) telling her what to do made me utterly exhausted. The idea that even now, Elena should listen to others where her life and safety are concerned is an old idea. She's outgrown it. She doesn't need it anymore. So the easiest way to shut them all up for good? Become (damn near) invincible and let the chips fall where they may. I buy it from Elena - that it's a decision she made calmly and personally, with the knowledge that the catch-22 of the Originals and Alaric was going to result in bloodshed no matter what.
But I worry that Stefan's behaviour in this episode - not forcing her to make a deal (or not) with Elijah, not forcing her out of the car - has allowed him to be more of what Elena wants, more of what she would choose, given what she thinks is important. She made her choice, such as it is. But Stefan will always do her bidding, and as the show was all too ready to remind us, sometimes Elena's decisions aren't perfect.
Damon, on the other hand, reveals to us what we already knew, in our heart of hearts (in a pretty retconny bit of revisionist history, of course, if you're a purist). Stefan wants Elena to be happy but Damon wants her to be everything she possibly could be: passionate and breathless and excited and determined. He wants her to be a whole person - and I suspect her perspective may be completely different now that she has millennia to live it out in and now that she's suddenly going to remember everything Damon compelled her to forget.
One other thing that struck me when Stefan and Damon were still in the car together - did you notice that Damon said "our life is one big proverbial coin toss"? Not “our lives”? The brothers aren't only inextricably linked, they're pretty committed to staying that way. It's curious, no?
But of course, fortunes change on this show all the time. Tyler and Caroline played the Romeo and Juliet scenario to the hilt, and who loved them more than us? You bought every word of their impassioned “leaving town” speech, didn't you? You know what's creepy? Regardless of whether Tyler was still in Tyler at that point, or whether Klaus had inhabited his body, the words remained true. Either one would be happy to run away with Caroline for all time. And she'll be duly horrified, I'm sure, when she learns the exact moment she was pouring her tears for someone already gone.
My question is whether Bonnie is ever going to be able to join the group again or not. She's fundamentally different from them. Caroline and Elena, Stefan and Damon -- hell, even the originals most of the time -- seem to brush off the dark and embrace the light side of things, find reasons to be happy and to enjoy living, as per Elena. But Bonnie hasn't been bright-eyed for an entire season. Long before we met her mother, she's been scowling and stewing, increasingly frustrated - at the spirits, at her mother, at her friends. She's filled with bitterness in a way that's actually quite interesting for a young character, if we got more of a chance to see it.
She's done the worst possible thing she could do, for the best possible reason. Klaus' life keeps Damon and Stefan and Caroline alive. She has a vested interest in keeping it. But whether she sacrificed Tyler's altogether or just stowed it in Klaus' desiccated burning form, she's made some pretty dark deals. So when that's the case, who do you become? What do you lack, and what do you gain?
Just to step out of review mode for a second - there has been quick reaction saying this was too fast and too soon. But Mystic Falls as we knew it was played out, and Elena as victim was absolutely exhausting for all involved. The new life this breathes into the show - think of all Elena's new moral dilemmas that can't possibly be black and white - will keep it moving at train wreck pace all over again, and I think it's inspired. Anything we didn't get to see before Elena died, we didn't need. I'm so happy and excited for the show to go reinvent itself and to meet our girl next fall - despite the fact that she may not be our girl at all.
Attached - Nina Dobrev in New York last night with her mother at the launch of her new Got Milk? ad.