The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 9 recap

I love Christmas.  I do, I’m that person.   I don’t go crazy, but I am one of those people who overspends on the “perfect” gift and prays that UPS gets their sh*t together (please, UPS) then wraps everything like a magazine and I get really excited to watch the same movie we’ve watched every year.

Then inevitably I get a cold, or one of the neighbours comes over and stays over, or someone inadvertently says something I think is horrible, and I remember every year that the holidays are designed to set you up for disappointment, but that they’re special anyway, because of that.

Nobody ends this episode of the Vampire Diaries happy.  Not a soul; it made me long for April to yank out Rebecca’s dagger, if only for  a moment of levity.  But instead we got manic Caroline (not complaining, she’s great in a pinch) and otherwise a real lack of anything resembling happiness.

So first of all, the gang is just a little too damn trusting in general.  Can we please enact a policy, dudes? Can you test someone before they get to come to your sleepovers and influence your choices?  Just because Bonnie’s caught between her zombie robot teen boyfriend and the man Damon lazily nicknamed “Professor Creepy” doesn’t mean he needs to be allowed into all our lives, okay?  I find this a failing of Damon’s in particular, since his suspicious nature is what so often keeps people out of trouble – sulking about your impending lack of Elena is not enough of a reason to let your guard so drastically down.  But also, wasn’t this Bonnie’s JOB back in the day?  To test people to see whether they were bad news or not?  Now she just looks googly eyed and lets them make whatever proclamations about Jeremy they decide they want to?

In general, I find the Jeremy stuff a little on the nose.  He’s never needed Elena in the way she’s needed him (which is kind of high-school-boy authentic, actually) and his lack of affect when it came to saying goodbye felt like one of those holiday realizations.  “Oh.  I love my brother, but we might never have anything in common.”   Nothing you can really do, doesn’t necessarily even warrant a sigh, but there it is. 

Then there’s Tyler – man, do they know how to keep me liking him.  Just when Ithink he’s too big for his “I’m the Alpha” britches, they rip the floor out from under him.  Tyler is a good leader and still has that creepy undertone to him – he went so far as to restrain Caroline,  by the way - and  he could be a really definitively power-hungry overlord if only he didn’t consistently underestimate the evil of others.  It’s a really particular trait…and he does it every time.  I can’t decide how much is hubris and how much is stupidity, but it’s a combination that keeps me interested.

I am far, far less interested in the internal struggle that is Klaus, by the way.  I don’t know why I’m supposed to care, or think that this man is a dichotomy.  He paints, but he’s brutal! He loves Caroline, and hates everyone!  It’s like the show wants me to believe he’s Jordan Catalano – some broken bird who needs loving despite his flaws, but I don’t.  I like him when he’s making mischief – and I’ll even stretch that to drowning Mayor Lockwood so that Tyler would come back to find him – but I don’t feel it the way I should.

(SIDEBAR FOR TV NERDS, WITH SPOILERS: I don’t feel it the way I did for Aaron Echolls.  This whole episode, but especially the Mystic Falls  society parts, seemed like a mashup of most of the holiday things that happened at the Echolls house.   Remember when Aaron beat up Trina’s abusive boyfriend to the tune of “That’s Amore?” Yeah, that’s what I thought of here, but I still prefer the original.)

And then, of course, there’s our threesome.  I’m annoyed with all of them, and I feel like that’s becoming a weekly statement.  This week, the order of who annoyed me most-to-least goes as follows:  Stefan. Damon. Elena.

Stefan is a douche.  I hate hate HATE that Elena loving Damon would be one thing, but Elena loving Damon physically makes it another, and worthy of throwing things.   Oooh, someone else touched flesh that you thought belonged to you.  Take it down a notch there, Possessive Salvatore.  It’s creepy, and I don’t’ know if he’s going to be able to come back from it, writers.  Am I supposed to love him?

And you, Damon, I know you’re trying to do the right thing, but I’ve decided you are boring when you’re selfless.  Actually, you think so too.  Just like some people get their best work done under pressure, so do you get your best work done when there’s something in it for you.  I’ve decided this isn’t a bad trait.  It’s a strength and he should go with it.

Elena annoys me least, because even though she remains a bit naïve and goody goody, even though she ought to be doing things to protect herself and her brother and not much else, even though she’s been warned that she has a sire bond and she doesn’t really feel what she feels, well, she’s still willing to explore.  And I think this is where I have to give her a lot of credit.  She’s always still willing.  That’s Elena.   She’s never closing a door, never shutting things down.  The same way that used to annoy me because it made her see the good in Stefan a million times (and I bet she’ll justify his possessive weirdness, too) it allowed her to see the good in Damon, to see where she knows better than him, to see that even him trying to do his best isn’t necessarily the best of him, but that she might know – even better than he does – who the real him is. 

In conclusion, the person who died is someone we only kind of loved.  So I guess that’s not a Merry Christmas, but it’s the best one you can have in Mystic Falls.