Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 14 recap

Whoo.  Whew.  Is everyone OK?

Let’s calm and ease in by talking about these Entertainment Weekly covers.  I mean, damn.  I obviously prefer the Elena/Damon one (and discussion on the symbolism of the white sheet can go on for hours), because obviously, but there was a comment on the EW site that the relative nudity of that one really made her sure that Ian and Nina are really a thing.  Also, Dobrev herself was a little twitchy yesterday on Twitter about the fact that her parents had yet to see them…heh.

I do wonder, in these kinds of situations, where people who are together in real life are together onscreen: is your mad face the same when you’re acting as when you’re not?  Can you tell what’s coming, emotionally, by the way her face crumples when she’s about to cry, and so you also start to cry?  We know it can add to the chemistry, but what else does it do?  Is it tense and difficult, after a long day of telling each other you don’t love each other?  What if the sight of your boyfriend in the International Clothiers style blue shirt repulses you?  Could you have petitioned wardrobe for a T shirt so that you could do the scene the way you needed to?

Thankfully, both Stefan and Damon get into formalwear right away and we head to the ball, and thank God this show never shies away from the showiness.  Because when 18-year-olds and thousand-year-olds are consorting, it really doesn’t matter which dance they’re doing – it all comes down to the same thing: figuring out who’s with who, and being disappointed when the person you’re straining your neck to see over your shoulder isn’t straining back at you.

Re: strain – I’m sorry, I’m just not feeling it for Matt, at all.  It’s hard for me to understand what’s keeping him in Mystic Falls as opposed to pulling a Jeremy and going anywhere else where he could have a prayer.  Having him spend 3 minutes a week with Elena doesn’t convince me they’re friends and having him WHINE ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE doesn’t make me believe he’s battling the same game of life and death the others are.  I feel like he’s the Xander in this scenario with about 1/12th the charisma (no pun intended, Buffy nerds).  It’s not doing anything for me unless he soon becomes the lord of them all – which I don’t anticipate.

Having said that, I believe his friends’ concern for him is real.  I believe Caroline’s concern for everyone is real.  She will never let you forget she’s Miss Mystic Falls, which I love, but she’s open and up front about everything, and always has been.   This is what saves these Mystic Falls people - they can’t tell a lie.  They’re honest when they’re jealous, when they’re mean, when they’re lonely.  The only part that felt a little false to me was all the talk of Caroline’s dad.  If they’re going to mention it so much,  she should have been a little more broken up.  Or don’t mention it?  It felt a little strange.  But it felt perfectly 18-year-old girl to wear the dress and the bracelet he gave her and still let him know he wasn’t getting anything out of her – that she wasn’t obligated to simper and suck up at all.

Elena on the other hand… but we’ll get there in a minute.

The first family (Mikaelsons – heh) is more interesting than I thought they’d be, but in a way I wish they’d been here earlier.  Klaus is so muted in the face of all the brothers that I resent them for not having shown up earlier, although I can’t totally pin down what Mama’s game is – she trusts Finn and his Ken Doll haircut more than the others?  When they all die, who does she become?  I have to say I got shivers when she talked about how her children were an ‘abomination’.  That’s the thing about this show.  It waits, it bides its time, there are weeks of frivolity, and then suddenly you’re not sure if some of the parents are on The Vampire Diaries or Fox News.  They pick their moments really, really nicely.    

As it is, Finn looks like the second or even third brother I suspect of having some weird mommy issues, and it looks like when he takes himself out the whole family tree will go with him. Juicy.  Why do I think Caroline’s devotion to Tyler – and respect for Klaus – might be what gums up these whole works?

So Elena is an accomplice and knocks Damon out to get her mission done.  She’s getting craftier, and I’m happy about that.  Lying to Elijah?  Yes please thank you for finally having some self preservation.  Oh, and you guys, haircut or not, I don’t get it re: Elijah.  The only one of the family who’s attractive, other than Klaus, is Kol (and also, I thought they were mispronouncing ‘Karl’) in my humble opinion.

But what I like about the caught-between-two-Salvatores situation we now find ourselves in is that Elena isn’t just being fought over.  Whether I like her better with Damon (yes) and found her love with Stefan to be boring and filled with mournful eye-sex (yes) or whether I think she and Stefan have better chemistry as adversaries than they ever had as lovers (also yes),  she is a different woman than she was before.

And even though she’s still presented as the most beautiful girl ever and Damon gets to grumble “You look beautiful, as if it wasn’t obvious” (How would it be obvious? Do vampires get erections when they don’t need them?) ,  what I love about what’s going on is that even as Damon loves her, Elena is chasing Stefan.  This is somewhat unique.  She follows him, she begs him to love her again, to feel again.  She’s not quite wearing sexy clothes so he’ll notice her, but being all daring and dramatic and knocking out Damon to impress her – that’s what this is.  It’s totally teenage behavior, and I love it.  If she can just convince him that he loves her, then maybe she can work everything out, and as for the other, well, he’s gonna love her forever so there’s time enough to deal with that when she’s not busy.   

Except I imagine that’s going to change.

Because Damon slammed Rebekah up against a wall – and they both liked it.  Filled with rage, sure, but it doesn’t mean it lacked passion.