Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 5 recap

Thank you as always, always, for the emails you send loving, hating, sharing your opinions.   One that comes up a lot is a request for a more comprehensive analysis –  and this seemed like a good place to start, even though my ‘thesis’ was laid out pretty plainly in dialogue for me.

Matt has always been the one I’ve felt the most sorry for.  More out of the loop even than Jeremy,  he has been utterly helpless as he watches what goes on around him.    And the thing is,  even though his desperate move was drastic, and motivated by seeing Vickie again, it was the smartest thing he could have done.  Pushing himself, come hell or high water, into the realm of the others.   Into a world where, for better or for worse, they’ve all gone without him.   

I mean, Bonnie’s words would have been cold comfort at the best of times, but truly?  To tell him to go on and live his life?  He’s 18, give or take.   What kind of a life can he imagine when all of his friends are gone?  What would give you the strength to continue at that point?   

Now, he’s changed.  He’s seen the other side, he knows how to be open enough to see Vickie.  But is that going to be enough?  We know that Klaus and his entourage are big trouble – and judging by the awakening of Michael tonight (how awesome was Katherine’s brute strength to watch?  I don’t get tired of that), it’s only going to get more complicated.   What if Matt can’t manage to find a way into the group in a way that matters?   Will he die, just to find companionship on the other side?   Would it even work?   Vickie and Anna were vampires – Matt would just be a human ghost, unless something happens.    But what rings truest to me is that there’s nothing worse than being useless.   Everyone has had it happen; everyone has found that moment where you’re the only one who can’t help a situation and everyone is either too busy or too occupied to tell you what to do.   And it’s then that you really feel like you’re utterly useless.   Matt’s is not the only dark night of the soul that has arisen from being pushed out of the way.

At least, though, he has his eyes wide open.   Though it’s true to Caroline’s character to want to live the high school dream and have a good senior year, I have to wonder whether she’s that resilient or just that able to compartmentalize things.    I really love someone who’s so resolutely happy all the time, both in life and on TV (and that person is often the TV writer’s greatest tool) but  I need to know what’s underneath.   Whether she finds a way to store it all up and unleash it passive-aggressive style on store clerks or whether it’s all going to come to a head with Tyler.

I’m not the only one who got chills when he told her how wonderful this year was going to be.  I’m not the only one who thought, even before tonight, that the new, in-love Tyler was hiding the darker guy we knew long before now.   That he wouldn’t be able to stay in Caroline’s thrall (and I mean that in a completely non-magical way) forever.   So will he rip her heart out physically or metaphorically?   Or rather – which comes first?   If it’s the latter, at least Caroline will have her friends.   Bonnie was damn useless in this episode, but at least she’s there.   

But Klaus has nobody. Of course, there’s Rebecca, but their sibling rivalry speaks to something beyond just him ordering her around (and knocking off their entire family once upon a time).   Rebecca’s love for Stefan is no secret so part of the reason Klaus is keeping Stefan close is not to lose him and Rebecca too, right?   What would be so terrible if he did?   A bully like that was usually the bullied, long ago, but there’s nothing that’s going to make me feel sorry enough for him that I come to understand him.  In fact, when Rebecca ultimately betrays him (because, now that Stefan’s humanity is gone, she has a chance – and isn’t Paul Wesley so delighted to not be saddled with the anchor of goodness anymore?) his wounds are going to be so deep. But who else can he hurt? He’s ruthless with everyone …

Of course, Damon is the most alone.   He knows it.   He’s alone in his true nature; he would love to be a bloodsucker but he’s in love with this damn human.  He pushes Katherine away (and the scenes between them were, unequivocally, my favourite in the episode),  and it makes her blood boil.   But she has to take what she can get from him.       

Meanwhile, Elena won’t give and won’t give and won’t give him what she knows she needs to.   Or hasn’t.   This is the secret: if Elena gave Damon her love, would she really be in danger anymore?  He would choose her over Stefan, if he had to.   He could protect her and he’s promised to do so but how long can you keep that promise when it’s so one sided?   If only Elena would give in – and this is my biggest problem with her.   If she was flirting and retreating and lecturing and hectoring and really, truly felt like his sister, then I’d accept that a girl’s gotta do what she has to to stay alive.   

But Elena loves him too.  It’s not fair and it’s not logical, and I wouldn’t imagine that, all vampiric activity aside, it’s what she would have chosen to be all tangled up in at 18 years old  but she’s begging and pleading for everyone – including Stefan – to be true to themselves, and she can’t do it herself.   She screeches that Stefan should be able to hold himself back because he loves her so completely… but she has that secret in her heart.   She loves Stefan as much as she possibly can but she also loves Damon.    I’m not one of the types who believe there’s only so much love to go around.    But I do know the power of an eye that won’t stay exactly straight on what you want it to…

She does seem to give her love to her friends, or, at least, they’re happy about what she can give.   But at the risk of stating the obvious, all of this – all of it – is about Elena.  So how many people will give up their lives before that stops being OK?