I really liked this week's episode of The Vampire Diaries. I'm not sure if it's because Katherine and Elijah, my two favorite characters, were in the episode or what, but "American Gothic" was a lot better than the previous episode. Not only did we get to see the majority of the characters actively doing something to help move the main story along, but we also learned a few new things in the process.
We left off with Rebekah and Elena breaking Damon's neck, stealing his lead on Katherine, and his car. The two vixens ended up driving the car until it ran out of gas, and then stealing another car before they wind up in Pennsylvania. The stop was really just a pit stop so Elena could stretch her legs and grab a bite to eat, but the ladies discover they have accidentally stumbled upon Katherine's hideout. I guess this town wasn't on Damon's list. Clever little minx! Of course once the girls realize Katherine has compelled the entire town not to talk about her to anyone but herself, it's only a matter of time before the dynamic duo locate the doppelganger. After a bit of coercion, the girls manage to find out that Katherine had plans to meet someone, E.M., who turned out to be Elijah.
"Where's the part where you screw us over and someone dies?"
What was great about this episode was seeing all of these vampires who have past history interacting. You have the young (Elena) and the old (Rebekah and Elijah). All of them have their own experiences, and are at different stages in their lives. Elena is young, carefree, and in love with her new emotionless state. No longer does she have to world on her shoulders weighing her down. Stefan and Damon are finally getting to a point where they see themselves for who they are, and are learning to forgive themselves for their past transgressions. Katherine has loads of baggage, but has reached a point where she wants a simpler life, and is tired of being alone. Rebekah is just tired. She's lived 20 lifetimes, and has come to believe that should be enough for anyone. She isn't angry, sad, or bitter. In fact, there's something peaceful about her decision to want to live as a normal human woman. Elijah is just above all of it. He doesn't believe in killing for sport, but he has long accepted his fate, and wants to live his life with the woman he loves. All of them are different, and it's these differences that drive them towards the same goal of getting the cure. It is also these differences that keep them from seeing the situation from each other's eyes.
"Special snowflake of human frailty."
Everyone has advice for Elena. Stefan and Damon are fed up with Elena's antics since she shed her emotions. Despite the fact there's a 2,000 year old monster running around Mystic Falls, Damon and Stefan's desire to "fix" Elena trumps all reason. They know they need the cure to kill Silas, yet they insist on trying to get it in order to force Elena back into the woman they want her to be. This aspect of the show is troubling for so many reasons, but it's also stupid. At this point I'm not sure if they are worried of the Elena becoming a Ripper, and killing thousands of innocent people, or if they just want to hold on to their hero complex. When Elijah learns Elena has 'turned it off,' he doesn't lecture her on the dangers of becoming a monster, but instead explains to her why it's important to him that she returns to herself. For Elijah who has lived over 1,000 years, this change doesn't have to be today. He just hopes it's soon enough in the future that when she does flip her switch, Elena won't be saddled with a ton of remorse in addition to her grief over losing her brother Jeremy. It's in these moments with Elijah that it seems like Elena may actually consider turning her emotions back on.
"You don't have a smart brother. Turns out I'm just as stupid as the rest of you."
Much to everyone's surprise,Katherine really did live in this quaint little town. Apparently after 500 years, all Katherine wants is the ability to settle down, and live a quiet life. As surprising as this is, what surprised everyone even more was that she was trying to settle down with Elijah. Of course with this being Katherine Pierce we're talking about, everything wasn't what it seemed. At least not to Elijah. The moment everyone else learns Katherine not only has the cure, but is shacked up with Elijah they realize she's just using him. Katherine wants Elijah to bargain with his brother Klaus for her freedom in exchange for the cure. What no one figured, though, was Katherine really does care for Elijah. This was evident when she handed to cure over to him in exchange for nothing but the hope that he will still help her gain her freedom, and possibly be willing to see if they have a future.
Ever since season 2's "Klaus" where we first get a look at Katherine and Elijah's relationship in the past, I have been wanting the two of them to hook-up. Elijah has been in love with Katerina for 500 years, but had lost her thanks to his brother's evil plots. All of these years Elijah has been hoping Katherine would change from the manipulative, selfish vampire she's become, and back into the young, hopeful girl her who once believes life wasn't worth living without love. This is why Elijah has always liked Elena. She reminds him of the girl he once loved so very long ago. Like the Salvatore brothers, this hope is also what keeps Elijah from thinking rationally when it comes to the woman he loves. When Elijah learns that Katherine killed Jeremy in order to get the cure, he is devastated. Apparently the two had been dating since before Katherine's trip to the island, and killing Jeremy was not a part of their plan to get the cure. When Elijah discovers Katherine has lied to him he feels betrayed.
"It's Rebekah. Sorry I didn't have a pony to distract her with."
During the course of the episode the gang manages to get Katherine to lead them to the cure. Only it's a fake. A fact they learn when Rebekah gets her hands on it, takes it, and remains a vampire. Rebekah is disappointed, and later begs her brother Elijah for the cure after Katherine gives it to him. Elijah doesn't outright refuse, but he's still debating what to do with it - give his sister what she believes will make her happy, or hand it over to Klaus so he can finally be with Katherine. While Elijah doesn't understand his sister's desire to become human, the two bond over everything that has happened. In a moment that mirrors Rebekah and Elijah, Stefan and Damon also have a bonding moment that sets the stage for the next step in their relationship.
Stefan was angry that Damon let Rebekah drink the "cure." Of course Katherine had just plunged Damon's head in a fish tank filled with vervain, but Stefan believed Damon could have stopped Rebekah if he truly wanted to. This is debatable considering the 850 year difference between the vampires, but whatever. Damon later admits that for a split second he thought his life would be better if Elena stayed a vampire, but by the time he realized his mistake Rebekah had already drank the vial. When Damon saw how angry Stefan was, it brought him back to reality, and he realized how much he messed up. Damon's default setting is, and always has been to do what's best for him first before all other commitments. Damon isn't the only one to gain some insight into himself. Being with Katherine has made Stefan see that he and Damon keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and he's had enough. As long as he and his brother keep fighting over the same girl, nothing will ever change, so Stefan has decided to get off this merry-go-round once Elena is "cured." As far as Stefan is concerned, he's brought nothing but misery to Elena's life and wants her to have a chance at a normal life when this is all over, but he also wants that for himself. It's time for him to stop living his life for her, and go get one of his own.
"If Silas can make someone like you believe you were about to die, what can he do to the rest of us?"
Back in Mystic Falls... Klaus tries to get the white oak pieces embedded in his back from when Silas stabbed him, and gets an unlikely partner when Caroline agrees to help. It all turns out to be a mind game Silas played on Klaus to force him to find the cure, and hand it over to him. These scenes were a nice change of pace from the usually flirty/manipulative Klauroline scenes we normally see. Instead, a weakened Klaus is at the mercy of Caroline who only wants him to allow Tyler to come home. By the end of the episode the two have forged a tentative friendship. Klaus may have driven Tyler out of town, but "he's not exactly scouring the earth for him, either."
"American Gothic" gave us a look at what the characters want the most. The Original siblings just want to live their best life imaginable. Whether it be together as a family, or off having families of their own. Katherine wants to live the American Dream or someone to love, and a house with a white picket fence where she can finally be free. Elena just wants to be accepted for who she is, and left alone to live as she pleases. Stefan wants to finally live for himself, but his brother Damon is still addicted to love. Out of all the characters, Damon has changed the least. It is his desire to be wanted that propels all of his actions, and even though his current object of affection has essentially tried to kill him, he still can't give her up, though he claims otherwise. These people's desires are all understandable, but they are also contrary to what the others want, and this is a major problem that needs to be resolved. For in order for one person to get what they want, someone else's dream has to be sacrificed. Now that Elena is willing to kill in order to get her wish, the stakes have been raised. Gone is the young girl who was easy to control by reminding her of what she has to lose. Now that she's lost everything there's nothing to leverage.
What I liked:
- I loved watching all of these characters interact. Especially Elena and Katherine. We know Katherine has been spying on Elena from afar, but it was great seeing essentially the same woman at different stages of her life.
- I also loved watching Elijah make-out with Elena thinking it was Katherine. Elena's facial expressions during that scene were priceless.
- Katherine and Elijah's final scene. I really can see these two people above all others riding off into the sunset together happy.
- Katherine compelling a whole town to do her bidding. Too bad that was only one episode. Would have liked to see more of what her life in the town was like.
- Rebekah torturing Katherine was fantastic! Ever since Bex came face-to-face with Elena in "The Reckoning" and made the comment about the original being prettier I have been wanting to see Rebekah and Katherine interact. I assume Bex meant Tatia when she made that comment, but I've often wondered where Rebekah was during the 1492 when the "Klaus" episode took place, and if she was around during the time Klaus and Elijah first met Katerina.
What I Didn't Like:
- I assume Matt is lost in the Underground Railroad, but WTH happened to Bonnie? Did she get her memory back, or just watching a Game of Thrones marathon?
- Stefan and Damon still intent on forcing their agenda on Elena.
- Damon trying to kill Rebekah the moment he thought she was human. Yeah, she snapped your neck, but Elena stole your car. Why just punish one of them?
The show is on hiatus until April 18th when the gang all goes to prom. Until next time...