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Wednesday, 30 of September of 2020

The Vampire Diaries — “Ordinary People”

Yeah, still don't like her. Though I guess I feel bad that she has been so wrong for OVER A 1000 YEARS!

All I kept thinking throughout this episode was, “oh, no, are they trying to make me like Rebekah? Do they want me to feel sorry for Rebekah?” Cause it just isn’t going to happen. We’ve basically seen nothing redeeming about her except that she is loyal to her brother (note: only to Klaus) to a pathological degree. The main good news that I can see from all this Original drama is that maybe a pissed off Rebekah will bring back Elijah. I mean, let’s make this fight against Klaus a bit more fair.

In other news, Bonnie is boring, Jeremy is nowhere to be seen, and also missing are Awesome Vampire Caroline (boooo) and Not-So-Awesome Hybrid Tyler. I figure they’ll come back strong next week as Tyler continues to slip from Caroline’s grasp (booo).

This wasn’t a great episode as far as entertainment. This was a “we have a LOT of backstory to get through, so sit down as we tell a bunch of stories about the past” kind of episode. The super long distant past, btw, as in a 1000 years ago with Vikings and shit. While I wish the show had found a more active manner to give us all this backstory (i.e. what if Rebekah found out the truth about Klaus at the beginning of the episode and then that prompted her memories as she tries to work through a new version of her own history?), but it still ended with a pretty terrific reveal by Elena. The kind of reveal that makes me think these writers do know what they are doing—character is the heart of this show, and when they keep to that—it works.

Elena and Ric are checking out the tunnels under the old Lockwood mansion when Ric warns Elena that bats hate the light. She’s frightened for a moment, and Damon comes out of the dark with a “boo!” [It was funny. I love Damon. And Ric. As BFFs.]

Damon continues to earn my love by referring to the ancient drawings on the wall of the tunnel as “The Lockwood Diaries, pictionary style.” [It is a bit ridiculous that these drawings exist. The suggestion is that America had been founded by the Vikings long before Columbus, which I believe is historically accurate. So the Original vampires are Vikings.  But the drawings must have been made by the ancient werewolves that also inhabited that spot of America.  Or something like that.  Sometimes it is better not to ask too many questions.]

So brief recap of Ric’s impressive research [dude can translate ancient writings? Isobel must have taught him that]. Werewolves have been around longer than the Lockwood family. The Original children were brought to America by their parents to escape a plague—all were human (more or less). Papa Original (aka Mikael) is kinda mean, particularly to Klaus, the bastard son. The kids have therefore formed a super strong bond (again proving how much integrity Elijah has—he was the chosen son, one would presume, yet he allied with the bastard). Recap summed up, Klaus has Daddy issues (gosh, who on this show does not?). Damon and Elena bicker about what to do next while sparring, and Damon takes a super hot fake bite out of her neck.

Elena wants to know more about the drawings, so she goes to get the story from the closest Original to her, Rebekah. I’ll give Rebekah this much credit—she tells Elena she’s sort of over the Stefan thing: “I’m off him until he starts treating me better. In fact, you should probably take a page from my book. If I’m being honest.” [You go, girl.] Elena wants to get Rebekah’s attention, so she offers a photo of the cave drawings and lets out the “M” word. Rebekah issues a harsh warning: “if you wake Mikael, we are all doomed.” [I should note that she implies the “all” here expands beyond her and her siblings, but this makes no sense. Has Mikael spent time killing humans as well? Seems like a vengeful Daddy wanting to take out his annoying kids would be a real boon for Mystic Falls.] Rebekah offers no explanation for her warning.

Flashback time! I’m long on record as sort of hating the flashbacks that don’t involve Damon, but at least here we get Elijah looking super hot with long hair [Klaus, on the other hand, looks rather femme, giving some support to the notion that he’s in love with Stefan (cause, you know, everyone on this show loves freakin’ Stefan)]. Papa Original breaks up a friendly fight between Niklaus and Elijah, suggesting they are wasting their time on frivolity when fighting is meant for survival. “You are foolish and impulsive, my boy,” he tells Klaus, and I realize how much I like Papa Original.

Back at Ric’s, Elena is hopeful Rebekah will tell her more of the story.   Ric suggests that a 1000-year-old vampire likely knows the art of patience. Elena gives him a look and shows her smarts by noting, “she’s a 1000-year-old vampire who joined the cheerleading squad…I’ve got this.” [You go, girl.]

Damon has a chat with a still chained up Stefan cause “it’s family day at vampire rehab.” Damon admits he isn’t so much a fan of Lexie’s plan to weaken Stefan, break him down, and make him feel. Stefan has no interest in any of this talk. “You really have given up,” Damon says to Stefan. Then he impulsively says, “Screw this Lexie plan. I think we could both use a drink” and frees Stefan from his chains.

Elena finds Rebekah at the Salvatore mansion with a bunch of compelled young ladies modeling homecoming dresses for her. She asks Elena to pick one, but Elena demurs. Annoyed (and frightened), Rebekah threatens one of the compelled women in order to force Elena to pick a dress.  She reminds Elena, “You do not threaten me. You learn what I allow you to learn. Is that clear?”

Bonnie is now with Ric, offering him the “the necklace that wouldn’t die.” [Poor Bonnie and her grandmother—they always seem to fall a bit short, don’t they?—didn’t they have trouble lifting some curse during season 1 (note: I have a terrible memory, so correct me if I am wrong).] Ric tries to make Bonnie feel better by reminding her that teenage boys are super dumb: “Jeremy is an idiot. I know with a certainty because I was once a Jeremy.” [Let me go on record as saying with some confidence that I don’t think Ric was ever as dumb as annoying Jeremy.] Bonnie and Ric discover that one of the cave drawings matches the image on the talisman, so that means the Viking Originals were hanging with witches.

Rebekah starts ransacking Stefan’s room [oh, she’s one of those girls—I knew girls in high school that would snoop through their bf’s stuff. Super insecure move, Rebekah. Elena has the self-esteem not to participate.]

Another flashback shows yet another African-American witch, advising Mama Original. At this point, the werewolves lived in peace with the Originals, who hid in caves once a month. But then dumb Klaus (another dumb teenager) sneaks out with his little brother, Henry, and of course a werewolf bites and kills Henry. Papa Original is less than pleased, with Klaus and the wolves. Rebekah ominously replies that this was the end of her life as a human.

Damon takes Stefan to a honky tonk bar for some unknown reason. Elena overhears Stefan in the background when Damon calls to check up, and she is less than pleased (lots of cranky people during this episode). Damon reassures her, “I kinda went off book…I got this” [Note how both Damon and Elena believe they are in complete control of their respective bad-guy vampires. How cute.] Damon lets Stefan enjoy the local vintage from a friendly barmaid and they bond for a while. We learn Stefan is really good at drinking games. He says it is a “precision born out of tragic boredom.” [I really prefer bad Stefan.] Stefan quickly catches on to Damon’s vain hopes, “Damon, you are worse than Elena…think I’ll break down and you can pull me back from the edge?” Damon replies that he likes the edge, but Stefan can’t seem to resist falling over it. Damon shows his own skills with the drinking game. [You go, Damon.]

When Elena suggests that Rebekah can’t understand Elena and Stefan as a couple because she never knew him, Rebekah retorts, “He’s a vampire. We’re a predatory species. We don’t have time to care about humans and their silly little lives.” “Is that why you did that runway show earlier? Cause you don’t care about the Homecoming dance?” [Man, Elena is on fire today.]

Rebekah is bored, so she tells Elena the rest of the story. Namely that the necklace belonged to the Original Witch who turned them all into vampires. Papa and Mama Original wanted the AFrican-American witch’s help so they could protect the rest of their kids from werewolves. “Vampirism was a form of protection?” Elena asks. [This just in—the origins of vampirism was pride and safety—it wasn’t a curse.] The African-American witch refuses to help with this plan because she can see that it may result in a plague, so another witch steps up—turns out Mama Original is a witch, too. [Hah—that’s why they call her the Original Witch. That was a clever reveal.]

To do the spell, Mama Original calls upon the sun for life and the oak tree for immortality. Papa Original then gave the children wine laced with blood and drove a sword through their hearts. [Harsh.] Rebekah awoke to a new feeling: “It was euphoric, the feeling of power was indescribable. But…the spirits turned on us, and nature fought back. For every strength, there would be a weakness.” The Original family burned the oak to the ground, but the darkest consequence was their insatiable lust for blood.

[So let me be generous here—there is a nice tidiness to this origins story—the tree from which they derive their power also can kill them (echoes of Superman and Krypton). The sun becomes an enemy, too. The whole for every action there is a reaction with magic thing.  No real answer to why they can’t go into a house without an invite, but still…I kind of like this origins story—grounding it in a father’s wrath and pride gives it a truly human element. That’s good drama.]

Stefan is done playing around with Damon: “All right, time to fess up … what is the point of the jailbreak?” Damon is annoyed at Stefan’s weakness: “That’s my point, Stefan, you’ve given up. You can sit around and be his little bitch or you can get mad enough and you can do something about it.” Stefan reminds him that Klaus can’t be killed, when another voice enters, offering to help with that. Hello, Papa Original.

Back to Rebekah’s story hour [are you getting the sense yet that this episode was ALL talk, NO action?]: “Why did Mikael start hunting Klaus?” Elena asks. Okay, when Klaus made his first kill, his werewolf gene was triggered. His mother tried to remedy the matter by putting the hybrid curse on Niklaus, but then she rejected him to pacify her angry husband. Mikael, now a vampire, has increased pride as a vampire, so he killed half the village in a rampage and then tore his wife’s heart from her chest, while Klaus watched. Speaking of enhanced personality quirks, we learn that Rebekah is super stubborn, Elijah is super moral, and Nik has no tolerance for those who disappoint him. Hence Rebekah’s last 80 years in a coffin.

Rebekah looks super sad, here. But she maintains her loyalty to her brother: “Make no mistake. If you come after my brother, I will rip you apart. And I get my temper from my father.”

Mikael asks Stefan a series of questions about Klaus, but he has been compelled to keep quiet. Mikael decides to test this by reaching inside Damon’s chest and taking hold of his heart. Just as Mikael is about to dispatch Damon, Stefan stops him and assures Mikael he can lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls. Mikael lets go of Damon’s heart but he makes a promise. If Klaus comes back, Mikael will drive a stake through his heart. If Stefan fails, Mikael will drive his stake through Stefan’s heart.

Back with Ric, Elena and Ric read the cave drawings with their new information and figure out something kind of awesome—turns out, Nik is the one who killed his mother. Seems he was upset about the fact she rejected him. [This was a TERRIFIC reveal. Almost makes worth it an episode that consisted of a bunch of people doing nothing but talking.]

Elena tells Rebekah the truth, so now Rebekah is sad Rebekah. [Now, this will never be as awesome a meme as sad Dawson, but I guess the writers are trying to make me sorta feel for her.]

Damon, while grateful for Stefan saving his life, still says, “I don’t think you had to wait until the last second to have your breakthrough.” Damon suggests that Stefan’s humanity may be showing, but Stefan replies that it was just that he was reminded of what his freedom felt like: “When we kill Klaus, I’ll be free to leave.” Damon doesn’t buy it, and now Stefan is annoyed, “Why is everyone trying to save me?” Damon reminds him that he owes Stefan, because Stefan is only with Klaus for saving Damon’s life. And he can’t leave his brother in a cell to rot. Stefan smirks, “Better be careful, brother, your humanity is showing.” Then they have a big awesome fight and the episode becomes immeasurably better. [Damon wins the fight, btw.]

While Rebekah cries, Elena comes home to find Damon is in her bed. She is foolish enough to be annoyed until he tells her that they have Mikael: “See, told you I had it.” Elena is too tired to yell at Damon, so he reminds her of his failed effort to convert Stefan: “He’s an even bigger dick than ever. It’s just that now he’s a dick on our side.” Elena says the reveal exposed in the wall may have led Rebekah to join their side as well: “I learned that she’s just a girl. She lost her mom too young and she loves blindly and recklessly, even if it consumes her.” At this point, Elena looks at Damon, and it is a meaningful moment. One that is open to interpretation, perhaps, but Elena is clearly relating.

Elena continues, “When all is said and done, there’s nothing more important than the bond of family.” Damon balks, “Well, you shoud tell that to my brother.” But Elena has new wisdom. “I’m not mad at you for letting him out Damon. I think that you are going to be the one to save him from himself. It won’t be because he loves me. It will be because he loves you… Can I tell you the rest tomorrow?”

I don’t care how many Stefan-Elena lovers are out there, that was a pretty powerful scene. And totally tender and loving and electric.

Okay, so most of the episode was a bunch of people giving me exposition. But it sure ended well.


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