Monday, November 19, 2012

The Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries
Episode 6: We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes
By: Carlos Uribe

The Vampire Diaries is a show about Elena's love triangle with two vampires.

Spoilers Ahoy!

You know what I'm absolutely loving about the existence of this cure? It's not the cure itself. While I have a new theory about what the cure really is (it's in Other Notes) I still don't like the idea of having a the door open to making Elena human again. What I'm loving about it is the effects of keeping it a secret and the consequences that brings. Stefan's secret created a level of distrust with his brother that was only repaired when Damon tortured the truth out of him. His secret led to the botched plan to capture Conner. It led to Elena killing him before feeding on his blood. Keeping this secret had major consequences in the previous episode that spillover into this one. There are two reasons because of this. The first is because it leads to Stefan breaking up with Elena. The second reason is because it makes Elena go crazy for most of the episode. These two reasons aren't self-contained within this episode as they both mark a shift for the series and who Elena is. The cure might be a way for the writers to make Elena human but it has so far seperated a couple while at the same time forcing Elena to face her subconscious.

Let's go with the second reason first. It turns out that if a vampire kills a hunter then they are cursed. Klaus knows this first-hand as he had to endure the curse for fifty years. The only reason he survived is because he can't kill himself. That's a benefit for being immortal. Klaus does note that it's the first time in his existence where he felt the passage of time. This curse is so great that it actually made Klaus suffer greatly. Now Elena has to live with this curse, at least until it's lifted. She has hallucinations from Connor and Katherine. These two do their best to make Elena not only feel guilty for taking the life of a human but about what she has become. She used to be the good human girl but now she's becoming a vampire that kills. These hallucinations aren't just doing this to make her feel guilty but are a manifestation of a side of her. She's afraid that she's become a monster and that she is simply not the same person since she transistioned. She's not only forced to admit that she killed Connor but that she actually enjoyed it. The hallucinations are forcing her to accept that she's a monster in order to drive her to suicide. They work very well but they're not enough to actually push her to take the plunge. That's when she starts to see her mother. Her mother tells her with a calm voice that Elena needs to kill herself because that's what she wanted. Elena throws her ring into the river. There is some attempt by Elena to try and rise above the curse but it is so powerful that she fails. She starts to accept that she should kill herself simply because the curse is using her fears against her. She's afraid of becoming like Katherine. She's afraid of this vampire that she has become and it's this fear that drives Elena to killing herself. The only reason she's saved is because the other characters are able to break the curse. Elena regains her will to live at a cost.

What is that cost? The life of a hybrid named Chris. This is a hybrid that Haley and Tyler have been working hard to unsire. This character means as much to most of the characters as to the audience which is to say none at all. Chris is a character that we barely know and he's seen as a means to an end by almost everyone on the show. The exception to this is Tyler and Hayley. The two saw Chris as a good friend and as a symbol of the work they are doing. That Caroline is so willing to go along with the plan and doesn't see the true cost of it helps to drive a wedge between her and Tyler. The Caroline-Tyler relationship is now in danger of ending because Stefan kept the cure a secret. Why must Chris die? The curse will only end when there is a new hunter. This means that Jeremy has to kill a vampire or hybrid in order to become a hunter and set his sister free. The hybrid they chose was Chris. They sacrificed him to save a friend.

Now let's talk about the first reason. Keeping the secret built a level of distrust between Stefan and Elena that shouldn't have been there. The two have gone through so much that Elena's inability to trust Stefan seriously hurts him. What hurts him even worse is that Elena's feelings for Damon have maginfied to the point where she can't ignore them. This entire season has been using the love triangle as a way to show Elena's journey as a vampire. Damon represented accepting her as who she now was while Stefan was holding back to who she used to be. This meant that she simply couldn't continue to be with Stefan because it's become harder and harder to hold on to her old human self. Stefan breaks up with her not only because she has feelings for Damon but because she's no longer the person that he fell in love with. That the changes in the love triangle are being caused by where Elena is at the moment is simply some great writing that most love triangles simply don't have. It helps to make that scene where Stefan and Elena break up so much more powerful than if it had just happened because of some arbitrary reason.

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes continues to deal with the ramifications of Stefan agreeing to keep the cure a secret. It manages to do it in a manner that connects to Elena's character growth and his relationship with her. This entire episode and all of it's fallout essentially happens because of this secret. The Vampire Diaires delivers a good, character-driven episode fueled by Stefan's actions and Elena's transformtion.

Other Notes:

It might be a red herring, but I'm 70% sure the cure is actually the way to get Silas out of his tomb. There's no way that Professor Atticus told a story that is fiction. This is the Vampire Diaires after all.

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