4.15- “Stand By Me”
In which Elena burns shit the fuck down. Whether this is health or illness is unclear, because as I’ve said before this season, every time Elena seems to be making a choice for herself about her fate and her friends, the writers find a way to undermine it almost immediately.
Last week, on finding that the Vampire Cure was a lost cause, she and Stefan had a mature discussion about how things might proceed if neither he nor she became human again. She’s been effectively giving up her old life all season, but in a very different way than the more pragmatic, less miasma pit of rolling emotional mess that Caroline was when it happened to her. Elena had begun to accept her changed fate at last.
But that was before she knew Jeremy had been killed. And ghost-seeing vampire hunter or not, he was her last tether to the strictly human world. She literally doesn’t know what to do without him. And as the episode proceeds to try and update both the titular Stephen King scenario and Buffy’s seminal episode “The Body” (both of which deal with a bunch of kids shocked by the novel inevitability of a dead body in their midst), she completely, step-by-step, loses her shit.
This leads to Damon and Stefan finally doing some non-embittered bro-bonding over their mutual love interest (pulled together by the greater crisis-at-hand), with both of them trying to figure out how to help despite her denial and the variable influence of the Sire Bond. The first time she tries to burn down the house, they stop her.
And if that all weren’t enough, Damon brings Bonnie back to Mystic Falls, but she arrives both with Not-Shane (the real one is still bleeding out from his broken leg on Not-Lost Island) and gone totally freaking wackadoo in her own right. Because she’s drunk “Shane’s” (Silas, of course, now a shape-changer, too?) Kool-Aid fully, and not only doesn’t mind that the initial murder of the town council has no resurrection clause; she now needs to stage another killing of twelve people so that the walls of Limbo can be shredded, or some such variation of Expression, her new morality-free version of magic.
Compared to that, Elena’s pyro tendency seems almost reasonable (at least it will hide evidence of Jeremy’s vamp-related murder), but before they let her proceed with giving Jeremy a true Viking funeral, Damon instructs her (is it the Sire Bond, or just Elder Vampire hypnotism?) to turn off her feelings. Because she’s crying.
And her humanity goes to. That’s something vamps can do, but an unlikely choice for Elena to make, even if it eases her suffering.
There’s almost a karmic justice in this, because Elena has frequently asked one of the Salvatores to compel the memories from various friends and family members for their own good. In fact, just about the worst thing you can do in this town is reveal to someone who thought things were cool that you’ve been taking vervain and are hip to their house of lies. Thinking for yourself is WAY worse than killing vampires or humans or letting werewolves live.
But it keeps Elena from really dealing with her loss, and it keeps Damon and Stefan as her protectors and enablers. When will she get to just do things her way at last? Walking away from her family house in embers is a step to somewhere I guess, forward or not.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.