The Vampire Diaries: Isobel

“I wasn’t lost, Ric.”

I. Love. This. Show.

Isobel, the “baddest mother in Mystic Falls” according to the episode’s promo, did not disappoint. It always amazes me how quickly and beautifully these TVD writers can create a complex character: relatively new to being a vamp, Isobel has turned off her humanity as much as she can — using humans as her playthings and minions, crushing Matt’s arm to show Elena she means business — but she still loves Alaric, she regrets her choice to become a vampire, and wants to protect Elena from making the same mistake. Kind of sweet . . . if only it didn’t mean killing Stefan.

It seems like Johnathan Gilbert — confirmed baby-daddy to our Elena — has similar motivations. He knows what it’s like to be involved with a vampire (whether or not he still carries a torch for Isobel) and doesn’t want a vampire-filled life for Elena. This was the episode where we’re supposed to realize John Gilbert ain’t ALL bad. But . . . I still don’t like him. I get his perspective — protect your family, protect your town, from murderous moral-free creatures happy to turn people into puppets and then supper — but it’s his insistence that ALL vampires are bad, all are evil, that makes it impossible for me to like him. It’s a dangerous attitude to have about anything. And now he’s armed and ready to take out every vampire he can find. Save the vampire he’s working for — Katherine.

It makes me very nervous when Uncle John chats with Jeremy — the last thing I want to see is Jeremy turn against Anna. But I don’t think he will. John’s “your dead father would have fought vampires” speech was compelling, but Jeremy’s seen Anna’s goodness and may even be in love with her (at the very least, he cares for her deeply). Once he finds out Uncle John killed Pearl — please let that be in the finale — I think Elena and Jeremy’s relationship will be on the road to recovery. I’d love to see Jer as Alaric’s apprentice. If he needs a father figure, Alaric’s the way to go.

Since I’m already on the subject of characters who do sketchy things with sketchy motivations . . . Bonnie. When Bonnie started in on her spell to disarm the invention, it looked just like the tricks we’ve seen before — levitation, playing with fire — and dread crept in. Grams had pulled a fast one while unsealing the tomb. Uh oh. Grams and Bonnie’s tomb-seal spell didn’t actually work — can Bonnie do this? Can she disarm the weapon? Double uh oh. At the end of the episode, when B revealed to Caroline that she’d done something bad and lied about it, that Elena will never forgive her — holy jumping I was yelling at Bonnie. How could she? Why would she?

From Bonnie’s perspective, Damon is evil, a killer; to name a few of his crimes that she would know about, he fed on and compelled Caroline, killed Tanner, turned Vicki, and tried to kill her. Stefan is the tricky part — she’s seen him at his best and worst. He and Bonnie have been friends — he saved her life after Damon attacked her. (Does she know that he was the one who pulled Elena from the car wreck?) I think the clincher was seeing Stefan attack Amber, blood dripping from his chin, stopping only when she overpowered him with her witchy-mojo. Bonnie’s been reeling since Grams’ death, feeling it was for nothing (since the spell didn’t keep the Tomb Vamps in) and blaming Stefan and Damon for starting the whole thing. Pretending to disarm the weapon could finish what Grams started — protect Mystic Falls from the Tomb Vampires. But did Bonnie fully understand the potential result of her actions? She’s handing down a death sentence for the Salvatores, deciding that her best friend’s boyfriend, the vampire Elena’s in love with, is expendable. Bonnie may be right — Elena may never forgive her for that.

“Why Stefan? Why not Damon? Or do you enjoy them both like Katherine did?

If nothing else, over the past 20 episodes of The Vampire Diaries, we’ve grown to empathize with Katherine’s desire to have a Salvatore on each arm for all of eternity. And now the emotional complexity of Elena’s position as the person closest to both brothers has come to the forefront, thanks to her vamp momma.

As Vee from Vampire-Diaries.net tweeted, “this episode could have been called ‘Significant Glances,'” and the one in this screencap was perhaps my favorite. There was some debate at Knitting Club about whether that look was “emotional cheating” since Stefan was oblivious to it, thinking he and Elena are having a moment but she and Damon are also connecting. Stefan has been the model of patience and understanding about the growing friendship between Damon and Elena. Remember when he walked in on Elena buttoning up a drunk Damon’s shirt? He didn’t flinch. He didn’t say a word about it. Just like in the books, Stefan respects Elena’s privacy, despite his nagging concerns about her becoming close with his brother.

I think it dawned on Stefan that things were a bit more intense than he realized not when Isobel so considerately mentioned that Damon was in love with Elena in front of both brothers (loved the tension of that moment) but earlier when Damon handed Elena the invention, despite the enormous risk to himself. And, as it turns out, Damon’s instinct not to trust Bonnie was right on the money.

There’s so much more to talk about — Isobel’s genetic connection to Katherine, more Alaric/Damon goodness, why Bonnie decided to cut her bangs herself (I kid, I kid . . . but not her best look). Any key moments, one liners, or plot points you loved?

This Thursday: the sure-to-be epic finale, “Founders’ Day.” Every time I watch this promo, I get the chills.

Webclip #1 | Webclip #2

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