Well, that was much better -- at least the scenes I could bear to watch. I have a hard time watching people vomit -- even fictional vomit -- even fictional blood vomit. It gags me so much that I can't be all that objective about whether or not it "adds" to a given show or film. It will always detract from it for me. Of the scenes I could watch though so many hit just the right emotional moment, that I'm still well pleased with "Memorial" (once I block out all that puking).
Stefan and Damon disagree on how they should raise their new baby vamp, Elena. Damon is a breast feeding advocate more or less. He says their girl needs warm blood fresh from the vein. Stefan insists she'll be better off on the bunny diet. In a feeling parents know all too well, he wants to keep their baby from making the same mistakes he (and the rest of his race) have made since time immemorial.
Damon, the pragmatist, is right of course. Elena's a vampire now -- the top of the food chain. She needs vampire food. People are vampire food. Where my new parent analogy falls flat (or turns rather creepy) is that both of Elena's daddies are desperately in love with her, and well, the feeling is sort of mutual (even if Elena won't admit it to herself… but let's not worry about that for now).
In an episode that revolves around a memorial service for Reverend Young (and the rest of the reformed and exploded Council), Elena deals with her blood aversion and blood lust and Stefan and Damon deal with their myriad of issues. The Rev's delightfully awkward daughter, April (Grace Phipps), has left boarding school to mourn her dad and attend Mystic Falls High. Raise your hand if you thought, at least for a second, that Anna was back from the dead sporting brilliant blue contacts.
There's a new vampire hunter in town, Connor Jordan (Todd Williams) who has specially marked (and maybe magical) wooden bullets, that he keeps pumping into poor Tyler Lockwood. At the memorial service (and I will have religious nitpickery about this in the full recap), April is in the balcony rehearsing her dad's eulogy when Connor knifes her, in hopes that her yummy delicious blood will be too much for our vampires to resist. They do pretty well, but poor Elena is starving since she has already puked up deer blood, bagged blood and even Damon's blood (more about that in the recap too).
Matt offers himself as her first meal. While I adore Matt, I don't particularly 'ship Matt and Elena, and yet I can't help but like that Matt is what Elena needs right now -- more than Stefan or Damon could ever be. I don't know if that subtext is intentional, or simply a product of my Pudding Pop love, but Elena's Matt-meal mitigates some of my dissatisfaction with the failure of "Growing Pains" to mourn Elena's humanity. It also, I hope, mitigates some of Matt's guilt.
Elena not only feeds off Matt, but she, with the help of Caroline, passes her first test in controlling her blood lust when she heals April and compels her to forget the horrors she's just endured. The episode ends with the gang sending up memorial lanterns to honor all those they've lost. Damon pretends he has no inclination to mourn, but we know he's lying even before he retreats to the cemetery and numbs his pain with booze and a heartfelt (if a little corny) monologue aimed at Alaric's headstone. Too bad Damon didn't take Jeremy with him, because Alaric's spirit is sitting right next to Damon the whole time.
Elena drinking Damon's blood is hot. Stefan's reaction to learning about it is heated too, if not hot (and its maybe kind of hot).
Every scene with April.
Damon telling every single person who tries to sit to his left at the Mystic Grill that the seat is taken manages to be both funny and touching. Seeing Alaric's spirit with him at the end is perfect, although I do wish he appeared on Damon's left. I can torture a metaphor out of that, and perhaps I will, in the recap.
I'll be back with the whole story in the full recap. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page and then come on over to the forum, where only one seat is reserved.
Okay, so I've had a lot of problems with "Memorial." And yes -- all of those problems stem from the vomit. Other than that, I loved nearly everything about this episode. I loved everything about the episode, except having to watch (and watch and watch) it, so heaven knows where this recap is going. It's hard to type when you're using your hands to shield your eyes. This is our fourth season together though, my dearest fang gang, so you're ready for that, right? Good.
The opening montage is about the same as last week's, but it now includes a few clips from the season premiere. At the end of the voice-over narration, Stefan says that Elena is "one of us" now, and he'll do anything to help her survive, which is a little goofy, considering she's now pretty much immortal, provided she wears her new ring, and avoids getting staked, decapitated or burnt alive. Oh wait, this is Elena we're talking about, so maybe I owe Voice-Over Stefan an apology because while our little show that could certainly can make Elena fierce on occasion, it also loves making her into a damsel.
Stefan and Elena wake in a sun soaked woods. She sighs and says, "Hi." Stefan returns the favor. We cut to the interior of Mossy Manse. Stefan seems to be packing for his...um camping trip? I don't know. I find this confusing. I guess we're privy to his memories here. As a viewer, I love these scenes that cut from the past to the present and back. As a recapper, I find them a ginormous pain in my arse. Anyhow. He's arguing with Damon. Stefan wants to make their girlfriend into some platonic vampiric ideal. Damon just wants to rip off the bandage and see what happens when Elena feeds, because sooner or later, all baby vamps go overboard and kill their human prey.
I love Elena. I am extremely invested in her story. Were Tubey to shut down TWoP tomorrow, I'd keep watching The Vampire Diaries and I'd probably keep babbling about it on the internet, too, and I'd do so because of Elena Gilbert. She's not the only character I love, but love her I do. I mention all that, because I must confess that I do hope she kills someone -- an innocent someone -- specifically because of her bloodlust. Maybe that's weird, but she's a vampire now. And that's what I want her to be -- a vampire. I do not want her to be Saint Vampire, though. This writing team has managed to keep Caroline and Tyler sympathetic, even though they've killed. Heck, they've managed to keep Stefan and Damon sympathetic, and they're actual serial killers. I'm pretty sure they can create a situation in which Elena does a wrong and very bad thing, and it won't ruin her forever. I just hope they do. Go there, Team Plec. Go there. Um, just don't let her kill Matt, m'kay? Oh crap. I should have just kept my feelings to myself.