Elena's hallucinations seemed inspired by Buffy, the Vampire Slayer's "Amends," Buffy's lone Christmas episode in which Angel is haunted by the people he killed, and he's led to stand outside to burn when the sun rises. Buffy meets him before the sun rises and makes a beautiful plea for Angel to keep his life. Elena's hallucinations are similar. The people she sees challenge her for being a killer long before she personally ended a life with her own hands. Connor blames her for her parents’ death; Katherine blames her for all of the loss her friends suffered, including Grams, and, really, anyone else who's died since the "Pilot." Elena's mother implored her to end her life because she should've died twice already; that it was her time to pass on from the earth. "But what about Jeremy," Elena sniffled. Her mother looked at, sorrowful and mournful yet disarmingly motherly, and told her not to worry about him. Elena removed her ring, saying aloud, "I'm a monster and I deserve to die."
She stood on the Wickery Bridge, awaiting morning to break. Klaus said a vampire who murders a hunter will not rest until she or he commits suicide, or the vampire transforms into a hunter. Stefan tried to help her, but she stabbed him. Damon is sent to calm her down and talk to her while Stefan works with Jeremy and Caroline to save Elena from the curse. Stefan and company save Elena's life. Damon talks her down and then saves her life when the curse is lifted but she's without a ring and the harsh light of day bears down on her skin and burns her. Stefan and Jeremy kill an innocent hybrid that just helped them find Elena. Tyler reacts badly to the murder as he and Haley dedicated their time to freeing hybrids from Klaus' sire bonds. Once again, Elena's life is placed above other people; as long as she lives it doesn't matter who dies to keep her alive. Tyler has a problem with this, and Caroline doesn't understand why, which was a rare moment I disliked her.
The transition from Elena the human to Elena the vampire has been okay in an overwrought kind of way. Elena's inevitably going to accept who she is now and quit hoping for a return to her old self; she's never coming back from being a vampire even if she's cured. Elena learns about the cure from Damon during a intimate scene featuring hand-holding and significant affection. Damon plays the role of devoted brother and won't let Elena think about him differently just because she's mad at Stefan (the vamp whose made sacrifices in the hope a cure is found). Stefan and Elena break-up soon after Damon leaves. Stefan can't be with her the way she is, fully apologetic for she stood by him during his Ripper days. Elena understands. She wants to be with Damon; her feelings for him were magnified since her transition.
The love triangle stuff was the least interesting aspect of the episode, with Elena's self-lashings a close second. "We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" wasn't great. Bleiweiss and Plec's script took a breather in the final act for the triangle progress, but the other acts were about moving their pieces to the right spots for whatever lies ahead, i.e. Jeremy becoming a hunter, which is ignored after the hybrid is killed, or Caroline agreeing to go on a date with Klaus because why the bleep not, or Tyler and Haley making mad faces after Jeremy, Stefan and Caroline conspired to kill one of the pack in cold blood (okay that was interesting and worthwhile), or the advancement of the Atticus Shane plot.
Shane assists Bonnie and Damon in the hunter's curse after delivering important exposition about a dude named Silas and witches and a rock that's going to be important by February sweeps if not sooner. With the exception of the triangle scenes, the final act moves like the final act of a finale. Quick scenes designed to pique the interest of the audience; in this case it's Shane requesting Bonnie let her know who the hunter is when his mark completes. Matt informs Damon of Shane's connection to April's father, a discovery that's surprising to just Matt and Damon. I'm curious about where the story is going; it's just a drag when a transition episode happens.
-Nina Dobrev's excellent. Katherine and Elena shared a scene, and Nina portrays both so differently that it felt like two different characters. It's a testament to the quality of Dobrev's acting, but also, the writers.
-Elena should choose herself after she dates Damon. I've been over this before, but it bears repeating: neither of the Salvatore brothers are keepers, especially Damon. Stefan's at least solid when not drunk on human blood and committing horrific acts on the corpses of people he murdered. There's an argument to be made for why every character would be best off being alone for all of their unlives.
-The Mystic Grille was repaired and open for business just one day after two explosions--that's good hustle.
-There's absolutely no sign these characters still go to high school and are seniors. I know the prom episode is coming and probably graduation in which it'll be more about Elena graduating into this other life she struggled so hard with in the beginning. I don't know.
-New episodes return November 29. I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving next week.
-Evan Bleiweiss & Julie Plec wrote the episode. Wendy Stanzler directed it.
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