Talk about a triple play. Last night, in one hour of the “Vampire Diaries,” three series regulars faced the end of life as they knew it. First, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) forced Elena (Nina Dobrev) to drink his blood, insuring that if she sacrifices herself to Klaus (Joseph Morgan), she will become a vampire. Then, Klaus turned Jenna (Sara Canning) into a vampire so he can use her in his sacrificial ritual. Finally, Damon discovered that he was dying from a werewolf bite, ironically done in by his willingness to rescue Tyler (Michael Trevino) from Klaus’s clutches. That would be half a season’s worth of episodes on most series.
Damon, who repeatedly was admonished not to screw things up or do anything he would regret over the course of the episode, made mistake after mistake. His decision to forcibly shove his bloody arm into Elena’s mouth will be debated on fan boards for years. He was motivated by love, but as Elena poignantly pointed out, he took all of her choices away. (Of course, if Elena does not die within 24 hours, the effects of Damon’s blood will wear off.) According to executive producer Julie Plec, the writers wanted Damon to do something unforgivable. “The interesting thing about Damon, which is complicated for us as writers, is the lengths to which people will forgive him. That was never more clear than in the beginning of the season when he snapped Jeremy’s neck. Everyone was like, ‘He was upset. He’s sad.’ Of course Damon deserves to be loved. Damon deserves a lot of things. But Damon’s still got issues. This thing he did with Elena is his biggest lesson to learn. You can still love someone with all the power in your soul, but you still have to remember who they are and what they want. We’ve talked about it like turning off the life support on a coma patient, a loved one. What were their instructions? Do you keep them on life support because you can’t say good-bye or do you give them their wish? That’s the difference right now between Stefan and Damon. Stefan sees that you have to take the other person’s wishes into consideration. Damon, because he’s been so screwed in the head and it’s his Achilles heel. This episode was about him learning that lesson.”
Damon’s quest to make things right with Elena will drive the rest of the season, “The synopsis of the final episode is that he needs to seek her forgiveness. He desperately wants it, and, as we’ve seen, the extra reason with the werewolf bite, I can’t die with you hating me.”
Elena proved herself the anti-Bella Swan, when she poignantly told Stefan that she never, ever had entertained the thought of becoming a vampire to stay with him. The scenes where she told her boyfriend that she loved him, but realizes she is only 17 and wants the option to choose a normal adulthood, including motherhood were among the show’s most poignant. Plec says the “Twilight” parallels were deliberate. “When we started the show, the similarities to ‘Twilight’ were so extreme. This was our way of closing the book on that chapter of similarities. For Elena to say, ‘I never even wanted this for a minute. Because I’m still a kid and I still have choices to make in my life, choices that I want to make,’ I love that about Elena. I just think that’s so beautiful. I was happy to be able to let her have this introspection when the choice has already been made for her.”
Can next week’s episode top this one? Plec makes it sound like a near certainty. “Next week’s episode is enormous and very emotional… We could have ended [the season] with the sacrifice ritual. It’s big, powerful. As for poor Jenna, who has got to be in every viewer’s death pool, Plec teases that all may not be lost for the newly minted vampire. “The [focus is on] what everybody has to do to try to keep [Jenna] from being the vampire that Klaus sacrifices.” Bonnie fans, who missed seeing their favorite teen witch last night, will be in for a treat. “I just locked picture for episode 21. I can say that Miss Kat Graham’s at her most fierce.”