Episode 34: The Descent

Episode 34

In this episode, Elena makes the asinine decision to babysit an infected vampire so that the producers can then show us that she can take care of herself, Damon tells Jules she should be afraid of him even though she’s besting him so far, Rose should’ve died for a better reason, and it was a mistake to make Damon kill Jessica.

A Meta on Damon: http://ghostsontv.tumblr.com/post/9023057334/damon-salvatore-the-vampire-diaries-how-i

A Meta on Damon part 2: http://ghostsontv.tumblr.com/post/9026288083/magalimoon-all-of-this-i-think-this-show

An Unfinished Meta: The Construction of Elena Gilbert http://angryzen.livejournal.com/26704.html

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17 thoughts on “Episode 34: The Descent

  1. Hey,

    Firstly, I listen to your podcast every time you post. I just never comment which is a bad habit of mine. But I do participate in the polls, so maybe I can get some points for that.

    I just want to start off by saying that the thing that worries me about the writers and this show is that the only stand alone characters are Uncle John and Bonnie. When I say “stand alone”, I mean someone that doesn’t have to have someone by their side or someone to live for, They don’t need this exaggerated definition of love that the writers try to push on us. Their motivation is logical. (And regrettably I say this only sticks with John, because Bonnie starts to put Elena before life later in the season.)

    If you look at the other characters, they need love or someone there with them that’s going to give them hope and strength and a purpose. None of these characters know how to be alone.They have no idea how to be better people by themselves and then even better people when they do find love. The whole Triangle is very flawed in that there is no good combination. Which one of them have been amazing people outside of this dynamic and then better people with in it? No one. Elena probably has always been the same person as she is. Stefan, from his introduction, has seem to have gotten worse. And Damon, I don’t even see a person in him.

    When I talk about Damon, I mean, when we first met him, he was hot. His one liners made me laugh, He had a plan and he was some one that was kinda mysterious. Now he’s pealed. Like an onion. And the thing about an onion is if you keep pulling at the layers there’s not gonna be anything left. And I feel like this show gave me an onion and left me with nothing (which is opposite of Elena, which I feel they gave me nothing and is trying to build an onion). They wanted to make me cry, but why would I cry for nothing. There’s nothing left of Damon. He exists for Elena and there in lies the problem with his character. And that’s why his portion of the triangle sucks.

    How can you honestly expect me to root for a person in this mess when I don’t even know who these people are?

    With that said, this episode backs up everything that I said. Elena is a backwards onion. And Damon is a poorly pealed one. And Stefan is half there, half not and he’s beginning to smell.

    • I’m totally guilty of watching/listening to/reading something someone produces and not commenting, so I’m not going to get on you for that.

      I love the onion analogy! Especially the part about Stefan beginning to smell. Lmao.

      You are absolutely right about John and Bonnie being standalone characters and that Bonnie really became kind of less so.

      None of these characters know how to be alone.They have no idea how to be better people by themselves and then even better people when they do find love.

      It’s interesting that you bring this up because I was thinking about Elena/Bonnie/Caroline the other day and I thought that Bonnie is the only one, if they split up, who would be fine. We’ve seen it plenty of times like when she took time off from Elena or when she took time off from Caroline. She doesn’t fall apart for being by herself. I also read a post about the Bonnie/Caroline/Elena relationship and the person pointed out that Caroline is kind of a clingy friend/person (and she said it’s not a bad thing) so of course if there’s something wrong with Bonnie she’s going to pick up on it and try to do something (the part where she didn’t try to reach out to Bonnie after turning not withstanding).

      The whole Triangle is very flawed in that there is no good combination.

      That’s becoming more true as the season goes on. Stefan used to seem like the better option for Elena, but when you have him not minding Elena being in the presence of the person who almost doomed her to a life of vampyrism, then the magic kind of falls away. That’s honestly when I started seeing Stefan in a different light: his ultimate lack of action in regards to Damon feeding Elena his blood. Especially when you pit him against UJ who wanted to kill them both in season 1 in order to protect Elena.

      • I agree with you. I have never seen Caroline and Elena be successful at being alone. And that’s because when we get a snippet of independence from them, then right after we get them being controlled and “handled” by whoever they’re dating or whoever wants to date them.

    • I wanted to say that Sheriff Forbes should be on the functioning alone list as well. When she found out that Damon and Stefan were vampires she rounded up a kill squad (okay “trio”) in a hurry. Also the only reason she made it out of that cellar alive was because she was Caroline’s mother.

      I guess you could say the same for Carol Lockwood, but really both of those ladies need more screen time, but then again that would only ruin them so I’m torn.

      WELCOME! 😀

      • I was going to say Carol Lockwood and Liz Forbes. But to be honest when Richard was alive, Carol seemed messy. She was obviously sleeping with or thinking about sleeping with Damon. She was at the local bar throwing them back in that one episode and every other time we seen her she was being a bit of a bitch.

        Liz Forbes, the only time I see her she’s working. Maybe to bury the thought that her husband left her for a man, or something. But I like Liz. I think she can be handle herself.

        • I’m holding judgment on Liz until I see what she does now that she knows the secret. Holding her own when she found out the first time was great, but that was only one episode. She tried to kill Damon in the finale. Let’s see if the producers/Elena/Caroline make her apologize for it.

  2. Nobody want’s to give Elena the time of day because … we don’t care about her … :[

    …. Damon.

    I hear trains in the background. 😉

    This is gross that Damon’s feelings is being forced upon Elena. Stop it show.

    I’m laughing at the 1 black death = 2 white death. Not equal when a high majority of POC’s have not made it off this show alive. Don’t make me make a pie chart.

    ELENA
    “No Elena, not us humans, just you.” lol Elena is Jesus. Lol smh

    OMG Greta.

    I don’t get why Elena put herself in trouble like that. What if they got home and found Elena dead. Then it would have been like Opps! End of the show I guess. OOOORRR it could be everyone against the Salvador’s show, where the gilberts and Bonnie and Caroline all avenge Elena Gilbert’s death …

    I know I can’t even imagine thinking about Elena enough to write things down.

    Stefan is the love of young Elena’s life. Of course she can not get over the magical vampire dick. *eye roll*

    Bonnie gets in over her head the first time with the tomb.

    Elena looks like a moron because she put herself in that situation. She should have gone to school. What an idiot. No No Buffy moment.

    I hate that it all happened off screen too. WHAT THE HECK!
    Elena is immune to death from seeing it all the time.

    CAROLINE:

    Maybe it was because Tyler told her to leave when he was changing?

    Word

    Bonnie wasn’t in Rose? Omg … I would rather see Bonnie/Caroline. Stefan is self-serving.

    I would have liked it better if Tyler apologized and gave Caroline some credit rather than just stealing a kiss to make her stop talking.

    Why do you like Bonnie/Jeremy so much as apposed to Caroline/Tyler?

    I don’t mind Jules on the second watch. They made Mason bad just with a scene of him with Katherine and then anther scene with him choking Elena … *side eye*. Really it was more of a headlock.

    Stefan:

    Oh yeah he did give John his blood. After hearing this list I’m head-desking.
    Stefan said sorry so it’s okay. My eyes hurt from all the rolling.

    Damon: I can’t believe this dynamic. Rose is older why is she acting like Damon’s peon.

    They did show it Alta. Remember when Damon compelled Elena. Ugh! It’s the exact same thing, because he did it in the series opener. The exact same thing.

    LOL Ian. :[ yes Paul is better.

    I wish Damon would have said “I can‘t keep being what she‘s made me” or something else that could have alluded to it being about Katherine and if he let Jessica go then it could have been a turning point for him. He could have been tired of all the killing and the pain because I’ve only been around it for a couple of months and I’M BORED! It could have been about Stefan but Katherine is at the root of all this.

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard Damon wax poetic about the good old days when he was human … never ever.

    SEE WE ARE ON THE SAME BOAT! He could have seen Rose end as something that could happen to him. A meaningless existence. All Rose did was run from Klaus. All Damon did was chase after Katherine. Parallels. Damon should have seen himself in her death in a real way. He should have connected in a real way, but we get this failed mess where he doesn’t change and I don’t see him cracking and he learns nothing, just falls back into the same old boring rut and the bodies keep piling up. smh

    I’m guessing the crying scene is this really bad version of an rue Blood Eric/Sookie scene:

    Sookie Stackhouse: [In reference to Godric] He’s your maker, isn’t he?
    Eric Northman: Don’t use words you don’t understand.
    Sookie Stackhouse: You have a lot of love for him.
    Eric Northman: Don’t use words I don’t understand.

    They should have shown flashbacks of the many times Katherine rejected him.

    Wow this was a short episode. 😉 Rose death could have triggered Damon but they failed at it.

    Holy crap Caroline totally called Elena’s character out in the first season when sh made that comment about not being one of those girls who when they get a boyfriend virtually disappears from the rest of her life.

    • I hear trains in the background.

      The window was open. I tried to move the computer away while it was passing. Ugh.

      Don’t make me make a pie chart.

      Lmao.

      Bonnie was in Rose. She’s the one who found Elena. Are you talking about this episode?

      I find Bonnie/Jeremy more interesting. I like what it does for Bonnie and I like what it does for Jeremy. I think they’re an example of what DanYeou said about a character being good alone and being better when they get in a relationship (though this goes more for Bonnie than Jeremy since he’s never been single for long). I like that they have things to do aside from being together. Plus this coupling involves my favorite character so I’m glad I like it more than another pairing. Lol. When it comes to Tyler/Caroline, they just never hooked me. There’s the aforementioned bad-mouthing of Caroline by Tyler (I don’t think I’ll always hold this against him but I always thing of it when I see people talking about how he’s soooo much better for Caroline than Matt), there’s the backpedaling of Caroline’s anger where he was concerned, and now there’s the upcoming faux drama with their families. I just feel nothing for them which I guess is better than being pissed at them.

      The Damon/Rose parallel would have been a good way to go.

      Yup, Caroline called her out.

      • my bad. I’m talking about this episode which probably should have been called ‘Rose’. I like the background sounds. 😉

        Now I’m kinda teetering on Bonnie/Tyler. What if I got it and they had no chemistry. uhg I’m kinda happy that they’re a crackship. brb

        it’s really storming here.

        • I don’t think Bon/Ty would have the same problem as Caro/Ty. For one, I don’t think Bonnie would have held off on telling Tyler the truth as long as Caroline did. Heck she didn’t even telling him. She just had to admit the truth when he confronted her. And also, the producers wouldn’t be abusing Bonnie the way they’ve done with Caroline. By that, I mean Tyler has a habit of slamming her into things. They take advantage of her strength. They wouldn’t be able to do that with Bonnie. I’m not saying that Tyler/Bonnie would have been better than Ty/Caro (though I know you think so. Lol), just that some of the things that are problematic for me with Ty/Caro, I wouldn’t see happening with Bon/Ty.

          I just really want to see Bonnie and Tyler interact one on one. Or Bonnie/Tyler/Jeremy. That may not be for a while though. Ugh.

          • I just meant what if Kat and Michael had no chemistry …but then I remember the Thank you video they made for the fans … It could work. 🙂

            Bonnie would have looked so guilty if she tried to keep that secret from Tyler. Her hands are stained in that instance.

            I just wish Bonnie had been the one to follow up with Tyler after what happened to Mason. I know Tyler would not have been able to push Bonnie around like he did to Caroline. He might have tried and found himself flat on his ass way on the other side of the room with stunned look on his face or he might have had a spitting headache. I think that would have been better TV IMO.

            Tyler, Bonnie and Jeremy would be interesting. I would hope they would talk about Mason’s last moments, but I dare not hope.

    • I wish Damon would have said “I can‘t keep being what she‘s made me” or something else that could have alluded to it being about Katherine and if he let Jessica go then it could have been a turning point for him. He could have been tired of all the killing and the pain because I’ve only been around it for a couple of months and I’M BORED! It could have been about Stefan but Katherine is at the root of all this.

      YES. I think it’s sad that whenever Damon and Stefan interacted with Katherine this season, the tension was coded as UST or slap slap kiss because it still makes what they had with her valid in a romantic sense and ignores what she did to them. Damon went into the relationship knowing what was up but it’s not like that shifted the power dynamic into his favor, if anything it skewed it out of his favor and Stefan had no choice and I wish the writers would explain the exact effect of compulsion on the mind, outside of being controlled. But the show doesn’t get into either Salvatore unboxing that relationship as it relates to who they are now. So Damon’s downward spiral becomes about loving Elena and being bad instead of what went in to making him that way.

  3. + I’ve seen those posts on Tumblr as well and agree with some of what is being said but strongly disagree with other things (or possibly just the phrasing because I understood the essential argument but I didn’t really think some of the statements stood as absolutes or easily categorized as going against the behavior the characters had set up for themselves and that the main problem is the show not coding the behavior as gray).

    + Rose: I want that to be the essential argument in favor of killing vampires. They have had their lives and dying is a natural part of that. That there is an answer in death that is central to being alive in any form. Not to say all the vampires should walk willy-nilly into death if they do bad things, living being this natural imperative, but it would be nice if healing wasn’t the first form of solution to the show. Redemption, as it were, should not happen because it is on the schedule.

    Damon’s emotions are often so veiled by easy going sarcasm that it’s hard to care about him.

    What Elena wants is unimportant.

    Elena: I’m not into everyone ignoring Elena’s want in this scene, but finding Isobel is an act towards a solution and the characters are so often against those.

    I tend to think of Elena as a bit of a cipher.

    The Stefan/Elena love story bores me because of this “love of my life”/co-dependent mess of weirdness.

    Elena staying with Rose is so ridiculous and makes Damon and Elena look stupid. Like really? No one thought about that.

    Why oh why can the characters on this show not use Bonnie’s name?

    Elena figured it out without investigating it.

    Matt: I hated this scene so much. Ugh. I think they look really good making out with each other but no. The three of them Tyler/Caroline/Matt were completely wasted in this triangle, trapped in a romantic storyline that is useless because it is simply about them being romantic.

    Caroline: She’s pulling it out of her ass because he accepted her help with only a momentary hesitation on his part.

    The Tyler/Caroline kiss did nothing for me. They have chemistry but it is the minimum amount to qualify for a relationship. I don’t like Matt/Caroline but they have better chemistry in my opinion.

    The musical cues on this show are ridiculous.

    Jules: If they’d explained why Jules didn’t have a problem with killing those people that would have been something. If they’d let her be upset. Anything.

    Stefan: Stefan has a selective memory and is mostly talk. He likes to judge.

    The conflicts on this show are so ridiculous. I did something you didn’t like. / Oh that’s okay. I’m already over it./I have to get over it

    Damon: Damon killing Jessica was a huge mistake because not killing her would have at least suggested that everything that comes out of his mouth means something.

    So many Damon fans loved that scene and thought it was gorgeous and I wasn’t into it either. It was a mess and I love that you brought up the Stefan/Amber scene because, I think the our reaction to both scenes were supposed to be in opposition to each other, since the suggestion with Stefan’s scene was that, when it came down to it, he was probably going to hurt her and that the problem wasn’t that he didn’t want to but that he did. The Damon/Jessica scene, I thought, was supposed to be about him wanting to hurt her but choosing not too, which is why him ultimately killing her was a mistake because it was all talk. While Stefan’s scene was deliberately all-talk.

    The writers didn’t care about what Katherine could mean to Elena, Damon, and Stefan, individually.

    The expectations and wants of the writers being felt so strongly is one of the biggest problems with the writing on this show.

    • Damon’s emotions are often so veiled by easy going sarcasm that it’s hard to care about him.

      This is it exactly! And sarcasm is always his response. It worked when Katherine was back in town. Didn’t work here for Rose.

      Why oh why can the characters on this show not use Bonnie’s name?

      So damn problematic considering how much they benefit from her.

      I don’t like Matt/Caroline but they have better chemistry in my opinion.

      I actually agree with this. I say “actually” because I’ve never thought about it. If the producers had let Matt/Caroline be happy and together instead of Matt trying to fix her, then I would have liked them more than Ty/Caro. Matt/Caroline had more “starting” chemistry than Ty/Caro. Heck, Matt/Caroline’s kiss in front of Tyler’s car was better than Ty/Caro’s kiss here, imo.

      • I agree with the comparison of Stefan/Amber and Damon/Jessica.

        The expectations and wants of the writers being felt so strongly is one of the biggest problems with the writing on this show.

        Yup. We shouldn’t know the producers’ opinions as much as we do. That’s not the kind of “fan interaction” I want. I promise, every episode that airs JP is on twitter reacting to it just like the fans are. It feels like it.

      • I agree with what Olu said about Matt/Caroline. Zack is yummy despite Matt. Gosh he looks like a good kisser … I digress.

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