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April 30, 2010

Vampire Diaries 1.19, "Miss Mystic Falls"

TV: The Vampire Diaries

(I'm going to try doing some more TV blogging. I know I've said this before and it hasn't stuck. We'll see. You can assume that any posts that mention an episode title will have spoilers for the show in question through that episode.)

I know some Vampire Diaries fans were on the Damon bandwagon from day one. I wasn't. I'm not one of those girls who automatically goes for the bad boy. If anything, I go for the sad boy, the emotionally and/or psychologically tortured boy*, so the Elena/Stefan pairing was fine by me. At the beginning of the show, Stefan was good and Damon was evil. It was all fairly simple. But, fairly quickly, Damon began to get more complicated. Stefan stayed good, and good was starting to look boring. And then, of course, Stefan abruptly turned evil, and that was also boring. Meanwhile, Damon became probably the most complex character on the show, and it became obvious that, much as he denied it, he actually did care about both his brother and Elena. And there started to be these moments - just looks, sometimes, or throwaway lines like Damon referring to Elena as "our girlfriend" - that made the chemistry between Damon and Elena undeniable.

And then this happened. A little background: Elena is in a town pageant that basically plays out like a debutante ball. Stefan is supposed to be her escort and perform this historical dance with her, but he has suddenly and mysteriously vanished, so his brother steps in. Earlier in the episode, Elena and Stefan danced this in practice, and, despite Stefan's best efforts, it was cute but not particularly hot. After being told by a teacher (? authority figure of some sort) that they weren't supposed to actually touch hands during the first part of this dance, Stefan claimed that "The near-touch is overrated." Remember that, and watch this:

So. No, Stefan, the near-touch is not overrated. You're just not your brother. Okay, a few things here:

1. Please tell me I was not the only one struck by the Pride and Prejudice look of this scene. Oh, how I do love dancing scenes.

2. Damon's dance with Elena, in which he followed the rules and didn't touch, was a heck of a lot hotter than Stefan's version. Honestly, I do think that Ian Somerhalder (Damon) is just a better actor than Paul Wesley (Stefan), and has been chemistry with Nina Dobrev (Elena). But he's also being given more interesting stuff to work with, so who knows. The way he plays this scene is great - it's so controlled that it practically explodes from the tension. As Cindy McLennan says in her recap, "Damon's gaze is mature, appreciative, flattering, and not at all a leer. He changes into the antebellum southern gentleman he was meant to be. When it's time for them to part, Elena realizes she's just had OMGEYESEX with her boyfriend's brother. She can't meet Damon's gaze. He can't take his eyes off her." Oh, DAMON.

3. And on a plot level - Damon has spent a lot of time talking about how he doesn't care about Elena, at all, but he really doesn't have to do this. Sure, people would be curious if Elena had no escort, but they'll be curious anyway, as her escort's name was very clearly announced as Stefan Salvatore and it was Damon Salvatore who showed up. And the whole town knows who the Salvatores are, so the intention wasn't to fool anyone. He really just did it to save Elena from the humiliation of walking down those stairs and having no one there to meet her. And I don't think he even tried to justify it some other way afterward.

So. After this, I have to say that I am firmly on Team Damon. Cindy McLennan again: "And that's it. That's the moment. That's the game changer." At this point, an Elena/Damon pairing at some point in the future seems inevitable. Honestly, I hope it takes a while. What I think would be really interesting, and I have no spoilers here, so this is all speculation, would be if Damon and Elena recognized their feelings for each other, but also realized that since Elena is all Stefan is living for at this point, she couldn't just break up with him. And that situation would make for some delightful angst all around.

* Really, show me any book or TV show or ANYTHING and I will automatically gravitate toward the guy most likely to jump off a bridge or put his hand through a window. It's a talent. Or something. For example, I couldn't figure out why I liked Gossip Girl's oft-reprehensible Chuck Bass so much until he started threatening to jump off buildings, and then it all made so much sense!

Posted by Kat at April 30, 2010 04:30 PM
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