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The Vampire Diaries: "Daddy Issues"

Illustration for article titled iThe Vampire Diaries/i: Daddy Issues
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Thus far in the series, loyalty is one of the strongest foundations for relationships on The Vampire Diaries. When dealing with as many secrets, lies, double crosses, schemes, and general tomfoolery as these characters do, knowing the people you surround yourself with have your back at all costs is essential. Occasionally, this loyalty and trust have had disastrous results (Bonnie not disarming the Gilbert device, anyone?), but they ultimately have been shown as beautiful things, as we watch this group of people do everything and anything to help each other and ultimately become a makeshift family of sorts. In “Daddy Issues,” however, the focus is on the negative side of loyalty—to friends, to family members, even to your own kind—with mostly disastrous results for the characters.

In the main story of the night, Tyler quickly learns that ties  in the werewolf community run deep, deep enough for Jules to utter the stilted line “It’s my duty and honor to help you; please let me” and have it sound vaguely normal. In were-society, nothing matters more than what you are, and no other ties are more important, as if everyone and everything you knew before is gone. For Tyler, this issue of loyalty to his kind versus loyalty to his friends comes to a tipping point when Caroline is abducted and tortured by Jules’ very sadistic lover Brady. Although he isn’t a party to the torture, when it comes down to the big showdown between his old friends and his new werewolf ones Tyler is crippled by the choice and basically does nothing. His inability to stand by his friends ruins his friendship with Caroline and drives him right back into the arms of his fellow weres, who are turning out to be far more impulsive and dangerous than he can handle. This is classic nature/nurture argument, and it is just beginning because there’s a war a-brewing in Mystic Falls, and Tyler is caught in the middle. The question is: On which side will his loyalty ultimately fall?

John is playing the loyalty game as well, apologizing for his past “mistakes” and promising allegiance to Elena this time around. "Mistakes," like he forgot to take out the garbage or something. Real cute, John. It is unclear what he and Isobel are up to, and what it ultimately has to do with Katherine (although the moonstone and the curse are surely involved), but what is abundantly clear is that Elena is headed for a heartbreak. Despite all of her protests that she will never be his daughter, his eventual betrayal might be the one that hurts most of all. Unless she manages to betray him first, which I would not put past our fiery Elena. Thankfully, Jenna is now aware of Elena’s true lineage. How long until she knows the true story? And when will Alaric get more to do than show up in the Gilbert kitchen for breakfast? He's a character without a rudder right now if I've ever seen one.

As for Damon, his emotional revelation in the last episode that he misses being human appears to be morphing into something a bit less complicated. The more encompassing confession of missing his humanity seems to have been stripped down into one thread: his love for Elena and inability to be the kind of man she wants him to be. He is still unable to express his feelings to anyone of significance, so this week he picks up the local news anchor and bares his soul to her. His does this, of course, while simultaneously sleeping with her, compelling her, and feeding off of her, just to keep things interesting, and for that we thank him.

Unfortunately, for me the only way this will continue to be interesting is if Damon requires a different distraction every week and requires them while naked. This may not be popular opinion, but the transformation of Damon into a valid love interest for Elena feels like a disservice to his character, as every word he says about his love for her makes him more and more like other vamps who have preceded him. Also, the message from last week is convoluted at this point: Does he miss his humanity for himself, or does he just want this humanity because that’s what Elena would want? The former is far more interesting than the latter, and it appeared to be the road he was going down during his original confession. Here’s hoping it’s the road he continues traveling.

Stray observations:

  • Nobody likes a wooden bullet to the head, either going in or coming out. Ouch.
  • So Dr. Martin magically shows up to work his, um, magic and help the vampires win their fight with the werewolves. How did he know this was happening, exactly? Is Elijah plugged into the werewolf network or something?
  • “I can’t believe it. Elena is my sister’s husband’s brother’s daughter, and her mother is my boyfriend’s deceased wife. You can’t make this stuff up.”
  • “What happened to me tonight—that will never happen to me again. So you take that back to your little werewolf pack, and you get the hell out of my house.” Candice Accola, rocking it completely. Caroline is fantastic.
  • I approve of girly slumber parties. How else is a teenager supposed to get over being kidnapped, caged, tortured, and repeatedly shot? That's right: pillow fight!

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