Sometimes the only person you can trust is yourself

Season 1, Episode 13 (“Children of the Damned”)
Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley (Image: The CW)

“Trust breeds trust. You have to give it to get it.” Elena says this to Damon while she and Stefan are working behind his back. This episode deals a lot with characters putting their trust in someone only for it to be the wrong choice. Damon has decided to trust Stefan and Elena that they will help him get Katherine back. However, they don’t actually want to help him because they don’t want to potentially unleash the other 26 vampires that are in the tomb. So they are lying to him while pretending to work with him.

Back in 1864, Stefan and Damon’s father is working with the other Founders to eradicate the town of vampires. He asks his sons to help as well, though noting that he doesn’t really have much faith in Damon saying he is a deserter and thus doesn’t understand duty. Stefan thinks that they can appeal to their father in the case of Katherine, but Damon doesn’t. He tells Stefan to trust him that it won’t work. Stefan agrees but then goes behind Damon’s back and attempts to get his father to reconsider his stance on vampires. His father sees through this and ultimately captures Katherine in the vampire roundup. Damon put his trust in Stefan, Stefan put trust in his father, both ended up being betrayed.

Damon claims that before this he would have trusted Stefan more than anyone, but since then he has not been able to. He thinks he can trust Elena and is especially hurt by her betrayal at the end. He kind of expected it from Stefan, but not from her. In classic Damon fashion, he lashes out when he feels betrayed. He uses Elena as a bargaining tool to get Stefan to hand him the grimoire by forcing her to drink his blood. This of course puts her in danger of becoming a vampire, something Stefan does not want for her. Stefan caves and gives Damon the grimoire.

At the end of the episode Stefan tells Elena that it’s his fault that Katherine was taken away and Damon is right to blame him for it. Indicating that this is a major reason that they have been at odds for the past 145 years. This actually highlights something about the way the show handles the relationship between these two brothers that I have always appreciated. Up to this point they have painted the picture that Katherine came between them because they both loved her and resented the other for getting in the way. But that is really not the case. In the previous 1864 flashback episode, nothing is shown that indicates that they fought over her in a jealous or vindictive way. They always seemed kind of okay with her carrying on relationships with both of them. What actually came between them was when Stefan betrayed Damon by going to their father. He broke the trust between them, and that has caused more of the tension than the fact that they were both in love with the same girl. It’s not about a girl, it’s about trust.

Also in the 1864 flashbacks we learn that Anna and her mother Pearl were friends with Katherine and living as vampires in Mystic Falls. Pearl was captured by Johnathan Gilbert who had been in love with her, but turned his back on her when he found out what she was. This is why Anna wants to get into the tomb, she wants her mother back.

Flashback episodes are always great for filling in backstory and simultaneously helping move the story along. In this one we learned more about the cause of the tension between Damon and Stefan, their relationship with their father, how Anna fits into all of this, and about the founder’s crusade on the vampires. I liked this episode more the more I thought about it and was able to tease apart everything that it showed us.

Episode Grade: B

Other Thoughts:

  • The episode opens with Katherine teaching Damon the road trick back in 1864 which was pretty great.
  • I really hate Damon’s 1864 hair and whatever they are doing with makeup. I guess they are trying to make him look younger but they always make him really pale and like too smooth…
  • I also hate every scene between him and Katherine. They are meant to show us how much Damon has changed since becoming a vampire and that he used to be nice but he is always so meek. He lets Katherine walk all over him.
  • Does Alaric have his own locker? To hide things in? Teachers don’t usually have lockers.
  • Seeing Damon hang out with the Gilberts was weird.
  • Are they trying to draw a parallel between Damon being a vampire sympathizer and a union sympathizer? He deserted the confederacy on principle indicating he didn’t believe in their cause. His father tells him that if he is labelled a sympathizer they will kill him as well. His father was also very judgey about his choice to leave the war.
  • Body Count: No deaths!

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