Rose reminds Damon of his humanity

Season 2, Episode 12 (“The Descent”)
Lauren Cohan, Ian Somerhalder (Image: The CW)

Rose may have only here a short while, but she made a big impression. She plays a couple different roles in the show, the first as means of moving the plot forward and then as a means of bringing out Damon’s humanity through her death. She introduced us to the concept of Elijah, Klaus, and the Originals. She is the person who turned Katherine and thus, along with Trevor, helped her escape Klaus 500 years ago. And then she is used to demonstrate what exactly happens to a vampire that is bitten by a werewolf, which is a very painful death.

As her body breaks down and she becomes very sick, she reflects on her life and what she misses about being human. She has some very nice moments with Elena, telling her that she is lucky to be loved as much as she is and that she never had that. She tells Damon that when she was human she had friends, family, people who cared for her. But as a vampire she only ever had Trevor and they were always on the run. She reminds Damon that its those connections that make us human, and he still has people who care about him. Those people are the path to his humanity. She reflects on how much she has hated being a vampire. She doesn’t like hurting humans, it is not who she is. As a vampire it is her nature to hunt, feed, and kill and it brings her pleasure. But she hates that it does.

Her death and all of her talk about missing being human leads Damon to have an existential crisis at the end of the episode, which is played out when he uses the road trick to kill a woman. When he first sees her he isn’t sure what is he going to do. He wants to kill her, it’s who he believes he is. Not killing her is who Elena and Stefan want him to be, but is not who he thinks he can be. He tells this woman that he misses being human more than anything, but he isn’t so he kills her. It feels like a big confession. He is always presenting himself as the bad brother. He loves being a vampire, he finds joy in killing people, it’s fun, it’s his right as a vampire. But he didn’t want to be a vampire. Stefan made him turn, and he has hated himself ever since. So it’s not terribly surprising that he misses it. But he has locked up that part of him for so long, he has forgotten a lot of what it means to be human.

Meanwhile, Caroline is dealing with some romantic drama, as a love triangle begins to form between her, Matt, and Tyler. Matt has missed her and wants to get back together. Caroline still loves him but can’t be with him because she is a vampire. When Tyler finds out that a werewolf bite is fatal to a vampire, he questions why Caroline would help him if it put her at risk. She tells him its because she cares about him and he takes that to mean that she has feelings for him. She can’t be with Matt, but she doesn’t want to be with Tyler either. It’s hard to blame either of these guys for wanting to date Caroline, she is amazing. However, Jules tells Tyler at the end of the episode that Caroline and her vampire friends were responsible for Mason’s death which is likely to cause some tension between them. Jules has called other werewolves to come to Mystic Falls, setting up a potential vampires vs. werewolves conflict.

This is a great episode, and probably one of my favorites of the season. It is sad to have to watch Rose go through such a painful death, even if she was a fairly expendable character. She lived about 560 years, but for the most part never really had a life. She is one of the few people we see that are able to bring out the good in Damon and it allows us to see his potential. She sees through his bad guy act and knows that he is actually a decent person. Elena sees this too as she watches him grieve for Rose, even if he won’t admit that he cares. He was by no means in love with her, but he did genuinely like her. And at least for this episode, she reminded him that he misses being human.

Episode Grade: A

Other Thoughts:

  • We get our first glimpse of Damon’s bedroom in this episode. It is much bigger and nicer than Stefan’s. His TV is in a weird position though. It’s like in a corner facing the middle of the room but not towards the bed or a chair. How are you supposed to watch it? Does Damon watch a lot of TV?
  • Why did Damon leave a human in charge of taking care of a sick and potentially dangerous vampire?
  • Stefan wants to track down Isobel to find out more information about Klaus, but instead he turns up with Uncle John…. everyone’s favorite. Also wasn’t the last time we saw John when Stefan threatened him if he didn’t leave town?
  • Damon: “You went on a murderous rampage, it happens”
  • Caroline: “Everyone just needs to stop kissing me!”
  • Body Count: 10! Jules kills the park ranger (1) and an unknown number of campers (lets call them 4), she also kills Rose (1). Rose kills (3) people at the pep rally. and Damon kills the woman during his existential crisis (1).

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