Stefan saves Damon at the expense of his own happiness

Season 2, Episode 22 (“As I Lay Dying”)
Ian Somerhalder (Image: The CW)

After the big, action packed penultimate episode of season 2, the finale focuses on the fallout of the sacrifice ritual and does a lot of set up for season 3. It basically took two entire episodes to get through the sacrifice, and now that we are past it there is still a lot to unravel. We still don’t really know what Klaus is up to. We are getting the sense that breaking the curse was only step 1 in his plans, and Stefan seems to be an asset going forward. Damon’s near death experience provides the show an opportunity to change the status quo in season 3 as Stefan will be teaming up with Klaus and leaving Elena behind.

Damon is dying from Tyler’s bite, and is experiencing the same pains that Rose did earlier in the season. He is sweaty and hallucinating, having trouble separating his memories from current day. His near death experience allows for him to have a sort of cleansing of his past. He recognizes that he cannot blame Stefan for his history with Katherine. He was not forced to love her, that was his choice. It was also his choice to let it drive a wedge between him and Stefan. It also allows for Elena to forgive him for everything that he has done over the past two seasons, because in the end she doesn’t want to hate him. At the beginning of the episode, before she finds out that Damon is dying, Elena is still mad at him saying that it will take a long time for her to forgive his most recent transgressions. But as soon as she finds out that he is dying, she puts all of that aside and is there for him.

This leads to a not quite romantic, but not quite platonic death bed scene between the two of them. He confesses his love to her, even if he has never actually vocalized this to her (that she can remember), she already knows. He also knows that she knows, so I don’t think he is hoping to gain anything here. Of course he thinks he is about to die so there is nothing much to gain other than finally being able to say it. The scene doesn’t feel overtly romantic on her part, but it is clearly setting up an intensifying of the love triangle in season 3. The entire werewolf bite plot line here serves as a means of flipping the script on the dynamics of the core three characters. The show was never going to kill off Damon so there is little suspense in the potential of him dying. However, with this scene bringing them closer than they have ever been and the sacrifice required by Stefan to get the cure, season 3 is going to shake things up.

Stefan is dedicated to finding a cure for Damon. He still feels guilt for making Damon turn in 1864 and thus feels obligated to do whatever it takes to save him. Also regardless of guilt, he is is brother and he will always do whatever it takes to save him. He discovers that Klaus’s hybrid blood is the cure. However, Klaus is not just going to give it to him, he wants something in return. He knows of Stefan’s former “ripper” days and wants to bring that part of him back. He wants Stefan to leave Mystic Falls with him and help him carry out his plans, but only if he is willing to be a bad vampire again. Stefan knows that going with Klaus will destroy everything he has built in Mystic Falls, especially his relationship with Elena. With his blood addiction, if he gives into human blood and killing people again, it may be decades before he recovers. It is now going to be Damon’s turn to save Stefan.

We are also seeing the beginning of Bonnie’s tendency to use magic to go against nature, the source of her magic. The witches she has been channeling no longer want to help her. If a vampire gets a werewolf bite, it is their time to die, not find ways around it. When Jeremy is shot and dies, she should let him. However, Bonnie cannot let people die, if she can find another way. This refusal to just let nature takes its course will be a theme for Bonnie throughout the series as are the consequences of defying nature so many times.

Last episode felt more like the conclusion to season 2, and this one like the set up for season 3. Stefan is going to be the bad brother, the love triangle is going to be turned up, something is going on with Jeremy who is now seeing Vicki and Anna all of a sudden, and Klaus is going to cause even more trouble now that he has broken the curse. But this episode was a strong end to a great season. Season 2 is my favorite from start to finish season, though I think other seasons feature some stronger plot lines or chunks of episodes. The inclusion of Caroline and Tyler in the supernatural world was a great move that gave two characters, who were pretty flat in the first season, much more interesting stories and character development. At the end of the season even Matt and Sheriff Forbes were brought in on the supernatural drama which makes me very happy. Elena was given more to do in this season as much of the drama centered around her as being a part of the supernatural world as a doppelgänger. We were also introduced to Klaus and the Originals who will be explored much more in the next season. As much as I have loved covering season 2, I am very excited to get to season 3 and bad Stefan. In the early seasons Stefan is not the most interesting to me because he is too moral and too good. But as the series goes on we see different sides of him and how he is flawed which makes him much more compelling.

Episode Grade: A

Season Grade: B+

Other Thoughts:

  • As a hybrid, Klaus is not tied to the full moon, he can turn into a werewolf whenever he wants.
  • Damon tries to kill himself and then later tries to get Alaric to kill him by going through all of the bad things he has done to him. After seeing what Rose went through I can’t really blame him for wanting to get through with it.
  • Which leads to the detox cellar! My favorite room in the Salvatore house.
  • Alaric is doing shots at The Grill in the middle of the day, but snaps out of it as soon as he finds out his bro Damon needs him.
  • The town is doing a movie in the square night, Gone with the Wind. This is a call back to the episode “The Descent” which Rose dies in. When they are in Damon’s bedroom Elena notices a copy of Gone with the Wind on the nightstand. I guess it’s Damon’s favorite?
  • Klaus daggers Elijah again so that he doesn’t have to deal with him. It honestly gets hard to keep up with which of Klaus’s siblings are daggered at what times.
  • Caroline: “All of this waiting around for news is ruining Scarlett for me”
  • Jeremy refusing to stay put while Caroline and Bonnie, a vampire and a witch, handle things. This is because you can do nothing Jeremy, so they leave you behind. If it has not been obvious, I am not a big Jeremy fan.
  • “I heard about this one vampire, crazy bloke, always on and off the wagon for decades. When he was off he was magnificent” Klaus has a hard-on for Stefan’s ripper side.
  • Caroline telling her mom the truth and saying that she doesn’t want them to have secrets anymore was such a nice moment. I love watching their relationship evolve throughout the series.
  • Elena/Katherine: “Where’s Stefan?” “Are you sure you care”
  • Katherine: “It’s okay to love them both, I did” another line that will be overplayed in the previously ons.
  • Body Count: 1, Stefan kills the random girl that Klaus brings him. It is also stated that Klaus killed several people while he was a wolf but it is not stated how many.

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