Season 3, Episode 11 (“Our Town”)
Over the course of the past few seasons, many of our characters lives have changed to say the least. Whether or not that change is for better or for worse may be a matter of perspective, but when your life changes, you change along with it. At some point you realize that there isn’t really any going back, this is who you are now. A lot of this season to me is about a change in the status quo, particularly with Stefan leaving town and turning off his humanity. This episode continues grappling with what this change means for Stefan, but it also takes a step back and considers how the series so far has impacted both Caroline and Elena.
Caroline is in mourning of her former, human life. On what should be her 18th birthday, she realizes that she will never be 18, she will forever be stuck at 17. Not a great year to get stuck at. She will never really get to be an adult. Instead of celebrating her birthday, Elena decides to throw her a funeral so that she can officially say goodbye to her old self. Faced with immortality as a teenager, she questions what is the point of living. She doesn’t want to die per se, but she isn’t really feeling life either. Weirdly it is Klaus that offers her a new perspective. He tells her that as a vampire you are not bound by trivial human conventions and that can be very freeing. There is so much to do and explore in the world and with an immortal life that doesn’t have to worry about school, work, money, health insurance, you can see it all. Yes she has lost the life she dreamed of. She will never grow old, have a career, a normal family, but her life can be meaningful. She just has to shift her perspective.
Throwing Caroline a funeral reminds Elena that she too has sort of died in a way. Her life before she knew she was a doppelgänger and met the Salvatores, is gone. She is also feeling down because she is not sure this is the life she was meant to lead. Matt tells her that it is okay to let her past self go and embrace who she is now. Maybe she is stuck on this new path but that doesn’t mean it is the wrong one. So she too says goodbye to her old, normal self.
Stefan is also feeling as though he has lost everything and that he cannot get it back. He is still channeling all of his emotions into hating Klaus. He wants Klaus to get his hybrids to leave town and threatens to continue killing them until he does. When that is not effective he goes further and threatens to kill Elena or turn her into a vampire so that he can’t make more hybrids. This is probably Stefan’s lowest moment this season. He not only makes Elena think he might be willing to actually kill her, but he does it on the bridge that her parents died on. The only thing that matters is destroying Klaus, that is all that he has left. What he doesn’t see is that unlike Elena and Caroline, he can go back. He says that he lost Elena the moment he left town with Klaus, but that isn’t true. Things may never go back to exactly the way they were, but she would never give up on him.
Tyler finally sees the extent to which his bond with Klaus controls him when Klaus tells him to bite Caroline, which he refuses to do. He then goes to Caroline telling her that Klaus cannot control him, he loves her and will put her first. He then involuntarily bites her while they are making out. It doesn’t matter if Tyler wants to serve Klaus or not, he has to. Tyler’s loss is his free will and along with it, his friends. Klaus ends up being the one to save Caroline from the bite, and shows interest in her afterwards. Klaus is not just taking away Tyler’s free will, he is taking over the town and insinuating himself into every aspect of his life.
There is an overall feeling of loss in this episode. Caroline lost her human life, Elena lost a normal life, Stefan thinks he has lost everything, and Tyler has lost his free will and most of the people he cares about. Everyone is feeling stuck in these new roles and are struggling to adjust. Some are beginning to come to terms with their new lives (Elena and Caroline) while others are more resigned (Stefan and Tyler). It is definitely an improvement over the previous episode which did not give me much excitement for the remainder of the season. This storyline with Caroline and Elena could have been placed anywhere but I think it fits well in this theme of change in season 3. The first two seasons established a status quo within the supernatural world, and this one is changing a lot of it.
Episode Grade: B+
- Tyler gives Caroline a charm bracelet… like she is 12.
- They have Caroline’s funeral in the Fell crypt. Is she related to them? Why that one and not one they have more of a connection to?
- Klaus is taking over the town and not being very subtle about it. Liz and Carol are like let’s just let him.
- Alaric’s new doctor lady friend knows about vampires and has some shady history with the town medical examiner, who ends up dead at the end of the episode.
- Damon: “No dead hybrids at the Founder’s party” it is so fun to see Damon having to be the one keeping the peace.
- What exactly is Klaus’s motivation to save Caroline? My best guess is a power play. If he saves her Tyler is more indebted to him as is the Sheriff whose town he is trying to take over. But also why take over Mystic Falls? Just for the sake of it?
- Elena and Damon are kind of avoiding each other in this episode and I think the only scene they have together is at the end. She tells him he can’t kiss her again, it isn’t right. He responds “it’s right, just not right now” which is very mature, and correct, of him. Now is a pretty terrible time and I appreciate that the show doesn’t have them get together when her relationship with Stefan is at its worst. If she is going to choose Damon, it has to be when he and Stefan are on equal footing.
- Klaus gives Caroline a fancy bracelet just because. She is pretty weirded out which is very fair.
- Body Count: 3, Stefan and Damon each kill a hybrid (2), and the medical examiner is murdered by a mystery killer.