Season 3, Episode 20 (“Do Not Go Gentle”)
Alaric has been having a rough season. He started it off with losing his girlfriend, and himself a bit. He made a makeshift family with Elena and Jeremy as their guardian after Jenna died (the legality of this is fuzzy to me but I’m willing to accept it). Then just when he meets someone new, he starts having blackouts during which he kills people. And now Esther is using him to be the ultimate vampire hunter and shutting out his good side. She turns him into a vampire while he is in his vampire-hating alter ego mode. In this mode he doesn’t see the good vampires, just bad. Turning him in this state, his hatred will be intensified and he will be a prolific hunter. She doesn’t want to just destroy her children, but the entire vampire species. Then she will allow Alaric to die so that vampires are gone for good. She is going to make one last monster, to end all of the monsters.
Watching Alaric go through this is heartbreaking. When he is in transition he returns to his normal self for a little while. This normal self decides that he is not going to complete the transition. Not only has he never wanted to be a vampire, he doesn’t want to be a part of destroying his friends. The worst part of it is not the potential to lose Alaric as a character (though he is always great when he is on), but the effect this loss has on everyone else. He is Damon’s best, and only, friend. Damon who pretends not to care about anyone, is clearly in immense pain over losing his friend. The scene of them sitting together as Alaric falls asleep is one of my favorites. He is also the guardian to Elena and Jeremy, which means they are losing the last of any parental type figure in their life. Without Alaric they really are on their own.
Now of course, he doesn’t actually die at the end. Esther made sure that he would complete the transition and uses Bonnie to do it. However, the Alaric we know is gone. As a vampire he will be consumed by his hatred of his own kind and will seek to kill them all. Even though he isn’t dead, this episode felt like a funeral for him, and so that is how I am choosing to see it. We are meant to see it as the end of his humanity and in that way he is dead.
While this is happening there is also a decade dance going on! It seems like every time we have a decade dance we see less of it. They spend very little time on the dance itself, despite the fact that most of the characters are stuck at it while Elena is taken off by Esther. But the night does start out with the intentions of everyone having a good time. Tyler surprises her at the dance which angers Klaus. He thinks that Tyler is still sired to him and Tyler plays along for now, but he is not happy with Klaus’s attempts to woo Caroline. I’m not really sure why he is so jealous, there is no way that Caroline would leave him for Klaus. He can flirt with her, and try to be charming all he wants, Caroline is not going to give in.
After making out with Damon last episode, Elena is still confused about which brother she wants to be with. This episode she gives Stefan a chance to see if they can get back what they had. All of their history makes it easy for her to be with him. As Rose said in the previous episode, Stefan will always be a good, safe choice for her. She can trust him and she knows that he will do right by her. Damon is a wildcard. That can be very exciting, but also terrifying. Stefan is just happy that she is considering him and even tells her that he doesn’t want to know if anything happened between her and Damon in Denver. We will just have to wait to see what she decides.
This was a good and a tug-at-your-heart-strings type of episode. Watching everyone process Alaric’s impending death was just so heartbreaking. Damon being the one to spend his last moments with him, Jeremy and Matt drinking at the grill (which is definitely want Alaric would want), and Elena rushing to pack up all of the vampire weapons in his classroom so that the school doesn’t find out. Also when Alaric and Elena walk out of the Salvatore crypt to find their whole “family” standing out there in a memorial type fashion. But for now Alaric is a vampire-hating vampire. Even though this is a show about vampires and multiple characters get turned into vampires throughout the series, I always find myself surprised when it happens.
Episode Grade: A-
- Caroline: “If Rebekah wanted to hang this monstrosity, she should have showed up to do it herself” Caroline in party planning mode is my favorite Caroline.
- She is also very blunt in this episode. She tells Elena that she should be with Stefan and she tells Matt to be careful with getting too close with Elena, she is essentially spoken for by the Salvatores.
- Esther using the magic in Alaric’s ring to make the white oak stake indestructible seems like a stretch. The ring keeps a human from dying a supernatural death, it doesn’t seem like that magic should be able to transfer to a piece of wood…
- Damon sarcastically tells Stefan to not get Elena a pin corsage because he could accidentally stab her, but then that is exactly what he gets.
- Alaric/Damon: “Is this the part where you give me a dream? Rainbows and rolling green hills?” “I was drunk when I told you that” “Yeah and I told you I would use it against you” – I would like a spinoff show that is just Alaric and Damon getting drunk and sharing things.
- Body Count: 1, Alaric stabs Esther.