Picking up from last week’s episode, Stefan is locked away by Elena and Damon, forcing him to give up the human blood he has become so addicted to. Stefan becomes so consumed with guilt, over everyone he has hurt over the past century that he decides that he shouldn’t even attempt to go on living. He refuses to feed, even on animal blood. Elena is desperate to get through to him. She opens the cell and walks in, even after he nearly attacks her. Elena gives him the key and tells him to come upstairs. She believes he’s strong enough to get past this. All Stefan has on his mind is suicide though, determined to end his miserable existence; one that never should have been given birth in the first place.
Meanwhile, John Gilbert goes after Pearl. He knows she has something of his descendant, Jonathon Gilbert’s, something he is determined to get back. He believes he can convince Pearl in to giving it to him and comes dangerously close. He uses her lost hopes of Jonathon Gilbert really being in love with her despite his betrayal all of those years ago. Of course, neither of them really plan on giving the other what they want.
The episode re-writes the Salvatore brothers history from the books. The flashbacks were actually the most interesting part as the rest of the episode was at a bit of a lull. In the books, the brothers had always had problems. Katherine was just what brought their hate out enough to murder each other, each blaming the other for Katherine’s suicide since they wouldn’t all be together like she wanted. Here the story is pretty different. Stefan and Damon are actually extremely close. They were killed by their own father. He claimed that once they sided with the vampires they were dead to him. During the townspeople’s hunt for the vampires their father took the liberty of taking the shot himself as they tried to save Katherine from being held captive from them.
Since both of them had Katherine’s blood in them they were brought back to life. In order to gain eternity they had to feed. If they didn’t they would simply die again; for good this time. They have to make the decision whether they want to feed in order to live. Stefan decides that he will just die until he is stuck before a bloody wound, one he can’t resist. He gives in to the urges and lets the blood lust consume him completely. Stefan feels a newfound power that he has never felt before. The world seems completely different; something beyond his wildest dreams. Damon still resisting to change is unable to bare the thought of feeding on another (clearly this is a very different Damon than the one we know). Stefan convinces him to feed and live with him for eternity; something that Stefan still blames himself for. In time, Stefan became more conscious of his actions while Damon fully embraced what he was. The more brutal and vicious he was, exerting his powers over others; the more thrill he got out of it. Yet, the roles are reversed when we get a chance to look at who Stefan and Damon were as humans and their origins as vampires. It was interesting to see Stefan embracing his nature and Damon resisting, vulnerable, and scared, egged on only by Stefan.
I’m not sure if I liked the book or the show’s back story on the Salvatore Brothers birth as vampires better, but the change works well. The show has done an excellent job of making Stefan a more versatile character rather than strictly as “the good vampire brother”. The role reversals have been interesting, adding more depth to both Stefan and Damon. I have been concerned about reversing the roles too much. Part of Damon’s charm is his predatory instincts and the pride it gives him. I would hate to see that part of him go. At least Damon noted that it was about time they got back to the way things were supposed to be. So hopefully they can create depth in both characters without compromising what they are at their core.