TVD: The One Where Alaric Almost Dies
In the small, sleepy town and erst-while nexus of the universe, Mystic Falls Virginia where every foreign locale is naught but a three-hour car journey away, it was early autumn. It is always autumn in Mystic Falls, this is a truth universally known and accepted, just as every Friday night there will be a decade dance, and even the oldest of all the vampires still hasn’t quite lost their naiveté when it comes to love and dating.
The sun has set, and in a cave in the woods, Alaric Saltzman is dying.
A few moments before, having embraced Elena, the desire to mount her dwindling with his life force, he stepped to the mouth of the cave to say his goodbyes to the teenage gaggle of flesh and blood and immortality and cheekbones that was the majority of the show’s cast. Because Scooby (Elena) and his gang (Everyone else) are notoriously to self-obsessed and inured to death and tragedy, no words are spoken. Instead, candles are lit, and doing what they do best, the kids vamp and smolder sadly at Alaric for a period of no longer than seven hours.
With this last deed Alaric retires to his cave, refusing to transition into the Anti-Vamp Anti-Hero that the terminator-like Original Witch Esther has primed his dark-self to become. He will drink no blood this night. Taking the life of Esther was enough – Alaric knew his life of murderous misdeeds had ended, and so he squatted in the troglodyte’s repose carved into the ground by one of Tyler’s ancestors who were never one for sunlight through french doors.
The teens quickly dispersed to dry hump each other over the gowns purchased for that Friday’s cursed decade dance, the ’20s. Dressed as flappers, they all felt the urge to misbehave and set about doing just that. Jeremy’s brand of misconduct ain’t sexual, Steve channels his more famous namesake and gets his rebel on, refusing to remove THE RING THAT WILL DRIVE HIM TO INSANITY until Elena stops hanging out with vampires. Nobody cares about this, not even Bonnie, his jaw-jutting ex girlfriend who is too busy making out with a guy who is basically her stepbrother. Alaric’s death, the return of her whining ex-boyfriend, and being forced to help the vampires yet again after Esther’s spell traps them in a high school have proven to be too much – and so she asks her brother, her lover, to stay the night with her. But even his strong, clothed arms can’t stop Esther from appearing to her, demanding her help in stopping the blight of her children.
It’s hard to remember just how evil they are when that same chilly autumnal night finds Damon – just barely cajoled into action by Dr. Most Foul – waiting for death with Alaric, sharing with him a bottle of bourbon, the thing that had always united them, even though Damon had killed him – twice in fact. While the early posing and posturing at Alaric seemed false though hilarious, if you didn’t cry at Alaric’s solitary tear as he and Damon sat and drank – YOU HAVE NO SOUL AND SHOULD PROBABLY GET OFF OF THE INTERNET FOREVER.
The pallor of death was all over the episode, making it difficult to care when grouchy Klaus has conned into going to the dance on the chance of wooing Caroline. Even our great, immortal love story of Damon and Elena felt exhausting – she asks him to the dance, and he accepts. They slowly move together on the gym’s floor while he discusses how awful it was to have Klaus compel him out of love, and she wants to desperately discuss her trip with Damon. Stefan’s response says it all – they are so far apart, and when they come back together, she can tell him then. Elena may be the one dancing with a dead man but death surrounds them, and anyone who’s ever loved and lost and tried to paint back on that feeling and start again knows the awful quality of passing time with someone you once loved, someone who through time and circumstance, has become irrevocably lost to you. It’s only Elena and Stefan don’t know it yet. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – they’ve been done forever the moment Elena admitted she would never become immortal.
While Bonnie could be strong-armed into helping the vampire men who have ruined her life, she has been close to the breaking point for some time now. The obsessive, single-minded Esther insisting on taking over Bonnie is unsurprising, and while I was on pins and needles as she approach Alaric to offer up herself to him in order for him to transition – I was also deeply angry that the writers’ felt they could toy with their audience that way – stringing us along, having us mourn for Alaric when all the other characters proved their inability to do just that. I know Bonnie isn’t dead, but I take some solace in the fact that she is slowly bleeding out in a cave in the chilly woods in Mystic Falls, the necessary sacrifice, deprived of her chance – her right – to be ten kinds of super evil on everyone.