“Who’s next in line to GET IN MY BELLY?”
“Is it YOU?”
Welcome back, my darling Ripper-aholics! Thank you for joining us for Part III of The Ripper Redux Chronicles. Last week on The Ripper Redux, we traveled to Present Day, Mystic Falls, to observe the first underpinings of Modern Day Ripper Stefan. This week, it’s back to 1864, where we will learn how Stefan and Damon spent their first few days as vampires . . .
“Dammit, Stefan! I just had this couch cleaned! Must you always eat in the living room!”
Ironically, it is during these Darkest Days, that Stefan began to build two tenuous links to his humanity, both of which were destined to chart his fate for the rest of eternity: (1) his own vampire brother, and (2) his tremendous capacity for LOOOOOOOOVE . . .
*clears throat* Did it just get hot in here?
I’m referring, of course, to the same Ripper Stefan who devoured all but one of Elena’s ancestors for dinner . . .
The Last Gilbert Standing . . . (well, actually, he was pretty much laying down, at the time)
. . . and snacked on a trio of Lusty Ladies of the Night for dessert. Here was a vampire whose appetite for blood and lust knew no bounds. It is this Ripper Stefan who we meet in the series of flashbacks shown in Season 2’s “The Dinner Party” . . .
“Could I, perhaps, trouble you for a bib?”
(By the way, for those of you who missed the two previous installments of this series, worry not! You can check them out by clicking the links below:
Part I: Click Here
Part II: Click Here
“I had to turn it off. It was the only way I could survive . . .”
Setting the Scene:
Judging you . . .
So much for a romantic getaway! Tensions between Stefan and Elena reach their height, when Stefan learns that Elena’s “agreement” with Elijah involves her sacrificing her own life to the Original Badass, Klaus (who we later learn is Elijah’s brother). Elena’s got some ‘splaining to do! But, as it turns out, she isn’t the only one . . .
At the Gilbert cottage, Elena finds an old diary of her ancestor, Jonathan Gilbert. In it, he details his 1864 run-ins with then-newbie vampire, Stefan Salvatore. And some of the things that Jonathan has to say about Elena’s boyfriend aren’t particularly nice . . .
“Damn, that Jonathan Gilbert! I should have decapitated that Diary-Writing Douchebag, when I had the chance! Oh, wait . . . that means Elena would never have been born. Doesn’t it? Hmm . . . nevermind then.”
Let’s watch the clip, shall we?
(Click the internal link to view.)
Present Day –
ELENA: “He described you as a monster.”
STEFAN: “That’s what I was . . . In the weeks after I became a vampire, I relished in it. I took it to the darkest place I could.”
(And later . . .)
ELENA: “It sounds like you were Damon.”
STEFAN: “I was worse.”
STEFAN (voiceover): “I wasn’t myself then. I was full of guilt, for what I did to my father, my brother. I had to turn it off. It was the only way that I could survive.”
STEFAN: “Damon, don’t be like this. I’m just having fun.”
DAMON: “Staying ALIVE is more fun Stefan. We have to be more careful than this, more clever . . . like Katherine was.”
STEFAN: “Look where that got her.”
DAMON: “I’m done here . . . with YOU. I’m leaving town.”
STEFAN: “You hate me . . . I know . . . an eternity of misery and all that . . . I know . . . But you don’t have to leave town. Damon, I’ll do better. I promise.”
DAMON: “No, you will get us killed. I’d rather leave you to do that to yourself.”
Why this scene is a key moment in Ripper Canon:
Julie: The TVD writers have done an extremely good job of taking what we THINK we know about Stefan’s blood lusty past, and repeatedly turning it on its head. (They will do so again, in the Season Finale.) In the last scene from “Blood Brothers,” we saw Ghost Emily tell Stefan that his TRUE CURSE would be his inherent good heartedness, and the way in which the pain and guilt of his sins would eat him up inside forever. Based on Stefan’s facial expression following the exchange, we knew that Emily’s words had a definite effect on him. However, the effect wasn’t exactly what you would expect . . .
“Screw YOU, Emily!”
Also, in that episode, we saw Damon wash his hands of Stefan for the role the latter played in his at least-partially unwilling vampire transition. The Elder Salvatore Brother vowed, right then and there, to make his little brother’s life miserable for all eternity. The exchange suggested that Damon left town that evening, “turned off his emotions,” and immediately became the Bad Boy Vamp we know and love today . . .
In this scene, however, we learn that wasn’t the case. Despite his anger at Stefan, Damon, apparently, still felt enough kinship with and brotherly responsibility toward Stefan to stay with him for a few more weeks. But every relationship has its breaking point. And THIS was Damon’s . . .
Amy: Bloodaholic Stefan has the addict behaviors down pat here: the benders, the denial, the pleading when faced with consequences. In this brief flashback we see him slurping away at many a willing victim (“Me! I’m next!” those Civil War belles sure were slutty!) in what is basically a Blood Orgy of sorts. His growling as he feeds, the girls moans, the seeming pleasure that hunter and prey are both getting off on are as close to S-E-X as TVD is allowed to get away with on the CW . . .
“Was it as good for you, as it was for me?”
Julie: Ummm . . . I’ll have what she’s having. 😉 Now that you mention it, New Vamp Stefan definitely seems a bit crazier, and more maniacal, than Seasoned Vamp Stefan. (So much for “not wasting the blood,” and “not making a mess!”) Having not yet sufficiently mastered the “talents” required to become the cold calculating killer we witnessed in “Miss Mystic Falls,” when Stefan chews on his Victorian Honeys, he seems more in need of a feeding trough and a roll of extra-absorbant paper towels, than anything else . . .
And yet, New Vamp Stefan does share a couple of traits with the Blood-Lusty Stefan of “Miss Mystic Falls”: namely, an enjoyment of killing, and a complete lack of concern for his human victims . . .
Amy: Enjoyment of killing, indeed! Ripper Stefan is having a grand old time doing his Biting Thing, until Wet Blanket Big Bro Damon arrives to compel the Slutty Belles out of La Casa de Rich and Awesome 1.0, and smack some sense into him.
“Come on, Stefan! We don’t even know whether or not vampires can get STD’s, yet! Can you imagine having crabs for all eternity?”
This is where Stefan becomes quite the Little Brother with his rationalizations (No worries about the Founding Families, he’s gonna kill them soon, anyway), whining (that line “Damon don’t be like this, I’m just having fun” is delivered in such a bratty tone), justifying his “weeks” of binging on willing ladies’ necks and putting the Salvatores at risk, by exposing the lie that they survived both human – and vampire deaths.
Julie: Good point, Amy! You know, it’s interesting that, in his voiceover, Stefan claims that “turning off his emotions” was his chosen method of coping with his guilt, during those Early Vampire Days. And yet, just like in “Blood Brothers,” here we see Stefan, once again, become rather emotional, when the Elder Salvatore makes his SECOND threat to leave Stefan alone to his own devices.
Stefan’s childlike entreaties for his brother to stay with him, (“I’ll do better. I promise!”), stand in stark contrast, to his monstrous acts earlier in the episode. Here is an individual who is DEATHLY afraid of being alone with himself, and his own powerfully devastating emotions. Despite the fact that, during the act of killing, Stefan genuinely seems to be able to effectively turn off his humanity, it always seems to bite him in the ass, immediately after feeding . . . kind of like a bad hangover that just won’t go away.
“I have SUCH a headache. I’m never drinking AGAIN, I swear! I’m sticking to bunnies, from now on . . .”
Amy: When Damon lays down the law – that he is done with Stefan for good – that’s when the facade of not giving a sh*t and calling the downward spiral he’s on “fun” comes crashing down and Stefan is faced with what he couldn’t face the night he became a vampire: going on without his brother. The desperate tone his voice takes – the way he grasps at Damon as he stalks off – he’s pathetic really. As Julie notes, he is terrified of being alone with himself and feeling all that he is so anxious to “turn off”. But he also needs Damon with him.
His “turning” of Damon into a vampire didn’t go quite as planned, with the “lifetime of eternal misery” and such. But maybe he had hope since Damon stuck around that what he did to his brother could be forgiven – OR perhaps he imagined they would enjoy the kind of brutal partnership that we now know Klaus has planned for him . . .
Julie: I’m glad you brought up the whole Klaus Connection. I remember watching this episode for the first time, and being EXTREMELY disappointed with the whole “I Stopped Being Bad Stefan, Because Lexi Taught Me the True Meaning of Love” explanation.
I just thought it was such a cop out, on the writers’ part. I mean, here we were assuming that Stefan’s Bloodlust was something he battled with, on and off, for 160+ -some odd years, and then this flashback comes along, which suggests it only lasted 160 some odd hours.
Now, we see that Stefan DID, in fact, have a “drinking problem,” LONG AFTER meeting Lexi. In fact, in “As I Lay Dying,” Klaus suggests that Ripper Stefan was alive and well, as recently as 1917. This, of course, makes things a lot more interesting, as it potentially paves the way for us to see some still-darker flashbacks of Ripper Stefan in Season 3. It also makes me wonder whether Stefan intentionally misled Elena about the extent of his dark past, in this episode . . .
Amy: Heck yeah! Bring on more Ripper Stefan!
The mirror of this scene is at least a dozen others we’ve seen in present day Mystic Falls – in which Damon acts cruel, flippant and ignorant to whatever pleas or demands Stefan is making of him.
To find out that at the beginning those roles were reversed adds yet another layer to the very complicated relationship and history of the Brothers Salvatore. Personally, I hope in S3 we explore more how Stefan thinks himself “worse” than Damon. Was that our first clue that he was less Lexi’s Reformed Vamp Buddy . . .
. . . than he was the “ripper” of Klaus’ wingman fantasies?
Julie: I guess we will have to wait until September 15th to find out, won’t we?
“Damn you, CW! DAMN YOU!”
HOWEVER . . . speaking of Stefan and Klaus, Part IV of this series tackles Stefan’s jaw-dropping degradation into his Ripper self, at the hands of the Original Were-Vamp, as seen in TVD’s EPIC Season 2 finale, “As I Lay Dying.” You will be able to find THAT installment over at Amy’s spectacular Imaginary Men blog, sometime next week.
Until then, HAPPY FANGING!
[www.juliekushner.com] [Fangirls Forever – (Now featuring Team Ripper-themed t-shirts!)]