DAMON: “Psst, don’t you think it’s weird that TV Recappers and Imaginary Men are doing a blog series on YOU? I mean, isn’t everything related to this show, on BOTH of those blogs, usually about ME?”
STEFAN: “Yes . . . but things have changed. I’m EVIL now. Girls like evil. Didn’t you get the memo?”
Greetings, Fangbangers! September 15th is just a few short weeks away. Before we know it, Damon, Elena, and the gang will be back on our TV screens, compelling us to watch them . . .
This, of course, begs the question: “How have YOU been preparing for The Vampire Diaries Season 3 return? Perhaps, you’ve tried out a new diet . . .
. . . or spent time cuddled in bed with a loved one?
Maybe, you’ve sat yourself down on the proverbial therapist’s couch, in order to figure out what you’ve got hiding underneath those metaphorical “blankets” . . .
Perhaps, you’ve been trying hard to forget the past, in hopes that you can stop it from haunting you . . .
As for me, and my fabulous blogging pal, Amy, over at Imaginary Men, we’ve been spending the hiatus, revisiting some of The Vampire Diaries’ most pivotal moments . . . and revisting them . . . and revisiting them . . .
During this exercise, one of the things we’ve found particularly intriguing was the evolution of Ripper Stefan. As you know, Ripper Stefan, much like his companions, Naked Damon . . .
. . . and Ponytail Elena . . .
. . . have ALWAYS been a part of TVD canon. But they only show themselves at pivotal moments during the series . . .
In this web series, Amy and I will be reviewing four pivotal scenes in the evolution of Ripper Stefan. The first one, you can read RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. The second one, will be featured on Amy’s Blog (hopefully, this coming Thursday). The third one will be back on this blog, and . . .
. . . well . . . you get the idea . . .
So, let’s get started with the Ripper Redux! After all, when it comes right down to it, cannibalism IS just another form of Brotherly Love . . .
Ripper Redux- Scene 1: “We can do this . . . TOGETHER!”
Episode: “Blood Brothers” – 1 X 20
Stefan Salvatore: A bleeding heart, who makes hearts bleed . . .
(Click the internal link to view)
Setting the Scene:
Having both died with Vampire Katherine’s blood in their systems, Stefan and Damon awaken one fateful morning, in 1864, to find themselves “in transition,” half human / half vampire. Now, they are faced with a choice: Feed on human blood within the next three days, and become a FULL vampire . . . or die of starvation.
In other news, I believe this is the ONLY time in Vampire Diaries history, in which Stefan and Damon can both be found shirtless in the same frame. And, trust me, I’ve looked!
Damon — who can’t imagine a life without the woman he loves (Katherine, at this time, is presumed dead) — seems fairly certain that he will choose death over the alternative. Stefan agrees, but seems a bit less certain of his decision than his brother. But then the younger Salvatore brother greets . . . and eats . . . his murderous vampire-slaying jackass of a dad, in his childhood home. That’s when ALL BREAKS LOOSE . . . in Stefan’s soul.
STEFAN: “I brought her for you. She is a gift.”
DAMON: “What have you done, Stefan?”
STEFAN: (about his father) “He was dying and the blood was too strong . . . I needed it. I had to have it.”
STEFAN: “My body is exploding with power, Damon. I can hear things from far away. I can see through the darkness. I can move like it’s magic. And the guilt? The pain? Damon, I can turn it off like a switch. Katherine was right. It’s a whole ‘nother world out there, Damon.”
DAMON: “Katherine is dead, Stefan. There is no world without her.”
STEFAN: “No. You can turn that off too! You don’t have to feel that, pain anymore!”
DAMON: “I don’t want it.”
STEFAN: “You are weak. You’ll be dead soon. You NEED THIS. You’ll DIE. . . Don’t fight it. We can do this . . . TOGETHER!”
Why it’s essential to RIPPER CANON:
Before we get started, can any of you Pretty Little Liars fans out there confirm for me whether or not the girl who plays “Dinner” in
this scene is, in fact, Troian Bellisario, a.k.a. Spencer Hastings from PLL?
I suspect she’s NOT, because I didn’t notice the credit on her IMDB page (and you would think, of all prior film and television credits, THIS would be one she’d definitely want on there!). And yet, every time Iook at “Dinner,” all I see is “Spencer,” particularly, at the beginning of the scene, when Damon asks, “Who’s THAT?” It’s really quite distracting . . .
“Please don’t eat me, you big sexy vampire, YOU! I’ve got enough problems with “A” out to ruin my life.”
Anyway, on to the scene . . .
The most obvious parallel between THIS scene, and the one between Stefan and Klaus in the finale, comes right out in the first sentence
Stefan utters. Stefan refers to “Dinner” as a “gift” that Damon should be honored to “rip into.” Years later, Klaus uses the same concept of
“gift” to entice Stefan to feed, not just on human BLOOD, but on a REAL HUMAN girl, just like “Dinner.”
It’s probably worth noting, that back in 1864, blood bags weren’t as readily available as they are today. Therefore, I suspect that MOST of the
vampires living in Mystic Falls back then (as well as the vampires in Katherine’s and Klaus’ time) fed almost exclusively on HUMAN blood. They did so, not necessarily because they loved doing it, but because that’s what they needed to do, in order to survive.
This would seem to soften the blow of what Stefan is asking of his brother, thereby, making it seem slightly more humane, at least in
context. But Stefan’s remorseless detailing to Damon about how he ate their DAD, because he “had to have [his blood],” tends to erase any sympathy we might have otherwise mustered for him in this scene. No matter how AWFUL a person is, I really don’t think anyone deserves to be eaten alive by their own son. Do you?
In Stefan’s defense, this guy kind of SUCKED . . .
Next, we witness Stefan’s “pitch” to Damon about the“Wonders of Vampirism.” And, boy, does he sell it! This monologue was undoubtedly a tough one for Paul Wesley deliver. In the hands of a lesser actor, you could imagine these words coming out sounding too cliché, or Scooby Doo-esque, a parody of themselves.
“Mmmmm, just like Dad used to
Yet, Paul delivers the lines like a coke addict, who is jonesing off his very first taste. It’s the right choice for the character. After all, blood IS a drug, for Stefan. It allows him to experience a sort of manic euphoria that he would never allow himself to enjoy in an un-altered state.
In the ultimate role reversal, we see Damon (noticeably weakened from having purposefully allowed himself to live bloodless for a couple of days) looking at his transformed brother with a mixture of fear, concern, pity, and just a twinge of self-righteousness. Of course, in the present day, we have seen Stefan give Damon THIS look many times. But for Damon, this seems to be somewhat of a first.
I’m totally judging you, right now . . .
I mention self-righteousness. And yet, surprisingly enough, I’m not actually referring to Damon judging Stefan for eating his dad, nor for his
unrelenting enjoyment of being a vampire. Rather, Damon judges Stefan for not LOVING Katherine enough to TRULY be willing to die for her. However, the fact that Damon seems to LOVE Katherine more than Stefan does, gives him no joy. As we later learn, a big part of Damon’s turning on Stefan, and threatening him with an “eternity of misery,” stems from his resentment that Katherine chose to feed Stefan her blood, in addition to Damon.
Yet amidst all this drug pushing, violence, jealousy and cannibalism, there is a surprising amount of brotherly love in this scene. And though he may be doing it for his own selfish reasons (most notably, a fear of spending eternity alone), I suspect there is a part of Stefan, even in his darkest incarnation, that genuinely wants what’s best for his brother. And to Stefan, what is best for Damon is LIVING!
“Here I am . . . just chillin.’ Living La Vida Vampire.”
“You are weak . . . You’ll be dead soon. You need this! You’ll die,” pleads Stefan, clutching at his brother’s shirt, in desperation.
Even during Damon’s first feeding, Stefan, in his own twisted way, seems insistent on showing brotherly affection and concern for the
elder Salvatore. Observe how he gently clutching his brother’s shoulder, offering him both physical and emotional support, as he takes his first taste.
“Hey, Stefan! Can you get out of here! Can’t you see I’m trying to get laid?”
These aforementioned “brotherly moments” have echoes throughout the series. The first echo appears in “The Last Day,” when Damon makes the unilateral decision to force feed Elena his blood, in order to prevent the possibility of HER death by Klaus. She sees his actions as selfish. But he sees them, at least at the time, as her only TRUE chance at survival.
The second echo comes during the finale, when Stefan literally sells his soul to the Devil, also so that Damon . . . can LIVE.
“This is Martyr Stefan speaking. How can I personally sacrifice for your happiness today?”
Back in 1864, Stefan enticed his hungry and weak brother to complete his vampire transition, so that the two of them could spend eternity
TOGETHER. But a furious Damon rebuffed his entreaties. And for many years, Stefan walked the Earth without his “other half.” Now, in the present day, Stefan again must walk ALONE without his brother. Only this time, the choice to do so was all HIS . . .
For me “Blood Brothers” will forever be the episode that aired while I was en route to Las Vegas. I was so desperate to see it though, that I asked my friend who I was visiting to DVR it FOR me so I could sneak in a watch between all my various crazy Vegas shenanigans! I just COULD NOT wait 5 whole days to see how “As the Salvatores Turned” came out!
And it did not disappoint. This episode is full of angst, emotional torture, guilt, resentment, pain, and extra broodiness. It not only reveals the absolute core of the Salvatore’s relationship – but it has the added bonus of super hot Paul Wesley’s tank-topped shoulders, AND Paul Wesley pulling out a pretty extraordinary performance as a man who is is so tired and pained by the the choices he’s made that he’s ready to die for his own mistakes.
Early on in the episode, Stefan is brooding in his basement prison at La Casa de Rich and Awesome. He doesn’t seem mad that his brother and
girlfriend conspired to stab him with vervain and lock him up until he detoxes from his bloodlust. Mostly he just seems determined to do what he should have done 140 years before: die.
“After what I’ve done, it has to end. I just want it over”
When Elena relays Stefan’s mood to Damon, he scoffs with a dismissive, he’s just being dramatic….typical Stefan Martyr stuff which means
that not only has Stefan had previous bouts of “Martyr stuff”, but that Damon has been around to witness it and doesn’t take it at all seriously.
But Stefan is taking his martyrdom quite seriously this time – he’s not just upset with himself for falling off the wagon and lunching on Amber the Beauty Queen, he’s upset with himself for EVERY SINGLE DECISION HE’S MADE SINCE BECOMING A VAMPIRE. Just a century plus of guilt being carried on his (sexy, muscular) shoulders! He tells Elena, I’m making the decision I should have made years ago by letting himself starve to death (or later on possibly burn to death.)
This episode is so much about choices: how we make them, how they define us, how, our actions are what set things in motion, but we have to
live with that as Elena tells suicidal Stefan. Stefan did not have a choice to drink from Katherine – he was compelled to – so his LACK of choice – set everything after into motion. He chose (a bit reluctantly IMO compared w/ Damon’s resoluteness not to transition fully) not to become a vampire, but then his instincts when faced with his bleeding-to-death-dad caused him to make his first shameful choice: to drink and become a vampire.
Side note: Of all the terrible things we’ve seen/heard of Damon doing, I have to say watching Stefan accidentally kill, but then FEAST from his own DAD was for me, one of the more disturbing acts on this show. Vampirism by Patricide – that’s pretty intense! It is also the very first “decision” of Stefan’s that will forever haunt him.
I fully echo Julie’s description of High-on-Blood-Stefan giving his best “come to the dark side” pitch to his horrified brother. This whole arc of Bloodaholic Stefan was so perfectly played by Paul. He really IS an addict – it becomes clear that Damon drinks human blood because he likes it – Stefan drinks it because he loves it – it erases everything that hurts him, …the guilt, the pain…I can turn it off!
I got the feeling watching this episode that Stefan was much more “the alpha” between the brothers during their human life.
“Oh Stefan, this is the best Hide and Seek Spot EVER! They will never find us here . . .”
At the start, as he and Damon watch in horror as Katherine is carted away by the pitchfork wielding townsfolk – it is Stefan who comes up w/the plan to cause a distraction and directs Damon to go get Katherine. As they attempt to rescue her, it is Stefan who is issuing Damon orders on getting her untied. And when it is time to transition or die – it is Stefan who comes, “gift” in hand (as it were) to show his brother how it’s done.
“You just put your lips together, and SUCK!”
The actual turning scene had me on the edge of my seat. For one thing – I’m pretty sure “Dinner” has been compelled by Stefan as she has that glassy-eyed stare and isn’t screaming or struggling. So Stefan has already learned a nifty and dangerous vampire trick. Damon’s horror is visceral – you can see how repulsed he is by this offering and how freaked out he is that his brother has broken their vow and gone ahead with the transition. But a true hallmark of Bloodaholic Stefan is his desperation – he is DESPERATE for Damon to join him, to experience what he’s feeling, to not feel the pain of losing Katherine, to explore the “whole new world” that lays before them – together . . .
And there you have it, Fangbangers. Part 1 of our 4 part series on the Evolution of Ripper Stefan . . .
Be sure to stop by Imaginary Men on Thursday for Part 2 . . . or else Damon will be very upset . . .
. . . and Stefan might cry . . .
And we wouldn’t want THAT, would we?
[**** UPDATE: PART 2 of this Series is NOW available! *****]
View it HERE!