The Vampire Diaries - Founder's Day

Vampire device made by Gilbert ancestor

So you have the Founder’s Day Parade, the tomb released vampires planning to assault the founders’ ancestors, and the vampire device will be used by John Gilbert to vanquish the bloodsuckers in Mystic Falls during the night fireworks. So the first season finale has a busy plot!

Damon reveals “feelings”. Yeah, a guilty conscience. He was pushing the humanity away. Telling that part that wants not to feel or care or understand  human hurt was the best thing for him. Damon begins to allow all of that to emerge, no longer just using sarcasm and the abuse of long-suffering waiting as a crutch to feed to his black heart’s content or abandon any sense of right and wrong. He thanks Bonnie for using her power to make the vampire weapon device ineffective. Damon attempts to help stop the vampires from attacking folks in Mystic Falls. Damon tells Jeremy that Anna is dead and he can once again take the pain of her loss away if he so chooses. He confronts Jeremy about his treatment of Elena for the whole Vicki mess and secrets kept from him. So Damon is starting to allow the side he has the ability to keep hidden and out of view open to him. Damon does still get coy with Stefan on Elena. A kiss thought to be between Elena and Damon (Jenna opens the door to find them, not particularly happy about seeing them, and why shouldn’t she?!) does seem to indicate serious drama…until the revelation that appearances aren’t what they seem?

Stefan has insecurities that Elena might lean towards Damon (past experience and all that). Elena assures Stefan that she loves him, although admitting she cares about Damon. Damon is Stefan’s brother so in turn she cares about him because they are brothers. And Stefan occasions himself to rescue Damon with help from Bonnie after the vampire device is used by John and all the vampires in Mystic Falls collapsed from the weakening/agonizing effect it caused. John Gilbert has put the plan in motion, subduing (with help from law enforcement, undermining the sheriff for whom Gilbert knocks unconscious and handcuffs) the vampires with the device, having them planted in a basement set on fire. Included among the vampires are Damon and Anna. Gilbert stakes Anna just because she’s the one Jeremy so adores. That’s Gilbert. That is who he is. He looks her right in the eyes, burying the stake into her chest as Damon helplessly sees from a slight distance. Gilbert gets a surprise when in the kitchen at Elena’s home, believing she wants to make a fresh start…until Katherine comes at him with a knife! Katherine. Her name has been the talk of the first season. In flashback she has been alive to the Salvatores, and us. It was bound to happen. Katherine was certain to return. Gilbert was the right candidate for her to unleash some bad intentions towards.

Although not entirely important to the first season as a whole, Tyler has been a supporting character on the periphery. Something was keeping him from being another vampire victim. He has anger issues and his attitude towards folks was much to be desired. He had made out with Matt’s mother and then punched Matt out for taking offense. The whole Vicki ordeal that involved Jeremy was another subplot revealing Tyler could be a total dick. Tyler was all over the place in terms of anger control issues and the way he treated most folks. The attitude problem left Tyler as anything but a pleasant character to invest in. But the season finale gives the audience something to think about. Tyler responds in agony the same as the vampires to the Gilbert device. The mayor also did. Tyler’s eyes have a particular hue once the ambulance arrives (Tyler crashes the car when under the pain of the device) to check on him, Matt, and Caroline. Caroline has little going on besides her teen romance with Matt at this point in the season. Collapsing to internal injuries, Caroline is taken to the hospital and under testing with Matt all worried about her. Tyler didn’t even know what happened. Tyler’s ears bleeding, as his father’s did, the show is taking the character into a new direction. In regards to Tyler, he isn’t aware that his father was considered a vampire due to collapsing to the ground after use of the vampire device. Taken to the basement along with the other tomb vampires, the mayor is killed by the leader of anticipated Founder’s Day fireworks revolt as Damon looks on with flames intensifying around them. So Bonnie admits her actions to Elena, loving her best friend enough to assist Stefan in helping Damon.

The show obviously will protect its stars. Damon and Stefan, going into this episode, were going to be involved in the main plot involving the founders and vampires. How they would escape the inevitable use of the device to subdue the other vampires and overcome the same fate (of being burned into ash by the flames) was really the question as the episode continues. Alaric was in the right place at the right time to help Stefan (especially considering Elena had just assumed Bonnie discontinued the power of the vampire device and wasn’t sure what was hurting her man), but Damon was in the same room as John Gilbert…so he wasn’t so lucky. He’s lucky to have Stefan, that’s for sure.

So John Gilbert has killed Pearl, Anna, and several of the tomb vampires. He is revealed to be the father of Elena. He was the one who sent Isobel to Damon to be turned. This guy finally gets some pain dished his way when Katherine reveals herself, lops off his fingers, and sticks the butcher knife in deep! Elena then returns home, soon to find Jeremy and her father. Jeremy decides he’ll just become a vampire after much debate while Anna was still alive, given her blood just in case he changes his mind. Jeremy spending all his time blaming Elena, not talking to her, avoiding her, and being an asshole to her leaves him less of a sympathetic character, more of a pain in the ass. He’s a kid, still. The impulsiveness and sulking, retreats into chemicals and booze, and all the pangs he succumbs to as a teenager without his parents; Jeremy has been a melodrama device, for sure. Jenna and Elena try with him, though. Jenna has a lot on her plate. She’s tried to be cool and understanding. She’s been patient and an ear to listen. But the drama that continues to poison every effort Jenna has attempted certainly leaves her with little room of relief. Jeremy’s antics certainly don’t help. Elena doesn’t necessarily invite drama as much as fall in love with a vampire. Falling in love with the vampire has been the lynchpin for all the show’s harm pointed at her direction…well, mostly.

Anna gets staked by Gilbert

Katherine has arrived

John Gilbert

Damon’s behavioral change will take some getting used to. I have seen him so much one way, that any alternate change in behavior is a bit jarring. He’s just exemplified the badboy for the entire season. I get why the writer’s room would want to add developments to Damon. I mean he doesn’t need to be a douchebag and drama magnet (because of bad behavior) until we see no use for him. It is a give and take with those dedicated to the show. So the writer’s room saw fit to give him more at the end of the first season as the second season will continue to build on what is established in Founder’s Day. Stefan’s jealousy and vulnerabilities will obviously be exploited or the writer’s room wouldn’t have introduced these “flaws” (I just consider them aspects of human nature…and Stefan has been willing to not focus away from that side of him) to us. I enjoyed the part with Katherine. It lures you into that awkward zone of “What the fuck are you doing?!?!” And then you get the A-ha! Well done. I love Bonnie. I love that she’s all cheery and full of wit at the beginning, and then the season takes her on that roller coaster. So by the end Bonnie can tell Stefan to control his brother or else she’s capable of incapacitating him. That boldness has been backed up. I lamented about her absence from the show, but it actually gave her a return that benefited her witch character. She’s honed her powers and is no longer some push-over. Losing her grams and protecting vampires has hardened Bonnie in a sense but her love for Elena (and Elena’s love for her) keeps her from descending too far into a dark place for which she couldn’t escape.