'Vampire Diaries' recap: A Proverbial Coin Toss

tvd.jpgI'm still scrubbing my brains off the wall, so this is less of a recaplet, and more of a group therapy session for fans with PTSD. For the love of all that is holy (and un-), if you haven't watched "The Departed," please do not spoil yourself by reading this. I'm not going to summarize the plot. I'm going to discuss it. You ready? Okay!

First up, congratulations to the diehard Stefan and Elena fans. You win this round, but don't get cocky, darlings. There are undercurrents which threaten to capsize the good 'ship Stelena and guide the good 'ship Delena to (a probably not at all) safe harbor. Goodness, did I really use 'shipper portmanteaux? In my defense, I already told you my brains are still on the wall.

Via a series of flashbacks, "The Departed" plays fast, loose (and a bit heavy-handed) with parallels between the present, and that fateful day sophomore year, when Elena Gilbert lost her parents -- the day that Stefan Salvatore saved her life. That day was a life changer. This one will be too. DO YOU GET IT? Even before the tragedy, Elena is already pulling away from high school sweetheart, Matt. Everyone is telling her she's got to make a choice. She's got to come clean with him. She must set him free. Sound familiar? Yes, a little too so.

"The Departed" takes great pains to put Stefan and Elena together in the now. Arguably though, Stefan is the current day's Matt, no matter who is kissing or choosing whom for the nonce. Why do I say that? Think back to season one, when Elena and Stefan discuss the lack of passion she felt for Matt. Now consider Elena's current-day conversation with Matt -- about her feelings for Stefan and Damon (and if you like, recall that recent steamy kiss between Damon and Elena).

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