Last night's Vampire Diaries episode was the tale of two dysfunctional families. You have Damon giving his brother Stefan his own screwed up idea of therapy. And the backstory of the Original Vampires, including all the spicy details on how they got their Original Recipe.
Along the way, we got a very twisted look at sibling love and loyalty. Spoilers ahead...
Last night's "Ordinary People" was the rare Vampire Diaries episode that only had two storylines running through it, instead of like eight. But to make up for that, there were tons of flashbacks featuring hot people wearing silly wigs, which is one of the things we've missed in the Vampire Diaries lately. In typical Vampire Diaries form, the whole "Stefan is locked up in a cellar" storyline was dispensed with, as were the "deciphering the cave paintings" and "when will Michael show up" elements.
The whole business of deciphering the ridiculous cave paintings (It's a sun with fangs! It's a vampire!) was demented but mercifully brief — and I guess this episode marks the first Vampire Diaries contribution of The Event creator Nick Wauters, although I notice he didn't actually write the script, just the original story idea. (The whole "but there wasn't one Original Witch, there were two, and one of them was our mom" sequence felt very Event-like. Not to mention the sudden retcon that the dreaded Mikael is actually Daddy Original.)
All in all, though, a pretty awesome episode.
So which family is more messed up? Let's consider the evidence:
The Originals They fled to America when they were still human, and came to live with werewolves because a bit of lycanthropic action was less scary than the Black Death. Mama Original had sex with a werewolf, and gave birth to Klaus, who later took one of the other kids out to see the werewolves one full moon — and the other kid paid the price. Daddy Original decided to turn the entire family into superstrong, immortal fighters, thus creating the first bunch of vampires, with the help of Mama Original. But when Klaus killed a human, his werewolf side was activated, and his bastardhood (in both senses) was apparent. Klaus' mom put the "hybrid curse" on him, and Klaus killed her for it, and blamed dad. Now dad travels around killing vampires (although not Stefan, when they met up in 1920s Chicago?) while looking for Klaus. Basically, the entire family is just one giant murder cult of fun.
The Salvatores Damon is so messed up that he can't imagine Stefan having an epiphany as a result of human blood withdrawal and the love of a good woman. So Damon goes off the script and releases Stefan from his confinement, taking him on a roadtrip to drink blood, play quarters and have some bonding time — the idea being that Stefan will taste freedom, and remember what it's like to be his own man instead of Klaus' bitch. In Damon's world, pride is the greatest motivator. Damon thinks that if he gets in touch with Stefan's inner dick, this will somehow lead to an emotional awakening, or at least Stefan will rejoin the team. And it works — sort of. Damon does win Stefan over, and Stefan does seem to have an emotional reaction to the idea of Damon being killed by Daddy Original. Of sorts. Mostly, I love Damon beating the crap out of Stefan at the end — that should happen every week. The thing is, Damon may have succeeded in winning Stefan over, but he's also seemingly proved — as Elena points out — that Elena's love can't save Stefan. Only Damon's damaged, dickheaded version of love can. And that's more damaging to Elena than anything.
Oh, and Elena once again was kind of a badass this week — we see her training as a vampire-killer, a bit. But more than that, she plays Rebekah perfectly. She's a keen observer and figures out pretty quickly that Rebekah still cares about things like being on the cheerleader squad — and thus, she still has a weakness for human things, that Elena can poke at. It's hard to remember how pathetic Elena used to be.