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The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – A look back at some of the most pivotal scenes in Ripper Stefan Canon (Part II)

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It’s time for Part II of Awesome Blogging Pal Julie and my joint TVD Summer Series!

You can read Part I here at TV Recappers Anonymous. Then settle in to explore the trials and tribulations of Bloodaholic Stefan Salvatore!

Episode: 1 X 19 Miss Mystic Falls

Stefan has a Dark Secret he’s been trying to keep from Elena. He’s off the wagon, and SHE’S the one that put him there. Ever since Elena fed Stefan HER blood, following his capture and torture at the hands of the Tomb Vamps, he’s been craving human blood. And not just the blood bags that Damon keeps in a cooler in the basement. Stefan wants the Real Deal.

He’s SUPPOSED to be acting as Elena’s escort, during the Miss Mystic Falls pageant. But when one of Elena’s competitors makes the fatal mistake of getting in Stefan’s way, the blood that rushes through HER veins might just be too much for The Ripper to resist . . .

Potent Quotables

I don’t hurt people. I’m the Good Brother.

I want to kill you. I want to rip into your skin and I want to feed on your blood. Under your skin, pulsating, and flowing, your carotid artery, right there. If you puncture this just right, you can control the blood flow. It takes practice but . . . it doesn’t have to make a mess. You don’t have to waste any.

If I do this . . . if I give in there is no going back . . . I just want one taste. That’s all I need. I just want one taste.”

Why this scene is a key moment in The Ripper Canon

Julie: Stefan has talked to Elena many times about the mind-altering effects blood drinking has on his personality. And yet, this is the first time in the series that we get to see it in full force. Sure, we knew something was up with Stefan, ever since the previous episode when he (Gasp) got drunk, and (OMG) was snippy with Elena, and (Oh No!) copped an attitude with Damon. But all that just made it seem like Stefan was having a Bad Day. It didn’t necessarily make him seem like a Bad Vampire.

Amy: Stefan was also “raising eyebrows” prior to this scene with his EXTREME upbeat mood which was his way of covering the fact that he was “off the wagon” to everyone. His true “addict” personality seemed to kick in and we saw that he was more than just “the good brother” and the honorable, honest one. He had a secret and he didn’t want anyone to know so he upped his “good brother”/good boyfriend behavior to such a degree – that it became clear that something was absolutely going on with him.

J: I think a lot of fans, us included, were shocked at just how far off the deep end Stefan actually went in this episode. While Stefan’s WORDS in this scene seem to come from a guy who’s tormented about harming humans, and feels guilty about doing so, his actions and body language are, for the most part, remorseless. Stefan ENJOYS taunting this innocent girl. He is EXCITED by the prospect of killing her. And he is not afraid of sharing with her every gory detail of how he plans to do it.

A: I absolutely agree. Stefan frightened me in this scene – almost more than Damon ever had in fact (up to that point.) And the reason was because Damon’s inhumanity, his cruelty, his enjoyment of hurting and killing – was always right there on the surface. He showed it, he had NO qualms about it. But Stefan we liked, we trusted – and when he turns from that car and faces his victim – that guy – the one we’d spent 18 previous episodes thinking we understood – that guy was GONE.

J: Paul Wesley owns this scene with the sadistic smile he gets on his face, when he says to his prey, “I want to kill you.” Again, we notice a difference between what Stefan is SAYING, and the way he is behaving. Stefan’s description of opening the carotid artery, in order to drain the victim’s blood, without wasting it, is almost clinical. You can see the sick pride Stefan takes in his “work” of eating humans, cleanly, “without making a mess.” No wonder Klaus was so impressed with his so-called “special talents!”

Gratuitous Shirtless Alert!!

A: About this time in the season I was becoming very aware that Paul Wesley was a really great actor. I think with Ian it was obvious from the start because – for one thing he was better known so we had this performance to measure up against his others. Also because Damon is such a delicious character – fun, sexy, dangerous, dark. I would think that would be easier to play and be noticed than having to be Stefan and seem calm and kind and careful. Stefan is not a “showy” part – and to play him while coming across as compelling (heh) and not boring – would be pretty difficult I would imagine.

Except here – suddenly we see that Stefan is possibly darker, possibly more dangerous than Damon and it really is a revelatory moment that Paul played to the hilt. Between this scene and his confession to Elena in Blood Brothers I became a firm believer that he has the potential to be a future Johnny Depp: break-out of a “teen show” to become a serious movie star.

J: And yet, the way that Stefan ACTS toward his victim, is undeniably sexual. Blood drinking, particularly from the neck, can be, in and of itself, a very erotic concept for the female viewer to imagine. (The neck, after all, is one of our favorite erogenous zones.) And it doesn’t get more erotic than the way Stefan gently lifts the victim’s blond curls from her neck, so that he can massage it with his right hand, while, almost lovingly, cupping her chin with his left. Even the way Stefan speaks to his victim seems intended to arouse, with a cadence that is melodic, powerful, and hypnotic at the same time.

The victim’s laconic attitude, wide-eyed enchantment by Stefan, and disturbing lack of concern for her own well being is, largely, the result of Stefan’s continued compulsion of her. And yet, there does seem to be a small part of this girl, even under such a heavy trance, that is turned on by Stefan’s voice, titillated by his touch, and overwhelmed by anticipation over what he’s going to do next. So, are WE . . .

A: The proof of this is if you watch it without the sound – it looks like the prelude to a sexy love scene! The way he answers her, “do you want to hurt me?” with “I want to kill you” sends shivers down my spine – still! And I remember watching this the first time and thinking that there was no way he was actually going to do it – that they hadn’t spent nearly their entire season building up Stefan Salvatore, Good Guy to have him ACTUALLY bite this girl that he’s essentially kidnapped – WHILE he’s stood up his beloved Elena and left her in the hands of his devious brother. And when he DID IT I literally couldn’t believe it. It was one of those moments in a series where you realize “Damn – they are willing to GO THERE.”

And hell yes- this scene is SEXY. Period. Here’s a man – Ok – a creature – who has denied his essential desires for decades. For over a century. And in a short period of time everything he has worked so hard to control in himself and overcome – has come crashing to the ground – he has nothing to hold on to because he doesn’t want anyone to know how far he’s fallen. And now he’s rapidly losing control. Sneaking blood bags behind your brother and girlfriend’s back? Not good. Almost licking SluttyDonovanMom’s bleeding forehead at a crowded party? REALLY not good. Kidnapping an innocent girl and compelling her to stand still as you tell her in vivid detail how much you want to kill her? Line. Crossed.

And he’s good at being bad – no wonder we now know he was a renowned “ripper” bc he is in fact seducing this girl as you said with the way he’s talking to her in a low voice and the gentle way he’s touching her. If you pause it right (around :48) their heads are even tilted towards one another as if they are going to kiss. He cups her face as he does Elena’s, and he’s breathing heavily as if he’s turned on. And when he does bite her – she doesn’t scream or wince or do any of the reactions we’ve seen others do at the pain of being bitten – no she closes her eyes and looks willing to submit to him.

If you watch the scene preceding this one – Stefan is unraveling in front of our eyes. He’s manic, nervous, an addict looking for a fix. Momentarily we recognize the character we know as he apologizes to Amber for, “not being very good to be around right now” but he’s panicking that Elena knows of his addiction and getting desperate, “she wasn’t supposed to find out, I didn’t want her to find out now everything is ruined.” His struggle gives way in an instant as he scorns her assessment that he’s sad with, “I’m not sad, I’m freaking hungry.”

You want Amber to run – I want Amber to run because Stefan is dangerously unpredictable – but we know she can’t because even though he’s losing his grip he’s not losing it ENOUGH to realize if he wasn’t compelling her, he’d have a much messier scene on his hands. And that’s scary – that’s premeditation – that’s a man who knows he’s about to do something awful and even though he doesn’t want to do it – he is still aware enough to make sure that he has created a situation in which he can do it.

Author: Amy H. Johnson

Amy H. Johnson is the author of The Fangirl Files a memoir about Boy Bands, TV Boyfriends and imaginary betrothals to 80s English pop stars. She prefers to be referred to as a "Cute Famous Boy Aficionado".

9 thoughts on “The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – A look back at some of the most pivotal scenes in Ripper Stefan Canon (Part II)

  1. Pingback: The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux Part IV – When Klaus Met Stefan . . . | TV Recappers Anonymous

  2. Pingback: The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – Part III (Feeding the Monster Within . . .) | TV Recappers Anonymous

  3. Hi Noelle and Serendipity!

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. I’m not as good a Comment Responder as Blogging Pal Julie, but I loved reading your thoughts and I’m glad that you’re both enjoying the series.

    The S3 trailer today got me VERY excited for Ripper Stefan!! I think there is so much potential for this arc and just given how excited Paul has been about it – means that he’s going to really be giving blood, sweat and tears in his performances.

    Next week its back to TV Recappers Anonymous, and after that hope to see you both back here for Part IV!

  4. Hey, Amy and Julie, and Serenity! This article was both chilling and sexy. It’s interesting that Nina Dobrev said that she thought Paul Wesley would make a good Lestat. I was rather surprised, but perhaps it’s that sensuality and decadence he exudes when his character focuses on human blood.

    I still attest that perhaps the scariest moment for me on The Vampire Diaries was Stefan’s descent. (He and his brother both “descend” quite dramatically.) Stefan had been the rock throughout the show, the one you could depend on for protection and morality. Then he becomes a sadistic monster who abandons Elena to run off and assault another young woman!

    That episode was rather poignant because it had a sense of realism in a loved one letting you down and showing a completely different side to them. I still can’t believe Stefan wanted to be a doctor. The whole thing, from Stefan getting a little rougher with Elena in bed, to manipulating and lying to her, to touching Kelly Donovan’s head all while asking if she’s okay, was shocking and difficult to watch – but so fun to revisit.

    Actually, I still can hardly watch the scene when Stefan turns around and says I want to kill you. I rarely do this, but I actually tried to cover my eyes when I first saw it.

    But yeah badass analysis, you (plural). Can’t wait for the next ones.

    • Thanks Noelle! We are so honored that you are enjoying the series. We had a lot of fun writing it. 🙂

      Nina is right! Paul Wesley would have made a GREAT Vampire Lestat. He is so very good at being deliciously bad. Ripper Stefan effortlessly exudes a sort of creepy charm, intermingled with sexuality, and dangerous instability . . . so that even while he is smiling, and politely kissing your hand, like a gentleman, a part of you is always waiting for him to snap, and literally rip your heart out.

      Hmmm . . . I think I’m still going to have to go with Stefan eating his father as one of the most disturbing moments in the series. But the scene in “As I Lay Dying” in which he is hunched on all fours, gorging on blood with a crazed animalistic look in his eye, comes as a close second. (This scene rounds out the top three, for sure.)

      Don’t feel bad about shutting your eyes, during this scene. I’ve done that once or twice, while watching TVD as well. It comes with the territory, I think. 🙂 Like that scene in Crying Wolf, where the wolves chain Damon by the neck, and systematically torture him in a very gross and graphic way. I was definitely hiding in my pillow, during that one! I also covered my eyes while Katherine was repeatedly stabbing her leg at Klaus’ “request.” YUCK! 🙂

      You have to admit, it makes for great television though! 😉

  5. Hi Amy! You don’t know me, I guess… though you might if you are in the habit of reading the comments on Julie’s blog… I already told her I think it’s so great you are doing this, as it keeps me from going nuts waiting for season 3 to finally kick off… So I hope you don’t mind my rambling on a bit here…

    This is definitely one of my favourite episodes ever… Okay, I’ll admit it is mainly because we get to see Damon and Elena interact on a new level of intimacy and of course because they get to DANCE (which is one of my favourite things for them to be doing, as Julie can undoubtedly tell you LOL), but also because it is the first time Stefan surpasses the cardboard stage (for me at least), making him a sight more interesting!

    As you said, the episode before this one contained indeed a lot of hints that something was up with Stefan! It was even in the way he drove his car and got out of it at school, and the way he talked to Elena! He’s so upbeat and funny that it’s clear he’s not his normal broody self… Also, the way Stefan danced with Elena as they are practicing for the MMF dance, all teasing and joking… Like Damon remarks: he’s been acting as the poster child for Prozac all these years, and now, suddenly, he isn’t any longer… It almost feels like he suffers from manic-depression, his mood swings so much!

    I agree that he’s indeed freaking out that Elena knows, and I think it makes him crave the fix of blood to calm his anxiety even more, but there’s no blood to be had of course, save for the one thing he’s been struggling against since drinking Elena’s blood: the REAL DEAL (remember when that guy hurt himself in the parking lot and Stefan almost loses it because he chafed his knee? He almost lost it then, but this time he loses the fight big time).

    But I actually didn’t think he was going to do it either… because he has indeed always been the GOOD brother… and then he just went and DID it!

    The clinical description of how he’s planning on draining Amber looks like the sign of a true maniac. He’s thought about the most ‘economic’ way to drain a victim, not spilling a drop of precious blood, and the way he tells it, saying that it takes practice, makes me think that he might have had a lot of practice at it… We might be facing (if they are planning on showing us) some gory scenes of past ripper exploits in season 3, as Stefan remembers them, or perhaps Damon remembers them as well (since we know he was always trailing Stefan, keeping tabs on him…)? We do know that Stefan has been off the wagon more than once during his long (un)life, needing the help of Lexi (are there any others?) to get back on…

    I feel as though controlling the bloodlust, even on a bunny diet, always seems to be hard for Stefan: I seem to remember (but I would have to check it) him telling Elena how hard it is, when they are talking about her becoming a vampire at the end of season 2, and also the way his face starts to change whenever he smells blood (first ever episode, when Elena hurts herself in the cemetery for example). Damon doesn’t seem to have that problem (he doesn’t vamp out when killing Mason (I think), nor when he is close to wounded Vicky on the roof, etc.), and neither does Caroline, as young as she is (only in the very beginning), nor Katherine (when she kills that girl at the masquerade and seems quite unaffected by the blood for example). Like I already said as a comment on Julie’s blog for the first part of your ripper redux: I think Stefan never learned to control his inner vampire because he didn’t want to; he doesn’t want to accept that that part of him exists…

    Yes, I know, I never succeed in keeping these things short… But I enjoyed your analysis very much! And I’ll be sure to check out the next part of it 😉 Keep up the good work!

    • Hey there, Valerie! Thanks so much for your awesome comment, and for sticking with this web series. You rock! 🙂

      I actually replied to you on my portion of the blog, but will repost it here, to keep things “uniform.” I hope you don’t mind. Feel free to disregard this reply, if you’ve read it already. 🙂

      You know it truly is a testament to how great this show is, that from a 3 minute clip we can mine SO MUCH intriguing analysis. 😉

      Of course, you have a Very Special Connection with Damon and Elena dancing in Miss Mystic Falls, or, perhaps, I should say, “Shadowdancing.” 😉

      http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6941538/1/Shadowdancing

      (READ IT, DELENA FANS! :))

      You mention early Season 1 Stefan being Cardboard Stefan. And you definitely have a point there. This was really one of Paul Wesley’s earliest defining moments in the series. It was the first time I watched him on screen, and thought: “Interesting! This guy can really act! Who knew?”

      The analogy you gave between Stefan and someone “off their meds” is a really good one. Often times, people who are bipolar or schizophrenic will complain that they are losing the highs and lows of life, by taking medication that, while keeping them “stable,” also makes them feel groggy and disconnected. When these individuals stop taking their meds, they are, at first, euphoric, like Stefan. Everything seems brighter and newer. They act “happier” and are “more fun” to be around. Then, the illness really starts to take its toll. And from the highest of highs follows the crashing lows, and a slow but painful unraveling of their sense of self.

      It’s kind of ironic that Stefan talks about being able to “turn off emotions,” while drinking human blood. And yet, in this episode, and the previous one, we witnessed a more “emotional” Stefan than we had ever seen before. He was at times positively giddy, and at other times raging mad. So much for “not needing to feel” right? 🙂

      And I absolutely agree with you that, while a part of Stefan’s turning to the “bunny diet” has to do with his Alcoholics Anonymous approach to vampirism (“One drop, and I’m off the wagon.”), his complete inability to handle human blood (well . . . at least at this early point in the series) stems, I suspect, from a bit of guilt and self-loathing on Stefan’s part. For Stefan trying to control his bloodlust means confronting who he was, and what he has done in the past, each and every day. (As we see him do, during the second half of Season 2). Stefan’s complete avoidance of his Ripper Self allows him to live in a state of denial. He can pretend that what happened to him in the past happened to SOMEBODY else, because HE doesn’t drink human blood. Unfortunately, THESE coping mechanisms, combined with Stefan’s guilt are what ultimately made him so very vulnerable to Klaus’ manipulations in “As I Lay Dying.”

      And, of course, you never need to apologize for a lengthy comment. I love reading your writing. Not only is it inherently enjoyable, I find that I always learn something. So, thank you! 🙂

  6. Pingback: The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – A Look Back at Some of the Most Pivotal Scenes in Ripper Stefan Canon (Part I) | TV Recappers Anonymous

  7. Pingback: The Vampire Diaries’ Ripper Redux – Part II (a.k.a. Stefan’s “I’m Freaking HUNGRY!” moment) | TV Recappers Anonymous

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