This episode revolves around one major, terrible thing in the life of all werewolves – the secret. The secret that no human can know werewolves exist and how it’s tearing them all up.
The big one is, of course, Elena and Sasha sitting down to explore her history – particularly how her mother died because Sasha told her the big secret and Roman then killed her to keep everything secret. Sasha still blames himself for that because, well, that is the rule and he, Jeremy et al kind of agree with those rules. Elena is not so sure – not just because it killed her mother (which she squarely blames on Roman – not that Sasha’s off the hook. Abandoning her as a baby and then hiding the truth about her mother hasn’t exactly earned him any brownie points). Elena has her own history with the rule – when she first met Jeremy he planned to kill her because he thought Clay had exposed their secret to her – she was almost the same innocent victim as her mother.
In the woods, Alexei and Clay try to track down the man Alexie attacked during his first change: he’s bitten but running through the woods. Alexei clings to the idea that maybe he could survive and Alexei hasn’t killed him, how the man could even become a werewolf. But there’s the rule which Clay brutally lays down: this man has a family (his partner calls repeatedly on the mobile phone they’ve found), he has a life, he’s an exposure risk. Whether he survived Alexei’s bite/claw or not, he’s doomed to die which is a horrible weight on Alexei.
They do find his body – and in addition to us seeing more of the pain the secret causes, Clay explains how they control the wolf so it doesn’t kill people. They pretty much wallow in the pain these deaths cause, brutally confronting all the grieving loved ones their victim leaves behind and use that, that human part of themselves, to suppress the wolf even when they’re in wolf form. It’s a nice mix of both sympathy for Alexei and brutal reality being forcibly dropped on him. It’s a hard truth her has to learn but there’s a strong acknowledgement it is hard. Clay doesn’t seem to blame Alexei while also realising that Alexei basically has to feel uber guilty over this to control his wolf in the future.
Elena calls in the army medic, turned werewolf – new recruit to the pack – to help treat Sasha and he comes with his own sad story of the secret hurting him: while deployed he worried about going to save someone because if he was injured and passed out he could end up changing and exposing them all.
And to the big one from last week – Jeremy talks to Karen. She survived her knife wound but she saw Alexei shift. There’s lots of painful talk about responsibility, caring for family, family being the priority for both of them. He does manage to convince her to turn a blind eye (or so she claims)… but she can’t forget what she saw. With a whole lot of angst and sadness and heart-wrenching pain, he kills her.
There is a lot in this scene – a lot of emotion, a lot of pain and Jeremy really does an excellent job of conveying just how much doing this completely guts him. It’s really well acted and presented
The whole episode is pretty excellent, the combined stories come together to not just show individual problems of the secret but, ultimately, to show how it dominates werewolf lives, destroying relationships and pretty much leaves them wrecked. Full points for an excellent, emotional episode
At the end of the episode we get more shaky – because Sasha declares Elena to be the heart of the pack and how Jeremy utterly loves and values her. Which seems to be backed up by him going to hunt Roman and leaving Elena in charge with a big emotional goodbye scene. But, again, we just haven’t seen this. I don’t see any real foundation in the show for Elena being the heart of the pack or anyone beyond Clay particularly caring that much about her – and certainly little indication that Jeremy thinks she’s so precious or values her this way. It feels a little dropped in