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Thursday, May 24, 2012

On the Couch: Alaric Saltzman

I got to thinking that of all the characters on The Vampire Diaries, ol' Alaric "Rick" Saltzman might have gotten the short end of the psychological stick. I'm writing this special Thursday post to celebrate his particular brand of craziness. (As well as grace this post with some pics of his handsome, loony self.)

Alaric came to Mystic Falls as a history teacher-slash-vampire-hunter with a chip on his shoulder about his ex-wife, who turns up to be Elena's bio mother. He had some serious difficulty adjusting to his wife just up and leaving him, and wasn't willing to let sleeping dogs lie. His search for Damon (whom Rick believed killed his wife) led him to the vampire-infested Mystic Falls area. His gym bag didn't just contain gym clothes, but a couple of stakes and vervaine sprays, etc. He becomes involved with Elena's aunt Jenna, but when Jenna dies, he turns to the bottle for comfort (recurring theme on TVD, btw). He also comes to understand that his wife asked Damon to turn her into a vampire, which Damon did.

Rick wears this magical ring that lets him cheat death anytime he's murdered at the hands of a supernatural, which, for Rick, is fairly often.....every 5 episodes or so at least. It's not until Season 3 that this ring becomes something of a two-edged sword.

Rick begins to have these blackout periods, and when he comes to, he can't remember anything about what he's done or where he's been. It's starts pretty benign...he can't remember where he placed something or things have been moved around...and then gets pretty bizarre, as in he's covered with blood. He goes in for a CAT scan, even, because he knows something's wrong with him and thinks he's going crazy.

Rick's diagnosis is undoubtedly Dissociative Identity Disorder. He's got this alter ego who is rather violent on a good day. Turns out that Rick's subconscious (as represented by his alter identity) is going around trying to pick off council members...which is actually a return to his original goal of eradicating vampires. He's doing this vicariously by getting rid of unethical council members who already know about the vampire problem and are perpetuating it by not doing anything about their own children becoming vamps (Caroline Forbes) and hybrids (Tyler Lockwood). 

Here's the breakdown for Rick (his symptomology is in red):

A. The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self). 
B. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior. [That would be Alaric the history teacher and "Dark-Alaric" or The Darkness." When Dark-Alaric is at the helm, he's in complete control, b/c Rick has no idea what he's done when he "comes to."]
C. Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. [He doesn't remember small things at first, but then not knowing yow you get covered in blood is a *tad* important.]
D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance(e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures). [Nope, turns out that craziness just runs in the history of the Gilbert family ring that Alaric wears.]

I believe this'll do it for all you vampire fans out there. At least Rick went out with a bang (as everyone usually does on the show).

Let's Analyze: Anyone else upset that Rick's gone off to star in his own show? I thought he was a nice addition to the almost obsolete human world on TVD.