The Vampire Diaries: A Few Good Men

SarahDeeee emailed me yesterday to recap Thursday’s excellent Vampire Diaries episode and said exactly what I did after one annoying scene: Stop trying to make Bing happen!! When there was a close-up of Jeremy’s computer screen at the end of “Fool Me Once” searching for vampires, it was noticeable — product placement for Bing?? — but the Jenna Shows Elena How Helpful Bing Is and Says the Word “BING’D” was too much. In a series with vampires, spooky fog, and witches, this was the moment that felt most unreal. Stop trying to make Bing happen!

On to what I loved about this episode, which was everything else.

We start where we left off with the vampire escaping the tomb — Harper. He seems like a stand-up guy for a bloodsucker, apologizing to his lunch-hiker (and he’s cute once he washes his face). The way he calls the hiker “sir” is a subtle reminder of the dynamic between blacks and whites last Harper was in Mystic Falls.

Besides my aforementioned issue with the Research into Isobel Scene, I really appreciated that Aunt Jenna did what she said she would, and didn’t keep the potential connection to Alaric’s wife a secret. Other shows would drag this out. Not TVD. (Is this the first time we’ve heard Jenna call Alaric “Ric”? I don’t like. That name cuts his mysterious sexy factor in half. And Isobel calls him that too, in their flashback scenes.) Stefan is a little more guarded with his information, with Alaric’s claim that Damon killed Isobel. If Stefan had told Elena right away, she would have confronted Damon and, I like to think, Damon would have told her all that he knows, immediately, because of his affection for her. But it was a nice build of the storyline, and totally a rational course of action that Stefan didn’t spill everything.

At the Salvatore mansion, Damon is drunk. And “partying” with three sorority girls who will wake up the next day with headaches and no idea what really happened. Shudder. I love Damon but there’s no denying he’s a sexual predator and just a plain old terrifying predator. He may have weaned himself off killing girls but still he’s biting and feeding, using compulsion and making them forget — exploiting “some women in the name of grief.” Now I’m Buzzkill Bob. Stefan gets a few revealing words out of Damon — he feels liberated without a master plan, and nothing is important — but precious little about Isobel.

Putting up the banner banter with Alaric and Jenna was sweet. Presumably she hadn’t just that second met up with Alaric — she could have waited a little bit longer to tell him about the Isobel connection to Elena and kept that very nice first kiss moment alive.

How creepy were the Trudie Peterson scenes?? That music, the close-up on the threshold, and Trudie’s wide-eyed lies. I just wanted Elena out of that house. Of course, we learn that it’s not Trudie we should fear but that the person she has to obey. We’ll never know if Trudie did in fact know who the father of Elena is (seemed like she did) or what Isobel was doing in Florida before heading to Duke and meeting Alaric.

From one missing mother to another: Kelly Donovan is back in town, and she’s not the picture of doting motherhood. Matty takes care of her, Matty loves her despite her rudeness and bluntness, and it would be hard not to when your drunk and brokenhearted mother says to you, ‘You’re all I have left. Please don’t leave me.’ An unfortunate complication (but one necessary for dramatic tension) to Matt and “Lezzie Forbes’ daughter”‘s relationship. To be considered the rebound girl and to not be as admired as Elena is just about the last thing Caroline needs.

I liked the scene between Sheriff Forbes and Damon at the bar — she’s susceptible to his charm just like any other straight woman in town, and reminding us that her husband left her for another man may be an indication that Caroline’s dad will be showing up some time soon. Or just that the Kelly Donovans of Mystic Falls don’t empathize with other women left in the lurch but rather judge them for their partners’ actions. Damon, on the other hand, identifies with Sheriff Forbes’ heartbreak as well as with Alaric’s later in the episode; Damon having his “heart ripped out” (interesting choice of words, D) by Katherine has brought out his humanity, as Stefan and Elena hoped it would, but it hasn’t diminished the demon in him.

My two favorite scenes in this episode were Damon and Elena together with Stefan not far behind, the first one sweet and intimate, the second angry and full of disappointment. Drunk Damon asking Elena for help with his buttons was a nice echo of him fastening her vervain necklace in “Fool Me Once.” His reaction to Elena’s excited news about her birth mother so perfectly captures Damon: the insensitive “Who cares?” actually comes from a considerate place: “She left you. She sucks.” Damon cares about Elena, and is heartbroken himself. Enter Stefan, who seems surprisingly cool with seeing his girlfriend with Damon, and he doesn’t even flinch when Damon later says (my favorite line in the episode): “Where’d our girlfriend go?” But Damon’s cruelty to Alaric at the auction has an unanticipated casualty — Elena, who in her spitfire way doesn’t hesitate to confront Damon and let him know the consequences of his actions.

Scariest and creepiest moment? It’s a toss up. Between the Creeper Man Under Compulsion killing Trudie and offing himself once he’s made Elena understand. (How powerful a vampire is Isobel if she can control someone so completely?) And the no-contest fight between Damon and Alaric — watching Alaric die with his punctured lung was really upsetting. I spent that commercial break praying to Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec that he wasn’t really dead. And he wasn’t — due to a token of Isobel’s love, the super magic protective ring that even Stefan Salvatore can’t believe exists.

Elena’s mother is alive and a vampire (and a totally evil and intriguing one at that); Matt’s mom is back and due to stir up more trouble next week; the parallels between Alaric’s heartbreak and Damon’s were beautifully realized; and we have a vampire haven set up at Mrs. Gibbons’ house — what are Pearl, Anna, No-Name Vamp Lady, and Harper up to? What will be Bonnie’s state of mind, when she returns from her aunt’s house, now that she’s lost her grandmother and guide into the world of witchcraft? Is Jeremy still in his bedroom figuring out how to BING vampires?

Did you call Isobel’s phone number? It’s 919 399 2507 and you get a recorded message from Stefan and Damon, hinting that Stefan did his share of nasty things when he first became a vampire. Then you can leave a message. (Mine was, unintentionally, about breakfast cereal and where my roommate should put the box of Cheerios.)

What did you think of the return of The Vampire Diaries?

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