I have to say, I’m surprised it took six episodes, but we’re now officially embroiled in “The Vampire Diaries” ghost story… and the Mikael story… and the sire story… and the Ripper story… seriously, how does this show have so much going on all at once? Remember when it was about a girl who fell in love with a vampire and had to deal with his pain-in-the-butt brother?
I’m kidding, Damon fans. Retract your claws!
Tonight’s episode was another one that left us reeling, and despite all the action, it also gave us a chance to really savor performances and small character moments… and we finally got a full introduction to the new (and improved, if you ask me) version of a certain Stefan Salvatore.
Time to jump in… or back-handspring in, as the case may be.
Previously on “The Vampire Diaries”: Matt committed suicide so he’d be able to see Vicki, even though basically all of his friends have died and the only one who can see ghosts is Jeremy, so it makes no sense that his terrible plan worked. Katherine and Jeremy woke up the vampire who hunts for vampires, and he looked pretty cranky. Tyler drank Elena’s blood and went full hybrid. Stefan went bye-bye.
8:01 - The abused wife covers up her injuries with powder. Remember how last week, I likened Elena and Damon to Marissa Cooper and Ryan Atwood? This makes it even better, because now Stefan is totally Trey.
Alaric is awake bright and early, too, suffering from his usual hangover. Who was it that said, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. They wake up in the morning and that’s the best they’re going to feel all day”? I think Alaric probably has that saying tattooed on the insides of his eyelids.
Speaking of tattoos, I like how the men on “The Vampire Diaries” don’t have to cover theirs up. Matt Davis’s tiny t-shirt accentuates his nicely as They head out to the woods to play with Alaric’s blow-up doll, where he finally makes himself useful sharing some of his vampire-hunter knowledge with the vampire-hunted. Elena is taking back the night!
“Vampires will take whatever they want, they’ll hurt whoever they want, and they’ll do it without remorse. It’s their nature.” It seems that Damon’s little outburst a couple weeks back really served as a reminder to Alaric. It was necessary, if you ask me, for Alaric to retrieve his balls. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bromance, too, but I am inclined to believe that the bromance can coexist with Alaric’s wariness.
I think my favorite moment in this scene is when Alaric says, “I think that you can do pretty much anything,” and Elena nods, like she agrees with him. She has to know how awesome she is by now.
8:03 – “Prank night was a bust,” Caroline says. She’s a vampire; she had all of eternity to go for the Biggest Understatement Ever In The History of Time Award, and yet she nailed it in year one. That’s our girl, such an over-achiever.
I would like to go on the record and say that I hate every single thing about every single outfit in this scene, which is great, because I’d probably feel the same way if I went to an actual high school on the actual first day of school. But honestly, I don’t understand how Kat Graham isn’t actually allergic to those jeans.
Elena says, “It’s the anniversary of the day I met my really mean boyfriend who is the reason I’m wearing this hideous scarf!” and Bonnie’s all, “Are you sure you want to be here?” Oh, right. I forgot that school is optional in Mystic Falls.
8:04 - There are bodies strewn about the Salvatore Boardinghouse, and Damon looks like he went through this a century ago and is rather peeved that he has to ask Stefan to clean up his toys again. The shot of Stefan playing bloody Twister with a bunch of compelled fangbangers reminds me of the scene where Damon and Vicki partied it up after she was turned. “Would you like a spin?”
8:05 – Oh, look, it’s Little Becky. They really need to get Elena to re-sign the deed to the house now that she’s died and come back to life, or Chez Salvatore is about to come Chez All of The Vampires Ever In The World, particularly given the stench of blood that will be wafting from this place once Stefan has finished his morning snack.
It’s pretty fantastic that Becky has already gone shopping this morning. Apparently she saw Bonnie’s jeans and knew the school needed a wake-up call.
8:06 – I get that Bonnie isn’t a fan of Jeremy’s tag-along dead girls, but she should probably give him a break. The witches told her that there would be consequences for her, these are her consequences.
MATT! Back from the dead, still the loneliest boy in all of the world. “You seem unhappy,” ghost Vicki says. Duh, Vicki. Happy people don’t drown themselves in pools on a hunch.
“Just life stuff,” he tells her, which is a real sensitive thing to complain about to a dead person. She says that she can come back with his help, because with the vampires, werewolves, witches, and ghosts, what we really need are some vest-enthusiast stoner zombies.
“Are you talking to yourself?” Tyler interrupts, all cheery.
8:08 - Meanwhile, back in the Pickett tomb in Charlotte, Katherine is trying to wake Mikael up. (Yes, that’s the correct spelling: for more info, click here!) Um, he looked pretty awake to me, when his eyes flew open in last week’s cliffhanger. Katherine tells Damon that she’s having trouble getting him to eat, but she spies a mourner who looks delicious.
8:09 – “Barbie klaus” is the best nickname I have ever heard in my life. Damon tells Elena that Stefan has been spending all of his time “Journaling. Reading. Shaping his hair.” Which brings up an extremely important point: Stefan’s humanity is turned off, but he still does his hair in the morning. I appreciate good hygiene in a sociopathic blood-gargler.
8:10 - Tyler didn’t have that blood on his shirt when he interrupted Matt’s “alone” time in the truck, so I guess it’s understandable that Caroline freaks out. Where did he drink it, under Alaric’s desk? He says that Rebekah provided a blood bag, which leads me to wonder — where was Caroline to provide said bag? As his girlfriend and a vampire, shouldn’t she sort of be, like, holding his hand through this whole experience? Or at least providing juiceboxes so he doesn’t become overwhelmed with the urge to open his mother’s jugular?
Stefan is back to school, too. This scene reminds me of the one from last week when Elena ran into Klaus in the hallways. Stefan is the new threat to her. His little tussle with Alaric was, perhaps, the most disturbing part of this scene — there are still students in the hallways, and he’s calling attention to himself. A year ago, that was not Stefan’s M.O.
Frankly, though, this Stefan is way more fun to watch. Let him stay.
8:13 – Rebekah makes an entrance that’s very similar to Stefan’s with Mr. Tanner, the Mystic Falls history teacher who Damon killed early in Season 1. “I’m new and history’s my favorite subject,” Rebekah says. She brings up the idea that vikings settled on American soil before Native Americans. Alaric says there’s no evidence… but given the obvious parallels with the pilot episode, somehow, I’m guessing Rebekah knows better.
8:14 - Matt goes to the stoner pit outside the school to talk to his sister, because everyone knows that the best place to talk to people who are imaginary is in public, while surrounded by people who know you.
Vicki wants to be free of her connection to Matt, so that she can roam Mystic Falls with the rest of the supernatural creepy crawlies. Apparently, if Matt taps into the Original Witch’s power, she can push Vicki over to his “side.” I don’t really understand why he’s going for this, particularly because Vicki says he’s still the only person that will be able to see her. I feel so sad for him. He’s so lonely that he’s literally standing in a parking lot talking to a dead person.
“There’s nothing but darkness around her,” Anna insists. Why can Vicki contact the Head Witch In Charge but Anna can’t?
8:16 - So, as much as I want to, I’m not going to comment on that thing on Tyler’s head because I spoke with Michael Trevino yesterday and he pointed out the very, very important differences between a bandana and a do-rag. (He tells me that he wore a black bandana just like that one when he played football in high school. I’m really super glad that the vampire show pays attention to authentic realism when it comes to their teen wolf’s football practice wardrobr.)
I will, instead, move on to the most important part of this scene: Dana. I’m glad that this show acknowledges deaths after they happen.
Now Rebekah is joining the spirit squad so that she and Caroline can figure out which one is Regina George and which one is Gretchen Wieners. Meanwhile, Tyler compels his coach into letting the team off early to get drunk. I can’t blame him, honestly. If I had the power of compulsion my senior year of high school, it would’ve looked a lot like that, too. Also, my parents would’ve given me a car.
Tyler thinks that Klaus has given him a gift. I get where he’s coming from, since he doesn’t have to go through the painful turning process anymore, and compulsion is a super fun party trick, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Then, he appreciates Rebekah’s awesomeness… outloud. “Damn. Girl’s got moves.” Keep it to yourself, Tyler!
I’m sure that running around a track for hours while talking and acting and paying attention to camera angles and such is difficult, but jeez, Stefan and Elena run weird. “You think I’m annoying now? Wait ’til homecoming,” Stefan teases. Homecoming, by the way, is Episode 9, and will feature the band My Morning Jacket. In case you were wondering.
As for who Elena’s bringing… please bring Matt, please bring Matt, please bring Matt. I don’t want them to hook up, or anything, but I am sad that he’s so lonely.
“I’m the guy who’s been assigned to protect the human bloodbag,” Stefan says. I love new Stefan so so so much.
8:19 - Speaking of human blood… “Get it away from me,” Mikael says when Katherine wakes him up with a fresh innocent victim. Hmmm. I am starting to believe one of the Vampire-Diaries.net Mikael theories might be true…
8:20 – Elena is lifting weights… at Alaric’s loft? Is that where they are? Why can’t she just hang out with Matt in the Timberwolves weight room? The location choices in this episode are puzzling to me.
But enough about the four walls. Let’s talk about these two people. I’m going to be honest — most of the time, I’ve found that while Damon and Elena have great banter and a perfect repertoire with each other, the chemistry is much more sizzling between Damon and Katherine. This new, empowered version of Elena, however, feels like a match for Damon more than anyone else ever has.
I’ve said a bunch of times that though the show has focused on the major changes going on in Damon’s life, I feel that Elena needed to undergo some serious changes before she could meet Damon as an equal and we could even think about a relationship happening between them. In this episode, she is an adult. Bring on the relationship!
Not to mention, the scene where he pins her against him and points out “the way to a vampire’s heart”? Hot like burning. I usually don’t like the scenes where he manhandles her, but her complete trust in him lately makes it feel less like manhandling and more like… mutual handling. She totally goes with it. Like I said, they’re on an even playing field now, emotionally. I’m in.
8:26 – Elena looks very Katherine in this scene! I was on set while they filmed this episode, and I noticed that she was wearing skinny jeans and boots and I figured Elena was going through some kind of bad-girl revolution. It appears I was half-right.
Why are they in the school right now? Things are happening in the most bizarre places in this episode. Elena was weight-lifting at Alaric’s house, now they’re scheming at the school. The Gilberts have a house, don’t they?
“Are you ever not going to be mad at me?” Poor Damon. He misses his bromance.
Tyler hasn’t quite gotten the memo that Klaus is the bad guy. He apparently forgot that time that Klaus locked him and his girlfriend in a tomb to sacrifice them in rings of fire. He’s forgetful, okay?
And then, the big reveal… “He’s been sired,” Damon says. The idea of a sire is a huge part of vampire lore, and I like the way they’ve worked it in here, particularly because Tyler and Klaus had a (reluctant) allegiance in the books, and because Tyler is someone who we know has an innate tendency to be a bit volatile.
8:28 – “A girl has needs,” Rebekah tells Stefan. Can I suggest that she work her needs out on Matt? He needs to get laid. So bad. (Sorry. I know this recap is very Team Matt. I can’t help myself in the face of such tragedy. The kid committed suicide last week and nobody’s even noticing that he’s MIA from the bonfire! Which is supposed to celebrate the football team! Didn’t Matt play football?)
Meanwhile, Elena shows up to get her party on! “You think I’m going to let a blood addict tell me how to drink?” she scoffs. It’s true – what’s Stefan going to do? He can’t hurt her. He can only make her miserable.
8:29 - MATT! He doesn’t have a bedroom or a house, but it looks like he has a basement! He’s moving up in the world. And… he’s doing blood magic now? What about this seems like a good idea to him? I understand that he’s the loneliest person who has ever lived in all the world, but every single person on his cell phone speed dial has experience dealing with the supernatural. He should ask for advice before intentionally bleeding onto a pile of creepiness.
“I felt that!” Vicki’s corporeal, and, officially, I am crying. He is hugging his sister who has been dead for nearly a year. When you lose someone close to you, the idea of one last hug seems so monumental. I might cry forever, you guys.
Vicki says that the Original Witch (if that’s the witch we’re talking about, here) wants the hybrid army to fail, and that killing Elena is the key to that. And then she knocks Matt out with a wrench. After he just did a spell for her. “I’m sorry, Matty, but I wanna stay.”
Okay. Vicki and I are in a fight, y’all.
8:33 - Elena’s having fun — or pretending to, because let’s be honest, Elena doesn’t smile — and Stefan is just watching like a creepy lurking mouth-breather. Elsewhere, Damon and Rebekah are having weird eye-sex over a marshmallow metaphor. Rough exterior. Soft in the middle. Veronica Mars, she’s a marshmallow.
Vicki can’t be seen, but she can pick things up? Is there a joint floating in the air right now? Could other people feel her, or just Matt? I have so many questions.
8:36 – “You’re distracting me. Why?” Rebekah asks. She may be petulant, but she’s also not a complete idiot. Also, after being staked with everything from a toothpick to a pencil, Damon should avoid sharp pointy sticks from here on out. I don’t think he meant for her to take that marshmallow metaphor quite that far.
8:37 - Tyler wakes up in his dad’s study. I wish we’d seen the part where Caroline the super-strong vampire had to carry her jock boyfriend out of the car and into his house.
When I spoke with Trevino this week, he told me that the key difference between Season 1 Tyler and hybrid Tyler is that he’s willing to hear people out now. “What I can say is that, though I would be worried a little, Tyler does
listen to [Caroline],” he says. “In Season 1, Tyler didn’t care what anyone said, but now
he listens and he realizes when he’s wrong. He owns up to it.”
“Everything I like about me is you,” Tyler says. I seriously swooned and swooned. Pairing Candice Accola up with Trevino was such a genius move, because as actors, they’re both impeccable when it comes to the more vulnerable moments, where you really need to feel like you’re in their heads. They always pull this off magnificently.
Tyler has come so far. At this point, these two have the healthiest relationship on the show. Which isn’t saying much, because everyone is so screwed up, but still. It’s a breath of fresh air to watch people actually communicating.
8:40 - Drunk Elena is so much fun! She should indulge a little more. Everyone is always swilling bourbon for breakfast on this show, and if anyone deserves it, it’s her.
Stefan wants to drive her home. I like that, as a ripper, it’s not like he’s an animal. He’s got the whole bad-boy thing going on, and he’s dangerous to the faceless randoms that we’ve all been conditioned not to care about on this show, but not to Elena. There’s a certain charm to him this way, since he’s in protector mode.
Elena takes an intentional nose-dive off the bleachers, which makes me want to make the second Veronica Mars reference of the evening.
“I knew you’d catch me,” Elena says — and it does seem like there’s a weighted moment between them. If it was just about keeping her from dying, Stefan could’ve easily dropped her like a sack of potatoes the moment he caught her. He didn’t. He did the whole pause-stare-breathe-brood thing he does so well.
I’d love to see the story of Ripper Stefan falling for Elena. He’s obviously capable of some connection even when his humanity is on the off switch — he was close to Klaus and Rebekah in the 20s, after all — so seeing him fall in love with her all over, with his new personality, would be pretty epic. Whether she could love him in that state is doubtful.
8:45 – Elena and Ric toss Stefan in the trunk while Vicki stands by looking awfully diabolical.
Meanwhile, Matt and Bonnie put their heads together to undo Matt’s handiwork. “I trusted her,” he chokes out. Yes, he made a bad call, but you’ve got to give him a break, guys! Remember that he’s new to this whole world and while all of the rest of the characters were off learning valuable lessons about messing with supernatural forces, Matt was running Alaric and Damon’s bourbon glasses through the Mystic Falls dishwasher.
Back in the parking lot, Ric kicks at a gas can and says, “I see all the geniuses came out to the bonfire tonight.” Oh. Right. This was a school-sponsored event. That explains the classroom scheming and spellwork, but it does not explain the keg and the out in the open-drinking.
Apparently in Vicki’s ghost world, they have “The Secret Circle,” because we’ve already seen the whole trapped-in-a-locked-fiery-vehicle thing once this season, and that was via Chance Harbor’s HBIC Faye. (Get to know her; you’ll love her, I promise.)
…Really, Alaric? A lacrosse stick? Has he been drinking tonight, too?
The whole Vicki thing is sad. I know she’s desperate for connection, but she grew up with Elena. I think that the “darkness” Anna keeps referring to is actually the witch, not Vicki herself, and I think that the witch chose Vicki because of her many, many weaknesses.
Stefan wakes up in the blaze of the car, and… suddenly has enough strength to kick the entire trunk off, even though he can’t lift his head off the ground? He’s taking his whole “protect Elena” gig very, very seriously.
Meanwhile, won’t someone please worry about Matt’s hands? He is not going to be able to wash any dishes for like a week!! How will he afford his Kraft Dinner!?
Vicki becomes tethered to Matt again, and he has to let her go. Once again, he’s alone. But hey, Elena is still alive!
Poor Alaric. He can not afford a new car on a teacher-who-hardly-ever-teaches salary.
8:52 - A lot of people commented on my recap last week that I didn’t put enough emphasis on Damon’s promise to Elena. The reality is, words are cheap on this show. This is television. When someone makes a promise, you can pretty much assume that they’ll be forced to break it. I like seeing scenes like this much more, where he’s applying actual first aid and physically taking care of her.
(Speaking of — why do the Salvatores even have any first aid paraphernalia in their houses? They basically are first aid.)
“You had Rebekah drooling all over you and your marshmallows,” Elena says. I told you guys jealousy would rear it’s ugly head. And isn’t it glorious?
Speaking of Rebekah. After she staked Damon because he was “distracting” her, what exactly did she go do? She just picked up a light snack and headed over to the Lockwoods’ house? Way to step in and protect Stefan, Becky.
8:53 – Post-coital monster mash time! “You have to earn the overnighter,” Caroline teases Tyler. These two are always hooking up. Those werewolf-vampire-hybrid urges are clearly forces to be reckoned with.
Caroline has barely left the room when Rebekah shows up. How did she get in there? I mean — even if we assume that she stopped by before school that morning with some O-neg, Tyler can’t invite her in, because Tyler is a vampire now. Are we supposed to believe that Carol Lockwood let her in without doing a vampire check?
Rebekah brought Tyler a present, and I have to admit… my heart sank a little bit when he “indulged.” I guess every new vampire is allowed one bad decision, but I hope that we can count on Tyler to get it together. I do know that we won’t see Tyler for the next two episodes, so we’ll see him again for the big Mystic Falls homecoming dance in Episode 9. I don’t want to give anything away, but as you could imagine after his little indulgence tonight, he’s not exactly on his best behavior when we see him again.
8:54 – “I apologize for my outburst,” Mikael says as he wakes up, ever the gentleman. He’s been denying himself blood, but now he wants out. “I can kill Klaus, and I will.” HE DRINKS VAMPIRE BLOOD!
Pardon me for the capital letters; I know that I usually reserve that for Matt standing in the background of a scene, wiping down tables, but this is seriously cool. Think about it — vampire blood, in itself, is incredibly powerful. It can heal people, it can turn people. It’s basically magic potion. If a vampire feeds off of that for centuries, he’s got to be like a vampire on steroids. This also explains why Anna warned that he’d kill everyone. He wants to take Klaus down, and there’s no telling what he’ll bulldoze in his path. I’m wondering if he is, technically, a vampire, or if he’s some other creature that the Original witch created. After all, they seem to share a common enemy.
Meanwhile, everyone on Twitter is freaking out that Katherine is potentially dead. Calm yourselves, tweeps! There is no way they’d kill off Katherine without, first, some payoff for her decades-long obsession with Stefan (even if that payoff is a final goodbye) and second, some kind of epic showdown.
She’s one of their most magical characters on-screen. If she ever dies, it’s not going to be alone in a tomb after spending the entire episode lighting candles and dangling rodents above a corpse. She’s going to go down in a blaze of glory. My guess? She’ll be MIA for a while, leading us to suspect that she’s gone, and then she’ll pop up in the strangest of places. Like sweeps.
8:56 - “You really got me tonight,” Stefan says, sauntering through the library-slash-den-of-Twister-debauchery. Wasn’t the whole point of Elena’s big bonfire blueprint to lock Stefan up? Did they skip a crucial step here? Because it’s suddenly looking to me like the entire episode was pointless. “I’ll always protect her,” Stefan says. “You’re both better off having me around.” Sigh. If only you weren’t such a douche about it, Stefan. (Just kidding. Please keep being a douche about it. It’s a good look for you.)
Elena says that she pulled Stefan from the fire because she still has hope, and he says that makes her pathetic. And then! She stakes him. She stakes him right in the stomach. And the crowd goes wild! I love strong, tough Elena. I need her to stick around.
8:57 - Bonnie continues to dodge Jeremy’s calls. How is he supposed to tell her stuff when she doesn’t answer? I sympathize with her plight as a teenage girl whose boyfriend is disappointing her, but as a person who lives in Mystic Falls, she should really just… always answer when people call. If I lived in Mystic Falls, I’d assume that every time the phone rang, someone I love is probably dying or coming back to life to kill someone or something.
Awesome Anna appears and asks the tough questions. “Why are you thinking about me when you’re calling her?” Jeremy admits that he can’t stop thinking about her, and I promptly spasm with joy as they discover that they can touch each other. (Seriously, I might have injured my keyboard typing this tweet.) Please, please, please have ghost sex next week.
8:58 – Who knew Damon was such a stickler for cleanliness? It’s the middle of the night and he’s replacing Persian rugs that got bled on by randoms. I guess he probably fills up his soap bowl in the middle of the night, too. It’s the little things that make a house a home, you guys.
And then stuff starts breaking… and then…
H.U.M. RETURNS! (That’s Hot Uncle Mason, for those of you who aren’t down with the lingo.)
I confess, I’ve known for a few weeks that he was returning, but I didn’t think we’d see him until next week’s super-spooky ghost-a-palooza. There’s going to be a heck of a showdown. I hear he gives Damon a major taste of his own medicine. I. Can’t. Wait.
My only tiny gripe is that there won’t be an Uncle Mason/Tyler reunion. I really wish that was going to happen, given how their relationship was built up and then just… left dangling. I also think Michael Trevino should be in every single episode of this show ever, though, so it’s possible that I’m slightly biased.
Next week: Ghosts can make out! And they can hold lanterns and lead vampires into very small dark places! And they can hook up with Lady Gaga! Wait, what?
Speaking of which — go nominate your favorite “Vampire Diaries” star in the Peoples’ Choice Awards! Ian Somerhalder is the only actor from this show on the actual ballot, but if you’re so inclined, you can write-in the names of other awesome actors.
Speaking of awesomeness, I did miss Joseph Morgan in this episode, but I am delighted by the additions of guest stars Claire Holt and Sebastian Roché. Can we keep them forever?
And now I hand it over to you guys for my favorite part of the show… your comments! Let me know your thoughts and theories. Thanks for reading!
Photo/Video credit: The CW