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'The Vampire Diaries': The undead show signs of life

October 2, 2009 |  6:42 am
VD103a_0760b Finally, "The Vampire Diaries" leading man takes some action! After three weeks of writing in his diary and gazing soulfully at old photographs, in Thursday night's episode, Stefan Salvatore dropped the emo act long enough to actually do something about his problems.

The episode, aptly titled "Family Ties," opened with Elena being chased through her house and ultimately devoured by a bloodthirsty Damon.  Of course, it's a little early in the series to slaughter our heroine – the scene turned out to be one of Stefan's nightmares.  

Dream or not, it was enough to get Stefan to quit brooding and get moving.  I was wondering how many innocent Mystic Falls townspeople Damon would have to kill before Stefan took matters into his own hands.  (Damon's body count, by the way, is up to at least five – not counting Vicki and Caroline, who he's been feeding on but hasn't quite drained.)

When Stefan's first attempt to slip vervain - vampire kryptonite, if you will - into Damon's scotch was unsuccessful, he decided to get creative. 

At the Mystic Falls Founder's Party, Stefan laced Caroline's champagne with the herb.  Later, the unsuspecting Damon declared he was "over" Caroline and took a bite out of her. The vervain in her blood poisoned him just enough for Stefan to overpower him and lock him up.

I have to admit, I had my doubts about whether Stefan was worthy of Elena's swooning, but Thursday night our undead hero finally showed signs of life!  He was clever and mysterious – at long last, I'm seeing some family resemblance between the Salvatore brothers.

So now bloodthirsty Damon is caged up, and as far as the townsfolk know, the "mountain lion" that killed five people has been taken care of.  Of course, the trouble is just beginning for the Salvatores.  The mayor – and the police – know that vampires have returned to Mystic Falls, and they're not happy about it.  Apparently, a pocket watch that's been passed down through Elena's family for generations holds the key to solving the town's vamp problem. Elena's brother Jeremy doesn't seem too keen on parting with the gift from his late father, though ... and he doesn't exactly have a history of cooperating with the cops.

The pocket watch is just the latest on a long list of enchanted pieces of jewelry that hold special significance in "The Vampire Diaries" mythology. There's also Elena's vervain necklace, which protects her from Damon's mind control, and the crystal charm that Damon stashed in the mayor's house a century ago and stole back during the Founder's Party.VD103b_0432b

We can't forget the matching rings that keep the Salvatore brothers' delicate vampire complexions from turning to ash in the light of day!  Damon helpfully reminded us of the rings while flipping through Caroline's copy of "Twilight" in this episode.

"How come you don't sparkle?" Caroline asked him.

"Because I live in the real world, where vampires burn in the sun," he quipped, showing her his magical bling.  "This book, by the way, has it all wrong.  Oh, I miss Anne Rice."

While I doubt this little exchange will put all those "Twilight" comparisons to rest, I liked the reference.  It's nice to know that the "Diaries" writers don't take themselves too seriously.

What do you guys think?  Do the Salvatore brothers have more in common with the Anne Rice vamps, or the Cullen clan? Do you have any ideas about why the Gilbert pocket watch is so important to the Mystic Falls authorities? And why do you think Damon went to so much trouble to get his hands on that crystal again?  

Let's chat about this week's episode in the comments below – and check back in with me next week to see if some of our questions get answered!

--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photos: Nina Dobrev as Elena and Paul Wesley as Stefan; Ian Somerhalder as Damon. Credit: CW.

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