'The Vampire Diaries': A not-so-happy 162nd birthday for Stefan
Because "The Vampire Diaries" keeps dropping bombs, I figured I'd change up the style this week and do a live commentary as I watch tonight's episode, "162 Candles." Fair warning: I'm feeling kind of snarky tonight. Here we go!
8:00 – Every time I hear Stefan say, "I know the risk, but I have to know her," at the beginning of each episode, I have more questions about Stefan's motives. How did he know about Elena in the first place? If he cares about her so much, why doesn't he erase her memory of the whole vampire thing? Her knowledge of his past is putting her in danger over and over again.
8:02 – I have to say, I'm kind of predisposed not to like Lexi (Arielle Kebbel). Kebbel's character on "Gilmore Girls" – Dean Forester's whiny rebound-turned-wife -- was frustratingly boring. But she's barely been on screen for 30 seconds and I already dig Lexi. I'm hoping she'll bring out more of Stefan's sense of humor. The kid needs to smile once in a while!
Plus, she had a crazy weekend with Bon Jovi! .... Wait, really? Bon Jovi? You have centuries of musicians to choose from and … Bon Jovi?
8:04 – MATT. MY FAVORITE. Ahem.
The interrogation scenes really make the Donovan kids' parents' absence glaringly obvious. I indulged my inner 12-year-old and attended a "Dawson's Creek" reunion panel at the Paley Center last night, where Kevin Williamson was asked about the lack of parental figures in his shows. He said that it's often a budgetary issue: You don't want to shell out for an actor who will be truly involved in the story only every five episodes or so. I don't really mind the parents being AWOL, though in "big" storylines like this, it does get a bit distracting.
I don't blame Matt for giving Stefan the cold shoulder. I'm sure the idea that Stefan knows more about Vicki's disappearance than he does is quite unsettling. Still, it's too bad that Stefan's good intentions may have cost him his only possible friend at school.
8:06 – "I think the wrong brother went back to high school." OK, Lexi can stay! It's nice to have someone around who can match Damon's barbs with something other than long-suffering glares.
8:08 – Did Damon's Eternal Sunshine act completely wipe Jeremy's personality? He's doing homework … and he actually cares about it. But somehow, I don't think educating the youth of America is high on Damon's list of priorities.…
8:12 – I'm really glad to see Bonnie and Elena together again. Romances on teen dramas are a dime a dozen, but solid friendships keep me invested. Plus, "Gossip Girl" and "90210" are so full of 'frienemies,' it's nice to have a show that portrays the kind of friendships teenage girls should actually seek.
I loved the scene with the levitating feathers. It's kind of a cool play on that classic image of girls having a pillow fight at a slumber party. It's nice to see a lighter side of magic on this show, for once.
I am a little surprised that Elena thinks the witch thing is cool, though. You'd think she'd be a little sick of ghost story characters hanging around her bedroom, even if the character in question is her BFF.
8:16 – OK, now I'm dying to know what makes vampire sex so awesome. By the way, Lexi's blood juicebox is totally gross, but an excellent idea. I realize that Stefan is afraid of falling off the wagon and spiraling downward. If he raided the nearest Red Cross blood drive, though, he might be strong enough to protect Elena and her friends next time Damon gets bored and decides to sire himself some free entertainment.
8:26 – I give Stefan a hard time, but my cold black heart melted a little when he bashfully admitted he was in love with Elena. He may officially be 162 years old today, but he does a great impression of a sweaty-palmed teenager! Paul Wesley was really great in that moment.
Oh, and Lexi's got an excellent tan for somebody who hasn't seen the sun in 300 years. Though, her super dark lipstick may need an update.… I guess that was probably cool in Bon Jovi's heyday.
8:28 – "Lexi's my oldest friend. Nothing romantic. Ever." Yeah, yeah, Stefan. I remember when Dawson said that about Joey. There's a hot girl in a towel walking around your house! Have some hot vampire sex, dude. And hurry. Knowing this show, she'll probably be dead in 40 minutes.
The chemistry between Elena and Stefan is getting stronger. Normally, the long, lingering looks would get old very fast, but I'm really buying the angsty "I shouldn't love you, but I love you, but I shouldn't love you, but I love you" thing they have going on.
By the way, Stefan offering her a lift to the Grill made me wonder… have we seen his car yet? It better be a sweet ride.
8:31 -- Oh, the old "that necklace makes you look fat!" trick. Come on, Caroline! If she had any sisters she'd know that angle never works. How much do I love that Caroline truly believes she's allergic to polyester? That was the best line so far tonight.
8:32 – MATT. The poor thing has been abandoned by all the women in his life! I think he and Bonnie should get together. She can make feathers fly around him to distract him from his beyond-dysfunctional family.
8:33 – Uh oh. Random teenagers making out in an alley. If five seasons of "Supernatural" have taught me anything, it's that when nameless teenagers start hooking up, they're probably going to be something's dinner really quick.
8:34 – Yup.
8:37 – Remember nine minutes ago when I said that Elena's chemistry with Stefan was becoming more palpable? It still pales in comparison to her chemistry with Damon. Whenever Elena and Damon banter, something just crackles between them.
I'm so hesitant to believe that Damon erased Jeremy's suffering just because he could. I'm guessing he did it to get into Elena's good favor, but I'm still not sure whether he's actually interested in Elena or if he's just interested in toying with his brother. Stefan's attention – whether positive or negative – seems to be Damon's main motivator thus far. I think that while Stefan genuinely seems to love Elena regardless of her resemblance to his ex, Damon is still hung up on Katherine.
8:39 – Damon uses his secret vampire powers of compulsion to be totally creepy and definitely abusive to Caroline … and Lexi uses her powers to procure free tequila shots for her underage pals. Have I mentioned that I like her? I really, really like her. (Her ugly lipstick is gone, too! I guess she encountered a mirror on her way out of Casa Salvatore.)
8:41 – I'm so happy that Elena warmed up to Lexi. Jealousy doesn't flatter anyone.
"I was feeling epic! Whatever." The dialogue on this show never fails. Even the 300-year-old teenagers talk like teenagers.
8:47 – MATT. He's pretty much the anti-Damon, isn't he? Damon preys unrelentingly on Caroline's insecurities, and Matt's there to swoop in and carry her away … literally.
Oh, look, a parent acting like a parent! I guess one way to save some money is to make one of the parents the town sheriff! It's got to be hard to focus on your teenage daughter when you're trying to police a town full of … well, Damon. Veronica Mars' dad had it easy compared to Caroline's mom.
8:50 – NOOO! I was loving Lexi so much I forgot to be prepared for the other shoe to drop. Here's that real "Vampire Diaries" jaw-dropper moment that writer/producer Julie Plec was cryptically tweeting about while the episode was airing on the East Coast!
Just as Damon is filling Lexi in on his "diabolical master plan," a witness to his latest meal points him out to the sheriff. Of course, the sheriff thinks that Damon is on her side, so she heads straight for Lexi with a syringe full of Salvatore vervain! The Grill erupts with panic, and the deputies are blocking all exits as Lexi, weakened but furious, is dragged out.
Lexi is just about to take a bite out of the sheriff when Damon shows up and stakes her. I can't believe that he left that witness on purpose! Very clever. Very cunning. Very not cool! I liked her… and for that matter, so did Stefan. I'm pretty sure he's not going to forgive Damon for this cruel and abrupt end to the only genuine friendship in his life.
8:56 – MATT… and Caroline, in her dark bedroom, with a nice sweet song playing in the background. Where could this possibly be leading? I know Matt isn't the type to hook up with a drunk girl, but he's having a rough week … perhaps some nice spooning and/or snuggling? Yes! There it is.
8:57 – I'm glad that Lexi's death stirred Stefan enough to get him really, truly angry at Damon. Finally! (Not that I actually want Damon dead, mind you. I just like seeing Stefan all riled up about something.)
Elena says that she doesn't want Stefan to kill Damon because it'll hurt Stefan, but I'm wondering if it doesn't have a little to do with the friendly-neighborhood-vampire mojo he worked on her troubled little brother.
8:58 – "You never do anything for anyone but yourself," Stefan hisses, right before he … stakes Damon? WHAT?!?
Oh! He missed Damon's heart – on purpose, since Damon saved Stefan from Logan two episodes back. Still, they're hardly even, what with Damon running around killing everybody he can sink his teeth into.
9:00 – The episode closes with a creepy prophecy from Emily (Bianca Lawson), Bonnie's long-dead great-great-great … something. "It's coming," she tells Bonnie, and then Bonnie suddenly wakes up alone in the woods. So foreboding!
Now it's time for my favorite part – your comments! Let me know if your reactions matched mine or, more importantly, if they didn't. Who wants to help me start a campaign to bring Lexi back from the dead? (Hey, they do it on "Supernatural" every other episode.) Do you think Caroline and Matt are a good match? What do you think of pain-free Jeremy?
Don't forget to check back next week so we can discuss whatever Emily's warning Bonnie about!
--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)
Photos (Credit - CW): Lexi (Arielle Kebbel) tries to convince Stefan (Paul Wesley) to dance; Damon (Ian Somerhalder) tries to get Elena (Nina Dobrev) to warm up to him; Lexi gets a smile out of Stefan at the pool table.
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