'The Vampire Diaries': The new vampire on the block
I'm a sucker for punishment, but I'm going to keep up the live-commentary-style blogs for now. It's not easy with a show like "The Vampire Diaries," where a bomb drops every 30 seconds! "The Turning Point" is the last episode of 2009, so I'm hoping for some big moves... and dreading that inevitable cliffhanger.
8:00 - Previously on "The Vampire Diaries": In case you forgot the jaw-dropper ending, in the last few moments of last week's episode Aunt Jenna's ex-boyfriend, Logan, showed up on her doorstep, requesting an invitation inside. Oh, and by the way... he's dead.
8:01 - Logan points out to Aunt Jenna that she's always been "one step from a maybe; a tiny nudge to yes." This is probably why he was always able to come and go from her life. She's tougher now, though, and shuts the door in his face. It could be that she's changing... or it could be that it's always easier to turn down one guy when you've got a hotter one waiting in the wings. We still haven't decided if Alaric is a vampire or just ... the polite, extremely old-fashioned type who asks to be invited inside.
8:02 - Jeremy is reading John Winchester's journal! Or... Jonathan Gilbert's. The creepy sketches of demons inspire Jeremy to pull out his old sketchpad. Apparently Jeremy pre-suffering was quite the artist. I'm not sure why Elena's so surprised that he's getting back to his old self... after all, Damon did tell her that he erased all of Jeremy's pain.
8:04 - "You don't have any friends, Damon." "You're right, Stefan. I only have you." It's easy to forget that while Stefan has a life and acquaintances and Elena, Damon is somehow frozen, stuck in the past. His life happened 150 years ago and he's been trying to get it back ever since.
I like the idea of the Salvatores hitting the road together! They don't need "The Amazing Race." They could get themselves a classic Chevy and do some ghost-busting. Stefan doesn't seem too annoyed at Damon for chowing down on Bonnie's neck last week. I'm thinking that this says more about Damon than it does about Stefan: if Stefan's willing to overlook that, then Damon must have been in a really, really bad place emotionally. He's pretending that he's OK now, though I'm sure that after waiting 150 years for Katherine to come back to him, he's pretty bummed to have his hopes dashed by some high school girl.
8:05 - Wow. Damon is really pulling out all the stops to impress Sheriff Mom with his "responsible big brother" ruse. Damon says that he's not telling Stefan about the Secret Society of Vampire Haters, but we know that's not the case. (Plus, even if Damon were trying to keep it a secret, he knows about Stefan's crazy bat hearing abilities.)
8:06 - MATT! I haven't decided if I love him and Caroline together, but I do like any extra screen time he gets, so I'm not complaining. "Did you see the Celine Dion waltz about cancer?"
Tyler has been background noise for the last handful of episodes. Did he and Caroline ever date? He's got a bit of a jealousy pout on as he watches her and Matt talk. Either that, or he's not a Celine Dion fan. Imagine that.
8:07 - "What is wrong with you? You killed somebody?" Stefan yells after Sheriff Mom leaves. You'd think he'd be used to it by now! He seems to believe Damon when he says he didn't do it, which is a little bit surprising, but nice. I like Damon as the bad, unpredictable one, but it's still nice when he and Stefan aren't constantly coming to blows.
8:08 - MATT! Come on, is that tank top really necessary? Virginia's not that cold in November, is it? Just kidding.... sort of. I can definitely relate to Tyler's whole "we people" rant! It seems like he's not exactly jealous because of Caroline, but because Matt has someone. After all, Vicki not only ditched Tyler for a freshman, but she also "disappeared" shortly after. Tyler can't be feeling too awesome.
Wait... am I really sympathizing with Tyler? He was kind of the typical high school bully when we first met him, but in this episode I'm warming up to him a little bit. If Nathan Scott and Chuck Bass can be redeemed, so can Tyler, right?
8:09 - Stefan just can't stay away from Elena! He keeps showing up to the school, but he never seems to actually attend. I'm surprised none of the teachers are busting him for hanging around the playground. By the way, Damon wasn't kidding about Stefan's forehead-brooding. I wonder if Paul Wesley's face hurts when he goes home from a long day of being Stefan?
8:10 - Damon has Caroline doing his vampire tracking for him. I love their scenes together - now that he's not interested in sleeping with her, he's letting his frustration show more when he's around her. It's always interesting to see what sets Damon on edge because, like Stefan, he's not easily shaken.
One problem, though. I understand that Sheriff Mom is really busy being a sheriff and has a tendency to let the "Mom" part take a back seat. Still, you'd think that if she's got enough vervain for herself, the SSOVH, and some of her deputies, she might take the time to slip some into her daughter's morning orange juice once in a while.
8:15 - Wow. Logan, while not quite as manic as Vicki was when she first turned, is definitely creeping me out. He's the scariest vampire we've seen yet! He's ruthless, and he doesn't have a mentor like Vicki did. His admission that at the Ramada he ate "everything in sight, including Housekeeping," and his pile of gross drained bodies in the corner aren't too comforting.
I'm really loving Damon in this scene. Even riddled with bullet holes, he takes the time to be a menace, flicking his blood at Logan while he's digging wood out of his flesh.
I'm so curious about who turned him! How could someone feed him vampire blood without him knowing? And only hours before Damon killed him too!
8:18 - Meanwhile, back in real life... Jeremy might have to eat his words about art being too much "culture" for Tyler. I like Tyler's hulked-out comic book drawings! See? I think I was right about Tyler not being a total jerk. Now he and Jeremy can bond over drawing and... their dead girlfriend?
This school stuff reminds me - where's Alaric?
MATT! Aww, he wanted to be an astronaut! I love his interactions with Elena (and, OK, everybody else) but I wish Nina Dobrev was playing Elena with a little bit more apprehension here - after all, she still is the only non-vampire who knows that Matt's sister is dead. If I were her, I'd still be a little cagey around him.
They're getting the "I hate Celine Dion" looks from Caroline and Stefan, now. Uh-oh!
8:19 - "I want to be with her. And bite her and stuff." Oh, Logan, every woman's dream! He makes a good point, though - how come the Salvatores are the only ones with the daylight saving rings?
8:20 - Apparently, Stefan wanted to be a doctor before he turned into a vampire, and now he can't, because of the whole blood thing. I love the little morsels of Stefan's back story that get dropped every so often. He's been alive for 150 years longer than the rest of the 17-year-olds; he has to have occupied his time somehow! I think that's one of the coolest things about having a vampire as a protagonist. Even once we've heard all the details about what happened in the 1860s, there's still a century and a half of Stefan's history to learn about!
I want to say something about how ridiculous it is that Elena is planning her future with Stefan this early in their relationship (and this early in her life) but honestly, I'm kind of charmed by it. When I interviewed Kevin Williamson, we talked about how your first love always feels like it's going to be your last love. I understand where Elena's coming from.
8:22 - Logan's menacingly amicable wave at Stefan was great. He's got a bit of a Damon streak in him.
8:29 - Finally, Alaric shows up! He's so mysterious.
8:30 - I think I had some really intelligent, insightful things to say about Alaric and why I don't think he's a vampire... and then Damon took his shirt off, and I forgot all those things. You'll have to imagine them, instead. I assure you, they were all incredibly intuitive.
8:31 - Caroline wants to be a newscaster! I could totally see that. She's got a very "Back to you, Bob" kind of voice.
8:34 - Oh, Caroline. She's always vampire bait! Come on, Sheriff Mom. If I were the sheriff, I'd lace every drink, every bit of food, and every bottle of Caroline's moisturizer with vervain!
8:37 - Apparently Tyler's dad is Mayor Tyler Durden, because he's trying to start Youth Fight Club behind the gymnasium. With a dad who's that psycho, it's not hard to imagine why Tyler has a bit of an anger problem.
Alaric shows up to save the day! It's nice that Jeremy will have a guy to look up to... if Alaric doesn't turn out to be a vampire, of course. "You look like a full-grown alpha male" jerk, Alaric tells Mayor Durden.
8:40 - How does Logan know about the tomb under the church? The SSOVH has known all along? And what's Logan's motivation for getting into the tomb? He tells Damon, "There's another way to break the spell. We can help you." Who, exactly, is "we"?
8:45 - Unsurprisingly, Jeremy reaches out to Tyler... who seems to be having some issues. That shot with Tyler and the full moon (or almost full? I'm not sure) was an interesting, and foreboding, choice. After all, where there are vampires, there are usually werewolves. (Or so that movie trailer with the kid with the abs and the sparkly guy seems to imply. What's that movie called again? I think it might be a surprise hit this winter.)
8:48 - Nina Dobrev played the scene in the car very, very well. When Elena tells Stefan about her mother and their shared love for writing, I really felt for her! This whole scene might be a bit melodramatic, but it's working for me. I love it when Elena takes a stand: "If you walk away, it's for you, because I know what I want!"
And she dropped the L-bomb! Which, of course, leads to lots of making out, which leads to Stefan vamping out. It's kind of sweet that he doesn't want her to see him like that; after 150 years, he's still hyper-conscious of how scary he is.
I haven't talked about it much, but I love the special effects that happen when the Salvatores get all heated up. The dark eyes and creepy veins are definitely hair-raising, but the effects aren't so theatrical that they get cheesy.
It's making me nervous that Elena and Stefan are having this really romantic, gorgeous night together, complete with a Plumb soundtrack and dramatic lighting. It's never a good sign when people are happy on this show. Remember how relaxed Stefan looked when he was hanging out and playing pool with Lexi? Right before his big brother drove a stake through her heart? Yeah.
8:53 - Alaric says he's "not a violent guy by design," but the stake up his sleeve tells another story! I'm glad to see Logan go -- he was complicating things -- but I wish we'd gotten to hear his angle on the church tomb first!
So... maybe Alaric isn't a vampire. Maybe he's Buffy! I'm sticking with my theory that he's trying to avenge his late wife.
8:55 - MATT! I have to say, Tyler's snarky "bromance act" is kind of adorable. His BFF is hanging out with an icky girl! He might get cooties.
8:56 - Sheriff Mom should probably wake Caroline up and check her pupils or something. Her head got slammed against that window pretty hard.
8:57 - Finally Elena finds out about her eerie resemblance to Katherine! I still can't wait to hear the story behind that, and whether it's just that they're related, or something deeper.
8:57:30 - When the Sheriff told Damon, "This town owes you so much, and so do I," I got a very bad feeling. I'm sure Damon won't miss his opportunity to cash in on that IOU, and when he does, it won't be pretty.
8:58 - Elena took off her necklace?? I understand that dramatic gestures are necessary when you dump your boyfriend right after some hot vampire sex, and if I saw a photo like that, I'd be pretty freaked out too. But with everything that's happened, is ditching the vervain really a wise decision?
8:59 - Whoa.
8:59:20 - Whoa.
8:59:40 - Whoa!
9:00 - I knew that cliffhanger would be a doozy!! Of course, now we have to wait until mid-January to find out who that vampire was Elena drove her car into. My guess is that it's the guy who sired Logan, but you can never be sure with this show!
Don't forget that the CW is running a weeklong "Vampire Diaries" marathon starting Dec. 14, so now's the time to get your friends hooked!
In the meantime, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Do you think Tyler's just a softie with a tough shell brought on by serious daddy issues? What'd you think of Elena and Stefan finally sleeping together? Who do you think the mystery vamp is?
--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)
Photos: Top, Ian Somerhalder as Damon and Paul Wesley as Stefan; bottom, Stefan (Wesley) realizes that Elena has discovered his secret.
Damon finally reveals his diabolical plan
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