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'The Vampire Diaries': The man in the road and the Walkaway Joe

January 22, 2010 | 12:20 am
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Well, it has been a long nine weeks without our favorite vampire brothers, but the wait is finally over.  When we last left Elena, she had just discovered that she was a dead-ringer for Stefan's ex, and then had gotten into a nasty car wreck involving an unknown supernatural creature wearing a hood. Not her best day, I'm sure.

Hopefully, Thursday nnight's episode will answer some questions for us! Onward...

8:01 p.m. -- When I watched this car wreck in "The Turning Point," I'd forgotten about Elena's already traumatic history with car accidents. In the pilot episode, when she was riding shotgun and a bird almost made Bonnie swerve off the road, she said: "I can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of my life." Maybe she should have been! 

In my recent interview with Nina Dobrev, she said that we wouldn't find out the identity of the man in the road for a while. Until then, I'm just going to obsess over tiny clues. So far, we've got an oversized black hoodie and a lower lip. Does that lower lip look familiar to any of you? I don't recognize it, unfortunately.

I grinned when I saw Damon. It's been a long hiatus. I've missed his face! I like the softer, more caring side of him; it reminds me of how he acted just after Vicki died. There's a certain sincerity to his concern for Elena's well-being as he helps her out of the car. (Did the image of him carrying Elena away from the  wreck bring back memories for any other fans of "The O.C."? Hopefully, this won't end quite so badly!)

8:04 p.m. -- Is Alaric writing a book, or do we have another man-diary? I'm glad to get a little bit of insight into his character with this flashback.  The music choice is powerful, too. According to music supervisor Chris Mollere's official Twitter account, @cmollere, the song is "Cosmic Love" by Florence & the Machine.

8:05 p.m. -- Classic "Supernatural" Impala shot!  Just kidding. But seriously, these Thursday night CW boys have a thing for the late-'60s Chevy. "Seriously, we're in Georgia," Damon says. Seriously, they are!

8:06 p.m. -- "I could very easily make you agreeable," Damon says, referring to Elena's missing protective necklace. I think it says a lot about him that he doesn't use his powers of compulsion on her. I don't think it's necessarily because he's trying to do the right thing, but because he's playing a game. He's curious to see how far he can take her while she's still operating under her own free will. 

8:08 p.m. -- Alaric is out in the sun without his Daylight Savings Ring, and nothing on his body appears to be sizzling! Official confirmation that he's not a vampire. I'm trying to resist the opportunity for an I-told-you-so moment...

"Losing family heirlooms: bad," he says. It's just a subtle reminder of what happened when Jeremy lost his father's watch, and how dangerous it was when Emily's necklace fell into the wrong hands.

8:14 p.m. -- I already like Bree. (That's two-for-two on awesome women from the Salvatores' past. Hopefully this one will live through the episode!!)  "Here's to the man that broke my heart, crushed my soul, destroyed my life, and ruined any and all chances of happiness. Drink up."

It's no surprise that Damon's looking for another way into that tomb. After waiting for 145 years, I wouldn't give up so easily, either.

8:18 p.m. -- It's cool that Bonnie is so determined to help Stefan find Elena that she's willing to return to the scene of what was probably the most traumatic night of her life.  Still, it probably wasn't the best idea, considering the nest of 27 vampires lurking underground ... and the fact that the ground doesn't appear to be too sturdy. Oops!

When I interviewed Nina earlier this week, she commented on what it might mean for Elena's and Bonnie's friendship, now that Bonnie is in on the secret. "I think they're going to become closer," Nina said. "They've gone through so much already, even before the vampires, because they're best friends. They were best friends when Elena lost her parents. Now that Bonnie has realized that she's different, too, she's this other mystical being, they're the only two that can really talk to each other about it. They can lean on each other for support."

8:22 p.m. -- Stefan says that he honestly doesn't know how Elena is connected to Katherine. I want to believe him. He keeps a lot of secrets, but he very rarely flat-out lies. However, this begs the question -- why hasn't he been trying his hardest to find out the connection? Once he fell for Elena, he pushed her resemblance to Katherine onto the back-burner.

Elena has Damon's number. She knows that Damon is pleased as punch that she and Stefan are having problems. Damon is completely delighting in the knowledge that back in Mystic Falls, Stefan's probably having a level-10 panic attack.

8:26 p.m. -- Bonnie officially has the coolest grandmother ever. I love the moment where she laid out Stefan's motivations for shaking her hand. She just had to make it clear to him that she's sharp as a tack.

8:28 p.m. -- I'm enjoying Jeremy: Version 2.0 quite a bit. I'm impressed by Steven R. McQueen's acting abilities. This new Jeremy really has a sparkle in his eye that he didn't have before Damon erased his pain. The jury's still out on his klutzy friend, Anna, though. That was a rather large ring on her finger. ... I think I'm going to start getting paranoid that every single person who shows up on screen is a vampire. Including the extras.

8:29 p.m. -- Damon is giving Elena the Cliff's Notes version of Vampire 101. "Vampires can't procreate, but we love to try!" Good to know. Also, as long as they keep a healthy diet of blood, their bodies function pretty normally ... meaning they can totally eat pickles.

Elena's on a five-minute time-out from her life, so she orders a beer. I'm glad to see her letting loose.  It's nice that Damon brings out that side of her... and it's too bad that he seems to have the opposite effect on Stefan.

8:30 p.m.  -- "Vampires are a metaphor for the demons of the day," Jeremy tells Anna, digging into the town's Civil War era history and folklore. "The Union soldiers [were] allegorical vampires, which is what this is: creative expression during a very volatile time. I mean, a country at war doesn't want realism; they want fantasy. Thus, vampire fiction."

Wow. I think Jeremy just explained the whole "Twilight" craze in about 10 seconds.56637

8:31 p.m. -- Oh God, Bonnie. When trapped in an underground tomb with a pentagram carved into the wall, don't stand next to the grate!  I'm imagining long creepy vampire fingers reaching through the wires. This whole scene is giving me the shivers.

8:35 p.m. -- I hope Bonnie and Stefan can become friends. He really, really needs a friend. There was a minute there where it looked like he and Matt could become buddies, but somehow, I doubt that's going to go anywhere. (Speaking of Matt... Where is he? Nine weeks of hiatus and no Matt? I have a bone to pick with Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson.)

"You're safe," Stefan tells Bonnie. That's a bad sign.

8:38 p.m. -- Uh-oh, it appears that Elena's five minutes of time-out is up. In horror movies, the drunk girl always dies first. Watch out!  This creepy guy (Brandon Quinn) looks like an assassin...

8:41 p.m. -- ... or a vampire. Oh my gosh, he's Lexi's boyfriend, out for revenge. I love that nothing's ever forgotten on this show.

"If you want to be with someone forever, you have to live forever," he says. It might be something Elena should start thinking about, if she loves Stefan as much as it seems she does.

Elena basically just talked that guy out of roasting Damon like a marshmallow. When Damon helped Elena by erasing Jeremy's memories, I mentioned that he was probably going to cash in on that favor in the future. It looks like they're on a more even playing field now.

8:43 p.m. -- I love this little taste of Stefan's long and storied history. He and Bonnie's grandmother, Sheila, have met before, during an antiwar sit-in in October 1969. Be sure to come back to Showtracker next week to find out Paul Wesley's thoughts on Stefan's experience in the 1960s.

With the sheriff and the Secret Society of Vampire Haters (that seems to include Alaric!) hot on the Salvatores' tails, it's nice to know that their only allies in town aren't a couple of teenage girls.

8:46 p.m. -- I had been hoping that there would be some severe consequences for Damon killing Lexi -- I loved her -- but I should've known that Damon Salvatore doesn't accept consequences. He terrifies Bree long enough to get her to spill that a spellbook of Emily's will contain the key to the tomb. Then he reaches into her chest and literally crushes her heart, making her little toast at the beginning of the episode all too telling. I'm disappointed that she's dead. Can we get a spin-off show of all the awesome dead girls from this show reuniting in the afterlife? Vicki, Lexi and Bree would be quite a team.

8:51 p.m. -- I like the banter and one-up-manship that's developed between Elena and Damon. They've always had great chemistry, but now that she's slightly less wary of him, it's even brighter.

8:53 p.m. -- I'm glad that Elena is confronting Stefan instead of just ignoring him and giving him the cold shoulder. They need to start working out their problems. Maybe then they can stay together for more than one episode at a time!

8:54 p.m. -- Stefan tells Elena that they met for the first time the day her parents' car went off the bridge, not on the first day of school. My jaw literally hit the floor when he said that!

"I was fast getting there, but not fast enough. The car was already submerged. Your dad was still conscious; I was able to get to him, but he wouldn't let me help him until I helped you."

He saved her life, and then he stalked her (but in a sweet way, sort of) to make sure that she was nothing like Katherine. "I couldn't leave without knowing you," he says, and now that "I had to know her" from the pilot makes perfect sense. All the pieces are falling into place!

8:5 p.m. -- "Why do I look like her?" Finally, the question that has been on everyone's mind. Stefan says that Elena was adopted -- she's actually a Pierce, not a Gilbert.

8:57 p.m. -- Anna's gone back through the town records, finding extensive evidence of "animal attacks."  If Sam Winchester and Veronica Mars had a love child, Anna would be that child. I'm sure all of her teen vampire detective stuff will be interesting at some point in the future, but right now I'm still reeling from Stefan's big reveal to care about this library stuff.

9 p.m. -- Two reveals for the price of one! (Because of that, I guess I'll forgive the writers for the whole lack-of-Matt issue.) Damon was the one who killed Alaric's wife, and Alaric -- who has already proved that he knows his way around a stake -- knows it.

I'm still completely blown away by this episode!  It makes me want to go back and re-watch the pilot, knowing that Stefan had already had his eye on Elena for months before their fateful men's room meeting.

As always, let's chat in the comments!  What are your thoughts about the big reveals? Did you enjoy that Elena and Damon got a chance to interact outside of their usual small town? Did you expect that Elena had been adopted? How do you feel about Jeremy's new friend? Did you miss Matt and Caroline as much as I did?

Come back next Thursday morning for my exclusive interview with Stefan himself: Paul Wesley. We talked about whether or not Stefan wants to see Katherine again, Paul's favorite episode, and what he thinks will happen if Stefan gets another taste of human blood.

-- Carina MacKenzie (let's talk TV on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photos: (top) Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) discuss the vampire digestive system. Credit: The CW

(bottom) Steven R. McQueen as Jeremy. Credit: The CW

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