'The Vampire Diaries': Damon's bender ends badly for Alaric
For a TV junkie, there's nothing better than a new episode of your favorite show after a long hiatus. Thursday night, "The Vampire Diaries" returned with a vengeance ... literally.
I was lucky enough to catch a preview of the episode, "A Few Good Men," when the the Paley Center for Media honored the show earlier this month, and I've been looking forward to sharing my favorite moments with all of you Show Trackers. It wasn't easy to choose standout clips in an episode full of drunken confessions, long-awaited revelations, and extremely attractive men wearing very little clothing. (Hey, it's a rough job, but somebody's got to do it.)
I was originally aiming to keep this list to five moments, but it was like Sophie's choice. So now, in no particular order ...
The six most rewind-worthy scenes in "A Few Good Men":
1. Damon's coping mechanism of choice: hard liquor. More specifically, the blood-alcohol content of a handful of sorority girls. Damon's devil-may-care attitude as he drunkenly snacked on three Tri-Delt sisters recalled his manic behavior during the "Lost Girls" episode, when he and a newly-vamped-out Vicki tried to blow off some steam.
2. Matt's M.I.A. mom catching him in flagrante delicto with Caroline was perfection. If I didn't know better I'd think that Brian Young, the episode's writer, had written this particular scene just for me.
I'm not even referring to how Matt went from zero to shirtless in about 12 seconds! There could not have been a more perfect introduction to Kelly Donovan (Melinda Clarke) than having her appear after months of absence to find Matt and Caroline getting down to business in the living room. "Oh, God," she groans. "Not on my couch."
When I first read the character description for Kelly Donovan, I thought she sounded almost too similar to "The O.C.'s" Julie Cooper, Clarke's last foray into TV motherhood. However, Kelly has far more cracks in her foundation than Julie ever did. She's heartbroken, boozy and cripplingly irresponsible. (In other words, she's like Damon's "Casual Encounters" Craigslist ad come to life.)
3. The old "I've been drunk for a week, can you help me button my shirt?" trick works every time. Damon's interest in Elena is becoming more obvious by the minute. Whether he's aware of it or not, he's doing a lot less watching her while she sleeps and a lot more watching her while she watches him right back. While she helped him get dressed for the Mystic Falls Most Eligible Bachelor fundraiser, the chemistry between them was more palpable than ever.
The scene only got better after Stefan interrupted them. When I recently spoke to Sara Canning, who plays Aunt Jenna, she mentioned how much she loves watching scenes with Damon, Elena and Stefan together in the same room. "Ian, Nina and Paul give such nuanced performances," she said. "They play so well with the history between the Salvatore brothers and the fact that Elena has chemistry with both of them."
When Elena leaves and Damon asks Stefan smugly, "Where'd our girlfriend go?", the best thing about it is that Stefan doesn't take the bait. His non-reaction to Damon's intentional antagonism reveals so much more about their long history than any response could have.
4. Did Damon just clue in to the fact that his actions have consequences? Gnarly. The "Vampire Diaries" writers used this episode to drop bomb after bomb on the viewers when it came to Isobel, Elena's birth mother and Alaric's wife. After weeks of assuming that Damon had killed Isobel, I was dumbstruck by the reveal that Isobel isn't dead ... she's undead. Damon didn't kill her. He turned her.
No matter how stunned we all may have been, our shock was nothing compared to what Damon felt when he realized that the woman he turned into a vampire wasn't just the local history teacher's wife. She was Elena's mother. Ian Somerhalder did a fantastic job of conveying the range of emotions Damon felt when he got the news -- not just surprise and confusion, but possibly a bit of regret as well.
5. You'd think that Alaric would know better than to follow Damon home in a vengeful rage, but even teachers make mistakes, kids. This was one mistake that could've been deadly. For a moment there, I was sure that this would be their final confrontation. "You turned her because you liked her?" Alaric asked Damon furiously.
"No. I slept with her because I liked her. I turned her because she begged me to," Damon said, before putting his superhuman strength and speed to good use and introducing Alaric to the wrong end of his own stake. "We're kindred spirits," Damon mused as he impaled Alaric. "Bitten by the women we love. Unrequited love sucks. Sounds like I got a lung ... which means I get to sit here and watch you die."
Alaric's death scene was arguably the most painful to watch in the series thus far. Luckily (for him and for us), he was resurrected a few minute later ... by yet another piece of magical jewelry. The ring that Alaric has worn since his first appearance was a gift from Isobel -- a family heirloom -- that she'd promised would keep him safe. Man, with all the enchanted necklaces and amulets and watches and rings, The CW is going to make a fortune mass-manufacturing replica jewelry from this show.
6. If you'd just discovered that your birth mom was a vampire who compelled a man to kill her childhood best friend, threaten you, and then jump in front of a speeding truck, would you still give her a call? I know I wouldn't, but Elena did, pocketing the man's phone after he unfortunately became roadkill.
Isobel hung up after hearing Elena's voice, but the camera lingered long enough on the phone number to give fans the chance to jot it down. If you haven't already, dial Isobel's number (919) 399-2507 for a fun surprise.
I know there were plenty of great scenes that didn't make my top six, but that's the beauty of the comment feature! Use it to let me know what your favorites were. What'd you think of Harper, the only vampire to make it out of the tomb? Do you think Jenna and Alaric are going to make it through this latest bump in the road? Do you wish we'd gotten to see how Bonnie is coping with her grandmother's death? Let's discuss!
Don't forget to come back next week after another all-new episode. In the meantime, enjoy the preview video below!
-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)
Photos: (top) Stefan (Paul Wesley) warns Alaric (Matt Davis) to steer clear of Damon. Credit: CW
(bottom) Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley. Credit: CW
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