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'The Vampire Diaries': An alternate universe where Stefan is fun

57405 Tonight's episode of "The Vampire Diaries" is called "Under Control," but after what Stefan did last week, I'm pretty sure the title may be slightly misleading. Mystic Falls has been completely turned on its head. Stefan is out for human blood again, making Damon look like the safe bet, because at least Damon is the devil we know. There's no telling how Stefan is going to handle these changes.

Of course, the Donovan family just discovered that when Vicki disappeared on Halloween, she wasn't just running away; she was dead. They don't know yet that her cause of death was being turned into a vampire and getting a stake to the heart, but now that Jeremy knows vampires exist, I doubt those secrets will stay secret for long.

8:01 - Apparently, drinking blood turned Stefan into a compulsive exerciser. Not that I'm complaining. With the music blasting and the manic behavior, Stefan has already started to act more like Damon. It's interesting that last time Stefan quit drinking blood, he weaned himself off of it slowly.

8:03 - No one in the Gilbert household seems very happy to see their uncle John... least of all Aunt Jenna. I, however, am thrilled to see guest star David Anders make his first appearance.
 

8:04 - Aww, MATT! He seems to be keeping it together pretty well. Maybe having his mom around is helping him deal with Vicki's death. Judging by my recent conversation with Melinda Clarke, Kelly Donovan won't be a comforting presence in Matt's life much longer. He says that Elena handled the funeral arrangements and Caroline... baked lasagna. That says a lot.

8:05 - Last week, I mentioned that I hoped Jeremy and Tyler would get back to bonding over their mutual dead girlfriend. I got my wish! Jeremy's concern for Vicki is interesting. He's so sure that her drug problem was getting better toward the end, while everyone else (even Matt) seems to think that her death was inevitable. If there's anything Jeremy proved with his vampire history paper, it's that he's good at digging for the truth.

8:06 - Uncle John joins the Secret Society of Vampire Hunters meeting. I like Sheriff Mom's color commentary on the Founding Families power play. Despite how magnificently misguided she is in trusting Damon, I enjoy their relationship. Plus, she's pretty much the only woman in town he hasn't tried to kill and/or sleep with. (Yet.) It's refreshing.

8:08 - Speaking of, the reason Aunt Jenna hates Uncle John is... "We used to sleep together." Classic. I love little glimpses into who Jenna was before she had to jump into adulthood headfirst to take care of Elena and Jeremy.

8:09 - I dig Stefan's honesty with Elena about how long it's going to take him to recover from his human blood relapse. If this were any other show, he'd be sneaking sips behind her back.

Wow. Apparently Elena digs his honesty, too. We already know that sex stirs up Stefan's thirst for human blood; it makes sense that the urges are more powerful when he so recently fed on her.

8:13 - Damon's loud "No, Elena, I will not go into your bedroom with you!" announcement is the oldest trick in the book.  I adore the image of Damon kicking back on Elena's bed in his leather jacket... snugging a teddy bear. Even more, I love the way he stalks around her room like he owns the place, rifling through her underwear drawer and snatching photos from her vanity without regard. She's not telling him anything he doesn't already know about Stefan. "He doesn't want to be me, but that doesn't mean, deep down, that he's not," he says.

8:15 - Oh, good idea, Stefan. When you're battling your own willpower, guzzling booze will definitely help you make healthy decisions.

8:16 - Elena finally tells Jeremy that she's adopted, and he's cool with it. Though there's a lot of distance between them, this is one secret that she should never have had to keep!

8:18 - Time for yet another self-congratulatory Founding Families party! Where's Kelly Donovan? It looks like Stefan could use a drinking buddy. Oh, there she is! Matt and Tyler are getting into the liquor supply, too. This should end well.

8:19 - Huh. More honesty between Stefan and Elena? But they're dating... that can't be right. This is weird. Since when do people tell the truth to people they're sleeping with? I think I've been watching too much "Gossip Girl."

Stefan uses his powers of compulsion just 'cause he can, and while that's definitely not a good sign, I like it. As Damon says, "Have I entered an alternate universe where Stefan is fun?"

8:26 - MATT! Though Stefan wouldn't mind Matt and Elena dancing - he proved that he's not the jealous type on their double date - Caroline definitely would. It looks like she's M.I.A. for this episode, though. Is her absence really only explained by her being too busy making lasagna?

Speaking of Caroline, her Sheriff Mom sure cleans up nicely. Damon says Mystic Falls is "starting to feel like home again." The shadier and more secretive things get around town, the more Damon fits in. Typical.

8:28 - Last week I said that I was surprised Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec didn't save Stefan's relapse for the season finale, but I'm so very, very glad that they didn't wait. Stefan is unpredictable now, which makes him fascinating to watch.

Side note: Damon gave Elena a flower! Aww.

8:29 - At first glance, Kelly seems like a typical 'cool mom' as she swipes her son's best friend's drink and takes a gulp, saying "Is that soda? Vodka, thank God." But there's something so, so sad about her behavior, especially because she's obviously grieving.

8:30 - Uncle John knows an awful lot of Damon's secrets... so, naturally, Damon throws him off the building. A star like David Anders wouldn't come in just for half of a TV episode, though, so we'll undoubtedly be seeing John again... but how will he survive that fall? Are there vampires in the Gilbert family after all?

8:34 - "I think somebody killed her and buried her body, and I don't think we should write it off just because it's easy," Jeremy says about Vicki. He's rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters. When pieces don't fit together, he refuses to give up and start a different puzzle. I hate that Elena is lying to him, though. I know she thinks it's for his own good, but it can't end well, and he was so supportive of her when she told him she was adopted. He deserves better at this point.57403

8:35 - Kelly and Tyler are hanging out. I'm having flashbacks to Julie Cooper and Luke Ward... and I like it! "It's like I don't deserve to even miss her," Tyler says. Kelly knows the feeling. They're getting closer, and it's suddenly becoming startlingly obvious where this is going Oh, poor Matt.

Matt's finally reached his breaking point when he finds Tyler and his mom making out, but it seems Tyler's reached a threshold of his own as well. As they fight, Tyler just splits Matt's face open - his, er, animal instincts are starting to bare their claws.

8:39 - Oh, Stefan. He tries to be the good guy we know and comfort Kelly Donovan after the fight... but she's been cut in the crossfire, and when he realizes that she's bleeding, his hero complex takes a backseat.

8:45 - There's Jonathan Gilbert, who is apparently one of Mystic Falls' "favorite sons," back from the dead. He's not a vampire; he's got a ring that matches Alaric's. Seriously... who is this guy?

8:47 - Paul Wesley is truly knocking this episode out of the park. Last week's episode was a shining moment for Melinda Clarke and Zach Roerig, but Wesley gets the MVP trophy tonight. As he struggles against his instinct to kill the heckler from the party, his emotions are written all over his face.

8:48 - Remember 14 short minutes ago when I rambled about what a great brother Jeremy is? I take it back. It doesn't matter if there's a nest of vampires living in your town. "Never trash your sister's room in search of her secret diary" is pretty much Rule #1, Jeremy.

When he does find the diary, a few key phrases stand out. "Bodies drained of blood." "Take away Jeremy's pain." "Vicki was a monster?" Really, Elena? Sorry, I know that the show is called "The Vampire Diaries," but there are certain secrets too big to document in writing. She couldn't have used a code word or two?

8:52 - "That is the last time you ever embarrass this family," Mayor Lockwood tells Tyler, before taking a swing at him. I wish Tyler would release his creepy locked-up aggression on his father instead of on poor Matt's face.

8:52 - As much as I love Melinda Clarke as Kelly Donovan and will be sad to see her go, Kelly deserves what Matt's dishing out here. He really is better off without her at this point. (Paul Wesley, give that MVP trophy back to Roerig now, OK? You've had it for a whole five minutes and sharing is caring.)

8:53 - Uncle John is basically the orchestrator of everything that's happened so far. He's manipulative and creepy, and there's not a secret in town that he hasn't discovered. He knows about the tomb, the Salvatores, Isobel, Katherine, the ring... everything. I just can't understand why he's so casually allowing Damon and Stefan to live.

8:55 - "I'm fine, Elena," Jeremy says, when he's so obviously not. He's a very, very good liar.

And now we're back to the Stefan Salvatore Honesty Hour. He's telling Elena everything. "My head is pounding, I feel like my skin is on fire, I have this hunger inside of me that I've never felt before. But I don't want you to see me like this, I don't want you to know that this side of me exists."

Her complete trust in him is heartwarming, really, but I think she probably should be afraid of him. At least a little bit! He's still a vampire.

8:56 - "We have a problem, Stefan. And when I say problem, I mean Global Crisis," Damon says. I'm a bit distracted from this conversation because Stefan's hair is looking a little more Pauly D than Rob Pattinson right now.

8:59 - Maybe it's better that Stefan is finally indulging. If he just drinks from the blood banks, maybe he won't be like an addict looking for his next hit all the time. It could reduce the urgency and make it safe for him to be around humans.

Next week: A Mystic Falls Beauty Pageant? Really? This is the one where Dawson finally sees Joey in a whole new light, right?

I loved this episode, especially the Donovan family disasters. What was your favorite part? What could you do without? Do you think Bonnie fell into a black hole somewhere? You know what to do! Let's discuss. Come on back here next Thursday to discuss that beauty pageant.

--Carina MacKenzie (keep up with my TV Tweets @cadlymack)

Related articles:

Melinda Clarke on 'The Vampire Diaries,' 'The O.C.' and her new CW pilot
A storm brings buried secrets to the surface
Double, double, toil and trouble

Photos: (top) Damon (Ian Somerhalder) offers Elena (Nina Dobrev) a rose. Credit: CW. (bottom) David Anders as Jonathan Gilbert. Credit: CW
 
Comments () | Archives (11)

Once again, this is another episode that Matt could NOT catch a break! The writers are killing him softly, but he's a fighter. We'll have to see how he decides to do after exiling his mother, losing his sister and best friend.

David Anders character really shakes things up- and not because he and Jenna had a relationship. So far, everyone has been on a need-to-know basis, but he comes in with god-like knowledge. As a result to him being the one who sent Isobel to Damon means that he's known about the Salvatore brothers and Katherine's infatuation with them. He seemed to have no emphasis on Katherine's significance when he mentioned her to Alaric and Damon. Did anyone else notice that? This guy's a trip!

It's interesting how he still holds the "Save Mystic Falls" banner, too. I'm curious about his relationship with Elena. Does he care for her like an uncle? Does he worry that his niece is dating a vampire? I'm actually more nervous for the answer.

As for Elena. Oh Elena. First she's playing mission impossible at the vampire residence, now she's aggravating her boyfriend's cravings. I cringed every time she got near Stefan because I didn't know if this was going to lead to an all new episode of "Snapped."

It's odd, but fun!, that Damon and Alaric have come to a team status. Damon's also 'teaming' up with Elena more and more, and I like it!

Stefan...Stefan has now become "a vampire with issues." He's testing his boundaries on very unstable ground. (Let this be a reminder to people everywhere- Just Say No To Drugs!)

Then there's Tyler and his ever-growing urge to become a werewolf. (Hope that's no longer a secret to anyone.) Apparently he likes Donovan women, but I think it's interesting that he would turn so cruelly on his friend vs. a random stranger (similar to Stefan). Further, I thought his dad was taking him to discuss the 'changes' he's experiencing- not experience a back-hand!

Lastly, where's Bonnie? I thought she was going to be back by now. And, odd that Caroline didn't join her mother at the founders event. After all, Uncle John made very clear that you are to attend.

Quote I loved tonight: Damon: "I just love that they love me."

I have one question, and I don't know if I just heard it wrong or something, but didn't John Gilbert say he and his brother had a ring? And the ring he's wearing is his brother's because he gave it to Isobel. So in that case, why did Elena's father die in that car crash? That ring should have saved him, right?

I just don't understand why everyone in the world isn't watching this show. No comprende. I started watching it solely because I'm incredibly lame and love trash, and thought this would be just another show to add to my embarassingly huge collection of time wasting activities, but it's so good! SO GOOD. CAPSLOCK GOOD.

Man. People actually SAY STUFF. They don't hide stupid crap from each other just so next episode they can have a fight and break up and then carry on playing musical sex chairs. Or whatever. Y'know. I don't think I'm thinking of the right game here. And people die! It's brilliant! As mad as I was that Vicky died- I'm still not quite over that, Kevin Williamson- it's so great that they kill main characters off!

I think that's enough exclamation points for now. No wait. One more.

!

God I love this show.

if john gave his ring to isobel, he may have taken elena's dad's ring before the accident in may last year...so that may be how her dad died

I love how slowly they're doing the reveal on Isobel's story - but I'm really hoping she'll show up soon and materialize as a real character, not just a discussed one! Do we have a season 2 of this show? Do we think Isobel and Katherine are going to show up together in the finale?

And what is up with all the teenage public drunkenness in this show? It's not that I'm a prude - I get that kids party! It's just that in my experience, they didn't do it at family events with their parents there. These really are the least responsible parental figures I've ever seen trying to take care of a bunch of kids! No wonder the vampires have such a shot at taking over!

I blog about this episode at http://themothchase.wordpress.com - check us out!

My favorite part has to be all the Stefan scenes because its interesting to see him in another light and he's hot as hell

I think that the scene where Stefan tells Elena the truth is the most beautiful scene ever... And I don't like the fact that you have nothing to say about that scene... Even though you are Damon lover, I think that everyone could feel emotions and get chills!!! Paul killed it!!! "I love you so much..." Come on people!!! <3 <3 <3

I completely agree with your assessment, Molly :). That's what I love about the show. People DO "say stuff"! I just think it's so refreshing that this show doesn't fall back on typical tropes and methods that weaker shows use to create 'drama'.

An example I remember is right around the time Elena found out that she looks exactly like Katherine. On any typical tv show they would have used that as an excuse for Elena to break up with Stefan and angst about it for 5 episodes. But they were back together an episode later because they TALKED about it like mature, rational people.

Loved, loved the scene with Damon wandering around in Elena's room. The chemistry between those two is dyn-o-mite. How he casually picks up her bra out of the drawer, and she just grabs it and puts it back without a break in the conversation. And how he kept getting in her space to make his point, right up to that little "ummm-hmmm" at the end, just like he did the night Vicky was killed and Elena slapped him across the face. It made me wonder - he is obviously attracted to her, is it just because she looks just like Katherine, or she's his brother's gf, or does he really see her as a facscinating individual?

Matt was wonderful. His face, so full of emotions. He does a really great job.

Stefan - way to go, Paul. Getting so multi-dimensional. Great to watch - almost better than Ian right now. He plays conflicted so well. Paul's eyes are just so heartbreaking. The scene where he said to Elena "I love you so much". We've been waiting for that since Elena announced how she felt about him outside his house that night. Very wonderful.

Only 3 more episodes. So. Not Fair. Heee, heee, Molly. Love your p0ints about tVD being a surprisingly worthy show to spend our Thursday nights on.

Need a dose of 'Vampire Diaries' movies. I guarantee its a must seen new hit show!

WOW. i loved this episode! I think that the chemistry between Elena and Damon is unbelievable, do you think they will hook up? I hope not but all the signs are there! I cannot wait to see the next episode, I think we might see a competitive side to Elena in the beauty pagent! At least I hope we do!


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