'The Vampire Diaries': Double, double, toil and trouble...
The play-by-play recap is back by popular demand (Yes, I got your e-mails!) so grab some popcorn and get your DVR ready for a re-watch.
8:01 p.m.: I'm still completely confused by how all these vampires escaped from the tomb, but I love the idea of them nesting with sweet old Miss Gibbons and learning how to live in 2010 after 145 years in the dirt. I guess a text message might blow my mind, too, if the last message I'd sent was delivered by a horse-drawn carriage.
8:02 p.m.: MATT! Here's one thing you never want to hear your mom say: "It wasn't a party. It was one guy. Stop being so judgy!" I get the shivers just thinking about it. I do, however, like the idea of Kelly Donovan taking over Ben the Bartender's vacated position at the Grill.
8:05 p.m.: How did Pearl end up being boss of all the vampires? I can't decide how I feel about her yet. She seemed to be relatively harmless in the flashbacks, but she had to have been hanging out with Katherine for a reason. Frederick doesn't seem like too much of a threat yet.
8:06 p.m.: Oh, Caroline. Why are you suggesting a double date? Haven't you ever seen a television show? If the Gilmore girls couldn't get through a double date without a Bop-It, there's no way this is going to end well for Caroline.
8:08 p.m.: Notable Quote: When Jeremy asked a chat room (really, Jeremy?) how to kill a vampire, someone responded with "The blood of Paula Abdul." So that's why Simon can't sit next to her anymore!
8:09 p.m.: Apparently, the vampires got out of the tomb because Bonnie's grandmother "screwed up her hocus-pocus." Most unsatisfying answer ever!
Speaking of Bonnie, I hate that we haven't seen her for two episodes. I would have liked to check in on her to see how she's dealing with her grief ... and the fact that her grandmother died trying to save Elena's vampire boyfriends from being trapped in a tomb that apparently was wide open all along.
Ouch! Don't mess up Damon's eyes. Take any other eyes on the show, but not Damon's!
8:14 p.m.: The last time Stefan was on a date it was " '72. Hef and the twins. I got Miss June." I hope that next season we get to see who Stefan's been for the last century and a half. It sounds like there was plenty of partying done before brooding booked up his schedule.
8:16 p.m.: When I recently spoke with Sara Canning, she warned me that Jenna would be letting her hair down a bit in an upcoming episode, but I didn't expect Damon and Kelly Donovan to be her partners in crime!
Chemistry is already brewing between Damon and Kelly. I have a feeling that the hookup creators Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec promised me at Paleyfest is going to happen within minutes.
8:25 p.m.: Is it just me, or is Steven R. McQueen bulking up? His neck is growing. He looks like a fun-sized Jared Padalecki.
8:26 p.m.: "My primary reason for existence has abandoned me," Damon slurs, "and after today's events, the remains of the shaky grounds that I walk on are about to go ka-boom. Let's get hammered." I wonder how much longer Damon can keep up his drunken wallowing! I'm kind of enjoying it.
I'm also enjoying Matt and Elena's trip down memory lane -- though I can't say the same for Caroline. It's nice to hear about how normal and happy their lives were before the Salvatores crashed the party.
8:28 p.m.: I think I said this after the third episode, but I really hope Matt and Stefan can be friends.
8:33 p.m.: When they get to the Salvatore boardinghouse, Caroline says, "I feel like I've been here before. It's weird." I didn't realize that she doesn't remember any of her fling with Damon! I thought he'd just compelled her into forgetting the messy parts.
8:34 p.m.: Kelly and Damon are trading cherry stems with their tongues ... and things officially just got awkward for Jenna! Kelly is so completely inappropriate. She's rapidly becoming my favorite recurring character ever. (Which probably means she'll go the way of Vicki and Lexi. Poor Matt.)
8:35 p.m.: I love the contrast between Caroline's reaction to Elena and Matt and Stefan's reaction to them. Stefan is so secure in his relationship; he's not shaken by Matt and Elena's history at all. I guess that's what 145 years of being 17 does to a boy.
8:37 p.m.: "I'm Matt's Elena backup, and I'm your Bonnie backup," Caroline says. "You don't get it. And why would you? You're everyone's first choice." After everything, Caroline is still, at her core, the insecure girl we met in the pilot episode.
8:40 p.m.: Oh, Jeremy. He not only cuts himself to check out Anna's reaction to the blood, but when she vamps out in front of him, he lets her feed off of him. Since when did he become so reckless and self-destructive again? This is just a supernatural version of the way he let Vicki use him for his drugs when she was still with Tyler. Next thing you know, he'll be begging her to turn him into a vampire. Snap out of it, Jeremy Swan.
8:45 p.m.: I'll admit it. The scene with Matt and Caroline fumbling over promises in Stefan's car melted me completely. Soundtrack junkie moment: "The Mess I Made" by Parachute.
8:47 p.m.: Okay, Damon and Kelly are just about the hottest thing ever, especially when he's obviously trying to hold back from biting her ... until they get interrupted by Matt. Why do Matt and Kelly keep catching each other in compromising positions? Gross! Kelly makes me want to write my own mother a thank-you letter.
8:49 p.m.: Speaking of maternal instinct (or Kelly's lack thereof), it's great that despite Pearl having been underground for 145 years, she still steps right back into the role of Anna's authority figure. Your mom is always your mom, even when she's Boss Lady Vampire.
8:50 p.m.: Oh, it's time for Stefan to give Damon some long-suffering looks! The Salvatore Brother Post-Game Powwow is my favorite part of every episode. Patronizing look, biting remark, lather, rinse, repeat.
As always, it takes a common enemy for Stefan and Damon to have each other's backs. Frederick hasn't sold me as a true villain yet; he's too much like Anna's disposable vampires from before the tomb opened. I'm sure that won't last long, though!
8:54 p.m.: In the midst of all the vampires and witches and 150-year-old grudges, it's nice to see some regular old family drama between Matt and his mom. It's not easy to make this kind of thing feel relevant when outside, people are getting staked in the heart, but the emotions resonate enough to keep me interested.
8:59 p.m.: And there it is: "I want you to turn me." No, Jeremy! No! Can he just go back to doing drugs? Compared with turning into a vampire, illegal pharmaceuticals are a much healthier way to fill up the empty space inside of you.
What did you think of "There Goes the Neighborhood," Show Trackers? I miss Bonnie, but otherwise, I was thrilled to see Elena and Stefan attempt a "normal" night. Of course, "normal" doesn't make for great TV, so Stefan did end up with a giant shard of glass protruding from his chest ... but no big deal.
Comment below to let me know what you think of Kelly and Damon's not-quite-hookup, as well as Jeremy's desire for a walk on the wild side. Don't forget to come back before next week's new episode for a fun feature on the fashion of "The Vampire Diaries."
--Carina MacKenzie (keep up with my TV tweets @cadlymack)
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Photos: (top) Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Kelly (Melinda Clarke) do what they do best. Credit: CW. (bottom) Matt (Zach Roerig), Stefan (Paul Wesley), Caroline (Candice Accola) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) on the most awkward double date ever. Credit: CW