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'The Vampire Diaries': To everything there is a season

April 29, 2010 | 10:19 pm
57613 8:00 p.m. - In tonight's episode of "The Vampire Diaries," titled "Blood Brothers," fans will finally get some answers about the night that Damon and Stefan "turned." Lucky us: We get a flashback right from the start. As the brothers try to save Katherine, Damon is shot first, and Stefan watches his brother die before he stands up and is shot himself -- I think by Johnathan Gilbert or one of the other vampire hunters.

I love the way that Stefan's memory shifts in and out of focus, with present-day reality creeping in. It feels like a fever dream -- he can't keep himself aware long enough to distinguish between the two.

8:05 -Emily reveals that Katherine has been feeding Stefan her blood for weeks, preparing to turn him. She compulsed him to do it and erased his memory of it. Damon didn't need to be compulsed; he wanted to turn.

Damon looks so young in this scene where he's talking about how he watched them drag Katherine into the church. It's a resigned vulnerability we don't often see from him.

8:07 - I can't help it. I find Jeremy and Anna utterly adorable. I'm such a girl; it's gross.

8:10 - I'm so glad that even when Damon and Elena are on the same side, he can't help but antagonize her for his own amusement. We wouldn't want their growing friendship to soften him up any. "Stefan likes puppy blood. Little golden retriever puppies. Cute floppy ears. That's his favorite."

8:11 - I love David Anders, but I hate Uncle John so much. I just can't figure out his endgame!

8:11 - These poor shirtless boys look very, very cold. Scenes like this one, where Damon asks Stefan if he'll choose to die or choose to turn into a vampire, are the reason I love the flashbacks so much. Damon is almost unrecognizable here. He's weak, alone and hopeless. Still, somehow the person he is now feels like it grew organically from this lost boy we know from 1864. "This was all to be with Katherine," he tells Stefan. "She's gone. I want it over." Of course, this begs the question -- what changed Damon's mind?

8:12 - Back in 2010, Stefan echoes Damon's words, proving that despite themselves, they aren't very different at all. "After what I've done it has to end. I just want it over."

8:16 - "I don't have any friends, Elena." Oh, Damon. Keep telling yourself that.

8:18 - Anna calls Jeremy her weakness, which makes me feel like she's not going to last long. As soon as someone admits to her Achilles' heel, it's going to be exploited.

Also, earlier, when I said they were adorable? I meant adorable like baby animals or something. Not adorable like "I want to watch them get it on." They're like 12 years old; this is weirding me out. Where is Chris Hansen?

8:20 - Why is this new tomb vampire, Henry, calling Damon 'sir'? Does he have some particular reason to show Damon respect, or is Damon just so darn pretty he can't help himself?

8:21 -Back in 1864, Guiseppe Salvatore is directing Mr. Gilbert in writing the town records that Stefan refers to in the pilot episode, when he corrects their doomed history teacher. There's nothing a TV junkie loves more than unexpected continuity.

8:22 - Elena is amazing when she confronts Stefan about his refusal to eat. I love her defiance and her complete lack of fear. She's really come into her own as one of the strongest teen female characters on television right now.

That said, while I appreciate all the effort she's putting into Stefan, I don't really see how she could be with him again after everything she's seen. She and Dean Winchester should go out for a drink sometime and discuss what happens when big brothers throw their blood-addicted younger brothers into basement panic rooms for detox.

8:27 -John Gilbert just gets more and more twisty-turny. He's somehow turned these tomb vampires into obedient little minions in exchange for a few "2010 For Dummies" lessons.

8:30 - I like the way Pearl still speaks as if she's from 1864. Henry spoke like a Sigma Nu brother, but Pearl's clipped words and delicate enunciation make her sound like she really was from another era.

8:31 - Oh my gosh, I wasn't expecting this! It wasn't Johnathan Gilbert who shot the Salvatore brothers. It was their own father. He was so disgusted by their allegiance to Katherine that he wanted them dead. I'm floored.

It's appropriate that the first human blood Stefan tasted was his father's. This family is so messed up.

8:35 -I want to hear about where Stefan got his tattoos. I'm really hoping that in future seasons, we get to see the adventure of the 20th century with Stefan and Damon. There's so much time in their lives that we haven't explored yet.

8:35 - Damon and Alaric may be the most reluctant allies ever, but they can certainly relate to each other when it comes to carrying a torch for the one that got away. Each man thought the love of his life was dead, only to discover that she just didn't care to be with him.

8:39 - Elena and Damon are so comfortable with each other now. They might bicker, but the way she happily rests her feet in his lap gives her away. They trust each other now. I think it was all the dancing.

8:40 - I'm blown away by the fact that Stefan convinced Damon to drink the blood, not the other way around.  Human blood, apparently, can turn off feelings of guilt and pain. That explains why Damon wreaks havoc and laughs about it while Stefan is always about to collapse under the weight of a century and a half's worth of angst.

8:47 -Is Anna really going to leave Mystic Falls? I hope not. I probably don't mention her enough in these recaps, but I've really enjoyed watching Malese Jow coming into her own as an actress. She's the strongest addition to the cast we've seen thus far. (Soundtrack junkie moment: "Song for the Waiting" by Aron Wright.)

8:48 - "You got what you wanted," Damon tells Stefan in 1864, once he's come down from his blood high. "You and me for all eternity." And then suddenly, we get a startling glimpse of the Damon we met in the pilot: dangerous and terrifying as he hisses, "But hear this, brother. I will make it an eternity of misery for you."

8:51 - "Every day I think that if I just give myself over to the blood I can make that pain stop. Every day I fight that. The next time I hurt somebody, it could be you."

With these words, it's hard to imagine how Stefan has lasted 145 years alive when dying is as easy as discarding an old piece of jewelry. Still, as Elena talks Stefan off his metaphorical ledge, she seems so confident that he'll eventually choose to live -- that he'll eventually choose her.

This is a TV show, so of course he puts his ring back on and goes back to her. How will their relationship be different now that she's seen him at his most monstrous? I have to admit that I'm looking forward to her inevitable turn toward Damon. Can Elena have two soul mates, please?

8:56 - Oh no! Someone -- probably Johnathan -- just staked Pearl. Is Harper going to die, too?

8:57 - My favorite part of every episode: the Damon and Stefan fireside post-game recap. I love Damon demanding that Stefan stop shouldering the guilt of Damon's actions. Damon wants it to be his burden and his alone, to carry or cast aside as he sees fit. His actions are what defines him, and when Stefan broods for Damon's kills, Damon feels like Stefan is appropriating part of his identity.

The true reason for Damon's spitefulness comes out, now. He absolutely hates that Katherine turned Stefan too. "It was just supposed to be me, Stefan. Just me." I have to say, I expected something a little more to have come between them than just jealousy over Katherine, considering the guilt that Stefan's been feeling. He may have cursed Damon with vampirism, but Damon had a hand in it too, and Damon could have killed himself at any time. Stefan's betrayal was less epic than I'd expected it to be.

8:58 -Malese Jow is phenomenal in the scene where Anna finds her mother's body. Anna may be 150 years old, but in this moment, she's a little girl.

8:59 - Hello, Isabel. (Soundtrack junkie moment: "We'll Be a Dream" by We the Kings.)

Next week:
Mommy issues galore!

What'd you guys think of tonight's episode? Did you expect something else from the night that Stefan and Damon turned? Were you shocked to discover that their father killed them both? What do you think Anna will do now that Pearl is gone? Comment below. I'd love to get a discussion going.

-- Carina MacKenzie (chat "Vampire Diaries" with me on Twitter @cadlymack)

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Photo credit: (top) Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore in 1864. Credit: CW. (bottom) Nina Dobrev as Elena and Ian Somerhalder as Damon. Credit: CW

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