'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Nice day for a vampire carnival
1. Is Elena a fan of “The O.C.”? With Caroline in the hospital, enjoying a blood cocktail, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Bonnie (Katerina Graham) were left to handle preparations for the school's carnival. I was actually delighted to see the world of high school and its related activities back on the show. So many big moments last season -- and on many teen dramas -- were centered on a school function. For Elena, this was a chance to return to normalcy, as if that's possible in Mystic Falls. “I'm human. I have to do human stuff. Otherwise, I'm going to go crazy,” she declared. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who thought of “The O.C.” when Elena said she just wanted to enjoy a kiss at the top of the Ferris wheel with her boyfriend. (Check out Marissa and Ryan's first kiss on “The O.C.” here.) No one's afraid of heights on “Vampire Diaries,” though, as Stefan (Paul Wesley) demonstrated when he leaped with Elena to the top of the Ferris wheel. It was a sweet moment that quickly came crashing back down to reality when Elena realized normal was out for her and things were not going to get any easier. “I came back to this town to start a life with you. We can't forget to live it,” he reminded her.
2. Why doesn't the Council just dose the water supply with vervain? Problem solved! OK, there probably wouldn't be a show if they did that, but it certainly would be more effective that just giving out jewelry, which can't prevent you from becoming a vampire.
3. Do the forest animals talk? No, I'm not serious, but I found Damon's line about Stefan feeding on forest animals interesting because it hit on a theme in this episode: The different ways in which vampires come to be and exist. While Vicki had Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan guiding her along, Caroline (Candice Accola) woke up in the hospital alone and had to discover for herself what had happened. For the first time, we really saw a vampire go through the transition alone, and the confusion, panic and horror was palpable thanks to Accola's terrific performance. One by one, Caroline discovered blood thirst, not being able to go out into the sun, mind compulsion, super speed and strength while regaining the memories Damon had erased. I was glad to see that brought up again since the psychological damage and manipulation Damon inflicted always left a shiver on my skin. It's quite dark and twisted when you think about it. Vampire Caroline is not much different than human Caroline. She's still broken and grasping and sassy -- “You suck,” had to be one of the best lines of the episode -- and concerned about the carnival, which is once again the sight of a newbie, hungry vampire on the loose.
4. Are Caroline and Matt the new Stefan and Elena? Poor Matt (Zach Roerig) thought Caroline's weird behavior meant she didn't love him anymore. Just as I worried last week, Matt confirmed that he couldn't lose anybody else right now. And then he went in with the hook, line and sinker line, “Even though today I wanted to throttle you, I'm pretty sure that I'm in love with you.” How can you resist that? Caroline certainly couldn't and kissed him, but she managed to get control of her vamp face, which reminded me of Stefan and Elena in the pilot. He couldn't control himself around her at first, but eventually that changed and now he's trying to start a life with her. Could Caroline and Matt also make a successful go of it as a human/vampire couple? I think it's possible, but Matt will need to find out the truth. How else will he be able to understand why his girlfriend never comes out during the day? Or...
5. Is Caroline doomed? That's what Damon thinks. He doesn't believe Caroline will make it long, and Stefan's silence seems to suggest he agrees that this can only end badly, but he wants to prove Damon wrong and helps clean and calm her. Considering how characters die left and right on this show, especially female vampire characters, I'm definitely worried for Caroline's future.
6. “Why did Katherine do this to me?” Thanks to Caroline for that one. Poor confused girl couldn't understand why this was happening to her, and frankly, I couldn't either because I'm clueless about Katherine's (Nina Dobrev, part deux) motivations. Elena thought it was to get to her, while Stefan thought it was in response to his rejection. I still think this has more to do with Elena than the boys, but I could be wrong. After all, Caroline brought up another good question, “Why did she look like you?” Elena said Katherine is her ancestor –- did we know this before? -- but it doesn't explain their identical looks.
7. Is Jeremy going to seek revenge on Damon for killing him? Solved! After poorly whittling a wooden stake, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) realizes killing Damon wouldn't accomplish anything. He wants to stand for something. Oh my, is Jeremy having a growth moment?
8. Will Bonnie ever get a love interest? You know, one who doesn't end up being an evil vampire or dying at the hands of a vampire.
9. Is Bonnie starting to remind anyone else of Bad Willow from “Buffy”? Vengeance, power, magic. This all smells familiar. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) did it because her girlfriend was killed. Bonnie tried to send Damon up in flames because of what happened to Caroline, but Elena talked her down. “This isn't us,” she said, coming to Damon's defense despite the fact that she still had plenty of reason to be angry with him. Damon fed Caroline his blood, but Katherine killed her. I wonder if there's also some guilt mixed into Bonnie's rage because she encouraged Damon to do it in order to heal Caroline. And what does this mean for Bonnie and Caroline's friendship? Bonnie has made her feelings about vampires very clear. Will she make an exception for her friend?
10. What's up with that moonstone? After getting into a fight staged by Damon, who's cluing into the fact that something's different about the Lockwoods, Tyler (Michael Trevino) confronted his Uncle Mason (Taylor Kinney) about his crazy yellow eyes. You probably want to come up with a better excuse than a reflection from glowing headlights, Mason. Earlier, Tyler caught him looking for a moonstone that Mason claimed was a family heirloom. Yes, it's another special, possibly mystical prop! Tyler must be smarting up because he doesn't give away that he knows where it is and instead takes it for himself. So what does this thing to do? Does it make you zen like Uncle Mason? Does it counteract the effects of a full moon? Does it find where Alaric has (Matthew Davis) been hiding?
Readers, did you like vampire Caroline? Is there such a thing as normal in Mystic Falls? Are you holding out for Ninja Turtles? Sound off below in the comments, and as always, chime in with your thoughts on my 10 questions!
-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Game on
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Photos: Stefan (Paul Wesley) helps Caroline (Candice Accola); Bonnie (Katerina Graham) before the wreckage. Credit: Quantrell Colbert / The CW.