'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Nobody loves you like your ex
"Memory Lane" brought us confessions of love, flashbacks, a lot of fighting and Katherine and Elena's first face-to-face, so let's get down to business:
1. What other abilities do vampires have?Turns out vampires can do more than just compel you. The episode opens with Stefan (Paul Wesley) having a trippy dream about him and Katherine (Nina Dobrev) in 1864, which turns into present time. Stefan's watching Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) kissing. Perhaps Stefan is more worried about their friendship-turned-hateship than he let on? Stefan wakes to find Katherine –- the heavy eye makeup was a giveaway -- lying next to him. Turns out Katherine was messing with his dreams, not that I think she was totally making it up. Anyway, dream manipulation seems to be a new power on the show. Makes me wonder what else vampires can do that we haven't heard about. What powers would you like to see them have?
2. What triggers the werewolf curse? Solved! After being a little frustrated by the pace of the werewolf storyline the past few weeks, we finally got some answers tonight that were new to us. At first, Mason is (Taylor Kinney) tight-lipped as usual –- “Ignorance is bliss,” he tells Tyler (Michael Trevino) –- but eventually he confesses that the werewolf curse is triggered by human blood when you kill someone. This also answers my question about why Mayor Lockwood didn't know he was a werewolf. He wasn't one yet. Now the question is: Will Tyler become one? Is he capable of killing somebody? With Katherine on the loose and a turf starting between Mason and Damon, I'm afraid he might be forced into a corner to protect a loved one. Also, I'm pretty sure every time the word “kill” is uttered on the show, a series regular cries for fear of losing his job.
3. How many werewolf puns can you fit into an hour?Damon invites himself to a barbecue at Jenna's (Sara Canning) in order to out Mason, but really just shows off an impressive skill for puns and loaded dialogue. “I always pegged you a lone wolf,” he tells Mason. “I'm sure I wasn't half the lady killer you are,” Mason retorts. And nice job there with “Dances With Wolves” during Pictionary, Damon. I enjoy a good game night. The meet-and-greet also led to the best exchange of the night. “I've heard great things about you,” Mason says. Damon replies: “Really. That's weird. 'Cause I'm a dick.” Is knowing your faults a vampire power? Mason finally confronts Damon. He knows the truth about Damon and vice versa, but he doesn't see the point of reigniting a war that has nothing to do with them. Damon doesn't see things the same way –- is he that scared for the security of his new way of life in Mystic Falls? -- and stabs Mason with a silver knife. But that's just a myth. “Now you've made an enemy,” he tells Damon, getting up.
4. Can a vampire/human relationship work?Last week, I praised the show for its depiction of Elena and Stefan's relationship. Compared to other current vampire texts and, heck, even human relationships, Elena and Stefan are surprisingly healthy and mature even under the direst and strangest of circumstances. But this week, the show brought up some very valid issues standing in the way of the couple. “The desire to rip out your jugular every time he's with you? Trust me. It's there,” Caroline (Candice Accola) says to Elena. Stefan's a vampire, simply put. There's always going to be that carnal desire. Caroline, doing Katherine's busy work by occupying Elena and planting seeds of doubt, also brought up the immortality issue. She'll grow old, but he'll always remain young and handsome. She wants kids, but he can never have any. Is love enough to get past this? Are they doomed to be temporary until these issues roar their ugly head? My days of watching “Buffy,” in which Buffy and Angel broke up for these very reasons, make me think they're setting themselves up for heartbreak.
5. Is Katherine just a crazy ex who can't let go? I really thought there was more to her return, and maybe there still is, but at the moment, Katherine's sticking to her story: She came back for Stefan. He's not buying it, though. He shoots her up with vervain and chains her up to get to the truth. He tortures her with a stem of vervain, perhaps the first time I've seen torture by plant on TV, but she still insists she's here for him. She begins to tell him a story about the ball in 1864 to which he accompanied her. That was the night Stefan told her he loved her. “I've never met a woman quite like you. I look at you and I see an angel... I kiss you and I know that I'm falling in love,” he told her. Katherine was genuinely stunned by his confession and, I think, a little by how much she felt for him too. She even got a little swept up and forgot that Damon was waiting for her on the other side of the door, but she was too “tired” for him now. “I never compelled your love. It was real and so was mine,” she tells Stefan in present time. As much as Stefan tells her he hates her, she just won't give up. Compared to Stefan and Elena's healthy relationship, Katherine seems like the crazy stalker ex who leaves you voicemails every five minutes and won't respect the restraining order. She tells Stefan if he doesn't stay away from Elena, she'll kill everyone she loves and then she'll kill Elena while he watches. That's just the type of confession of love I want to hear. What next? She's going to boil a bunny?
6. Is Katherine capable of love? Elena and Stefan stage a fake fight, which is overheard by Caroline and Damon, so that it will get back to Katherine that she's come between them. Elena can't believe that Katherine is doing all this for love, but Stefan tells her she's not capable of love. Katherine, meanwhile, is strolling through Mystic Falls –- does no one notice the Elena clone walking around town? -- and remembering the night that Stefan and Damon died. She had made a deal for her escape with George Lockwood in exchange for that mysterious moonstone. But before she left, she kissed Stefan affectionately and told him she loved him and that they would be together again someday. Damon, meanwhile, just lay there on the ground like yesterday's rejects, poor guy. If Katherine is really capable love, it's some seriously scary, co-dependent, can't take no for an answer love.
7. Does a part of Stefan still love Katherine? Stefan claims he came back because “he had to know her,” the "her" being Elena. And two episodes ago, he told Elena he came to Mystic Falls to start a life with her. But Katherine has another theory. “You came back to fall in love with me all over again, didn't you?” she says. You have to admit, it looks highly suspicious when your current girlfriend looks just like your ex. “What is it about you that makes me still care?” Stefan says. It's a trick to get close to her and inject her with vervain, but it brought up the very good point that Katherine, as far as we know, was Stefan's first love and that kind of love, as sour as it may turn, holds a special place in one's heart.
8. Are Damon and Elena the Katherine and Stefan of 2010? “Love. Hate. Such a fine line,” Katherine says of her and Stefan, but I couldn't help thinking of Damon and Elena, who are on the hate side of that line right now. Damon and Elena's relationship has started out on different footing, but they definitely share some similarities to the Katherine and Stefan of 1864. However, the emotions are reversed. Damon is still the destructive vampire, but he's also the one harboring some serious feelings, while Stefan was the one in love in 1864.
9. What are the right questions?Remember that vervain Stefan was using on Katherine? It's useless! Katherine has been drinking vervain for the past 145 years, so she's become immune to it. She stabs Stefan in the leg before escaping upstairs where Elena is looking for Stefan. The two come face to face for the first time, nicely showing off the differences in Dobrev's performances. Elena asks how it's possible for them to look exactly alike. “You're asking the wrong questions,” she replies before vanishing.
10. Where's Matt (Zach Roerig)? How's he dealing with his breakup with Caroline? I need to know if he needs comforting.
Readers, what do you think the “right” questions are? Do you think Katherine is going to be able to wedge her way between Elena and Stefan? Is her love for Stefan real? And how happy and mischievous did Damon look when he overheard their fake fight?
-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
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Photo: Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Katherine (Nina Dobrev) share a moment. Credit: Bob Mahoney / The CW.