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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'It's Elena.' Again.

November 4, 2010 | 10:57 pm

After the crazy Katherine-induced escapades of the previous episodes, tonight's installment didn't pack quite as much of a punch. Katherine (Nina Dobrev) brings a certain manic, unpredictable energy to the show, but since she's locked up in the tomb, some new vampires shook things up this week. Although this might have seemed like a more subdued episode in comparison, subdued for “The Vampire Diaries” still means packing enough plot reveals, new characters and deaths to fill half a season on another show. And let's not forget two juicy, emotional scenes for Ian Somerhalder as Damon.

The theme of this episode – and the entire series – might as well as be, “It's Elena.” It's Thursday. Elena's (Dobrev) in danger. Again. Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon are worried and strategizing how to keep her safe. Again. But more than that, this episode finally gave us a little more information about why everyone, not just Stefan and Damon, is so interested in Elena. We knew she was special because she looked exactly like Katherine, but tonight, we learned to what use that could be put.

A pair of very old vampire BFFs – think 500+ years old – named Rose (Lauren Cohan) and Trevor (Trent Ford) kidnapped Elena. Rose, obviously the more “adult” vampire in the friendship, got sucked into Trevor's mess when he trusted Katerina Petrova. Whatever Trevor did pissed off an old world group of vampires that Rose calls “the originals.” Are they the very first vampires ever? Rose and Trevor have been running from them, and in particular, a dastardly, very powerful vampire named Elijah (Daniel Gillies), for the past 500 years. They plan to trade Elena for Elijah's forgiveness/clemency. What could Elijah possibly want with Elena? Turns out the blood of the doppelganger is what breaks the curse of the sun and the moon. Elena is killed as a sacrifice, and...all the vampires go free into the sunlight? From Rose's description, it also sounded like Katherine is a doppelganger too. Could this be what she was running from in 1864?

Stefan and Damon came to Elena's rescue with some help from Bonnie (Katerina Graham) – she used a spell and Jeremy's (Steven R. McQueen) blood to locate Elena – and with more goodies from Alaric's (Matt Davis) weapons chest. I'm starting to get worried that Alaric is becoming the far too convenient go-to source of tools, excuses, covers, distractions, etc. and all while offscreen. Not cool. But Alaric's weapons weren't too helpful at first against the powerful Elijah, who had a very old world, European, aristocratic feel. Compared to him, Damon and Stefan are babies. He decapitated Trevor with a hand swipe! The vervain grenade? Scarred the guy for like two seconds. But it did provide a distraction that led to Damon staking him. The look of joy on Damon's face when he thought Elena was looking at him in gratitude was so pure and vulnerable. Then it crushingly turned to disappointment when he realized Elena was staring at  Stefan, not him. Still, she whispered, “Thank you,” as she hugged Stefan, and Damon gave her a signature eye wink and possibly the most sincere, unselfish, “You're welcome,” he's ever delivered. But then Damon did something even more unselfish. After giving her back her vervain necklace, Damon gave Elena quite the swoon-worthy speech: “I love you, Elena. And it's because I love you...I can't be selfish with you. ... I don't deserve you, but my brother does.” Then he kissed her on the forehead before compelling her to forget everything he just told her as a tear escaped. I can certainly see how playing this more softer side of Damon has been more challenging for Somerhalder, but as a viewer, it's been an absolute pleasure to watch him shift between such varied emotions.

But lest you think Elena is out of danger, Rose came to the Salvatore mansion to warn Stefan. Once upon a time, Lexi had tried to fix her up with Stefan because he was one of the good ones, so she wants to help. Elijah might be dead – he's not, by the way – but others will be coming for Elena, including some dude named Klaus.

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, some new twosomes were bonding. Tyler (Michael Trevino) kept harassing Caroline (Candice Accola) at school – they still go to classes? – trying to get to the truth about what she was and how she knew about him. He even broke into her house and accused her of being a werewolf, which made Caroline burst into laughter. After he nailed her against the wall, Caroline retaliated and let out her fangs. She made him promise not to tell anyone, and Tyler replied, “I have no else to tell... I'm alone with this.” Sad and true, but now he's got Caroline. It's just too bad their newfound friendship involves a giant lie – that there aren't any other vampires in town.

Jeremy and Bonnie were also getting close while trying to help Elena. Bonnie tried to get a note to Elena using a spell, but it took a lot out of her. Like it took consciousness out of her. She passed out on the bed as Jeremy looked on worriedly. When she came to, she made him promise not to tell anyone because she didn't want to look weak. “I'm all alone in this,” she said. Noticing a trend?

Readers, what'd you think of Damon's confession? Is this the first step in his being deserving of Elena? Do you think Elena's starting to forgive him? Are you worried that Bonnie's pushing herself too far? And what did you think of Rose? I liked Cohan on “Supernatural,” but her character, Bela, never quite gelled. She seems much more well-suited in this role. I'm glad she escaped the wrath of Elijah and look forward to seeing more of her with Damon. There was definitely a little spark in that tiny moment they were together. Plus, she said it herself. She's a sucker for bad boys.

-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

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Photo: Rose (Lauren Cohan) with a kidnapped Elena (Nina Dobrev). Credit: Quantrell Colbert / The CW.