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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Tyler picks a side

February 4, 2011 | 12:13 am

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So I was one of the people in Los Angeles affected by the Great “Vampire Diaries” Audio Debacle of 2011. For those who were lucky enough to see the episode hiccup-free, here's what happened: Fans took to Twitter crying of audio problems –- I could only hear every other word –- despite all of our different cable and satellite providers. Meanwhile, the unaffected raved about the episode on Twitter, sending us into further despair. But then, between all the cries, was a helpful tweet: six minutes in, the audio fixes itself. So keep in mind that I heard half-garbled dialogue for the first six minutes of the episode. Not that you need sound to appreciate Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in a towel.

“Daddy Issues” really came down to the following question: Which side will Tyler (Michael Trevino) stick by? His friend Caroline (Candice Accola) and the vampires or the new wolf in town, Jules (Michaela McManus)? It's an important question because Tyler is ripe for the taking. Tyler is basically a blank slate. Mason (Taylor Kinney) didn't have enough time to teach him the werewolf ropes. Jules tries to take advantage of this and induct him into the pack. She tells him of werewolf loyalty and how they look out for each other. “A vampire will never be your friend,” she says. But Caroline is his friend despite what Jules says. And Tyler's choice between the two will not only have consequences for himself, but for everyone in Mystic Falls. It's a declaration of allegiance. And no matter whom he sides with, somebody gets left out in the cold.

After Tyler confronts Caroline about lying to him, she sends Stefan a 911 text. (FYI, if someone in Mystic Falls texts or calls you, just assume it is an emergency and feel free to panic.) Stefan (Paul Wesley) the Peacemaker –- Damon later even calls him that -– attempts to not only convince Tyler they can both co-exist in Mystic Falls, but also tries to save Tyler and Caroline's friendship. Stefan tells him to stop being mean to her. It's just the first of many wonderful scenes of Stefan looking out for Caroline.

Jules and her werewolf buddy, Brady, however, have their own plans for Tyler and Caroline. “I want the boy more than I want vengeance,” Jules says. First of all, are Brady and Jules romantically involved? If so, why was she in Mason's apartment? Who was Mason to her? A friend or a lover she got over really fast? Or does being part of the werewolf pack mean your door and apartment is open to all other members?

Jules and Brady kidnap Caroline. It made sense that Jules would get the upper hand on Caroline, who still has a lot of hubris as a new vampire. They torture her with wooden bullets and a vervain watergun (points for creativity, werewolves). You thought Tyler's transformation was brutal? Ha! Watching the defenseless Caroline, who has become such a strong character, cry in agony in a locked cage was horrific. Once again this season, praise has to be heaped upon Accola, who keeps knocking it out of the park. And although hard to watch, the scene was a nice reminder of Tyler and Caroline's parallel journeys of (sometimes brutal) supernatural and human transformation this season.

But once Jules made the call to Stefan, who was with Tyler, to tell him about Caroline, I had to wonder if her plan was going to backfire and drive Tyler away. There's a part of Tyler that views Caroline as a friend and should be hurt to see her in pain. Right?! His hesitation when he saw her in the cage was concerning. Outside, Stefan and Damon were fighting off Jules and her friends, despite being outnumbered. Apparently, one of Stefan's powers is stopping wooden stakes right in their paths. He's a peacemaker and a Superman all rolled into one. Tyler finally lets Caroline out of the cage, but doesn't rush to stop Jules when she puts a gun to Caroline's head. Tyler, you're really dropping the ball here. Suddenly, all the wolves drop to their knees in agony. I was thinking Bonnie (Katerina Graham), but surprise, surprise, Luka's dad came in for the save, doing his part to uphold Elijah's promise to Elena. Interestingly, his mojo did not affect Tyler. Is he too new to be susceptible?

Stefan took Caroline home and offered to stay with her. “I'm not girly little Caroline anymore. I can handle myself,” she replied. “You sure can,” he said while still looking concerned. What a nice, quietly terrific scene. Caroline and Stefan's friendship has been one of my favorite aspects of this season. They have a real, genuine chemistry, which you could interpret as platonic or romantic depending on how you want to see it. I see them as really great friends right now, but I think they're the couple that's going to happen when the show's over. They're the ones that are going to get together decades and decades later after Elena (Nina Dobrev) and everyone else have died and they're the only two left. Assuming they live to see the end of the show. And how sweet was Stefan to arrange a slumber party for Caroline with Elena and Bonnie? You know your boyfriend is too good when he's doing thoughtful things for your best friend.

In all the crazy, Caroline understandably forgets to meet up with Matt (Zach Roerig) and lies to him that she was with Bonnie, who was sitting in front of Matt at Mystic Grill with Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). So are Bonnie and Jeremy together now? I feel like we missed something. They were very chummy in this episode. Back to the call from Matt... It made me wonder, after everything she's been through, if Caroline craves the normalcy Matt represents more or less. Can she go back to that now that she's a different person? One thing's for certain –- she doesn't want to be friends with Tyler anymore and tells him so when he checks up on her. She rightfully calls him out for just standing there when she and her friends were about to die. Tyler argues that he didn't know who to trust, but in the moment, he made a choice. His picked the strangers over friends. Caroline tells him to pass on a message to his new friends –- what happened to her will never happen again –- and then adds an angry “Get the hell out of my house!”, effectively driving Tyler into Jules' and Brady's arms, er, trailer, where he spills that Mason was looking for a moonstone.

Other brief thoughts:

–- Anybody else get Katherine (Dobrev) vibes from Elena this week? Elena and John's (David Anders) scene in the kitchen was reminiscent of Katherine and John in the Season 1 finale. Elena also whispered “I love you” at Stefan much like Katherine did during the masquerade. Perhaps they share more than just looks and an affection for eye makeup this week?

–- In addition to the shower, we got Damon taking a bath with news reporter Andie Starr (the name made me think of Andie McPhee). “I'm in love with a woman I can never have,” he tells her, compelling and unloading on her much like with last week's girl. “I kill people.” But trying to live up to Elena's “be the better man” mandate doesn't let him be who he really is. And bite!

–- Besides proving that he has a heart, John's return also brings a solution to the Klaus problem: wide oak ashes and a dagger, which Isobel says can kill him. Yeah, that plan is so not going to work. Plus, John seems to be up to something with Isobel. He goes to visit Katherine in the tomb, who says she wants out. “I'm already on it,” he replies. So much for that heart.

Readers, what do you think John is up to? Were you sad to see Tyler abandon Caroline in her time of need? Did your heart swell as much as mine during the Caroline/Stefan scenes?

RELATED:

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Baring and burying Damon's humanity

'The Vampire Diaries': Tyler is in a 'tug of war' between vampires and werewolves, says Michael Trevino

Complete "The Vampire Diaries" coverage on Show Tracker

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

Photo: Damon (Ian Somerhalder), left, and Stefan (Paul Wesley), right, offer up Tyler (Michael Trevino) in exchange for Caroline. Credit: Bob Mahoney / CW

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