A long time ago. . . we used to be friends (Paul Wesley & Joseph Morgan)
Last night I had some drinks with friends and one of them told me about how embarrassed she was that she got teary eyed during The Vampire Diaries season premiere. I assured her there was nothing to be embarrassed about – The Vampire Diaries is a good show with writing that gets the viewer so invested that they tear up from time to time. It’s ok to admit that you are involved in the story! When am I going to get to stop defending this show? I know it is on the CW, it has teenagers in it, it’s about vampires (one of whom can be a bit angst-y), it’s on the CW, but none of that discounts the fact that it is pretty well written, has some great performances in it and keeps its viewers hooked with its rich mythology and unrelenting pace. There are many more “prestigious” shows that could learn a thing or two from The Vampire Diaries. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about J.S. I promise.
Oh Damon, you dastardly devil, you. (Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev)
The Vampire Diaries has done something that no other show in my recent memory has been able to do: kept the tension and suspense high all while moving the story forward. The first season barreled along at a breakneck pace which I thought for sure couldn’t be sustained, but then the second season sustained it. And now, three episodes into the third season, the writers are still on a roll, even when traditional knowledge says they should be at a standstill (flashback episodes are notorious momentum killers). It’s just undeniable that behind the teenagers and soap opera clichés, lies a very good show with smart writers who clearly don’t want to let their audience down. Last night’s episode, while not a perfect example of all that The Vampire Diaries is capable of (see below re: lack of plot integration), was a great example of how to work in loads of exposition without dialing down the suspense or emotion.
How awesome is Candice Accola as Caroline? SO awesome.
First things first. Despite the fact that Caroline is my favorite character on this show, she’s still sort of sidelined by the writers. I refuse to do her the same disservice, so let’s get to her torturous night right away. Daddy dearest still has her locked in that dungeon (formerly owned by their vampire savvy ancestors) where he takes off her sun-walking ring, pumps vervain into the room via the ventilation system and taunts her with a bag of blood while opening a gate that lets the light in (those Forbes ancestors really knew how to make a guest feel at home, didn’t they?). What a dick. She begs him to let her go and tells him that she can handle the urges. He says he’s conditioning her to associate vampirism with pain so that she’ll be able to repress her vampire instincts so that he doesn’t have to kill her. That’s totally effed up. Ugh. I hate Caroline’s dad.
Swoon (Accola with Michael Trevino)
At this point the sun has gone down so she can’t be tortured anymore. He leaves, only to find Caroline’s mother standing there with a gun in her hands and Tyler as back up. Tyler swoops into the torture chamber, unchains Caroline, puts her ring back on her finger (foreshadowing? . . . probably not), picks her up and walks her out of there and it is so awesome. It all happens really quickly, but feels so heavy and painful for everyone involved. You can tell that Bill loves his daughter and doesn’t want to have to kill her, but he’s been conditioned by his family that all vampires are monsters. Luckily, Caroline has her mom on her side and Tyler to keep her warm and comforted (“would now be a bad time to give you crap about sneaking out on me?”) because she sure doesn’t have anyone else like her, ahem, best friend Elena. (Ok writers. Can you please please please integrate Caroline and Elena’s storylines. They are supposed to be friends right? LET THEM BE FRIENDS!)
(I want to make the rest of this short and sweet, but I just can’t. There’s too much going on.)
That's a lot of dead people in Stefan's Chicago secret closet.
Katherine (our favorite evil vampire Elena-doppelganger) popped up out of the blue to get an update on things in Mystic Falls and get Damon and Elena back on Stefan’s trail. He and Klaus are in Chicago to figure out why Klaus can’t create any new hybrids (hint: it’s because the non-vampire doppelganger is still alive). Elena and Damon take a wee road trip (“Ooh, put these in the yes pile!” Damon about a pair of lacy underwear while trying to get Elena to pack) and end up at Stefan’s old Chicago apartment (which he apparently still pays for because it doesn’t look to have been inhabited in quite a while). Damon is still trying to open Elena’s eyes to just how evil and dangerous Stefan is and shows her a secret door that opens to a list of names of all of the people he killed – and that list is LONG. But in Elena’s eyes, that’s the past. Damon also gave her Stefan’s journal from when he was in Chicago and she conveniently skipped over all of his blackouts from killing so many people and focussed on how Lexie (his best friend whom Damon killed season 1) taught him to care again.
The 1920's flashbacks were totally fun. I loved all of the flapper dresses and men in tuxedos.
Let’s get the flashbacks out of the way up front: Way back in the 1920′s, Stefan (handsome as ever in a tux) palled around with Klaus (then going by the name Nick) and his sister Rebecca. Klaus was totally into Stefan and his sadistic ways of torturing his victims (he made one of them drink his own wife’s blood) and Rebecca was totally into Stefan. However, somehow, the cops found out about them and shot up their favorite speakeasy with wooden bullets. Klaus got freaked out, told his sister they had to leave, and compelled Stefan to forget all about them until he said otherwise. When Rebecca found out that Stefan wasn’t following them in their escape, she chose to stay behind instead of going with her brother. So, being a big old baby who can’t handle the fact that his sister picked her boyfriend over him, Klaus put a dagger in her heart (one of those nifty daggers with that special ash that petrifies originals, but doesn’t kill them kill them) and left her in a coffin until he the next time he needs her.
Klaus goes to his old witch friend Gloria for help in finding out why he can't make any more wolf-pires.
Well, now the time has come. Stefan and Klaus go to that same speakeasy in the present day. It’s run by Glory, a witch who’s been around since the 20′s (and doesn’t look too bad) and can apparently help Klaus figure out what went wrong with the spell to break the curse so that he can create his wolf-pire army. She says the only way to understand what went wrong with the spell is to contact the witch who created it who just so happens to be dead but she says that Rebecca can help her. After taking the dagger out of his sister and compelling a security guard to let her eat him, Klaus takes Stefan on his next “trip down memory lane” tour stop: his old apartment (where Damon has left Elena). When she hears Klaus and Stefan coming, she hides in the dead man’s list closet which is of course the first place that Klaus wants to show Stefan as evidence of his brutality and the reason Klaus wants him around. Klaus opens the door but doesn’t look inside (what I don’t get is why Klaus can’t smell her or hear her heartbeat. She should have been pretty easy to suss out in her state of panic). When Stefan goes to the closet , he sees Elena and they have one of their amazing moments of eye contact (seriously. Those two say more with one second of eye contact than most characters say in three minutes of dialogue). For a second it seems like he’s going to tell Klaus that she’s there, but he keeps her hidden and gets Klaus to leave with some scotch (“Let’s find someone to pair it with”).
I wish we had seen where Damon was while Stefan was ripping his way through Chicago.
Back at the bar, waiting for Rebecca to wake up and have her security guard breakfast, Stefan asks Klaus why, if they were such good friends, he only knows him as a “hybrid dick who sacrificed my girlfriend on an altar” and Klaus tells him about the compulsion. Damon catches Stefan’s eye after the flashback and he steals away. Stefan tells Damon that he has to get Elena away from Chicago because she’s the reason that Klaus can’t turn any hybrids and he’s about to figure that out. But instead of leaving right away, Damon gives Elena a chance to talk Stefan into coming home and takes a seat next to Klaus to ask for his brother back. Elena tries to hug Stefan into coming home and when that doesn’t work, she tries to stab him in the back with vervain, but he stops her and tells her again to leave him alone (getting pretty damn mean in the process). Klaus has Damon by the throat and is poking him with the sharp end of a drink umbrella (awesome weapon). Damon continues to try to sacrifice himself for his brother, but Klaus just doesn’t have the same bond with Damon that he has with Stefan. Klaus is just about to stake Damon when Glory stops him and he tells Damon that by the time he’s done, Stefan won’t want to go home. Elena tries to convince Stefan that she can help him the way that Lexie did and he tells her that she has to give up, that he doesn’t want to be with her anymore (the weight of all those dead bodies are hanging over his head) and walks away.
Thank God we met Rebecca through flashbacks first. This is not a good look.
Sick of waiting for his sister, Klaus goes back to collect Rebecca and finds her out of her coffin, but not without a dagger. She stabs him but the daggers don’t hurt him anymore (which she knew). He tells her that he brought her a peace offering, Stefan, and he compels Stefan to remember her and his feelings for her. I’m not sure if the memories are a play yet. But it does get Stefan to remember his bond with Klaus and Rebecca and could cause many complications down the road if he’s asked to put his love for Rebecca above his love for Elena. Klaus tells Rebecca that he needs her to contact the original witch and she reaches for her necklace (now around Elena’s neck), apparently the key to that particular inter-dimensional call, and freaks that it’s missing.
Katherine (Dobrev) made for a very fine flapper, indeed.
Damon calls Katherine and tells her that Stefan was where she said he would be. Then she flashes back to the night that the speakeasy got raided and she saw Stefan pick up Rebecca’s necklace (because she’s a total stalker). AND THEN MY TV CUTS OUT! (only for like 10 seconds, but still, I could have missed something important. I didn’t, but I could have!) It comes back to Katherine watching Stefan tell someone (I’m assuming he’s a cop and also the guy that Klaus is running from) that he’s never seen Rebecca or Klaus before.
Stefan in a tuxedo. Never a bad thing.
How do you feel about where The Vampire Diaries is headed this season? My guess is that the cop from the 20′s is the guy that Klaus and Rebecca were running from and that he is going to come back into play in the coming weeks which is a relief. I was starting to get worried about the fact that Klaus was so immortal. At least if he’s running from someone that must mean that there is someone out there who holds a power of some sort over him and since Klaus isn’t really afraid of anything, I’m going to assume that our cop friend holds the power to kill him. I LOVE the Tyler/Caroline relationship (though I still want to see them integrated into the show as a whole) and actually missed Jeremy and Matt and the dead vampire ex-girlfriends (The D-Vegs?) so I’m looking forward to Bonnie’s return from the land of “off-screen relatives” next week. Finally, I’m super excited that Katherine is back in the mix. She always adds a little spice to the Mystic Falls happenings.