Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’: A guilty conscience
Why would I be mad at you, Stefan? You made me become a vampire and now I walk the world alone drinking other people’s blood.
The year is 1912 and the Salvatore brothers haven’t seen each other in nearly fifty years. And Damon still has some animosity toward his younger brother for forcing him to drink blood and complete the transition. Also, it appears he has always been the more stylish of the two.
And then a vampire named Sage, who boxes men and walks around wearing short shorts like this isn’t 1912 where women were shunned and only prostitutes didn’t cover themselves up, shows him that being a vampire isn’t a burden, but a pleasure. Though, in typical woe-is-me-Damon fashion he tells her, “I do not need a woman for pleasure; I am spoken for.” Ah, Damon.
In this episode we get a little more insight into the Brothers Salvatore’s long and storied history. We see Damon let go a little bit, and we find out that Damon is responsible for pushing Stefan into his Ripper persona for the very first time. And that he’s been caring that guilt with him since 1912.
I think that is probably one of the reasons Damon flipped the switch on his humanity and decided to be more like Spike than William the Bloody. While Stefan carried the burden and the guilt of forcing his brother to become a vampire, Damon felt the guilt of creating an unpredictable and unsteady blood addict who left trails of destruction across the country. I guess that’s enough to weigh on anyone’s conscious, even someone like Damon who we’ve usually only seen sharing his emotional guilt with Elena. The flashbacks were a nice way to give background information on who killed the Founders, but also into who the brothers were and what changed to make them the characters we were introduced to in the first season. While that still leaves nearly a century of time unaccounted for in their lives, we’re starting to get more and more pieces along the way.
It’s easy to see why Stefan wants to quit blood cold turkey. He recognizes the dangers of any human blood touching his lips, but I think that his reaction in the alley with the blonde girl was the correct response. He had to bite her, he had to feed, because otherwise that sends a message that addicts never have relapses, they never have cravings. And that’s not true. It’s a constant struggle for any kind of addict to be faced with their vice and walk away. And because Stefan hasn’t been off the red stuff for very long, it’s still very hard for him to walk away. If he had just walked away I think the story would have felt hollow and unbelievable. I like that Damon is helping Stefan through this period, even if he is only doing it to ease his own guilty conscious. Though I actually believe Damon really does care about his brother, just like Stefan cares for him
But of course, just as I was cheering the show for their realistic portrayal of addiction, Elena shows up and makes Stefan take yet another guilt trip to Depression on the Woe is Me Express. Seriously, that fireplace in the Salvatore living room has quietly become Smallville’s barn. So many episodes end with Damon or Stefan staring into its depths, pondering their most recent fuck up while swilling some scotch as a sad indie song plays over the scene. I think I need to make another flowchart to assist viewers in being able to quickly ascertain if a fireplace ending is coming. (Click here for my Delena scene flowchart.)
As for our heroine Elena, she spends most of the episode with ex-boyfriend and currently the only reliable friend she has, Matty. We’re told Bonnie is still angry that Damon turned her mom into a vampire in order to save her best friend’s life, and of course Caroline is helping with Abby’s transition. But back to Matt. He runs with her in the morning, he goes with her to break into Crazy Nanny Carrie’s apartment, he steals old Gilbert journals for her right out from under the sheriff’s nose, and he actually talks to her about her boy problems despite the fact he still carries a torch for her.
As Matt is the only sane person currently living in Mystic Falls he asks Elena what she sees in Stefan and Damon. Because, you know, they’re vampires and he apparently missed the thousands of memos on how Vampires Are Sexy. I guess they don’t have a young adult section at the Mystic Falls Book Emporium. Elena tells him that Stefan made her feel safe because he would never die. Which makes complete sense seeing as she met him right after her parents died. And Damon? “Damon just sorta snuck up on me,” Elena says. “He got under my skin and no matter what I do, I can’t shake him.” Matt knows exactly what she means and tells her, “Once you fall in love with someone I don’t know if you can ever shake them.” Cue the awkward. Elena finally realizes that Matt also still loves her (seriously? What is it with this chick? Why does every man love her? Where the hell is Tyler when you need him?) and suddenly she feels embarassed and awkward for having this conversation in the first place.
Matt Donovan is a freaking saint. He deserves a medal. He deserves a national holiday named in his honor for all the bullshit he puts up with these days. But I’m glad that Elena has Matt. And I’m glad that the writers have been using him more this season. I was beginning to worry that they wouldn’t find a place for him in this crazy world, but they’ve finally figured out where he fits in the Mystic Falls puzzle. He’s the Xander of the show’s Scooby Gang, and it’s never been more clear than when he said, “Sometimes it to pays to be the only normal one in a town of vampires. [You’re] practically invisible.” Spoken like a true Xander, my friend.
Elsewhere in Mystic Falls, Alaric is in jail after Crazy Nanny Carrie shoots him in the chest. What? Yeah, you read that right. She shot him, then fed him vampire blood in order to heal him, but then called the cops and told Sheriff Forbes that Alaric charged her with a knife. This leads the Sheriff to believe Alaric is responsible for the murders of the members of the Founding Families. Obviously, having seen the way the scene in Crazy Nanny Carrie’s dining room played out, we know that she’s a big fat Lying McLiarPants. But we don’t know why she’s framing Alaric. I assume, as I’m sure the rest of the world assumes, it’s because she’s Crazy Nanny Carrie/Melissa Hastings and she’s pure evil. But by the end of the episode, she’s forged a letter from the County Coroner’s office stating that they made a mistake on their first report, you know, the one that said the death of her ex-boyfriend was probably not between the hours she had said.
Ater Alaric is released from prison, she has the audacity to show up on the Gilbert front porch to tell Alaric that he’s crazy and quite possibly being possessed by his Gilbert ring. Wait. What? Yes, we learn that This Has Happened Before and it Will All Happen Again. There’s proof – Elena found it in Samantha Gilbert’s, the granddaughter of famous Jonathan Gilbert, diary. Meanwhile, over at Salvatore Manor, Damon and Stefan have come to the same conclusion: the ring is evil and because it’s saved Alaric so many times already, there’s some majorly bad mojo attached to it and he’s actually the one killing people.
Of course, this also could just be his alcoholism leading to black outs. Who knows? Maybe this is really an after school special and we all had no idea. Don’t drink, kids, because you will kill someone.
Some stray thoughts/observations:
- Damon finally got a haircut. Which means I can finally stop sending those angry e-mails to the producers about his half-mullet.
- The writers and producers seriously need to lay off Alaric. He’s had enough bad shit happen to him. He doesn’t need to be running around killing people in rage blackouts.
- Rebekah is on the hunt for that White Oak tree that has the ability to kill her family. Naturally, Mayor Lockwood’s family used to keep records of the trees in Mystic Falls. Because apparently at one point in time that town was a really boring place to live.
- Sage was obsessed with Finn, the creepy suicidal Original. Other than that: she’s awesome.
- “You know if you keep pushing people away you’re going to end up alone.” Wow, Elena, that was deep.
- “Dear diary, a chipmunk asked me my name today. I told him it was Joe. That lie will haunt me forever.” Of all that dear diary jokes that he could have made, he went for chipmunk? Come on, Damon, you’re better than that. Though I suppose nothing will ever top Jayne’s, “Dear Diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy. Today we were kidnapped by hill folk, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.” Oh, ‘Firefly,’ how I miss thee so.
- Jeremy is still in Denver. Tyler is probably still off in Tibet somewhere learning how to break his sire bond with Oz.
That’s a wrap, guys. Sorry this post was so late. What did you guys think? Are you happy the show is back?
Note: Photo courtesy of The CW.