I'm a couple days late with this because I was busy fetching a rescue kitten & assorted kitten paraphernalia with my family-in-law for my sister-in-law's birthday (I realise I'm not married yet, but it's much easier to say "sister-in-law" than "my friend & ex-housemate who is also my fiancé’s older brother's girlfriend") but fear not, if by some chance or unfortunate trick of fate you didn't see the first episode of the new series of The Vampire Diaries last Thursday, boy are you in for a treat. I have recapped the entire episode in all its glory just so you don't have to watch it! See how nice I am?
Previously on The Vampire Diaries: Elena is the main character! Stefan & Damon are vampire brothers! They are both in love with her! Damon is Crazy & Impulsive; he's the Bad Boy with a heart of gold! Stefan mostly mopes.
Klaus is the bad guy! He's a vampire born of werewolf blood! Werewolf bites are fatal to vampires but Caroline (who is a blond vampire & Elena's friend) is totally dating a werewolf! This one time, a werewolf bit Damon & he would've died but Klaus's blood is the antidote to werewolf bites & he let Damon have some on the condition that Stefan leave home & come with him on his Evil Mission to create an army of vampire-werewolf hybrids! Are you confused yet? No? Okay, let's go!
Cliché count #1: horror film opening scene cliché! It's night. Scantily-Clad Blonde Girl's dog hasn't come home. She looks for him in the garden, complaining of the heat. ("See, feminist viewers? That's why I'm scantily clad. You would be too if you lived in this town. Don't be so quick to judge.") A tall, dark, handsome stranger approaches her. His car broke down a few miles away. His phone battery is dead. He needs to call a garage.
Okay. Let's revisit some of the previous Life Lessons we learned in the last two seasons. Life Lesson #1: If someone asks to be invited into your house, they are a vampire. Don't let them in.
Thankfully, Scantily-Clad With Good Reason Blonde Girl (whose handle is getting a bit long at this point) reads this blog, & has taken my lessons to heart. Also, she's from Florida. Country people are trusting; people from Florida know the score.
Life Lessons from Florida Girl: If a stranger says his car has broken down & his cell phone's out of battery & he asks to use your phone, don't let him in the house, bring the phone out to him instead. He's only saying he's not a serial killer because he's a vampire. Unfortunately, vampires have magic mesmerising eyes & you're going to end up inviting him into your house anyway where he will threaten you & your housemate until you tell him where your often-absent werewolf housemate is & then he'll get his friend to kill you both. Kinda makes you wonder why he even bothered with the car-breaking-down story in the first place.
Life Lesson #3: If it's nighttime & your dog hasn't come home yet, just leave him outside. He can come back inside in the morning.
The friend I mentioned in the last paragraph is none other than our favourite tortured teenage vampire, the mopey-eyed, vertical-haired Stefan Salvatore! In this season, Stefan is evil. You can tell the second he walks in the door because his hair is more vertical than it was last season & he looks more constipated than mopey.
He's like a cross between Jedward & Edward Cullen.
You can also tell he's evil because he's running around with Evil English Klaus & killing innocent girls. But it's mostly the hair.
One thing I like about this show is that it doesn't have a theme tune or an opening sequence. You just get the title on the screen, dripping a few drops of blood in case you didn't understand what "vampire" means, & then it's right back into the action with a nice, popular indie/emo song.
In this scene, we reconnect with our main character, Elena, & her little brother Jeremy as they wake up & set about their days, staring mournfully into the distance at regular intervals to remind us that they may seem like normal teenagers but they're Been Through A Lot.
Caroline the Once-Annoying, who is now a vampire like all the other vampires walking about in sunlight, meeting up with their werewolf boyfriends, shopping & talking to their bffs on the phone, fills Elena in on all the local "animal attack" deaths that may be the handiwork of her boyfriend. Most importantly, though, she's planning her a party. It's a birthday party. It's her birthday party. Happy birthday darling. We love you very very very very very very very much. </Bright Eyes reference - hey, it seemed fitting>
Elena & Alaric (her history teacher come now-dead-vampire-aunt's boyfriend, who has been living on her couch all summer) talk about the possibility of Stefan being dead vs being with Klaus & killing people left right & centre, & Alaric wishes Elena a happy birthday & Elena heads out. We know it's not going to be a happy birthday, after the first part of the conversation.
Meanwhile, Damon is lying in a bubble bath, drinking champagne. Because Damon knows what being a vampire's really about. He finishes the bottle & tells his compelled journalist girlfriend to get him more. She tells him he can get it himself because she's not his slave, which is funny because as she's being magically mesmerised to be with him against her will, she kind of is. But Damon fetches his own champagne, because there's only room for one Bad Boy vampire in this series, & his brother's vertical hair has currently got that covered.
Cliché count #2: Rom-com cliché! Elena comes in & bumps into Damon, who is naked but for bubble-bath suds! She covers her eyes & throws him a towel & he smirks & I should make a list of films in which the accidentally-walking-in-on-someone-naked-because-they-can't-be-bothered-with-towels-after-showers trope features. Does that even happen in real life? If it has happened to you, please, share your stories! And next time you get out of the shower, put on a towel.
In this scene, we learn that Stefan's been AWOL for two months, & that the Sheriff has given Elena & Damon all the leads she can but they've all been dead ends. We also learn that Ian Somerhalder still does that weird thing with his eyes that I think means he's trying to look sincere.
Back in town, Jeremy is at work at Mystic Grill, which is apparently the only eatery in town & also the only place any of the characters ever work. He's having a video call with his Good Witch Girlfriend, Elena's best friend Bonnie. She makes the mistake of telling him that a summer job is good for him because he needs some normal in his life.
Life Lesson #4: Supernatural creatures all have an inbuilt sensor that can pick up phrases like "you need a bit of normal in your life" or "it's a good thing everything's back to normal now" spoken at any volume within a fifty mile radius.
The lights in the stock room flash: a ghost approaches! It's Jeremy's Drugged-Up-Party-Girl-Turned-Vampire now-staked ex-girlfriend, Vicky! But in another flash of stock room light, she's gone. Jeremy is understandably shaken. He bends down to pick up another box when his other staked-vampire-turned-ghost ex-girlfriend, Anna, appears! She reaches out to touch him but at that very moment Matt (for those who don't remember, Matt is Vampire Caroline's ex & Vampire-Turned-Ghost Vicky's brother) appears to call him to wait tables. Phew!
Life Lesson #5: Avoid dating too many dead vampire chicks. They'll invariably come back to haunt you.
Caroline & Werewolf Tyler (who used to be a jock jerk who slept with Matt's mother but is now a Nice Guy because it turns out he wasn't really being a jerk because he was a werewolf all along, which totally makes sense) are having lunch at Mystic Grill, because there's nowhere else to eat in this town. They're not actually boyfriend & girlfriend (yet) but their parents think they are & secretly they totally want to be.
Meanwhile, in a bar in another small town, Klaus has found his werewolf. You can tell he's a werewolf because he has facial hair & is wearing a check shirt. Stefan shows the werewolf how badass he is by ordering Scotch on the rocks & threatening him with a wolfsbane drinking game.
The following day, Alaric & Damon arrive at Scantily-clad-but-now-dead Blond Girl's beautiful white house.
Seriously, isn't it just beautiful? Damon doesn't want Elena to know they're following leads but Alaric doesn't like keeping things secret, which is understandable seen how well keeping secrets worked for him last season.
Inside the beautiful white house, things are quiet... Too quiet. The dead girls are sitting on the couch, covered in blood, & Damon recognises their deaths as Stefan's handiwork because they are torn apart limb from limb & put neatly back together, & "there's a reason he used to be called the Ripper." Not cool, Vampire Diaries. You do not steal Rupert Giles' nickname for a stupid mopey vampire. Shame on you!
Back in Mystic Falls, Elena knows Damon's holding out on her. (For leads on Stefan, don't be dirty!) Tyler thinks Damon doesn't want to find his brother because he's in love with Elena & that his head's a bit messed up because Elena kissed him that one time when she thought he was going to die. Elena doesn't like Tyler's hypothesis.
Uh-oh, Caroline isn't happy because Tyler's bringing a date to the party. Slutty Sophie is the name of his date, but he doesn't mind Caroline calling her that because he's only taking her because it's been "kinda slow in that department lately" & because he's a werewolf now he's horny all the time. Poor Sophie's really got herself a great guy there.
But Caroline's horny too! She tells Tyler it's a Vampire Thing & he explains that his horniness is a Werewolf Thing & yay bonding over mutual horniness that leads to unresolved sexual tension!
Back at the Pretty White House Alaric & Damon are burning the evidence of Stefan's crimes (Nooo! Not the Pretty White House!) where they discover a Secret Werewolf Trapdoor. Now they know why Stefan & Klaus were snooping about!
Meanwhile, in the bar in the other small town, the evil duo are torturing the werewolf, by using him as a dartboard, for information on his pack. The other occupants of the bar are compelled not to notice the blood & screams, & seeing them go about their evening in the background is actually pretty creepy. Well done, Vampire Diaries! Klaus knows that Damon's on their trail & wants to kill him, but Stefan would prefer go himself & make sure his brother doesn't bother them again. See, he's still a good guy underneath the evil hair!
In Mystic Falls, Elena is getting dressed for the party & being sad. Damon gives Elena a necklace she thought she'd lost to go with the dress. This makes her a bit happier.
Cliché count #3: Romance cliché! Man gives a necklace to the woman he loves; she brushes aside her hair & asks him to tie it for her. In romance films, girls don't know how to tie their own necklaces.
Cliché count #4: High School film cliché! Good Girl's best friend throws her a party & says "of course" when Good Girl asks that it be a small party. Resulting party is a kegger!
Yay drunk extras! True story: I was once a drunk extra in a TV show. It was a lot of fun. You have to dance to no music & take off your shoes in case the boom mic picks up the noise of your heels.
Jeremy & Matt are out of control! You can tell because they're lighting up a joint. They commiserate over their hard lives. Jeremy wins the Dramatic Life Story award by virtue of seeing dead girlfriends.
Meanwhile, in the news studio, Damon's compelled girlfriend is on the phone. You can tell she works in TV because she says things like "can we do this in the AM? I have a party to go to." She is the last person leaving & almost all the lights are out. Do you think it may be time for a cliché?
Cliché count #5: Horror movie cliché! Blond Woman is the last person left in the building! Almost all the lights are out. It's up to her to lock up. Suddenly, a light turns on! She says "hello?" about twelve times. She asks who's there. She says it's not cool/funny when no one answers. She begins to get scared. She hears footsteps. She says "hello?" a few more times. Suddenly, she starts to run. She falls over. A Dark Figure approaches...
It would appear that Stefan's method of getting his brother out of his hair is by going after his girlfriend. Because that's original.
Back at the keg party, Caroline is drinking rum from the bottle & watching Tyler dance with Slutty Sophie. When they come up to her, Caroline compels Sophie to leave the party & Tyler pretends not to understand why.
Damon gets a call from his "fake compelled girlfriend" (Alaric's words this time, not mine) & goes to rescue her. Elena & Caroline are both hiding in Damon's bedroom - Caroline because she needs a baggie of human blood & Elena because she's too busy being sad to party. She's Super Sad because everyone just wants her to get on with her life & eat birthday cake & stuff & she just wants to find her homicidal moping boyfriend. That's when she finds Damon's Secret Stash of Clues! She figures out that Damon's been tracking Stefan without her!
Meanwhile, the Damon in question arrives at the news studio to find his fake compelled girlfriend & finds his brother instead. Stefan wants Damon to let him go & when Damon says he can't do that because of Elena, Stefan compels Damon's now twice-compelled girlfriend to jump off the light rigging to her death. Stefan thinks this is kinda cool. Now, we all know that vampire blood has Super Healing Powers & that it has brought at least six characters back from the dead so far, but Fake Compelled Girlfriend isn't an important enough character for this to even cross Damon's mind. Instead, he bends over her body & looks slightly put out as dramatic music plays.
Back at the party, Matt & Jeremy are getting ready to drive home. If there's one thing I've learned from watching shows like Gilmore Girls & The Vampire Diaries it's that Americans all drink & drive. Maybe this is true. I don't know. I do know that neither of these kids is in a fit state to drive home.
Jeremy gets into his car & the ghost of his ex-girlfriend appears in the passenger seat. See, way too stoned to drive. Vicky wants Jeremy to help him but she disappears before telling him how or why, as Matt decides to take Jeremy up on the offer to drive him home. When Jeremy turns on his headlights, however, Ghost Anna appears right in front of his car. Matt can't see the dead vampire & asks Jeremy what's wrong, which prompts him to do the right thing & decide to walk home. That's a good, responsible, underage drink-driver right there.
Inside the house, the party's still going & Caroline's still mad at Tyler who's still pretending not to know why. That is, until he confronts her about it & they end up kissing as hungrily as only a horny vampire & a horny werewolf can. Which is to say like any normal teenager, really.
Damon returns home & goes straight to his bedroom where an annoyed Elena waves his Secret Stash of Clues in his face & gives out to him from keeping things from her. Damon finally cracks & tells her that Stefan's a ripping killing machine & that she's an idiot for thinking he'd ever come home. This scene is mostly comprised of that weird eye thing that Ian Somerhalder does. It's really very distracting.
At Jeremy & Elena's house, Jeremy & Matt have the munchies. Because, remember, they smoked a joint because they are so out of control. It's important to remember these things. Their giggles dissipate when Jeremy tells Matt he's been seeing the ghost of his dead vampire sister. In fairness, that'd put a dampener on most evenings. Matt doesn't buy the whole ghost business (because you know, witches & werewolves & vampires are fine, but you have to draw the line somewhere) & thinks Jeremy just misses Vicky. Jeremy humours him & lets him leave with the ice cream.
Back in the bar in the small town far far away, Klaus is still torturing the plaid-wearing werewolf. He forces him to drink his blood, then slits his throat. Stefen returns, still pretending to be Angel in season two of Buffy & failing miserably. Klaus knows that no matter how high Stefan's hair gets, he still cares for his brother & for his old life, & he advises Stefan to drink more human blood, because it makes it easier for him to let go of his emotions. Stefan mostly looks into the middle distance trying to look tortured.
The final scene in every Vampire Diaries episode is brought to us by today's favourite emo pop song. It plays dramatically as the scene cuts dramatically between all the main characters doing dramatic things. The lyrics are always Deep & Meaningful. In this week's scene the song seems to be about drops in the ocean & not being able to sleep & Alaric is packing because he's not a role model for Elena & Jeremy. Also his dead vampire girlfriend's face is all over the house. Cut to Caroline's house, where she & Tyler engage in horny werewolf-vampire sexual relations & the song talks about ending up together & holding you closer. Cut to Damon's house, where Damon is trashing the place, because that's what proper vampires do when they're sad, & the song lyrics are more or less drowned out by the smashing. Cut to the small town far far away where Stefan storms out of the bar & looks tortured while the song says something about rain in a desert & someone being someone else's heaven, then he takes a baggie of human blood out of his back pocket pocket. Cut back to Elena's house where she picks up her birthday card (see Elena, we told you it wouldn't be a happy birthday) & looks at it sadly & the song now seems to be about god & trusting old friends. Stefan calls Elena's phone from a new cell & doesn't say anything when she answers. She guesses that the unknown caller phoning her in the middle of the night is her homicidal vampire boyfriend & tells him he's going to be okay as he makes duck lips at his phone which I think means he's upset. Or tortured. If in doubt about any of Stefan's emotions, it's usually safe enough to assume he's feeling tortured.
Elena whispers to Stefan that she loves him, & that he should never let that go. And the song tells us that you are my heaven.
But wait! We thought this was the end & that the credits would begin to roll but no! There is another scene! This is the typical Vampire Diaries post-emo-pop-song-dramatic-montage cliffhanger scene. Darn, just when we thought it was over. In this scene, Caroline wakes up next to Tyler & sneaks downstairs while he's still asleep but runs into his mother in the hall. Awkward... She goes to get her purse but it somehow burns her hand! And then Mrs Lockwood shoots her in the back! Whatever will happen next? Find out in next week's episode of The Vampire Diaries!