Monday, October 3, 2011

Important Life Lessons & an Overabundance of Flashbacks: The Vampire Diaries 3:3 Recap

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: All this stuff happened, & people sighed a lot.

Currently on The Vampire Diaries, Damon is drinking, because he's a Bad Boy, & also because that's how every episode begins. Why isn't he in a bathtub, you ask? Well, I don't know, but I think this show needs to deliver us extra shirtlessness this episode to make up for him being needlessly fully clothed in this scene.

Damon's phone rings. He gives out to the unknown caller for interrupting his drink, but the caller turns out to be Katherine! She can interrupt his drink any time! For those of you just joining us this season, Katherine is Elena's Evil Vampire Doppelgänger who is also both Damon & Stefan's sire & former lover!

Life Lesson #1: You can always tell the evil doppelgänger from the good because the evil one's got wavy hair.

Damon fills Katherine in on everything that's happened & realises that although he doesn't know where Stefan is right now, Katherine does. She plays all mysterious with Damon but tells him that since Klaus's werepire army didn't quite work out as planned, he is now storming around looking for answers. Damon's not too happy that Katherine seems to be looking out for his brother.

Damon asks Katherine where Stefan is & we cut to Chicago, where Stefan apparently lived during his Ripper days. Somewhere, Rupert Giles is turning in his... chair? Bed? Is there a version of that idiom for people who aren't dead? Klaus has brought Stefan here to re-awaken the beast.

Flashback time!

Flashback #1: The scene is sepia-tinted! Jazz music plays! The cars are old-fashioned! We have arrived in Chicago Of The Past!

Voice-Over Klaus tells us that it is prohibition, where everything's forbidden & therefore so much fun. Stefan is in an old-fashioned car making out with killing a moaning girl. He steals the flower from her hair & puts it in his lapel because he's so smooth. The flashback pauses for the title scene...

... & we're back in prohibition-era Chicago, where Angelus Stefan enters a speakeasy where everybody knows who he is. The pretty jazz singer knows him! The pretty dancing girls know him! Even the pretty Mysterious Blond English Flapper who steals his drink knows him! He doesn't know her, though, hence the "Mysterious." Not letting that stop her, she kisses him, does that veiny face thing that means a vampire's getting all turned on by someone's blood in the vicinity, & informs him that he's still wearing his date. Is this a Vampire Speakeasy?

Before we can find out, the flashback ends & Klaus is reminding Stefan of how magical Chicago was in the Olden Days but Stefan tells him he doesn't remember most of it. That's not what the flashbacks suggest... Nostalgic chitchat over, they get down to business. (Not that kind of business, get your mind out of the gutter!)

Life Lesson #2: Vampires are never gay. Neither are witches, or werewolves, or ghosts. Or humans, for that matter.

Speaking of witches, we're gonna meet a new one! Klaus says that his Favourite Witch is the only one who can help them with their werepire problem. Now, I will bet you a million dollars that this new witch will be the only African-American character introduced so far this season. Because

Life Lesson #3: All African-Americans are witches. All witches are African-American. This has been true for the last two seasons so I don't see why it'd change now.

Back in good old Mystic Falls, emo pop music plays & Elena wakes up to find Damon lying on her bed. At least he's fully clothed. She's not too happy about being woken up at 6am to find her boyfriend's brother in her bed, & you know what, I can totally understand that. Damon is bright-eyed & bushy-tailed & ready to start the Stefan hunt. He tells Elena to start packing but instead rifles through her drawers & pulls out her underwear. Don't you just love that roguish charm?

Meanwhile, in a dark & dank dungeon cell - which there seem to be a lot of in this small town - Caroline calls out to her dad to talk to her. He comes in, but only after having weakened her with vervain gas from the air vents. He wants to know why she can walk in sunlight. Caroline actually believes her clearly evil & even more clearly lying father when he insists that's all he wants to know & that's the only reason he's had her chained to a chair in a cell for the last week, & she shows him her Magical Vampire Sunshine ring. Which he immediately takes off her. Of course. Then he opens the dungeon's secret vampire sunroof & watches her scream.

Later that day, Elena & Damon are on a road trip. Rock music plays, because you can't have emo music on a road trip. Damon has stolen Stefan's old diary from 1922 because he's actually eight years old, but Elena refuses to invade her boyfriend's privacy. Like that'll last. So Damon, ever helpful, & also a very responsible driver, decides to read a selection of entries aloud over the steering wheel. We learn nothing new: Stefan'd black out & wake up with blood on him, in strange places & with (gasp) women he didn't recognise. Elena tells Damon to keep his eyes on the road (thank you Elena!) & begins to read the diary herself. Again we learn nothing new other than the fact that Stefan has ugly handwriting.

Flashback time!

Flashback #2: In the speakeasy in the Olden Days, Stefan is drinking, watched by the Mysterious Blond English Flapper Vampire he sound so intriguing in his diary. Stefan is being a Bad Boy because he's laughing loudly with his drinking buddies & asking MBEFV if he's offending her when she comes over to tell him to pipe down. He really does make ever such a convincing Bad Boy. MBEFV puts him in his place & refuses to tell him her name until he's earned it. She really should tell him soon, because MBEFV isn't exactly the prettiest epithet.

The sepia scene blurs back to modern colour & Present Day Stefan & Klaus look around the now-empty bar that used to be a speakeasy, trying to jog Stefan's memory. But what's this? The bar isn't empty after all! Someone's here - a woman who recognises Klaus! It's the pretty jazz singer from 1922! The only African-American character we've seen all day! She must be the witch!

Klaus says: "Gloria's a very powerful witch" & I'm pretty relieved that I don't owe you all a million dollars. Stefan is sent behind the bar to fix them all some drinks while Klaus & Gloria mull over what could've gone wrong with Klaus's werepire spell. Gloria explains that all spells have loopholes, but with one as old as the werepire spell, she'd have to get in contact with the witch who created it. I'm guessing she doesn't mean on the phone. Klaus confirms this suspicion when he points out that this would be the Original Witch, who just happens to be Very Dead. Gloria says that she can probably get a text message or something out to this Very Dead Original Witch, but only if someone named Rebecca helps her.

That's when Stefan finds a photo of himself up on the wall of the bar. It's black & white, he's wearing a tux & smiling, & his arm is around... a grinning Klaus! Dun dun dunnnnnn...

That's a pretty goofy picture.

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline's mom (who is also the sheriff, for those who don't remember) is leaving her daughter a voicemail about meeting up for lunch. Someone knocks at the door. She turns around & it's Tyler.

Meanwhile, in the Secret Vampire Dungeon, Caroline is burning & screaming & pleading with her dad to stop. He finally snaps the sunroof shut & explains that he's not actually torturing her, he's trying to cure her. Because that makes sense. He wants her to start associating vampirism with pain, so every time he holds a baggie of blood up to her & she does that veiny face thing, she gets burned. I'm pretty sure this is a metaphor for something but it's early on a Monday morning & I really couldn't be bothered.

In Chicago, Damon & Elena are visiting the apartment Stefan used to live in. It's kind of a dive, which is something Elena notices & comments on, but Damon explains that it's right across the road from what used to be an all-girls school that coincidentally got shut down for attendance issues. Nice. They break into the apartment, which looks like it's been empty for some time, but Damon opens the Secret Pantry Trapdoor (not to be confused with a Secret Panty Trapdoor) & shows Elena Stefan's hidden alcohol & creepy wall covered with a very long list of all his victims. Damon admits that he wasn't exactly a fluffy puppy in the 20s either, but that Stefan "Ripper" Salvatore was far worse. Then he heads out to find his brother, leaving Elena in the creepy apartment to "think up a plan."

Yeah, that'd be my reaction too.

Meanwhile, also in Chicago, Stefan wants to know why he doesn't remember Klaus, &, for that matter, why Klaus never mentioned knowing him before now. Klaus tells Stefan he's far too busy to walk around memory lane with him right now, & that anyway, Past Klaus & Past Stefan never got along (that's not what that photo suggests...) but gives us another flashback anyway. Yay flashbacks!

Flashback #3: Stefan is kissing killing a flapper girl in the neck. Oh my! So is the Mysterious Blond English Flapper Vampire! Oh my oh my! Stefan & MBEFV are sharing a lady! And kissing each other! What a decadent decade the 1920s was! Stefan stops his smooching to admire MBEFV's necklace, & I'm gonna take a screenshot of it right now cause I'm sure it's an Important Plot Point & will come up again shortly.

I must be right, because MBEFV tells Stefan a witch gave it to her & it's supposedly magical.

Life Lesson #4: All jewellery is magical jewellery.

But what's this? A man has come to tear MBEFV away from Stefan! And he's calling her Rebecca! And Rebecca says he'll kill Stefan! It's none other than our favourite Evil English Werepire, Klaus!

Past Klaus thinks Stefan has funny hair too! I like him already, even if he does look much handsomer in the 21st century. Klaus is bored & wants to leave. Rebecca tells him to go without her because she's not his girlfriend but Klaus reminds her that she's his sister! Uh oh! He also says that as she's his sister she has to do as he says. I'm pretty sure that's not how it works.

The sepia fades & we're back in the warehouse (I accidentally typed werehouse & now I can't stop imagining a pack of nice suburban bungalows that transform into a block of tenement flats every full moon) with Present Klaus (who looks so much better than Past Klaus) & Stefan, who reminds us that as Klaus is an Original Vampire (or was before he became a werepire), Rebecca is one too.

Oh! The werehouse ("Raaar! Tenement flats!") is full of coffins! I'm having flashbacks to The Hunger.

At least there are no doves... Klaus opens one of the coffins, & there is our friend MBEFV, aka Rebecca, looking significantly less beautiful than the last time we saw her, which may or may not have something to do with the stake stuck in her heart.

Now, last season we learned (through Elena's trial & error) that you can kill an Original Vampire by staking them through the heart with a Special Magical Dagger, but that if you want the Original Vampire to come back to life - or rather, un-death - like every other bloody character who dies in this show, all you need to do is remove the dagger. Simple as that!

Life Lesson #5: Nobody ever stays bloody well dead!

Klaus removes the dagger. Dun dun dunnnnn...

As it turns out, however, Rebecca's not too rushed about reviving. I think we've just about got time for another flashback!

Flashback #4: Stefan, Rebecca & Klaus are in a bar, because that's clearly all anybody did in the 20s. Klaus is quizzing Stefan about what makes him worthy of his Original Vampire sister. What an elitist! A man with a creepy pencil moustache comes up to their booth wanting to know where his wife is. We're supposed to think she's one of Stefan's victims, but when he calls her she comes up the stairs. Pencil-Face Husband turns to leave but Stefan compels him to sit with them, slits his wife's wrist & fills a wine glass with her blood. Hey, at least it's not a bottle of Bud like last episode.

So, about once an episode (this season, anyway), The Vampire Diaries throws in one genuinely creepy scene amongst all the dramatic emo music. Today, this is that scene. Stefan sends Pencil-Face's wife off to bandage her wrist & compels her horrified husband to drink the whole glass. It's pretty simple, but actually really disturbing. Well done, Vampire Diaries!

Then, in a swish of sepia, we're back to present-day Chicago, where Klaus is leading Stefan back out of the werehouse ("Arroooogh! My bricks are lengthening!"), stopping only to compel the security guard to send Rebecca to Gloria's bar when she revives, & offer himself as a mid-morning snack in the process.

Stefan still isn't sure he can believe Klaus, who claims Stefan trusted him with one of his secrets back in the Olden Days. He's willing to prove this... by taking Stefan to his old apartment. Uh oh!

Back at Gloria's bar, which isn't empty any more, Damon approaches & makes small talk with the witch, who clearly remembers him. Gloria warns Damon that his brother is running with the wrong crowd (although I hardly think Klaus constitutes as a crowd) & that the Evil Duo will be back in the bar later that night.

In Stefan's old apartment, Elena is reading his diary. Told you the respect for his privacy wouldn't last. Again, we learn nothing new: Stefan's awfully emo; Lexie (his pretty blond vampire best friend who was killed by Damon last season when Damon was still the resident Bad Boy) saves him from throwing himself under a train, & soon her newest project is Getting Stefan To Laugh, which clearly doesn't stick if it ever went well, & all in all, for an evil vampire in the 1920s, Stefan's pretty boring. Elena sighs. We're all sighing here, Elena.

Suddenly, she hears voices out in the hall! It's the Evil Duo, one half of whom isn't aware that she's still alive & that that's the reason his whole werepire army experiment failed! What is she going to do?

Klaus throws the door open! He can feel her presence with his Magical Werepire Senses! Elena has hidden behind the Secret Pantry Door. She should've gone with under the bed. She recognises Stefan's voice & gives the Secret Pantry Door a Very Sad Look. Klaus tells Stefan that he'd wondered at the time why Stefan'd asked Pencil-Face Husband's name (Liam Grant, in case you're interested), but after Klaus shared his secret he understood. Oh dear, Elena, you're really not safe behind that Secret Pantry Door!

Klaus explains Stefan's victim-name-writing ritual... and throws open the Secret Pantry Door! He stands aside & Stefan steps in! He moves forward, excruciatingly slow step by excruciatingly slow step... Elena cowers close to the wall... Thankfully, Klaus has decided to explore the rest of the apartment, because Stefan turns the pantry corner & sees Elena & the romantic piano music should really give the game away but Klaus remains oblivious to the soundtrack & Stefan & Elena stare into each other's eyes...

Until Stefan calls out to Klaus to come see what he's found! Stefan how could you? But look, it's okay, he's just taking out a bottle of 1918 single malt whiskey! (It's Klaus's favourite.) Stefan closes the Secret Pantry Door & the Evil Duo go out to find somebody to pair it with.

Slightly later, Elena is still in the apartment, holding a syringe of vervain as protection. Footsteps sound down the corridor... but it's only Damon. Elena gives out to him for having taken an hour to get back after she called him to say she was almost discovered by Klaus. He's feigning indifference but you can tell he really cares because he's doing that weird eye thing he always does when he's being sincere.

Back in the bar, Rebecca still hasn't showed & Stefan wants to know why Klaus is so keen to have him as his wingman. Is it because he tortured innocent people so well? Is it his impeccable taste in button-down shirts? Is it the hair? Is it that Klaus secretly has the hots for him? I think we may find out in another flashback!

Flashback #5: In the Olden Days, Klaus & Stefan are at a bar, because that's all that existed in the 20s, drinking shots, which is exactly what they were doing in the present day, in the same bar! Isn't that clever? Turns out Klaus is really emo in the Olden Days (also, his name is Nick, which is so much less cool than Klaus) & he thinks he's a monster but Stefan persuades him that he's a king. This, Stefan, is just how Evil EnglishWerepires are created. They bond & clap each other on the back & talk about Rebecca who apparently doesn't do anything at half speed. Oo-er.

Stefan tells Klaus he's a good friend & they toast to their undying love droll camaraderie & we return to the present day where they look lovingly into each others' eyes & clink shotglasses to friendship.

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, Caroline is still being Not-Tortured by her charming father. He says he cried when he heard she was a vampire but she insists she's learned to adapt & doesn't need to be fixed. It always makes me really uncomfortable when these kinds of homosexuality/vampire comparisons are made (see also True Blood). I mean, the analogy works fine (if unsubtly) in X Men where mutants are just ordinary-but-considered-different kids, but when it comes to vampires who by nature murder people, the comparison becomes a good bit more problematic.

Anyway, Caroline still goes all veiny at the blood baggies & we learn that her dad is actually pretty sympathetic because he's only torturing her so he won't have to kill her. Isn't that nice? Caroline's mom doesn't think so, because she suddenly appears behind Caroline's dad when he leaves the dungeon, & points a gun to his head.

Bill entreats the Caroline's mom to let him continue torturing their daughter, because they love her, but thankfully she's got some sense because she calls Tyler in to break Caroline out & rescue her.

Back at the bar in Chicago, Stefan wants to know how he & Klaus were once so pally when he only remembers him as the werepire jerk (only he uses the word "dick" because he's badass; I'm not badass, so I have to settle for "jerk") who sacrificed his girlfriend to break some stupid curse.

Flashback time again! 

Flashback #6: This time it's a literal flash (I see what you did there...) because someone's taking a picture!

Those old cameras look so cool. Anyway, Stefan & Rebecca are dancing & I seriously covet her dress.

Klaus looks on broodingly until he notices the dramatic screeching music that's beginning to scream. He was a lot more attune to the soundtrack in the 20s. The music is heralding the police! They're shooting the whole place up! Bullets fly! Gin bottles shatter! People scream! Stefan & Rebecca hide behind the bar & notice that they're using wooden bullets! Rebecca gasps: that means He's here! He who?

Klaus downs his drink & marches towards the couple. He pulls Rebecca away but, Cinderella-like, she loses her necklace! Klaus comes back, looks Stefan in the eye & compels him to forget all about him & Rebecca until he tells him otherwise. That's not a very nice thing to do to your bro, Klaus. Stefan looks vaguely dazed & walks away.

Back in the present day, Stefan figures that Klaus & his sister wouldn't need to cover their tracks unless they were running from someone...

Meanwhile, Damon has arrived. He beckons Stefan into the parking lot where Stefan gives out to him for having brought Elena, who is the Key To Everything, to within Klaus's reach. Again. He warns Damon to tell Elena to go home & forget about him. Again. But Elena's standing right behind him so he can tell her himself.

Damon joins Klaus at the bar & they banter a bit before Klaus grabs Damon by the throat. Outside, Elena hugs Stefan & asks him to come home & it's all very sweet until she tries to stab him in the back with the vervain syringe from earlier & he grabs her arm before she can & growls at her that he doesn't want to go home.

Back inside, Klaus is playing pin-the-cocktail-umbrella-on-the-vampire & Damon's trying to convince him to take him on as his wingman instead of Stefan. Klaus is having none of it, & tries to stake Damon but Gloria sets the stake on fire with her magic witchy powers because she disapproves of murder in her bar.

In the parking lot, Stefan & Elena & the increasingly dramatic music are having a Moment. Stefan explains that he has left a string of bodies from Florida to Tennessee (which sounds like it could be the name of a Country & Western song) & that Elena can't save him the way Lexie did in the 20s because it took him thirty years to get himself together & that's half Elena's life. The music builds & builds & he totally pulls an Edward-in-New-Moon on her & says he doesn't want to be with her any more & that part of his life is over & he doesn't love her so there.

Life Lesson #6: Girls never, ever see through the whole "pretending I don't love you to protect you" act. Ever.

Dramatic Music is Dramatic.

A little later on, in the car, Elena is fingering the necklace Stefan gave her in Season 1, which looks surprisingly familiar... She is Very Very sad & doesn't want to talk about it so Damon just drives them home. There'll be no roadtrip rock music this time around.

And now it's time for another Deep & Meaningful emo pop song closing scene!

This week's Sad Song is even sadder than usual, & seems to be about sheltering & hiding away & Caroline's mom gives her a baggie of blood & tucks her into bed & tells her that her dad will come around. Tyler comes in & gets into bed with her & Caroline cries because her dad hates her & the song is about making things better. Cut to the werehouse ("Raaaargh! I'm really craving some staircases right now!") where Klaus approaches his sister's coffin to find it empty, with the bloody corpse of the security guard beside it, & the sad song switches to Scary String-section Music & Rebecca appears in front of Klaus, stabs him with the Special Magical Dagger & tells him to go to hell.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Deep & Meaningful Emo Pop Closing Scene to bring you a flashback! 

Flashback #7: This time, the flash is those old-fashioned headlights you get on old-fashioned cars. Rebecca is outside the bar, waiting for Stefan. The Werepire Formerly Known as Nick tells her that he'd have gotten them caught & to forget him but Rebecca doesn't want to run any more because she's in love. NickKlaus (ohhh, I get it, like Nicholas! Nick, Klaus, it's actually the same name! I'm so smart) tells her to choose between him & Stefan & she chooses Stefan but Klaus doesn't like that too much so he stabs her with the Special Magical Dagger.

Back in the present, we quickly discover that the Special Magical Dagger doesn't work on werepires. Because that would just be too easy. Klaus gets that Rebecca might be a tad ticked off at having been shut up in a coffin for almost a century, so he brings Stefan in & compels him to remember her again. Flashback montage ensues! (I think a Flashback Montage counts as two flashbacks, but we'll just call it Flashback #8.)

Stefan now remembers that he & Klaus are friends, & Klaus tells Rebecca the real reason they're all together again: Gloria says Rebecca has something she needs to contact the Original Witch. Rebecca reaches to her throat... but her necklace isn't there! Uh oh, we know who has it!

Back in Mystic Falls, Damon is drinking, again, while on the phone to Katherine, again. He tries to guess where she's calling from (Spain is his hunch) but she won't tell him.

What's this? Another flashback? Don't you think we've had enough flashbacks for one episode? 

Flashback #9: (Seriously? Nine?) We're back at the bar, & the Chicago PD are cleaning the mess up, because they didn't have cleaning staff back in those days. Or maybe they killed them all. Anyway. The necklace is still on the ground where it fell & a woman's heels clack into the frame, &, unsurprisingly, it's Katherine. Only she's wearing her hair in a bob, which is pretty surprising, & kinda cute.

She watches Stefan pick up the necklace & a man purporting to be from the Chicago PD holds up a picture of Klaus & Rebecca & asks does Stefan recognise them. At least he can say honestly that he doesn't. Stefan pockets the necklace & Katherine retreats into the shadows.

Back in the present day, wavy-haired Katherine walks out of the phonebooth & into the streets of Chicago.

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