THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: “Under Control”
Read on for my detailed recap and review of The Vampire Diaries 1×18, aired Thursday, April 15th, 2010:
Previously, Stefan fed on Elena and it freaked both of them the hell out. Elena’s blood awakened a craving for human blood inside Stefan, and that is never good for a relationship. I know, I don’t like where that storyline is headed either. Luckily, we have distraction from that nonsense, in the person of Jonathan Gilbert. No, not the Jonathan Gilbert who invented the Vampire Compass, but his descendent, Uncle John … or as Liz would call him: Uncle Jack Ass. My love for Julian Sark doesn’t allow me to apply such a disrespectful name, however, as Elena and Jeremy’s uncle—their father Grayson’s brother—is played by the inestimable David Anders. Apparently, John knows EVERYTHING, and the inevitable result is a condition known as smugnus intensificitus. I mean, I thought that Damon was smug, but John redefines the word. So, on to the recap …
We open on Stefan, doing pull-ups. From the rafters of Casa Salvatore. The rafters! The music is blasting, and Damon comes in to remedy that, in an uncharacteristically passive aggressive manner: “Can you turn it up a little bit? It’s not annoying yet.” Stefan apologizes but continues his pull-ups and push-ups. I feel like I am intruding on Stefan’s private time, what with his tank top and his bulging muscles. Ahem. Damon asks when his brother will be returning to school. Good question. Stefan is noncommittal and vague: “Soon.” Damon is over his brother’s brooding and self-torture: “Oh, c’mon. Just drink already. C’mon. This self-detox is not natural.” With this, Damon pretty much waves a glass of human blood in Stefan’s face, which Stefan demands that he remove. Damon asks, “How long did it take you to wean yourself off of it after you last indulged?” This brings up an interesting question. When was it that Stefan last indulged? I have a feeling that there’s a story there. Stefan doesn’t answer but continues with his push-ups. Damon reads his brother’s lack of reply, and wound-up body language, and doesn’t see it as a good sign. Stefan insists that he’ll be fine, and that it just takes a little bit of time.
Damon doesn’t understand Stefan’s choice to go human-blood-free, and stands in for the audience for a moment: “I don’t get it. I mean, you don’t have to kill to survive. That’s what blood banks are for.” Good point, Damon, but it seems evident from the episode that the human blood is a slippery slope, regardless of its source. Plus, that human blood is supposed to save human lives. Though I guess feeding a hungry vampire does save human lives. Damon adds: “I haven’t hunted a human in … god, way too long.” Stefan sarcastically retorts, “I’m impressed.” Damon must protect his reputation, so he explains: “It’s completely self-serving. Trying to get the town off the trail of vampires, which is not very easy considering there’s an entire tomb of them running around.” Yes, that tomb-full of vampires has caused a lot of trouble. Stefan asks, “What are we planning on doing about that?” Damon: “We’re not going to be doing much of anything if you don’t have your strength. There’s nothing wrong with partaking in a healthy diet of human blood from a blood bank. You’re not actually killing anyone.” Again, it seems that Damon is voicing the view of the audience at this point, wondering why this whole blood thing has to be such a big deal. Stefan’s answer is unhelpful, hinting at a secret: “I have my reasons.” Hmmmm. I’m sure that you do, Stefan. Damon: “What exactly are those holier than though reasons? Because we’ve never actually discussed that.” Stefan, again, doesn’t answer: “You’re really enjoying this, aren’t you, Damon? Watching me struggle?” Damon is less with the enjoyment, and more with the “this is a waste of time, so get over yourself.” Stefan insists that he has it “under complete control.” Famous last words. Why don’t you go ahead and tell everyone that you’ll “be right back,” while you’re at it? Damon feigns belief: “You do? Oh, well, then you should just carry on making the rest of us vampires look bad. Have a great day, Stefan.” With that, Damon, oh-so-intentionally, leaves behind his glass of human blood, as he exits the room. Stefan stares at it intensely. Yeah, Stefan stares at blood a lot in this episode. Get used to it. Then Damon pops back in, and pretends that leaving the glass behind was on accident. Oh, Damon.
At the Gilberts’ Elena and Jeremy are preparing to leave for school. When Elena opens the door, with Jenna close by, someone is on the other side. It’s Julian Sark! Elena and Jenna are far less pleased to see him than I would be. Perhaps his American accent confused them? In all seriousness, however, it is Elena and Jeremy’s Uncle John, portrayed by David Anders. It seems that Jenna was expecting him, but hoping he wouldn’t show up. Jenna and Elena are not happy to see John, and are pretty obvious about it. It turns out that Jenna has reasons for this, but I am disappointed in Elena. Um, I would never be allowed to treat a family member, particularly an elder, so rudely. Check your eye-roll, Elena. Jeremy is more nonchalant than rude, but he also leaves quickly. Jenna explains: “He just lost a friend, so try to be sensitive.” John: “I’m always sensitive.” In my experience, no one who says that is actually sensitive. Jenna asks how long he’s staying, and John begins to get the sense that he’s unwelcome. He’s a quick one, that guy. John: “Can’t you at least pretend that you’re happy to see me?” Jenna: “Oh my god, John, it is so good to see you … no, I can’t.” It turns out that John’s visit is not a social call, but rather a legal maneuver. He asks: “Did you really think that I was just going to sign the escrow papers and send them back?” Jenna: “Actually, I did.” John: “I’m not going to let you sell my brother’s office.” She says that it’s not up to him as the office belongs to Elena and Jeremy. John points out, however, that they are minors, and as he is the estate’s trustee, he has final say. Pearl will not be happy about this news. Or else she’ll just take this opportunity to get even with her betrayer’s namesake. Anyone want to take bets on who would win in a fight between John and Pearl?
Cut to Elena and Matt at school. Elena fills him in on Uncle John’s return, and Matt says that he never liked that guy. Well, if Matt doesn’t like him … no, he’s still Sark. Sorry, kids. Matt thanks Elena for her help with Vicki’s memorial and funeral. Oh, sadness! Elena injects some levity by asking, “So, is Caroline still baking for you guys, around the clock?” The more important question is: Caroline bakes? I find that hard to believe, given her hesitancy to do dishes. The plethora of dishes that result from baking is one of the many reason I abstain from such Martha-Stewart-like behavior. That, and I am really bad at it. Matt laughs, and says, “She finally went to her dad’s, which is a good thing, because my mom was going to strangle her.” And that, dear readers, is the explanation for Caroline’s absence in this episode, in case you were wondering. Oh, and that reminds me: Bonnie finally returns next week! Hurrah! Okay, now back to characters who are actually in this episode.
Tyler and Jeremy sit outside the school. On second thought, can we go back to characters that aren’t in the episode? No? Fine. Tyler offers Jeremy a smoke, but Jeremy doesn’t want it. I guess he’s still on the drug-free path. Jeremy wants to talk about Vicki, naturally. Tyler: “They say she O.D.’d.” Jeremy: “That’s what I don’t get. She was doing okay.” Tyler: “Apparently not.” Jeremy wonders how she ended up buried in the woods. Good question! Of course Jeremy is a little creepy in his wondering: “Yeah, but you leave her there, you don’t bury her.” How very … serial killer of you, Jeremy. Tyler posits, “Maybe she saw something and … man, I don’t know.” I wonder how these boys will react when they find out the truth? I’m guessing NOT well. And I will be there to tell Elena, “I told you so!” I know, I wouldn’t like me if I were her either.
Meanwhile, Damon arrives at a meeting of the town council. The Sheriff says that the coroner has officially ruled Vicki’s death a drug overdose. Then Mayor Lockwood calls up John Gilbert, who has asked to say a few words. Damon is curious about this new arrival, and his buddy Sheriff Forbes explains, in a whisper: “Elena’s uncle. His name’s John, but I call him Jack Ass.” Ha! John talks about a series of missing persons and deaths in the surrounding area. Uh oh. He tells the council, “You think all of your problems are over, but I’m here to tell you, nothing’s been solved.” Well, I guess Damon was abstaining from hunting humans for nothing. The town is not going to let the vampire problem disappear so quickly.
Back at school, Alaric shows Elena a copy of the paper Jeremy wrote about vampires. Ooh, I was wondering when that would come up! Alaric says that Jeremy was clear that he didn’t believe the stories were true, but there is some serious doubt in his voice. Elena hopes her brother is still in the dark, as she is wont to do. I was against Elena’s decision to lie to her brother about vampires, and to have Damon wipe Jeremy’s memory, from the very beginning. The consequences of her bad decision-making promise to be massive. Word to the wise: Don’t have a vampire wipe your brother’s memory, when your vampire boyfriend kills his vampire girlfriend. Trust me. Alaric wonders how Elena deals with having to lie to everyone she loves. Well, she did tell Bonnie, so that’s something. Of course, the consequence of Bonnie knowing has been her absence from the show for weeks, so maybe I should rethink my position. But then, this is Jeremy, so I’m fine with him leaving the show for a few weeks. Go ahead and tell him, Elena. Elena explains: “It’s not safe for them to know the truth. So, yes, I keep it from them, but it’s only because I love them.” Well, Elena, it’s also not safe to NOT know the truth either. Think about that, please. Ignorance is never the solution. It’s the problem. Alaric doesn’t tell Elena any of this, of course. Possibly he has a crush on her, as she reminds him of his wife. Creepy, but true. You know that you were thinking it too. Instead, Alaric cautions Elena about her boyfriend’s blood-sucking ways: “I think Stefan’s a good guy, but uh … at the end of the day, he’s still a vampire.” Elena: “I know it’s hard for you to understand, but Stefan’s different. He would never do anything to hurt me.” Says every abused woman in the world. Again, I am not loving the direction of the Elena/ Stefan storyline. It is not romantic. In fact, it has the potential to be quite disturbing.
Later, at the Gilbert home, Jeremy expresses that he doesn’t really want to go to the Founders’ Day kick-off party. Uncle John will have none of that: “Sure you do. It’s tradition.” Jenna rolls her eyes, and sarcastically complains, “Far be it from us to break from tradition.” John explains: “The Gilberts have been a part of this town for 150 years. We’re one of the founding families. And with that distinction, comes certain obligations, including going to the party. One day, when you can appreciate the significance, I’ll tell you all about your heritage.” Ooh, being a Gilbert is intense. Jenna is annoyed and snarks: “Hmmm, Gilbert family legacy. I forgot how sacred it was. I was never a Gilbert, so I was never cool enough to hear about it.” Jeremy can sense Jenna’s hostility, and asks John why Jenna hates him. John: “We used to sleep together.” Jenna throws food at John, and complains, “I’m standing right here.”
Meanwhile, Elena and Stefan are in Elena’s bedroom. Elena wonders why Jeremy would write a report about vampires, and is worried that he’s starting to remember. Stefan reassures her: “Damon took away those memories for good. You don’t have to worry about that.” Intriguing. Awhile back, I was wondering how permanent the mind-wipe was. If Stefan is correct, then Jeremy has not been remembering anything from the night Vicki died, as I had suspected. However, it seems that there is no block to remembering every suspicious thing that happened before and after that. And a lot happened before and after that day, so Stefan and Elena should think about that. What about his vampire girlfriend, Anna, huh? Did Damon wipe your memories too, Stefan and Elena? They do not even mention her in this conversation, at all. Keep up! Stefan: “I tell you what, why don’t you just ask him?” Elena says that she can’t do that, and Stefan wonders why not. Elena explains: “I don’t even know how to talk to him anymore. We used to be a lot more open with each other. But now, with all these secrets piling up … you know, I haven’t even told him that I’m adopted yet.” Stefan: “Maybe it’s time that you started opening up to him. I’m not saying you should tell him everything, but at least try to find out what he does know and be prepared for it.” Ah, Stefan, always thinking about the good of … Elena, and Elena alone.
Elena changes the subject, asking Stefan how he is doing. She massages his shoulders, and looks concerned. She’s concerned, people! Stefan: “I’m still a little jittery, a little bit on edge, but I’m going to be okay.” Elena: “I’ve been really worried about you. I’ve missed you.” Stefan downplays his problem, as addicts do: “I just needed to lay low for a little bit. Let my body readjust. It’s only been a few days.” Elena: “It feels like a lifetime.” Stefan: “I’ve missed you too.” They begin to kiss, but as things escalate, Stefan starts to lose it, and goes all vamp-face. Elena gasps in fear. I guess that vamp face isn’t so cuddly anymore, as she seemed to think in “The Turning Point.” Stefan throws himself back against the wall. I hope you’re prepared to fix that damage, dude. Elena has enough problems without worrying about redecorating. Plus, if Jenna ever chose to enter Elena’s room, this could be a problem. Not that Jenna would. She’s more hands-way-off when it comes to parenting, it seems.
Cut to later, and Elena answers the door. It’s Damon. Elena: “Oh good, you’re here.” Damon: “You ask. I come. I’m easy like that.” It’s all about Ian’s delivery in that scene. Hee. She wants to talk, and Damon makes a hilarious showing of resistance, for Jeremy’s benefit: “No, Elena, I will not go to your bedroom with you.” Hehe. Funniest part of the episode, hands down. When the two get upstairs, Damon comments, “Ah, just like I remembered.” Elena tells him to stop messing around. Damon sits on her bed, holding a teddy bear. And a million avatars were born. Damon fills her in on the John situation: “You know, did you know that your uncle’s been kicking it with the Founder’s Council?” Elena: “Perfect. We’ll just add it to the growing list of how everything is falling apart.” Damon catches sight of the damaged wall (which Stefan has yet to repair), and asks what happened. She says it was nothing. Again, I do not like the direction of this storyline. Elena is covering for Stefan’s violent behavior now? She says that she is worried about Stefan, and asks how long it is going to take for him to get back to normal. She stresses, “He’s not himself, Damon.” Damon: “Well, maybe his problem is that he’s spent too long not being himself.” Of course, he says this while going through her underwear drawer, and playing with one of her bras. Oh, Damon. He continues: “It is what it is Elena. The Stefan you know is good-behavior-Stefan. Reign-it-in-Stefan. Fight-against-his-nature-Stefan. But if you think there’s not another part to this, you have not been paying attention.” Elena quickly argues, “He’s not you, not even close.” Damon explains: “Well he doesn’t want to be. But that doesn’t mean that deep down he’s not.” I think Damon is right for once.
Meanwhile, Stefan is at Casa Salvatore, and he is not looking too great. He partakes of some whiskey to soothe the hunger pangs. Oh, drunk Stefan! This is sure to end well.
Back at the Gilbert home, Elena goes in to see Jeremy, and asks him to to talk. Cut to the two of them taking a walk outside, in mid-conversation. Jeremy can’t believe that their Mom and Dad never told her that she was adopted. He also wonders why she was worried what he’d think. Elena: “Because, I don’t know, it’s weird. Going your whole life thinking that you’re related by blood to someone.” Also, there’s that whole part of Elena’s mom being a vampire. And that she is a descendant of her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend. Yeah, that stuff is weird too. Jeremy asks, “Does it bug you that I’m not?” Elena: “No. You’re my brother—that’s all that matters.” Aawww. Then Elena switches over to interrogation mode, and asks him a series of less-than-subtle questions: “So, Mr. Saltzman says that you’ve been doing great at history now. […] He loved your vampire paper. […] What drew you to that subject matter?” Instead of wondering why his sister was discussing his academic progress with his teacher, Jeremy says: “I don’t know. Boredom. Or maybe I’m just as nuts as the long line of Gilbert crazies.” Elena assures him that the Gilberts aren’t crazy. Jeremy: “Easy for you to say. You’re not one.” Elena: “Ouch.”
Later that evening, Damon and Stefan arrive at the Founders’ Day Kick-Off Party. It is the 150th Anniversary of the town, in case you were wondering. Stefan has second thoughts about his choice to attend: “Oh, God, I shouldn’t be here.” Damon: “C’mon. Don’t be downer. It’s a party for the founding families. That would be us. It would be rude to skip it.” Hehe. Stefan: “You know, I liked you better when you hated everybody.” Ha! See, Stefan does have a sense of humor on occasion. Damon: “Oh, I still do. I just love that they loooove me.” Of course he does. He asks his brother how he’s feeling, but Stefan says that he’s fine. Damon doesn’t buy it, asking: “No cravings? No urges? Is that whiskey you’ve been drinking all day doing its job?” He continues: “We are who we are, Stefan. Pretending doesn’t change that.” Stefan: “Ah, nothing would make you happier than for me to just give in.” Damon: “Whatever. It’s inevitable.” With that, Stefan says that he’s off to find Elena. Damon quips, “Don’t embarrass me, young man.”
Inside the party, Stefan quickly grabs a drink and downs it. Then we see Mayor Lockwood speechifying to poor Kelly Donovan, in the presence of Tyler and Matt. Once the Mayor has finished with his hollow condolences, Kelly tells Matt: “Well, I guess dead kid rates a special greeting from the Mayor.” Matt is annoyed by this, because Vicki’s death has apparently made him lose all sense of humor. Kelly says that she needs a drink, walking off. Tyler has a bottle, and Matt decides to give in to fun for the night, taking a swig.
Elena finds Stefan at the party and is surprised at his state: “Are you drunk?” Stefan says that he’s just drinking until the cravings go away. She wonders how worried she should be, but Stefan makes light of her concerns. He tells her that they should enjoy Drunk-Stefan while he lasts. Even he knows that regular Stefan is no fun. In this spirit, he asks her to dance. She is shocked, as she had to beg him to dance in “Unpleasantville.” Stefan explains: “No no no. You have to beg the sober me. The drunk me, there’s no begging necessary.” She notes that there’s no one else dancing, but Stefan blames the music, and goes off to talk to the deejay. Kelly approaches, apparently having overheard, and tells Elena that there’s no hope of that. It seems that Carol Lockwood has iron-clad control over the music. Elena: “You’d be surprised what Stefan can accomplish, if he puts his mind to it.” Damon walks up: “Have I entered an alternate universe where Stefan is fun?” Hehe. Elena repeats her unending concern: “Is he going to be okay?” Damon: “Eventually. One way or another.” Well isn’t that … NOT comforting.
Cut to a little later, and lots of people are dancing. Elena tells Jenna: “History teacher 3 o’clock.” Jenna: “How do I look?” Elena: “Beautiful.” Alaric approaches and tells Jenna that he’s been looking for her. Jenna: “Haven’t seen you in awhile.” Alaric: “Yeah, well, things have been a little crazy.” He leaves out the part about trying to kill Damon, but being killed instead, and then coming back to life via his magical ring. Oh, and the fact that his dead wife is alive, and actually a vampire now. Maybe he’ll save that story for a fifth date? He tells Jenna: “But I’m here now. Do you want to get a drink?” She agrees, and they go off together. Just in time for Matt to approach, drunk and happy. He asks Elena for a dance, and she agrees.
Meanwhile, Damon runs into Sheriff Forbes. She is all glammed up, and Damon approves: “Ah, you know I love a woman in uniform, but I have to side with this look. You look … you look smashing.” Sheriff: “Thank you, Damon. Cheers. I needed that. You know, I had my doubts about you, at first. But like everyone else on the council, you’ve won me over.” Hmmm. Wasn’t it the other way around? Damon got on the Sheriff’s good side first, allowing the rest of the council to let him in? The two have been cozy since “162 Candles.” Whatever. Damon: “Thanks, Liz. It’s really nice how welcoming the council’s been. I like my life here in Mystic Falls. It’s starting to feel like home again.” I love that Damon calls her Liz, so I think I will start doing that too. For some reason, I find it hilarious. Liz: “Then you’re not going to like what I have to tell you. Jonathan Gilbert’s claims check out. The blood banks, the missing people, all of it’s true. We might have a problem.” Jeremy interrupts to ask for additional info on Vicki, bringing up the weirdness of her being buried. Liz gives him the party line: “We’re aware of that. The investigation is ongoing, but there’s nothing more I can tell you at this time. Sorry.” Poor Jeremy. Everyone is giving him the runaround.
Cut to Stefan and Elena. Stefan: “Please dance with your alcoholic vampire boyfriend.” Shhhh. Why don’t you say that a little louder, in a room full of people who know vampires exist, Stefan. They take a spin on the dance floor, but as Elena twirls back, she runs into some random guy. Elena is charmingly apologetic: “My fault. I’m clumsy.” The guy is not charmed, however: “Then get off the dance floor!” Okay, there are a lot of unrealistic things that happen on this show, what with the vampires and witches, etc., but I have to draw the line here. No way in hell that a guy would EVER say that to a girl on the dance floor! Especially to one who looks like Nina Dobrev. Seriously. It would have been much more realistic if he used it as an in to get Elena to buy him a drink, and hit on her. I have run into many a guy on the dance floor, even spilling my share of drinks on said guys, but I have never been yelled at, ever. And I’m not Nina Dobrev. I’m not saying that it’s fair, but it is the way of the world. Stefan is not happy at this random dude’s treatment of Elena: “That’s no way to talk to a lady.” Random guy: “Whatever.” Stefan does not let it go, however, and he compels the jerk to apologize and walk away. This does nothing to allay Elena’s concerns about Stefan.
Sometime later, Damon sits at the bar, and Elena approaches. Elena: “Have you noticed what your brother’s been up to.” Damon: “Nope. Been too preoccupied with yours. Jeremy’s been asking questions about Vicki Donovan’s death.” Elena is in denial, saying that he knows that it has been ruled an overdose. Damon reenacts Jeremy’s conversation with Sherriff: “Really? But Sheriff, someone buried her. Who would do that? [He switches back to his own persona.] I know! I know! Me!” Hee. She tells him not to compel her brother again. Damon: “If he keeps asking questions …” Elena insists. Damon: “Okay. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” He hands her a rose before walking off. The Damon-Elena shippers were probably really happy with this episode. Just saying.
Elsewhere at the party, Kelly finishes off a drink, and hides her empty glass in a potted plant. Tyler: “I saw that.” Kelly: “Shhhh. We’ll keep that between you and me.” She asks where the ladies’ room is, and he offers to show her. Yeah, he will. Kelly takes his glass, asking, “Is that soda?” She takes a swig: “Vodka. Thank God.” Hee. I know it’s wrong, but those two have crazy CHEMISTRY. And a lot of it.
Out on a balcony, John greets a pensive Damon, noting that they didn’t get a chance to at the council meeting. There is a lot of tension filled small talk, and it is wonderful. Damon asks John if he’s having fun. John: “Oh yeah, I forgot how much fun these small town celebrations can be.” Damon: “Yeah. When’s that last time you were here?” They are so trying to figure each other out. John says that he was here for his brother’s funeral, and asks how long Damon has been in town. Damon: “Not that long.” Lately. John: “So what do you think, Damon. You know this vampire problem is real, right? It’s a potential blood bath.” Damon says they shouldn’t overreact, but John disagrees: “I think it’s like 1864 all over again. Vampires running amuck. We’re just gonna have to hunt them down, throw ‘em in a church, and burn them to ash.” Damon: “That is the story, huh?” John: “Part of the story.” Damon: “Oh, there’s more?” And the suspense builds! John: “Oh, there’s a lot more. You see, it seems there was a tomb under the church. The vampires were hidden away, waiting for someone to come along and set them free. But then you already knew that, didn’t you? Being that you’re the one who did it.” Ruh roh. Damon smiles: “And you’re telling me this why?” John: “I just thought that we’d get the introductions out of the way.” Hee. Ooh, these two are good together. Both so calm, collected, and smug. Damon: “Look, well you know that I could rip your throat out, before anyone would notice?” John agrees, but is totally unfazed. Damon: “But you probably digest vervain, so …” Jonathan: “Why don’t you take a bite and find out?” Best line of the episode! It was all about the delivery. I mean, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it. Damon: “It’s not worth my time.” Damon walks away, but then he looks back, and super speeds over to break John’s neck, and throw him off the balcony. Gasp! When I first watched the episode, I was über annoyed, and thought that it was a big waste of David Anders. Luckily, that is not the end of Uncle John, however, and I had to take back the expletives that I yelled at the screen. Damon gazes at Uncle John sprawled on the ground below, and looks very proud of his problem solving skills. Oh, Damon.
Elsewhere, Elena enters a room where Jeremy is brooding in front of a fire. She sits next to her brother, and says that she heard about his conversation with the Sheriff. Jeremy: “No one is trying to figure out what happened to her! They’re all willing to believe that she O.D.’d.” Elena: “The coroner’s office confirmed it. If that’s what they said happened then …” Jeremy asks, “Is that what you believe?” Elena turns the question around on him: “What do you think happened?” Jeremy: “I think somebody killed her and buried her body. And I don’t think we should write it off just because it’s easy.” Agreed and agreed. Elena: “They’re just doing what they can to move on.” Says the girlfriend of the guy who killed Vicki. Jeremy insists, “The truth is the only thing that’s going to help people move on.” Agreed. Elena: “Jeremy, just let it go. Whatever it was, she’s gone now.” Jeremy: “Whatever it was? So you don’t think that it was an overdose?” Elena says that she does, but she is clearly caught in a lie, and is a very bad liar. Jeremy can totally tell that she’s hiding something. Jeremy: “Is there something you’re not telling me? Why aren’t you looking at me?” Elena continues to deny it, but it is a lost cause at this point. He SO knows that she’s lying.
Cut to Kelly and Tyler entering a room together, giggling. Kelly is worried that Matt will not be pleased with her behavior: “Oh God, Matt’s gonna kill me.” Tyler: “Nah. Matt, he won’t even notice. I think he’s actually letting himself have some fun for once.” For now. Kelly: “I know that I’m supposed to be on my best behavior because of Vicki, but I don’t want to think about it. I can’t. Because if I do …” Tyler gets serious at this mention: “Yeah, I was a dick to her. I was really bad. That’s what I hate. I can’t make any of it right. Like I don’t deserve to even miss her.” Kelly holds onto his jacket: “You’re nice to talk to me. I don’t have anyone to talk to.” Tyler’s voice goes super low: “I don’t have anyone to talk to either.” Great scene! I totally understand from this encounter why the two hook-up, and I feel for both of them in their damaged states. Bravo, writers! Mark my praise, however, because I’m going to do some major ranting soon. Be prepared.
Cut to Matt, running into Elena: Matt: “Who knew I’ve been missing all the fun at the founders’ parties.” Elena assures him that this is rare. Matt: “Is it bad that I’m enjoying myself?” Elena softens: “No, it’s great that you’re enjoying yourself. Thanks for making me dance.” He says no problem, and hugs her… maybe holding the hug a little too long. He says that he needs some air, and asks her to come with him. He also wonders where his mom is, but Elena hasn’t seen her in a while. That changes when she steps outside, and sees Kelly and Tyler making out on the balcony. Matt sees what Elena is staring at, and hurries forward, pulling Tyler away from his mom. Then Matt, my darling non-violent Matt, punches Tyler. Not cool, Matt. I’m disappointed in you. Tyler punches Matt back, which causes Matt to fall back into his mom, throwing her crashing into a table, really hard. Not okay, boys. I don’t care who is kissing whom, you don’t send mothers crashing into tables, causing them to bleed. Even if the mother is Kelly Donovan. Not okay. Tyler quickly gets the best of the drunken Matt, and is rather scarily choking him. Alaric steps in, and pins Tyler to the wall. He sees that something was not right with Tyler’s rage, and asks, “What was that?” Perhaps his animal nature being brought out? Hint hint. Mayor Lockwood comes over and tells Alaric that he’ll take it from there. He asks Tyler if he’s hurt, and tells him to get cleaned up. Tyler seems to have scared himself. Mayor Lockwood thanks Alaric for his help (he’s on much better behavior than that night in “The Turning Point”). Mayor Lockwood tells all his shocked guests that everything’s fine, and to go back to the party. Matt’s face looks really torn up. I would feel worse for him if he didn’t start the fight. Unfortunately, this outlet for Matt’s aggression did not help with his anger. He asks, full of rage, “Where is she?” Um, I’ll tell you if you want offer her some Neosporin and a bandage for her bleeding forehead, but otherwise, calm yourself.
Back inside, Damon asks Stefan: “Do you want to hear the bad news? Or the really bad news?” Stefan doesn’t want to hear any news. Damon: “Okay, let me rephrase. Do you want to hear about how the council’s back in vampire mode? Or how I just killed Uncle John Gilbert?” This piques Stefan’s interest, but he stops following Damon when he hears the weeping Kelly Donovan. He seems to sense her heartbeat, and open wound. Creeeepy. He finds Kelly sitting alone and crying, with a super bloody forehead. He asks if everything is alright, and she says no, crying that she ruined it. Stefan is transfixed by her open wound, and actually pokes his finger at her bloody forehead. Seriously, dude? Boundaries! Kelly: “What are you doing?” He apologizes and walks outside. Then he stands there staring at his hand, and then, finally, he licks it. He really does. Ick. This vampire thing is gross.
Meanwhile, Damon sees Uncle John stroll in, unhurt, and with the same smug look on his face. A whole new level of smugness, in fact. Damon: “You got to be kidding me.” Mayor Lockwood introduces John, who will be ringing the official charter bell. John says a little something: “One hundred and fifty years of community, prosperity, family. We take care of each other, look after each other, protect each other. It’s good to be home.” He claps, as does the rest of the room. Damon is more impressed with John’s jewelry than his words, telling Alaric: “Look at his right hand.” Alaric: “Whose?” Damon: “The town’s favorite son. Look at his ring.” Oooh, another ring! People should really inspect everyone’s jewelry more closely on this show. Alaric: “Well. It looks like mine.” Damon: “Yeah, and that would be a big coincidence, if he didn’t just come back from the dead five minutes ago. Where the hell did you get that ring?” Alaric: “Isobel, my wife.” Damon connects the dots: “Who gave birth to Elena, under the medical care of the esteemed Dr. Grayson Gilbert, John’s brother.” Alaric: “You think John knew Isobel?” Damon: “I think John knows a lot of things.” Well, he’s right about that.
Back outside, Stefan marches through the parking lot, all hopped-up on human blood, and runs into the jerk from the dance floor. Said jerk proves himself to be even more of a cartoonish asshole, pushing Stefan and apologizing a couple times. He notes: “All I can do is apologize. What’s that about?” The guy should see that as a sign that something wonky is going on, but since he’s a cartoonish villain, he just continues with the attitude. Stefan: “Get out of my way, please.” Jerk: “No girl to show off for now? I see how this is.” He pulls back to take a punch, but Stefan stops him, breaking his arm in the process. I don’t exactly feel sorry for him. You reap what you sow. The injured man asks, “What are you, man?” Something you should have thought about a little earlier, idiot.
Then we see that Jeremy has left the party to go home. He goes into Elena’s room to search for something … her diary! Bad brother! Of course, as someone who has a little brother, I learned at a young age that having a diary was impractical. Elena is old enough to know better. Don’t write something down, if you don’t want someone to read it—that’s my motto. Jeremy opens the diary up, and begins reading. Here are the parts I could read: “But how can I deny it? … bodies drained of blood … protect my brother … take away Jeremy’s pain … Vicki was a monster?” Uh oh.
Cut to Elena walking through the driveway, looking for Stefan. She finds the jerk from the dance floor instead, collapsed in pain. She asks him if he’s okay. Jerk: “My arm—I lost my balance and fell. I’m clumsy.” Elena knows what’s up, and is not happy about it.
Back inside, Mayor Lockwood tells Tyler to get ready to go. Tyler is uncharacteristically contrite: “Dad, I’m sorry. I don’t even know what happened. I was drinking and lost control. I can’t explain it.” Mayor Lockwood is not moved, and take a hard swing at his boy. He tells Tyler, “That is the last time you ever embarrass this family.” Ouch. I never thought I would say this, but I feel really bad for Tyler. I’m also shocked that Papa Lockwood would dare take a swing at his son in public, in the age of camera and video phones. Let’s hope some partygoer captured that on video, and that it will soon be uploaded to YouTube, thus ruining the Mayor’s career.
At the Donovan home, Matt is packing up his mom’s suitcase. Because she made out with someone at a party. I do not like the message this is sending, and the fear and disapproval of women’s sexuality that is implied here. Not that I approve of hooking up with one’s son’s friends, but perspective is necessary here. Kelly should not pick such unsuitable partners when she’s drunk, but I think the root of the problem for her is a serious addiction problem. One that Matt might want to urge her to address. Kelly asks, “What are you doing? Matt, don’t.” Matt is beyond logic: “Don’t you get it? I’m better off without you.” Kelly: “No. Tonight was a … god, I’m so sorry. I know I’ve failed you. And I failed Vicki. But I won’t do it to you again. I promise I’ll get it together.” Matt: “I want you out of the house, and my life, by morning.” Kelly sobs. I completely understand that Matt’s life has fallen apart, and that he is lashing out due to grief, exhaustion, alcohol, and so many other things. He is probably not thinking clearly. But he just found out that his sister died, and Kelly is his only family member left. He should not be so quick to throw out that relationship, as he will regret it later. But more importantly, I am annoyed at the event that triggers Matt’s decision to kick his mom out. Because she hooked up with Tyler? That is the LEAST of her problems. And if that is what Matt sees as the problem, then he needs some perspective. I wish that this goodbye could be more honest and heartfelt to what is really at issue.
I would understand Matt’s decision if it was motivated by anger that his mom was so absent. That’s really her cardinal sin as a mother: her negligence. And that may be unforgiveable. But Matt needs to own up to what is really the problem. She hasn’t been there for her children, and that probably played a HUGE role in why Vicki was so messed up. That Matt’s not more damaged is a miracle. If this scene played out more as Matt blaming Kelly for Vicki’s death, because she wasn’t there to be a mother to her daughter that needed her, it would have been far more powerful. And I would have waved my Matt Flag. As it is, however, it reads more as a teenage boy imposing rigid sexual morals on his mother. And that’s just icky. It’s hard to believe that this would happen if it was Matt’s father who engaged in this behavior. Case in point: Tyler accepts his dad’s philandering, despite his annoyance at the disrespect to his mother. There was no punching involved in that scenario. And in that example, the dad is actually married and is cheating, while Kelly is not. Alternatively, if Matt sees Kelly’s alcohol dependence as the problem, he should say so, and in true-Matt-like-manner urge her to get help. I’m not saying that Matt doesn’t have the right to be angry—because he really does—but his anger seems completely misplaced and out of character.
But back to the fun stuff. John leaves the party, followed by Damon and Alaric. Damon asks John, “You going somewhere?” John: “I never like to be the last one to leave a party. It’s too desperate. You here to kill me again? Or are you going to have Mr. Saltzman do your dirty work for you?” Alaric: “Okay, you obviously know who I am.” John: “I do. Alaric Saltzman: the high school history teacher with a secret.” I prefer, “Alaric the Vampire Slayer,” but okay. Damon: “You sure know a lot for someone who just got to town.” John: “More than you can imagine, Damon. My knowledge of this town goes beyond anything that you, or you [nodding at Alaric] or the council, knows. So, if you were planning on some clever high speed snatch-ring-vamp-kill move, know that if I die, everything I know goes to the council. Including a fascinating little tale of the original Salvatore brothers, and their present day return to Mystic Falls.” Alaric asks, “How’d you get that ring?” John: “I inherited one. My brother Gray the other. This [holding up his hand] was his. Although I wouldn’t have given mine to Isobel had I know that she’d hand it over to another guy.” What?!? Pause the recap for amazement. So John was the one who gave Isobel the ring, and Elena’s dad had one too! Do you think that it’s possible for John to be Elena’s father? Or did John meet Isobel after she was pregnant? Hmmm. Damon: “So you did know her?” John: “Who did you think sent her your way when she wanted to become a vampire?” Damon is disappointed: “You sent her?” John: “Guilty! Why? Did you think someone else sent her? Maybe, Katherine Pierce?” Damon: “How do you know about Katherine?” John: “How do I know anything, Damon?” Ha! My other favorite line of the episode, and coincidently also delivered by David Anders. Shocking. Ooh, I hope they keep him around for a while. Damon: “What do you want?” John: “So many questions. [Turns to Alaric] It was a pleasure meeting you, Rick. I’ve heard so much about you.” Oooh, that’s got to burn Alaric up. He looks completely dumbfounded, as John walks off. Wow. Just, wow.
Elena and Jenna arrive home, and neither are thrilled about the prospect of another month of these Founders’ Day events. I, however, am, as these Founders’ Day events promise to bring the drama. Elena pops in to greet Jeremy, but gets the brush-off. She enters her room to find Stefan is waiting, scaring the hell out of her. NOT OKAY, DUDE! Why can’t vampire boyfriends ever knock? So creepy. He apologizes for disappearing, and she asks if he’s okay. He’s not. She tells him to talk to her. Stefan: “I tried so hard to keep it together tonight. And it was working. It was working. But then Matt’s mom, she got hurt and she was bleeding and I had her blood on my hands.” Elena: “And then what happened?” Stefan: “And then that guy in the parking lot … I wanted to feed on him and it took every ounce of my strength not to.” She gets him to assure her that he did not, in fact, feed on the guy, but he adds: “No, but I wanted to. Oh, God. Elena, my head is pounding. I feel like my skin is on fire. I have this hunger inside of me that I’ve never felt before in my life. And all that I can think about is that I promised that I would never keep anything from you.” Elena: “It’s okay. I need you to tell me these things.” She reaches out to comfort him, but he will have none of it. He says, “But I don’t want you to see me like this.” He pulls away from her touch, saying: “I can’t. I’m afraid of what I could do to you.” Elena assures him that she is not, over and over again. They hold each other, and he tells her that he loves her so much. She loves him too. Just more evidence that something really bad is going to happen to tear them apart. Don’t blame me, people. It’s TV rules.
Stefan arrives home to Casa Salvatore, where Damon is holding a glass of blood to his forehead, sitting still by the fire. He tells his brother: “We have a problem, Stefan. And when I say problem, I mean global crisis. It seems Uncle John has …” He cuts himself off when he sees Stefan, who is not looking so good. Damon: “It’s different this time, isn’t it? The need is too strong. Of course it would be, after all these years.” And exactly how many years has it been, I wonder? Flashback, please! Damon decides to put the John Gilbert talk on hold, and pats his brother’s arm, telling him to have a good night. He leaves behind another glass of human blood, and this time he doesn’t return for it for the sake of hilarity. Stefan stares at the blood (see, I told you) for what feels like an eternity, before he finally drinks it. Uh oh. The End.
So, what say you? Any reactions or theories that you’re dying to share? Comment away.