'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Can ghosts make out, and other questions

tvd-disturbing-rebekah-dress.jpgConsidering last week's pitch-perfect flashback episode, Thursday's "Vampire Diaries" had a tough act to follow. I was actually quite impressed, though. After a mythology-heavy episode, it was nice to revisit some of the more peripheral characters... and to finally, finally see Elena acknowledge her attraction to Damon.

But I'm getting ahead of myself! Cue up your DVRs, prepare to feel uncomfortably attracted to a fictional 16-year-old, and... go!

Previously on "The Vampire Diaries": Everybody on the whole planet was totally in love with Elena. Stefan had to break up with her in 14 languages before she clued in. Caroline was definitely a victim of child abuse. And, in a shocking turn of events, a piece of jewelry was not just jewelry.

8:01 - Still in Chicago, Klaus and Stefan lounge around in the boyfriend chairs at a fancy clothing store. You know it's fancy because they're drinking champagne, not because of the actual clothing, which looks like something that comes from... well, actually, I don't know where you'd buy a two-dollar fishnet minidress. I don't go into those stores, but I'd imagine they smell funny.

"You wore trousers so women today could wear nothing," Klaus says. Rebekah does not look like she's impressed with the results of her efforts in women's liberation.

"I like it," Stefan says. The memories of Klaus and Rebekah have definitely effected a bit of a change in him, though I'm not sure how deep it runs. His interactions with Klaus are now much more buddy-buddy, much less sir-yes-sir-whatever-you-say-sir.

And now he's going outside. If he makes a teary phone call right now, I quit.

Oh, no. It's just Katherine, doing what she does best: Lurking while sexy.

8:03 - Okay, I'm sure this isn't going to make me very popular, but I don't like the flirtation between Damon and Elena in this scene. It just feels a little bit overt and out of character in this moment. Though there's always a degree of chemistry and sexual tension between them, outright flirting is very, very rare -- in fact, the only time I can think of off the top of my head was their brief moment at the '60s dance. Elena doing the whole, "Oh, Damon, you're so annoying, stop it, look at how adorable I am" thing isn't feeling natural with me.

I do, however, like when he points out that she's still wearing her necklace. "Isn't this a reminder of your unbreakable bond with Stefan?" he says. By the way she's looking at him, I'd guess that after Damon returned the necklace to her, it now reminds her of something entirely different.

8:04 - I like the way Katherine says, "You're bad now."

8:05 - Aww. Jeremy still draws pictures! But is it just me, or is he getting worse?

Thank you, director, for the lingering pan up his body. The kid just got his driver's license. I don't need impure thoughts right now.

Anyway. So Jeremy wakes up in bed with Anna, who doesn't suddenly flicker away this time. Turns out she's been hovering around him and trying to contact him for days, but she only broke through because he was dreaming about her.

I just want to interject here to say that Malese Jow is my absolute favorite "Vampire Diaries" guest star. I was so blown away by her work in Season 1 -- here's this little tiny girl who can be in a scene with Ian Somerhalder and totally match him, moment for moment. You believed her as a geeky girl with an overly enthusiastic crush on Jeremy, and you believed her as a badass vampire who was willing to manipulate an entire town to get what she wanted.

Not to mention, her chemistry with Steven R. McQueen is through the roof. Can ghosts make out?

8:06 - Will you just look at how awesome Caroline is? This girl just spent a whole day and night getting tortured by her own father, and she still woke up, picked out the cutest summer picnic outfit ever, did her hair, made chili, and picked up Bonnie on her way over to Elena's. I mean, when people force me to sit in sunlight, I usually can't even put in my contacts the next day.

Bonnie is back! And not on a Droid! "I leave town for the summer, and everything goes to hell for the both of you?" she says. I think things are always going to be hell for Elena. As for Caroline, she's hooking up with a Lockwood, so things could be worse.

Bonnie and Jeremy reunion! I'm so torn. I love these two together, but I also kind of want him to make out with the ghost. Just once. Just a little. Just to see if it works!

8:07 - "Just because you and I are on okay terms doesn't mean I'm suddenly a big advocate for your lifestyle," Sheriff Mom says. "Is that what you told him when you got divorced?" Damon asks. Good. I'm glad not the only jerk making the vampire-homosexuality connection.

Oh, man... so we get to see Damon biting HRG, but we don't get to see Stefan drink Klaus's blood straight from the source? You're giving me what I want, show, but in all the wrong places.
 
"The mind's a powerful tool," Bill says. "It can be trained and re-trained." I really love this concept, and, despite his completely gross and awful methods, I like the idea that Bill thinks his daughter is strong enough and smart enough to pull that off.

It begs the question, though. If the need for human blood is a mental thing for vampires, could a vampire be compelled not to want the blood? Could an Original hypothetically compel a regular-old mudblood vampire not to want to feed?

tvd-disturbing-damon-blood.jpg8:09 - Claire ditched the skanky dress that someone clearly found in Terry Richardson's dress-up trunk and traded up for the cutest outfit ever! I particularly like what she's wearing because it's very much the modern incarnation of the 1920s flapper dress she's been snoozing in for 90 years.

8:09 - "You're harshing my juju." I love Gloria.

8:14 - Lockwood parties are my favorite! I love when vampires, witches, and doppelgangers gather to do spells and make necklaces float in full view of the entire town while the secret council of vampire haters meets one picnic table over.

Leave it to Caroline to get right to the point. "Switching Salvatores" would be a good name for the "Vampire Diaries" porn spoof, right?

Also, is Elena a vampire now? The blisters on her chest are already healed. I guess she drank from Caroline, which is just gross. I mean, I understand drinking vampire blood to heal from a mortal wound, but are these people really down with drinking blood - blood, you guys - to heal a little boo-boo?

8:15 - Alaric suggests that Damon "take a beat with Elena." While I appreciate his attempt at being the protective big brother that Elena so, so desperately needs, someone needs to send him the Season 1 and 2 DVD box sets. Damon didn't "take a beat with Elena" when she was madly in love with his little brother, or when she hated him for killing her little brother, or when he had a girlfriend of his own. Why would he start now?

8:16 - Okay, who's jealous of the extras who got to spend an afternoon draped across Klaus and Stefan, being nibbled at? Not me. Because that would be weird.

"My girl's dead. I'm bored," Rebekah whines, and then: "I AM NOT A BRAT." I absolutely love, love, love the way that Rebekah and Klaus' relationship has been written. It's so... sibling-y. Stefan, on the other hand, sort of casts Rebekah aside. He doesn't even seem remotely intrigued, or even sympathetic to the fact that she loves him.

He's still writing names on the wall? Good god, old habits die hard.

8:17 - I'm surprised, but pleased, that Anna doesn't seem particularly jealous of Bonnie or even mad that Jeremy has moved on from their relationship. I should know by now that "The Vampire Diaries" doesn't take the obvious CW route.

Anna explains that in order for them to communicate, they have to sort of reach out and touch each other at the same time. Sounds sexy, right? She also can't interact with other ghosts, so it's not like she's on the other side playing Jenga with Hot Uncle Mason. She's all by herself.

When she touches him, she says that he can't feel anything. "Do it again," he says, all growly-like. Um, I can feel something. Just saying.

8:20 - Gloria uses Bonnie's aneurysm trick on Stefan. I couldn't figure out why she was so loyal to Klaus -- I figured she owed him, as we've seen in the past that witches tend to be duty-bound to vampires who do them favors. But not Gloria. She just wants that necklace to make her own contact with the Original Witch. Devious.

8:25 - Oh, hey, shirtless Stefan. Well, this is gratuitous.

Gloria says that witches these days are into new age stuff (clearly she's been keeping up with "The Secret Circle") but she, apparently, likes blood magic. "Old school voodoo." It's funny, because when I was last in Atlanta on "The Vampire Diaries" set, I noticed drops of "blood" all over the speakeasy floor. This explains it.

8:27 - So, the anti-vampire council is full of people who are like, totally pro-vampire. I wish we'd seen the moment where Liz was like, "Hey Carol! So about how we've known each other our entire lives and a couple days ago you shot my child and chained her up in a dungeon." That would have been a nice conversation to actually witness, but instead, Liz remains flaccid. 

"Do you think that everybody on the council is clueless, or just stupid?" Bill asks. And Damon's all, well, Billy, we think they're clueless, stupid, and bad at making chili. Suck it.

8:27 - Oh... so Bonnie no longer has the power of 100 witches, and it seems she can't ask them for help whenever she wants anymore, either. As much as I loved seeing badass Janet Jackson all-powerful Bonnie after the sacrifice last year, I have to admit that I'm glad she's just back to her regular amount of powers. It's been made very clear on this show that witches are the boss of everybody, so having Bonnie around as, basically, the most powerful witch ever would have made for a lot of easy fixes.

I also like that she's got her super uncomfortably hot boyfriend doing her research. You know, since it's about freaking time he learned that you can't Bing everything.

Anna shows up, talking about feeling "the darkness" again. If I had any ideas or theories, I would share them, but I don't. Julie Plec made it clear that the ghosts aren't just around to make amends -- they have their own agenda. I would guess that includes Anna.

tvd-disturbing-tyler-caroline.jpg8:28 - Gloria channels Stefan's memories of Elena to find the necklace, and tells him what he already knew: "You love her. You'd do anything for her." Note that she's using the present tense. It's possible that Stefan, having given up on ever having a relationship with Elena, is allowing himself to have a bit of fun with Klaus, but he hasn't actually stopped loving her.

God, I love how casually Katherine kills people. No mess, no drama, just a quick stab and a hair toss. 

8:30 - "He's probably somewhere off somewhere doing bad things to good people," Caroline says of Damon. Okay, Damon fans, before you get all mad at Caroline -- remember that she has a history with Damon. A very nasty bitey one. Their relationship wasn't like his and Andie's, with a complicated balance between consent and compulsion. Damon straight-up used Caroline, drained her, played her, and preyed on her insecurities. She has every right to have concerns about his relationship with Elena.

Bill Forbes, it seems, is impervious to compulsion. "He threatened to out me!" Oh, Damon. How many gay jokes can we fit into 42 minutes?

Damon explains to Alaric and Elena that Bill Forbes wants to put vervain in the water supply. It would keep humans safe from vampire bites, and also -- and perhaps this is Damon's greatest concern -- from compulsion. These vampires use that to get what they want, and what they need, a lot. Damon wants to kill Bill, despite the fact that he's Caroline's father. "When I kill him, she'll have one more parent than we do." Oh, you poor, 150-year-old orphan. Let's just make everybody else an orphan too. No parents!

I can not believe that Damon killed Alaric.

Listen, I've known that neck snap was coming for weeks now, but I expected it to be over something major. I expected Alaric to be possessed by Klaus or inadvertently endangering Elena or stealing all of Damon's bourbon. Something big. I didn't think he would just be standing in the way of Damon killing someone. Especially considering Damon has vampire speed and could have just gone around him.

That said - I think it's a good thing that Damon did something reckless and generally dickish. I was getting really tired of Good Damon. I like his maniacal side, I like his anger flaring up in all the wrong ways. It's what makes him Damon and not Edward Cullen.

8:35 - Ah, Stefan has been intentionally making Rebekah jealous of his relationship with Klaus -- screwing with the siblings just as Katherine did to him and Damon. He says he still doesn't trust Katherine, but I'm beginning to think that at this point, he should. Sure, she's all about self-preservation, but she's also proven, just by being in Chicago, that preserving herself means preserving Stefan. As far as I'm concerned, she's sexy and sassy and generally devious, but she proved herself an ally the moment she brought the hybrid blood to Damon in the Season 2 finale.

Stefan and Katherine pow wow about the hunter who was after the Originals. It's clear that Stefan knows that the hunter wasn't a human, otherwise he'd just assume he was dead at this point. I've seen a lot of people toss around the idea that the hunter may be the Original father. This theory works for me -- it would make sense that he might be after Klaus, who wasn't his son and who has torn his family apart.

"It's good to want things Katherine," Stefan says. He's in this alone.

8:36 - This cute little scene between Caroline and Tyler is one of my favorites in the episode, and not just because I am a big fan of them as a couple. I think that in this show, it's important to maintain the humanity in relationships. Stefan and Elena's romance got tired for me because by the end of Season 2, all they ever did was focus on Klaus and dig into journals and plot life-or-death schemes.

I need moments like this -- where Caroline isn't a vampire, she's just a girl telling her boyfriend he smells but making out with him anyway -- to keep the show grounded. It's a great moment that reminds us that these people are teenagers.

8:44 - Nice. Bill Forbes would never expose his own daughter to the clueless council, but he would expose her to sunlight that, you know, cooks her alive. Sweet guy, really.

He and Damon briefly touch on the idea of behavioral modification again. I have a feeling that's going to be a running theme this season, and I like it. Can you train the evil out of someone? Damon, savoring the taste of fresh blood, suggests otherwise.

I really, really want to love the scene where Caroline beats the crap out of Damon, because I think he's been due for a good butt-kicking from her for a very long time, but for some reason it feels forced to me. The line about him being stronger but her being angrier was good, but I think maybe the scene went on too long, because all I kept thinking was, "Why is she putting on a violent show of angry violent violence for her dad, who thinks she's too prone to violence?"

Also, I agree with Bill Forbes on one tiny thing. As I said before with Elena's blister -- I'd rather have a really nasty cut on my neck that takes a while to heal and possibly requires a doctor than drink blood to make said cut go away. Blood is gross, you guys. It is not for drinking.

tvd-disturbing-bill.jpg8:46 - It's interesting that Jeremy doesn't want Anna around when he's with Bonnie -- this scene makes it seem as though Jeremy feels like he's cheating on Bonnie by connecting with Anna. "I only pop up when you're thinking about me," Anna says. "You don't want her to know you still care." I'd like to give Bonnie a little more credit than that. She's lost people; I'm sure she doesn't expect Jeremy to have forgotten about Anna and Vicki just because Bonnie is so awesome.

Finally, there's a little honesty between Bonnie and Jeremy, and a heartwrenching moment where Anna breaks down, alone again. A great tragic story has been constructed here, because no matter what, things aren't going to end well for Anna. She's here, but she's still dead. She still can't have him. Maybe giving her a taste of the connection, and then ripping it away, is worse than leaving her lonely forever.

8:48 - Stefan almost opens a coffin -- and there's a 1/6 chance that Elijah is in there! But no, instead, he's interrupted by Rebekah. "No one in this world is truly fearless, Stefan," she tells him when he inquires about the hunter. And then... longing looks. Flirtation. Kiss! Um, is that the first time in all three seasons that Stefan has kissed someone other than Elena?

When asked whether he'll ever love again, Stefan says, "One day, maybe." He wants to lead Rebekah on... but she knows he's lying, and when Klaus arrives, she doesn't hesitate to expose him. Rebekah may be in love with Stefan, but her loyalty lies with family. Even the family that stuck her in a box for 90 years.

She also drops the hunter's name: Michael. Biblical.

8:53 - Oh, Damon. If you think that screwdriver says "Sorry I killed you bro, let's be bros," you are so off-base.

I'm pretty gutted by the dissolution of the Damon/Alaric bromance, but I'm glad it's happening. First of all, the whole "she's just being Miley!" apologist act that everyone affords Damon was getting old. Damon needs consequences for his actions. Last season, when he fed Elena his blood, she was mad for about three seconds. He's got to learn to dial back the violent urges before he snaps the neck of someone who isn't wearing a ring.

Not to mention, it's great that Alaric is finally growing a pair. I love him, but he's been too passive in his own life recently. He came to Mystic Falls to kill Damon, and he slid into this friendship with him quite easily, without much resistance. Alaric's life has just been happening around him. It's time he take the reins.

tvd-disturbing-elena-damon.jpg8:54 - Finally, Caroline pushes Elena to admit her attraction to Damon. "I can't, Caroline," Elena says. "If I admit it, if I even thought it for just a second, what does that say about me?"

Um, I'm a journalist, and I know an off-the-record confirmation when I see one. That's what that was. Yes-but-no-if-anyone-asks is still yes, guys. Elena may not be in love with Damon the way she is with Stefan, but she likes him. She likes him likes him.

8:55 - "You're a vampire, sweetheart," Bill tells Caroline. "I don't think you'll ever be okay again." I've seen a lot of Twitter backlash about this moment, because we all love Caroline, but if you look at it from a parent's point of view, Caroline has eternity ahead of her. Everyone she loves is going to die. Eventually, all of the people who make her human are going to grow old and leave her alone. It's a sad reality, and I imagine that Bill's intentions aren't actually as bad as they feel. 

8:56 - Alaric wants to be on the council so that there's someone on the inside whose priority is keeping the humans safe. More specifically, the Gilbert humans. When Damon killed him, Alaric had to face a reality -- he'd been enabling the very vampires he spent a large part of his life learning to hunt. I don't think that he's going to like, go out and try to take Damon down, but he's done answering Damon's every "jump" with "how high?" I think that having them both on the council is going to be a very antagonistic situation.

By "antagonistic" I mostly mean "filled with sexual tension," but whatever. You catch my drift.

8:57 - Elena wants her necklace back because of "the whole Stefan of it all." Ugh.

Oops. Make that Katherine. (See, that switcheroo wouldn't have happened if Elena still had the burn mark on her neck, because Bonnie would've noticed that it wasn't Elena. This is why you prioritize not drinking blood over vanity.)

So Katherine now knows about Jeremy and the ghosts. I'm guessing that's going to be used to her advantage in the very near future.

This means that Elena didn't ask for the necklace back. Could our girl be making progress?

Katherine heads for the Salvatore house, and Damon thinks it's Elena, back to apologize. Um... what does Elena have to apologize for, exactly? Wishing Damon would have eaten less of her BFF's dad's neck? In the beginning of the episode, Elena and Damon were flirting together in the kitchen. Days after Stefan dumped her. Yes, maybe Elena was trying to get Damon to fill her Stefan void, but Damon seemed perfectly willing to fill it for her. (That sounded dirtier than I meant it to, but I like it, so I'm leaving it.)

I'm glad he's hitting the road with Katherine. Elena needs a moment to herself without any Salvatores.

8:59 - Well, we knew it was going to happen sometime. The boys are back in town.

Next week: Stefan, it appears, is compelled to feed on Elena. And, according to a Canadian promo... Damon and Katherine totally make out. I guess they got bored of NPR and 7-Eleven snacks.

MVP this week goes to Malese Jow, because if it weren't for her awesome performance, this ghost storyline would be dragging a bit for me. Stefan's abs get an honorable mention, though.

You know what to do in the comments below. Did you want to see more Stefan/Rebekah? Do you think Damon and Alaric will hug it out? What do you think "the darkness" that Anna feels is all about?
Photo/Video credit: The CW
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