After 6 years of loving Dawson's Creek in spite of how bad it usually was, I really didn't believe that Kevin Williamson was going to be able to win me over with The Vampire Diaries but I can not tell you how wrong I was. Williamson and Julie Plec have created an incredibly satisfying show that does not stop getting better with every single episode.
Last night was another in the long line of episodes where so much happens you can't believe it was only 42 minutes worth of show.
It's raining cats and dogs in Mystic Falls and you know that in a town like this, a little weather is just going to make the shit get realer. Or something.
Jeremy is still pressuring Anna to vamp him and she's still resisting. It's clear that her issue is that she really likes Jeremy and does not wish to "kill" him, and maybe a little bit that she's enjoying the flirtation they've got going about it. Which she's desperately trying to hide from her mom because if Pearl (I learned her name, finally!) found out that Anna was palling around with a Gilbert? Well, let's just say Anna probably doesn't want anything gouged out a la Damon's eyes, because as we clearly saw last week, Pearl has a violent streak and maybe some impulse control issues.
Meanwhile, on the outskirts of town, that hateful vamp, Fredrick, still refuses to either fuck off or obey Pearl (who really should have used her rage and impulse control issues to our advantage and driven that wooden spoon into his stupid heart last week!) and so when Pearl goes in to town Fred turns a bunch of the other vamps into his minions and they head out to snatch up Stefan while he's hunting (I totally loved when Damon was all "I have two pints of soccer mom in the fridge." and then, on Stefan's look "No? Alright, give my regards to the squirrels." Ha!). They take him back to the farm house, take off his shirt (yay!), tie him up with vervain-soaked rope and proceed to torture him for a while.
When little brother doesn't come home or answer his phone, Damon tries Elena but she's giving him the cold shoulder, and the "ignore" button so he drops by for a chat. When the two realize that Stefan has indeed gone missing while on the hunt, Damon twigs to the fact that Freddie is clearly to blame. He heads out to Gibbons Gables for a confab with Fred - if by "confab" I mean "to rip Fred's head off" which obviously I do. Unfortunately Fred has compelled Ms. Gibbons to deny "the bad man" entrance to the house so Damon can't get in to save Stefan. Elena offers to go in and get him but, I mean really, what the hell is she going to do up against a couple dozen vampires? Still, it made for a couple of really nice Damon/Elena scenes. I'm not in favor of her dating Damon, but I do enjoy the friendship chemistry that Ian and Nina have on screen.
Anyway, what they need is someone human who can get into the house without an invitation and who can hold their own against a vamp or two, and, ideally, someone who can't be killed. Let me think, do we know anyone like that?
Alaric and his fancy Resuscitating Ring! So Elena and Damon convince Alaric to help, a pretty impressive feat since Damon vamped Alaric's (un)dead wife and then sort of killed Alaric and Ric has thus sworn eternal vengeance. Ric packs up his vervain tranq darts and his wooden stakes and heads over to Gibbons Gables with Damon and Elena - the plan being that Ric will get in the house and get Ms. Gibbons to the door where Damon will compel her to let him in. Then Ric will get out as quickly as he can and Damon will REALLY quietly sneak down to the basement and free Stefan and then the two of them will swiftly get him back to the car where Elena will be waiting.
Here's what really happens: Ric comes to the door claiming car troubles and asking to use the phone, once in the kitchen with Ms. Gibbons and one vamp, he makes quick work of the vamp and then turns on the water and the food processor (to drown out the noise they're about to make so the super-vamp-hearing of the other 20 or so vamps present doesn't kick in) before he whisks poor, thrall-stupid Ms. Gibbons out onto the porch telling her he needs her to invite a friend of his in. "Oh I'm sorry, he's not allowed in the house" Ms. Gibbons brightly notes. So out on the porch Damon sweetly asks her if there are any other living relatives living in the house and when she says no, he snaps her neck so quick I almost didn't even see it happen.
Alaric is less than thrilled that Damon didn't just whip up a little compulsion and Damon's like "it doesn't work that way and we don't have time!" I'm thinking that un-compelling and then re-compelling is trickier than the original compelling. COMPELLING! Sorry, it just seemed like I was using that word a lot. Ahem, any-way...once in the house, Damon drops a vamp or two then slips down to the basement to find Stefan who now has company as stupid Fred has tied that sweet, polite little vamp, Harper up and staked him to a chair because Harper is about following Pearl's rules and he's just the kind of sweet kid who apologizes before he eats you, which is really about as much as you can hope for in a vampire.
While the boys are in the house, Elena grows impatient in the car and so decides to help. When Alaric gets back to the car to find Elena gone, he trudges back to the house himself. Damon rescues Stefan and then Elena gets him out of the house while Damon hangs around to distract the pains in my ass...er, I mean Fred and his minions. In the process of distracting he manages to stake a couple of them and is well on his way to beating a couple of others to a pulp, when he's set upon by vamp from behind. (Dirty!) But that's when Alaric comes to the rescue and blows the new vamp away with a well-placed wooden bullet to the heart. Damon is surprised but instantly begins to treat Alaric as a comrade which is so brilliant.
Unfortunately, that melee gave Freddie a chance to escape and he catches up with Stefan and Elena in the woods. Elena temporarily bests him with a vervain dart but Stefan has no strength left so she insists that he feed off of her. The dude hasn't drank human blood in like forever so it's like crack to him, poor guy. He's instantly strong enough to hop up and viciously kill Fred, that son of a bitch, but he also whips around, growling and vaguely murderous at Elena for a sec before he gets a hold of himself again.
While back at the house, Alaric is now being attacked, and bitten by one of the Frinions until he vervain darts the little bastard in the neck. That's when Damon runs in announcing that "Fredrick is gone" and Ric suggests they get out of there. But out on the porch they're surrounded by Frinions. Damon asks how many vervain darts Ric has left and when Ric tells him he has but one, Damon notes "not gonna be enough" and the two swiftly move back inside. That's when Pearl arrives and assures Damon that the parties responsible for torturing Stefan will be dealt with but Damon isn't terribly satisfied with that. "IF I had a good side? Not the way to get on it." Ian Somerhalder's line deliveries are consistently amazing on this show. No lie. So Ric follows Damon out and I am now officially in love with Damon and Alaric working together as a team.
That hasn't been the only drama of the night though. Caroline was on her way to her dad's boyfriend's daughter's birthday shindig in the storm when her car became stuck and she attempted to wander in the woods out by the falls to find a cell signal. Honestly, I love Caroline to death but she is not the sharpest stake in the bunch. Anyway, she loses her footing, slips down an embankment and comes face to hand with a corpse. Screaming ensues. Before we know it, she's on Matt's doorstep (for adorable scene number 3 of the night for the two of them) with her mom the sheriff to deliver the bad news that the corpse Caroline happened upon in the woods was Vicki. This is exactly why I prefer the Buffy-verse's dusting vamps to the corpses left behind by dead vamps on TVD - because it saves us from these tragically sad moments when loved ones are found.
Caroline does her very best to be there for Matt but he stoically tells her he needs to be alone. Which naturally means that Elena will walk in that very second and when Matt sees her he immediately breaks down in tears and they (he and Elena) hug. Caroline's heart breaks, mine follows.
When Jeremy finds out that Vicki has been found, he loses his shit. That's when Anna shows up, all het up with controlling mommy issues and ready to turn him. But when he tells her that his friend Vicki, whom he thought was a vampire, has been found dead, Anna knows that Vicki is why he wanted to be changed. Her disappointment is palpable and she disappears out the window.
Over at the Grill, Damon runs in to Alaric and notes how fantastically bad-ass the two of them were together (true story!). Damon and I both totally want him and Alaric to be BFFs. Alaric is playing hard to get though, so he finishes his drink, punches Damon in the face and leaves.
When he arrives back at the Manse later, he follows the sad trail of empty blood bags to Stefan, all strung out on the human stuff. Stefan looks freaked, Damon looks concerned.
I'd just like to note that it is a testament to how completely genius a show is when they fuck with my favorite couple (Matt and Caroline) and I don't even care that much. You've seen me rant here plenty of times about the shit they pull over on Life Unexpected with Kate and Ryan (or even Lux and Jones) but on this show, I trust that whatever they come up with for the characters will be so good, I am not worried. I still hope Matt and Caroline end up together, but I'm 100% along for the ride no matter what.
However, I do wish they'd hurry up and clue Matt, Caroline, Jeremy and Jenna in on not only the existence of vampires but on who in that town can and can not be trusted because there really isn't any other way of keeping them safe.
And just as a side note, the hotness factor of the men in this episode was through the roof! Paul was shirtless, Ian was smoldering (as usual, but still), Matt was smiling and wearing a very flattering t-shirt, Steven was showing off an impressive physique I didn't even know he had, and Matt was his typical, gorgeous self. This cast is, like, magically delicious.