January 14, 2012

A Funeral Wish. A Birthday Kiss

Since I failed to recap the two previous episodes of The Vampire Diaries, I have to start by saying that while I wasn't a huge fan of the winter finale, the last two episodes back have been outstanding. Now, without further ado, lets talk about "Our Town," shall we? 

We begin where all good shows should - with a hot guy in the shower. Damon looks pleased with himself as he rinses and, judging by the smile, recalls his recent smooch with Elena. Post-shower, he prances around his room in a towel. It is truly the pranciest prance I've ever seen. Damon is a world champion prancer. 

Meanwhile, Elena hangs out in Alaric's apartment kicking the shit out of a heavy bag. Remember when Buffy would work out in the library or the Magic Shop and her tiny little SMG fists would hit the heavy bag like a mosquito hitting the windshield of a moving vehicle? Well when Elena works out, that bag knows she means business. It's pretty awesome. 

Anyway, Elena and Alaric talk about how Jeremy is fixin' to leave town per the request the two of them cooked up and had Damon plant in his very pretty head. Then Elena forgets how to be subtle and is all "how many times can I make weird eyes and say Damon's name before you catch on to my double meaning?" Ric thinks it's going to be a few more times. All his deaths have made him impervious to extreme obviousness. 

Damon and Stefan meet up with Bonnie at The House of the Witchy Mojo where she's trying to talk the Original Mystery Coffin into opening up and revealing the prize inside. I think Grams died before she could teach Bonnie that "please" is the magic word - seriously, has anyone just asked the damn thing nicely yet? The Salvatores find a hybrid skulking around so Stefan makes sexy eyes at him while Damon rips his heart out through his back. 

Over at Mystic Falls High, Elena and Bonnie meet up to decorate Caroline's locker for her birthday. Elena tells Bon that she is sending Jeremy away. Bonnie is pissed. 

Back at Stefan's House of Dead Stuff, Damon is trying to beat the Mystery Box O' Corpse open with a shovel. Damon does some Original Math to help me with my extreme confusion (Elijah, two additional siblings, and the Mystery Box Of It's Anyone's Guess) and then they reenact the first season for us with Stefan playing the role of Damon and vice versa. This time Stefan is the one who wants to kill things until he gets what his way and Damon is the one who wants to lay low and play it safe and not rock the boat. This current version of Stefan is my favorite - I like that he remembers his feelings and he still feels them deep down but he just isn't letting himself care. It's like he's season one Stefan minus the brooding with extra badassery and way more smirking and snarking. So Stefan wants to call Klaus's bluff and Damon strenuously wants to not. 

Back at school, Bonnie is saying goodbye to Jeremy and dropping some fairly giant hints about how it isn't his idea even though he thinks it is. Jeremy is too hot to leave town. Denver is not ready for the kind of other-worldly beauty that resides in Mystic falls. You can't just unleash that shit on an unsuspecting city. There will be riots and swooning epidemics. The air in Denver is thin, swooning could be fatal. THINK OF THE CHILDREN! 

Caroline arrives at school and is very sad. Tyler catches her and wants to talk. She's mad at him for his most recent transgression of nearly getting Jeremy killed and wants to know what he plans to do about this sire bond bullshit. Tyler tells her that there's nothing he CAN do so he's just not going to try. They have a nice, sad breakup moment. He gives her a small gift, wishes her happy birthday and walks away. She tears up as she opens the bag and finds a charm bracelet. I'm going to be so sad when Tyler has to die, you guys, but we all see that that's the direction we're heading in, right? 

House of Klaus. Special K is sipping liquor and gazing at his sister's deadness while pouting about how much he does not like to be beaten by his former flunky. Stefan stops in to flirt with his ex-brofriend. Ultimatum, hurt feelings, sexual tension, close talking, ultimatum, quip, quip, flirt, flirt, flirt, flirt, FLIRT, hoyay interuptus, hybrid decapitation, aaaaaannnnnddddd scene. I've never wanted Stefan more. Neither has Klaus. I can dig it. 

After a short break to allow the audience to smoke a cigarette and take a cold shower, Caroline arrives home and is greeted by Elena, Bonnie, and Matt, in the cutest party hats of all time, jumping out to wish her happy birthday. Elena puts a tiara on Caroline and now part of me wishes THAT was the object that Bonnie had slapped the SPF spell on because if anyone could get away with wearing a purple fuzz-trimmed tiara around town every day, it's Caroline. Bonnie tells her their plan to take Care to The Falls and have s'mores ("and tequiiiillllaaa," Matt helpfully and ADORABLY adds), but Caroline isn't into it. She doesn't feel like celebrating a birthday when she isn't ever going to get any older. Elena exercises her newfound "thinking on her feet" muscle and concocts a plan B. 

At the House of Klaus, a minion is tidying up the headless carnage Stefan left lying around when Tyler drops in wondering why he was summoned. Klaus explains that since his ex-brofriend broke up with him, he needs Tyler to fill that whole in his heart. It'll be an empty, meaningless relationship but it's better than killing alone. Tyler would prefer one of the other minions take care of this task because he's super busy wallowing in his own post-breakup self-pity. Klaus wants what he wants and what he wants is for Tyler to be a good puppy and kill Caroline. Tyler tries to get out of the task by arguing, then by trying to reason with his sire, and finally with some of that close-talking Klaus likes so much. Klaus acquiesces and allows Tyler to take his leave but he smirks when he watches Tyler leave so you know this isn't really the end of it. He can't let TWO of his boy toys sass him in the same day without consequences. 

Over at the Founders Soiree of the Week, Ric is getting an update on the current state of affairs from Damon. When Ric asks if Stefan's humanity is "on or off," Damon says that his brother seems to be working with more of a "dimmer switch" which is an analogy I love so hard. They argue in that way they always do before they make out (shut up, in my head, that's what they do off screen after every one of these little quarrels), and then they mosey into the shindig. 

Out in the woods, Elena welcomes her friends to a crypt for the Plan B Birthday Funeral. Birthdays are so last year, what Caroline needs to do is celebrate her deadness. They talk about all the stuff that Caroline is, then Bonnie lights the 18 candles on the tiny little cake with her mind and Caroline makes a wish. Other than the fact that it's a funeral for a vampire in a crypt, this scene is so full of normal teenager friendiness that it makes my heart ache for all the stuff these kids' lives should be but aren't. It also fills me with joy for all the ways they stick together to let each other still be teenagers sometimes. 

Founders festivities in full swing. Alaric asks Damon what's up with Elena over and above what's always up with Elena. Damon says it's Stefan but Alaric doesn't look convinced. Damon is all Man Of The House announcing his plans to "get a drink, write a check, and then we're out." I love it when their relationship goes all Big Strong Provider and The Little Woman on us. I would sacrifice a goat to get just one scene of Damon opening a car door for Ric. 

With Damon gone, Pretty Dr. Fell pounces on the newly available Alaric who makes with the flirty. She tells him she knows about vampires and then tells him how she was dumped on the Bridge of Death. Alaric brags about how his brofriend is "loaded" and Dr. Fell mentions that "some British guy" is also forking over a boatload of dough. The camera lovingly caresses Alaric's worried but really handsome face, as he wonders what British guy. 

Elsewhere in the party, Klaus is making nice with Carol Lockwood when Damon stops by to challenge Klaus to a pissing contest. Damon tinkles: "he ruined your son's life." Klaus sprinkles: "that full moon business was SO HARD, I saved the poor chap from the horror of it all." Carol mentions how Klaus promised to protect Mystic Falls from harm if she just does what he tells her to do. Damon dribbles: "there'd be no need for protection if he and his hybrids went bye bye." Klaus piddles: "and if your brother gave me back my dead things, I'd kennel the puppies." Carol begs Damon to reign Stefan in so the Council doesn't have to intervene. Damon pees: "squint!" Klaus pisses: "come on, mate. Give peace a chance. GRIN!" Klaus takes his toity trophy and mingles with the nameless, faceless townsfolk. 

Crypt of Tequila and Cake. Caroline texts Tyler and Matt looks sad. Elena scolds and then Bonnie bitches. The tension skyrockets when Bon turns the birthday dirge into a chorus of "stop trying to make my ex-boyfriend leave town." Matt has my back with a well-timed, "you know, you guys are ruining a perfectly good funeral!" If you can't understand why I love Matt the most, I can't explain it to you any better than that. 

Damon is licking his wounds and complaining to the sheriff about what a meanie-pants Klaus is. Liz takes Damon's side but scolds him for playing party games that could end with many of the town's citizens all covered in pee. I really need to divorce myself from this metaphor now. Urine, you're out! (I apologize, that was uncalled for.)  Liz wants Stefan to back off and thinks Damon can make that happen. 

Dr. Fell is arguing with the medical examiner about something that she's doing that could ruin her career. Alaric intervenes and the scrawny ME is all "bitches be crazy!" Alaric threatens him. Dr. Fell takes her leave. Alaric flirts and looks SO DREAMY. 

Stefan arrives, commandeering the giant knife someone left on a table. Sure, why not. He follows a hybrid who looks like a younger, taller, cuter Jamie Kennedy upstairs and stabs him in the gut. Before he can remove his head, Damon swoops in and tells him to keep his decapitations to a minimum at town events. Stefan wants to hold up his end of the ultimatum and Damon employs reason to try and talk his brother out of it. I can't believe I said it either. It's a world gone mad. Damon reminds his brother that as long as Klaus is around and hell bent on hybrid minions, Elena is his human juice box. Stefan claims he doesn't care about Elena now that he's no longer compelled to do so. Stefan calls him on his bullshit. Damon insists that if Stefan wants to beat the villain, he needs to be smarter. Stefan argues that he just needs to be a better villain. I'm sad to discover Stefan thinks "smarter" and "better villain" could be mutually exclusive. This is exactly why they need Elijah - he had so much left to teach them! 

Out in the crypt, Matt, Elena and Caroline are drunkenly giggling when Tyler arrives. Matt immediately stands and flexes his protective muscle (DIRTY!). Caroline insists it's fine and goes outside with Tyler to talk. I know that Matt's the one who broke up with Caroline but it still breaks my heart when she's all girlfriendy with Tyler right in front of him. Elena's too, which is why she hands him the tequila and asks if he's alright. He takes a swig and tells her he just wants Caroline to be happy. In fact, he just wants all of his friends and their buckets of supernatural crazy to be happy. This conversation really emphasizes his last human standing status, it's exciting and sad and beautiful at once. Sometimes this show is perfect and this is one of those times. 

Elena admits that she shouldn't have inflicted compulsion on her brother but she didn't know how else to protect him and she can't lose any more loved ones. Matt just listens, he doesn't judge. 

Outside, Tyler is excited to tell Caroline how he stood up to the boss man and how, when it comes to his woman, Special K has no control over him. Caroline tries to be sensible but Tyler won't allow it because he loves her. They kiss, it gets passionate, and he bites her on the collar bone. "Oh no. Oh my God!" He gasps when he realizes what he's done. Caroline scolds the bad doggy and he runs away to freak out about this new discovery that he's always under the thrall so long as Klaus exists. Poor Tyler, this long death march of his is so incredibly tragic. Every time I think about how I know he's going to die this season I want to send Michael Trevino and his expressive eyes a box of cookies wrapped in a giant hug. 

That's when Matt and Elena go out to find Caroline because Elena's worried she'll take Tyler back and also because they ran out of tequila. Stefan has had all the tender friendship moments he can stomach so he drops by to toss Matt head first into a brick wall and abscond with Elena. Oh Stefan, you dimmer-switched scamp! While speeding off with Elena in the Porsche, Stefan intercepts a call from Damon and tips his hand - he's going to kill Elena so Klaus can't make any more hybrids, thereby proving once and for all that he's the villainier villain. Elena and Damon do not like this plan. Stefan tosses her cell out the window and ignores her pleas to be let out of the car. 

Damon alerts Klaus to Stefan's big plan and suggests that Klaus disband his minion army. Klaus is sure Stefan is bluffing because of his undying love for Elena but Damon is in full panic mode so he plays his trump card on Klaus by whispering his sweet nothings really close to Klaus's face. Klaus can NOT resist the close-talking. It is his Achilles heel. 

Matt carries Caroline into her house and tells the Sheriff how she's hallucinating and none of their friends who know about this supernatural shit are answering their phones. Caroline cries in pain and apologizes to her mom and Matt. Thank God I believe in the extreme super-powers of Caroline's awesomness or I'd be VERY UPSET with this turn of events. 

Elena and Stefan exposition fight in the speeding car. She screams and he turns the quiet menacing up to a million, "maybe I'll just turn you into a vampire." If you're wondering where they went, all the dirty thoughts in the world are running through my head right now. Stefan calls Klaus and gives him another chance to get the hybrids out of Mystic Falls. Klaus isn't interested. Stefan promises to drive Elena off of the Death Bridge if Klaus doesn't reconsider. "You won't kill her," Klaus taunts. Stefan force feeds her some of his blood and Klaus's feathers ruffle. He finally agrees to send the army on maneuvers elsewhere. Stefan scares the shit out of everyone by stopping at the last possible second. 

Elena is pissed that he'd pretend to kill her in the same place she already almost died once. Stefan admits that he just needed her to be terrified so that Klaus would believe it. She wants to talk about what would have happened if Klaus hadn't blinked. I think if we're going to play the What If game, we should talk about how different things would be if Elijah weren't a pin cushion right now. Yelling, shouting, crying, reason, feelings, denial, awesome. Stefan's dimmer switch momentarily loses control of his face and it goes all "soulful old-school Stefan" before he pulls himself together, acts like he doesn't give a fuck and drives off, leaving Elena in the middle of Death Bridge covered in tears and blood. If there isn't an emo song somewhere with those exact lyrics, then I don't think our moody teenagers are trying hard enough. 

Matt answers the door at the Forbes house to find Klaus looking faux-contrite. Matt's not having it. Klaus wants to help by healing Caroline and if the Sheriff will simply invite him in and promise to support him, he'll do just that. I won't even ask why Matt didn't just carry Caroline out to the porch for this. What kind of idiot invites Klaus into her home? Yes, that's right. The kind that's the sheriff of a vampire-, werewolf- and hybrid-infested town. As he walks past Matt, Klaus totally shoots him a "neener-neener" side-eye. Heh, what a bitch. 

When Klaus finds Caroline in her bed, she asks if he's going to kill her. "On your birthday?" Klaus replies and I think he's really beside himself that she'd even consider it. Then again, he could just be playing her. He's very hard to read with all the crazy and evil oozing out of him all the time. He takes notice of her charm bracelet and talks her through the finer points of celebrating birthdays when you're immortal.  He sits down on the bed for a heart to heart - he'll let her die if she decides she doesn't want to deal with it anymore, but if she's interested, there's a whole world of amazing things she could live to see and all she has to do is ask him to save her. The creepy, beautiful deal-with-the-devil vibe in this scene makes my cheeks flush and the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Caroline tells him she doesn't want to die. He picks her up and helps her drink from his wrist. "Happy Birthday, Caroline," he whispers. Yowza. 

Damon brings Elena home (having...sensed that she needed a ride? Asking questions can only lead to more questions so I'm moving on). She tells him she'll be fine and he says that Stefan was kind of the hero today. He touches her face and looks into her eyes. "You can't kiss me again," she tells him. He knows but she seems way less sure. She says it isn't right and he says it is, "just not right now." They say goodnight and she goes inside. When he leaves she lingers in the doorway to picture him naked. We've all been there. 

The next morning Elena is hugging Jeremy goodbye and telling him to be safe. He turns to go but Bonnie comes running up the porch. She wants to tell him that he's been brainwashed, that he shouldn't go, but instead she hugs him and says goodbye. He grabs his bags, turns to smile at Elena and Bonnie one last time as the soundtrack sings "you'll never say goodbye," and he's gone. I'm not sure if this is denial or a coping mechanism or both, but I refuse to believe that Jeremy is really gone. I think this is the writers putting the character on ice for now so they can bring him back later to save the day at the most unexpected moment. If you know something different, keep it to yourself. Hope is all I've got. 

Caroline wakes to find a jewelry box and card reading "from Klaus." It's a diamond tennis bracelet which is what all the undead high school seniors are wearing this year. Some shit is about to go DOWN with Klaus and Caroline, y'all. I have too many thoughts to process how I feel about this development at the moment. Every time I try to wrap my brain around the possibilities it's like the screen inside my head freezes and I just get the message: buffering.

The Bridge of Death and Sadness. Elena is staring into the river when Matt finds her, "you're not gonna jump are ya?" She tells him that she's been thinking about his assessment of the gang as "stuck." That is how she feels, like she keeps trying to hold on to the normalness of the girl she used to be because she was the connection to her parents. He tells her it's ok to let go of that girl. He smiles and tells her that, as a guy who knew the other girl, this girl is doing a lot better than she thinks she is. Then he pics a few flowers from the side of the road, "here lies Elena Gilbert; a fun girlfriend...and an amazing friend." OH MY GOD, MAKE OUT! Elena smiles at him and he tosses the flowers into the river. I've spent the last 2 1/2 seasons wanting Matt to be with Caroline and therefore really against Matt and Elena having any sort of relationship relapse but that scene changed my mind. I still want Matt and Caroline to get back together in the long-term but in the short-term, someone should be kissing him and I'm perfectly comfortable with it being Elena. I mean, it's not like she has any other good looking men to make out with, right? 

Mystic Grill. Dr. Fell stops in for some liquid lunch and small talk with our favorite alcoholic. She has a story about losing a patient. He's sad to have said goodbye to Jeremy. They're only having beer and his hair looks fine so it doesn't really even seem sad or tragic. 

Liz is showing Damon the body of the medical examiner, who's presently lying dead in the woods with a stake through his human heart. Damon's like "why am I here? This isn't even supernatural." She tells him it was a murder. DUN! I feel like the only reason she'd invite Damon out to see a regular old human murder is as some kind of show-and-tell. "Look! We have normal grisly murders too! Yay!" You have to admire a woman who can make her own fun, I suppose. 

Next week: partial nudity, chains, and family drama. Just another day in the salt mines. 

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