This may make me sound vapid and un-intellectual, but I am the complete opposite of a history buff. When it came to studying the past in school, I was always of the admittedly shallow mindset that if something happened before my grandparents were born, it simply wasn’t worth my time.
Of all “pre-Grandma” time periods, I always hated learning about the Civil War the most. The endless list of seemingly identical battles to memorize, all those pictures of stony-faced, heavily-bearded generals, the astounding lack of women mentioned . . . ummm . . . anywhere at all – it all put me right to sleep.
(Wake me up when we get to the Depression . . .)
Thus, admittedly, when I saw the previews for this week’s installment of The Vampire Diaries, with all my favorite characters clad in ill-fitting, decidedly unsexy and archaic garb, I was less than thrilled. After all, I like my Damon Salvatore in leather, or shirtless (preferably shirtless) — not in some starched up and stiff button-down shirt with suspenders.
(All dressed with no leather makes Damon a dull boy . . . and Julie a sad girl.)
However, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how much fun “Children of the Damned” actually was. Fun and important, in that it dispelled a common misconception (Katherine was NOT responsible for turning the Salvatore brothers) and gave some crucial insight into the main motivations of our favorite characters (Damon is at least somewhat justified in being royally pissed at Stefan in the present day.)
(Oh Vampire Diaries, you have shown me the Civil War light! Wait . . . did they even have bulbs back then?)
So, without further adieu, let’s begin our history lesson:
In the Past . . .
The episode opens with “damsel in distress” Elena’s undead doppelganger, Katherine, begging the driver of a stagecoach for help for her ”sick husband.” However, when the driver stops to provide assistance, Katherine gets all vamped out and attacks his ass, while a surprisingly innocent looking and still-living Damon looks on in horror. Turned on from the hunt, Katherine begins to make out with Damon, who complies and politely refrains from saying, “No way, you Pointy-Toothed Biatch, not until you wash that driver off your face!”
Meanwhile, Elena’s ancestor, Jonathan Gilbert (or perhaps another Mystic Falls resident . . . it is a bit unclear) is handing off the Grinimore (which turns out to be another name for Witch Emily’s spell book) to Damon and Stefan’s daddy for safe keeping. It appears that the Civil War era residents are gearing up to kick some major vampire ass (or burn them up in a church, whichever is faster), and the Grinimore plays a key role in this. We also learn that Mystic Falls’ founder, Honoraria Fell, has outfitted some of the living residents of the town with vervain to protect them from the vampires’ powers.
Apparently, all Gilberts possess a gene for vampire loving. Like Elena and Jeremy after him, Jonathan appears to have fallen for the undead Pearl. To make matters even more complicated, Pearl just so happens to be the mother of Anna, the creepy stalker vampire who has been following Jeremy around in the present, in order to retrieve Jonathan Gilbert’s diary. Like Stefan and Damon, at this point in the past, Anna does not appear to have turned vamp yet.
Katherine is just having the time of her death, toying with and alternately screwing Damon and Stefan, both of whom she plans to change into vampires in the near future. This way, she can have her boy toys and eat them too . . . forever. Because sex with the bloodsucker tends to be pretty darn hot, Damon and Stefan are understandably miffed that their father is leading the effort to destroy all vampires. Naïve Stefan expresses to Damon his bright idea of informing their dear old dad about their relationship with Katherine, reasoning that doing so would save the vampires from destruction. To this Damon replies, “What are you out of your f*&^*ing mind, you dumb f*&*ing asshole?” (or at least he would have said that, if he was on HBO, instead of the CW).
(Not on this channel, buddy!)
Despite Damon’s warnings, Stefan confronts his dad indirectly, explaining that not all vampires are “bad people” (or people at all, for that matter). Daddy Salvatore seems moderately understanding but is generally unreceptive to Stefan’s arguments. Later, while Stefan is doing the horizontal mambo with Katherine, she suddenly goes all fangy and moves to bite him. When she does, however, she becomes instantly sick and falls to the ground. It appears that Stefan has ingested vervain at some point prior to the sex act. Poison = a major turnoff for vamps. “The mood” is officially as dead as Katherine.
While Katherine is writhing in pain, Daddy Salvatore pops in and muzzles the vamp like a wild animal. Papa explains to Stefan that he figured out that Katherine was a vampire based on Stefan’s sudden change of heart toward the undead species. Katherine is then dragged out toward the church of her eventual doom, along with 25 other vampires. One of these vampires is Pearl, who is turned in by her Benedict Arnold boyfriend Jonathan Gilbert, after his vampire-pointing pocket watch goes crazy in Pearl’s presence.
Damon curses Stefan for his involvement in Katherine’s demise, and runs away in anguish. Meanwhile, Anna and Witch Emily watch the scene in horror. Witch Emily turns to Anna and promises to do a spell to protect the vampires. She also assures Anna that she will one day be reunited with her mother . . .
The Present . . .
Speaking of shirtless, we join the present day in bed with Stefan and Elena. Suffice it to say that the former has drool worthy-washboard abs that made this whole scene worth it for me. To make things even hotter, Damon intrudes on the scene, and I again wish I was watching HBO, so that I could have the opportunity to witness the best threesome ever. But alas, this is basic cable and nothing happens . . .
(“I’m not a smart man, but I KNOW what ménage a trois is . . . and I have them all the time.”)
Instead, Damon commandeers the couple to help him obtain Jonathan Gilbert’s diary, which he believes will detail the location of the Grinimore. After a conversation with Jeremy, the crew learns that Alaric Saltzman currently has the diary. Now, the Salvatore gang must race with Anna to retrieve it.
Alaric is studying the diary when he is confronted by Stefan, who he shoots with a wooden stake gun, but misses. Alaric confesses to Stefan that he knows that Damon killed his wife, but her body was never found. The history teacher admits that he has come to Mystic Falls to find out exactly what happened to the love of his life. When Stefan and Alaric turn their attention back to the sacred ancestral diary, it is gone . . . It appears, the while the boys were gossiping like little school girls, Bad Ass Anna was taking action. Fortunately, Stefan is able to get a copy of the diary for himself.
Meanwhile, hot newbie vamp, Ben McKittrick, is out on a date with Bonnie to try to get information out of her about the Grinimore. Believe it or not, Bonnie gets her wish from last episode, and these two actually spend their first date doing karaoke. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see it. However, based on the pair’s discussions about the evening, we can surmise that Ben probably sounded a lot like this . . .
Bonnie and Ben get flirty and the former moves in for a smooch, but backs away when her witch Spidey Sense gets a distinct vampire vibe from the hottie. Sensing he has been found out, Ben attacks Bonnie and foreplay is officially over . . .
Meanwhile, Elena and Stefan are reviewing Jonathan Gilbert’s diary to no avail, when Stefan conveniently remembers a conversation he had with his dad, during which the latter explained that he would take all of his darkest secrets to his grave. The pair head to the cemetery to exhume Papa Salvatore’s body and retrieve the Grinimore hidden in there. Damon finds the couple at the gravesite, and concludes that both Elena and Stefan had lied to him about their willingness to help him to find the Grinimore and rescue Katherine.
Damon seems genuinely hurt by Elena’s betrayal, in particular, as she was the only one he truly trusted. In anger, he grabs Katherine’s present-day doppelganger, slits his wrist, and force feeds her his blood. He then threatens that if Stefan does not turn over the spell book, Damon will turn Elena into a vampire. Stuck between a rock and a fang place, Stefan reluctantly tosses the sacred book to his once-again estranged brother.
A defeated Elena and Stefan then head back to Elena’s house. Once there, Stefan learns, to his chagrin, that Glutton-for-Punishment Jeremy has invited Psycho Vamp Anna into the Gilbert home. Soon after, Elena goes missing . . .
Well, there you have it, “Children of the Damned” in a nutshell. Tune in next week, when Hottie Vamp McKittrick uses his mind control powers on Elena, and an angry Damon wishes our female protagonist dead in order to achieve the ultimate vengeance on his brother.