Tonight’s retro, 50s themed episode of The Vampire Diaries was a sock-hopping, soda-popping, poodle skirt-wearing good time, for a number of reasons. For one thing, we got to imagine what the stars of our favorite gothic teen drama would look like if they had, instead, been cast in a remake of Happy Days. Starring Damon Salvatore as “The Fonz”!
Secondly, this episode introduced us to a brand new piece of refreshingly recognizable eye candy, in the form of the always-yummy Sean Faris, who plays the hopefully recurring beverage-slinging “washed up ex-jock” / potential love interest of Bonnie / evil vampire, Ben McKittrick.
Finally, we maintained the recent trend established in this show of one senseless death per episode. Oh, Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire, we hardly knew thee . . .
With those three things in mind, let us sharpen up our fake fangs, smear some ketchup on our lips, and get on with the recap, shall we?
More Baby Mamma Drama for Elena
Early on in the episode, Elena confronts Aunt Jenna about her revelations of the past week.
(By the way, the writers kind of glossed over exactly how Elena broached this sensitive subject to her current guardian. Perhaps it went something like this: “Hey Auntie, my vampire boyfriend found out I was adopted, because he rescued me from the car crash that killed our parents, using his superhuman strength. He then stalked me at the hospital to make sure I wasn’t his long-undead girlfriend from the Civil War era, who happens to look just like me.”)
Aunt Jenna confirms that Elena was, in fact, adopted. According to Jenna, Elena’s biological mom was a teenage runaway who the Gilberts took into their home. Elena’s dad, a doctor, delivered Elena, and when the runaway disappeared, the Gilberts, who had, up to this point, been unable to conceive a child, doctored the birth certificate and raised Elena as their own. When pressed for further details, Jenna offers that Elena’s biological mother was named Isabel and that she had grown up right in their home town.
Later, we find out that Alaric’s wife, the woman tragically (killed?) (turned?) by Damon, was also named Isabel. Coincidence? Probably not, given how this show has progressed thus far. And yet, this development raises some intriguing questions that will likely come into play as the series progresses. Could Alaric be Elena’s biological father? Could Damon? (Ick, I hope not.) How is Isabel (and, by extension, Elena) related to the currently entombed vampire Katherine? Perhaps Isabel is still alive . . . or maybe even undead?
Speaking of Alaric, he used his time as chaperone of the school dance to interrogate Damon as to the latter’s reasons for being in town. Instantly suspicious, Damon tries his mind bendy trick on Alaric to ascertain his true intentions. At first, Alaric’s interest in Damon seems genuinely innocent, and Damon is led off the scent. However, later, we find that Alaric’s hands are filled with crushed vervain, making him immune to Damon’s hypnotic charms. This begs the question, how much exactly does Alaric know about the Salvatore brothers?
Unlike Druggie Jeremy, Stepford Jeremy Doesn’t Do Vampire Love
It appears that the total 180 Elena’s little brother has done, personality-wise, since Damon did that little mind-bendy thing on him, after Vicki’s untimely undead death has, in fact, stuck. The former rebel is now getting A’s on extra credit papers, kissing up to teachers by offering them up precious and rare family heirlooms, and serving un-spiked punch at school dances. In short, he’s become a nerd . . . and a celibate one at that.
In fact, throughout the episode, Jeremy diligently fends off the advances of the increasingly needy-seeming home-school history buff, Anna. However, it isn’t until Anna shows up at his school dance uninvited, and insists that he steal back his ancestor’s journal from his history teacher, so he can give it to her instead, that I started to really worry for the youngest Gilbert. Visions of Fatal Attraction and boiled bunnies danced in my head.
“I will not be ignored . . . Jeremy!”
Then of course, Amy got those tell tale black lines on her face. And her eyes got all puffy and rimmed with dark circles. Apparently, on Vampire Diaries, this is a sign of vampiric hunger. But for me, that’s just what I happen to look like when I wake up in the morning. Go figure! As it turns out Amy is a “bad vampire” who teamed up with the Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire who tried to kill Elena in last week’s episode, in order to free Katherine and the other vamps eternally locked underground in a tomb.
Geez, how slutty was this Katherine? Because apparently there wasn’t a vampire in Virginia, male or female who didn’t “hit” that one . . .
“Oh my God, you killed Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire! You Bastard!”
Like another well-known slow walking, hoodie-wearing character, this episode introduced us to a guy who knows how to die, but can’t seem to stay dead. When we first met this Vampire (i.e. he already died once), he had just been hit by Elena’s car, and appeared to be dead (again). Then, he tried to kill Elena, before being stopped by Damon. He starts off this episode by stalking Elena via cell phone. In an effort to protect his girlfriend, Stefan provides her with her own family heirloom (Way to regift, d-bag!), a pocket watch that points out the whereabouts of nearby blood suckers.
Later, as Elena prepares for the school dance, the pocket watch starts going haywire. Elena understandably freaks out and calls Stefan, only to have Damon pick up the phone. When Damon informs her that Stefan is on the way to her house, Elena relaxes, convinced that the pocket watch is merely illustrating the presence of her lover . . . that is until she finds Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire lounging around on her ceiling. Stefan quickly comes to her rescue, and the undead dude gets away.
Stefan calls Damon. Then, the newly-formed Scooby Gang (every teen show has one) plot their revenge. Recognizing that now that Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire has been invited into Elena’s home (he posed as a pizza boy), and that he will not stop until he kills her, the trio decide to use Elena as bait at the dance in order to confront the guy. Elena reluctantly agrees. So, off to the dance we go.
Things start off fairly normal, with Elena and Stefan sharing a slow dance, and Elena teasing Stefan about his age. “You’re so teaching me the hand jive,” she insists. (Elena, honey, I was still about three decades away from being born during the 50’s, and I know how to hand jive. Like most self-respecting women, I learned from watching Grease. And you call yourself a girl . . .)
Stefan soon leaves Elena alone and heads off to pursue a guy he thinks is Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vamp. (It ends up being a ruse). Once alone, Elena receives a cryptic phone call, informing her that she must meet Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire, or her brother dies. Elena walks into the trap and is attacked by “the hooded one,” who she stakes with a pencil, but to no avail. (Aren’t they supposed to like, disintegrate, or something? I mean it worked pretty well for Vicki and Lexi, right?) Then both Stefan AND Damon come to the rescue, each taking turns fatally staking Hoodie Dude with available pointed objects. The problem is . . . dude just won’t die.
And so, the Scooby Gang takes this opportunity to interrogate the staked vamp about Katherine, who the latter claims to know. According to this vamp, they will need Bonnie’s ancestor Emily’s Grimindor (sp? – Every time they mentioned this word on the show, I found myself thinking about Harry Potter’s House at Hogwarts, very similar name, right?) to free Katherine from the tomb.
(If you recall, earlier in the episode Stefan agreed to help Damon free Katherine, provided the latter let the other entombed vampires die, and left town. Later, an unusually devious Stefan revealed to Elena that he had no intention of helping Damon with his nefarious plan.)
With one last staking Creepy Hoodie-Wearing Vampire FINALLY dies and all is right in the world. Or is it?
A Date with a Vampire
After setting her sights on the older man (the question is how much older, years . . . or centuries), Bonnie strikes up some flirtatious conversation with Ben McKittrick, a former high school football star who now tends bar in town. Eventually Bonnie gets the courage to ask her crush out . . . for karaoke night? (Note to Bonnie: unless you are Jordin Sparks, this is a terrible — I repeat, terrible — idea for a first high school date.) McKittrick declines the opportunity to be the next Vampire Idol, but agrees to date Bonnie elsewhere.
However, just in case you were getting excited about the blossoming romance between these two, moments later McKittrick is attacked by none other than Jeremy’s creepy home schooled vamp friend, Anna. However, instead of killing him, she kisses him. As it turns out, these two are a blood-sucking vampiric item, equally intent on freeing Katherine from her underground grave. So much for a healthy relationship, Bonnie . . .
Caroline Gets Her Man
In the “living” relationship world, Caroline finds herself repeatedly frustrated by her “friend” Matt. Apparently, Matt’s inability to get over Elena, and his seeming unwillingness take things to the next level with Caroline, are becoming a major buzz kill for the blond vixen. When Matt gives Caroline the cold shoulder, Caroline confronts him. Matt explains to her that he is not ready to enter into another relationship, using the classic cop out line, “It would just ruin our friendship.”
Having, personally, both said and received this line, I can tell you firsthand, it usually isn’t taken well. And this time is no exception. Caroline declares the pair’s friendship over and storms out.
Moments later, in a move that seems custom-made for teen dramas and romantic comedies, Matt follows Caroline out with his car, and before she can yell at him some more, he pulls her in for a romantic kiss right in the middle of the street. After doing this, he says, “This will never work,” before kissing her some more. Yeah, we know, Matt . . . but it is fun to watch, anyway . . .
And that was our show, in a nutshell . . . Tune in next week, when we go further back in time to analyze Slutty Vampire Katherine’s origins.