Cannibalism never looked this good . . .
Greetings Fangbangers! This week’s installment of The Vampire Diaries explored the many ways in which humans (and vampires) can be prisoners . . .
“Is it Friday yet?”
They can be literal prisoners, locked in jail cells and deprived of freedom, like Damon, Sexy New Latin Lover Enzo (played by newcomer Michael Malarkey . . . mama like . . . . A LOT), and later Elena, were to those wackjob sadists fondly referred to as “Augustine” . . .
“On the bright side, conjugal visits just became much more convenient.”
They could be prisoners of their own bodies and mortality, like the supposedly-rapidly-decaying-and-dying-but-still-looks-frustratingly-stunning-sexy-and-wrinkle-free Katherine Pierce . . .
Wait until she learns that humans actually gain weight . . .
They could be prisoners of their sorry fate and unfortunately evil legacy, like that eternal sad sack, who makes Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, look downright cheery, Aaron Whitmore . . .
“It’s not like my day could get any worse.”
And they could be prisoners of their own minds, like good ole “my girlfriend dumped me for my brother, and my face twin, locked me in a safe at the bottom of a river, hence all the screaming, hyperventilating and crying I’ve been doing lately,” Stefan . . .
“Dear WebMD, does Aspirin work on Vampires?”
Whatever your personal prison, you didn’t need to have vampire blood running through your brains to relate to at least one of the storylines of “The Cell,” which, as a refreshing change from the uber complex mythology and whiplash fast repeated plot twists of “the Silas Storyline” actually worked pretty well as a standalone episode, with a focus on character motivation and basic interpersonal relationships that we haven’t really seen since the series’ heyday back in Season 2.
So break out your favorite trusty old safe (hopefully, you’ve sanitized it first), choke down your daily blood rations, and turn up the radio on that old classic 50’s tune, because it’s time to “go a-walking after midnight” with this latest TVD recap . . .
La Casa de Rich and Slimy
No wonder, Damon never had any qualms about offing his ancestor Zach Salvatore back in Season 1 of TVD! It seems these Salvatores have a pretty long history of familial betrayal . . . one that dates back at least as far as the early 50’s, when Some Random Salvatore used the now infamous Boarding House (where Damon and Stefan have been drinking, sexing up numerous women who look like Nina Dobrev, and brooding for the past five seasons) to lure a very James Dean-y version of Damon into a life of captivity and torture, all for “the good of science” and a bit of cash, of course.
When Damon found out about this betrayal (upon receiving a neck full of vervain for his trouble) he was less than pleased.
And so, he found a rather creative way to seek vengeance on his less-than-trustworthy relative: death-by-whiskey-glass. Granted, this form of death is not quite as visually appealing, as a good old-fashioned heart-extraction-from-chest-and-subsequent-tossing-of-heart-on-floor-like-it’s-a-piece-of-lint-on-your-shirt, but it will do in a pinch.
“This whiskey tastes funny. Perhaps, it has something to do with the rim of the glass having just been inside my great, great, great grandson’s carotid artery . . .”
Enter Dr. Whitmore . . .
Psycho sadist by day, douchebag who wears a pocket square by night . . .
He’s thrilled that Death-By-Whiskey resulted in a surprise discount on his Vampire Pin Cushion purchase, but bummed that his test subject is still awake. Fortunately, a bit more vervain will fix that right up . . .
Back in the present day, Damon finds himself once again, a P.O.W. (Prisoner of Whitmore). Only this time, fashions have changed (he’s wearing a black shirt instead of a white one), and vampire jail is much lonelier without a super sexy guest star in the next cell with which to shoot the breeze. Fortunately for Damon, company is on the way . . .
“Black is the new black.”
“Sorry all your friends and family died. But let’s talk about me for a change . . .”
It appears that one of the unfortunate side effects of being on a show where everybody’s sole point of interest and topic of conversation is you, is that you tend to become a wee bit self-absorbed . . .
“But enough about me, let’s talk about me.”
And because she is a victim of her own circumstances, I guess we have to cut Elena a bit of slack for KILLING JESSE one night, and popping up at his MASSIVELY DEPRESSED TO THE POINT OF BEING SUICIDAL former roommate’s dorm room the next morning, and asking him to come frolicking with her in search of her errant boyfriend.
Someone needs to get her priorities in order.
Fortunately, for Elena, Sad Aaron is so desperate for non-brutally murdered people to befriend, that if he spotted a cockroach on his window sill, he’d probably invite it out for beers, and offer to be its wingman while it tried to pick up chicks . . .
And so he gallantly invites the only person on the show who is a bigger Grim Reaper than he is, over to his family mansion where, unbeknownst to him, his “guardian” is using Elena’s boyfriend to play a live action version of the beloved childhood game “Operation.” (Just don’t remove his funny bone, Mmm-kay, Doctor Death. We like our Elder Salvatore Brother sexy AND snarky.)
If you recall, the last time Elena was here, she had to hang out outside, because the owner of the house wasn’t around to invite her in. This time, she dances around awkwardly, waiting for Aaron to do the polite thing, and let the female bloodsucker cross his threshold.
It’s at this point in the story that we learn (1) Aaron is a Whitmore, which means his dead family like TOTALLY owns the college; (2) Elena’s dad may or may not have been in league with the nefarious Augustines; and (3) Doctor Death became Aaron’s legal guardian, after the death of his last living relative
Useless Aunt Jenna Aunt Sarah.
We interrupt this trip down Plot Twist lane, so that Elena can get stabbed in the neck with a vervain syringe . . .
(Personally, I prefer the good old fashioned neck snap for characters who need a “temporary time out,” but I guess this will do, in a pinch.)
Another Fail “Safe” Plan
Back at La Casa de Rich and Awesome, Stefan thinks writing about her problems in a diary will make Katherine want to kill herself less.
(Yeah, Stefan, because that worked SO WELL for you!)
But Katherine has never really been much of a writer (or a reader) for that matter. So, she tells Stefan he should stop focusing on Katherine’s suicidal tendencies and start trying to figure out why the same guy who ate his own father without flinching, now goes into girly hysterics every time he pictures an itty bitty box . . .
I mean, I thought vampires were supposed to like coffins?
Katherine invites her new bestie Caroline over to shock Stefan out of his PTSD, by locking him in a safe, until he’s not afraid of being there anymore.
She even brought her own trusty safe to use in Stefan’s treatment. “But don’t worry,” she tells the seriously freaked out younger Salvatore brother. “I sanitized it.”
Yes, Caroline, because germs have always been a vampire’s worst enemy . . .
Stefan’s first run-in with the safe doesn’t exactly go well, in the sense that he’s throwing a full-on temper tantrum within minutes of getting inside. (Can you imagine this guy in a tanning bed? It would not be pretty.)
Katherine wonders out loud whether Stefan’s problem is not the safe at all, but rather, his pen*s. This logic inspires in her a rather brilliant idea. (Katherine not be particularly literary. And she may never have enrolled in Psych 101, like Caroline. But if she’s an expert in anything it’s Vampire Pen*s . . .)
“This one time . . . in Augustine Vampire Jail . . .”
Finding themselves reunited in Vampire Jail with a sturdy wall of bars between them, Elena and Damon find themselves with a bit of time to kill.
And so, Damon decides to regale Elena about his zany prison adventures with a hot European soldier Vamp named Enzo. You see, this isn’t Damon’s first time at the rodeo. He’s been a vampire test subject once before.
(By the way, over 50 some-odd years of experimentation with the undead, and these guys are still doing things like testing vampire light sensitivity, and their ability to regenerate limbs? Any teenager who has read Twilight could tell you that. Worst Medical Researchers EVER!)
Damon discusses how Enzo and him developed a friendship through the bars of their personal vampire prison, while chugging down a single shot glass of blood each day to keep themselves from desiccation. While they took turns being brutally tortured by that icy cyborg Dr. Whitmore (charm cleary runs in this family), the two bonded over lost lady loves (Enzo’s was a benevolent researcher named Maggie), music (“I go a-walking . . . after midnight . . . out in the moonlight . . .lalala”), and their mutual hatred for all things Whitmore. Time passed, until finally, after one New Years, the vampire bromantics finally devised a plan for their inevitable escape from Torture Town.
The plan involved Damon drinking both his and Enzo’s rations, and secretly growing stronger, over the course of a year, so that when the two were let out for the annual New Year’s party, Damon would be strong enough to free Enzo from the pokey, and the pair could live happily ever after . . . literally . . . you know . . . because they are immortal and stuff . . .
A whole year, comprised of doing nothing but regularly submitting to torture and drinking shots of red stuff . . . talk about a LOOOOOOOONNNG CON. (Though, honestly, it seems strange that Enzo wouldn’t have desiccated during that time, seeing as he was drinking nothing for an entire year, and the whole point of the rations was to keep both vampires alive and weak.)
Because Katherine Pierce is just kinky like that . . .
When this box is a rocking, don’t come a-knocking . . .
Stefan opens his eyes in the Evil Box to find Katherine right next to him, sweating it out with him. (Geez! It’s a good thing Stefan isn’t claustrophobic.) He freaks out, of course, threatens to kill her, gently chokes her, makes a big show of breathing heavily on her neck. It’s supposed to be scary, but it’s kind of hot, and you can tell both parties are totally turned on by it . . .
Katherine explains to Stefan that his fear of safes is really just a sublimation of the feelings of abandonment he experienced when Elena dumped him for Stefan. It’s some pretty high brow talk for a girl who’s used to speaking almost entirely in sexual innuendos! Then, in a voice that’s oddly Elena like, Katherine gently reminds Stefan that she’s there for him.
This has the impact of giving Stefan a major boner, and making him temporarily forget that he’s locked in a death trap of a safe with a dying human blood bag.
Caroline pops open the safe, unfortunately cock blocking the hundred plus year-old flames before they have a chance to let the REAL healing begin. But Stefan isn’t mad at his gal pal. His PTSD is cured!
Now if he could just find a remedy for these . . .
A little while later, Katherine confronts Stefan in the study, and lightly teases him about an ugly chair he broke, while in the throes of PTSD. Stefan admits that he finally has to make a point to move on from Elena. Katherine is uncharacteristically demure when she admits that sometimes she isn’t quite sure what she’s doing. They move closer to one another slowly, like boxers circling each other, eyes locked, wondering whose going to be the one to make the first jab. “My Superman” by Santigold plays in the background, reminding both characters that they’ve “got to live.”
Annnnd the, next thing you know they’re sucking face . . .
Part of me wishes we actually got to see a bit of the good stuff, rather than merely implying that the two characters were boning, by zooming in on Caroline’s horrified and disgusted face, as her vampire hearing picked up the sound of their sex moans, while she was leaving a telephone message for the kidnapped Elena. And yet, I guess there is something to be said for leaving a bit to the imagination.
After all, this “coming together” of Stefan and Katherine was actually much less about sexual tension (though they have it in spades, for sure), and more about them both being precisely what one another needed in that moment. Stefan needed to recognize that his pain over Elena’s abandonment of him was keeping him metaphorically trapped, emotionally suffocated, and afraid of moving on with his life. Katherine’s willingness to be there for him, when he needed it most, literally allowed Stefan to breathe inside that safe, and, subsequently feel freer than he had in a long time.
As for Katherine, her mortality and impending death were making her feel weak, old, and frail, sapping her of her usual survival instincts and will to live. Seeing how much Stefan needed and wanted her, brought Katherine back to herself. It made her feel, strong, sexy, and virile. It gave her the desire to fight for her own survival.
Also, let’s face it, these are two people who REALLY like sex, and haven’t been laid in a few episodes . . . so there’s that . . .
New Year’s Cleave
Back in flashback land, it’s New Year’s Eve and Damon and Enzo are prepped and ready for their great escape. Everything starts off as planned. Damon, emboldened by his extra shot of blood each day, breaks his own bones upon minutes of being let out of the cage, heals them, and then proceeds to pop out Dr. Whitmore’s eyeballs, just as Dr. Whitmore did to him early on in the episode.
You know, because no one gets between Damon and his darling baby blues . . . NO ONE.
Then he, takes the keys to the cages from Dr. Whitmore’s pants, frees hot Enzo and dashes off into the sunset.
Just kidding. That would be the SMART thing to do. Instead, Damon proceeds to kill all the party guests, knock over a candelabra, and set the entire place on fire. Then, the bars are all hot, and Damon can’t save Enzo without becoming fried chicken in the process. So, Damon does what any self-respecting antihero would do, he turns off his emotions, and walks out, leaving his buddy to chargrill. Catch you later, Hot Enzo . . . who is now literally hot . . . as in BURNING TO DEATH HOT.
“Cool guys never look back at explosions.”
And so yet another clueless human learns about the existence of vampires is and changed forever . . .
Back in the present day, Doctor Death gives Aaron an impromptu lesson in vampires . . . explains that vampires killed his parents . . . and gives him a vervain watch and some lame vampire research journals as a belated birthday present. Traumatized Aaron travels down to vampire jail to find out which member of the Scooby Gang killed his parents and possibly Megan. He accuses Elena, at first. WRONG! (Though Elena DID kill Jesse, Aaron never quite gets around to asking her about that.)
“Et tu, human version of Eeyore?”
Damon admits that while he didn’t kill any of Aaron’s roommates, he did kill Aaron’s parents, and pretty much all of his ancestors, along with a boatload of Augustines. In a brief flashback, we learn that Damon’s plan for vengeance against the Whitmores had been to kill everyone in their family but one, in each generation, to ensure that he would continue having Whitmore’s to kill for all eternity. He better hope Aaron’s not sterile, because he just killed his last living relative Sarah, a few months back . . . when Damon and Elena had just started dating.
Ruh-roh . . . it looks like, while love heals all wounds, it may not be strong enough to satisfy one’s thirst for vengeance . . . just ask Amanda Clark from Revenge.
What’s worse, many fans are speculating that Damon might very well have been the one to cause Elena’s parent’s accident, seeing as he was present moments before the accident occurred, and Elena’s father is currently presumed to have been a member of the Vampire Torture Fraternity. Is there a Hallmark card out there that reads, “Sorry for maybe killing your parents, and for going on killing spree road trips, when you and I were supposed to be at home having mind blowing sex? If so, Damon better start shopping for it now . . .
Aaron thanks Damon for his confession, by shooting him in the head. Nighty night, Damon.
He wakes up a few moments later to find his girlfriend missing from her cell . . .
Someone needs to get more music on his iPod . . .
When you think about it, it’s a bit ironic that the haunting oldies tune “Walking After Midnight,” of all tunes, was the one that played in the background throughout most of “The Cell,” especially when you consider how little walking our Scooby Gang did during this episode. I mean, seriously, this might very well have been the least ambulatory episode of TVD of all time! Everyone seemed to be either, locked up in jail cells, or lying down in safes, strapped down to examination tables, or dumbfoundedly watching others lay around, sit around, or lie around in those places.
How does that old saying go? Something about idle hands being the devil’s playthings?
Well, the same thing could possibly be said about idles minds and mouths, if Enzo (Welcome back, Enzo! We just knew you were too damn good looking and charismatic to be a one-off flashback character on this show.) and his creepy crooning of what may very well be the ONLY song he’s been listening to nonstop since 1953, while strapped down next to Poor!Elena on an examination table, waiting to get his weiner chopped off or some such nonsense in the name of pseudo-science-as-an-excuse-for torture. Let’s all invest in an iTunes gift card for this guy for Christmas, what do you say?
That said, it does appear that Doctor Death at least took the time to get Enzo a modern day haircut, and update his wardrobe. (Though, to be honest, I was kind of partial to his greaser duds. They were sexy.) This, of course, begs the question: why bother to play dress up with a guy you only let out once a year to be your dancing monkey at parties? Could Enzo be THE Augustine Vampire to which Doctor Death has been referring all this time? The one who has become allegiant to the same society that tortured him for over half a century? The one that killed sweet Megan and her adorable glasses?
Only time will tell . . .
Next week, on The Vampire Diaries mid-season finale, Sad Sack Aaron learns that it’s hard out there for a relatively wimpy human on a show full of vampires. Just ask Matt . . .
Also, next week, Katherine dabbles in some cardio . . .
See ya then, Fangbangers!