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The more things change . . . – A Recap of The Vampire Diaries’ Season 4 Premiere “Growing Pains”

[Worry not, Fangbangers!  Your TVD-cap for Episode 2, “Memorial,” will be up in under 24 hours. Feel free to suck on some hot vampire’s hand, while you’re waiting . . .]

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Don’t feel bad, Elena.  I get grouchy during my “time of month” too . . .

Welcome back, Fangbangers!  I’ve missed you . . .

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After an interminably long hiatus, it’s finally time to sharpen those fangs, and head on back to Mystic Falls .  . . a town where nobody gives two craps what your name is (unless it’s Elena Gilbert, of course), but everybody knows your blood type.

I can’t believe this show is already entering its fourth season!  It seems like only yesterday that Stefan Salvatore compelled his way into Elena Gilbert’s high school history class, and nobody noticed that he looked about 27 . . .

So much has happened since that fateful day.  Practically everyone from the original cast has died .  . . and come back . . . multiple times.

Elena dated Stefan . . .

. . . and then broke up with Stefan . . .

. . . and then dated Stefan again . . .

. . . and then broke up with Stefan again.

There were Big Bads . . . and vampire sexcapades . . . and supposedly unbreakable curses that were magically broken by a woman who suffers from severe nosebleeds . . .

And yet, through it all, Stefan remained freaking hungry . . .

Damon stayed snarky (and continued to love taking showers) . . .

Tyler still hated wearing shirts . . .

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Elena judged everyone (but only because she cared) . . .

Caroline kept getting kidnapped . . .

And we still could never figure out what Bonnie was mumbling, during all those ridiculous spells . . .

In a way, “Growing Pains,” is the start of a brand new chapter in TVD-verse.  Elena, who has always been Mystic Falls most vulnerable damsel in distress, has finally become a supernatural creature capable of kicking some serious ass . . .

And yet, when you really stop to think about it, nothing has changed at all . . .

Let’s review, shall we?

To Feed or Not to Feed . . .

The episode begins with Elena waking up in her bedroom, where her two vampire love slaves are hovering over her, looking for signs of life . . . or lack thereof.  Understandably, given the whole “drowning in a car” thing, our leading lady is a bit disoriented and distressed.

Since Elena clearly never watched last season’s TVD finale (nor did she read any of the spoilers for this episode), she has no clue what has happened to her.  This means it’s up to Salvatore Squared to give her the bad news.  In short, Elena has until the end of the day to either feed on human blood, and turn into vampire, or DIE . . . again . . . but for good, this time.

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The fact that Elena is in this situation, because Stefan saved her ex-beau / buddy Matt from the drowning car first, thereby allowing Elena to die with Damon’s vampire blood in her system, is, more or less, brushed over, for the time being.  But we’ll get back to that later.  For now, Elena’s just seriously bummed about the whole, “destined to have pointy teeth, and a sometimes veiny face” thing . . .

But WAIT . . . there may be A CURE!!!  And I bet you’ll NEVER guess who’s going to provide this cure . . .

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s not Dr. Fell . . .

. . . or Sheriff Forbes . . .

. . . it’s not even the happy woodland creatures Stefan consumes on a daily basis.

Nope, the Finder of the Cure is . . . drumroll please . . .

BONNIE BENNETT!

No wonder today’s Mystic Falls weather forecast called for nosebleeds, with a chance of dramatic fainting . . .  It all makes sense now.

There’s a new sheriff in town and he looks a lot like the Evil Priest in every single movie you’ve ever seen containing Evil Priests . . .

Who knew what a proverbial can of worms Bad!Alaric would open up, when he outed all of the town vampires to the supposedly, but not-so-much Vampire Killing Town Council?  Now, this random guy named Pastor Young, who we have never ever heard of, or seen before and will probably never see again . . .

This douche . . .

 . . . is suddenly all over, like a bad rash, firing vampire-friendly locals from their jobs (Sorry Dr. Fell and Sheriff Forbes!), including the MAYOR (?!), and kidnapping pretty much every vampire, who’s name is featured in the opening credits.

Wow . . . this town must be REALLY religious!  Where I come from, the Pastors can barely get their congregations to fill the collection plates, let alone beat-up high school students!

Sigh!  Poor Caroline!  Girlfriend gets kidnapped and tortured on this show, more than she gets laid . . . well . . . on second thought . . .

Also on the kidnapping chopping block is Saint Stefan, and Rebekah-the-Original-Perpetually-Left-Behind . . .

In fact, the only vampires who escaped Pastor Young and Company’s wrath were Damon (well, of course he did!) and Klausi-Tyler.  More on him, in a bit . . .

Newbie Almost-Vamp Elena, the second-most kidnapped person on this show, manages to escape Pastor Young’s wrath, at first.  But it isn’t long before her true fangy colors start to show, i.e. she looks like she’s suffering from the Worst Hangover EVER!   She also hates LAMPS!  I mean, like, REALLY HATES THEM!

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Wouldn’t it have been easier just to hit the light switch?

Elena tries to escape the wrath of Pastor Young, but ultimately gets decked by one of his (kind of hot) henchmen.  Not cool, Hot Henchman . . . not cool at all . . .

But wait!  I’m getting ahead of myself here.  Before Elena’s newfound vampiness led to her undoing, it helped her accomplish the most AWESOME THING EVER . . .

Thanks for the Memories . . .

Ahhh, yes!  It’s the moment us Delena fans have all been waiting for . . . the moment when Elena, eternally free from vampire compulsion, finally gets to watch one of my favorite scenes in the history of TVD.  No, I mean, literally, she gets to watch it . . . as in, they replay the entire scene, right in front of Elena . . . in 3D.  It just doesn’t get much better than that folks.

We’ll talk later about how Elena responds to the realization that Damon met her first, and sacrificed her love to Saint Stefan, long before Elena even became consciously aware of his feelings for her.  (Hint: FRUSTRATINGLY!)  But, for now, let’s just bask in the glory that is “The Very First True Declaration of Delena Love” . . .

Speaking of love interrupted . . .

In which Klausi-tyler cockblocks himself . . .

Now, I know a lot of folks out there put-off / disgusted by the concept of Klaus inhabiting Tyler’s body.  But I, for one, was kind of excited about it.  Basically, I was just interested in seeing whether Michael Trevino could pull it off . . .

When we first meet Klausi-Tyler, he’s harassing Bonnie to put him back inside his own body.  This actually surprised, and disappointed, me a little bit.  One would think that a devious villain-type like Klaus could think of all sorts of ways to put Hybrid-Boy’s Buff Body to naughty use.  After all, we all remember how much fun Klaus had being Alaric, back in the day . . .

By comparison, what Klaus ended up doing with Tyler’s body was actually pretty tame. Though, I must admit, I giggled at Klausi-Tyler’s typical teenage reaction to having a mother who actually liked him . . . you know as opposed to his own mother, who tried to wipe his entire race from the face of the Earth . .  .

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When Klausi-Tyler finds out from his mother that Caroline’s been kidnapped, he ambushes the car carrying her and his sister, and stages a dramatic rescue . . . Let me rephrase that . . . he stages a dramatic rescue of Caroline.  It looks like Poor Rebekah is going to have to tough it out with the crazy vampire hating cult for just a bit longer . . .

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Caroline didn’t seem to notice though.  To say the young blonde was appreciative of the man she thought was dead for springing her from the pokey is the understatement of the century . . .

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That’s right, Forwood / Karoline fans, our favorite little Vampire Barbie rode that sexy body snatcher harder than a jockey at the Kentucky Derby . . .

Now, I know what most of you are thinking.  This has gotta be Klausi-Tyler’s dream come true, right?  I mean, hasn’t Klaus been trying to get his “stake” inside Caroline, ever since that fateful day when he made Tyler almost kill her, so that he could save her life?  I mean, we’re not honestly supposed to believe that Klaus drew those pictures of Caroline with the pony just because he’s a “nice guy,” are we?

And yet, moments into the scene Klausi-tyler STOPS Caroline from screwing him, by complaining that he’s using the “wrong equipment,” and by calling her Klaus’ telltale nickname, “Love.”

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I’m confused.  “Wrong equipment?”  What exactly does Klaus think Tyler has between his legs . . . a baseball bat . . . a vajayjay? Seriously!

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I don’t know.  I just find it hard to believe that Klaus, the same guy who’s killed his parents and siblings multiple times over was simply too “honorable” to pork Caroline under false pretenses . . .

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And Caroline . . . since when has she become so perceptive, that she could ferret out a body snatcher through the use of a single word?  In the finale, Klausi-tyler made an entire cheesy speech about how glorious life is, that Tyler wouldn’t be caught dead uttering.  And Caroline didn’t suspect a thing!

Meanwhile, back in the “witch” portion of our program . . .

Mumble, mumble, nosebleed, mumble . . .

Blah, de blah, dark magic, blah . . . Bonnie is busy trying to kill herself, so that she could bring Elena’s human soul back from the great beyond.  Jeremy, who’s soul purpose lately, has been to hold Bonnie’s hands, and look mildly concerned, while she does this, is dubious.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, JerBear HATES vampires, and certainly doesn’t want his sister to become one.

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But all those bloody noses!  Gross!  Surely, there must be another way . . . right?

Meanwhile, back at the cattle farm, where Crazy Vampire Cult is storing our main characters . . . no I’m not joking about this . . . they really used a cattle farm . . .

Stefan and Elena are declaring their undying love for one another through jail bars, while Elena death rattles dramatically, having not fed on blood for nearly a day now.  In a nearby cell Rebekah watches the lovebirds, alternating between nauseated annoyance, and jealousy that nobody seems willing to tell Rebekah how awesome SHE is, even when she’s looking like total crap . . .

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Suddenly, DarkMagic!Bonnie appears in the cell, and grabs Elena’s hand, ready to save the day, once again.  Until her grandma randomly pops up (remember her?), and tells her dark magic is WRONG!

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So, Bonnie just leaves . . .

Damn!  You mean to tell me, I had to watch all those disgusting nosebleeds for nothing?  I’m pissed . . .

Back in her hole and under duress, Bonnie calls upon dark magic again to put Klaus and Tyler back in their own bodies . . . even though we were led to believe that the only reason Klaus was in Tyler’s body, in the first place, was that his was burned to a crisp, in the season finale.

Of course, grandma is pissed again . . .

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“Sorry Grams!  It’s been two whole seasons since I accidentally killed you, while servicing vampires.  Time to pay the piper . . .”

But then the dark magic takes her soul, so we don’t have to listen to her lectures anymore.  Sorry Bonnie!  It looks like you’re going to be eternally cursed, DESPITE having doomed Elena to a life of either death or vampirism . . . Oh well!  Can’t win em all . . .

But hey, at least the British guy is back in his own body.  I was really missing that delicious accent . . .

Blood . . . it’s finger-licking good . . .

Back at Vampire Alcatraz, Damon is storming the gates outside, using Whipping Boy Matt as bait.

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You see, Damon’s been playing a bit of the blame game with Matt for the whole “surviving” when Elena didn’t thing . . . which, I guess is a sort of reversal on the whole concept of “survivor’s guilt.”

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Inside the jail, Hot Henchman has his hands full with Stefan and Rebekah, who have decided to join forces and go on the attack.  Sorry, Hot Henchman, it looks like your destined to become Elena Food.  Not a bad idea, Stefan and Rebekah . . . but couldn’t you have killed Hot Henchman closer to Elena’s cell?  Poor dying girlfriend, had to practically pry the bars open with her hands, just to get a taste off of the dirty cattle poop floor.  (FIVE SECOND RULE!)

But taste she did . . .

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Mmmm . . . tastes like a dead guest star . . .

It was a scene that was both beautifully shot, and painful to watch at the same time.  And, while I understand how ultimately Elena’s vampire instincts kicked in, and played a role in her choice, I would have liked to see her struggle just a bit more with her ultimate decision, especially considering how dead-set against becoming a vampire she’s been, since day 1 . . . so much so, that she’s, multiple times, chosen death over sprouting fangs . . .

In the very next scene, Damon, who has disposed of his own “Hot Henchman,” is about to kill a rather pathetic looking Matt for having the audacity to be saved first, when this happens . . .

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“Great.  Now it’s official.  All of my ex-girlfriends can kick my ass.”

Don’t ask me how Elena got out of her cell . . . just go with it OK.

It looks like Mystic Falls has a new damsel in distress, and it’s not Elena.

But back to Elena, she and Damon have a bit of a heart-to-heart about those precious compulsion memories we saw her regaining earlier on in the hour.  She now knows she met him first . . . that he sacrificed his love for her . . . that he’d always put her life before anyone elses . . . especially Matt and Bonnie . . . that if Damon had been on that bridge on that fateful night, she wouldn’t have ever had to make the choice to become a vampire . . .

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And she doesn’t give a sh*t . . .

Wait . . . that’s a bit harsh . . . For the record, I do think Elena was touched by the memories she regained about Damon.  And I do think that they’ve changed the way she views him, and feels about him.  But, for now, too much in her life has changed, for her to suddenly swap Salvatore Brothers too.

So, for now, Elena commits herself to Stefan . . . the guy who always respects her choices . . . no matter how stupid they might be . . .

Sibling Stakery . . .

Back at Klaus house, Rebekah is mad hurt at her brother for  leaving her to rot in cow jail with the World’s Most Nauseatingly Sweet Couple.  When she tells him that, through the centuries, she has truly been the only one to support him through thick and thin, she has a point.

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And I think her words really do touch Klaus’ heart, in a way he wasn’t quite expecting . . .

But then she uses Klaus’ last vials of Elena’s hybrid making blood as spray cans, and all bets are off . . .

He stakes her ass . . . well . . . actually he stakes her back . . . but, you know what I mean . . .

So much for brotherly love . . .

Now, that I wasn’t expecting . . .

Elsewhere, in Cult-Hate-a-Vampire, Pastor Young declares a “new beginning” to his followers quest to end vampirism, seconds before he blows up himself and all his minions, with a lit match and some gas . . .

“Oooh, fire pretty . . .”

Wait, WHAT?

Welcome to the world of underwhelming “Big Bads,” who die, after just one episode, Pastor Young . . .

And they all live bloodily ever after . . .

Back on the rooftop, Elena and Stefan are having a “moment,” that’s highly reminiscent of all those sweetly sappy scenes they shared together, in early Season 1 . . . you know, back before the series got really good.   They just WUV eachother so much . . . and Elena is suddenly thrilled with the idea of spending an eternity with Stefan, even if she has to eat people, in order to do it.

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Yes, Elena has chosen Stefan.  Klaus has chosen himself.  Caroline has chosen Tyler.  Bonnie has chosen to bloody her nose.  And Damon, well he’s understandably pissed off about the whole thing . . .

The more things change, the more they stay the same . . .

Next week on TVD, Elena learns about the joys of vampire sex, cannibalism, and making out with Damon Salvatore’s hand . . .

Something tells me I’m going to like next week’s episode way more than I liked this one . . .

Until next time, Fangbangers!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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Heart of Glass – A Recap of The Vampire Diaries’ “Before Sunset”

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Hey Fangbangers!  So, we’re just a week away from the Season Finale of TVD.  And characters are dropping like flies, here in Mystic Falls.  You know, for supernatural beings, these folks sure DIE a lot (die . . . un-die  . . . re-die . . . faux-die . . . tie dye . . . die again).

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Sometimes it gets quite difficult to keep track of who’s dead, and who’s . . . well . . . undead.  (But hey, that’s what recaps are for, right?)

So grab your morning paper, and your balls . . . er . . . I mean soccer balls . . . and head on over the Wickory Bridge to Mystic Falls . . . a Vampire Town with a Drinking Problem.  We’re dying for you to join us . . . for a little TVD-cap.

Caroline: “Let’s play ‘Never Have I Ever!'”

Tyler: “Oooh . . . I got one!  Never have I ever died on this show.”

Elena: “Umm . . . yeah you did!”

Tyler: “I know . . . but so did all of you!  Everyone drink up!”

(As always, special thanks to my screencapper extraordinaire, for all the pretty pictures you see here.  If I were Klaus, I’d draw him a pony for all his hard work and dedication . . .)

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Nothing says loving, like a pony pic!

The Clean-up Crew

The episode begins with some creepy, and seemingly completely random Civil War photographs.

Awww . . . now THERE’S a nice, happy inspirational picture to hang up in your classroom!

Oh no!  Not another flashback episode.  I always hate those.  Oh wait . .  . I see what you did there, writers . . . Alaric’s a history teacher.  Sometimes I forget he actually has an occupation aside from drinking and playing with his Chunky Monkey.  And now he’s about to try to murder his own friends.

Is it just me, or does the toy on the horse look like he’s giving the other toys the finger?

Just like our ancestors murdered one another, back during that epic bloody battle.

This toy kind of looks like Klaus does at the end of the episode . . . 

Man, I love when TVD gets all “deep” on us.  It makes me feel “smart and sophisticated.”  Now, I don’t have to watch PBS or the History Channel ever again.

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Hey, did you ever notice how Alaric only seems to actually attend classes when he’s “not himself?”  If you recall, Alarklaus taught history classes, back in Season 2.  He even chaperoned the school dance!

Now, Nouveau Ric is hanging out at the high school as well, and on a weekend, no less!  If only the Administration knew how mich being possessed improved Alaric’s work ethic, they probably would have done it themselves, a long time ago.

“I don’t even really like teaching.  But the benefits are unmatched.  And now that I have fangs, I could really use a good dental plan.”

Speaking of the academically inclined, 1,000-year old Rebekah is another character who seems to attend high school more than anyone else on the show.  I mean, seriously, who volunteers to be on the 8 a.m. clean-up crew for a dance for which they spent the entire time lying dead in a coffin with a stake through their heart?  Now, that’s dedication!

“Popularity is super important to me.  After all, if I didn’t have friends?  Who would I eat?”

But Rebekah’s not alone.  Caroline’s on the clean-up crew too.  Two blonde vampires picking up trash together . . . it’s a commercial for Garbage Woman Barbie!

I’m sorry.  That was politically incorrect.  Of course, I meant “Sanitation Worker Barbie.”

Typically at odds with one another in a “b*tch stole my look and my social life” sort of way, Caroline and Rebekah actually seem to be on their best behavior this morning.  With their respective claws retracted, the two Alpha females even go as far as to exchange banal pleasantries with one another . .  . like, for example, “Golly gee!  I was so sorry to hear that your mother tried to murder you, stole your body, and is now definitely dead . . . again.”

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And, “Oh yeah, same goes for that dead history teacher of yours.  I know you really liked him.  It’s a real shame that he decided to die just like your DAD rather than become an undead bloodsucker, like the two of us.”

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You know, the usual sort of chitchat . . .

Speaking of America’s favorite vampire slaying history teacher, Rebekah runs into Alaric . . . or, perhaps I should say, Nouveau Ric by the lockers.  And suddenly, I’m having flashbacks of “The Reckoning.”  (Remember that one . . . back when Klaus was still the Biggest Baddest Vampy in town, and Stefan still occasionally ate Elena . . . in more ways than one?)

Only this time, Rebekah is playing the role of the Damsel in Distress, for a change.

“Phew, your breath is rank, Nouveau Ric!  What do you use to brush your teeth? Codfish?”

Fun times and Phallic Hijinks ensue, as the pair wrestle with the big shiny weiner-like object that is the Invisible Originals-Killing Stake.  Vampire Barbie Caroline hears the commotion, and rushes to join Klaus Barbie in the fight.  This is actually kind of erotic . . .

Caroline: “You know, this is the closest I’ve ever come to being in a threesome.”

Rebekah: *whistles uncomfortably*

Rebekah: “Hey!  No fair!  You can’t just pull it out like that?  What do you think this is,  the rhythm method?”

Of course, Caroline’s no dummy . .  . at least, not in this episode.  She knows when a fight is hers to lose.  And this one has Death Trap written all over it.  So, the littlest Forbes quite wisely makes a run for it.  (It looks like the gym will have to be cleaned some other time.  Hope no one was planning on  using it for. . .  like . . . actual physical education and stuff.)

Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to get to your car (because some psycho killer wants to shove a big stake up your ass), and your door won’t open?  Poor Caroline!  It seems that, while you can indeed run from Vampire the Vampire Slayer, driving away from him is not an option, especially when you can’t get into your car.  I hope the company that made Caroline’s car didn’t pay for THAT product placement. 

Caroline: *sigh* “If only I had ONSTAR to help me to open my car door, in desperate situations like these.” *winks at camera*

Alaric knocks out Caroline with frightening ease, before dragging her temporarily unconscious, and always lifeless, body across the concrete, wheelbarrow-style.  Ouch!  She’s probably going to feel that in the morning.  While all this is going down, we see Rebekah, in the distance, observing the situation with a mixture of horror and smugness.  Undoubtedly, in this moment she is thinking, “Now, I’m the fairest of them all, B*tch!  The Prom Queen title is MINE!”

“I’d help her out . . . but I don’t want to ruin my manicure.”

Oh, did I forget to mention that Alaric’s face is falling off?

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Why do I suddenly feel like I’m watching the Thriller video?

Oh Esther, you silly little, pursed lips, completely lacking of facial expression, witchypoo, you!  You would think that as the MOTHER OF ORIGINAL VAMPIRES, she would have at least remembered to give her little Frankenvampire creation a Sunscreen Ring, so that he could play with his fellow fangy friends in the daylight.  (“But MOMMY, all the other vampires have them.  NO FAIR!” I could picture Alaric whining, upon learning of this unfortunate turn of events.

“Snookie and the Situation lied.  Gym, tanning and laundry are definitely overrated.”

But noooo Esther . . . you had to make him suffer unnecessarily, in furtherance of your stupid-totally-doomed-to-fail, because the Scoobies always win or there’d be no show brilliant Vampire Extinction Plan.  Super Villain FAIL!

Then again, I guess you had your reasons . . . like the fact that the episode needed a title . . . and a Cinderella “They all turn back into pumpkins at midnight” type timeline to “heighten the intensity.”

“Mystic Falls, we have a problem . . . another one.”

Back at the Gilbert House of Death, Misery, and Hideous Floral Décor, siblings, Jeremy and Elena, are innocently painting not-so-dead Alaric’s bedroom a lovely shade of toothpaste green.  (That will teach you not to DIE LIKE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO, Alchy Ric!  Now your bedroom vaguely resembles snot.  I hope you are proud of yourself.)

If Alaric had a grave, he’d be rolling over in it . . . Then again, considering this is a guy who willingly decorates his classroom with pictures of dead people, and the Civil War equivalent of GI Joes,  he’s not exactly an Arbiter of Taste, either.

Stefan arrives on the scene to offer his trademark Sad Smile (also, presumably to kill some time, since “Murder and Mayhem” don’t appear on his calendar today, until about noon.  To say that Petulant Pouty Jeremy (Oh, how I missed your misery Jer Bear!  Unhappiness is SO hot.) is less than thrilled to see one of his sister’s multiple undead suitors on the scene is the understatement of the century.

“I challenge you to a wet t-shirt contest.”

(Then again, it’s possible that Mini Gilbert is simply jealous of Elena’s popularity with members of the opposite sex . . . human or not.  After all, his own ghost girlfriends seemed to have stopped calling him entirely.  I mean things have to be REALLY bad in the relationship department, when women who lack corporeal bodies aren’t willing to bone you.  I’ll bone you, Jer Bear!)

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Let’s face it Jer, when she stops haunting you, while you’re on the toilet . . . she’s just not that into you.

“All I want is one day without vampires,” Jeremy gripes.

(And hey, considering we are one week away from the season finale of the show, Jeremy might get an ENTIRE summer without vampires .  . . unless he watches True Blood.)

Though he tries to play it “cool,” Stefan seems a bit hurt by Jeremy’s statements.  (It’s time to grow a thicker skin, Stefan!  You would think that having been alive for nearly two centuries, you would have at least one or two insults lodged at you that were harsher than the equivalent of:  “Vampires suck.  I wish they’d stop trying to bone my sister.”)

“I know . . . it’s just .  . I just finished watching The Notebook again.  And I’m in a really vulnerable place, right now.”

This, obviously, puts Elena in an awkward position, as she tries to broker a fragile peace between all the men in her life.  Fortunately she doesn’t have to broker for very long, before there is a knock at her door.  Surprise!  It’s the other man in her life . . .  some would say the Best Man (I know I would!)

Still in her flapper costume, nearly 24 hours later.  This takes Walk of Shame to a whole new level.

Of course, I’m referring to Damon, who’s currently hanging out on Elena’s doorstep with a Bloody Bonnie by his side  . . . a bloody Bonnie, who he has undoubtedly scraped off the floor and fed his own blood, after a zombified version of herself gave him a migraine and let then-almost vampire Ric give her a massive hickey on her neck.

And they say Damon isn’t the forgiving type . . .

So now the Scooby Gang knows that Ric-ipoo is not-so-much-dead.  The next challenge is for Bonnie to come up with the Witch Ex Machina to make him definitely dead.  Oh Bonnie, you are sooo the Velma of your Scooby Gang  . . . always stuck with your head in boring spell books, while everyone else is breaking sh*t, beating people up, and getting laid.

Sometimes, the truth hurts.

Meanwhile, over at La Casa de Richer and Awesomer, But Not as Well Furnished, it’s Rebekah’s turn to want to kiss Mystic Falls goodbye.  Next week, it will be Klaus’ again .  . . oh . . . wait .  . . nevermind. But Klaus isn’t about to skip town without his prized bloodbag Elena.  How else would he be able to create an unlimited array of hybrids who would be eternally gay for him (even the female ones)?  Rebekah pleads for him to reconsider.  After all, wasn’t the whole Hybrid Thing really just a convoluted end-run around being alone?

And hey, Klaus doesn’t NEED to be alone anymore.  He has his family now . . . you know, the folks he carried around in coffins for hundreds of years, just for fun . . . well . . . except for his mother (dead), his father (deader), and Finn (deadest) . . . but Klaus never really liked them anyway, right?

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Ahhh . . . but here’s the rub.  Klaus’ family isn’t quite as gay for him as the hybrids are.  They misbehave, have opinions of their own, occasionally fight back.  Unacceptable!

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Sorry Rebekah!  Hybrids, for the win.  It looks like you will be leaving this sorry ass, one-bar, town alone . . .

Klaus Mikaelson . . . Worst . . . Paperboy . . . EVER!

Oh Klaus . . . sketcher of smiley ponies . . .

.  . . painter of poop . . .

It has been quite some time, since we got to see you kick some genuine ass.  And no, I’m not just talking about your threatening to “kill everyone [insert name here] loves; or getting your hybrids to kick asses for you . . . I’m talking about honest-to-goodness acts of impressive villainy.  “Before Sunset” finally allowed us to see some of that . . .

 . . . annnnnd then Klaus died.

Shortly after he learned the truth about Nouveau Ric, Klaus paid a little visit to the Gilbert house to retrieve Princess Elena.  The problem, of course, is that, unbeknownst to Klaus (and everyone else in the house, for that matter), Elena is out rescuing Caroline, whos’s been held hostage by Nouveau Ric at the school.  To be honest, I don’t know if “rescuing” is ever a good word to describe for what Elena does for other people .  . . since it always ends up with Elena in danger, and people coming to rescue her.  Maybe what Elena does should become it’s own adjective: “Elena-ing.”

“Hmm . . . who’s number is this in my cell phone?  TV Recapper?  DELETE!”

Either way, neither the Salvatore Brothers, nor Mini Gilbert, have any intention of letting Klaus in the house.  This, of course, pisses Klaus off royally.  And so, he responds by doing what Klaus does best . . .  He throws a temper tantrum.

Have you ever played that old video game, where you’re the Paperboy, and the object of the game is to get all the papers on your “route” to land on the stoop, as opposed to  . . . hitting the neighbor’s dog, or breaking windows?  Yeah . . . well, let’s just say Klaus has other strategies in mind.

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Suddenly, the Original Hybrid is chucking newspapers, soccer balls, pieces of white picket fence . . . anything he can get his hands on  . . .

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 . . . at the not-entirely-unsuspecting Salvatore Brothers, who are expertly ducking them all.  It’s like one big crazy game of dodgeball!

I don’t know about what Klaus is doing. It sure seems like an awful lot of work to me just to get into a house.  As another, much more talented recapper (Entertainment Weekly’s Mandi Bierly) than I pointed out, Klaus’ brother Elijah accomplished the exact same thing, with nothing more than the loose change in his pocket.

Also, not to point out the obvious, but what the heck are the Gilbert’s neighbors going to think about all this?  Then again, given all the CRAZY INSANE-O things we’ve seen go on at the Gilbert house, these past three seasons, the fact that the neighbors NEVER ever thought to call the cops . . . or better yet move . . . probably means that they are all dead anyway.  (Maybe Klaus ate them?)

Or Stefan . . .

Once the gang finally figures out where Elena actually is (thanks to a helpful call from Nouveau Ric, himself), it should come as no surprise to anyone that Saint Stefan is the one that encourages Klaus to join Team Scooby in it’s weekly installment of the “Save Elena” games.   After all, they all want the same girl, right?  They might as well work together to get her back.

“B*tch PLEASE!”

Never one to look a gift pony in the mouth (especially one he’s drawn), you can’t exactly blame Klaus for being a bit skeptical of the offer.  In no uncertain terms, Klaus reminds Stefan that, if they defeat Nouveau Ric, Klaus WILL be leaving Mystic Falls with lover girl as his bloodbag.  “Then I’ll go with you,” Stefan says, unfazed.

“And that’s why you’re the better option [for Elena],” Klaus remarks generously . . . thus proving that he will say whatever it takes to get back into the jock strap of his unrequited vampire love.

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Long story short, Klaus isn’t about to give up the opportunity to have his blood bag, and eat Stefan’s weiner too.  He’s SO in!

The question is, of course, if no stake on Earth can kill Ric, how are Bonnie and her Scooby Gang plus Klaus going to manage it?  More on that, in a little bit . . .

Teacher’s Pet

That Nouveau Ric!  He’s such a sweetie.  Here he is giving up a fun weekend of binge drinking and blacking out to offer some private tutoring to his favorite students Caroline and Elena.  The lesson of the day: Why Murdering Vampires Isn’t as Morally Reprehensible as You Might Think 101.  Since this is an “interactive lesson” it involves Caroline being stabbed in the hand with a pencil, and gagged with vervain.

Oh, Alaric.  You really haven’t thought this one through.  How is she supposed to take notes?

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Disturbing as this scene was, I liked the way it fleshed out (no pun intended) Alaric’s alter ego a bit more.  In earlier episodes, the guy came off as nothing more than a raging lunatic.  But this scene reminded us that Nouveau Ric, evil as he might be, still possesses all of Alaric’s old memories.  He even . . . in his own twisted way . . . still cares about Elena . . . sort of. And when he tells the young woman that he came thisclose to formally adopting in his “other life,” that his vampire distrusting parents would be disappointed in some of Elena’s recent “life choices,” you can tell that he really believes it.

In a way, Nouveau Ric is kind of like a religious extremist or terrorist . . . so firm and single-minded in his beliefs, that he is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish them . . . even if it doing it makes him a monster.  Klaus tries to coax Elena into staking Caroline, under the theory, that her death will be more painful if Alaric himself carries it out.

“For the last time, I will NOT touch your stick, Ric!  So, stop whipping it out, and waving it in my face!”

But surprisingly enough, the teenager outsmarts the dude with the Master’s degree, by pretending to try and stake him, while she douses his face with scalding-to-vampires vervain.

Now, Nouveau Ric is angry . . . and you wouldn’t like him, when he’s angry. . .

The Three Vamp-keteers . . . the Witch . . . and the Whipping Boy

Surprise!  At the eleventh hour, Bonnie Ex Machina has discovered the key to temporarily killing . . . at least until the non-vampire Scooby Gang reaches their 30’s the seemingly unkillable Nouveau Ric.  Specifically, Bonnie wants to use on Alaric the dessication spell, her absentee bio mom once used on the now definitely dead Mikael.

The catch is that she needs her lame-ass, cut-and-run, pays more attention to her pseudo-son/boyfriend than her, mother Abby, in order to accomplish the deed.

Now, I can’t STAND the useless, wimpy, cowardly character of Abby.  And I would have much rather her stayed GONE.  That said, I kind of love how the writers used her to express us recapper’s long standing complaint that the Salvatore’s house .  . . which was specifically deeded over to the very human Elena back in Season 2 . . . now seems open to any and all vampires.  Of course, most of the characters on the show consistently ignored this annoying anomaly until Abby.

Speaking in the voice of the writers, Damon explains that, when Elena “died” (for about two seconds) back in episode 221, the house reverted back to the Salvatores, at least in the spiritual sense (legally, it OBVIOUSLY still belongs to Elena).  And so, since La Casa de Rich and Awesome is once again vampire owned, it is pretty much an Open House for every soon-to-be-dead guest star vampire around . . .you know . . .  like Abby.

Anywhoo . . . Abby’s all “Nooo . . . dear daughter, who I abandoned, seemingly uncaring as to whether you lived or died .  . . PLEASSSEEEE don’t do the Dessication spell!   It involves BLACK MAGIC, and . . . temporarily killing a human by stopping their heart and .  . . having vampires drink your blood again . . . and making your face look prematurely veiny.   In other words, this is a big time Bad News Spell, child.  It can f*&k you up, something fierce!”

Fortunately, Damon pipes in to say.  “Hey, she’s Bonnie ex Machina.  It’s her JOB to perform dangerous spells in the last ten minutes of every episode to save our asses.

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Not that we pay her, or anything . . . because we don’t.  But hey!  If she didn’t do it, she might as well be another show . . . like The Secret Circle . . . or something.

It’s settled them!  Black magic and veiny face be damned.  Klaus, Stefan and Damon are going to temporarily incapacitate Nouveau Ric, and drink Bonnie’s blood . . . so that Bonnie can mumble in faux Latin . . . and do whatever it is she does on this show that constitutes “spell casting.”

Jeremy: “Umm . . . Bonnie . . . not to question your witchy ways or anything, but what exactly does grabbing my crotch repeatedly have to do with killing Nouveau Ric.”

Bonnie: *whistles awkwardly*

But here’s a question:  what moronic human is idiotic enough to let Bonnie stop his heart, even temporarily,  for the love of one teenage girl.  Do you even have to ask?  It’s Mini Gilbert of course.  (Poor guy, even he performs acts of tremendous bravery, they always seem to involve him lying on his back, and having the crap kicked out of him by women.  Life just isn’t fair.)

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Oh, and did I mention that Bonnie “found” Caroline and Elena at the school, using her trusty iPhone GPS.  Obligatory and Obnoxious Product Placement Alert!

Trying to determine whether your history teacher is an alien?  There’s an app for that!

In which Elena gets an IDEA . . .

Though the Three Vamp-keteers put on a good show, of trying to tackle Nouveau Ric together at school (The diversion even enables Klaus to free, and subsequently make some serious sex eyes, at Caroline.) . . .

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 . . . their efforts to stake Nouveau Ric, while Bonnie fondles Jeremy’s chest, and attempts to stop his heart, are ultimately ineffective, and end with both Salvatore Brother down for the count.

Thus proving you can never be too old for nap time.

But worry not, because hope is not yet lost.  Nouveau Ric’s staunch refusal to kill vampire lover Elena makes the doppelganger extremely suspicious . . . so, suspicious, in fact, that she takes a risk, and tries to slice open her own neck for sh*ts and giggles.

It’s a Do-It-Yourself Hickey . . .

The seemingly suicidal action causes Nouveau Ric to go batsh*t insane, thereby confirming Elena’s surprisingly clever hypothesis.

Apparently Nouveau Ric’s life is tied to Elena’s in the same way each other vampire’s life is tied to an Originals.  So, if and when Elena dies, Nouveau Ric will die too.  In other words, Alchy Ric isn’t actually a threat to Elena, even at his most vampire hater killingest.  Problem solved  . . .Elena has been saved . . .  again . . . crisis averted, right?

WRONG!

Alert the media, Elena’s in danger again!

We come back from commercial to find out that sh*t has really hit the fan now.  Somehow, Klaus managed to get away from Alaric, and took Elena with him.  So, remember the Good Old Days, when Klaus used to want Elena to live, because he needed her blood bagging talents to make more hybrids?  Apparently, not so much, anymore!  All it took was one look at how powerful Nouveau Ric was, and Klaus completely flip-flopped on his Elena policy.

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But you know Klaus . . . he’s all about the Evil Villain Monologue.  So, instead of bleeding Elena dry as fast as possible, he decides to gossip with her, about which Salvatore Brother she loves more.  DAMON!  DAMON!  IT’S GOTTA BE DAMON!

Of course, Elena doesn’t give an answer because it’s not the season finale yet.  Actually she does answer Klaus’s question.  Just not necessarily in the way we would have hoped . . .

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Now, he’s draining her blood, in hopes of escaping with his own life in tact.  Sure, it will mean that the amount of new hybrids Klaus can make are limited.  But that’s a small price to pay for eternal life, right?  And eternal life is exactly what Klaus will get once Elena and Alaric are dead? True?

Maybe not . . . you see . . . Klaus’ main henchman during the Elena Draining is none other than Tyler . . . Elena’s friend . . . Caroline’s boyfriend . . . and a self-de-sired hybrid, who, in his own words is “SO NOT [KLAUS’] b*tch anymore.  So, much for hybrids being an Original Vampire’s best friend!  Tyler is clearly, gay for Klaus, no more.

“Now, I’m gay for Damon!  Sorry!”

 And what’s worse, he’s called in the Scooby Gang to perform on Klaus the exact same “desiccation” spell originally meant for Nouveau Ric.

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In the words of werewolves . . . and cartoon dogs named Astro . . . Ruh Roh, Klausipoo!

Your cheating heart . . . (will make you dried out and veiny)

Back in the Forest Where Everyone in Mystic Falls Has Died at Least Once, Bonnie is, once again, chanting and mumbling over a sleepy . . . soon to be dead-y Jeremy.   This time, though, she succeeds in stopping her ex-boyfriend’s heart, at the exact same moment the Salvatore Bros have staked Klaus.

“Need   . . . Botox . . . now.”

Oh, this is soooo time for a nose bleed, right?  Apparently not.  Nope . . . no nose bleeds for Black Magic Bonnie, who seems to be having wayyy to much fun stopping Jer Bear’s heart if you ask me.  I mean, girlfriend’s making an “O” face, while she’s killing her boy toy, which is just beyond inappropriate if you ask me . . .

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Temporarily Murdering Jeremy > vibrator

Also . . . her face is getting all black and veiny, for no apparent reason whatsoever.  EW!  I don’t know about you, but if I had to choose one, I’d go nosebleeds over Vein Faced spellgasms any day (and twice on Sunday).

Back at the Klaus House, Big Bad Original is starting to look all pale, sad, creepy, lifeless zombie like . . . you know, kind of like his siblings looked, back when he staked all of them.  Knowing that life as he knows it is now coming to an end, Klausipoo takes these last few moments to share one final eye-f*&k with the secret love of his life, Stefan.  It was both sad, and sexy at the same time.  And Stefan’s eyes are undoubtedly pregnant right now from the effort.

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Still . . .  eye-screw or no-screw, Klaus is DEAD-DEAD . . . at least until the next Sweeps period.

Mini Gilbert lived to tell the tale though!

“Oh Bonnie.  I had the most awful dream.  You were murdering me with your hands, while making sex noises.”

But only after a maudlin Bonnie cried hysterically for about three seconds over his unconscious body.  (Oh honey,  we saw your O-face.  Don’t act all high and mighty now, and pretend you didn’t enjoy it.)

When all is said and done, the Salvatore Brother’s toss Klaus’ lifeless body into the trunk of their car where Stefan gives it the goodbye screw of it’s life, and escort the favor, slightly de-blooded, Elena back home.

The Doppelganger and Not-Secret Service Crew

At the doorstep, she stops to thank them for being so patient with her.  But she really needs some more time to choose which one of them she wants to dry hump on a regular basis, if that’s OK with them.  DAMON!  DAMON! DAMON!

They both say, “Sure ! No problem” (though neither of them really means it), and head for the hills.

In the car, on the way to dump Klaus’ body off the Wickory Bridge, Stefan and Damon have a heartfelt conversation about Elena.  I probably would have paid a lot more attention to it, if, the whole time, I wasn’t waiting for Klaus to pop up in between them, say, “HAHA FOOLED YA, SUCKAS!  I AIN’T EVEN DEAD YET,” and start making out with Stefan.

It never happened.  And I can’t decide whether or not I’m disappointed about that.

Anywhoo, Damon and Stefan mutually agree with one another, about how totally hot and perfect Elena was.

Then, Saint Stefan offers to “gallantly” leave town if Elena ends up choosing Damon as her “lovah!”

At first, Damon’s response seems to be “F*&k that, if she picks you, I’m sticking around for the Hot Revenge Sex I’m going to get, each time you two fight.”

But eventually, Damon VERY RELUCTANTLY agrees to do the same thing for his brother’s sake.  “And hey,” Damon adds.  “In sixty or so years, after Elena croaks, we might even be able to be brothers again.”

Good old Damon.  Always the optimist . . . well . . . except for the fact that he’s only letting Elena live until her mid seventies.  That’s kind of cold, don’t you think?

It’s a CELEBRATION!

It’s rare to get truly happy moments on TVD.  But we got one at the end of this episode, when Jer Bear, Bonnie, Tyler (who, since the founder of his bloodline is only “all dried up” and not “actually dead, got to live to see the end of this episode), Token Human Matt, Caroline and Elena herself all got to get wasted on tequila, and celebrate the death of Season 2 and 3’s Big Bad.

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Just happy not to have a vervain soaked rag in her mouth, a slightly tipsy Caroline echoed her not-so-much boyfriend Klaus, in trying to get Elena to voice her Salvatore Brother Choice.  But Elena wasn’t about to let a little thing like the fact that polygamy isn’t legal in Virgina, rain on her Dead Klaus Parade!  No sir!

And it’s a good thing too . . . because all that happiness only lasts for about two seconds . . .

Elsewhere in Mystic Falls,  Nouveau Ric crashes a council meeting to out Caroline’s and Tyler’s respective mommies as “vampire sympathizes’ and “harborers of supernatural creatures.”  Now, it’ just a hunch.   But I’m thinking this is going to hurt their chances at mayor and sheriff re-election, BIG TIME!  (Might I suggest throwing a little compulsion in with those campaign buttons  . . .)

In more bad news . . .

So, THAT’S where Bonnie’s nosebleeds went . . .

In the final moments of the episode, we see Elena returning to Alaric’s room to finish painting his snot green walls.  A searing pain hits her neck, and she passes out, blood dumping from her nose, like Bonnie on a Spell Bender.  Well, this can’t be good . . .

“Don’t call it a nosebleed.  Call it a Blood Mustache.”

That said, for all two of you that actually thought Elena actually croaked, you can rest easy.  The doppelganger LIVES!

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And I have proof!

Here  . . .

Here . . .

And here . . .

Until next time, my fellow Fangbangers!

[www.juliekushner.com][Fangirls Forever]

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