[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 . . .]
Don’t feel bad, Elena. I get grouchy during my “time of month” too . . .
Welcome back, Fangbangers! I’ve missed you . . .
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 . . .
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.
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 . . .
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!
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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .
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.”
I’m confused. “Wrong equipment?” What exactly does Klaus think Tyler has between his legs . . . a baseball bat . . . a vajayjay? Seriously!
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 . . .
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.
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 . . .
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!
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 . . .
“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.
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.”
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 . . .
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 . . .
“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 . . .
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.
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 . . .”
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.
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!