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The Good, The Bad, and The Zombies – A Vampire Diaries Recap of “Fool Me Once”

There must be something in the water in TV Land this week. On Tuesday’s episode of Lost, there was much talk of “zombies.” Actually, the Lost zombies were not exactly of the “eat brains” variety.  Rather, they fell more into the “spiritually empty” realm of zombie-ism.  But they were zombies, nonetheless.

“On second thought . . . eating brains would be a really good way to reduce my carb intake.”

The “zombies” in tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, however, were a bit more literal-minded. These entombed undead bloodsuckers certainly looked the part, with their vacant stares, cob-webbed attire, and skin falling-offy faces.

“Fool Me Once” was not exactly The Vampire Diaries’ prettiest episode, nor its strongest. There was a lot of bad and ugly here, and not all of it included Katherine’s decrepit, centuries-old, friends.  But there were definitely some highpoints to this, the last episode of the series, before it goes  on a month-long hiatus. So, without further adieu, let us separate the dead from the undead, shall we?

“Living” it Up in Motel Vampire

The episode begins with Elena waking up in a shabby motel room, to find vigilant Vampire Ben McKittrick holding her captive.  Or, at least, he would be vigilant, if he wasn’t fast asleep. A frightened Elena tiptoes toward the door. As you watch her, you just know Hot Bartender Vamp is going to jump out, give her a scare, and prevent her from leaving (the “fake escape,” is, after all, the oldest trick in the horror movie book).

When Ben does jump out for the obligatory scare, he tries to compel Elena to stay captive, by using that mind bendy thing they showed in the trailer. Of course, that ended up being a tease. Elena is still wearing her vervain necklace at the time, and, therefore, is immune to his “charms.”

Creepy Stalker Vamp Anna then jumps out and scolds Ben for his stupidity.  And, I have to say, given that they used such a hot actor to play Ben, I was a bit disappointed with the blandness of his two-episode character arc. (Stefan literally torched Hot Bartender Vamp at the end of this episode, so I’m pretty sure he’s gone for good.) Granted, The Vampire Diaries already has its share of sexy and brooding bad boys, but I think Ben had the potential to be more than Anna’s bumbling sidekick.

“I coulda been a contendah!”

Anyway, after suffering through what was officially the worst date ever, Bonnie is stuck slumming it in Motel De Vamp too. As it turns out, Vampire Anna has decided to use Elena and Bonnie as bait to get the Grinimore from Stefan.  (Is it just me, or is Elena used as “bait” in every single episode?)

With the help of Bonnie’s Witchy Grandma, Stefan finds the motel where Elena and Bonnie are being held captive, and rescues them by performing the heroic act of . . . wait for it . . . opening the window shades. Yeah, apparently, unlike Stefan, Damon, and Anna, D-list Vampire Ben not only cannot venture out doors during daylight, he cannot experience any sunlight whatsoever.

Back safe and sound at Witchy Grandma’s house, the Scooby Gang decides to help Damon to open the tomb, if only to get Creepy Stalker Vampire and her various D-list minions off their back. There is one problem with this.  After having been betrayed by the Scooby Gang in the last episode, Damon basically hates their guts . . . Elena offers to take one for the team, and reestablish with Damon the trust that has been broken between them.

“WOO HOO! YIPPEE! An Elena and Damon scene! I knew there was a reason I watched this show . . .”

It’s Just a Matter of Trust and Fashion Facilitation

One of the worst things about being single (for me anyway), is that there is no one there to help you unzip your dresses and secure the clasps on your bracelets and necklaces. Clearly, Elena Gilbert will never have this problem. In what was, of course, my favorite scene of the evening. Elena comes to Damon with her tail between her legs, ready to grovel.

Elena recognizes that Damon was more hurt by Elena’s betrayal at the cemetery last week than Stefan’s, due to the special connection these two have with one another. “You and I have something,” Elena explains, using as evidence the fact that Damon chose not to compel her when the two went down to Georgia together a couple of episodes ago.

“Who says, I didn’t,” challenges Damon, who gets some glee at seeing Elena flinch at his remark.

In a bold move to earn his respect and trust, Elena removes her vervain necklace, allowing Damon total control over her. Touched by the gesture, Damon moves toward her and takes the necklace. However, instead of tossing it away, he gently reattaches it to Elena’s neck. “I didn’t compel you in Atlanta, because we were having fun.  And I wanted it to be real.  I am trusting you.  Don’t make me regret it,” whispers Damon in Elena’s ear.

Wow . . . Please excuse me for a moment, while I wipe the drool off my keyboard . . .

The Lamest Party Ever

“Hey, what do you say we play a rollicking game of bingo when we get home?”

Remember shows like The O.C., where there was a party in every episode, and at every party there was at least one fight and one drug overdose? I do, and for that reason, I was massively disappointed by “Duke’s Cemetery Party.” After all, we had all the makings for a truly awesome party here.

For starters, it was at a cemetery filled with vampires.  Second, Tyler was there! And he likes to beat everyone up! Third, Jeremy was there! And he used to like to get wasted ALL THE TIME! Finally, new couple Matt and Caroline were there! Surely, I can count on them for some heavy petting and steamy necking.

What did I get instead? Tyler lecturing Jeremy about how he used to “be cool.” Jeremy moping around in the corner, mooning over Anna.  Sure, Vampire Ben ended up punching Jeremy’s lights out.  But it wasn’t nearly as much fun to watch as you would think.

And how about our hot new love couple: Matt and Caroline? Did they spend the episode heating up the screen with their newfound passion for one another? Not exactly. Instead, they made “Speeches” to each other and had in-depth philosophical conversations about how to make their relationship work. I  felt as though I had inadvertently changed channels away from my hot and sexy teen drama and, had instead found a talk show starring him . . .

This couple showed a lot of promise with their adorably sexy “car kiss” at the end of last weeks episode. However, the fact that they are already psychoanalyzing one another during the second week of their relationship, doesn’t bode well for them . . . AT ALL!

In Other, More Exciting, News . . .

Back at the tomb, Bonnie and her Grandma successfully complete the spell that will open the gates to Vampireland. Damon enters the tomb with Elena, who is accompanying him as, you guessed it, bait. You see, Damon fears that, without Elena, the witches will burn the tomb down with him still inside it. And we soon find out, that’s exactly what Granny plans to do.

When Vampire Anna rushes in after Damon to retrieve her Mommy, Grandma explains to Bonnie that the spell they cast will allow anyone to enter the tomb, but only humans, like Elena, to exit. While Damon is searching for Katherine, Anna finds her now Crypt Keeper-esque Mommy and tries to feed Elena to her. Elena screams out, causing Stefan to run to her rescue.

Now that a vampire they actually like is stuck in the tomb, Bonnie and Grandma are forced to open it for real. When they do, Anna and her mother rush out, as do Stefan and Elena. Unfortunately, an increasingly frantic Damon is still inside searching for Katherine.  Stefan returns to the tomb and drags a reluctant Damon out seconds before it closes.

Anna confesses to a heartbroken Damon that she always knew Katherine wasn’t in that tomb. Apparently, Anna had run into Katherine a few years back, and the latter seemed to have no intention of finding Damon again.  In a surprisingly sweet scene, Stefan returns home with Damon to comfort him over his heartbreak.

The Vampire Diaries = Ageist?

Back at La Casa de Bonnie, Grandma isn’t looking so hot. It seems that this evening of staying up late and casting spells has taken its toll on her.  When Bonnie leaves the room to get her grandmother tea, she returns to find her dead.

This really dusts my doilies! After all, Grandma was the only sensible non-vampire adult in the whole show (unless you count Jenna and Alaric, which I don’t). Not only was she smart, but she was tough as nails. After all, she beat the crap out of Damon using only her mind!Am I supposed to believe that a hardcore witch like this would meet her demise as a result of merely muttering a few words in Latin? Come on The Vampire Diaries, don’t you realize that old people can be fun? Haven’t you ever seen The Golden Girls?

. . or that awesome Snickers Superbowl commercial starring Betty White?

But I digress.  After a few heart-wrenching moments of mourning dear old Grandma, we return to the infamous tomb, which turns out to be not-so-much closed, as a zombie-esque decrepit dude finds out when he merely pushes lightly on the door . . .

Personally, I would have liked to see all the zombies emerge and do The Thriller dance here, because that would have been awesome.  But no such luck . . .

Well, there you have it folks . . . See you on March 25th!

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Would someone please retrieve my jaw from the floor? – A Big Love Recap

You may recall, that a few weeks ago I wrote a recap for Big Love during which I complained that the season had gotten off to a slow, dare I say it, boring start.  Well, boy has it picked up steam! 

I considered doing a full recap for the episode.  However, I feared that if I did that, dear reader, you would only skim it, instead of reading the whole thing.  (Do I know you, or do I know you?) 

Then, if you only skimmed, I have no doubt that you would miss the jaw-dropping awesomeness of it all.  Therefore, this little “recaplet” will focus only on the top three WTF-iest moments of this latest Big Love installment.

3. Nikki’s Mom is Marrying Her Creepy Fingernail-less Ex-Husband!

          Prophet Roman’s body is barely cold, and the eligible bachelors are already lining up outside his son Albie’s door to get a shot at marrying his bodaciously pilgrim-esque fourteen wives.  I smell a reality dating show! 

 (Farmer Wants a Crapload of Wives – coming soon to ABC)

            One of the contenders is the ever sexy fingernail-less wonder J.J., who just so happens to be Nikki’s ex-wife, and the father of her child.  But J.J. doesn’t just want any wife, he wants the First Wife, NIKKI’S MOM.  Albie consents, and Nikki’s mom responds by crying hysterically screaming like a banshee.  Wouldn’t you?

2.   Bill is the biggest D-Bag Ever!

       Bill’s asinine decision to run for State Senate has not only ruined the lives of everyone in his family, it has pretty much doomed everyone he knows to an eternally crappy existence.  When Bill’s opponent starts digging into his business affairs at Home Plus, Bill’s minion, Don, is understandably miffed.  Don gets even angrier when Bill informs him that all spare wives will have to be taken off of the Home Plus payroll (and hence cannot receive health insurance), in order to prevent the employees’ polygamist lifestyles from being exposed.

Despite all this, Saint Don actually apologizes to Bill for being unsupportive of his decision to run for Senator.  Ever the perfect sidekick, Don tells Bill that he will do whatever it takes to help his idol win the primary.  And Bill has the perfect idea in mind. 

The morning before he announces his candidacy, D-bag Bill actually has the audacity to ask Don to “take the bullet for him,” by admitting to his own polygamist lifestyle and resigning from the company.  Bill reasons that this will lead the dogs off Bill’s own multi-wived scent.  Don actually complies with this request, instead of punching Bill in his smarmy hypocritical face, like I would have done. 

(“Do I still get to ride in the Batmobile?”)

1. Margene and Ben – OMFG!

        In last week’s episode-ending shocker, Margene kissed her “sister son,” the 17-year old Ben, on the lips after he, unlike the rest of the Henrickson family, showed up to support his “mom” during her primetime television debut on the Home Shopping Network.  The producers caught wind of this spicy smooch, and introduced Ben on television as Margene’s husband.  When confronted by Barb about this little TV snafu, Margene admitted to giving Ben a peck on the lips “by mistake.” 

At the Home Shopping Network, Margene admits to the world (or at least the world of stay-at-home mom’s who watch the Home Shopping Network), that Ben is not really her husband.  But she goes one step farther, breaking down into tears, and, in a cringe-inducing monologue, admits that her husband abandoned her and her mother died due to drugs. 

F.Y.I. Margene, your viewers at home just want to buy bracelets.  If they wanted personal stories, they could watch Oprah at 4pm . . .

 . . . or this guy.

 Later, during a highly charged late night encounter in the kitchen, Margene admits to an insistent Ben that the kiss “meant something” to her.  Then, Ben’s little sister, Tattletale Teeny, who found Ben’s love note to Margene at the end of last season, reveals to Barb and Bill that Ben and Margene are “in love.”  When confronted by Bill, Ben maturely takes the bullet for Margene, claiming that he kissed her, and that the encounter was nothing but a dumb crush on his part.  Bill apologizes to Margene for her trouble, and inadvertently makes her feel like crap.

 Then, just moments before Bill is to make his important candidacy announcement, he finds Margene crying outside in her furry Republican Elephant suit.  (Wow, Bill, is that really how you like your loving?  Who knew polygamists were so kinky?)

  In a touchingly heartfelt scene, Margene admits to Bill that she kissed Ben.  Furthermore, at the time that she did it, she harbored romantic feelings for Bill’s young son.

    Later that evening, Bill comes into Ben’s room and finds him packing.  Ben explains that, under the circumstances, he thought it would be better if he “left home for awhile.”  Bill, continuing his episode-long D-Bag trend, agrees, tossing his minor-aged son out in the cold over a little kiss.  Talk about a “family values” candidate . . .

      And there you have it . . . quite a wild ride for an hour-long show.  If this keeps up, I may just have to invest in a spare jaw . . .

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