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Let your fangs be your guide! – A Recap of The Vampire Diaries’ “Brave New World”

There’s a crazed newbie vampire and two VERY testosterone-y werewolves on the loose in Mystic Falls.  But worry not!  The Salvatore Brothers have it all under control . . . sort of.

Last week, our heroes, Damon and Stefan, had their hands full with Vampire Katherine and her crazy, sexy, evil doppelganger ways . . .

This week, Katherine seems to have taken a little siesta from Mystic Falls.  But that didn’t make life any easier on our Bro Vamps, who still managed to spend most of the episode tending to supernatural creatures, and cleaning up their magical messes . . .

“Who you calling a MESS, b*tch?”

So, without further adieu, let us head off to the Mystic Falls Carnival, and pay a very special visit to its fabulous House of Freaks!

 Hospital Food BITES

After suffering the massive inconvenience of having the life smothered out of her by an antiseptic-smelling hospital pillow . . .

 . . . Caroline “wakes up” in the middle of the night, mildly disoriented and MAJORLY hungry.  Unfortunately,  B*tchy Night Nurse, won’t let her eat until morning.  So, Caroline does what any girl would do in a such a situation.  She improvises.

“Mmmmm, is it just me or have these juice boxes gotten bigger, since I was a kid?”

The next morning, Caroline’s boyfriend, Matt, comes to visit . . .

. . . and Caroline gives him a shoulder so icy cold, it can only be offered by the undead.  She refuses to kiss him, flinches at his touch, won’t eat the food he brings her, and cowers against a wall, when he tries to open the blinds.  Like all boys forced to deal with moody mates, Matt undoubtedly wonders whether Caroline is “On the Rag.”  Little does Mystic Falls’ resident nice guy know that his girlfriend has a WHOLE DIFFERENT “Blood Problem” on her hands (and in her mouth .  . .).

In addition to coping with her brand new kind of “thirst,” and the fact that her face now occasionally sprouts dark lines and wrinkles that even Botox won’t be able to cure, Caroline is also stressed out about not being able to run the Mystic Falls Carnival.  The Carnival was something Caroline had organized every year, since she was a freshman.  And now, with her “out of commission,” Elena and Bonnie are forced to take her place.

While the girls are unpacking boxes, and stacking Team Jacob t-shirts . . .

Every screaming thirteen-year old girl should have one . . .

. . . they can’t help but make a few jokes at Type A blood drinking Caroline’s expense.  “If we mess this up, she will KILL US,” quips Bonnie.  “I don’t know how she does this every year!”

“Simple.  She’s not human,” replies Elena.

Little do they know how VERY RIGHT they both are .  . .

Fortunately, for Caroline, she may have found away to attend the Carnival after all.  Even though Blondie is not due for hospital release until the next day, she somehow “convinces” (read: threatens then compels) B*tchy Night Nurse to discharge her early.  Never one to be discourteous, Caroline thanks the Nurse for her help by NEARLY CHEWING HER NECK OFF!

It was kind of a sloppy move on the new Baby Vamp’s part.  After all, massive neck wounds?  Those are the kind of thing people tend to notice.  Fortunately, the intrepid Caroline has a cover story up her sleeve.  “My boyfriend likes to get kinky,” says a newly Zombie-fied B*tchy Night Nurse, after taking in enough mind compulsion to scramble her brain for weeks. 

(Now, that’s fine for a good hospital tale, but how is B*tchy Night Nurse going to explain all those massive hickeys to her ACTUAL boyfriend?)

Dating discepancies aside, Caroline admires her mind control handiwork.  “I don’t know what THAT is, but it’s SPECTACULAR,” she concludes, as she struts out of the hospital, looking absolutely TO DIE FOR!

You can hardly even tell she’s been dead for 24-hours!

Bark at the Moonstone

Wolves will be wolves  . . .

Considering the fact that TVD fans have known that Tyler Lockwood is a werewolf since the end of Season 1, the writers are REALLY dragging out this “major reveal” a bit long, aren’t they?  Week after week, I just keep waiting for the kid to finally figure out what EVERYBODY ELSE ON THE PLANET already knows.  But, alas, Doofus Tyler keeps missing the boat, on this one . . .

“I may be dumb.   But, hey, at least I look pretty when I’m topless!”

 After a random excuse to show off Michael Trevino’s hot bod, clad in nothing but a towel brief jog around the neighborhood . . .

Well HELLO, Tyler’s crotch and abdominals!  It’s so nice to finally meet you!

 . . . Tyler continues to “bond” with Mr. Wolf in Black Sheep’s Clothing, Mason.

And YOU are wearing a shirt . . . because?

And by “bond” I mean that Mason peppers Tyler with so many questions about his “rage issues” that for a moment I thought I had accidentally switched channels, and was watching a rerun of the Dr. Phil Show . . .

My final diagnosis is . . . you’re CRAZY, Wolfboy!

“I’m an angry guy,” explains Tyler matter-of-factly.  (Now THAT’S the understatement of the year!)

From this exchange, we also learn that Tyler “loses himself,” when he gets angry, and sometimes even suffers from “Rage Blackouts” a la Summer Roberts from The O.C.

When he’s not interrogating Tyler, arm wrestling, or defending his brother’s honor (more on all that later), Mason seems to spend most of his time at Mystic Falls searching for something called a Moonstone.

Riiiiiiight, because that’s EXACTLY what this show needs, MORE ugly jewelry that possesses magical powers . . .

Detective Damon and his Trusty Sidekick, Stefan

“Cheers, to me already getting, in just two episodes, more sexy facial closeup-shots, than I did during the ENTIRE last season!”

But Mason isn’t the only one investigating Tyler during this episode.  Damon seems to have his eye on the Baby Werewolf too.  (Or, maybe he’s just trying in vain to keep his mind off of a certain someone . . .)

Whatever the reason, Tyler’s “Secret” is occupying most of Damon’s thoughts.  Big Brother Salvatore, is pensively pouring himself a goblet of blood, when Stefan arrives home from a morning of “Hunting Wascally Wabbits” with his good pal, Elmer Fudd.

“So, that thing you told me about your brother eating humans . . . you were just kidding about that, right?”

When Stefan turns down Damon’s offer of a blood glass, Big Bro can’t help put take a pot shot at his brother’s Drink of Choice.  “Aren’t you worried that, one day, all the forest animals are going to band together and fight back.  I mean, surely, they talk,” quips Damon.

Be afraid, Stefan.  Be VERY AFRAID!

Damon, who has recently been crowned new head of the Anti-Vampire Council by Ms. Lockwood, herself (How’s THAT for irony?), peppers Stefan with questions about the Lockwoods.  Specifically, he wants to know why they were affected by that Supernatural Clock Thingy during the Season 1 Finale, even though they are not vampires.  Unfortunately for Damon, Stefan sees Damon’s new hobby of “playing detective” for exactly what it is, a way for a guy who’s recently been dumped (TWICE) to pass the time.

“Come on, Damon!  We all know you’re suffering from Man Pain.  Wouldn’t it be easier to just massage your Willy, and call it a night?”

“Well, DUH!  But I’d much prefer massaging YOURS . . .”

Ever the jealous ex, Damon just can’t resist asking Stefan if Elena talks about him.  (How adorable is he?)  And, based on Elena’s exchanges with Stefan during this episode, we know that she DOES talk about him.  However, most of those exchanges involve her repeatedly saying, “I want to be normal and do human stuff, like kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel.  And I DEFINITELY don’t want to talk about the D- word.”

“D?  As in DELICIOUS?  DEBONAIR?  DECADENT? DRUG-LIKE?  DESTINED TO BE YOUR MAN?”

While over at the Lockwood’s house for an Anti-Vampire Pow Wow,  Damon overhears Tyler talking to Mason about his “rage blackouts,” and comes up with a plan to expose the pair’s supernatural nature.  At the carnival, Damon commandeers Super Human Strength Stefan to challenge Mason to an arm wrestle.

Stefan loses badly.  It’s kind of an embarrassment really.  (I mean, have you SEEN those arms?)  The loss forces Stefan to agree with Damon that Mason is not human.  Stefan’s diagnosis?

Mason and Tyler are Ninja Turtles!  (You know what, I kind of wish he was right.   Because that would be AWESOME!)

Damon rolls his eyes at the joke, echoing the thoughts of some TVD fans, who believe that Stefan “has no comedic timing whatsover.”  I, however, beg to differ.  I thought that Ninja Turtle line was pretty darn hilarious, and his dry emotionless delivery made it even more so.  And I NEVER disagree with Damon.  So, you know I must really mean it.

All this arm wrestling and talk of rage blackouts inspires Damon to come up with a plan, as to how to break Hero Mason Lockwood, out of his “half-shell.”  (TURTLE POWER!)  And so he finds Poor Random Guy, Connor (who is about to have the WORST NIGHT EVER, by the way) and compels him to pick a fight with Tyler, and never back down, no matter what is done to him in retaliation.

The idea is to get Tyler to rage at Connor, and for Mason to go all “Supernatural” on Connor’s ass in Tyler’s defense.  The plan, of course, works flawlessly.  And we watch with amusement, along with Damon and Stefan, as Poor Connor picks a losing fight with Tyler.  Tyler predictably rages.  Then, Mason gets all yellow-eyed . . .

 . . .  and starts “jumping over cars” to break up the wrestling match.  But the fact that DAMON AND STEFAN still can’t figure out what kind of creatures these guys are, EVEN after witnessing THAT, bugs me to NO END!  In fact, I think I may have just had a Rage Blackout, just thinking about it . . .

I’m Burning Up For Your Love

A Newly Undead Caroline arrives at the school, and runs into Damon who has been lurking the hallways.  Caroline confronts Damon about all that mind controlling and physical abuse he heaped on her during Season 1.  Damon, of course, denies it.   But Caroline is insistent. 

NEW VAMPIRE RULE:  Apparently, if you were compelled a vampire, while you were alive, you can remember it, once you are undead.  (This is probably also how Stefan figured out that his love for Katherine was largely the result of compulsion.)

“I have a message from Katherine,” Caroline whispers in Damon’s ear.  (You know, I forgot how hot and hilarious these two were together, during Season 1)  “GAME ON!”

Caroline then throws Damon across the room.  “You suck,” she says wistfully, before stalking outside.

Once at the Carnival, Caroline runs into her loyal, but clueless boyfriend, Matt.

“I’m all better now,” the Undead Girl insists when asked how she was so quickly discharged.

The two quickly head off to the Ring Toss.

Still unused to her superhuman strength,  Caroline’s ring flick ends up shattering about five or six bottles within range.  “They must have already been broken,” Caroline mumbles cleverly.

The “neat trick” totally turns Matt on, and he pulls Caroline in for a kiss.  However, once the Little Vampire gets to close to his human flesh, she becomes incredibly hungry.  Not wanting to hurt Matt, she pushes him away violently.  “Leave me ALONE!”  She screeches, before running away.

An ashamed and humiliated Caroline is crying in the corner, when who should spot her, but a Lip-Bloodied Connor.  “Is everything OK?”  The Nice Guy / Poor Sap asks.  “I am so sorry,” cries Caroline, before doing this . . .

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would hereby like to award Poor Connor this week’s Senseless Death Award!

Meanwhile, Damon pulls aside Elena . . .

It’s amazing how fast Elena seems to have forgiven Damon for the whole “attempted killing of her brother” thing.  Not that I’m complaining . . .

. . . to warn her about Caroline’s newfound vampishness.  Stefan is called in for support, and our three main characters engage in their obligatory Pow Wow of Sexiness and Plot Explanation for the week.  Gently reminding everybody about how lousy the whole Vicki Vamp Conversion went . . .

. . . and what a “manipulative nasty little slut” Katherine is for doing this to all of them . . .

“That’s ME!”

. . . Damon suggests that they have no choice but to stake Caroline, and put her out of her undead misery.

“Absolutely NOT!”  Elena insists.

Stefan agrees with Elena, but does so half-heartedly,  so that everyone in the room knows that, deep down, he thinks that Damon is right  — Caroline won’t be able to survive as a vamp.   And the longer she lives, the more all of their  lives will be in danger.  When Elena confronts Stefan about his true feelings he PUNCHES A WALL.  (SO HOT!)

“Oooh, baby!  Do it again!”

Damon finds a tearful Caroline outside, crying over a lifeless Poor Connor.  He moves in to “console her,” cupping her chin with his hand, and gently brushing her bloody hair out of her face.  “Don’t cry.  I can help you,” coos Damon with enough faux sensitivity that I almost believe him, myself.

“How?”  Caroline sniffles.

“I’m going to kill you,” replies Damon, matter-of-factly.

Caroline starts bawling now, begging for her not-life.  “Please don’t, I’m not ready to die.”

“But you’re already dead,” explains Damon.

Eventually, Damon convinces Caroline that he’s NOT going to kill her.   He pulls her into a hug, and, then, TRIES TO KILL HER with a sharpened stake!

But then Stefan comes and SAVES THE DAY, knocking the stake right out of Damon’s hand.

(I’ve gotta say!  I’m not ready to see Vampire Caroline go.  Human Caroline was really boring (except, of course, when she was Damon’s Play Toy).  But THIS Caroline?  She. Is. AWESOME!  Way to go, Candice Accola for making me warm up to your character in a big way!)

Then Damon picks up the stake AGAIN, and lunges for Caroline a SECOND TIME . . .

 . . . this time Elena blocks his path. Damon’s stake is now just inches away from the heart of the woman he loves.  “She’s my friend,” whispers Elena.

The two lock eyes, and say nothing for a few moments, the expressions on their faces revealing everything.  It is UNBELIEVABLY HOT!

Damon eventually drops the stake.  “Whatever happens, it’s on you,” Damon warns Elena — the vampire, himself, knowing a thing or two about residual guilt.

In the midst of all this, Bonnie arrives, touches Bloody Caroline and instantly learns that she’s a vampire.  Being a Vampire Hater, and a total bitch Bonnie turns away from her former BFF in disgust.  This causes Caroline to start bawling.  When Elena goes to her, Caroline pushes ELENA away, thinking that Elena was the one who turned her into a vampire.  Elena explains that the vampire who did that to her was Katherine.  But Caroline has had too much excitement for one day, and runs to the bathroom to pee.

Stefan rushes off to the bathroom (the Women’s Restroom?  FOR SHAME, STEFAN!) to comfort Caroline.  He carefully wipes the blood off her face, like a loving father.  Stefan then patiently teaches Caroline how to control her blood lust.  I guess Stefan is like the Mister Miyagi of Vampires . . .

. . . or a Vampire Jiminy Cricket.

He promises not to let anything happen to Caroline.  He  says he will do everything in his power to protect her.  It’s really sweet, actually.

Outside a bawling Bonnie, uses her magic Migraine-Giving powers to initiate a gas leak . . .

 . . . which causes a fire, and results in Damon looking like this . . .

But, despite what he did to her brother, Elena finds enough forgiveness in her heart to come to Damon’s rescue . . .

“This is not US!  This can’t be us!”  Elena tearfully screams at Bonnie, breaking the latter out of her witches’ spell trance.

All That Mushy Stuff

In the post-carnival portion of the episode, we get to see everyone, more or less, kiss and makeup.   Well, Tyler doesn’t really kiss or makeup with anyone.  But  . . .

he does finally find that Moonstone, and the information regarding his ancestry, under a floorboard in his father’s office. 

Matt . . .

. . . sneaks into Caroline’s bedroom and expresses his love for her.  She returns the favor by kissing him, without literally chewing off his face.  Thank you, Stefan-y Cricket!

Damon . . .

 . . . bonds with Jeremy . . .

 . . . over them both having parents that hated vampires, and Jeremy’s inability to whittle a proper stake with which to kill Damon.  Good times!

And finally, Stefan makes good on his promise to have a “normal moment” with Elena, by flying her *rolls eyes* up to the top of the ferris wheel and kissing her there, a la Ryan and Marissa from The O.C.

“We have to take this moment,” comands Stefan.  “I came back to this town to start a life with you.  We can’t forget to live it.”

(Awwwww!) 

And yet, just to keep things from getting too sappy, Kevin Williamson makes sure to end this romantic scene on a slightly dark note.  “It’s not going to get any easier, is it?”  Elena inquires.

“No, it’s not,” replies Stefan, before the screen eerily fades to black.

So, that was Episode 2.  What did you think?  Did you love Vampire Caroline as much as I did, or did you miss Vampire Katherine?   Were you insanely happy (like ME) or slightly disappointed that Elena has started talking to Damon, so soon after she claimed to HATE him?  And finally, were you as underwhelmed by the werewolf storyline as I was, or did Michael Trevino’s shirtlessness make it all OK?

That’s all I’ve got!  See you next week, fellow Fangbangers!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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