We’re avid watchers of The Vampire Diaries here in the Suite. We’re strung out on it, as a matter of fact. We keep a secret shrine to Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson hidden in one of our super cute cottage chic closets and thank it every Thursday for another episode of one of the best and most underrated shows on television. We know that one of the best parts of watching any show, but TVD especially, is getting to talk about it before, during and afterwards. Shady Satin Drug and Antigone on a Hot Tin Roof let their fangirl flags fly and provide recaps of the newest episodes, along with their verbatim spit-take, real-time reactions to all of the insanity that unfolds. If you’re a TVD fan, then you know there’s a lot of it.
Shady (7:58:00): I’m waiting for someone to make a Delena video set to Rihanna’s “We Found Love.” Because it’s actually apropos.
Antigone (7:58:31): More than the Love The Way You Lie videos? Cuz those were pretty spot-on. My favorites are the “For the First Time” videos that seem to blame Damon’s crazy on the economy lol
Shady (7:59:12): I should have specified that these videos will be about their budding romance in the face of their currently bleak situation.
In a season that’s had its share of headscratching ups and downs in these early episodes – why didn’t Bonnie spend the summer with magical relatives that could have improved her powers? Why is Caroline’s dad still breathing? How can we possibly be on a break from the epic Dalaric bromance? – last night was ALL WIN. This show, like so many other teen dramas, does its best work when remembering that it is in fact a teen drama, and tonight’s premise of the first day of school did a wonderful job of at the very least shoving all these characters back into confrontations they couldn’t run away from (though the fact that they are the Class of 2012 portends as much doom and disaster as any of their recent summer drama).
Antigone (8:01:00): First day of school? It’s been a very long year
Shady (8:01:15): No necklace today.
Last night’s story is concerned with beginnings – we see not only a new school year but new relationships forming in place of old ones, and more than a few scenes that echo the start of the series itself.
We open with Elena, whose moment at the mirror should take obsessives back to the pilot, when she’s preparing to face her old life as a new orphan after a summer of mourning. Here we have her newly single after a summer of searching, and she is better prepared for life than last year, as her new workout regime with Alaric (her new watcher in more ways than one) will attest. Our favorite damsel is ready to hit back
Antigone (8:02:10): This opening scene is a callback to the pilot…and Alaric is FINALLY teaching his children how to fight.
Shady (8:02:55): Papa Alaric telling is like it is: “you’re boney and can’t fight off evil, Elena.”
Antigone (8:03:20): I’m so proud of her for finally being active about her own protection.
The following sequence of “seniors attempting to pretend they’re just seniors” gives us a cursory look at where the plot stands (this is probably just as helpful for the characters as it is for us). Much-needed Girl Talk between Caroline, Bonnie, and Elena about their collective joke of a normal dating life leads Elena to realize it’s the anniversary of The Day Everything Changed; Matt is as preoccupied with the trials of dead mysterious Vicki as he was of live, trainwreck Vicki; Bonnie and Jeremy unconsciously attempt to out-gorgeous each other while having The Talk about his clingy dead ex; and Tyler seems a lot more like the asshole we ignored all season one than the boy we came to obsess over in season two.
Shady (8:03:48): OH GEEZ ELENA, with the anniversary.
Antigone (8:03:55): So this whole ep. will be a callback to the pilot – exciting
Shady (8:04:37): UGH the reversal between Stefan and Damon is beautiful.
Antigone (8:05:02): And now Damon is the grown-up and Stefan is the off-the-rails little brother, love it
Shady(8:05:50): He may be a Junior, but there’s nothing junior about him (Jeremy).
Antigone (8:06:52): Gracious, Matt’s beautiful. And I’m so happy he and Vicky are finally having this convo, it’s overdue.
Shady (8:07:03): He’s wearing blue!
Antigone (8:07:44): He’s a hotter, more southern Nate Archibald that way
The arrival of bad Stefan (“Stef(Angelus)” from here on out to avoid confusion) ups the tension of all these growing pains by reminding us that the only thing more painful than breaking up is breaking up badly, because then all those intimacies become weapons and your interactions become minefields full of bombs that hurt twice as much because they used to be stored in a place so safe you didn’t even think about it anymore. All of those things play out when Stefan and Elena run into one another, and sharing Alaric’s APUSH (AP U.S. History) course with everyone is not going to help, because everyone knows that class is more “every man for themselves” than any other beside Physics, so Elena will have to field Stefan’s subtle snark attacks all by herself.
Antigone (8:07:01 – 8:09:50): I really love that Tyler is still Tyler. OMG he’s hanging w/ Rebecca, I can’t deal. AAAANND the man of the hour! Stefangelus in action!
Shady (8:10:12): OMG did you see how he looked at her?! X__X
Antigone (8:10:50): As a person that loves Original Flavor Stefan, I’m really digging the bad version…maybe Caroline will be his Lexi if she can spare attention from Tyler
Shady (8:12:16): Whose graffiti love bus is this outside the school? WHO ACTUALLY GETS A VAN PAINTED LIKE THAT?! That’s the least realistic thing to happen on this show – aside from Vicki’s single plastic tear.
Caroline would help, but her Very Method of Coping with Existence – social supremacy – is threatened by OV Rebecca (“Barbie Klaus”)’s enrolling in high school for lack of anything better to do until her brother…decides to stop being such a bitch and come out of hiding to retrieve her? (There’s a whole thing about how he’s running from Mikael, the Avenging Angel of vampires that hunt vampires -because this Season of the Originals is turning out to be the Season of the Hunters as well – who Katerina and Jeremy unearthed last week, and she’s trying to revive him with rats and groundskeepers and sex appeal when all he wanted was her neck. The End, For Now). The Rebecca v. Caroline thing shouldn’t work, because as Damon will say later if he doesn’t have a peer group in this town then she most certainly does not, but her very real longing for Stefan turns out to be in direct conflict with everything Caroline, because no matter how much our Vampire Barbie has grown and matured, nobody told her she had to be those things at school. Yes, she is undead, and yes, her boyfriend is a werewolf, but there was still always going to be cheerleading, bonfires, and school spirit waiting for her in the fall, and Elena had officially left the spot of Miss Mystic Falls to her a while ago. For Rebecca to systematically insert herself into her relationship with Stefan (he does have a thing about bonding with blonds), her cheer squad, and her bond with Tyler hurts her more than anyone else, because this competition thing was supposed to be over last season when she shoved Damon for the first time, and broke up with Matt, and came out to her mom. No one is supposed to hold anything over you in death, and the thought of there still being someone prettier, older, and closer to your boys nearly spins her pretty little head off.
Antigone (8:15:08): Caroline’s like “but I’m the blonde around here…”
She rightly focuses on the Tyler thing because it is the most immediate, and the most “hers”. After Tyler seems to have forgotten that Klaus is the bad guy during The Meeting to nail down The Plan to be executed at that night’s Bonfire, Damon figures out that he’s been “sired” – a new scary word that has a True Blood counterpart (“maked/maker”) that inspires dread, because being associated with Klaus brings out the worst in everybody, and loyalty to his past identity as a douche is Tyler’s worst. His odd declarations, aggressive reactions, and unwillingness to conceal new habits all hearken back to Jeremy’s drug issues in season one, with the same fear that he is being “lost” to something beyond love’s control. This makes it all the more heartwrenching when he admits to his faults, transforming back into beautiful season two Tyler and uttering the line of the night to Caroline “Everything I like about me is you”, and then succumbing to Rebecca’s temptation of fresh blood almost immediately afterward. It’s a tough triangle when two of the three points are you and the guy you used to be.
Shady (8:15:29): NO TYLER DON’T USE YOUR POWERS FOR EVIL.
Antigone (8:16:27): A Lockwood can’t change his spots…and poor poor Caroline is about to backslide right back into her neuroses
Shady (8:17:01): Please let Matt catch her then. Why is Julie Plec going to give us this only to RIP IT VIOLENTLY AWAY?!
I’ll talk about Damon now because I can’t resist, and because he figures so heavily into The Plan. Basically his role in it is to prostitute himself for the sake of distracting Rebecca and reminding Elena that anniversaries are often held for things that no longer exist. Stef(Angelus) goes so far as to encourage this train of thought when they meet at the First-Day-of-School-Backwoods-Kegger (we wish), but that interaction evolves into a scene on the bleachers that a year ago would have been sweet, and now just ends with Stefan getting vervain in the back (a callback to his initial season-one blood-bender that was also made in the Chicago episode but not carried out, so kudos to the writers for playing with expectations there) and almost burning to death (because last year it was Damon’s turn to magically light on fire?) before reminding Elena (and Watcher Alaric) that he is still her best shot at survival, because the only thing more amazing than the writers Houdini-ing the audience out of that triangle is to remind us that it’s always really been a Damon-Elena sandwich with Stefan in the middle, and nothing as silly as a totally altered personality full of murderous intent will make that less true.
I have to talk about Stefan to explain Damon because they are constantly defining each other, filling in what the other lacks. So now it is Damon that cleans, sighs over dead bodies, and warns Elena away from his loose-cannon brother and their house of slaughtered sorority girls, just as it is Damon that tends her wounds. The fact that he does these things as himself and not a Stefan stand-in are reinforced by the interactions that are unique to him – like back in season one when he volunteered to erase Jeremy’s memory and told her about Stefan’s drinking, or tonight when he tries to passively reconcile with Alaric and becomes Elena’s very own self-defense tutor (‘Sternum” goes down as the best, hottest word of the night. Seriously, the center of your ribcage just became a very special place). Damon is a covetous, possibly insane, definitely homicidal, immortal creature of the night, but he’s also a straight-shooter, and values the few relationships he’s managed to maintain, which is why this developing thing with Elena will be many degrees more awesome than I first expected (at least until he decides to kill someone else she’s cared about, but the writers are basically using the Dragonballs at this point concerning the death toll , and everyone accepted Vegeta’s presence in the group eventually). He will let her reach conclusions herself as opposed to delivering them to her, as Stefan would.
Shady (8:48:03): OH JESUS, DAMON.
Antigone (8:48:18): Our first “do it for me” of the night lol
Shady (8:19:10): our first HOLY HELL THAT’S HOT of the night… I need to learn to keep my composure around hot guys so I can have moments like that.
Antigone (8:20:00): Oh. MY. It think I just became a shipper. And i think she just found an extra tutor in her self-defense class. Like, seriously. Whoa. Sternum. Ok.
Shady (8:20:46): Yeah this is not a game. We just jumped ship, no pun intended.
Antigone (8:24:57): And in true TVD fashion, it’s only 8:24!
Shady (8:25:15): Julie Plec, my love for you knows no bounds
Shady (8:27:02): This plan is going to backfire. Majorly. I feel like Tyler is going to die this season.
Antigone (8:27:45): It always backfires lol OMFG Tyler’s been compelled. jesus, jesus. And they’re pimping Damon! NOOOOOOO Not blood bonds. I thought we didn’t do bonds!
Shady (8:28:13): SIRED. He said it’s rare, relax.
Antigone (8:30:20): And there’s the first shot across the ‘we used to date” bow
Shady (8:31:45): Elena is a boss bitch. There’s no other term for it.
Antigone (8:34:54): Matt needs to not conjure things w/out consulting Bonnie – he’s gonna get possessed or something
Shady (8:35:18): He knew she’s say no
Shady (8:36:48): BONNIE TRULY RETURNING TO BITCHFORM; “I HATE YOU JEREMY, YOU’RE SUFFERING FOR MY ACTIONS.” Just like last season; “Caroline, you’re evil, it’s my fault you’re a vampire but i effing hate you.”
Antigone (8:37:57): Bonnie just literally threw her hands up lol. That ponytail is a’swishin with frustration. And what balance, crack ho? Oh c’mon, this should at least be about Tyler this one time
Shady (8:38:24): It’s never about Tyler. That’s why he’s sired to Klaus. He’s going to have a FIT when more start turning up. That’s how he’s gonna get back on the right side without dying. But Vicki really just hurt Matty, which means she has to be ENDED.
Antigone (8:39:37): But seriously, I thought we were avoiding the whole “maker” thing, this is unfair.
Shady 8:44:02): Use those eyes, Damon.
Antigone (8:44:58): And he’s so very good at prostituting himself “got his flirt on!” Elena’s doing a pretty good job at this whole exes thing though
Shady (8:48:20): Oh no, Tyler, don’t make me love you.
Antigone (8:48:35): Caroline is so not standing for this, it’s awesome “pre-werewolf you”!
Shady (8:48:42): It’s good to know she’s as aware of him as we are. NOT WITH THAT LINE, TYLER. DAMMIT.
Antigone (8:49:00): He makes me freaking crazy, I can’t handle it. “Everything I like about me is you” AAGH
Shady (8:49:05): Unicorn? UNICORN. but only for a little longer. Elena, as usual, is going to get GOT right after everything calms down. Wow this really is season one, pt. 2
Antigone (8:49:41): That’s why I dig it though, it’s like an improved version of those shaky first eps, along with a ‘what if’ regarding Stefan’s personality…if Stefangelus falls in love with Elena as well my head might explode. Bonnie is so freaking done with these white boys tonight, it’s hilarious
Shady (8:50:01): This is how you get Delena together, just start over from the beginning
Antigone (8:53:05): Whoa, Bonnie just literally yanked that bitch back. Poor Alaric, hope he has insurance….
Shady (8:55:34): PAPA ALARIC IN FULL FORM
Antigone (8:55:55): Like, the lighting, the song, the protective dad in the background…it’s amazing. And I really want Tyler and Caroline to work this out, i don’t need Rebecca to ruin this…how did Caroline not hear her come in? Can originals just come into places?
Shady (8:57:33): Michael’s about to rip her up. She would have figured that out.
Antigone (8:58:02): FUCKING HERO FOREVER. FOREVER. THAT IS A BAD BITCH RIGHT THERE. She’s getting her Petrova on. And Jeremy you need to work this out – honey, she’s dead. Of course she’s thinking about you, she’s got no one else. And….ghost sex. uh oh
Shady (8:58:04): oh shit paranormal ACTIVITY *WINK WINK*
Now we come to The Ghost Thing. This began in last season’s finale as an “it ain’t over until we say it’s over” gotcha moment, and has kind of stayed that way while evolving into a commentary on what plot points look like when they are buried instead of dropped – they grow into restless, manipulative, divisive spirits with fabulous eye make-up that are as far from done with us as they are from our hearts. The “anchor” concept is beautiful and appropriate, because anchors can hold us down (Matt, who literally held himself to the bottom of the pool last week for a vision) or keep us exactly where we want to be, as I fear Jeremy just admitted to himself last night. Both Matt and Jeremy, as the last “normals” of this poor, tortured in-crowd, were in desperate need of closure after all the lies and compulsions and coping mechanisms of the last two seasons, but so many little details – the fact that it was Jeremy that saw them first, the fact that he had to choose, the fact that he chose Anna – make this so much bigger than any old “Haunting in Virginia”. Matt, who was always “so much better at this”, needed only a few minutes of conversation to remind him that a sister that thrived on chaos in life could do nothing less in death, and wastes no time sending her and her Original-Witch-kill-order (for Elena, because when is it not?) back across through the veil. But Jeremy – he of orphanage, drug abuse, and general little-brother urges to be a grownup – can’t let go. No matter what the people say, he loves Anna anyway – his resigned “so what do we do?” was beautifully played by McQueen, who injected it with just the right balance of wariness and hope. Vicki’s death was the tragic end to a destructive path, but Damon felt so bad about Anna’s offing that he delivered his eyewitness account personally and offered to take the memory away –his version of a sympathy bouquet. It is understood that Bonnie will not understand. It’s not just because ghost sex is a colossal insult to her body and field of expertise, but because she has her own trauma and makes continuous sacrifices to rectify other people’s with little credit or reward, and Jeremy is all she wants. Nothing less than her grandmother returning is going to make this feel like anything but total robbery on the part of the dead, who have already been rejected once this calendar year, so enough already. We get it. He never came back from the dead at all. Not really.
But Mason Lockwood did.
Shady (8:58:47): Tyler’s a fucking goner. Just say your goodbye’s now.
Antigone (8:59:00): SHIT FUCK.
We’re off to worship our shrine for the beautiful plot twist that is bringing back someone who’s had their heart ripped out.
What are your predictions for next weeks episode? Is Uncle Mason back for good or evil? Will Tyler give in to the dark side?