First of all, since this episode The Pumpkin has joined our ranks. It was that good.
“Dangerous Liaisons” was yet another great entry into what’s shaping up to be a fantastic season of the The Vampire Diaries. But it must be acknowledged that with its glamorous ball, various intrigues, and inappropriate flirtations, it was also the best episode of Gossip Girl never written. In the tradition of NYMag.com’s unmatched Daily Intel coverage of that once-wonderful teen soap, I give you a one-time-only Reality Index of the Greatest Show of The Moment (“Our Time” was a little hubristic even when it was tongue-in-cheek)
Realer than Klaus’ Birthday Bracelet Coming From an Actual Princess
The Reassembled Mikaelsons are throwing a ball! Plus 10 that most of the Mystic Falls population doesn’t find it strange that a bunch of people they never heard of want to serve them champagne and force them to waltz. They have to do something until Founders season rolls back around. Plus 2 since the Mikaelsons are actually Founders, of vampirism and pioneer spirit alike.
The Reassembled Mikaelsons – besides being a fantastic band name – are your typical old-money family: Kol’s the sadistic dandy, Rebecca’s the preening princess, Elijah’s the pragmatic (eldest?) favorite son, Finn is vacantly loyal, and Klaus is the weird outsider whose desire to be accepted drives him to extremes. Plus 5 for each of them, and another 2 for Kol and Rebecca’s weird pseudo-sexual tension. These people know how do the uppercrust justice.
When Esther asks Klaus who he’s bringing to the ball, I silently screamed at the incongruity of a thousand-year-old mass murderer not being able to find a prom date, but this “Sadie Hawkins Dance in my khaki pants” ridiculousness will actually drive a good bit of the episode, so plus 3 (for each “oh”)
I would like to rename this episode “The Night Elena Became Katherine”. Miss Gilbert has always had a little Petrova sass in her step (it’s probably the only thing keeping her out of a mental institution with all the crazy in her life) but the scariest aspect of “Dangerous Liaisons” was that no doppelgänger hijinks ensued to explain away her behavior. That night was all her. Plus 5 for not pulling another switcheroo, Show (the hair had us nervous)
Caroline has no interest in going to the ball until Rebecca asks her and Elena’s mutual ex to be her date. Plus 2, because enough with this Single Blond Female stuff, and another two because even Elena, center of the Triangle of Doom, took interest for once
That said, Rebecca continuing the visiting-female-vampire obsession with Matt? Plus 10, they’ve been around long enough to know a good one when they see one
Caroline realizing that she’s gonna have to put on the dress she knows is a bribe. Plus 6 – overachievers like her are born with a sense of occasion that supersedes petty things like loyalty to sired ex-boyfriends
OMG THE DANCE SCENE. Plus 20. The partner switching took the whole concept to another level, while nicely foreshadowing scene partners later in the episode. Anyone that thought Stefan and Elena were over thought differently when that was done.
Caroline reminding Klaus that she was Miss Mystic Falls. Plus 5. Life is fleeting, crowns are forever.
Plus 9 for Elijah and Elena being in cahoots. Daniel Gilles has had fantastic chemistry with Nina Dobrev from day one, so it’s nice to have them back in scenes together. This would be a perfect ten if Elijah had locked Elena into one of those carefully-worded agreements he’s are so fond of.
Plus 5 for Elena knowing Stefan would help her duck Damon. When in doubt, go with the “dark” brother. They ask fewer questions in an attempt to stay laconic .
Caroline sassing Klaus when he tries to spit game at her? Plus 10. Horses and landscapes do not a fairytale make, though the picture in the jewelry box shows he’s at least paying attention
Elena’s poker face in her meeting with Esther Plus 15. If the Original vampires had come after our family like that we’d be ambiguous about plans for their demise too.
That binding scene was cool. Plus 5, they don’t usually play with cinematography that much.
Damon’s face when he realizes that he’s switched roles with Stefan. Plus 15 (an extra five for Stefan not seeming to notice. Losing your soul makes you think less about roles in sibling rivalries).
Two words: LETTERMAN”S JACKET. We love the way Southern boys love us. Plus 7.
“I’m mad because I love you.’” Plus 30 for lack of compulsion loopholes or awkward interruptions. It’s out there now. The only thing that kept it from being the title line was the winning line’s awesome 18th century awkwardness (Plus 19).
Plus 5 for the Kol-Damon face-off. Every time I think the show has a definitive Spike, someone nastier shows up. Damon’s line about causing trouble was also classic Season Two “I’ve gone off the rails!”, so plus another 2 for that.
Rebecca’s gonna get her rocks off with some guy in this town if it re-kills her. Plus 5 for starting with the captain of the football team and ending up with another football player’s hot older brother. We’ve already discussed that she should be done with high-school boys by this point anyway.
Caroline missed Tyler, so she called him and left him a message. Plus 2, because it’s the little things that make this the Greatest Show of the Moment
I know that The Porch is the place where Delena dreams come true, but this episode it was ALL Stefan’s. Plus 10. Once again, this episode fantastically muddied the shipper waters by proving that feelings don’t just evaporate because Teen Drama Rules say they should. Elena is holding onto those first-love feelings for dear life.
Faker Than Elena’s Coming Attempts to Veil Her Insane Jealousy
Esther is the regal, forgiving matriarch…that wants to kill her children. OF COURSE SHE DOES. Minus 5 for her children living for a millennium and not watching their own show
Elena, stop pretending that you don’t want Damon to take you to the dance. We were at the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant, and the 60’s dance, and your uncle/daddy’s freakin funeral. You want him to take you every party for the rest of time. Minus 10
Minus 20 for the date shenanigans in general. With Jeremy gone (SOB) and Tyler not allowed to be part of storylines where he doesn’t attack people, we currently have an even number of young, attractive, in-the-know people. Damon takes Elena, Stefan takes Caroline (they’re friends, remember?) or Bonnie, and Matt takes whoever Stefan doesn’t take. The fact that Bonnie helped free stupid Esther and doesn’t get invited is an extra minus 10.
Alaric got stabbed last week. If he’s in the hospital that means that Dr. Of Course She’s the Stabber has round-the-clock access to him. Damon had other stuff to worry about, so minus only 5.
Nobody in that crowd would know an ancient waltz off the top of their heads. Minus 5. Also, the waltz wasn’t invented the last time most of these Originals were up and out of their coffins – when did they learn it? Minus 5.
The music selection in the actual dance sequence is never even close to the quality of choices in the inevitable fan videos that follow. Minus 10.
Minus 10 for Klaus believing he can wow Caroline into falling for him with this “worldly misunderstood artist” thing. Her ex-boyfriend draws too, thankyouverymuch (only in season one, but we remember).
Elena lied to Elijah! And didn’t “accidentally” knock that champagne glass out of his hand. Minus only 4, because she felt bad about it later.
That said, she couldn’t have had a worse reaction to Damon’s declaration. Minus 20. There’s only so much rejection the undead heart can take, especially after almost half a season of pulling boyfriend duty like a pro.
Index Total: 107
A lot of awesome moments combined with a couple of game-changing scenes put this episode firmly in the Real column. This show is always at its best when it remembers the people beneath the plot twists, like it did this week. Next up is the literal soap opera of “All My Children”!