Last Time: Damon and Stefan were getting all chummy. Damon was even coOKing dins for the Gilberts! An adorable Rockwellian time was had by all, except for Stefan, who is planning on screwing Damon over. And, oh yeah, all these bitches are vampires. We’ve discovered that the only people attracted to baby Jeremy and witches are crazy vampires. What a bummer for them. Meanwhile, everyone and their sire is after Jonathan Gilbert’s journal which will lead the way to Emily’s Grimoire which will lead to the opening of the tomb which will lead to release of the vampires and then TO THE APOCALYPSE (in Mystic Falls). KABOOM! Perhaps this show is all about getting kids to read. I watched The Reading Rainbow. It. Was. EPIC.
This week’s episode was steeped in history. We were magically transported (sans-TARDIS) into Civil War-era Mystic Fallz. (ED: No one knows what the TARDIS is but us, unfortunately.) There were conscientious objectors and collaborators. There were lots of verbal anachronisms! There was freaky sex! Most amusingly, there were real parents, who lived and breathed and got all up in their kids’ business and wanted them to join despicable political movements!
So, in fair Mystic Fallz, 1864, where we lay our scene: Katherine is introducing young Damon to the art of killing dudes in the road. Damon pretends to be injured while Katherine lures some fools in a carriage to their deaths. What knaves! What awful rogues! What times were these, when innocent babes were swept up so easily into the arms of evil? The killing finished, Katherine coos: “That’s how it’s done.” Ugh, I want to kill her already. But Damon, who’s apparently all into the killing, wants to be turned. He’s a bit grossed out about kissing with her all the blood and shit — can’t imagine why, mmmm, delicious blood — but he does it anyway! (Ed. Umm, I think all the vampire shows have finally gotten to you, nasty.)
Oh Jesus, Elena and Stefan and torturing our eyes and minds with their snuggling. Good thing Damon walks in, with witty remark in hand: “If I see anything I haven’t seen before, I’ll throw a dollar at it.” Bahahaha. OK I was being sarcastic but that’s actually amusing. No really it wasn’t. It was. Seriously. SHUT UP ALTERNATE PERSONALITY X. (Ed. See previous.) Anyway, this weird little band hatches a plan to free Damon’s lost belle. Stefan and Elena are, of course, simultaneously constructing a way to put the kibosh on the plan. Oh the betrayal! Well, we’re about to find out that this isn’t the first time Stefan’s betrayed his big bro’s trust. It’s a cycle of brotherly violence.
Bah! More snuggling! We’ve flashbacked again, this time to Katherine’s bed. She and Damon are getting it on; Emily walks in, all creepy smiles. Apparently, Stefan is tucked away in another bedroom, while she bangs his brother. Oh word? You know what they say, 1864 was the year of the undead ho. Alternate personality Y: what’s this year? It’s the year of narwhal … obviously.
Katherine’s chatting with her friend Pearl, another vampire. They’ve all got ringz apparently and are walking around happily in the sunshine. (Ed. You’re going a little wild with the “z” pluralizing.) Pearl has a daughter, in addition to a ridiculous name. Guess who it is. You’ll never guess. OK, I did, but I’m psychic. It’s baby J’s vampire stalker, Anna! It’s unclear if she was already a vampire at that time, or she was the child of Pearl before Pearl was turned. Apparently, the townspeople know there are vampires in their midst and Katherine getting it on with Stefan and Damon isn’t helping.
Speaking of Anna. She’s patronizing her friend the bartender, who’s meeting the Bonster for dins. Turns out he’s kind of an idiot. She turned him recently, to use as a pawn to get to Bonnie, to find the journal, and because he was a sad loser. What a stupid patsy! He’s sad, thinking that Anna might have a little thing for Jeremy. What a sucker! She totally does. There are a lot of weird three’s company moments on this show right now: Damon-Stefan-Elena, Damon-Stefan-Katherine, Anna-That bartender guy-Bonnie, Anna-That bartender guy-Jeremy. But I guess before these, there was Jeremy-Vickie-The Whole Town. If we’re heading for an OM3, I’m out. (Ed. We can add them to the greatest threesomes of all time!)
I’m as serious as a vervain cupcake. Actually I drink that stuff in a tea. It’s delicious! So don’t come after me …
Elena is starting to come around to Damon’s side of things. Of course, he does it all for the love! She and Stefan are loOKing for Jonathan Gilbert’s journal, having apparently not realized that Jeremy’s been working on a history project about it for what feels like a million years. Too bad it’s with Teach, who’s reading it aloud in his head, and in his office. And we’re back to past! Salvatore the elder and resident worst-parent-ever is meeting with some Lockwood guy and Jonathan Gilbert. He’s created this neat compass that sniffs out the vamps. Apparently, it’s science! Science in a watch? I don’t believe. Salvatore’s going to get his offspring in on their little plan: “You can count on them,” he says. You are an idiot, I says. I mean what kind of crazy person takes a pretty “orphan from Atlanta” into his house with his two young sons, during a vampire panic? Get a grip.
Back to the future! Stefan’s gone to have chat with vampire chasing teach, who tells him all about his dead wife. She was a parapsychologist. Also, you’ll remember, that she has the same name as Elena’s birth mom. Teach says he’s “a historian.” AN HISTORIAN. AN HISTORIAN. But historian or no historian, Anna has snuck in, vampire-style, and stolen the journal.
Anna’s ignoring her sad, loser boyfriend/pawn and snuggling up to read all about her past. Apparently, her mom, Pearl, and Mr. Jonathan Gilbert had a cute thing going. How cute! But then he kills her. Double cute!
Also cute: Damon, Stefan and Papa are having a family moment. Dad’s not too happy about Damon leaving the confederacy. Go Damon! Both brothers are ambivalent about the plan to kill the vampires, seeing as they’re both servicing one. These things can be difficult. Add some booze and you’ve got a Thanksgiving! Stefan defends his brother, but it’s clear that he’s the good little boy. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to think that Stefan is on board with the Confederacy but that definitely alters his whole, I don’t kill people and am a nice vampire shtick. Sorry bro, slavery’s pretty much the big bad of American history. Perhaps that’s why he was lurking at Bonnie’s grandmother’s civil rights rally; he was atoning. Even if he wasn’t pro-slavery, he was still a spineless little prick. So win win!
CHANGE PLACES! Present Day-Damon is filling Auntie Jenna in on how his Daddy never loved him or whatever. Jenna’s filling him in on how nobody ever loves her. Blah Blah Blah. But how funny is Damon coOKing the Gilbert’s dinner, Wacky! They’re flirting — gross! Speaking of flirting, Stefan and Alaric the vampire fighting teach are getting to know each other. Apparently, they never found Isobel. So Elena’s mom is most definitely running around somewhere. (Ed. SPOILER …)Actually, we know she is because that actress is in an upcoming episode. DAMN the interweb! Also speaking again of flirting, Damon is attempting to rub up on Elena in the kitchen. He wants to get in her good graces, I suppose, but mostly he wants to know if Stefan is serious in his promises. He’s not. Family time continues! Damon is definitely interested in sowing the seeds of guilt in Elena, should she stab him in the back. He’s coOKing dinner. He’s playing video games with Jeremy and giving the poor kid girl advice about Anna: “hot trumps weird.” Sage wisdom. Jenna’s smitten; she’s a sad, lonely sort.
Oh cool, we’re back to the “Find the journal” plot line: Damon, Stefan and Elena discover that Jeremy’s friend Anna knows about the journal. So Damon drives Jeremy to a little date at the local watering hole. Finally, he remembers Pearl’s little kid. But Damon’s getting fooled! Being lulled into submission by Stefan’s relentless man flirting, teach gave him a copy of the journal. So Stelena get to their evil plan of deceiving Damon, and finding (and destroying?) the Grimoire before Damon can get his hands on it. Realizing that his father literally toOK the boOK with him to his grave, Stefan leads Elena to the graveyard where they dig up dear old dad.
This episode has been, in large part, about demystifying Stefan’s past and his annoying self-righteousness. We’ve found out that Stefan’s good person act, has, in the past, done a lot of harm. We’ve also discovered that, despite the whole dance with a vampire deal, he’s failed his brother more than once. In fact, he may be the one that started it all. He went to his father, all sheepish, asking him to reconsider his plan to destroy the vampires. Way to go genius. Dad’s alerted. He spiked Stefan with vervain. And thus was the undead ho, discovered.
Damon has hunted down Anna, in order to fine the journal. They have a nice moment when they try to kill each other. Adorable. Anna fills him in on the whole “take it to his grave” thing. Unfortunately for her, Damon works alone and he heads to the graveyard, to discover his little bro screwing him over again! Damon loOKs pretty hurt ☹. He suspected the betrayal from Stefan, seeing as how he sucks, but not from nice Elena! Oh the horror. Threatening to turn Elena, he gets Stupid Stefan to give him the booK. Anyone catch the weird hair snuggling action he pulls, before he hands her over? Sweet. Then, they leave all these fires burning. Doesn’t anyone listen to the SmOKey the bear PSAs! Forest Fires are serious business.
In past and present alike, hell’s breaking loose. Damon has to watch poor Katherine get dragged out in chains. Jonathan Gilbert finds out that Lady Pearl is a lady vampire. Poor Anna has to watch her mom get dragged off into the night. There’s an obvious and, I must say, rather weird and poor comparison here between the vampire drama and the Civil War. Damon’s dad, preventing his son from going after Katherine, tells him that he doesn’t want to be known as a “sympathizer.” Thus Damon slides neatly into an anti-hero role. Ahead of his time, friend to the enslaved and the undead in a gross time with weird suits and “science watches” and shitty brothers, he loses it. I feel about this comparison, what I feel about True Blood’s Vampire-Gay equivalency. It’s just kind of ridiculous.(Ed. Not to mention heavy handed.)
Stefan, who blames himself a little for what happened is reassured by Elena: “You didn’t do anything wrong, remember that.” But didn’t he? His dad was an obvious dick, even by Confederate standards. Also, he was stupid and careless, and that always sucks. As gross as Katherine is, Pearl and Anna seem OK. He risked their lives in order to be a good little boy! What a dummy. But he’s going to pay! Anna, invited in fiiiiiinally by Jeremy, has stolen away in the night with Elena. Meanwhile, Bonnie, resident “powerful witch goddess,” discovers that her date is vampire. So she gets carried off too!
At any rate. This was a solid episode. It was definitely fun to watch, if it wasn’t so easy to follow. The best part was finally getting Stefan off his high horse and also discovering why Stefan is so understanding of his brother sometimes. You kind of ruined his life, bud. Unfortunately for both of you, it’s going to be a long life. I suppose generally, it exposed the connection between morality and culture. What was good then won’t always be good. So you better think for yourself. In the future, maybe killing people will be OK. So we should start now! Just kidding …
(Ed. No you’re not.)
Don’t tell anyone about the bodies in the basement, or I will kill you.
Original Author: Rabia Muqaddam