Elena can’t ignore the frightening truth before her any longer. The Salvatores don’t age, heal instantaneously, and have bitten victims using mind control to shield their true nature. She confronts Stefan, but a part of her hopes that she won’t have to face the truth. Stefan doesn’t give her this option though. She knows that denial won’t do her any good now. He promises to tell her everything and anything she wants to know. Elena is hesitant and scared out to death, but knows it’s time for answers.
Meanwhile, Damon still doesn’t have his lapis lazuli ring. He doesn’t have a problem taking his anger out on others, particularly Elena, to get it back either. Until he can get it back he is confined to the indoors until the night falls; making him bored and restless. Nothing good comes from Damon’s boredom. He fully lashes out at night, ferociously murdering several victims while taking Vicki for his daytime amusement. Everything that happens becomes a haze and she goes to see Jeremy, acting completely irrational. Jeremy assume that it’s drugs. It becomes clear, especially to Stefan, that Vicki is facing great torment and is about to be faced with a life altering choice.
This episode really proved that the show can and will live up to the potential of the books. All of the characters, actors, story lines, and chilling themes are coming together perfectly. I have enjoyed Bonnie’s storyline as well as Caroline being under Damon’s spell a great deal. I didn’t even notice that they weren’t in this episode until thinking about it just now. All of the characters and story lines that we do get are so riveting that it didn’t even cross my mind. Previously, I was worried that they might dwell on the love triangle with Jeremy, Vicki, and Tyler for a bit too long and things would get boring. During the last episode, Tyler was pretty much dropped and this week Damon was put in the mix. That is certainly a way to keep things interesting.
The sub-plot with Damon and Vicki in this episode went in a number of different directions, constantly turning the tables and going directions I didn’t expect. Damon attacks Vicki in a brutal, animalistic nature just because he needs the blood so badly. From there he goes to annoyance and boredom to wanting a play thing in Vicki. After the two get a little wild together, Vicki opens up to him and Damon almost seems sympathetic in his own sarcastic and ironic way. Seconds later, he snaps in to a completely different cold hearted and brutal individual, putting Vicki in to a world of confusion and fear.
I really liked where they went with Vicki’s character in this episode. She’s more than just a drug addict with low self-esteem and boy troubles. The character that was introduced to us isn’t completely wiped clean, but she is fleshed out a lot more. We see her in a vulnerable state, but it is a far cleaner view of her than we have seen up until this point. There’s something very tragic about what she is experiencing through Damon’s actions and compulsion, much more severe than what he was doing with Caroline. At the same time, although this particular storyline didn’t occur in the books, it hits way closer to Vicki’s character through her bewilderment and uncontrollable wildness that is being forced upon her. Personally, I’m thrilled they’re taking Vicki in this direction. Before, the writers risked letting her character get a bit old and not having anything meaningful enough for her to focus on. This opens up the door for endless material, not just with Vicki, but the many other characters that will surely be affected.
This was also the first episode where I thoroughly enjoyed Stefan. I’m sure it’s partially due to the heightened suspense and change in the focus of the plot, but Paul Wesley conveyed a lot more personality through a sense of mysticism, horror, fear, and even fierceness. Especially in the scene when Elena first finds out about Stefan, he projects an image of someone she clearly should be afraid of even if it’s just in the tension of the chase.
The flashbacks of Stefan and Damon’s human life were interesting. Although, for me to believe that they were best friends and became mortal enemies so quickly, I think they are going to have to go back and develop how this mutual hate really happened over time. Katherine, the brothers’ ex-lover and woman who turned them, shows up for the first time. I really liked how they brought Katherine out as it seemed very realistic. She was flirtatious, selfish, and somewhat naïve, which is exactly what leads her to her fate and causes such aggression between Damon and Stefan. Particularly, during Katherine’s blood drinking, preying on, and compelling of Stefan, Nina Dobrev did an excellent job. Katherine and Elena are the spitting image of each other, but they are very different people. It was fun to see Dobrev as the drastically different, seductive, blood sucking vampire who simply took what she wanted. Hopefully the show explores Katherine’s true nature further and how drastically Elena really differs from her.
I thought it was interesting that in the early days of Stefan’s existence as a vampire that vampirism wasn’t such a secret. The town knew who the vampires were and clearly this was knowledge that lasted quite some time. Either that or a few of the town’s current elders have figured things out a while ago. They know of their existence and have become vampire hunters in order to restore safety in the town and stop the “animal attacks.” The last scene where all this comes out gives us major surprises by at least two characters who suddenly act against their original nature.
For anyone who wasn’t satisfied with the first few episodes of the show or those who haven’t checked it out yet, I strongly suggest you give the show a chance. The first handful of episodes gave us some build up and established a great deal of change from the books while introducing the world to those who weren’t familiar with the original material. Now that the exposition is behind us, the show is free to go anywhere and it is choosing some very captivating material with plenty of surprises along the way. The characters are being developed, giving the cast the chance to engage in a bit more dark or previously unknown material. The Vampire Diaries is embarking on the material better than I had originally hoped for, bringing out twists and turn that add to the story, characters, and all that lies before them immensely. Elena only just figured out that Stefan and Damon were vampires; this world has only just been opened up to her. As it surfaces more and more, the show will reveal this exhilarating world to us too.