'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Elena on a mission, Damon on a bender | EW.com

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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Elena on a mission, Damon on a bender

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Vampire-Diaries-MenImage Credit: Quantrell Colbert/The CWEven though you know it’s not their doing, it’s easy to get a little angry with shows when they’re not on for a month. But watching this episode of Vampire Diaries reminded me of that scene from Pretty Woman.

Vivian: You’re late.

Edward: You’re stunning.

Vivian: You’re forgiven.

And not just because we got to see that Ian Somerhalder is now cut like an opposable Ken doll.

So, we began by watching a hiker get drained and stripped by Harper, the vampire that escaped from the tomb at the end of the last original episode. It was one of the weaker openings, but the hour was bookended nicely with Harper ultimately showing up at a house to reunite with Pearl and Anna. Why are they still hanging around? Do they want to get the others out?

Grams’ funeral made Elena think about her parents. Or rather, her biological mother. Aunt Jenna had figured out that the name the young girl had given Elena’s doctor Dad, Isobel Peterson, was probably a combination of her real first name and a friend’s last name. After she “binged it,” she found a photo of cheerleaders Trudie Peterson and Isobel Flemming. The Internet had no information on Isobel, but Jenna gave Elena Trudie’s address.

Eventually, Elena went to visit Trudie (guest star Amanda Detmer) without Stefan because it’s totally natural for a teen girl to want to barge into a stranger’s home unannounced alone. We knew Trudie knew about vampires when she purposely didn’t invite Elena in and looked relieved that she was still able to cross the threshold. Elena got it when Trudie made her vervain tea. Trudie had texted “She’s here” to someone, and made Elena leave the house in a hurry (after she told her she never got Isobel to name the father of her baby). It was just in time for Elena to see a freaky man at the end of the block. That was a scary shot! He didn’t approach Elena, but after he told Trudie “[Elena] won’t get any closer to the truth,” he killed Trudie, saying she did her part, now he had to do his. The man reappeared at the end of the episode and told Elena to stop looking. “She doesn’t want to know you.” Stefan said the man was under compulsion, which would explain why after his message was delivered, he stepped back into the path of a truck and got smushed. Not quite as jaw-dropping as, say, Meet Joe Black or Mean Girls, but definitely up there. Elena grabbed the dead man’s cellphone and later dialed a number on it. It was a woman’s voice that answered. When Elena said “Isobel?”, she hung up.

Now, we need to backtrack: As Elena was trying to find out more about her mother, Alaric — who’d found out from Jenna that his wife had delivered a child, Elena, before they met and never told him — was pressuring Stefan to find out from Damon what happened to Isobel. Damon, however, wasn’t exactly in the mood to focus. I love how Stefan was not at all phased when he walked into their home to find Damon dancing and drinking with (and from) four college girls. Damon does love to dance, doesn’t he? He said he found it “so liberating not having a master plan” because now, he can do whatever he wants after spending 145 years trying to free Katherine from a tomb she was never in. That’s what worried him, Stefan said, but Damon assured him, “Relax, I haven’t killed anyone in… too long.” It’s awesome that Damon didn’t go on a killing spree, which would have been one way to handle his pain. Having him just “exploit some women in the name of grief,” keeps viewers hoping that he can change.

Personally, I hope this bender continues because I enjoy seeing Damon rocking some heavage, and when he’s drunk, his super vampire powers do not include the ability to button his own shirt. We found this out when Elena returned from Trudie’s house and sought out Stefan. Instead, she found someone “better,” as Damon put it. Looking “dashing, gorgeous, irresistible” (his words) and “wrecked” (Elena’s), he asked her to help him dress, and I’m pretty sure she didn’t even steal a peek at his bulging biceps. Elena told Damon she’d found her birth mother, to which he responded, “Who cares? She left you. She sucks.” Damon acting the young age I’m assuming he was when he was turned always cracks me up. Stefan arrived and after confirming to Elena that her mother was Alaric’s wife (and asking her not to talk about it with Alaric anytime soon), he sent her off to the town’s Founder’s Day Fundraiser, a Bachelor Raffle.

Question: Do the bachelor raffles/auctions we see on TV shows actually exist in real life, and how do I get to attend one? Caroline’s cop mother had begged Damon to be one of the bachelors, and he agreed. Partly because he naturally found the concept of women competing for him “tasty,” and partly because he wanted to ask her for a favor — a background check on his new bar buddy, Alaric. It was right before the Bachelor raffle that Caroline’s mother informed Damon that Alaric had a wife, Isobel, that went missing. The grin on Damon’s face when he pieced it together — she’s the woman Stefan had been grilling him about, the reason why Alaric always acted to strangely around him — was both off-putting and genius. I had no idea that he’d do what he did, which was use his interview time during the raffle to let the town know that he liked to travel. In fact, he’d been to North Carolina, near the Duke campus, and had a drink with Alaric’s wife once — she was “delicious.” Somehow, Alaric held it together, but Elena couldn’t. With tears and anger in her eyes, she confronted Damon and let him know that he could rub it in her face, too — he killed her mother. Originally, I thought the confused look on Damon’s face was over how he felt knowing that he’d hurt Elena, the one thing that could still be important to him, but actually, I think his mind was already thinking “Isobel is related to Elena. Elena is related to Katherine. Isobel is related to Katherine, and her seeking me out couldn’t have been a coincidence. Maybe Katherine sent her.”

That’s a theory Damon revealed to Stefan after he and Alaric had it out at the Salvatore home. Again, props to Damon for trying not to kill Alaric. He just kicked his ass, and okay, provoked Alaric to the point that staking him was self-defense. Damon told Alaric what he probably already suspected: Isobel came to him. He had sex with her because he liked her, but he changed her into a vampire because she begged him to. I buy that Isobel wanted to be changed, but I suspect the reason wasn’t just because she was bored with Alaric. Any theories? After Damon delivered the fatal blow to Alaric, his reaction was the series’ most chilling dialogue: “Sounds like I got a lung, which means I get to sit here and watch you die.” Matthew Davis delivered a fantastic death, those last few breaths and then those dead eyes. Well done, sir. I was sad to see him go, which meant I was happy when his hand moved. By this time, Damon had shared his theory about Isobel with Stefan (who tried to tell him he didn’t have to keep looking for Katherine), and Stefan was left alone with the body to clean up his brother’s mess. Alaric figured out that it was the big honkin’ ring Isobel had given him as a sign of her love that must have protected him. Flashback to her telling him it would protect him from things that go bump in the night. How does a ring do that? We shall see…

With Bonnie out-of-town grieving her grandmother, the only other storyline we dove into was Caroline and Matt. They were taking advantage of his bachelor pad for a little shirts off couch lovin’ when his mother Kelly (Melinda Clarke) finally came home. Matt covered a part of his anatomy with a pillow. Suggestive, CW! Kelly loves Elena and already hates Caroline. She told Caroline this at the raffle. Seeing Kelly finally breakdown in front of Matt and say he’s the only thing she has left was probably supposed to make us feel for her a bit, but I don’t. I will, however, like it when she gets involved with Damon because she’s needy and has horrible taste in men. I know we’re all about layered characters on this show, but if she’s bad, make her bad!

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Happy Alaric is still among the living? Still giggling over Damon saying “Where’d our girlfriend go?” to Stefan when he was looking for Elena? Who’s Elena’s biological father?

Read more: Vampire Diaries costume designer Jennifer Bryan talks shirtless scenes and leather jackets

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