Mandi Bierly
April 02, 2010 AT 12:55 PM EDT

Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW I’m at a really good place with The Vampire Diaries. I think about it for the hour that it’s on (and the hours it takes me to recap it afterward) and then I go about my life until the next time it airs. The result: Each episode has the opportunity to surprise me, and usually does. I figured that Matt’s mother, Kelly, and Damon would end up making out, of course, but even then, my TV had my back: The closed captioning came on for some unknown reason to give me the gift of reading the stage direction “[Panting]”. I may now have to watch it in closed captioning every week.

So, we had two huge developments last night: First, we found out that age trumps abs when it comes to vampire strength, and Pearl is a total badass. She and Anna paid Damon a visit because Pearl — who’s keeping the other vampires that escaped from the tomb under house arrest so they can learn how to use a remote control and text — knows Damon has the trust of the secret council and wants him to tell her everything he knows about it: a list of members and their families, who has vervain. She wants to rebuild the home that was taken from them. She was willing to offer Damon her help in finding Katherine in exchange, but Damon wasn’t interested in being her minion. She said it was non-negotiable and shoved her fingers into his eye sockets. “I have 400 years on you, little boy,” she said. “I’ll rip you from limb to limb without even blinking and you know it.” I don’t enjoy seeing Damon bleed, but I do enjoy seeing him have a worthy opponent. This is gonna be all kinds of fun.

Damon went to the Grill to nurse his wounds, and that’s when he met Kelly, who was supposed to be interviewing for a bartender position. The manager stood her up, so she was more than happy to get hammered with Damon. Especially once Aunt Jenna showed up. Matt, Caroline, Stefan, and Elena were also at the Grill on a “normal” double date, and Frederick and Bethanne — two vampires violating Pearl’s no-trips-to-town policy — stopped by as well. Frederick called Elena “Katherine,” and I have never been more proud of Elena than when she typed that in a message on her phone to show Stefan rather than speaking it to him, which Frederick would’ve overheard. He left before Stefan could get a good look at him, but he’d found out from drunk Aunt Jenna where the Salvatore brothers live. (Anyone else find it weird that Aunt Jenna laughed at Frederick’s hard sell — “I”m pretty sure you’d like it” — instead of being instantly freaked out? Was it just because she found him hot? “Hot” buys men a few seconds before they become creepy?) Pissed that the Salvatores (read: Stefan) had supplied the food supply with vervain, Frederick and Bethanne later attacked Stefan and Damon in their home. Stefan ended up staking Bethanne and Frederick fled. Stefan remembered them from 1864 and the tomb. “Yeah, about that…” Damon said. Ha. I’m just glad he’s telling Stefan. You know I love seeing the Salvatore brothers stand united. It’s gonna be tough though watching Frederick torture Stefan, as he was shown doing in the preview for next week. He wants to payback Stefan back for getting them locked in the tomb before he kills him. I’m not really worried, seeing as how the show wouldn’t survive without Paul Wesley’s bare torso.

As exciting as that storyline is, I’m even more intrigued by Jeremy wanting to be turned into a vampire! I did not see that coming. Personally, I don’t think anyone who has to go into a chatroom and ask “How do you become a vampire?” and “How do you kill a vampire?” deserves to be turned. I know he’s young, but COME ON! If Interview With a Vampire and bad Paula Abdul jokes exist in his world, so does the vampire craze. If he’s so interested in vamps, wouldn’t he have put on a freakin’ Buffy repeat by now? Somehow, Jeremy smartened up. When Anna dropped by to tell him she and her mother were staying in town, he sliced his hand making them a sandwich so she would have to be near his blood. She finally shoved him against a wall and he said, “Go for it.” He wanted her to drink from his hand, which she did. I feel like that could’ve been a sexier scene, but the show held back either because they’d already pushed the CW censors with Damon and Kelly climbing the walls or because they want to leave Jeremy and Anna some place to go…

Anna bolted when Aunt Jenna came home, but came back later to find out why Jeremy risked baiting her. He said it was because he thought Vicki had become a vampire, and if he could prove they exist, he could hold out hope that she was okay. And because he wanted Anna to turn him. Why do you think that is? Because he wants to find out who turned Vicki, kill him, then spend eternity with her? [Insert eyeroll.] Do you think Anna will want to do it? Something tells me Pearl will be against it.

Other than that, we got a lot of Caroline and her insecurities about being Matt’s “backup girl.” I hope we can move past that now that Matt has told her he may reminisce about his past with Elena, but she’s the only one he wants to make out with in Stefan’s sports car. I feel like we’re being set up by having Matt and Stefan be such decent guys with one another. Matt finally sees that Stefan is good for Elena and makes her happy, Stefan acknowledges that he’s one of those guys who turns others guys off because he seems to have everything (“What a dick”) — and what? Soon Matt will find out that Damon turned Vicki into a vampire, and Stefan staked her, and the battle lines will be drawn? Stefan and Damon vs. Jeremy, Matt, Alaric, and possibly Bonnie (should she ever decide to return)? Not sure how Kelly works into all this? I don’t see her becoming the responsible adult Matt wants her to be. Will she end up vampire food (possibly to save Matt from a vamp — that would be redeeming)? Maybe something else Matt will blame on Damon even though he won’t have been the one who drained her?

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? What was your favorite line? I vote for Damon’s “Could you help me out a little bit?” to Stefan as he was struggling to move Bethanne’s body after Stefan’s goodnight phone call with Elena — the one in which they discussed how great it was to have a “normal” evening. Speaking of that, the idea of wanting to be “normal” was central to Buffy, and part of the reason why that show was so great — it’s normal for some guys to turn into jerks after you sleep with them, so why not make Angel turn into a jerk after he sleeps with her because of a curse that said he would lose his soul if he ever experienced a moment of true happiness? That subtext worked for Buffy because she was a normal teen who attended high school, or at least hung out in the school library with her watcher Giles. If this show wants to pretend that Elena wants to be a normal teen, it’ll have to set some major scenes involving her at the school again. I’m not saying they need to go that route: I’d actually prefer they keep the action away from school grounds so it stays soapy and Damon-filled. You?

You May Like