Episode four of The Vampire Diaries. Lord, give me strength.
Elena is peacefully dreaming when a loud banging wakes her up. She stumbles blearily into the hallway, assuming that it's Jeremy making all the noise. This is a fair assumption, considering how drunk he was in the last episode. There is the requisite fast-moving shadow, and Elena goes into the living room to see that the television has come on, and the news is reporting live on her death from an animal attack. Except, on the tv, the "live" report is happening during the day time, and it's still night outside. So, she must be dreaming. I guess Damon will show up now and-- OH THERE HE IS. He chases her through the house, every door she opens leads to him, every where she turns, he's waiting, it's all very tense if you don't know that she's going to wake up and be fine. Then, she wakes up and-- oh, wait, no, it's not her dream, it's Stefan's dream. Very tricky, VD, very tricky. Damon is watching Stefan sleep, and he asks if he had a nightmare. Judging from the way he woke up, I'm pretty sure the answer is, "No, I came in my sleep." But he doesn't say that. Damon makes fun of Stefan for being such a hard sleeper, because his reflexes would totally be sharper if he was drinking human blood. Stefan's answer to this is to throw a letter opener at Damon and stab him in the chest. Damon tells Stefan that the mystery of the animal attacks has been solved because the police captured a mountain lion. Everyone buys this, because it's common knowledge that mountain lion bites look exactly like human teeth imprints, and also they drain the blood from their victims and flee into the night. Good work, CSI: Mystic Falls. Damon tells Stefan that he's staying, and just get used to it, you whiny bitch. Then he stabs him with the letter opener. Thanks, Damon! Stefan weakly insists that Damon can't mess with Elena because of the vervain necklace, and Damon points out that it only means he can't mess with her head. But her head isn't what he's after, you dig, Stefan? While recovering from his brutal letter opener wound, Stefan writes in his diary. The one that had its security compromised last week. Because it's always prudent to write your deepest thoughts and feelings down and put them somewhere that your greatest enemy can find them.
At Elena's house, Elena and Aunt Jenna are watching the news about the mountain lion, and Aunt Jenna tells Elena that she apparently used to bang the local anchorman. Oh, and she still looks way younger than Elena. Of course, Elena is polishing silver like a little old lady at this point, so it's not difficult to look like a wild and wacky teenager in comparison. What the hell, Elena? Dinner parties, polishing silver? Turns out, she's polishing antiques, Gilbert family heirlooms that she promised to donate to the town's historical society. Jeremy starts pawing through them and musing aloud about how much drugs he could buy with the net value he's sister has already polished, then gets offended when Elena doesn't trust him with the stuff. Why wouldn't she trust her kid brother who is dealing drugs and starting fights and talking about selling the family jewels on eBay? Gosh, Elena, soften that shell and learn to love.
So, Stefan comes over. Every time he shows up at Elena's door, he's doing this creepy, big-faced lean down thing, like he's impersonating Matthew Perry on Friends or something. I don't get it, but apparently it really rings Elena's bell, because they start making out right there. It's okay, because Jeremy is busy pawning their family silver and Aunt Jenna is bitterly stress eating to the sound of her former conquests doing the weather, so neither of them notice. In fact, the rules in this house are so non-existent that Elena and Stefan can full out dry hump on her bed with the door open. Stefan gets all vamped out, but he manages to get it under control before Elena can see. Elena assumes he was about t-minus two seconds from lift off, if you get my drift, and says they should probably cool off a minute. And just to make sure any lingering wood is thoroughly chopped down, she invites him to a fancy dress event at the mayor's house. Some kind of Founder's Day thing. Stefan is a little cagey, but then Elena plays the dead parent card and he pretty much has to cave.
At Caroline's house, she tries on clothes while Damon criticizes her. Damon wants to go to the party, but Caroline thinks it's a bad idea, until Damon whammys her into inviting him. While this is going on, Damon reads Twilight. No, really. This character absolutely knows, at this point, that he's in a bad television show. He must. It is at this point we learn that Caroline is completely aware that Damon is a vampire. They discuss Damon's magic ring that keeps him from burning alive when the sun hits him, and the fact that he's going to kill Caroline when he's done with her. Clearly, Damon has whammied Caroline's brain into a fine paste, because she's totally okay with this.
At the bar downtown, Tyler and his parents, who are apparently the mayor and first lady of Mystic Falls, enjoy their family dinner out and discuss the fact that football season is pretty much over, since Mr. Tanner is worm food now and there's no one else to coach. Which I guess pretty much wraps up the football plot line. We'll have to see. I'm assuming the school year will have to be over, too, because Mr. Tanner was the only teacher there. Vicki comes by to wait on them, and Tyler doesn't introduce her to his parents, which visibly pisses Vicki off. Looks like it's time to break up with him for the 1,987th time today and go back to Jeremy.
Bonnie wants to go to the fancy party, but she doesn't want to go alone. Caroline won't take her, though, because she's already going with Damon. Bonnie confesses that she's freaked out by the whole witch thing, so everyone should just stop bringing it up. Caroline tells Bonnie that she has a secret, and there is this huge build up about it, but we don't get to hear what it is.
Vicky tells Tyler that he treats her like trash. And if he does it like, five or six more times, she's going to seriously consider thinking about being done with him for possibly a week. So, he asks her to come to the big party at his parents' house. Jeremy, predictably, thinks that this shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
At Stefan and Damon's nephew's house-- HOLY SHIT, HE HAS A NAME!-- at Zach's house, Damon is musing aloud about why a vampire would bother going to high school, anyway, further proof that he's aware that nothing going on makes any goddamn sense. Zach makes a polite inquiry as to when Damon is going to get the hell up out of there, and Damon reacts by very reasonably choking him nearly to death. I'll be honest in stating that at this point, I was pretty drunk, because I basically drink my way through this show now. So, either Stefan showed up and saved Zach, or Damon let Zach go, but the next thing I knew, Damon was gone and I needed another bottle of Boone's Farm. Zach tells Stefan that he needs to get Damon under control, or it's his ass. Or not. Zach doesn't really have much power in this situation. His uncles have just kind of moved in and decided to take everything over. He's lucky they didn't just kick him out of the house altogether so they'd have more room to do sexy vampire things. "Sorry, Zach, we're turning your room into a den!" Stefan would like to get rid of Damon, but damnit, he's all out of vervain, and it hasn't grown wild in Mystic Falls in years. Apparently, there are no new age shops in Mystic Falls, but that's okay, because Zach has a tidy little home grow operation going on.
Tyler visits Casa de Gilbert because the writers hadn't yet reached the episode quota for scenes of Tyler and Jeremy threatening each other but not really doing anything. Jeremy calls Tyler a dick and Aunt Jenna breaks up the non-fight. And there was totally a point to it all.
Turns out, the secret Caroline told Bonnie was that Stefan was obsessed with Catherine while she was dating Damon, and he totally stole her away. Bonnie relates this information to Elena, who is not having any of it, because she knows that Damon is a total dick. It's too late, though, because Bonnie is back on the hate train to Stefan town.
Damon and Stefan get ready for the party together, because that's exactly the type of activity you engage in with someone you hate. Theirs is a complicated love, everyone.
Elena gets a call from Tyler's mom saying that a pocket watch was missing from the inventory list that came over with the Gilbert family treasures. Because she's not a moron, Elena confronts Jeremy about it, accusing him of stealing it for drug money. Really, he doesn't need to steal money, because we've seen him basically deal in prescription shit up to this point. He probably just takes Aunt Jenna's anti-psychotics when she's miserably watching the evening news and crying into her ice cream about how nobody loves her. Jeremy did take the watch, but not for nefarious purposes. His father had promised it to him before he died, and Jeremy doesn't really dig the idea of it sitting in his worst enemy's house. Elena, being the only one allowed to be sad about her dead parents, takes it anyway.
While Damon and Stefan continue to braid each other's hair or whatever two guys do when they're getting dressed for a party together, I don't know because I'm not a dude, Stefan complains about being a 150-year-old teenager. Damon taunts him about not fucking Catherine when he had the chance, or something like that, and Stefan is all, "How about having a tasty drink of this here vervain?" Damon almost falls for it, but of course he doesn't, because there are like, fifteen minutes left in this episode.
People are arriving at the mayor's house, including Vicki, and Tyler tells her to go ahead and not use the front door. Because he is a gentleman.
Stefan and Zach conspire some more about how to poison the wily Damon, and Zach warns that this little vial of vervain here? This is all we have left, Chippy, so don't screw it up.
Before leaving for the party, Elena gives the pocket watch to Jeremy. I bet he'll sell it on eBay. Just wait until next week.
Caroline and Damon show up at the party, and Caroline's mother, the sheriff, is th-- wait, what? Her mom is the town sheriff? And she didn't care when she heard screaming coming from her daughter's room? No wonder there have been so many homicides in Mystic Falls lately, if the cops don't notice crimes happening their own houses. Caroline's mom gets snarky about Damon, which is rich, considering she's such a absent parent that her daughter can bring guys back to the house for the night like it's no big thing. Caroline gets catty right back and reminds her mom that Mr. Caroline's Mom left her for a dude, then goes back to the party.
Stefan and Elena show up, and Elena checks out the table where her family history is neatly displayed. They talk about Elena's dead parents some more, while Aunt Jenna runs into her old fling, the news guy. News guy wants to exchange cutting banter to up the sexual tension, but AJ is having none of it. Elena takes interest in a framed guest register from the very first founders celebration, and hey there, Damon and Stefan Salvatore signed it, how about that? While Stefan gropes for an answer that isn't, "Well, you see, we're vampires," Damon slides in and explains that he and his brother were named after the original Salvatore brothers. Elena wants to hear more, but Caroline whines about wanting to dance with Stefan. Stefan tells them all, "I don't dance," and I immediately have a flash back to that episode of Angel where Angel imagines himself dancing. Still, Caroline manages to steal Stefan away, and Damon stays with Elena to apologize for trying to kiss her, and then pulls this whole, "I'm in therapy," thing, which makes Elena immediately sympathetic.
On the dance floor, Stefan asks Caroline if Damon told her to dance with him, and, big surprise, yes is the answer. He goes on to ply the underage girl whose cop mom is on the premises with alcohol.
Damon narrates a scene from The Patriot for Elena, only instead of Heath Ledger's girlfriend being trapped in the church, it's Catherine, and Damon and Stefan are Mel and Heath, and they get shot and that movie would have been a lot better with vampires. Elena is like, "Wow, sad story, but I don't want to be involved in your weird family feud shit."
Tyler, still not having allowed Vicki into the house, refuses to dance with her, and Vicki, sitting in the yard in a nice dress while everyone else parties in the house, finally understands that he's embarrassed of her. They begin to argue when Tyler's mom comes over and it seems, for a moment, that she's going to call her son out on treating his girlfriend poorly. Instead, she acts graciously to Vicki until she storms away, then tells Tyler, "This is what happens when you bring the trash to the party." The Vampire Diaries, 47, feminism, 0.
Bonnie sits alone and sad, like all worthless teenage girls without dates should do. The decorative votive on the table spontaneously extinguishes, then lights again while Bonnie stares at it. Bonnie is the firestarter.
After some awkward small talk, Stefan and Elena dance while Damon creepily watches them and tells Caroline to shut up. Caroline is obviously soooo jealous of Elena. [read that last part again in a teen girl voice]
Jenna and the news guy have a super fun conversation about how news guy gate crashed momma Gilbert's funeral, and then they rehash the part of their past relationship where he cheated on her. He wants back into AJ's life, but Auntie J is having none of it. Good for her.
Back on the dance floor, Stefan and Elena reenact Twilight and talk about Catherine some more. Elena thinks Stefan should open up and tell her things, and Stefan completely misses the point and accuses her of falling for Damon's obvious manipulations. He could really avoid the whole argument by just saying, "Yeah, my brother and I used to fight over Catherine and then she died. IN A FIRE. Like the first girl that the original Salvatore brothers fought over. BECAUSE THAT WAS US AND WE'RE VAMPIRES." But he doesn't, and Elena is also having none of it.
Bonnie finally admits to Elena that she's a life ruiner, and Elena is all, "No, it's not the fact that you repeated a rumor to me that I started doubting my boyfriend," even though it's completely obvious that is what happened. Tyler's mom confronts Elena again about the missing watch, and Elena makes up a lame lie that Mrs. Lockwood is totally not believing.
At this point, this is the single longest, most boring party I have ever been to. Everyone is fighting and no one seems to be having a good time. Damon uses Caroline as a lookout while he steals something he hid in the Lockwood home a century or two ago. It's a big, ugly, brownish-orange crystal, which will be very important later.
Market research apparently suggested there weren't enough scenes of a minor character having a fight with an even more minor character, because now it's back to you, news guy, as you try to woo Aunt Jenna despite being the worst boyfriend in history. AJ suggests they do lunch, and the news guy looks way too pleased. Doesn't he know that she just put him in the friend zone?
Bonnie is wandering through the dining room when Mrs. Lockwood berates a busboy for the lack of flameage on the candles. When they both leave, Bonnie decides to test out this, "Am I a firestarter?" theory she has, and is relieved when her concentration doesn't pay off. But when she looks back, the entirety of the dining room is ablaze, and the fire spreads quickly, killing everyone trapped inside the accursed house. Just kidding. She does manage to light some candles, though.
In the bathroom, Caroline gloats to Elena about how handsy Stefan was while they were dancing, and Elena doesn't bother being annoyed because she knows that's just how Caroline rolls. Finally, Caroline's weird scarf slips, and Elena sees the bite mark there. She asks if Damon did that to her, and Caroline is cagey about it.
Let's review the evidence now, shall we: Two strangers come to town and make cryptic remarks about how they've done things or seen things a long time ago, people start dying from bites the to throat, they have the same names as people who lived a century ago who had a girlfriend who died in a horrific fire, their ex-girlfriend died in a horrific fire, they have super fast healing and, oh yeah, one of them is biting Caroline. HOW DOES NO ONE REALIZE THAT THESE GUYS ARE VAMPIRES?
Elena threatens Damon, telling him that if he hurts Caroline again, he'll be in trouble because Caroline's mom is the sheriff. Because sheriff mom really seems to care what's happening in her daughter's life. Elena then apologizes to Stefan and tells him about his brother's biting habit. STILL DOES NOT REALIZE THEY'RE VAMPIRES. Stefan tells Elena that he's handling his brother's wacky behavior, and Elena thinks it's completely shitty that Stefan didn't bother to go to the police when he found out that his brother was beating up Caroline. BUT SHE DOESN'T FIGURE OUT THAT THEY'RE VAMPIRES.
Since Tyler and her are totally off for right now, Vicki shows up at the Gilbert house. It is implied that there will be underage lovin' happening once that front door closes.
Damon is... not too happy about Elena finding out about the bite marks. Caroline argues that it wasn't her fault, and the whole thing put her on the spot, so she didn't have time to defuse the situation. Damon's answer to that is to try and drain her dry, but fortunately for her, Stefan spiked her champagne with vervain. So, why isn't she passed the fuck out in some corner, sleeping it off? Vervain will knock your ass out, and that's not a lie. But let us remind ourselves that this is The Vampire Diaries and not a realistic look at the dangers of herbal remedies. Damon hits the ground like a sack of potatoes and Stefan carries him off, leaving Caroline to bleed to death. Elena finds her, though, and everything is okay, besides the whole freaking and screaming and vampire attack trauma that Caroline is experiencing.
Stefan locks up Damon, and we the view see the after-party at the mayor's house, in which they discuss the missing crystal and reveal that all of them-- Jenna, the news guy, sheriff mom (who apparently doesn't care that her daughter was almost killed, because she's still at the party), and Tyler's parents are all vampire hunters. Which is going to be important later, I'm guessing.