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The Vampire Diaries: Who would Jenny Schecter bite?

It has been too long, vamplings. The second monthlong hiatus this year means I can’t tell one carefully-groomed twentysomething from another, so bear with me if I forget a few names or relevant plotlines. Something about juju? Vampire threesomes? I don’t know anymore. More importantly, Julie Cooper (The OC’s Dragon Lady!) and Mia Kirshner (The L Word’s raisonneur) are guesting. The Powers That Be–or McG and Ilene Chaiken, I guess–are smiling on us tonight. I smell a crazy-off!

The emaciated zompire (vambie?) escapee from the end of the last episode periodically wanders through town, feeding on the odd hiker and flinching from the fast pace of modern life in Mystic Falls. He eventually meets up with Anna and Pearl, which is really all you need to know about his storyline.

Through the magical help of Bing (this show is really trying to make Bing happen), Elena and Aunt Whatsherface discover that Elena’s birth mother is none other than Isobel, Alaric’s dead wife. Elena’s not exactly thrilled to add another dead parent to the stable, but she hunts down Isobel’s old friend Trudie Peterson to get some answers. What she gets are evasions, a teacup full of vervain, and a menacing encounter with a shadowy guy lurking in the street.

In this week’s non-vampire storyline, Matt’s ne’er-do-well mother comes back from her latest bender just in time to catch him in the act with Caroline. Within five minutes, she manages to insult Caroline straight out of the house, mix herself a stiff drink, and creepily quiz her son about his sex life. Matt wants to know what she’s doing back in town. Um, being awesome?

For some reason, Aunt Whatsherface decides to tell Alaric that his dead wife is her niece’s birth mother–right after kissing him–which seems both ill-timed and unnecessary. ¬†Alaric meets up with Stefan on the village green to hash out exactly what Elena does and doesn’t know about Isobel. Alaric wants Stefan to get more answers out of Damon, and after a brief gravelly-voiced/chin-flexing competition, Stefan agrees.

Flashback: Mia Kirshner is typing furiously at a laptop and ignoring her boyfriend–just like the first season of The L Word. She exposits that Mystic Falls is Vampire Ground Zero, which is apparently part of her dissertation. What the hell kind of a graduate program offers a degree in cryptozoology? Besides Evergreen, natch.

Alaric and Damon have a subtext-laden conversation at the local bar, after which Damon decides to do a little sleuthing of his own, courtesy of the town’s sexy butch cop. He’s apparently not too broken up about the news of Katherine’s betrayal to use SBCop’s crush on him to advantage–Damon agrees to participate in a charity bachelor auction if she digs up the dirt on Alaric. Back at the house, Damon swaggers in circles around Elena, but she’s all, “How are you doing, REALLY?” He pulls out every trick in the book, even feigning helplessness with his buttons, but all she wants to talk about is her other dead mom. Best of all, Damon calls Elena “our girlfriend,” and Stefan totally lets it slide.

The auction is a beautiful shitshow. Julie Cooper–who everyone calls Kelly Donovan, but we know better–humiliates Caroline for no good reason and insists on referring to Elena as the one who “broke Matt’s heart.” You don’t need to be a vampire to draw blood. Damon finally places Alaric and Isobel together, and announces that he knew Isobel back in the day during the Q-and-A portion of the auction, adding that she was delicious.¬†Elena bitches out Damon for eating her mom, then bolts outside, where Lurky McStrangerDanger is waiting. He warns her to stop asking questions about Isobel and then steps in front of a passing truck. That’s one way to end a conversation, certainly. Elena snatches his cell phone and then flees the scene.

At the Casa Salvatore, Alaric tries to attack Damon with an elaborately carved antique stake, which prompts Damon to ask if he’s really that stupid. Seriously, after laying low for so long, it does seem like he could have at least waited until Damon was drunk or something. Especially given that Damon seems drunk about 2.8 times per episode. Alaric accuses Damon of turning Isobel just because he liked her. Damon: “No, I slept with her because I liked her. I turned her because she begged me to.” He follows up by stabbing Alaric in the chest, mentioning it “sounds like I got a lung.” Man, he gets all the best lines. Alaric dies slowly on the rug while Damon watches.

Stefan comes home, and Damon insists that he acted in self-defense. He’s also convinced that Katherine sent Isobel after him for some reason. Sure, pal. She wanted to call you, too, she just forgot your number. After Damon leaves in a haze of bourbon and delusion, Alaric twitches awake. Stefan wonders if Damon’s turned him, but it turns out the ugly-ass ring Alaric’s been sporting has some sort of protective properties, and has saved his life. I guess we can look forward to more installments of the world’s mopiest history teacher.

For another opinion on this episode, check out Baby Mama Drama by Matt DeGroot.

Season 1, Episode 15: A Few Good Men (originally aired March 25, 2010)

For more on The Vampire Diaries, click here.

Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW

Photographs courtesy of The CW, Bob Mahoney, and Quantrell Colbert.

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