The Vampire Diaries Review: How I Met Your Mother (and turned her into an undead monster)

Are you sitting down? Have you already gone to the bathroom? Good, because after weeks of buildup and vampy angst it’s Jenny Schecter time, and I don’t want any interruptions from any of you. Mia Kirshner delivers the best straight-faced crazy dialogue in the business.

Isobel wastes no time on entering Mystic Falls–Alaric tries to beg off introducing her to Elena because it’s “manipulative” and “evil,” so she threatens to kill everyone in town (starting with his history students, which I guess is supposed to be extra-threatening?) until he does. He does. Thank God someone’s willing to spill a little blood in this town, especially since Damon’s fallen victim to a nasty case of early-onset Badass Decay.

Uncle John pulls up to a columned monstrosity, where Isobel is enjoying an incredibly toned-down version of cliched vampire sexual decadence, speaking French to a mildly saucy, vacant-eyed blonde twirling with a shirtless twink from a “gay bar in Amarillo.” He’s not gay right now, however, at least according to Isobel. Did she pick him up with George Rekers? Anyhow, John and Isobel have a little tiff over lifestyle choices and failures to recover centuries-old inventions, and the long and short of it is John gets the business end of her backhand.

Elena shoots off a barrage of boring moralizing questions that Isobel parries with startling hilarity. Isobel demands Elena recover the Gilberts’ invention from Damon, tosses off a few threesome jokes, and saunters away. And I thought I loved Melinda Clarke.

Uncle John wants Jeremy to divulge about his love life. Jeremy’s reluctant. Hardly a surprise.

Damon, playing strip poker with Isobel’s dead-eyed blonde, is happy to give up the game for an argument/sped-up-camera-sex-scene. Once he’s on top, he grabs her by the throat and tells her to leave Elena alone and stop doing Katherine’s dirty work or he’ll kill her. Because “killing the messenger sends a message.” I like this new let’s-get-dangerous attitude Damon’s displaying. See? Mia Kirshner makes everything better. Well, not everything.

Bonnie and Elena make up and Bonnie shows her some sort of magical history book. Apparently John Gilbert’s invention was a weapon to fight vampires. Wait, that’s a surprise? Isobel shows up and recites a litany of facts about all of Elena’s friends. What a great mom! Sure, there are a few death threats and kidnapping in there too, but the important thing is, she’s involved.

Back at the Tacky Lair of Fauxmosexuality, Uncle John is less than thrilled that Isobel’s kidnapped Jeremy. He expresses his concern; she respectfully disagrees, steals his ring of immortality, and beats him senseless. Also, her French is incredibly sexy. Jeremy wants to know why a vampire would want a tool to kill other vampires. I’m sorry, have you even seen Queen of the Damned? If you can kill other vampires, you get to be the boss of the ones who live!

The boring vampires are all arguing about trust and plans, which just makes me appreciate Isobel all the more. There’s a spell, and it’s boring. Things float; the ever-present roaring fireplace in the Salvatore house (powered, presumably, by HoYay) roars a bit higher; the amulet/device/invention is ready for Isobel.

At the Mexican standoff in the town square, Isobel tells Elena to call home and confirm that Jeremy is home safe. Elena tries to pin some virtue on Isobel for not hurting her brother, whose comeback definitely wins best moment of the episode: “Don’t look for any redeeming qualities in me. I don’t have any.” If she says “bored now” before snapping someone’s neck, I’m going to lose it in the best sense imaginable.

At home, Jeremy has read Elena’s diary and is all caught up on this season’s events (including the part where Damon wiped his memory). As usual, he’s being a wangsty little bitch about it. Back to Isobel! She’s wearing this entirely excellent black trench and smiling fondly at the thought of Alaric’s new life as a history teacher. He pulls off his ugly-ass ring, as well as some vervain-bearing amulet, and she spouts some nonsense about making things easier for him. Alaric is like an antidote to everything fun about Isobel.

Anna shows up in Jeremy’s Fortress of Solitude and Bangs, weeping about her dead mom. He hugs her. God, Matt was totally right about the lighting on this show.

Stefan growls at Damon (like, twelve episodes too late) about encroaching on Elena. Damon insists Stefan tell Elena that John is her father, and that he’ll “be there for her” when she falls apart at the news. Isobel leaves John the ring and instructions to kill the rest of the vampires in town, including the Salvatores (so they don’t hurt “their” daughter, which confirms the whole Daddy John theory). Also, Bonnie cocked up the amulet spell on purpose. To the finale!

For another opinion on this episode, check out Like Mother, Unlike Daughter by Matt DeGroot.

Season 1, Episode 21: Isobel (originally aired May 6, 2010)

For more on The Vampire Diaries, click here.

Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW

Photographs courtesy of The CW and Bob Mahoney.

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