Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' - '162 Candles'
Stefan celebrates his birthday, an old friend comes a-callin' and Damon gets bloody
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I’m still in shock over the death of Vampire Vicki. So is Elena, who still struggles with all the secrets she now has to keep. She must have been the most honest person in Mystic Falls, because this vampire business has seriously complicated her life – and her relationship with Stefan. Muddling things further is Lexi, a hot, blonde vampire who’s been around the block for a few centuries and comes to visit Stefan for his 162nd birthday!
[Full recap of Thursday (Nov. 5) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]
Stefan has fallen asleep reading. Literate vampires! How cosmopolitan. He senses something, but the room is empty…or is it? A window flutters. A shadowy figure flits by. Stefan is knocked down by a scary blond vampire, who turns out to be an old friend named Lexi (Arielle Kebbel). In any horror movie, this would be a cliché. But this is “The Vampire Diaries,” and it’s Stefan’s birthday!
Stefan catches Lexi up on the recent happenings in Mystic Falls. She thinks, appropriately enough, that it’s all very weird. “Why is a news reporter hunting vampires?” I love it when this show gets all self-reflexive. It clearly knows itself.
Lexi has stopped by on her way to New York for a Bon Jovi concert, which is the first sign that she’s O-L-D. I love the mundane details; they remind us that even vampires have lives. Stefan tells her he’s sticking around because of Elena, and Lexi reminds him that the last girl he “got all sprung over” was bad, bad news. Lexi would have kicked Katherine’s ass, she says. Despite my feelings about Arielle Kebbel that date from her “Gilmore Girls” days (where she took Dean away from Rory, kinda), this Lexi is pretty awesome so far.
We get more vampire lore by way of expository dialogue, masked thankfully by zingy writing: Stefan and Damon are the only vampires with magical rings, which means Lexi is stuck inside all day until night falls.
At the police station, Caroline’s mom (seriously, does she have a name?) is interrogating Jeremy, Matt, Stefan, and Elena about Vicki’s disappearance. Outside the station, Stefan stands next to a police car numbered 162. Coincidentally, Stefan is 162 years old today! Matt walks by Stefan without a word, apparently mad at him because of his mysterious involvement with the Vicki affair. Aunt Jenna has been a seriously absentee parental figure in recent episodes, but she’s resurfaced to take Elena and Jeremy home. Elena tells Stefan how much her conscience is weighing on her because of it all, and says that they should stay away from each other.
Meanwhile, Damon and Lexi banter, having not seen each other for a hundred years or so. The reason? Damon’s not a nice person, so Lexi’s only really friends with the nice Salvatore. When Damon gets cheeky, Lexi puts the smack down on him – she’s older and stronger than him, and she doesn’t want anything to get in the way of her time spent with Stefan. It’s nice to see a strong female character around Mystic Falls! One who isn’t moping over a boy, struggling with her conscience, on drugs, or trying to light candles with her mind.
Speaking of Bonnie, she’s been spending a lot of time with Jasmine Guy learning about the Bennett family witches. Grams warns Bonnie not to part with her magical talisman, and she puts the necklace on, dropping the magical crystal pendant down her cleavage for safe keeping. Good thinking, Bonnie. No one, and I mean no one, will be looking there any time soon. (By which I mean, you need to get a life.)
Elena and Aunt Jenna are moping together on the couch over two deceased former friends: Vampire Vicki and Logan the News Guy. Jenna thinks Logan just left town without saying goodbye, which is apparently quite the convenient excuse in Mystic Falls to use when you die. Jeremy is doing homework, which means Damon’s brain wipe must have really worked.
Sheriff Forbes (Caroline’s mom) is working late when Damon arrives. Sheriff Forbes thinks dead Uncle Zach is out of town, a lie Damon perpetuates by bringing her a package supposedly from Zach. It’s vervain! The ploy is a smart one, because Sheriff Forbes spills to Damon thinking he, like his uncle, is on the side of her anti-vampire cabal. She tells him the group consists of a few townsfolk and city officials, and that she now believes that vampires might be able to walk around during the day. Damon offers his help.
Bonnie finds Elena moping in bed; naturally, Elena has a giant painting of a horse hanging on her wall. I figured her for a pony kind of girl. Elena’s in a funk; she tells Bonnie that she broke up with Stefan. To cheer her up, Bonnie shows Elena a secret witchy trick she’s just learned: she can levitate feathers! Bonnie tells Elena that she really is a witch, and Elena believes her – she just broke up with a vampire, after all.
Damon intercepts Caroline, who is still mad at him, and vampire-mojos her into throwing a party. He tells her to get his crystal back from Bonnie.
Back at the Salvatore house, Stefan and Lexi are talking about Elena. She asks if they have had sex yet, and highly recommends he wow her with his bedroom skills in order to win her over. But like every good vampire boyfriend, Stefan isn’t about that; he wants Elena to want him for himself. (Maybe they’ll get married and have half-vampire babies!) Lexi takes out a bag of blood to snack on and sips on it like it’s a Capri Sun. She offers it to Stefan, but remember? He’s a vegetarian. He can’t allow himself to give into the temptation. Damon shows up to invite Stefan and Lexi to the party later that night, insisting that it’s important for them to be seen mingling with the normal townsfolk.
Even though Grams swore her to secrecy, Bonnie couldn’t help but tell Elena that she’s a witch – they’re BFFs, after all! And BFFs can’t keep ANYTHING from each other, right? Like, the knowledge that one’s ex is a vampire. Elena now feels guilty for being a bad friend.
Lexi convinces Stefan to go to the party. She reminds him about all of their past adventures – Stefan used to indulge in hedonistic shenanigans with her. He used to be fun! They have this conversation while she wears a towel. They clearly know each other well… but how well?
Elena shows up just in time to have an awkward moment with Lexi, who is still wearing only her towel. She tells Elena that Stefan is in the shower, and Elena high tails it thinking the obvious. Arielle Kebbel, always snagging the nice boyfriends. (Coincidentally, Jared Padalecki’s show, “Supernatural,” is on next.) Lexi, meanwhile, is flabbergasted to see that Stefan’s girl is the spitting image of Katherine, and demands an explanation.
Here again, Lexi serves an important role: she points out that Katherine and Elena look so similar, they could be twins, and asks if they might be related. Stefan doesn’t know, and he doesn’t want to find out. Stefan gets moony-eyed telling Lexi about how kind and selfless Elena is, which is adorable. Lexi gets him to admit the truth: he’s in love with her! Awww. If Lexi stuck around for a while, we’d learn so much more about the Salvatores.
As Lexi arrives at Caroline’s party, Stefan stops by Elena’s house to do some ‘splaining. It’s not like that, he says. Lexi is 350 years old, his oldest friend, and they’ve never been romantically attached. Despite Stefan’s overwhelming hotness, Elena is still in a funk over all the secrets she has to keep. Stefan tells her she can always count on him, and offers Elena a ride. He tells her it’s his birthday, too, but the cold biotch declines to come with him. She’s going to stay home and mope some more. Ugh.
At the party, Caroline asks Bonnie for the crystal back by telling her it makes her look fat. Line of the night! Caroline reveals that it’s really Damon who wants it back, and tries to snatch it from Bonnie’s neck, but the crystal shocks her.
Stefan arrives and seeks out Matt, to explain that he was just trying to help Vicki before she “left town.” Poor Matt thanks him for trying. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: this guy needs to catch a break. Meanwhile, Damon berates Caroline for not getting his crystal back from Bonnie. Angry, he calls her stupid, shallow, and useless, which may all be true, but it’s still really mean.
Damon leaves, and to deal with his frustration he zeroes in on a random couple making out in a stairwell. They are clearly headed for second base, which in horror movie language always means you’re doomed. Damon kills the dude, and hypnotizes the girl.
Back at the party, Stefan and Lexi have moved on to a game of pool when Elena arrives and watches them from afar. Damon approaches and rubs it in, noting that Stefan is smiling for the first time in a long time. He and Elena banter before she asks him what he told Jeremy when he brainwashed him, because he’s acting very unlike Jeremy nowadays. Does Damon have a secret agenda? He tells her that he only took away Jeremy’s suffering.
Lexi orders shots of tequila, and makes good use of her vampire hypo-skills when the bartender I.D.s her. If only all underage drinkers had that skill! She approaches Elena for some girl talk, and they have a lovely heart to heart. Elena’s jealous that Stefan acts so carefree and fun around Lexi, but Lexi says it’s because she’s known him for a hundred years – with time, he’ll open up to Elena, too. Lexi once loved a human, who also went through what Elena’s going through, but it all ended up ok.
Sheriff Forbes finds the girl who survived Damon’s attack. Elena finally goes up to Stefan. A very drunken Caroline sits down with Matt; I wonder if these two would make a pretty pair? She wonders if she really is shallow, and Matt reassures her before taking her drunk ass home. Did I mention he’s the nicest guy ever? Outside, they run into Sheriff Forbes, who has been too busy to regulate Mystic Falls’ bartenders because of the vampire problem.
Lexi asks Damon why he’s really in town, and he tells her that he has a master plan. Sheriff Forbes brings in Damon’s victim, who points to the bar where they’re sitting. Sheriff Forbes walks up to Lexi and injects her with something that debilitates her, and her cops drag Lexi off and block the exits. Outside, Lexi breaks out her vampire face and throws off her captors. As she walks toward Sheriff Forbes, she’s shot several times but advances unharmed. Just as she’s about to reach the Sheriff, we get the OMG moment of the night when Damon shows up and stakes Lexi in the heart! Stefan and Elena watch in horror as Lexi asks Damon why he did it with her dying breath. He whispers that it’s part of his master plan, and Lexi drops to the ground, dead.
Sheriff Forbes thanks Damon for his help, and they put Lexi’s body in her police car before she goes back to arrest the bartender who served Caroline drinks. This is one thorough cop! Damon smiles diabolically, as his evil plan to throw the town off of his and Stefan’s scent has worked.
As Matt tucks Caroline into bed, the two miserable souls connect. He crawls into bed and they hold each other. It’s nice, but Caroline isn’t exactly the kind of good luck I was hoping Matt would find.
Stefan is emotional and bent on killing Damon for getting everyone killed: Lexi, Vicki, and Uncle Zach. Elena tries to stop him, maybe because of the little bit of humanity she still sees in Damon, and Stefan asks her why she keeps trying to save his evil brother. But she’s explains that she’s not trying to save Damon; she’s trying to save Stefan from more anguish. After episodes of pushing Stefan away, Elena is now ready to be there for him – but he doesn’t want it and warns her away.
Back at home, Damon’s waiting for Stefan to arrive. They tumble and Stefan overpowers Damon with lightning-fast punches, and for the first time Stefan’s actually got some fight in him! He stakes Damon in the gut, purposefully sparing his life so that they’re even for the time Damon saved his. Stefan walks away wanting nothing more to do with his brother.
Bonnie has a nightmare in which she’s running through a forest that’s tinted blue and green, like a certain other vampire franchise I know. She trips and falls and sees her ancestor – her great-great-great-whatever, the most powerful Bennett family witch – who warns her that “it’s coming.” She wakes up in the cemetery at what looks like the Salvatore crypt. Duh-duh-duhhh!
Next week: Caroline has a séance, Bonnie gets possessed, and Damon tries to destroy Mystic Falls!