The Vampire Diaries” twists its second season story knives a little bit deeper, as the true nature of Mystic Falls’ werewolf problem is discovered. Also: Caroline continues to have baby vamp growing pains, and Alaric returns to help with the werewolves and generally look hot. Oh, and Damon is snarky. Surprise!

 

Elena, Stefan and Damon summon the long-lost Alaric to learn more about the Lockwood family, seeing as the Gilbert device caused them to go all wonky last season. Alaric, we missed you. OK, I missed you. I don’t know about anyone else. More than Alaric, the gang is after Isobel’s research on the town. Alaric mentions her study of the lycanthrope (a.k.a. werewolves), but Damon scoffs at the mere thought of their existence. The only way they can find out more of what Isobel suspected is to go to her offices at Duke University and look through her research. Oh, and did I mention that Elena and Damon are going? Together? Without Stefan? Because that makes sense. (I know, I know…Stefan has to take care of Caroline. Still: contrivance!)

 

[Full recap of Thursday's (Sept. 23) "Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

Meanwhile, in a neat little wordless sideways sequence, Tyler demonstrates he has his own worries about Mason as we see him follow his uncle into an abandoned underground cellar/dungeon in the woods. Tyler uncovers some interesting scratches on the wall, but not much else.

Caroline is still struggling to adjust to being a nighttime-only gal with a daytime-loving boyfriend. Stefan and Damon need to find her one of those rings, ASAP. Stefan is on the same page and visits Bonnie to ask her to make a day walking ring. Bonnie the Vampire Hater is reluctant to give Caroline an easy transition into vampiredom (made up vampire word alert!). She ends up agreeing, but is clear with Caroline: if people start dying, she will revoke the ring’s power. Side note on Bonnie: she gets a hard time from a lot of fans, but a character like her is somewhat necessary. If you want your vampires to remain scary, someone has to be against them on principle and willing to do something about it. Otherwise there is no conflict and your vamps are just fuzzy little vamp bunnies. Bonnie’s magic works, and Caroline is now free to be you and me, no matter the position of the sun.

On the Road Trip of Awkward, Damon is petulant about Elena not forgiving him for trying to kill her brother. In Damon’s gorgeously twisted mind, Jeremy didn’t die so no transgression occurred. Damon insists he saw the ring and knew Jeremy was safe, but Elena does not believe him because she is not an idiot.  When they arrive at Isobel’s office they are greeted by her research assistant, Vanessa, who acts calm, rational and inviting until she goes all Buffy and pulls out a crossbow, points it at Elena and pulls the trigger. Damon gets there just in time and saves Elena’s impalement, while Alaric subdues the wannabe slayer.

Once Elena pulls the arrow out of his back, all that Damon wants is to “kill that bitch.” Heh. Elena forbids it, and then she and Damon spend some time circling each other and anger-flirting. It would be very, very strange at this point for those two to get together, but the actors have mad chemistry, yo. Their scenes are sizzling fun. In the other room, Vanessa is busy telling Alaric that Katherine and Damon are dead and seems incredulous at them standing in her office. For a folklore researcher, she sure has a closed mind.

Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan is now attempting to teach Caroline how to hunt game for food instead of people. The trouble? All Caroline can think about is going to see her boyfriend at the swimming hole. Hee. When she arrives at the party she sees Amy flirting with Matt and immediately snaps into jealous Caroline mode, this time with bonus compulsion of her enemy! Matt doesn’t like Caroline’s rudeness, and Stefan objects to Caroline messing with an innocent person’s mind just because she can. Being a vampire in love is hard, y’all.

The Duke research turns up something useful when Alaric stumbles on an old Aztec legend “The Curse of the Sun and the Moon.” In this legend, an Aztec shaman cursed vampires and werewolves, making vampires slaves to the sun and werewolves servants of the moon. This is all standard werewolf fare until we get to the wrinkle: the werewolf prey of choice is vampires, and their bite is fatal to our sun-hating friends. Ooo…shiny. Especially since Mason Lockwood is back in the underground cellar getting prepared for what looks like an impending full moon. He’s locking himself up, but will the chains hold? And what is that disgusting looking herbal concoction he is drinking? We don’t get a chance to find out, because a horny Tyler shows up with Caroline’s compulsion victim Amy in tow and Mason is forced to hightail it out of the cellar just before he changes. His change sounds painful. Let’s hope any CGI is less so.

Elena relays the bad news to Stefan about the werewolves, and he of course cannot locate his vampire charge Caroline (as she’s gone off on a little tryst of her own with Matt.) Later, Elena asks research girl Vanessa what we’ve all been wondering for a while: what’s up with her looking exactly like Katherine? There isn’t any information on her in Isobel’s research, but Vanessa does have some disturbing general information about doppelganger lore. You see, they usually torment their double, trying their hardest to “undo their lives.” Elena is already aware of this little fact, though. Damon acts like he knows a link between the two women, and later offers Elena her first real clue in the form of a book Isobel had titled “Petrova,” which was apparently Katherine’s real name. Damon also then has a rare moment of actual contrition, admitting to Elena that he would hate if their friendship was ruined forever. You know, he only snapped her brother’s neck right in front of her. A friendship can weather that. Right? Right? Hmm.

Stefan is searching for Caroline (I presume) when he comes across Mason’s car in the woods, and after a satisfyingly tense moment a fully wolf-ized Mason comes crashing out of the SUV and scurries off, basically running away from Stefan. Is Mason a werewolf with a heart of gold? Perhaps, perhaps.

 

In other parts of the forest, Tyler gets rejected once Amy remembers she likes Matt instead of him, while Caroline and Matt have a bit of a snog against a tree. Things go swimmingly until Matt cuts himself on some bark and Caroline goes a wee bit vampmental (making up vampire words is fun!) and bites him. The only thing that saves Matt’s live is Stefan, who shows up just in time to pull her off.  There’s not a moment to worry about what they are going to do about the situation, however, because Mason the werewolf is hot on their trail. They use themselves as bait to draw the werewolf away from Matt, but they almost immediately run into Tyler. This distracts them long enough so Mason can attack Caroline, but Tyler saves the day by calling off the dog. Literally. (Groan. Sorry.) Tyler eventually makes his way to Mason’s car, and Mason reveals himself as the werewolf to his nephew. I suppose any excuse of rolling around in the woods naked would not have seemed genuine in the moment.

 

Once they get back to Matt, Caroline is forced to compel Matt into forgetting what really happened. Poor Matt. The only “normal” person on the show and Caroline is already messing around inside his brain. When Caroline later sees Amy and Matt together at the bar, she confronts Amy again and Matt decides he’s had enough of her drama and breaks it off. If he only knew. Run away, Matt! There has to be one teenager on this show not aware of the supernatural shenanigans, right?

Matt’s loss is about to be Katherine’s gain, it seems, as Katherine shows up in Caroline’s bedroom just in time to catch her on the rebound. Katherine threatens that they’re going to have “so much fun together,” and I kind of believe her. Oh, Caroline. You’re going to be so, so naughty, aren’t you?

 

I have to say, for an episode that was at least 50% exposition, this was pretty darn engaging. It helps that the mythology on this show is straightforward, interesting, and easy to understand. Also, can I get a hand for a werewolf mythology that isn’t ridiculous? (*cough*True Blood *cough*) Good job, VD

*My recording cut off the preview, so this is possibly wishful thinking.

 

Favorite Quotes:

 

*** “If this Wolfman thing is true, I’ve seen enough movies to know it’s not good. It means Mason Lockwood is a real-life Lon Cheney, and that little Tyler punk may just well be Lon Cheney, Jr., which means Bela Lugosi, meaning me, is totally screwed.” – Damon

***  “So you’re saying that now, I’m basically an insecure, neurotic control freak on crack.” – Caroline

***  “You and Katherine have a lot more in common than just your looks.” – Damon

Next week: Katherine! Elena! POTENTIAL DOPPLEGANGER FIGHT!* This show is awesome.