'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'The Rager'
Though I had initially thought Elena's transition into vampiredom would be pretty easy -- she knows the right people, for crying out loud -- I'm beginning to have my doubts. The girl who spent so much time in previous seasons either being depressed or guilty or suffering over some fresh nightmare now has a new lease on life (or unlife, I guess) and it's not going so well. Vampires feel everything more strongly than mere mortals do -- and it was only a matter of time before all the big, bad feelings Elena was supressing came bubbling to the surface like black goo in the LaBrea Tar Pits. This week, Elena gets to do battle with her anger, which she was too nice to get out of her system back when it could have been neatly handled with a visit to the local gun rage or a good jog. No, now Elena has bloodlust and a taste for murder to deal with, and it's just a whole lot messier.
Too bad Elena isn't in a position to go after Connor, our new resident vampire hunter. He's probably very good at what he does and I should admire his ability, but I kind of hate the guy. He's awfully smug, as he kicks off this episode by taking another run at Tyler (what is this, his third attempt?). He tackles the guy in his hospital bed and shoots him full of… something. It's a paralytic agent, which makes Tyler a little more open to getting another shot of something IN HIS GUMS. But Connor doesn't kill Tyler, and I'm wondering if he's now looking at our beleaguered hybrid as Klaus bait. 6
Damon and Stefan are still fighting, so I guess that bloodsharing moment Damon had with Elena is just one half-notch below sleeping with her. Damon doesn't care, as he intends to leave town just as soon as he kills this annoying vampire hunter. Damon mentions this as if he was telling Stefan he was going off to ring the Orkin man or maybe put down a mousetrap, but we know Connor isn't going anywhere soon. Damon finds out he's a somewhat tougher opponent when he drops by his trailer and is immediately shot with two arrows -- the ends of which are attached to a bomb. One false move, and Damon is vampire chunks. I'm a little surprised when he calls Meredith to help him out of this jam, in part because I would think a real doctor would be pretty busy at the hospital and we just haven't seen that much of her since Alaric bit the dust. Still, it's good to see her, even if she seems to be in the script solely to nudge Damon toward making nice with his one true love (read: Elena).
While Damon is dealing with big, important vampire issues, Stefan and Elena are hanging out at the high school. At this point, Elena could just give it up. She has the rest of several lifetimes to go back, maybe get a G.E.D.. But I think Elena hasn't quite grasped the whole undead issue, as she merrily announces "It's my senior year!" with a joy that seems increasingly out of character. Still, there's a benefit to being a high school vampire, as it takes the whole mean girl thing to an entirely new level. When she and Rebekah snap at one another in class (shortly after Rebekah informs her that she's eaten the teacher), Elena tosses a pencil at her eye -- which Rebekah catches and fires right back into her shoulder. Then, Rebekah taunts Elena with a bloody student in the girls' bathroom. Lindsay Lohan has nothing on this.
Obviously, there's no love lost between these two, but I think if Rebekah was willing to admit it to herself, she'd love to have back that fake friendship she shared with Elena. With Klaus having cut her out, Matt so over her and Elena still holding a grudge, she doesn't have anyone to talk to. But in Rebekah's world, any attention -- even negative attention -- is better than being lonely. So, she has a keg party. Apparently, lots of people puking in your lawn is also attention.
Speaking of Klaus, he decides to visit Tyler, his hybrid pride and joy. Not that he isn't still angry at him, but given that he has so few hybrids left (and no more to make, thanks to his sister), he's watching over all of them. He's also curious about Hayley, who also drops by to visit Tyler having heard he was back in Mystic Falls. Klaus suspects Tyler is trying to keep Hayley away from Caroline and vice versa, and I don't think he's wrong.
Connor, who thinks he's made a nice vampire trap in his trailer, heads out to the high school. First, he heads off for a little chat with Jeremy. You know why Jeremy could see his tattoo? Because he has vampire hunter blood! Well, that's good to know. Connor tells Jeremy he can teach him everything he needs to know so he can start slaughtering the undead, and surprisingly, Jeremy takes him up on his offer. He even informs him that Meredith has a vampire hook-up at the hospital, which delights Connor. Oh, Connor. Why would you think Jeremy is telling you the truth, whether or not he likes your cool sort-of invisible to most people tattoo? Next, he corners Matt in the hallway and forces him to reveal the name of the vampire who's obviously feeding on him. Matt, not being an idiot, tosses out Rebekah's name. Rebekah may think everyone hates her, but that does not make her paranoid.
Soon enough, it's time for Rebekah's party. Elena had hoped to bring a housewarming gift of a white oak stake to the heart, but Damon isn't exactly keen on the idea and doesn't hand one over. Elena should realize that when both Stefan and Damon agree on the fact she's too angry, it's time to take it down a notch.
Stefan manages to lure Elena into going for a motorcycle ride with him, which results in her having "I'm king of the world!" moment standing on the back of his bike in one of the worst green screen scenes since the pilot of "Ringer." Stefan just wants her to be happy! Not angry! Happy! And if she happens to fall off the bike and eat a pile of dirt, hey, it's all part of the fun.
Elena decides to go to Rebekah's party, but riding on the back of Stefan's bike doesn't make her feel any more loving towards Rebekah and the bitchy battle continues. Elena accuses Rebekah of causing the explosion that killed Pastor Young, Rebekah steals Elena's daylight ring. Oh, those two! What neither of them realize is that Connor has somehow doctored the keg with werewolf blood, so any vampires who drink it will, you know, die.
Watching the vampires in attendance at the party pick up drinks, put them down, pick up new drinks, get distracted, find other red Solo cups and then change their minds is just part of the fun. In the end, Rebekah takes a swig and, just as she's heading out the door, Elena does a keg handstand and slurps away. Oh no!
The other excuse for Elena to be at the party is to have a chat with April. April knows her dad would have smelled gas! Elena feels bad, but it's Rebekah who offers to help April find out the truth about what really happened.
When Damon calls Tyler's place, Klaus picks up and invites himself along on Damon's vampire hunter hunt. These two are much more entertaining as friends than as enemies, and it's almost cute when Klaus and Damon use Connor's arrow-and-bomb device against him in the hospital. So, Meredith and Jeremy both get credit for helping out the good bad guys. Connor blows up part of the hospital and escapes, of course, but not before Klaus finds out that he's one of the five… somethings. But this makes Connor much more interesting to him alive than dead, and at the end of the episode, he lets Connor know that he's "the most well-protected vampire hunter in town." As I think Connor's the only one in town anyway, that doesn't mean much, but I'm still intrigued.
After the party, Rebekah and Elena both feel like crap -- and this is particularly disappointing for Elena, who was just about to have some hot vampire sex with Stefan. It seems like there will never, ever be hot vampire sex at the rate we're going, which seems particularly disappointing. Klaus comes to Elena's rescue, as he seems to know something we don't -- that Elena may still be of use to him in some way.
Elena may be cured, but Stefan is left in a funk. He calls Caroline for help. "You grew into yourself when you became a vampire. Elena, she's changing too… When I'm with her every bone in my body tells her to join her, to enjoy it. Then I know if I do, even a little, I risk becoming him. The Ripper. I love her and I don't want to hold her back." Stefan is probably right to worry, but I wonder if he'd worry as much if he knew a decision to step back would leave an opening for someone else to step in -- and it's not specifically Caroline, who tells Stefan to come to her whenever he worries he's going to lose control.
Stefan may not have to worry about this issue at all, as Elena has a conversation with Damon after he stops her from eating Matt alive in a vampire frenzy. "You're a vampire now. You just have to learn the right way to be one. And I'm gonna teach you." Elena doesn't say no, and I hope she doesn't. There are worse things than learning the ropes from Damon Salvatore, after all.
What do you think Klaus' plan is? Do you think Rebekah will ask Klaus for help? And were you surprised to see Hayley?