When we chatted with Ian Somerhalder earlier this week, he told us that he enjoys every word he gets to say as badass vamp Damon. After episode 2, we totally believe him. Yes, Elena got her first sweet-then-steamy kiss from Stefan after some eyeroll-inducing dueling diaries talk that I’m guessing we’ll be stuck with since the show — and the pre-Twilight book series it’s based on — are called The Vampire Diaries. But this hour was all about Damon getting us to bite. We need to wonder what he’s up to as much as Stefan does. We need to decide whatever game he’s playing will be worth our time because he’s too scary, smart, and giving in the sack for it not to be. He got me. Let’s break it down highlight-by-highlight:
• The opening sequence: It wasn’t as scarring as the opening moments of Scream, but it let you know you’re in the capable hands of Kevin Williamson, who wrote the episode with Julie Plec. When the girl left the tent because she heard raindrops, I was talking to my TV (“It’s gonna be his blood dripping!”) not in a cautionary way, but in a this-is-gonna-be-AWESOME way. That high-pitched noise you heard was just my sing-song voice going up an octave as I typed “awesome.” Also AWESOME: When she ran to the car and begged for the door to unlock, and we heard the bleep-bleep off-camera. Evil, Damon! But funny.
• Damon meets Elena (pictured): Now I might actually have to give this scene to Stefan (Paul Wesley) for the way he kept his eyes glued to Damon as Elena made her exit from the house. To me, it conveyed just how much he didn’t trust his brother, as well as the idea that Stefan, while not as strong physically or when it comes to the “little tricks” like glamouring because he doesn’t feed on human blood, is still a formidable opponent because he’s never careless. Then again, Damon — who used his alone time with Elena to tell her she’d only be a rebound for Stefan because he’s still hung up on his ex, Katherine — did have some nice lines: “Great gal. She’s got spunk. You, on the other hand, look pooped. Did you over exert yourself today?” and “We both know the closest you’ll ever get to humanity is when you rip it open and feed on it.” Perhaps the scene is a tie, which is fitting. Did anyone else notice how the boys both wore V-neck black T-shirts in that scene? And how later on, when they were on that rooftop, they’d both changed into black shirts with crew necks under their leather jackets? No? Okay.
• Speaking of that rooftop: That is where Damon officially won me over. We established that Stefan does, in fact, suck at the “little tricks” when Vicki had her post-glamouring nightmare about Damon. (I’m seriously going to have a mirror installed in my sink because I figure that way, no bad man can surprise me in the wall or medicine cabinet mirror when I look up from washing my hands or face.) So of course, I knew Damon would surprise Vicki in the bathroom for real after she confirmed Stefan’s inadequacies (“I know you.” “Well, that’s unfortunate.” Ha!). I wasn’t, however, expecting to see him standing with her on the edge of a rooftop (“I got you. Oh! I‘m not gonna drop you!) to lure Stefan to him (“Not bad! Have you been eating bunnies?”). Damon knew he could make Vicki think that she was attacked by Stefan and that it would leave his brother with only two choices: He could feed on her so he’d have the power to make her forget, or he could not feed and let her run through the town square screaming that he’s a vampire. I honestly thought Stefan might opt for the feed-and-forget plan, but instead, he told Damon that if the town put a stake in his heart, at least it would mean he’d be free of him. Seeing that he meant it, Damon — who either wants his brother around to torture or because he’s lonely and wants a killing partner? — relented. He made Vicki forget. Well played, Stefan. Even if I don’t actually believe you knew Damon would back down the way he did.
• Damon gets friendly, then fang-y, with Caroline: Part of me feels like Damon does get lonely, and that’s when he goes looking for Caroline, but then I’m just a romantic. After, um, pleasing her, he worked his way back up her body to, where else, her neck. Will he try to make her think Stefan bit her, or is he just going to keep using Caroline for sex and a warm meal, then make her forget? Do you think they got together in the pilot, and she just didn’t remember? That’s why when she told him she was hoping she’d see him again, he said “I know.” (“Cocky much?” “Very much.” )
What do you think is motivating Damon with Stefan, Elena, and Caroline? NOTE TO READERS OF THE BOOKS: If you’re going to reference the novels, please begin your comment with the word BOOK. That way, viewers who don’t want to be spoiled can safely avoid you, while those who do want to join your discussion can easily find you. Other questions to ponder:
• How do you feel about the dueling journals voiceovers? It played a little amateur hour in the opening for me, though at least Stefan was feeling “completely and undeniably awake” and hot — he sleeps shirtless. At the end of the episode, Elena and Stefan telling each other what they would have written in their journals was a bit cliché, but at least it gave me a chance to wonder again if “we met and we talked and it was epic” was a line Williamson actually wrote or felt compelled to pull from one of the novels. It also led to the kiss that, frankly, Stefan should have delivered when they were in that park making me miss Stars Hollow and holding some kind of candlelight vigil for the comet that metaphorically represented him (stuck on a path he can’t change, getting to come home once every 145 years, blah, blah, blah).
• Do you find Jeremy’s storyline — coping with his and Elena’s parents’ death with drugs and pining for Vicki, who refuses to ditch Tyler, who didn’t even visit her in the hospital — as frustrating as I do? Don’t get me wrong: I like the actor who plays Jeremy, I’m just over Vicki wanting to be with a douche, and Jeremy wanting to do drugs and Aunt Jenna not knowing how to get him help. It almost feels like the writers spend all their time on the other story lines, then write dialogue for this one as they’re walking to the set. The only reason to keep it going would be if, at some point, Damon is gonna eff with vulnerable Jeremy the way he did Vicki. Or because if Jeremy does clean up, then there would be no reason for Aunt Jenna to call his history teacher an asshat.
• Do you want to see Bonnie’s drunk gran? I do.
• Why do you think Elena screams in the promo for next week’s “Friday Night Bites” episode? Because she realized it only took The CW three episodes to show her in her bra? (Though considering how low her shirts were cut this week, they should just go there.)
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Photo credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW