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'Vampire Diaries' recap: Miss Mystic Falls

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Image Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CWI’ve read some comments that accused me of being I’m anti-Stefan. Let me clear this up: I’m not. It’s just that Damon is more fun. It’s not Paul Wesley’s fault. He and his abs are wonderful. It’s that present-day Stefan, for the story’s sake, has been one-note until last night. At first, I thought it was going to be a case of be careful what you wish for. I was not enjoying Closet Blood Junkie Stefan. That must have been tricky for Wesley to play: To put it in Pretty in Pink terms (because why wouldn’t I?), he had to go from a Blane to a Steff plus have a jaunty walk — and it couldn’t be a perfect transformation because we all knew he was out of control. When Stefan asked Elena if she wanted him “brooding and tortured” as they learned the forbidden touch dance I shouted YES! at my TV. But then, we actually got to the Miss Mystic Falls competition, and that all changed…

So Damon had busted Stefan as being back on the human sauce. (I don’t get why Stefan would keep bags of blood IN HIS CAR, but I suppose it helped establish what an addict he’d become, and the visual made me think of a normal teen’s car being littered with McDonald’s wrappers.) You could argue Damon told Elena about Stefan drinking again so he could drive a wedge between them. And I’m sure that’s a bonus. But I genuinely believe he wanted her help in reining Stefan in before he did something that would out them as vampires. Like say, break a mirror in a Founders Hall bathroom, then kidnap panicky contestant Amber and talk to her like a crazy man (or a John who hires a prostitute and doesn’t want to get busy) in the parking lot before biting her. That scene, when “freaking hungry” Stefan finally collected himself and was the kind of coldly seductive that almost had you feeling his fingers caressing your neck, made Closet Blood Junkie Stefan worth it.

Stefan: I don’t hurt people. I don’t do that. I’m the good brother.

Amber (under compulsion not to be afraid): Do you want to hurt me?

Stefan: I want to kill you. I want to rip into your skin and I want to feed on your blood. Under your skin, pulsating, flowing. Your carotid artery right there. If you puncture this just right you can control the blood flow. Takes practice but it doesn’t have to make a mess. You don’t have to waste any.

Amber: What’s stopping you?

Stefan: If I do this, if I give in, there’s no going back.

Amber: Then don’t.

Stefan: I just want one taste. That’s all I need. I just want one taste.

Amber: One taste.

AND BITE!

While Stefan was busy snacking on Amber like she was a box of Junior Mints (you can only stand a few at a time, but you keep coming back until the box is empty), Damon stepped in as Elena’s escort for the try-not-to-fall-walking-down-the-stairs-then-dance portion of the Miss Mystic Falls competition. That first smile Damon cracked when they were dancing — sa-woon. Elena definitely enjoyed herself. But then we established last week that Damon is the better dancer of the two. I thought Elena had looked up in the distance and seen Stefan with Amber, but she must not have. It wasn’t until Caroline’s mother and Johnathan showed Damon the mirror that Damon grabbed Elena so they could look for Stefan. By this time, Stefan had told Amber to be afraid and run from him — then had another change of heart. He’d just taken what was to be the kill bite, when they found him. Wesley did a good job of acting like a rabid, trapped animal tossing Damon aside when he tried to calm him and hunkering down to stand his ground. Newly returned Bonnie had followed Damon and Elena and used her powers to give Stefan a headache that snapped him back to reality. Then, with blood covering his mouth like melted chocolate, he ran.

Props to Elena for not deserting Stefan. She feels responsible since she made him drink her blood to save the both of them. She showed up at the Salvatore home (nice mirror shot!), and Stefan went all Brando trying to tell her to leave. What she’d seen was the real him. There was no going back. She told him she wouldn’t give up, that she believed in him, and he shoved her against the wall. Then, he apologized and broke down, sobbing into her neck and finally admitting, “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” I should have guessed that Elena — “It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re gonna be okay.” —  was carrying a vervain-filled syringe, but I didn’t. That was awesome. Not Buffy-kissing-Angel-before-putting-a-sword-through-him-and-sending-him-to-a-hell-dimension-to-save-the-world awesome — totally just got chills typing that! — but awesome.

Back to Bonnie: It was good to have her back, and pissed. After avoiding Elena and refusing to look at Stefan, she finally told Elena that she blamed the Salvatore brothers for Grams’ death — she died to keep the vampires in the tomb and now they’re out anyway. She wasn’t going to make Elena choose between her and Stefan, but she was making a decision for herself — she won’t be hanging with them. I think that was a fair reaction.

In other news: Caroline won the Mystic Falls competition, which she totally deserved. The girl is involved in everything, and wanted to win fairly — she encouraged Elena, who had the sympathy vote, to stay in the competition because it meant so much to her mother. Caroline being a nice person = always welcome. I just wish Matt hadn’t had to work — I would have liked to see him in a suit. Props to the writers for having that one chick say, “Just because my DUI made my community service mandatory doesn’t mean I was any less committed,” during the interview montage. Hilarious.

Anna showed up to watch the Miss Mystic Falls competition because “sometimes you have to wear uncomfortable heels to fit in.” Jeremy cleaned up nicely, didn’t he?! He told Anna he’d read Elena’s diary and that he was only half mad she’d covered up what happened to Vicki — he didn’t want to remember Vicki as someone who wanted to hurt him. Anna said she would never hurt him. And I believe her. Aunt Jenna made herself useful twice this episode! She styled Elena’s hair and told Johnathan that Jeremy’s friend was Anna, who was new in town with her mother, Pearl. This should get interesting… Johnathan already suspects that Jeremy thinks vamps are real since they talked about the family journals, and now he’s friendly with the vamp whose mom stole something from the old Johnathan. How will he use Jeremy?

Johnathan had tried to blackmail Damon into helping him retrieve old Johnathan’s invention for him and Isobel. (They’d thought it’d burned with Pearl in the tomb, but when they found out the vamps were out, they knew it was back in play.) Damon listened to him until Johnathan said he didn’t know Pearl — which meant he didn’t know Katherine. If Johnathan wanted to tell the council Damon was a vampire, fine. He’d just kill them all. Damon had told Anna to tell Pearl that Johnathan would be looking for her. (“I don’t know what it is, but I don’t want him to have it.” Ha.) And Pearl showed up and gave the object to Damon as a peace-offering. She’d thought it was the vampire detector when she’d stolen it from Johnathan, but clearly it wasn’t. She has no idea what it is either, but she wants to stay in Mystic Falls and sees now that Damon, while a loose cannon, is better than the tomb vamps. Classy move, Pearl. Maybe there’s hope for my Damon-Pearl sex scene yet!

Your turn. What did you think of the episode, hungry Stefan, and Damon’s eyebrows (they were in overdrive last night!)? Can you believe they do a month of these Founders events?

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