The Vampire Diaries recap: Boys in the Wood
Damon and Elena hit the road again, missing a vampire-werewolf confrontation in the forest
In the first season of The Vampire Diaries, you could feel the pace quicken after we learned Damon’s diabolical plan to free Katherine from the tomb he thought she’d been encased in since 1864. Every episode was reveal, reveal, reveal. With the Lockwood family werewolf curse now confirmed, I suspect we should strap in again. This show is gonna move.
Let’s start with the road trip to Duke: Damon, Elena, and Stefan finally called in Alaric because they wanted to know if Isobel’s old research mentioned anything about supernatural beings other than vampires. Alaric said she’d been interested in lycanthropes, or werewolves, which Damon refused to believe existed because in his 160-plus years on the planet, he’d never run into one. Still, they needed to know what they were dealing with: “If this wolfman thing is true, I’ve seen enough movies to know it’s not good,” Damon said. “It means Mason Lockwood is a real-life Lon Chaney and that little Tyler punk may just very well be Lon Chaney Jr, which means Bela Lugosi, meaning me, is totally screwed.” Damon, Alaric, and Elena hit the road, and Stefan stayed behind to watch over Caroline and smile more than he did in the entirety of season 1 (more on those two later).
The car ride was appropriately awkward, with Elena giving Damon the silent treatment for, you know, killing her brother. “There is a huge asterisk next to that statement,” Damon said. “He came back to life.” He insisted he’d seen the “big tacky” magic ring on Jeremy’s finger, but Elena didn’t believe him. Honestly, I thought Damon darting in front of Elena and taking an arrow in the back for her when the folk-lore grad student Vanessa went all Buffy would’ve made up some ground between them. Ditto Damon not following through on his first words once Elena pulled that arrow out, “Whew… that bitch is dead.” But it didn’t. She only pretended to soften the tiniest bit so Damon, who was hiding information he said he would’ve shared with her if they were friends again, would pony up. He eventually gave her a book that he’d found on Isobel’s shelf labeled Petrova, the last name Katherine was born with in Europe. (He’d seen the name engraved on an heirloom. “Men snoop, too,” he said.)
Damon told Elena she had every right to be mad at him, but she hated him once before and they became friends. “It would suck if that was gone forever,” he said. “Is it? Have I lost you forever?” She just thanked him for the book, and they drove home. At her door step, it was deja vu (if that had really been her instead of Katherine in the season 1 finale). Damon said he must have chipped away a little at her wall of hatred, but she said she needed to know the truth: Did he see Jeremy’s ring before he broke his neck?
NEXT: Let’s hear it for the Damon Contrition Tour!
This time, Damon answered her honestly: He hadn’t. Katherine had hurt him, he snapped, and he’s not sure what he would’ve done if he hadn’t gotten lucky that Jeremy was wearing that ring. He apologized, and he meant it. Elena thanked him for his honesty and told him the answer to his earlier question was, “Yes… you have lost me forever.” Damon said she never had any intention of forgiving him, she’d just used and manipulated him. “You and Katherine have a lot more in common than your looks,” he said, leaving.
Now I’m torn here: On one hand, I would hate to think that I’d forgive — especially in the space of three episodes — someone who tried to kill my sister. And I like the fact that Elena doesn’t fall for the bad boy (like, cough, some viewers have) and is strong enough to put Damon is his place. But Damon had just found out that the woman he’d spent 146 years trying to free from a tomb was never in never loved him; that’s an unfathomable amount of rage, coupled with the rejection he felt from Elena and his natural vampire tendency to null the pain by whatever means necessary. I think we need to have a Damon Contrition Tour of half a season. “Forever” is too long.
As for what the trio found out at Duke… While Vanessa didn’t know anything about why Elena looked like Katherine (all she could offer was that doppelgängers usually torment the people they look like, trying to undo their lives — duh), she was a fountain of information on werewolves. Here’s what we now know: There’s no record of werewolf mythology in Mystic Falls, but there are records of lesser known legends like the Aztec “curse of the sun and the moon” that can be traced through Virginia. Six hundred years ago, the Aztecs were plagued by vampires and werewolves until a shaman cursed them so vamps could only prowl at night and werewolves could only turn on a full moon. When the full moon crests in the sky, a werewolf has no choice but to turn, that’s why it’s called a curse. Werewolves will attack humans, but instinct and centuries of rivalries will lead them to prefer their prey of choice, vampires. Vamps hunted werewolves almost to extinction hundreds of years ago to protect themselves because… legend has it, a werewolf bite is fatal to vampires. (Cue Damon’s “Oh…”)
Fortunately, Elena phoned Stefan and filled him in on all of this, because he was about to come face-to-face with furry Mason Lockwood. The episode started with Mason jogging into the woods and Tyler secretly tailing him (after we got a nice shot of Tyler’s back in his sporty tank). Tyler stumbled upon the ruins of the old Lockwood estate and the underground cellar his mother didn’t like to talk about because it dated back to the days the family kept slaves. He decided to have a party at the nearby swimming hole (festive!), and Mason asked him to have everyone out of the woods by dark. That’s because he planned on stripping down and chaining himself up in the cellar while he drank some kind of powdered drink. (Do we think he ground up a rock like the one he was searching for among Tyler’s dad’s possessions? Maybe it hinders or eases the transformation?) Of course, there were people still left in the woods…
NEXT: Matt and Caroline, up against a tree…B-I-T-I-N-Gah!
Stefan convinced Bonnie to make Caroline a day-walking ring because the more she was isolated from Matt, the less likely she was to hang on to her humanity. Bonnie reluctantly agreed (because Stefan told her to trust him; they’ve come so far!), but she made sure Caroline knew that the witch who casts the spell on the ring can also “de-spell it,” which she would do if Caroline hurt anyone else. Fair enough. That scene was handled perfectly: Caroline should have been pissed that she didn’t get to pick out the ring she’d be wearing for the rest of her life; and I’d much rather watch Bonnie talk silently to herself with her eyes closed before an “it’s done” sound effect than see some bad f/x.
With the ring in hand, Stefan could teach Caroline his hunting technique: “Chase it, catch it, feed on it.” That was another scene in which she stayed true to character, ranting about how she hadn’t been in the sun for days, everyone was at the swimming hole, Matt finally told her that he loved her, and she had to ignore him. “And now you want me to eat bunnies, and I’m kinda freaking out,” she finished. Stefan laughed. He actually laughed! This was arguably his lightest moment since he cut loose at the sock hop (and before that, when he revealed that he likes Seinfeld and one Miley Cyrus song). He tried to delicately explain to her that when you’re a vampire, the traits you had as a human are magnified. He was a very empathetic person who hated causing people pain. She… well… she got the message, referring to herself as an “insecure, neurotic control freak on crack.”
And let’s not forget hellajealous. When they got to the swimming hole, she saw a girl talking to Matt and compelled her to go stalk a single guy. Matt told Caroline he wouldn’t put up with her drama again, and Caroline sulked about her magnified jealousy to Stefan. “I might as well have stayed dead. The entire personality is killing me,” she said. And he smiled again! Plus, he crossed his arms in a way that made his biceps bulge in his short-sleeve T-shirt!
So eventually, when it got dark and Matt was left to deal with the keg, Caroline apologized and assured him that the only thing he had to do for her to believe that he loved her was kiss her. They went off in the woods to make out, which took an unexpected turn when Matt heard a noise, his heart-rate picked up, Caroline pushed him against a tree, and (whoops!) he cut his wrist that wasn’t in a cast. That rough-and-tumble move of Caroline’s was kind of hot; her licking the blood on his wrist and then sucking on it before biting his neck? Not so much. I mean, we knew she could compel him to forget about it and think he’d been attacked by an animal, but it was still shocking.
NEXT: This is no Jacob-busting-out-of-his-shorts-in-Twilight shizz!
Thankfully, Stefan wasn’t far away because he’d already started looking for Caroline after Elena’s call. He’d found Mason’s vehicle first and heard some growling inside. Mason had to bolt the cellar when Tyler went there to have a two-person afterparty with the chick that Caroline had previously compelled to find a single guy. Mason tried to chain himself to a tree, but ended up climbing into his ride. Again, I’m fine with not seeing the actual transformation occur (whether that’s something we’ll never because the budget isn’t there for top-notch effects or they’re saving it for another episode). We know from his monster ride rocking that it’s a slower, more painful process than Jacob busting out of his shorts in the Twilight franchise. Plus, we got that spooky shot of Stefan approaching the vehicle, preparing to look inside (I may have whimpered), and seeing just the wolf eyes staring out at him. WolfMason leapt out of the back window so fast you didn’t even get a good look at him.
Stefan found Caroline just as she was making a meal of Matt and stopped her. He knew they had to run and lead the wolf away from Matt. They did, but WolfMason caught up to them. He pinned Caroline down (with a drip of drool similar to the one that fell off human Mason in the cellar, I noticed), and Stefan knocked him off of her. He was about to go after Stefan until Tyler, who’d surfaced in the woods after the girl came to her senses and remembered she liked Matt, not Tyler, yelled “No!”
Tyler went back to Mason’s vehicle and found the chains and equipment his uncle had brought with him. Mason showed up, back in human form, naked, dirty, and now looking more like Ryan Reynolds in the face. “It was you,” Tyler said. Mason nodded. Two questions here: 1) So Mason had the time to take off his shorts before he transformed? I’m assuming those are the same ones he had Tyler toss him. 2) Why hasn’t Tyler transformed yet? Is it an age thing? You’d think he’d be getting close, but the fact that he didn’t give the girl a hard time when she said she wasn’t feeling their cellar makeout session means his anger issues were suddenly in check. And he stopped Mason from attacking two vampires. Interesting…
Caroline did ultimately compel Matt to forget about the attack, and Stefan said he’d get vervain for the guy so Caroline couldn’t drink from him or glamour him again. Caroline and Stefan talked about their relationships. They both knew they shouldn’t be with their humans, but Stefan wasn’t going to tell her to break up with Matt, since he had no intention of giving up Elena.
Caroline went to the grill and saw Matt sitting with the girl from the party. It’s funny: I think what she did was completely human — she picked a fight with Matt so he’d break up with her and she wouldn’t be able to hurt him again. But you’ve got to wonder if Stefan was right about her losing herself without him. That’s certainly what Katherine is betting on. She showed up that night in Caroline’s bedroom. “Don’t be frightened,” she said. “We’re gonna have so much fun together.”
Part of me thinks seeing former Mean Girl Caroline rolling with Katherine, even with a metaphorical bullet to her head, would be heavenly. But it’s still hard for me to imagine Caroline fully turning on her friends. Yes, her closest buddy Bonnie is now giving her the cold shoulder, and she might enjoy revenge on Damon, but Stefan (with his “serious vampire look” and “worried vampire look”) was trying to help her, and they were bonding. Will Katherine teach her about flipping the “caring” switch off, so she won’t feel the pain of losing Matt?
Last and always least, we get to Aunt Jenna. Alaric gave her a half-assed apology for running hot and cold on her before the Duke trip. When he returned feeling some closure on Isobel (and apparently nothing for the flirty Vanessa), he walked into Jenna’s house, marched right over to her, and kissed her. That’s the Alaric we want to see! Here’s hoping those two have some sex before they get torn apart by all the secrets he’s keeping from her. (We’re all rooting for that, right?)
Your turn. What did you think about the episode? What are your theories on Katherine’s agenda with Caroline and Tyler’s werewolf wait? What was your favorite Damon line? I’ll go with him overhearing Vanessa ask Elena if vampires can read minds: “If you want to see me naked, all you have to do is ask,” he said. Not a bad guess.
The Vampire Diaries
Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.