The Vampire Diaries recap: 'Dead Man on Campus'
While Damon explored the Augustine mystery, Bonnie and Jeremy coined a new euphemism
This hour had some great moments, such as Stefan catching a suicidal Katherine (which I admittedly rewound). But this episode left me feeling surprisingly underwhelmed considering we got a sex scene. Bonnie has never looked hotter with her short new ‘do, short shorts, and short dress, and lord knows we were all supportive when she practically ripped off Jeremy’s shirt (which magically had no buttons to pop). So why did I find myself squirming a bit during that love scene? It could be that Bonnie reminding us that Jeremy is her best friend’s little brother ruined the mood. Or that it felt too staged with the candles that she now has to light like the rest of us. Or that even though she died to bring this young man back to life, and they’ve been dying to touch one another for months, this doesn’t feel like an epic love yet. And clearly, that scene was supposed to be epic with Bonnie telling Jeremy that her feeling the pain of every dead supernatural being crossing through her to get to The Other Side is worth it to “register for classes” with him. That’s a lot of pressure on young Jeremy. Maybe I was feeling performance anxiety. Let’s dig in.
We opened with Wes giving a restrained Jesse his first bag of “undiluted Augustine blood” via IV. Jesse grew stronger than Wes expected and was able to free himself, grab the blood bag and drink it like a juice box. He ended up biting Wes’ neck but didn’t kill him. That should have been our first clue that, as Wes would ultimately confess to Damon, the good doctor was trying to create a new kind of vampire — one that feeds on fellow vamps instead of humans. (Wasn’t that the Originals’ father, Mikael? Not exactly. Mikael’s taste was a choice. Jesse’s wasn’t.)
Bonnie made her mother a video showing off her new home (“What dorm has a fireplace?!”) and her roommates, who were planning on finally making more than one friend a piece by throwing Bonnie a welcome party. Here’s what I don’t understand: It looked like they ended up throwing the crowded shindig not in their spacious room but in a common area. Don’t residence advisors care if freshmen are drinking outside the privacy of their rooms? Did they compel someone to not see the Jell-O shots Elena ultimately fed to guest Aaron and the bourbon that failed to entice Stefan to make an appearance?
Stefan wasn’t up for a party because he’s too busy having flashbacks to his time spent drowning. He ruined the arms of Damon’s favorite reading chair with his clenched hands. When does Damon read? Granted, that wouldn’t be the most riveting TV, but come on. Also, if Stefan is going to get all sweaty when he’s having these flashbacks in front of the fire, perhaps he could take off his V-neck T-shirt. He kept it on and went to the Grill to drink instead. Matt was there, working hard to ignore Katherine, who was drunk and scaring customers. “You realize every time you say no, it just makes you hotter,” she told him after he denied her another drink. Luckily, he was watching the video of himself possessed by Gregor the Traveler and Katherine speaks Czech. She traded him a translation for booze. She said Matt was “activated,” meaning he had a Traveler, a witch who hitches a ride in someone’s brain like a human parasite, inside him. Katherine guessed Nadia was involved.
NEXT: Jesse enrolls in Vamp 101
Back on campus, Caroline got a call from a panicked Jesse. “Look who rose from the dead,” she said, not knowing how correct she was. He asked her for help because his roommate would be home soon. His roommate? Aaron. Jesse did bite him, but again, he didn’t kill him. Apparently, he didn’t drink all that much because Caroline was in no hurry to feed Aaron blood after she separated them. Jesse had enough time to tell her how Wes had kept him in a cell all day and then took him out at night to do experiments on him. He’d been starved, then fed. He told her he’d locked Wes in the lab. Elena arrived with the girls’ blood bag stash and the wisdom that the first rule of being a vampire is realizing how awesome you are. Yes, Elena, that’s EXACTLY what you did. (Eye roll.) Elena was going to feed Aaron her blood, but Caroline wanted to show Jesse that he could save people. Aaron seemed to enjoy that blood like he was on True Blood, not TVD. Maybe Augustine vampire blood doubles as a drug. Jesse did like the feel of Caroline’s hand when they went back to the party and dirty danced. Everything’s heightened. I think I would have enjoyed a love scene between those two.
Back at the Grill, Katherine lifted a bottle of booze and convinced Stefan to have one pity drink with her. Like it or not, he’s gonna end up with someone who looks like her, she said. Katherine is a great drunk. (Well, until she got suicidal remembering her aching joints, receding gums, and weak bladder.) Stefan told her that killing Silas hadn’t made him feel better, and she told him he had PTSD — something she worked through after her father took her newborn from her and Klaus slaughtered her family centuries ago. Cue Nadia’s arrival.
At the party, Bonnie spoke with Jesse but scanned the room for Jeremy. She wasn’t sure she could call him her “boyfriend,” but she did admit she’s madly in love with him. (Here’s the definition of boyfriend, Bonnie.) Elena had sent Damon to question Wes, which Caroline figured would end with Wes dead. Damon’s idea of torture was refreshing: He injected Wes with things he found in the lab, like a flesh-eating bacteria. If Wes gave answers, Damon would give him blood to heal him.
Meanwhile, after Katherine and Nadia both claimed to be younger, Matt brought them the knife that Gregor had said to keep safe. Nadia called forth Matt’s passenger, and Katherine played the protective mother — which was great. She wanted to know the real reason he was in Mystic Falls. It wasn’t just to track and kill Silas. After Silas was dead, he was supposed to kill Katherine. The Travelers wanted her dead as well. Why? Travelers are ruthless, manipulative hypocrites, Katherine said. She should know — her father was one. She stabbed Matt with the knife. But never fear: Matt and his blue eyes will be fine. Gregor, on the other hand, was gone. The knife is the only thing that will truly kill a Traveler. Nadia looked slightly upset with her mother.
Wes was looking hot and sweaty as Damon continued torturing him with rabies. Bonnie made new friends at the party until an old woman who’d passed through her earlier in the episode reappeared. What was the point of that: to give Bonnie’s suffering some redeeming purpose? She takes away these people’s pain, becomes a familiar face. Or to make her feel worse? According to that woman, there’s no pain on the famous other side if you’re ready to go. I’m thinking the former, because the latter would be a little too Buffy (“I live in hell/’cause I’ve been expelled from heaven/I think I was in heaven”).
NEXT: Bonnie’s schedule fills up
Jeremy finally made it to the party and quickly escorted Bonnie away to “register for classes.” That’s when Jesse and Caroline thought about signing up for an entry-level course, only when she swallowed his face, he bit her lip. According to what Wes was telling Damon at that moment, Jesse was the new kind of vamp he’d been hoping to create — one that doesn’t see humans as a food source.
Aaron arrived to do those Jell-O shots and swap sob stories with Elena. Yes, she lost both her birth and adoptive parents as a teen, but he was six when his parents were killed on a camping trip. The bite marks on their necks were blamed on a bear. He was shuffled around to relatives until Wes became his legal guardian. Elena knew she needed to phone Damon and make sure he wasn’t going to murder Wes and leave Aaron without anyone. But did she have the thought we all did: Was that “bear” a vampire named Damon Salvatore?
“Why’s the Grill so hopping?” my colleague/viewing partner Samantha Highfill asked when Stefan had his mini freakout, crushed his glass, and went outside. Seriously. It’s the ONLY restaurant in that town. Katherine followed him out and Stefan grabbed her by the neck. She made him name the people he’s killed to ground him, so he’d feel a part of that space with her and not like he was back in the safe. Nadia found them. Katherine told her she deserved better than Gregor. “Rot in hell,” Nadia said. So that relationship will take some work.
Damon told Elena that “Doogie” said Jesse won’t stop feeding on vamps once he starts. Elena made him promise not to kill Wes, and he did, for the time being, even though he knew Wes would just create more Jesses. Speaking of Jesse, he showed up to ask Wes why he wanted to feed on the girl he likes. Because Jesse feeds on monsters now. Damon thought he’d be stronger than Jesse because he’s much older, but that wasn’t the case. “What the hell did they do to you?” Damon said. And then Jesse drank from his neck. Elena showed up and saw the scene. “He’s gonna tear my head off, Elena. Please,” he said. She finally staked Jesse. Caroline appeared, just in time for Jesse to die. Damon tried to tell her Elena had no choice, but Caroline knew the old Elena would have given Jesse a chance to beat his hunger. She’s right.
Back at the Grill, Stefan read a goodbye note Katherine had left for Nadia. There’s one enemy Katherine didn’t think she could outrun — time. She stood on a ledge at the clock tower. She turned and fell backwards, just like Elena had when she showed memory-less Stefan the joys of being a vamp at the school. That was a nice touch. Of course, we knew Stefan would be there to catch her. And he was. Man, he looked good in that leather jacket. She told him she was dying of old age, that the cure had somehow sped up the process. “Hey,” he said, touching her face. “You’re Katherine Pierce. Suck it up.” And then he walked away. I got chills. She smiled. It was perfect, really. Anything further would have felt false. (Am I shipping Stefan and Katherine?!) Like I said earlier, I rewound. Samantha leaned in with her head in her hand. “I want a picture of that, on my ceiling,” she said. So I guess Stefan can be that sexy, even with his memory back. Noted.
NEXT: Bonnie and Jeremy get it on
So clearly, we were primed after that moment. Bonnie was, too. She was lighting candles, without magic, when Jeremy told her to step away from them. He picked her up, put her on the bed, and she IMMEDIATELY took off his shirt. Jesse appeared, killing the moment she was about to have licking Jeremy’s neck. She went to Jesse. “I’m not ready. I don’t want this,” he said. And Bonnie felt that. She doubled over screaming. So now she had to tell Jeremy the truth. He was properly horrified at the pain she’d be going through as the anchor. “Just kiss me,” she told him, as I thought this boy best be good. She had confidence in him. “You and me, this. This is worth it. Any consequence is worth it,” she said. Fine. He’d make love to her. He slid her back on the bed. I was so uncomfortable. The scene felt like it went on forever. If he would have slid down her body to REALLY make it worth it, I probably would have crawled under the desk to avert my eyes. I assume they’ll get more sex scenes, and I’ll have a chance to work through my issues.
As Elena and Caroline cleaned up after the party, it sounded like Caroline would make an attempt to forgive Elena for staking Jesse. But she wanted Elena to realize the outside world isn’t nearly as dangerous as the person she’s inviting into her bedroom. GREAT LINE! Caroline said she’d keep warning her about Damon as long as they’re best friends.
Damon was also tidying up, putting away his torture vials when he saw a blood bag labeled 12144. So it was at that moment that he suddenly remembered he was 21051? I’m all for learning more about Damon’s history and giving Ian Somerhalder a juicy story line, but that moment felt a bit too easy. He was an Augustine vampire. He hasn’t heard that name for decades. He’d thought they’d shut down the program 60 years ago. NOW he was going to kill Wes. Only Wes got free and hit the handy atomized vervain button. “I’m sure Augustine will be thrilled to have you back,” Wes told him. Damon woke up in a cell, with “D.S. 53” written on the wall. He had more flashes of himself bound, eyes bleeding. So now both Salvatore brothers have PTSD. Goodbye, lighthearted humor!
Your turn. What did you think of the episode? It’s kinda great, right, the potential symmetry of Stefan being a ripper when it comes to human blood and Damon being a ripper with vamp blood? Does Elena have it in her to bring Damon back from the edge, if that’s where he’s headed?
The Vampire Diaries