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Vampire Diaries Recap: S03E01: The Birthday
When we last left The Vampire Diaries, Elena's surrogate mother, Jenna, and biological father, John, were killed as part of a ritual to unlock the werewolf side of an original vampire. Bonnie brought Jeremy back to life and Stefan drank human blood to get the cure to Damon's festering werewolf bite. The result? Elena and Jeremy are guardian-less, Jeremy still has one foot in the afterlife, and Stefan has returned to his violent "ripper" days.
People showing some skin
Back From the Dead
Like most supernatural shows, just because your character dies does not mean your acting will not be needed some time in the future (Ian Somerhalder had to come back a few times on LOST, after all). Jeremy is at The Grill, his new place of work, video chatting with Bonnie, who is spending the summer at her father's house, when the lights flicker. Ghostly activity warning at its most basic. Cue the return of Vicki and Anna, who appear and disappear silently, but freak Jeremy the hell out nonetheless.
Later on, at Elena's birthday party (more on that later), Jeremy decides to drink and smoke away his ghostly sorrows. Jeremy tells Matt, also seeking some solace in drugs, that he is experiencing visions, but he does not divulge that the visions are of Matt's deceased sister.
Later, a buzzed Jeremy is ready to leave the party, but he finds his passenger seat occupied by Vicki. Startled, Jeremy says her name, but it is Matt who he is driving home, and Matt who hears him. At the Gilbert's, Matt confronts Jeremy about saying Vicki's name. He says he understands, because he thinks he sees her all the time. At first this appears to be him not understanding at all, but he quickly raises the idea that ghosts are real and then just as quickly dismisses it. Matt and Jeremy both play down the idea, reasoning that with all of the supernatural elements already in Mystic Falls, ghosts would just be too much.
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With Jenna gone, Alaric has taken up residence in the Gilbert household, but he refuses to sleep anywhere but the couch. He is grieving Jenna, and you can see clearly how much her loss has affected him. Elena seems to be holding the small household together, but that might be because she has a driving purpose; she must find Stefan to save him from Klaus.
With that in mind, we see Elena head to the Salvatore house to visit Damon and get a Stefan update. Damon, being Damon, takes the moment to be sexy and insufferable at the same time. Hearing Elena enter the house, he leaves his bath to greet her... naked. "You should learn to knock. What if I was indecent?" he asks with that sexy smirk. Their awkward meeting is interrupted with new information. The lovely Caroline calls with a clue as to Stefan's whereabouts. Her mother, Sheriff Forbes, has been tracking animal attacks as a way to possibly find Stefan and she has a new lead. In other news, Caroline is planning an eighteenth birthday party for Elena, despite Elena's not wanting to celebrate. With Stefan still missing and no word from him, she has little to celebrate.
Although Damon plays off his concerns when speaking with Elena, he is actively tracking his brother. Even his still current girlfriend Andy is useful in the search. As a reporter, she can get information for him. And where does this information lead? Along the path of destruction that Stefan and Klaus are leaving in their quest to build a hybrid race.
Damon and Alaric follow the leads to find Klaus and Stefan's most recent victims: two girls who happened to know some werewolves (or were they werewolves themselves? That wasn't clear. If they were werewolves, though, I would have expected Klaus to turn them rather than give them to Stefan to dismember). Alaric is not sure that Stefan was there, but Damon has no doubt that the deaths were at Stefan's hands: "It's his signature. There's a reason they call him the ripper. He feeds so hard he blacks out, rips them apart, but then, when he's done. He feels remorse. It's the damnedest thing. He puts the bodies back together."
Despite the many lies, Elena believes Damon wants to find Stefan. On another note, Caroline tells Tyler everything, as we find out when he questions Elena about things that only Caroline could tell him. It is quite amusing. "Just because I tell you things doesn't mean you're allowed to know them!" she exclaims.
Meanwhile, Klaus and Stefan have found who they were looking for. His name is Ray, and he's a werewolf. Apparently, newly evil Stefan likes to throw wolfsbane laced darts at werewolves when he needs information. He overhears Klaus receiving information about Damon being on their trail. Klaus tells Stefan he will have to deal with it. Stefan chooses to prove his loyalty to Klaus.
While he is at Elena's party, Damon receives a call from Andy who what's him to act like a real boyfriend and pick her up at the station, where she is working late. When Damon shows up, Stefan meets him there, and compels Andy to her death. The message is clear; stop following him.
Obviously upset, when Elena corners him about lying to her about tracking Stefan, Damon tells Elena to stop waiting on Stefan because they are finding his victims, not Klaus's. "Stop looking for him, stop waiting for him to come home, just stop! Stefan is gone and he's not coming back. Not in your lifetime." Not the best birthday present.
Stefan returns to Klaus having achieved his mission. "You never stop caring about family do you?" Klaus observes, "But every time you feed, the blood makes it easier to let go."
Alaric leaves, claiming he isn't a good role model. "I'm sorry, Elena. But you're eighteen. You can do all this alone now. You can do better without me." I understand he has to get his act together, but that is a little cruel. The girl just lost her entire family and her boyfriend. What more can she take before she breaks?
Damon destroys stuff. Stefan, distraught, calls Elena, but he cannot say a word. "Stefan if this is you, you'll be okay. I love you, Stefan. Hold onto that. Never let that go," she pleads as silent tears run down his face. I must admit, it is times like these that The Vampire Diaries makes me cry like a twelve-year-old girl.
Now on to the hijinks of my favorite character: Caroline Forbes. She now has a better relationship with her mother, but she and Matt are still on the rocks. Add in the temptation of Tyler, the newly turned werewolf with whom she can trade "recently turned" horror stories, and you can call her romantic life complicated. Also, her vampire mentor is MIA, so who can a girl turn to? She throws herself into planning Elena's party like the well-planned social over achiever she is. She does have enough time in between setting everything up (with Tyler's help) to ask if Tyler is bringing a date to the party. This leads to an awkward conversation in which it is admitted that they are both horny. It's a supernatural thing apparently. The obvious solution to this problem is ignored... for now.
At the party, Caroline's situation finally gets to her. She breaks down and starts drinking. Caroline, pissed at Matt and the world in general, compels Tyler's date to leave the party after watching them on the dance floor. Just another example of many reasons why I love her.
Tyler, wondering what is going on with her, tells Caroline that all she has to do is tell him to stop dating other people if that is what she wants. She kisses him instead. Cue frantic making out and a quick trip upstairs for a more private room (people showing skin #s 2 and 3).
Once it is all over, Caroline dresses quietly and leaves without waking Tyler, which does not bode well for that budding relationship. There are bigger problems, however, when Mrs. Lockwood sees Caroline leaving in the middle of the night. When Caroline touches her purse, it burns her. Mrs. Lockwood fills her full of darts, no doubt filled with vervaine, and my favorite character falls to the ground in pain. Somehow I doubt that this hostility is based on Caroline's sleeping with her son...
If you missed the episode, you can catch up on the action by watching it here, and look out for my next recap for episode 2, "The Hybrid."