Damon‘s prancing around in a towel; must be Thursday! As this week’s episode, “Our Town,” begins, it’s the morning after the big kiss, and Damon is feeling very pleased with himself, having probably just pleased himself. Meanwhile, Elena is beating the hell out of Alaric‘s punching bag. “Frustration,” she says. “Uh huh,” we all say. She should have followed Damon’s example.
In case you missed last week’s episode, Elena and Alaric remind us of some key plot points. Namely, Damon compelled Jeremy to pack up his plaid shirts and Nintendo DS and check out of this heartbreak hotel. He’s going to Denver, and I have to wonder if the CW is planning a Jeremy spin-off. It can be all about him not dying. They can call it Things to Do in Denver When You’re Not Dead. Or The Non-Vampire Diaries. I could probably come up with something better, but it’ll have to wait, because it’s time to go back to the g*ddamn witch house!
Bonnie‘s working on the mystery casket. She tries every spell she’s learned from watching The Secret Circle, but nothing’s working. Plus, there’s a hybrid lurking about. To her credit, Bonnie senses someone’s around. But instead of stealthily checking out who it might be, she starts calling out to him. If this were World of Warcraft, Bonnie’s the player you’d send to aggro the monsters. Thankfully, Damon has gotten really good at ripping hybrid hearts out, but their presence irks Stefan. Well, as much as anything can irk cold, heartless, emotionless Stefan. Honestly, Stefan was never a bundle of smiles and emotions to begin with. This new Stefan is like a soulless, unfeeling cardboard cutout. He could be a Republican presidential nominee!
Back at school (What? They still go to that?), it’s Caroline‘s birthday, and she’s having a little trouble accepting the fact that she’s a.) dead and b.) single, having dumped Klaus-loving Tyler in last week’s episode. Tyler tries to apologize for the whole sire subservience thing, but she’s not having it. A cheap-ass charm bracelet seems to do the trick, though, cause she’s texting him a few scenes later. Ugh. She, too, should have followed Damon’s example.
The theme of this episode is really all about how f**ked up life is now that everyone’s a vampire, hybrid, witch, doppelganger or Jerermy. You can mourn over who you used to be in the good old days, or you can pick yourself up by your Louboutin bootstraps and just keep going. (Or go to Denver, if you’re Jeremy.) The kids try to do things they used to do: make poster board signs, have birthday parties, drink bottom-shelf tequila. But it’s just no use.
Of course, the horror elements are just metaphors for growing up, and the teenage angst that can transform the smallest changes into earth-shattering cataclysms. Buffy probably did this sort of thing the best, but The Vampire Diaries does it with more melodrama and costume changes, so it’s hard to complain.
Stefan pays a visit to Klaus to see how renovations are going. All these decaying or partially-built sets are making me think they’re cutting back on set designers this season. Or maybe Klaus’s sparse digs are a clever allusion to Anton Chekhov. See, there’s just Klaus, Stefan, a buzz saw, a hand saw and a hybrid in the room. I thought the buzz saw was going to come into play, but it’s just a red herring. Stefan opts for the hand saw to relieve Klaus’s casket-wheeling flunkie of her pretty little head. Klaus is left a bit speechless, but his eyes say, “It’s on like Donkey Kong, bitch!”
Speaking of bitches, Caroline rebukes her friends’ attempts to celebrate her birthday. She just wants to stay home alone and whine. Elena, proving that she really is falling out of touch with appropriate life choices, suggests they go to a crypt in the cemetery and have a funeral for Caroline. Why anyone in Mystic Falls would agree to this, I have no idea. I guess it’s a slightly better idea than dousing themselves in steak sauce on a full moon.
Oh, remember Doctor Fell from last week? I predicted we’d be seeing more of her, and guess what? She’s back! And she’s trouble. Alaric runs into her and her problems at the Council meeting. Meanwhile, Damon runs into Klaus, who’s managed to wrap the Mayor and Council around his little hybrid finger. Now the whole town wants Stefan to give those caskets back. I guess it’s time for a showdown!
You know the worst part of attending a birthday party/funeral with a bunch of gorgeous model/actors on the CW? They bring a cake, but no one eats it. This actually used to happen to me a lot in L.A., where I’d go to birthday parties, everyone would ooh and ahh over the cake, then all refuse a piece. On The Vampire Diaries, people are much more likely to eat each other than a piece of cake, which is exactly what happens when Tyler shows up at the crypt to bite Caroline, on Klaus’s orders. Then, before Matt and Elena can drunkenly hook up and do it in the crypt, Stefan shows up to kidnap Elena as a weapon against Klaus. Great. So they’re just going to leave the cake in the cemetery now?
It’s showdown time! Stefan force feeds Elena some blood, and she’s so repulsed by this, you’d think he was feeding her cake. Stefan tells Klaus he’s going to turn Elena into a vampire, thus cutting off the source of Klaus’s doppelganger-infused hybrids. Things get pretty tense in this supernatural little standoff (driveoff?) as Stefan comes thrillingly close to driving off the bridge. Klaus caves.
Point goes to Stefan.
You’d think Elena would be happy they got some leverage over Klaus, but noooooo. She’s more than a little offended that Stefan was going to kill her on the same bridge where her parents died. Stefan just sort of shrugs, like, “What? Is that like a thing?” I can’t really talk about the rest of this scene, because it’s very emotional and is painfully close to a real-life conversation I had with an ex. I’ll just say this: If you find yourself asking someone what matters more, destroying an ancient vampire or saving your relationship, you already know the answer.
At this point, I’m thinking of switching my allegiance to Klaus. He gives a lovely speech when he shows up to save Caroline that’s both sweet and seductive. Plus, he spies Tyler’s janky charm bracelet and replaces it with a sparkly diamond alternative. None of this is accidental, of course. He ordered Tyler to bite her. Now, he’s turned another of Stefan’s allies against him. Soon, everyone will be on Team Klaus. So, I might as well join now.
The episode wraps up with Jeremy supposedly leaving for Denver, Matt woodenly working his way back into Elena’s heart, and an actual wooden stake in the heart of Doctor Fell’s ex-boyfriend. See, I knew she was going to be trouble.
So, what does all this have to do with Thorton Wilder’s Our Town? I think it’s safe to assume that the episode’s themes of love, loss, death and impermanence mirrors the lives, loves and tragedies of the denizens of Grover’s Corners. In Our Town, Emily Webb is told by the other residents of the cemetery that she must let go of the past and move on, in much the same way that Caroline, Elena and even Jeremy are told to do the same. Plus, there were all those vampires in Grover’s Corners, so, you know, the parallels are kind of obvious.