'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Shhh. Be very, very quiet. We're hunting Salvatores!

Vampire-Ian-Somerhalder_dlI’ll say this much for vampires who don’t fight the urge to score their blood straight from the human’s neck: They sure as heck seem to have better senses of humor! Or at least that seems to be the case when you compare witty bad-boy Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder, pictured) to dishy-but-broody bro Stefan (Paul Wesley). Indeed, last night’s fourth Vampire Diaries installment (your regular recapper, Mandi Bierly, had the night off, FYI) started out feeling like a particularly mean-spirited standup routine by a guy who’s been undead (and not exactly thrilled about it) for a good century or so. Exhibit A: Damon getting revenge on Stefan for stabbing him in the chest with a letter opener, then hissing about his damaged shirt: “This is John Varvatos, dude. Dick move.” Or how about Damon taunting his teenage plaything Caroline (Candice Accola) about her love of all things Twilight: “What’s so special about this Bella girl? Edward’s so whipped.” And later: “I miss Anne Rice. She was so on it.” (Your move, Stephenie Meyer!) Yeah, maybe the jokes were a tad too meta by half, but still, amusingly snarky. Not to mention, Damon’s ability to make a funny allows him to seem a little more, well, alive than his occasionally catatonic, always earnest, exceedingly well-coiffed sibling. And that might come in handy now that it’s been revealed that a well-connected group of adults is aware that vampires are back in Mystic Falls, and planning to exterminate ‘em.

Yes, Caroline’s cop mom, Tyler’s mayor and first-lady parental units, and Jenna’s news-reporter ex-boyfriend all came together in the episode’s closing minutes to reveal that at least some folks weren’t buying the old “mountain lion ate my locals” excuse. The sudden and unexpected chill I got from that revelation made me feel a little repentant for my previous annoyance that the episode was spending so much time focusing on snoozy adult characters. In particular, Tyler’s mom, played by Young and the Restless vet Susan Walters, seems to excel at that special brand of smiling-and-benign-exterior covering driven-and-(not literally)-bloodthirsty-interior that’ll make her a dangerous adversary to the brothers Salvatore.

I can’t imagine, for example, if Mama Lockwood had managed to get Damon weakened by an overdose of vervain, that she’d have thought locking him in a musty basement with some horticultural samples would keep him down for, oh, more than half an episode. (And next week’s previews seem to support my cynicism.) Seriously, after finally getting his brother to take another sip of poor Caroline’s vervain-soaked blood, you’d think Stefan would’ve gone to greater lengths to keep his brother in captivity, or maybe to finish him off for good. Even if that would have turned Stefan into the exact kind of monster that he’s trying to defeat, it seems a small price to pay if he wants to spend the next couple centuries pursuing hot cheerleaders without worrying about corresponding killing sprees.

And speaking of cheerleaders-in-peril, this was the first episode where I started to feel genuine sympathy for Caroline. When she casually asked Damon “are you gonna kill me?” during a makeout session, it was one of the series’ most genuinely creepy moments to date. (Damon answering “yes…but not yet” only added to the effect.) And later, the genuine terror in Caroline’s eyes when Elena uncovered her copious bite marks drove home the point that we’re not just watching another Dawson’s Creek or Everwood with super-gnarly orthodontia. The stakes here are higher, as history teacher/football coach/pep-rally leader/Mystic Hill High’s only adult employee Mr. Tanner learned last week. (Side note: What was with that tossed-off remark when Caroline’s mom asked after her father’s whereabouts? “In Memphis. With Stephen.” Could it be Caroline has two daddies?)

With so much plot advancement happening, some of the kiss-squabble-repeat aspects of the episode — Vickie wavering between Jeremy and Tyler, Elena struggling whether or not to trust Stefan, beautiful Bonnie discovering her witchy ways while inexplicably repelling every high-school age boy in a 20-mile vicinity — seemed somehow less compelling, but overall, you’ve got to give Vampire Diaries credit for erring on the side of action rather than stasis. What did you think of episode 4? Were you excited to see some townsfolk rising up as a threat to Stefan and Damon? And who was kind of impressed by Bonnie’s final-act candle-lighting routine? Girlfriend will never again have to grab a pack of restaurant matches after a dinner out, unless, of course, she really digs collecting colorful little boxes. (Hey, some of us do!)

Image Credit: Quantrell Colbert/The CW

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  • Mike

    This show has nothing to do with the book. Only the characters names are the same. Still, despite the 40 commercials, it was a good episode.

    • kattykat246

      And thank goodness for that…. In my opinion, the books were an absolute snooze fest…. I almost wish that I hadn’t read them- I feel like I would be able to enjoy the show more if I hadn’t!

      • Dee

        Glad to hear that. I read the synopses of the books and they sounded terrible…sort of like how True Blood on TV is so much better than the crapfest written by Charlaine Harris.

      • ENC

        I agree, I am trying to read Harris’ books now and I am struggling!

      • Mary Q. Contrary

        I thought the books were awful. Cheesy, bad dialogue, cliche characters. And the names are pretty bad, too. They had to change the pronunciation of Stefan on the show, because it was so soap opera-y in the books. And thank god they completely changed Elena’s character. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a less-likable protagonist.

      • Karen

        I only read the first 2 books and probably won’t read the others. I disliked Elena in the books but really enjoy her character on the show.
        Ian Somerhalder rocks on this show :-)

      • Dianne

        I’ve read all of LJ Smith’s books, and The Vampire Diaries really are as bad as the rest of you are saying. But please don’t judge the rest of her work by that one set because a lot of her stuff is really good and worth a read–especially the Secret Circle trilogy and the Night World series. Love this show so far!

  • Kelly

    Love the show, love the Twilight reference (heehee) and LOVE Damon. I sort of zoned out when Tyler/Vicky/Jeremy were on but the rest was good. So glad they gave Jenna a reason to be on the show.

  • michelekamay

    This episode was so gooooood, Damon was terrific! Since he killed the coach, we know nobody is really safe in Mystic Falls! Throughout the episode, I couldn’t stop wondering: who’s next, who’s next?
    The cliffhanger with the revelation of the parents brigade at the end was priceless! I’m still thinking the love triangle Jerry/Vicky/Tyler is annoying, but McQueen is hot and fits his role so well that I hope he’ll get into the vampire tracking too. Btw, where was Elena’s ex and Vicky brother?
    I hooked on Bonnie’s storyline. Is she gonna be “the chwitchleader who will save the world?” or play the “oracle”? I can’t wait to know!
    I never read the books so it doesn’t bother me if it’s somewhat different. After all, the series are supposed to last six seasons or more, so sticking to the books might get ininteresting.
    Great episode, CW got a winner!

  • Beliitseri

    Not…20..not even 40 and enjoy the show..(Never watched anything on CW before..so I didn’t know what to expect) Love the Damon Character and Yesh!!! they recognized Anne Rice! Show your respect! Lestat was the ultimate vampire sex brat.

  • mom_of_2_kidz

    Really loved last nights show. I was a little confused by Blondie – does she know Damon is a vamp?? Please clarify for me ;0}

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      She knows. And I thought she was great last night. She’s shaping up to steal the show from Elena, kind of like Summer and Seth on the O.C.

  • Michelle

    I really liked it. The reveal about the adults at the end was awesome, I must say. I still don’t understand why Vicki is giving Tyler the time of day. He’s an a**. The Damon/Caroline and Stefan/Elena conversation was awesomely awkward. And I love me some Bonnie! The candles bit was good and I can’t wait to meet her gran!

    Now the big question is what is up with this freaking watch?!

    • Sparky

      And the crystal???

      • arsenalhon

        yeh i wondered about that as well

  • aisha

    i’m a a fan of the books but i’m loving the show. It’s different, sure, but that’s what’s keeping me hooked. If it followed the book storylines i wouldn’t be so interested cos i’d know what’s gonna happen. The ending gave me such a thrill!

  • efball

    Great recap this week! Funny, insightful and thorough. I agree about Caroline’s comment on her father — definitely points to 2 daddies.

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      I thought the same thing.

  • Laura

    Another great episode! I can’t wait until next week!

  • Michael

    It ain’t “True Blood” but it’ll do until TB comes back. But it would be a lot more interesting if Elena weren’t such a Goody Two-Shoes.

    • TrueBlood Junkie

      I agree….it can somewhat fill my True Blood void!

      • Valley Girl

        Indeed – need some sort of vampire show until TB returns, lol. Am enjoying TVD so far…

      • Summer

        agree. i have to watch something while waiting for True Blood and The Twilight Saga New Moon

  • rosebud

    Yes, I am love the show, I have read the books but I enjoy the shows every bit as much. Hope they keep it on as a series but really as with true blood, way too many commericals, more show time please!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael

      @Rosebud: “True Blood” doesn’t have commercials, it’s on HBO. What alternate universe are you living in?

    • Mary Q. Contrary

      Yeah, I’m not really sure what you’re talking about. True Blood is great because it’s an hour-long show that’s actually almost an hour long. The only thing about HBO is that they show a few promos for their own stuff before the show, which is what takes a few minutes off the episode.

  • Jules

    Loved this episode! And great re-cap!

    The ending was soo good. Total cliffhanger.

    I’m glad Caroline is no longer Damon’s possesion or whatever. Cause I like Caroline.

    And Bonnie! I lvoe Bonnie. I lvoe that she has powers and is psychic. Definitely interested in her storyline.

    Such a great episode!

    • Sparky

      I wonder now that Caroline does nt seem to be under Damons spell anymore, does she remember that Damon is a vampire and will she be able to tell Elena or not???

      • PMD

        I think Damon has to keep putting her under the spell. So there are moments when she is fully aware of what is going on. But I am not sure – I have never read the books. Not that it really matters because it seems like everything is different.

      • Mary Q. Contrary

        Yeah, it doesn’t matter that you haven’t read the books. Firstly, they’re terrible. Secondly, Caroline is a total villain in them and has no likable qualities. Neither Damon or Stefan are interested in her. And she’s a brunette. And hates Elena.

  • Patricia

    Great episode! However I wish you would have mentioned the guy that lives with Stefan and Damon. What is his deal? Is he a vampire? Is he Damon’s son? I know he called Stefan uncle in a previous episode. I can’t wait to find out his story!

    • Dianne

      I’ve been wondering the same thing too! Since Zach is a totally new character, there’s really no way to know right now. Glad that I’m not the only one even just a little preoccupied with this minor character.

    • Sina

      I thought he was their nephew. Mostly likely Damon and Stefan had other brothers or sisters so they could have had a child. So Zach’s great great great grandmother or grandfather could be Damon and Stefan’s sibling. Also when he said that the family kept those plant things in the family for generations. So Stefan and Damon had to have siblings who had kids. So damon and stefan is his great great great uncle.

      • DT

        Sina, you’re probably right, but now I just can’t wait to know ALL the background story, including all the Katherine drama, Mystic Fall’s vampire-hunting council, etc. Such a good show!

      • Nadia

        He is their cousin, but apparently human……don’t know the how or why…..stay tuned, I guess….

  • redkal

    Loving the show- getting better with each episode. Damon’s character is by far the best. Besides hot (duh) he has a lot of depth to him. He is a definite ass and makes me really angry. If I had a brother like him that I was stuck with for eternity, idk what I would do. But you can see hints of a truly emotional, if not remorseful, side to him. Although he quickly does something terrible if he leaks even a shadow of those emotions to anyone. Best moments- I agree that the scene between Caroline and Damon in bed was cheeky/creepy! But by far, the scene of the town-folk secret society lynch mob coming together was a twist I did not expect and greatly look fwd to seeing where it will go! Vamp Diaries has earned my viewership! (But I still love you Edward! lol)

  • redkal

    PS DVR= skip commercials!

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