Review

Review

Television Tourniquet: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 1.21

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The Vampire Diaries Episode 1.21
Isobel
Written By: Caroline Dries & Brian Young
Directed By: J. Miller Tobin
Original Airdate: 7 May 2010

In This Episode...
Isobel meets Alaric at the Grill for the sole purpose of strong arming him into setting up a meeting between her and Elena.  Alaric refuses to help the “cold, selfish bitch” until she threatens to pick off the town residents one at a time. The meeting is set, with Stefan inside watching from a distance, and Damon and Alaric pacing outside.  Elena starts asking Isobel the usual birth mom stuff: who was my birth father, what exactly happened, etc.  Isobel refuses to answer these questions, and instead is taken by her resemblance to Catherine.  She asks Elena why she went for Stefan and not Damon - “or do you enjoy them both?”  Elena is shocked by her cruelty.  Isobel tells Elena to get Jonathan’s invention back from Damon - who will give it to her because he is in love with her - or the blood she spills will be on Elena’s hands.

When Elena doesn’t deliver the invention quickly enough, she accosts Elena at the Founder’s Day Parade prep.  She threatens to kill Jeremy - who has now vanished into thin air - and to make her point, one of her sex toys rigs up a float to “accidentally” crush Matt’s arm.  Bonnie and Elena have discovered through Emily’s spellbook that it was Emily’s handiwork that granted powers to all the “inventions” Jonathan Gilbert made.  The one that Isobel is after is a weapon against vampires.  Apparently Catherine wants to kill all the tomb vamps.

Uncle John walks into Isobel’s house to discover his nephew held captive there.  John finally starts acting like family and tries to defend Jeremy.  All it gets him is a sound beating and the removal of his magic ring.  Isobel eventually lets the Gilberts go, and after speaking to Jeremy, Elena hands over the gizmo.  Isobel imparts some motherly advice: as long as you have a Salvatore on either arm, you are doomed.

The episode wraps up with bombshells and cliffhangers.  Isobel visits Alaric on her way out of town.  He hands her his vervane and ring, believing that his wife was still in there somewhere; otherwise she would kill him.  Instead she compels him and tells him that she did love him, the vampire conversion was all her fault and she will regret it for eternity.  It is easier for him to move on if he hates her.  Isobel tells him he will not remember any of this, gives him back his jewelry, and leaves.

In a phone call, we find out that Uncle John is Elena’s birth father (a fact that Damon figured out already).  She wants him to add the Salvatore brothers to the vampire “to be killed” list - “I don’t want this life for her.”  Jeremy confronts Elena about reading her diary and their bond is permanently shattered.  Anna, missing for the episode, finally shows up in Jeremy’s room and tells him that her mother is dead.  She is not supposed to stay in town but she has nowhere to go.  Stefan confronts Damon about what Isobel said.  Damon insists that he and Elena are just friends - she may be his only friend.  Even still, Stefan insists that “history will not be repeating itself.”  And Bonnie admits to Caroline that she betrayed Elena.  Turns out she did not de-mystify the vampire weapon, and is now having witch’s remorse.

Dig It or Bury It?
I feel like this episode was very fast-paced.  I think it was because it was jammed packed with plot.  There was not a single wasted moment in this episode.  Every scene, every line of dialogue furthered the plot.  I am still a little concerned that the story will devolve into a brother vs. brother for the hand of the fair maiden.  But I need to trust Kevin Williamson and company - they have not given me any reason to doubt them.  At a recent panel, Williamson admitted his distaste for Twilight and how he was determined to keep Vampire Diaries from falling down that rabbit hole.  I have to trust that.

Mia Kirshner has never been hotter.  Her cruelty seems to make her sexier.  The fact that she has a slutty bimbo and a gay cowboy under her power to feed off - physically and sexually - doesn’t hurt, either.  Between her violent vampire foreplay with Damon, her less-than-subtle lesbian innuendos, and Damon’s game of strip poker with Isobel’s female sex toy, Vampire Diaries is officially as steamy as True Blood - they just have less nudity.

Myths Revamped
A little trick that Isobel learned from Damon when looking for a crash pad - always check the foreclosure listings, then go for the nicest place.  In tonight’s episode, she chose a McMansion on a large chunk of property.

Dear Diary
Better than a diary, we get to see a few pages from Emily’s grimoire.  In reading it, Bonnie discovered that the device everyone was after was a powerful weapon.

Blood Lust
Other than Isobel throwing her strength around a little bit, and John getting lightly beaten, this was a pretty bloodless episode.  Lust on the other hand... see above.

Prophecies?
With the season finale next week, and Williamson’s penchant for cliffhangers, I suspect it will be a wickedly engrossing episode with a frustrating end.  Apparently shit will hit the fan.  I can’t wait.

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