Review

Review

Television Tourniquet: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 1.3

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The Vampire Diaries Episode 1.3
"Friday Night Bites"
Written By: Barbie Kligman & Bryan M. Holdman
Directed By: John Dahl
Original Airdate: 24 September 2009

In This Episode…
While hanging out in the quad, an errant football thrown between Tyler and Matt flies towards the back of Stefan’s head.  With supernatural precision (imagine that), he spins around, catches the ball, and makes an amazing throw.  Elena encourages him to try out for the team.  Stefan isn't sure – he recently got into a pissing match with the history teacher/football coach over who can remember the most dates in history.  Stefan won.  But Elena is a cheerleader, and she is supposed to date a football player.  Isn't that the American dream?

Elena is upset that her best friend and her boyfriend aren’t connecting, so she has Bonnie and Stefan over for dinner.  Things are tense, until Elena brings up Bonnie's history of witchcraft, and Stefan shows genuine interest.  Things get hinky again when Caroline and Damon show up, unannounced and uninvited.  Though Stefan tries to stop it, Elena invites Damon into her home.  This does give Damon and Elena a chance to "bond" – she asks about Stefan's beloved Catherine (died in a fire), and which brother dated her first (depends on who you ask).  Later that night, Elena has an unwelcomed sex dream about Damon.  A black crow is sitting on her windowsill when she wakes.

Spurred in part by Damon, Elena decides to quit cheerleading, just as Stefan makes the football team.  Also spurred by Damon, Stefan gives Elena an antique pendant for protection.  That night before the game, Tyler and Jeremy get into a big fight – Tyler is winning.  Stefan zips in and breaks the two up, but Jeremy grabs a broken bottle and attacks again.  He misses Tyler and slices Stefan’s hand wide open.  Elena is worried about Stefan – but even more worried when moments later, his hand appears fully healed.  He insists that the blood on his hand was Tyler’s, and that the bottle missed him.  Elena is confused.

The game starts, and Elena goes to her car, where she is surprised by Damon.  He offers playful banter about how he is avoiding Caroline, which irks longtime friend Elena.  He then tries to glamour Elena into kissing him.  All that results is her slapping him and storming off.  "I am not Catherine!"

Damon is pissed off at his little brother, both for embracing his humanity and for giving Elena the pendant which protects her from his power.  But Stefan proves Damon has humanity: he loved Catherine, and he hates Stefan for loving her as well.  Enraged, Damon attacks the nearest human – the football coach – to prove he has cojones.  Matt finds the body just after the game, and to Bonnie’s horror, she realizes the visions she has been obsessed with the last two days were hinting at the coach’s murder.

Dig It or Bury It?
I really hate to admit it, but I am totally getting sucked into The Vampire Diaries.  Sure it can be a little melodramatic, what with Jeremy and Vicki’s love/hate relationship and Tyler's 'roid rage.  I didn’t enjoy that drama when I was in high school; I certainly don’t enjoy it now.  But other than Stefan and Jeremy, the characters aren't terribly mopey, which makes their mopiness totally bearable.  I am really enjoying Bonnie’s witchery develop – it adds an extra spook factor without resorting to the werewolf cliché.

Dear Diary
Elena doesn’t write in her journal tonight, but Stefan does.  First to say that he is determined to discover Damon’s inner humanity; then, after he attacks the football coach just to prove he can, Stefan realizes that he was wrong, that his brother truly is a monster.

Blood Lust
Damon’s attack on the coach was quite violent for a CW teen drama.  When he finishes, his face is covered in blood (and I swear I saw bits of flesh), his eyes are wild and bloodshot, his fangs seem particularly pointy.  It was surprisingly horrific.  And when Stefan’s hand is sliced open, I was quite surprised at the river of blood pouring out.

Prophecies?
Next week, Elena and Stefan go on their first real date: to a high school dance.  I can think of nothing more romantic than watery punch and limp paper streamers desperately trying to hide the peeling paint and rickety basketball hoops of the school gym.  And people finally start to notice that Caroline is covered in bite marks – and not those made by mosquitoes.

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