Review

Review

Television Tourniquet: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 1.8

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"162 Candles"
Written By: Barbie Kligman & Gabrielle Stanton
Directed By: Rick Bota
Original Airdate: 5 November 2009

In This Episode…

Stefan's oldest friend, Lexi, pops into town to visit Stefan on his 162nd birthday.  Elena's first meeting with her is at the Salvatore house, Lexi wearing nothing but a towel.  This does not sit well with either girl.  Elena because she is jealous; Lexi because Elena is the spitting image of Catherine.  Later on, at a party at The Grill, Lexi feels Elena's jealousy from across the room and goes to her, reassuring her that she and Stefan have never been romantic and telling her that she can see the true love in Elena's eyes, and not to be scared of Stefan.

Elena is far more comfortable after chatting with Lexi; she even approaches Stefan.  But things are getting out of hand at The Grill.  Damon has some sort of master plan going on.  He has befriended the sheriff so he could keep an eye on their vampire hunting, and Lexi is his patsy.  At the party, Damon slips outside and finds a couple making out in an alley.  He kills the boy, and glamours the girl.  When the sheriff finds her, she is able to ID the attacker: Lexi.  The sheriff shoots Lexi full of vervane (hand delivered from Damon the previous day) and is taken outside.  But being over 300 years old, Lexi is quite powerful and it isn't long before she is able to vamp out and free herself from police restraint.  The sheriff starts shooting at Lexi out of pure desperation, but it is Damon who "saves the day" by staking Lexi.

The sheriff is relaxed now, feeling like the vampire "problem" in Mystic Falls is resolved, and is grateful to Damon.  Stefan is, of course, overwhelmed with rage and sets off to kill him.  Elena begs him not to – for his own sanity.  Stefan finds his brother at home, the two fight, and Stefan stakes him – through the stomach.  Damon had "saved" Stefan's life by throwing the fuzz off their scent, so Stefan chose to spare his brother's life.

Elsewhere: Caroline is manipulated by Damon into getting his crystal back from Bonnie.  When she is unsuccessful, he insults her, calling her shallow, stupid, and useless.  Highly upset, Caroline gets wasted and Matt takes her home.  Bonnie, meanwhile, reveals her new powers to Elena, who is amazed.  But the episode ends with Bonnie having a nightmare that she is running through a forest, being chased, possibly by her ancestor, Emily, who is calling for her.  When Bonnie wakes, she is alone, in her pajamas, in the graveyard.

Dig It or Bury It?

This was an exceptionally soapy episode, with the exception of the last act.  Virtually everything mentioned above took place in the last act.  The rest of the episode was a lot of "where's Vicki?" (everyone accepted she just took off; apparently she had done that before) and "you are soooooo in love with Elena."  The last act was quite dense with action and drama, making a few eye-rolling moments of sappiness totally forgivable.

Dear Diary

Again, no journal writing in this episode (methinks they have dropped the conceit), but Stefan opened up to Lexi like she was his confessor.  He insists that while Elena's identical appearance to Catherine may have been what first drew him to her, she is nothing at all like Catherine – i.e. not a bitch.  According to Stefan, Elena is warm and kind and selfless.  It is then that Lexi diagnoses him as being deeply in love.

Blood Lust

Damon attacks the young lover in the shadows – quite unremarkable.  But Lexi dies in a spectacular staking which lands her exceptionally pale corpse in a massive pool of blood.  I am still a little mystified – and a little disappointed – that the vamps in this show die such human deaths.  That's a CW budget for you.

Myths Revamped

The rings that allow Stefan and Damon to walk in the sunlight are apparently unique to them alone.  No other vampire has one.  I assume we will get more insight into that later in the series.  Lexi also reveals that vampires drink booze because it helps them control their blood cravings – but has the unfortunate side effect of creating many a "lushy vampire."

Prophecies?

Next week we are straying a bit from the vampires and focusing on the witches.  Caroline holds a séance and it would seem that Bonnie is possessed by the angry spirit of her ancestor Emily.  Why is it that multiple supernatural forces always converge on the same place, at the same time?  Some sort of magnetic pull?  Something in the water?  A mystical convention?

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