The Vampire Diaries Episode 508
“Dead Man on Campus”
Written By: Brian Young and Neil Reynolds
Directed By: Rob Hardy
Original Airdate: 21 November 2013
In This Episode...
It is day 14 of Jesse’s “treatments.” Wes gives him some blood via transfusion and he roars to life, breaking through his shackles (“physical strength is an unforeseen side effect”) and sucking the bag of blood dry. Then he turns on Wes.
Bonnie is stoked to be alive again. She gets a kicky new ‘do and Caroline and Elena are throwing a welcome to college / back to life party for her. Elena wants Damon to come and bring Stefan, but Stefan opts out - he is still having nightmarish panic attacks and wants to be alone. Caroline is interrupted from the party planning by a panicked call from Jesse. She arrives just in time to save his roommate from his fangs. Oh, and Jesse’s roommate is Aaron. Elena shows up with their “stash” and the girls give him a quick tutorial on being a vampire. He starts to settle into his new lifestyle.
As the party gets underway, Damon is busy interrogating Wes. He is strapped down to the exam chair and Damon is going through his collection of dangerous diseases. Damon proposes a game: he injects Wes with one disease at a time. If Wes answers his questions correctly, he will give him a sip of his healing vampire blood. If he doesn’t, well, let the diseases ravage him. After lots of “playful” banter, Wes reveals that he has turned Jesse into a new kind of vampire: one that feeds on vampire blood. Monsters feeding on monsters. And once a vampire starts to feed on his own kind, he can’t stop. So it is really, really bad when Jesse and Caroline start making out and he bites her lip.
Jesse leaves the party suddenly and seeks out Wes, still bound in the lab. Damon, having promised Elena to keep Wes alive (Aaron finally opened up and told her his parents died when he was sick, on a camping trip, during which they were “mauled by bears,” - though most likely vampires - and after bouncing around for a number of years, Wes became his legal guardian and is the closest thing to family he has), had just opened up a vein for him. When Jesse gets a sniff, he goes for it, But Damon catches him quickly. “I’m a lot older and a lot stronger,” Damon brags. “Actually, that’s not 100% accurate,” Wes informs him - before Jesse tackles Damon to the floor. The boys fight, and Jesse sinks his fangs into Damon’s neck. Elena appears and tries to talk Jesse down, but that clearly isn’t working so she stakes him - as Caroline comes around the corner. She holds Jesse as he dies, then snidely tells Elena that the old Elena would have given Jesse a chance. Damon is left to clean up the Wes mess. As he puts vials of disease back in the fridge, he sees a pack of Jesse’s blood, identified only by his code number. Damon asks about it; Wes wants to know why he cares. “Because I was 21051.” Wes is surprised: “You were an Augustine vampire?” “I haven’t heard that name in decades. I thought you shut down 60 years ago.” Despite his promise to Elena, Damon decides he is going to kill Wes. Wes has been working on his binds with a hidden scalpel, and he is free now. Damon rushes to him, but Wes is faster - to the emergency button. Atomized vervain pours from what in normal labs would be fire sprinklers, and Damon passes. “When working with vampires, you can never be too careful.” He wakes in a tiny dungeon-like prison cell... a cell he had been in before, marked with his initials.
Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan is getting drunk at the Grill. Katherine is doing the same, but she has half a bottle of bourbon on him. (Matt agreed to keep serving her when she translated the possession video of him.) Stefan doesn’t really want to talk when Katherine sits with him, but he eventually does. She diagnoses him with PTSD and offers to help, but Stefan is instantly wary and wants to know what she wants in return. Katherine is hurt - she knows a little something about PTSD and for once she was trying to be selfless. Stefan apologizes, but is interrupted by Nadia. Katherine begrudgingly introduce her as her daughter.
Katherine, Nadia, and Stefan go into the back room, and Matt follows with the dagger he found from Gregor. Nadia summons Gregor, and Katherine begins the interrogation. Gregor is in town for Silas. Katherine pulls out the dagger, and Gregor admits he was there to kill Katherine - it is, apparently, what the Travelers want. This surprises Nadia, but not Katherine (Nadia’s paternal grandfather was a Traveler) and Katherine stabs Gregor/Matt with the dagger. The dagger is the only thing that will truly kill a Traveler; Matt will be fine.
Afterwards, Stefan is fall-down drunk and having severe flashbacks. He goes outside for air, but can’t calm down. Katherine follows, tries to talk him down, but he freaks and starts choking her. She continues to try, forcing him to name the first person he ever killed... then the second... and the next one and the next one. She uses the same trick - it gives back control and forces the mind to focus. It works on Stefan, and he releases her. Nadia comes out, mad that mommy killed her boyfriend, and storms away. Back in the bar, Stefan settles up the tab and he sees a note, addressed to Nadia. It is from Katherine, a suicide note. Katherine, meanwhile, is up on the clock tower, trying to summon the courage to jump. After 500 years on the run, she can’t escape her past, and the future is catching up with her far too quickly. She jumps, and lands hard - but she isn’t dead. As is to be expected, Stefan swoops in and catches her at the last minute. But rather than a sappy “we’re buddies now” moment, Stefan reminds her that she is Katherine Pierce - so suck it up.
Let’s finish up with Bonnie and Jeremy. Bonnie is happily making out with Jeremy on the quad when she sees a strange old woman is staring at her. She approaches, and the woman grabs Bonnie’s wrists and passes through her. Bonnie later sees the old lady at the party. Now that she has crossed over, she thanks Bonnie for being a “friendly face” and tells her it is peaceful on the other side. Jeremy interrupts and spirits her away to a hotel room so they can finally sleep together. They are getting into it when she freezes - she sees Jesse. He is scared and doesn’t want this, but he touches Bonnie and passes through her. She doubles over, worrying Jeremy. He is annoyed she didn’t tell him that she is the anchor now, but assures him it is fine, any consequence is worth being with him.
Dig It or Bury It?
The whole “Damon being part of the Augustine vampire whatever” felt a little tacked on, didn’t it? Like, “hmm, we are losing steam on this Augustine thing - but wait!” I think it is because in all the history that we know of Damon, being a lab rat never came up. Ever. Wasn’t even hinted at. I understand that the writers probably didn’t think of the Augustine vampires until this season, but it still felt sudden. And awkward. I’m sure it will be fine and all play out beautifully... but wow. Jarring.
I am also waiting for some more background on the Travelers and how they hooked up with Nadia. What did Nadia do to make herself immortal? Was it the Travelers? Are the Travelers after Katherine because her baby-daddy was a traveler - are they looking for some kind of payback?
Bad, bad shit is going to happen to Damon. It is creepy to see him so powerless.