TV Review: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 301 - 'The Birthday'


The Vampire Diaries Episode 301

"The Birthday"

Written By: Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec

Directed By: John Behring

Original Airdate: 15 September 2011

In This Episode...

It's still summer in Mystic Falls. Jeremy is working with Matt at The Grill. Bonnie is out of town (but makes her obligatory appearance via video chat with Jeremy). Damon is still with Andi but not-so-secretly in love with Elena. Alaric is barely keeping it together and crashing on Elena's couch. So, in other words, it is status quo.

Stefan and Klaus are crossing the south looking for a werewolf - any werewolf - and leaving a bloody trail in their wake. In Tennessee they find a werewolf by the name of Ray and torture him to gain information on his pack. Sheriff Forbes has been tracking suspicious "animal attacks" and passing them on to Elena, who is desperately hoping to find Stefan. She passes those clues off to Damon, who begrudgingly agrees to follow up on them. In reality, he is pinning them up to A Beautiful Mind-style board he has going on in his closet. He is desperate to find his brother.

It's Elena's birthday: the big 1-8, but Elena is having a hard time enjoying it. It's hard to tell who she misses more: Stefan or Jenna. Caroline throws her a party at the Salvatore house, and it is a rager. The mansion is wall-to-wall kids and everyone is drunk. Damon slips out during the party when Andi texts him, asking him to pick her up at the station. When Damon arrives, he is greeted by Stefan, who was sent by Klaus to tell Damon to leave them alone. Andi calls weakly for help - she is up in the rafters, standing perfectly still at the edge of a catwalk. Stefan has glamoured her into stillness. "You have to let me go," insists Stefan coldly. "I have a birthday girl at home who won't let me do that," explains Damon. So Stefan does what he came to do: he tells Andi she can move. Stefan pins Damon down while Andi plummets to the ground, and doesn't let go until Andi is good and dead. Damon actually looks a little saddened by her death.

Damon returns home and is confronted by Elena, who is angry that he hid all his research from her. Damon is not in the mood for this, so he tells her that he's not tracking Klaus's victims - they are Stefan's. He has flipped the switch, and isn't coming back. "Not in your lifetime, at least." Elena is stunned and hurt. But Stefan hasn't been able to turn off that part of him - he is just doing what he must to keep everyone alive. He calls Elena and though he says nothing, she knows it is him and promises that she will always love him, blah blah blah. It's actually quite touching.

Meanwhile: Caroline and Tyler have become very close. The sexual tension is mounting, but Tyler won't put himself out there again, and Caroline is too scared to do anything. It finally comes to a head at the party. They argue and Caroline finally kisses him. The two beat a hasty retreat back to Tyler's house and have crazy monster sex that was hotter than (almost) anything on True Blood this season. Caroline sneaks out while Tyler sleeps, but Mrs. Lockwood catches her on her walk of shame down the stairs. Caroline tries to stammer out an excuse, but it is just too awkward. She reaches for her purse and is burned. Mrs. Lockwood steps up and shoots her with a bunch of vervane-filled tranquilizer darts.

Also: Jeremy admits to Matt over a joint that he is seeing Vicky. Matt doesn't believe in ghosts (despite living in a town full of vampires, werewolves, and witches). Vicky actually had a message for Jeremy: help me. Alaric moves out of Elena's house, claiming to be a bad houseguest.

Dig It or Bury It?

Not a mind-blowing episode, but a season premiere generally isn't. However, the "cliffhanger" of Mrs. Lockwood attacking Caroline is anything but new or exciting or shocking. She's been out to get vampires for as long as I can remember. On the upside, it was a somber episode that managed not to get too whiney or angsty.

Blood Lust

The episode opens with Stefan killing a couple of girls who were hiding their werewolf buddy, Ray. The kill itself is nothing new - he vamps, he bites, she bleeds, she screams. But when Damon and Alaric show up the next day, following up on that Sheriff Forbes lead. When they arrive at the house, they find the two dead girls arranged in creepy sitting positions on the couch. Damon explains that Stefan is in full Ripper mode. Stefan used to feed so violently that he would rip his victims apart before blacking out. When he would come-to, he would put the bodies back together out of remorse. Damon illustrates this by nudging the blonde with his foot. The body shakes, and her head falls to the floor.

Also of note: Stefan and Klaus's choice form of torture for Ray is by dipping darts into a mixture of wolfsbane and whiskey, and using Ray as a human dartboard. Stefan gets extra credit for glamouring all the bar patrons into not paying attention to them. There are dozens of potential rescuers, but nothing will come of it.

Sibling Rivalry

Well, it doesn't really get any more demented than one brother killing the other's girlfriend in front of him.

Myths Revamped

Ever since changing, both Caroline and Tyler have become very horny. A match made in hell.


Klaus is planning on making an army of vampire/werewolf hybrid slaves. Um, duh - I saw that one coming from last season.