Quick Take: The Vampire Diaries, "The Birthday"
Elena turns 18, Caroline and Tyler get their supernatural on, and Stefan unleashes his inner-Ripper.
Review: The Vampire Diaries, "The Birthday"
(S0301) Welcome back to Mystic Falls. Home to vampires, werewolves, and if the third season premiere is any indication, an army of vampire/werewolf hybrids.
But more on that later. The episode opens in Tennessee with some random girl wandering around outside calling for her wayward pooch. But who shows up instead? Klaus. After some chit chat about a broken down car, Klaus quickly ends up in the woman's house where we meet random girl number two. Turns out Klaus is looking for a guy by the name of Ray (OMG, It's Simon from 7th Heaven!), but Ray's not home, and unfortunately for the two girls, Klaus isn't leaving any loose ends behind. So he instructs Stefan to kill them both; one quickly the other one slowly.
Back in Mystic Falls it's Elena's eighteenth birthday, but Ms. Gilbert isn't in the partying mood. It's been about two months since Stefan made the deal to save Damon and he hasn't been seen or heard from since. We quickly learn that Alaric has been crashing on the couch, Jeremy has found a job at the Grill, and Caroline and Matt are dunzo. And oh yeah, Damon likes bubble baths.
Not ready to give up on the soulful Salvatore brother, Operation Save Stefan is in full swing, with even Andie and Sheriff Forbes helping out. After Caroline passes on a tip to Elena, who then passes it on to Damon, my favorite bromance sets out on a road trip to investigate Stefan's last whereabouts. That's when Damon and Alaric discover what a naughty boy our sweet Stefan has become. Here we learn a little bit about Stefan's 'Ripper' past. Apparently he used to go crazy with bloodlust and tear his victims apart, but once he was done he'd be filled with remorse and piece his snacks back together again.
Meanwhile, Jeremy continues to be haunted by the ghosts of his dead vampire ex-girlfriends. When the lights start flickering in the storage room, that's Vicki's cue to appear. Anna also pops up briefly before Moody Matt interrupts and asks Jeremy to take over his section because he's trying to avoid Caroline who's outside eating with Tyler, who is NOT her boyfriend. Poor Matt. He's finally out of the dark with regards to the town's vampire population and he's still not happy.
Over at casa de Salvatore we find Elena prepping for her birthday party. Even though she requested a small soiree, with Caroline doing the planning you just know it's going to be big, boozy, and fabulous. Then we learn that Tyler totally can't keep a secret when he blurts out that Elena and Damon kissed (resulting in the most adorable scolding from Caroline) so Damon clearly has feelings for her. Elena says she only kissed Damon because she thought that he was dying. They're just friends. Plus Damon is still seeing/compelling Andie, so everyone's otherwise attached...for now.
Following their lead from the two random girls Stefan killed, Klaus and Stefan happen upon Ray in a bar and begin a fun little game called Truth or Wolfsbayne. Klaus wants Ray to give up the whereabouts of his pack (which he eventually does), so that he can create his own little vampwolf army. But before Klaus can get any information from Ray, he finds out the Damon is getting closer to tracking down Stefan. Klaus doesn't like this and immediately plans for Damon's demise. Stefan swiftly steps in and assures Klaus that he will handle Damon. Naturally Klaus is a bit skeptical, but Stefan convinces him that he'll return, putting his game of werewolf darts on pause.
After a sweet moment between Elena and Damon where he gives her back her once-thought-to-be missing necklace, the two join the party downstairs. And boy is it a party! Keg stands, tons of anonymous faces, and a stoner den, oh my! So much for Elena's small intimate birthday gathering. Over in said stoner den, Matt and Jeremy get their smoke on. After Elena finds Jeremy reverting back to his druggie ways she takes her underage-drinking butt to Alaric and asks him to have a talk with her brother. As the only adult chaperone at party filled with underage drinking and drug use, Alaric has an epiphany of sorts and begins mentally reevaluating his place in this group of people.
The only person missing from Elena's party is Andie, but that's only because she had to finish the ten o'clock news. We find her alone at the station, ready to leave, when someone begins to taunt her with super bright spotlights. Sensing some kind of danger, Andie makes a break for the exit only to find Stefan blocking her path. Relieved, she tells Stefan they've been looking all over for him and asks him where he's been. Stefan replies with his new signature 'Ripper' stare. At this point it does not look good for Andie.
Back at the party Elena walks in on Caroline and Tyler...oops, not yet. Actually it's just Caroline trying to enjoy her blood bag in peace after she told Tyler's date to scram. It's then that Elena stumbles upon Damon's collection of evidence - think maps, newspaper clippings, etc. She realizes that Damon's been looking for Stefan without her, and she's a little upset. So she calls Damon, but he's already gone to the station to pick up Andie, who texted and said she needed a ride. You see where this is going, right?
Damon arrives at the empty station where he's greeted by Stefan. "Hello brother," he says in his best season one Damon way. The roles have clearly reversed at this point, especially once Andie reveals herself above them, compelled by Stefan not to move. Damon does his best to soothe her, but even we know that Andie is doomed. When Stefan finally gives her the go-ahead to move, he slams Damon into the wall, preventing him from saving Andie, driving home the message that Damon needs to let him go.
Flash back to Elena's party where Matt is wandering around the parking lot looking for his truck. Jeremy, seeing his predicament, offers him a ride home. Cleary an advocate for sober driving, Vicki and Anna make another appearance prompting Jeremy to suggest they walk instead. Before Vicki vanished she asked Jeremy for help. With what, we don't know...yet. But the ghostly encounter proved to be great timing for Matt who got to miss his ex and his former best friend lock lips. Before the big kiss we learned that Tyler already approached Caroline about becoming an item, but she turned him down. Not wanting to look like a fool and get rejected twice, he told Caroline she would have to initiate the relationship, and boy did she ever! The two quickly gathered their things and took off for Tyler's place.
Craving the munchies, Matt and Jeremy hit up the fridge back at the Gilbert house and Jeremy confesses to Matt that ever since he's come back from the dead (the second time), he's been seeing things...like Vicki. Matt goes into how he sees her all the time too, probably because he misses her so much. Yeah Matt, first that's not really what Jeremy means, and second, "Awww!" Matt eventually leaves with a tub of ice cream.
Elena and Damon eventually have it out about his secret-keeping. As you can imagine, Damon's not really in the mood to talk, especially about Stefan. When Elena asks him why he hasn't been telling her about Klaus's trail of destruction, Damon tells her that Klaus isn't responsible, Stefan is. He's flipped the switch and gone full blown ripper. Elena doesn't want to believe it and goes, leaving Damon to go crazy in Stefan's room, throwing items and breaking things. He's grieving not only for Andie, but for the brother he's lost too.
Stefan returns to the bar where Klaus has clearly had some fun with poor Ray. The werewolf has finally given up the information about his pack, but Klaus isn't done with him yet. First he feeds him his blood, and then he snaps his neck. That puts the werevamp tally at two - Klaus and Ray. Stefan assures Klaus that Damon won't be a problem anymore and he steps outside where he calls Elena. Elena answers the phone, but Stefan doesn't say a word. It doesn't matter though, because she knows it's him. He listens, tears in his eyes, a look of complete anguish on his face, as Elena tells him that she loves him and that he needs to hold on to that. Paul Wesley has done amazing work in this premiere and I can't wait to see where the rest of the season takes Stefan.
Over at the Lockwood mansion, Caroline is in the middle of her walk of shame when Tyler's mom catches her trying to leave. Caroline awkwardly tries to explain her exit, thinks better of it, and turns to grab her purse. But there's a problem. Turns out Mama Lockwood sprayed Caroline's bag with vervain causing her to recoil in pain. Then Mrs. Lockwood pumps vervain darts into Caroline's back. Guess that'll teach Caroline to have sex with her son under her roof!
So that was the premiere folks. Did you love it? Anything shock you this time around? And will poor Caroline ever catch a break?