16 February 2010

The Vampire Diaries S1 E14 "Fool Me Once"

Spoilers Ahead

Okay, don't take this as any kind of endorsement, but after watching "Fool Me Once" I had my first Vampire Diaries dream. I'll just say that it involved Damon and, as a pleasant bonus, Spike from Buffy. Hey--I can't help what my subconscious comes up with. No, really.

I have no idea what Elayna was dreaming about when she woke up in a motel (after being kidnapped by Anna in "Children of the Damned"). Maybe she was dreaming about not having to participate in cliché plot devices involving "sleeping" guards and a so-close-yet-so-far escape attempt. Unfortunately, that's exactly what she has to contend with when she does wake up. In this case the apparently unconscious guard is Ben, and he swoops in just in time to keep Elayna from slipping out the door. He then attempts to compel her not to leave and she pretends to go along with it (she's protected by vervain), almost getting away again. Alas, Anna happens to be right there when Elayna opens the door and catches our hapless heroine again. No escape for Elayna. Instead she gets locked in the bathroom, where she finds Bonnie passed out in the tub.

Stefan, meanwhile, is in a panic. Somehow he seems less concerned that Elayna might die than that she might die and come back as a vampire (she still has Damon's blood in her system). Not really sure what his worry is--it can't be that bad to be undead. And to paraphrase Damon, at least he'll see her again. Stefan begs Damon to help him find Elayna, but Damon is more interested in the grimoire than in anything Stefan has to say. Stefan even offers an earnest apology for what he did to Katherine, which Damon calmly accepts before telling Stefan he hopes Elayna dies. Like anyone really buys that. Sounds cool, though.

In need of a witch, Damon stops by Bonnie's grandmother's house looking for Bonnie. Gram knows who he is and isn't exactly impressed. When she proves less than welcoming, Damon taunts her to come outside. Suddenly he's doubled over, clutching at his head. Gram steps onto the porch and lets him know she's not a witch with whom to mess. I've got to say--I think the witches have one up on the vampires in this show. Makes me wonder how Emily ever let herself be burned at the stake.

Speaking of earnest apologies, Anna and Elayna have a heart to heart. Anna tells Elayna that she doesn't care about Katherine--that the only one interested in seeing her again is Damon. She claims she only wants her mother back. Elayna then apologizes for what Johnathon Gilbert did to Pearl. Anna's about as impressed with Elayna's apology as Damon was with Stefan's. Man, vampires can hold grudges.

After Anna leaves to meet with Stefan, we're treated to our third failed escape attempt. Dousing Ben's arm with liquid, Bonnie uses her powers to set him on fire. She makes it out the door, but--big surprise--Ben puts the flames out quickly and Elayna gets caught. Bonnie comes back inside and locks the door as told. Is anyone else wondering why she decided to set his arm on fire instead of, say, his face? I'm starting to think these girls don't really want to get away. Must be Ben's newbie vamp charms.

Back to Anna, her meeting with Stefan becomes a meeting with Damon when the latter shows up instead of the former. Damon's not interested in working out a deal with Anna--until she suggests she might just kill Elayna. And suddenly Damon cares again (told you no one bought his indifference). Anna smirks that it's just like 1864 all over again, and they agree to meet at the church that night.

Instead of meeting with Anna, it turns out Stefan paid a visit to Gram, who then used a locating spell to find Bonnie and Elayna. He announces his arrival at the motel by kicking in the door in a manly fashion. While Ben cowers from the sun, the girls run outside, and Stefan warns Ben to get out of town by sundown...or else. Then he moseys on down to the saloon for a shot of whiskey and...oops--sorry--got confused for a minute there.

Anyway, after the girls are rescued, Gram says she'll open the tomb so that Damon can get Katherine, but the rest of the vampires are to be killed. She believes all the craziness will end once Damon gets his girlfriend back and the rest of the vamps are gone. Elayna figures out how to get Damon on board, claiming he's not angry--he's just hurt.

Once again, I have to interject. I like Damon as a character (obviously)--he makes a good vampire aka bloodsucking monster. He gets the best lines. He's got pretty, pretty eyes. But this whole thing about excusing his murderous tendencies because he's been hurt...sorry, but I (and I'm sure many of you) have been hurt tremendously by the jerks of the world and never once have I thought "You know what? A little homicide will make me feel loads better." Maybe if Damon had shown some remorse, or made an effort to redeem himself in some way, I could buy this "he's really a good person underneath it all" line of reasoning. But he hasn't--not yet, anyway. So writers--do us all a favour and give us a real reason to believe Damon is an okay guy. It's called character development--look into it.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, I promise the rest of this post will be rant free. Maybe. Anyway, Elayna finally convinces Damon to trust her and the group by taking off her vervain necklace and inviting him to compel her. Interesting strategy. He refuses, telling her as he replaces the necklace around her neck not to make him regret trusting her.

At the church that night, Bonnie and Gram get with the chanting and the tomb is soon open. Stefan takes off to get the gasoline for the vamp bonfire, while Damon takes Elena into the tomb as protection against being shut in. Anna arrives soon after (leaving Ben and an unconscious Jeremy outside to distract Stefan) and follows Damon inside. Bonnie is upset that Gram let Anna in, but Gram calmly replies that none of the vampires are coming out again. It turns out breaking the seal that let the vampires in doesn't mean the seal that lets them out is also broken. Crafty. And hey--Damon can finally be with Katherine forever. Too bad it doesn't quite work out that way.

Inside the tomb, Damon abandons Elayna in the dark as he desperately seeks out Katherine. Lost and freaked, Elena can't find him or her way out (*cough*useless*cough*). It doesn't take long for Anna to find Elayna and then Pearl, though, and she decided a long time ago that she would bring her mother back with Gilbert blood (someone should have told her Elayna isn't technically a Gilbert).

My regard for Stefan goes way up when, as Ben indulges in some macho chest-pounding, he decides to dispatch the arrogant idiot with a flame thrower. Nice. And efficient! When Stefan returns to the church, Gram warns him that he can't go into the tomb. Then Elayna screams and he runs into the tomb. And my regard returns to its normal level of meh. Stefan finds Elayna and they run back, but like a roach motel--the vampires get in but they can't get out. Bonnie decides she can't leave Stefan trapped inside, so she and Gram set to work to fully break the seal.

Damon, meanwhile, has discovered--and this one surprised even me--that Katherine isn't in the tomb. Infuriated, he screams and throws the bag of plasma he brought for Katherine against the wall. He really loses it, not even hearing Stefan as his brother tries to urge him to get the hell out while the seal is down. As the witches struggle to keep the spell going, and Anna escapes with her mother, Elayna runs back in and this time manages to find Damon instantly. She finally gets through to him, probably in no small part because the dim lighting in the tomb makes her look like a living copy of Katherine's photo. They make it out of the tomb just in time and there's a nice shot of Damon, his face hidden in shadow. It is hard not to feel sorry for him at that moment. I guess that's Elayna's logic as she hugs him and tells him she's sorry. Stefan seems to be thinking something else as he watches them.

Later, as Anna and Pearl return to the motel, they turn on the light and find Damon sitting there looking pissed. He accuses them of knowing all along that Katherine wasn't in the tomb. Anna doesn't deny it, replying that he wouldn't have helped her if he'd known the truth. Damon's hand latches on to a barely revived Pearl's throat, and she chokes out that at the last minute Katherine bribed a guard who was obsessed with her "like everybody else." Anna tells Damon that the last time she saw Katherine was in 1983 in Chicago, and that Katherine knows where Damon is--she just doesn't care. Damon is one broken vamp.

Continuing the pattern of killing off the characters I'm most fond of, Gram lies down and doesn't get up again. Apparently the effort of the spells was too much for her. Bonnie is suitably distressed, as am I. But you know teen shows--can't have too many authority figures getting in the way. Guess it's up to Bonnie now to become uber-witch of the family.

Oh, and that plasma bag Damon threw against the wall? The splatters make their way to the desiccated vampire underneath, reviving him. He gets up and shuffles to the tomb's entrance, somehow managing to open a gap in the stone wall. This is where I get lost. I was positive Gram said they'd only be able to keep the seal open temporarily. So did I make a mistake or is this a huge hole someone didn't notice? Did the seal come down when Gram died? I couldn't even properly tell if the revived vampire actually made it out of the tomb or was just standing in the doorway. If anyone else has a better grasp of what happened, feel free to let me in on it; otherwise, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

In the lesser storylines of "Fool Me Once" Jeremy keeps fairly busy, although he doesn't really do much. There's a reminder of the ongoing tension between him and Ty Lockwood. We get a bit of insight into Jeremy's lonely, friendless life, and how much Anna's creepy stalker presence actually means to him. He gets smoochy with Anna, bringing the vampire out of her (ooohh--she likes him). Then he gets knocked out and threatened by Ben. Finally, he pretends he doesn't remember a thing when Elayna asks, but as soon as she leaves he's googling real-life vampires. Way to go, Jeremy--seek out your purpose in this show.

Oh, and Caroline and Matt spend the episode trying to decide if they really want to be in a relationship with each other. Exciting!

So, overall this episode wasn't too bad. Things were taken in an unexpected direction, and Damon now gets a chance to hone his brooding skills (can't leave all the fun for Stefan). It seems as though a decent love triangle is in the works, and who knows--we might even get to see Katherine's return to Mystic Falls. Maybe Caroline and Matt will even live happily ever after. It's a beautiful day in TV land.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark, red-rimmed eyes and dark facial veins. Starved vampires look like dried-out zombies with red eyes.

Strengths: super speed; super strength; the ability to compel/hypnotize humans.

Weaknesses: Vervain. Sunlight. Fire. Magics.

Mythology: Most vampires can't go out during the day, but a few are protected by witchcraft and can tolerate the sun. In order to turn a human into a vampire, the human must first consume vampire blood and then die with the blood in their system (i.e., within a day or two). Vampires need an invitation into a private residence.

Sound Bites

Damon: (to Stefan) I mean this sincerely: I hope Elayna dies.

Elayna: Is there anything to drink here?
Ben: Are you offering?

Damon: (Greeting Stefan, Bonnie, and Gram) Brother. Witches.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 1 Episode 14 "Fool Me Once." Written by Brett Conrad. Directed by Marcos Siega. From The CW.

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