It's amazing what a pair of fangs can do for a character. Caroline has gone from being completely irritating (to me, anyway) to actually being likable. Craziness. And since I now find Bonnie completely irritating, it's a good thing that Caroline has improved (every show gets a free pass on one--but only one--annoying character, preferably fewer).
"Bad Moon Rising" ended up being a pretty decent episode. There's action, intrigue, romance, magic--even a little bondage. All this and vampires? No wonder this show is so popular. But I digress. The episode picks up the threads from last week, with Damon, Stefan, and Elena enlisting Alaric to help figure out what's up with the Lockwoods. While Stefan stays behind to continue keeping an eye on neonate Caroline, the others take a road trip to North Carolina to search Isobel's office at Duke, where they hope she might have recorded something that could be of use to them.
Damon spends most of the time trying to chip away at Elena's "wall of hatred." He insists he saw the ring on Jeremy's hand before he broke his neck. But although she saved Damon from burning alive, that seems to have been the extent of Elena's amity toward him. Now she's cold and intolerant, yet still manages to lecture him (without any trace of irony) on the proper behaviour of friends (they don't manipulate--they help, apparently). Even taking a crossbow in the back for her (courtesy of a freaked out grad student who believes in staking first and asking questions later) isn't enough to soften Elena.
At least they find out a few things about werewolves: legend is weres can't control the change, which happens during the full moon; vampires are a were's favourite prey; and the weres were nearly hunted to extinction by vampires, probably because a were's bite is fatal to vamps. That's the first I've ever heard of that last bit, so it looks like TVD is getting creative with their mythology. I'm still trying to decide what I think of it.
Interestingly, Elena asks the grad student (Vanessa, played by Courtney Ford, Dexter) if Isobel ever wrote anything about doppelgangers. She didn't but Vanessa tells Elena that doppelgangers are known for tormenting the people they look like, trying to undo their lives. Fun! But since doppelgangers have been so overtly mentioned now, it seems unlikely that that's what Katherine is. But maybe it'll be something along those lines. Or maybe they're clones!
Unfortunately, Elena can't find anything else on Katherine that they didn't already know. But wait--in an effort to start regaining Elena's friendship, Damon sneaks out a book for her. It's labelled "Petrova," which turns out to have been Katherine's original family name back when she was Katarina living in Russia. Can't wait to find out all the juicy secrets (hey--maybe Katherine got hold of Nikola Tesla's copying machine from The Prestige! There could be a thousand Katherines running around. What? It's possible...)
Anyway, back in Mystic Falls, Ty, suspicious of Mason, follows him to what turns out to be the ruins of the original Lockwood estate before it burned down. All that's left are some cellars with chains--and deep gouges--embedded in the walls, where it seems slaves used to be kept. But rather than pursue the mystery of his uncle's odd and evasive behaviour, Ty instead decides to have the gang over for a party at the old swimming hole near the ruins. Teenagers.
Speaking of, Caroline and Matt are both frustrated as he tries in vain to get in touch with her, while she's being kept prisoner indoors by the sun. Stefan eventually convinces Bonnie to try Emily's spell for making "daywalking" rings. After much moralizing, threats, and sulking (over her magical abilities being doubted after some highly underwhelming spellwork), Bonnie finally gives Caroline her very own magic ring. But apparently as soon as Caroline steps out of line, Bonnie will break the spell. I'm amazed none of the vampires have drained her, the way she keeps threatening them and lighting them on fire and such (maybe Katherine will get around to it).
Stefan spends some time teaching Caroline how to hunt in the woods, a facet of vampirehood she's not too impressed with. And why exactly is he killing and feeding on bunnies? Why not just grab a deer, have a drink, and let it go no worse for wear? Or, follow Angel and Spike's example and go pick up some cow's blood from the butcher. Or find some nice goth kids willing to bleed for the ultimate cred. Whatever. Killing bunnies is not cool. Just saying. I like bunnies. It seems Caroline does too but she forgets about them pretty quickly when she finally gets to hang out with everyone else at the swimming hole. Too bad Matt's in a mood (not only has Caroline been ignoring him all day, but she got possessive when she saw another girl--Amy--talking to him). Vampire Caroline just can't catch a break.
After insisting the group clear out of the area before dark (to avoid anyone getting hurt, which isn't exactly untrue), Mason starts securing himself with chains in the cellar. Of course, kids are known to occasionally disobey their elders and, sure enough, Ty leads Amy (compelled by Caroline) down into the cellars for some private time (is it just me or is it incredibly tacky to take a black girl in the South into an old slave holding cell/dungeon for some quality making-out time? That's just so very wrong.) Anyway, Mason hears them coming and manages to get away unseen, locking himself into his truck in desperation. We get to hear the transformation and it does not sound like fun.
While this is going on, Elena calls Stefan and tells him what they've found out. As Stefan hangs up and goes looking for Caroline (who has, by this time, made up and sneaked off with Matt), he's suddenly distracted by loud growls. Investigating Stefan comes face to face with the werewolf locked in Mason's truck. A moment later the wolf jumps through the back window and takes off. Stefan realizes he and Caroline need to get out of there ASAP. Lucky for Matt, Stefan finds him and Caroline just before she kills him in a blood-induced frenzy. That girl's got some self-control issues. Stefan decides that they should run in order to lead the wolf after them and away from Matt (sure, that's his plan...to protect Matt...)
As they're running, wolf close behind, they come across Ty. Surprised to see one another out in the woods after everyone else has left, they all pause for a moment. And then the were pounces on Caroline. I was sure that was it for her (and why shouldn't they kill her off now that I actually like her?) But Stefan gets the were's attention long enough for Ty's big contribution (he shouts "no!" at it). The wolf actually backs down and walks away. So it seems weres still have some presence of mind when in wolf form. Later, back at Mason's truck, Ty is suddenly confronted by his dirt-covered (and naked) uncle. Ignoring the creep factor, Ty realizes now what Mason is, and Mason finally admits to it...
Caroline is having a realization of her own. After compelling Matt into thinking an animal attacked him she talks to Stefan about how bad they (vampires) are for the humans they love. Stefan agrees that the humans would be better off without them, but it's not exactly easy to walk away from love. It seems pretty clear that Caroline is giving in to her feelings for Matt, but then she throws us for a loop. When Caroline arrives at The Grill to meet up with Matt and sees Amy talking to him she commits what is probably the only unselfish act of her life. She brings on the drama, making a scene and playing up the jealous girlfriend role. Matt has had enough and breaks up with her (a little too easily for someone who was declaring his love the night before, methinks). But getting Matt to break up with her frees him and forces Caroline to keep away, thus ensuring his safety. (If I were her I'd shack up with the Salvatores for some cold comfort.)
Damon could probably use some consoling. After getting back to Mystic Falls, he's still trying to win back Elena. Ignoring his efforts she asks him outright if he knew about the ring when he killed Jeremy. Damon admits he didn't. He claims he was upset and just snapped, and he wouldn't have known what he would have done if Jeremy hadn't come back. He apologizes and it's obvious he means it. Elena thanks him for his honesty then tells him that yes--he has lost her forever. As if that's not bad enough, Damon realizes she's known that they were through all along but she's been using him in order to get information on Katherine. Elena is unapologetic. Damon throws the line about friends not manipulating each other back in her face before walking away. Never mind that she just said they weren't friends anymore--the poor guy's got a broken heart--I'm not about to nitpick.
I have to say, I'm a pathetic sucker for a brokenhearted bad boy. It's some kind of biological flaw most women seem predisposed to (someone should write a thesis). But if I were Elena I'd be running after Damon and doing whatever I could to make it up to him. It's probably a good thing I'm not Elena. (And amazingly, I actually have a healthy relationship in real life. Go figure...)
The end of the episode brings us the return of Katherine. Once again she wakes Caroline from a deep sleep (talk about weird fetishes). I guess she's decided that Stefan shouldn't be the only role model in her creation's life (actually, it's Damon's blood that turned Caroline after Katherine killed her, and then Stefan's been mentoring her. It really does take a village to raise a vampire!) When Caroline is terrified at the sight of her, Katherine tells her not to be afraid: "We're going to have so much fun."
I don't know if I'm going to like Caroline more or less as Katherine's protege but I have the feeling the show's really about to get interesting.
Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark eyes and facial veins and sharp, prominent fangs.
Strengths: Some vampires (at this point pretty much all of them) have magically charged rings that protect them from sunlight. Super speed, strength. Fast healing. Ability to compel (hypnotize) puny humans.
Weaknesses: Sunlight, wooden stakes/crossbows, vervain, blood lust. Werewolves?
Mythology: Legend has it that a werewolf's bite is fatal to vampires.
Damon: If this Wolf-man thing is true; I've seen enough movies to know it's not good. It means Mason Lockwood is a real-life Lon Chaney, and that little Tyler punk may just well be Lon Chaney Jr., which means Bela Lugosi, meaning me, is totally screwed.
Caroline: Do you really think I meant to kill that guy at the carnival?
Bonnie: He's still dead.
Damon: [after discovering Elena's betrayal] You and Katherine have a lot more in common than just your looks.
The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 3 "Bad Moon Rising." Written by Andrew Chambliss. Directed by Patrick R. Norris. From The CW.