'Vampire Diaries' Recap: Episode 8, '162 Candles'

After the shocking events on last week's "The Vampire Diaries" (RIP Vicki, we hardly knew ye), I thought last night's episode was fated to be far less interesting. I have to stop underestimating Kevin Williamson (who had a great chat with MTV.com the other day about how he will NOT hesitate to kill off main characters) and Julie Plec, because clearly, I was so, so wrong. Death by staking two episodes in a row? I never saw it coming.

Yet again, Williamson and Plec introduced us to a sassy young vampire lady who made us laugh, made us cry, then took a sharp wooden stake to the heart. But this time, we were only able to enjoy her presence for a mere episode. The aforementioned sadly departed vampiress, Lexi (Arielle Kebbel), surprised her old friend Stefan (they go back 100 years) for a visit. Turns out, Lexi is the only other person besides Elena who can make him smile. Lexi also got Stefan to admit that he is in love with Elena, though she was freaked out by Elena's resemblance to Katherine — which she noticed when Elena just happened to drop by while Lexi was in her towel, causing some short-lived jealousy on Elena's part. Lexi worked her magic further by having a heart-to-heart with Elena about the fact that her true love was human, and their love was able to overcome the other obstacles (i.e. the whole one's immortal, one's not thing) and be together.

Meanwhile, Damon was up to his usual no-good troublemaking. He delivered Sheriff Forbes a box of vervane — though, I had to wonder, was it actually vervane? From the way Lexi dropped after being injected with it, I think yes, though it seems stupid for him to arm the townspeople just to lead the town council off his trail. He also forced (you know, with his powerful vampire eyes) Caroline to have a party at the Grill (this must be the Icehouse of "The Vampire Diaries"), then killed one half of an unsuspecting teenage couple that was making out in the alley behind the restaurant.

This was all part of Damon's master plan to throw off the scent of the town council, who stepped up their game and got a little bit closer to finding the vampires in town (and I really mean just a fraction closer). Damon manipulated the female half of the unlucky couple to point out Lexi as the vampire who attacked her boyfriend, and the sheriff descended on the unsuspecting Lexi, shot her with a syringe full of what I'm assuming was vervane, and dragged her outside. Lexi managed to regain strength to literally throw off the police holding her (so maybe it wasn't real vervane?), and Damon heroically entered with a stake handy to kill Lexi.

The frustrating thing about Damon is that he's not completely evil. At the end of the episode, Stefan spared Damon's life because Damon had saved his in the past. And when Damon did his stare-y thing to erase Jeremy's memory of Vicki's death, he added a little extra touch: Jeremy's now clean, sober, and a conscientious student. Kind of a nice gesture from someone who really just seems like pure evil.

Bonnie admitted to Elena that she's a witch, and showed off some of her newfound powers. At the end of the episode, she had a strange dream and woke up in the middle of the graveyard. Her side plot seemed like an afterthought to the vampire action, but judging from the previews for next week's show, it's going to be a straight-up witching hour and extremely Bonnie-focused. (We don't really mind that too much though, we've loved our chats with Katerina Graham — especially when we tried to make her choose between Stefan and Damon).

What did you think of last night's show? Were you sad to see another smart female character die, even though she was only around for one episode? How long until Elena and Stefan get back together officially?