by Ryan J. Downey
We never take this job for granted. No matter how many times Hollywood Crush gets invited to screen an episode "The Vampire Diaries" a day early on The CW lot, followed by a juicy Q&A with passionate, articulate and always engaging show-runner Julie Plec (and sometimes, a few cast-members), it never gets old. And tonight's "Dangerous Liaisons" is one of the steamiest episodes of "The Vampire Diaries" in history (complete with a brand new hookup) while alternately one of the series most mythology-rich episodes, balancing the ever-deepening story of the Originals against the backdrop of the burning love triangle long at the show's center.
I mean, we could keep going to these screenings at least as long as most of the Originals were locked in those caskets.
Have you been missing that Damon Salvatore from the pilot now that he's become a bit gooey over Elena? Tonight will offer a glimpse at a possible return, which is all the more delicious now that we know so many different sides to big bad Mr. D. For all of the violence perpetrated by vampires, werewolves, witches, hybrids and other supernatural characters on this show, it's some words from Elena that are weaponized tonight. Damon, making himself his most vulnerable yet, gets a verbal staking that sends him over the edge.
We won't give too much away, but there are plenty of tidbits worth teasing about. We've been obsessing on them since late afternoon yesterday and we can barely contain our enthusiasm for what we saw. For starters, "Dangerous Liaisons" features one of the more elaborate set pieces we've seen on "The Vampire Diaries": a champagne and waltz fueled ball full of Mystic Falls VIPs at the newly renovated mansion belonging to Klaus and the rest of the family of Originals, who we learn share the last name of Mikaelson.
So many cool moments with the Originals tonight. These characters are so cool, they could easily carry their own spinoff. Julie would consider that idea, but it isn't up to her. "We love these characters so much and we have a lot of stories to tell for them," she said. "It's really more a matter of somebody else's desire to give them their own forum more than our desire to write for them."
Big bad Mama Original Esther, free from her magically sealed coffin, has organized the town ball to create an opportunity to chat with Elena. Neither Salvatore wants her to go, and yet both Stefan and Damon (in tuxedos, no less) end up on her arms. Caroline is there as well, having received not only an invitation but a fancy dress and bracelet from none other than ole' Niklaus himself. Julie called this maneuver a "Cinderella-like seduction," as Klaus reveals that he fancies the one and only Miss Mystic Falls. Tyler, who appears only via voicemail, is off trying to break his sire bond, which leaves his hybrid master room to try to put moves on his girlfriend in his absence!
What's Esther's masterplan? Is she really siding with Klaus, or will she be a "weapon" to destroy him as our heroes have hoped? And then there's Elijah, who (according to Rebekah) may be looking to make that Elena-Stefan-Damon triangle into a rectangle. Not only does "Dangerous Liaisons" reveal a softer side of the show's big bad, but Elijah shows tenderness toward our favorite doppelgänger. Rebekah shows an interest in Matt; there's more evidence that Alaric's girlfriend could be the town serial killer (watch for another great Kevin Williamson "Scream"-style stalker scene); and as we mentioned, there's a brand new coupling that is super HOT. Like, stop the DVR and rewind about 5,000 times hot. Like, are-you-sure-this-isn't-HBO hot. It's crazy.
We get to spend more time with Original family members Kol, who is definitely devious, and Fin, who Julie said shares his father's self-loathing about what their family has become over the centuries. We get to see some cool Norse-infused Viking-style spell-casting, too. If there are any Norwegian black metal musicians watching "TVD" tonight, they will certainly get some new album cover ideas.
There's also a comedic nod to the various Twitter alter-egos created by fans (like @Matt_Donovan1), which Julie told the handful of assembled journalists that she and the other writers enjoy reading on the regular. Watch for that big of dialog from Zach Roerig.
The biggest news, as always, involves Elena, Stefan and Damon. There are major conversations and actions taken in various configurations among the three of them tonight that deal with lingering storylines and push each of them in slightly new directions. Julie promised that in coming episodes it will become clear that they are all going to have to make a serious choice.
To sum things up, Julie offered the following succinct preview of tonight's episode:
"'Dangerous Liaisons': in which Elena finds herself on the arm of two tuxedoed Salvatores, Klaus attempts a Cinderella seduction and—I'm going for [more alliteration] and I can't make it—the Original mother reveals she has big plans in store for her beloved children."
Come back to Hollywood Crush tomorrow for more from the Q&A with Julie. There's much more to discuss about "Dangerous Liaisons" and the events that will follow, but, you'll have to have seen the episode first for any of it to makes sense!
Are you excited for tonight's episode? Who do you think has the hot hookup? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!