‘Vampire Diaries’ Recap: ‘After School Special’

by Cassie Title

It’s funny that last night’s “Vampire Diaries” episode was titled “After School Special,” because that’s what I’ve been calling basically all of the episodes this season. But this post-hiatus return was a good sign; instead of the overly sappy, overly righteous characters and plotlines and motivations we were getting before, we got tight, well-paced plotlines that set up for future (hopefully exciting) developments. In fact, I didn’t even mind this recap-reset-get-ready-plot-oriented episode (because, as you know, I hate all episodes that don’t involve flashbacks and character development and Originals, which is why I’m SO. BEYOND. EXCITED. for the potential Originals spin-off).

And that was mainly because of:

Man, what an original bitch! I have to say I was forgetting why our main hang gang hates her so much. I mean, sure, she’s done some crappy things, but haven’t we all (ahem, Stefan, Damon, everyone, basically)? And Bex, more than anyone, just wants to be loved and accepted. I mean, that’s one of the main reasons why she wants the cure. (I know this because the “Previously on ’The Vampire Diaries'” told me so!) But tonight was bad. Real bad. First she was playing games with Stefan’s heart (the Backstreet Boys would not have approved), gathering Stefan and Elena and Caroline into the library at school to catch her up on what she missed, being daggered and all. Bex compelled everyone to tell her things: Stefan said Elena slept with Damon, Elena said she was in love with Damon and while she loved Stefan, she was no longer in love with him. It was jolly good fun, and by that I mean it was the exact opposite. She was plain old cruel, pals, and it got even better when she called Tyler, compelled everyone to stay in the school, and then compelled Tyler to turn. Honestly, it was bats–t crazy, there were stakes (not the white oak kinds or anything, just stakes, plot-wise), and I was freaking out! Rebekah actually didn’t care if they died; she got what she wanted out of them (after making Elena and Stefan painfully recount the details of their failed relationship, she found out that Shane was the way to get to the cure), and viewed them as competition—whoever got to the cure first decided what to do with it. And homegirl wants that lady to be her.

Down in, or up in, or wherever the heck the lake house is, Damon and Jeremy and Matt were training Jeremy in the ways of vampire hunting.
Since Alaric croaked way back when, Damon was the only instructor available, so they were all out there, doing their thing, hanging out in white wifebeaters and looking more and more muscly by the day (meaning Jeremy, of course.) Klaus arrived, all huffed and puffed like the wolf that he (half) is, because he needed Jeremy’s mark to grow, like, now, so he could get that cure and cure Elena and make more hybrids. You know, because the whole hybrid-making motivation thing still makes sense. Right. There was a difference of opinion, because Klaus wanted to turn a bunch of people into vampires and then have Jeremy kill them, but everyone else was against that. Until the end. Where everyone was still against that, except for Klaus and Damon. And I wagged my finger at Damon in disappointment, just a little bit.

Bonnie, Shane, and all that weirdness
Apparently, Bonnie “graduated” from Dark Magic—er, Expression—College! Hooray! Shane gave her a talisman made of human bone, which you should remember, because it becomes important later when Kol (YEAH AN ORIGINAL VAMPIRE THAT WE HARDLY SEE, RETURNED) tried to drown and impale Shane. Luckily, Bonnie used the talisman to cast a protection spell, which was not so lucky because she inadvertently tied April to Shane, which caused April to start spitting out water and drowning in the open air and also almost bleed to death. April was there—(wait, why is April ever there?)—because she woke Rebekah up pre-hiatus, I think. And Rebekah spent all this time telling April how Elena and Stefan and Caroline and everyone lied and such. Which was kind of true, but mostly silly, because Rebekah pretty much did the same.

Bonnie’s Dad
This was something. He’s the new mayor! It’s weird how critics are all talking about this development; yes, he’s been absent from the show for, basically, ever, but he’s not returning; Bonnie’s been living with him the whole time. In fact, she’s the only one with an appropriate guardian, minus Caroline. Honestly, Liz and Rudy (Bonnie’s dad’s name) better watch out, because the showrunners are gonna be after them, in order to turn this show into a conveniently parent-free zone. Anyway, I could swear that I saw Bonnie’s dad in the first season, played by a different actor, of course, but I’ve tried to research it, and I think I was probably just making it up.

Other Things
-Kol and Rebekah are, like, terrified of Silas. It’s always weird when the baddest baddies are scared of someone, but I want to know why they’re so scared of Silas, considering they’re convinced he’s not real. Silas was apparently the first immortal being, which is interesting because I was sort of thinking that the Originals were. But why is he a threat? I guess we’ll find out when Shane digs that dude up.

-It was a really nice tool to have Rebekah compel all the kids in the library. I just really dug it, guys. We got all this info quickly, it was all clever, and trapping them all there was like “The Breakfast Club,” vampire style. Except instead of bringing them together, Principal Mikaelson’s plan was to tear them apart.

-Yo, did you see when Elena and Damon talked on the phone at the end of the episode? I don’t even know why I’m asking; you obviously did. Did your heart die (in a good way) when Elena told Damon she loved him twice, and Damon’s face was just like SO FREAKING HAPPY WITHOUT SMILING? It was a great face, really, Ian Somerhalder. A total upgrade from your usual eyebrow glares. I JUST MELTED, AND IT WAS WONDERFUL.

-I get that we all have a goal and we need to get this cure, and I’m excited to learn more about it and Silas and raising the dead and shiz, but why is everyone so obsessed with getting it for Elena (besides Klaus, his reason is obvious)? Like, Elena’s such a wonderful person—she’s simply too good to be a vampire? It’s kind of ridiculous considering that all our favorite characters are vampires. Like, what about Caroline? She does a pretty great job of being a human while being a vampire. It’s just pretty annoying, showrunners. I even like Elena now (at least this episode I did), and I just think it’s a really silly premise. Sorry.

-Who else is Shane working with? I kind of thought he was plotting with the Originals, so obviously that’s not happening. But, like, doesn’t this just go to show that the Originals are not our enemies, guys? Shane is trying to do something evil! Klaus and Rebekah and Kol are just 1,000-year-old teenagers with daddy issues. And super strength. And the power of mind control. No big thang. Anyway, let’s get with the program and figure this out, heroes!

-Why Elena rocks: (yes, you read that right) she said, lately I feel like I’m a project. Like I’m a problem that needs to be fixed. I think I make Stefan sad. But I can’t be with someone like that, because when he looks at me, all he sees is a broken toy. To quote my notes: WOW, YOU GO GIRL! Stefan’s all devastated and reeking of alcohol because of Elena being a vampire trollop who likes bad boys (point Rebekah), but I don’t feel bad at all. Elena said it best: she’s a person, not a project. Stop trying to control her, fool.

-Rebekah and Stefan are now partners in the hunt for the cure. He still wants to cure Elena, cause he’s a fool. I wanted to think of it like Stefan and Katherine teaming up, but it’s just not the same.

Till next week: What did you think of “TVD”’s return? Did you dig Elena as much as I did? Will Kol stick around? What kinds of trouble is Bonnie’s dad’s new involvement in the town and her life going to cause? Are Rebekah and Stefan going to become partners in more than just the hunt for the cure? Were you shocked that Shane revealed that he was behind all the massacres (even though the audience already knew)? Do you think he believes what he told Bonnie about expression not being dark? When is Bonnie going to figure out his true agenda? Whatever happened to Jamie, her pseudo brother/boyfriend? Aren’t she and Jeremy going to get it on after hunter camp? Are you almost mad at Caroline for being so tight with Stefan, considering how manipulative he’s being in terms of Elena? Tell me more, tell me more. “Grease”-style. You can even sing it, although I won’t know it if you do. So be sure to say that you’re singing! That way I can get the whole picture. Indeed.