Gimme Some VD: “The Birthday”

Good news, gentle readers! Vampire Diaries is back!

No, this has nothing to do with General Hospital. But it does make us both very happy. Because this show is pure cheesy, soapy goodness, and we love it to the bottom of our teen vampire-loving hearts. Thus: this post, which is the first of an experiment in talking about a show that doesn’t completely enrage us.

Also, one that embraces a good venereal disease pun.

So we’ll be doing weekly VD recaps from now on. Or… until one or both of us runs out of time or the show starts to suck. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

Anyway, on with the recap! As you may recall, some massive shit went down at end of the last season. We pick up  season three several months after we last saw the good folks of Mystic Falls, and… nothing much seems to have happened since. In fact, this episode feels mostly like set up for all the shit that’s about to go down. Which is fine, I guess. Every now and then, you need some set up. But it’s probably not going down in history as my favorite episode or anything.

In any case, here’s how they spent their summer vacations: Stefan’s still MIA with Klaus. Jeremy’s still seeing dead girlfriends. Caroline and Tyler are still not boning. Bonnie’s still… barely a part of the narrative (damnit). And Elena’s about to have a birthday.

Alaric, we soon learn, has basically moved into the Gilbert house in the wake of Jenna’s death. (Although he’s been sleeping on the couch because all the available beds belong to dead people. It is the house of sadness.) He and Elena seem to have an adorably domestic morning routine down pat, which makes me want him to adopt her and Jeremy and live with them forever and ever in one big happy family:

Naturally, he announces he’s moving out at the end of the episode.

Out of the house or out of town completely? DON’T LEAVE US, ALARIC! Who else will give the kids their hot and oddly thematically appropriate local history lessens? Who else will smolder hotly with Damon?

(Other than Elena. And Stefan. And Bonnie. And sometimes Caroline. Okay, fine. Damon smolders hotly with most of the cast. But Alaric is his only non-incestuous bromance! We need that!)

Speaking of Damon smoldering… this happened:

Somerhalder’s smirk is illegal in five states.

Elena, of course, pretends that she doesn’t want a piece of that, but… come on, now. Girl may be kidding herself, but she’s not kidding me. Or Damon, judging by that smirk.

This all occurred after the Awesome and Much Lamented Andie refused to fetch more booze for him while he enjoyed his mid-morning bubble bath, by the way. And because Andie is, indeed, awesome, she did not bother pretending she wasn’t checking that ass out as he wandered off to get it himself. Heh. I love her. And their weirdly affectionate yet dysfunctional relationship, given the fact it began with him basically mind-raping her for months.

… which makes it even more annoying that effing Stefan kills her later in the episode:

Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction, too, Awesome Andie.

Yes, Stefan — in addition to being terminally boring — is now in the habit of regularly dismembering various ladies up and down the East coast. And then posing them afterward. Because he’s extra gross like that. (Although even his poses are pretty boring).

I would have had one of them playing keep-away with the other’s head.

Back on the home front, Sheriff Forbes (yay!) has been sending Elena leads, and Damon and Alaric have been conducting their own secret (and more effective) search. But Klaus and Stefan remain elusive.

What the gruesome twosome have actually been doing, it turns out, is hunting down werewolves so that Klaus can make more hybrids like himself. Although why he’d want to, thereby giving up his sparkly special uniqueness, I don’t really know. Somehow it has taken them three months to do this, which seems inefficient, although possibly Klaus just enjoys taking his time and making Stefan jump through blood-soaked hoops for his amusement.

Remember Elijah? I liked him better than anyone in this scene.

By the way, the show would like us to call dark!Stefan “Ripper” but that just makes me think of Giles on Buffy, and the fact that Tony Head’s stuffy British librarian made a far more believably menacing goodie gone bad than an actual vampire does here. It probably doesn’t help that Giles didn’t spend so much time moping about it. Because rest assured: Stefan feels really, really bad about it all this murder and mayhem. You can tell because after mercilessly killing awesome Andie as a warning to Damon to back off the search, he makes a sad phone call to Elena, all teary eyed and duck-lipped.

Or perhaps he’s just constipated:

Unfortunately, attempts to eat his feelings only exacerbated the problem.

Well, I’m sure Andie and all his other victims will understand… oh, wait. They can’t. BECAUSE HE KILLED THEM. Ugh, hate. Seriously, show, I cannot emphasize how uninterested I am in Stefan’s manpain about all this. Please don’t ask me to feel bad for him.

Anyway, back to Elena. Caroline is throwing her a birthday party at the Salvadore mansion, but promises to keep it small. So naturally, it’s a huge blow out kegger. Heh.

Damon’s present is the Vervain necklace she lost, and they have the requisite, tension-filled moment with him putting it on for her while she pines for Stefan:

I don’t have anything mocking to say here. They’re both just very pretty.

Damon has been hiding the truth about Stefan’s murderous rampage from Elena. Unfortunately, she stumbles on his secret wall of obituary clippings, and in the wake of Andie’s murder, he’s less in the mood to coddle her fragile feelings when she confronts him about it later. So the gloves come off a bit. Of course, we know Elena will never give up, and ‘don’t stop believing, Stefan’ and blah, blah, blah.

Meanwhile, downstairs at the party, Jeremy’s hilariously smoking weed with my boyfriend, Cute!Matt:

Where’s your car, dude?

Jeremy eventually tries to confess his dead girlfriend problem to Cute!Matt, who seems like he might be open to it for a second…before retreating back to denial land. Why you gotta play it like that, Cute!Matt?

I remain confused by why Jeremy has been suffering his hallucinations in secret all summer instead of talking to one of the many, many qualified supernatural experts in his life.  Like, perhaps, his girlfriend the witch, who brought him back to life and caused this problem in the first place? And who has had haunting issues of her own in the past? I guess it’s comforting to realize Jeremy is still a moron, even if he has been getting steadily hotter as the series goes on. Stay shiny, littlest Gilbert!

Also, I should probably not call him that anymore, as his neck seems to have blossomed to the size of a small buffalo over the summer:

Now giving Jason Morgan a run for his enormous neck money.

But back to Cute!Matt, who may not have time to talk about his dead sister’s ghost, but sure does have time to be a snot about Caroline and Tyler’s continued friendship. I love me some Cute!Matt, but seeing as he dumped her, he really doesn’t have a leg to stand on here. Especially since, as Caroline finally tells him, she and Tyler haven’t even been doing anything… you know, other than spending the summer smiling at each other adorably and commiserating about their mutual supernatural horniness:

Like adorable little horny puppies.

Tyler, bless him, finally calls Caroline’s bluff by bringing a date to Elena’s party. And sure enough, by the end of the night, she’s compelled the poor girl to leave, and the two of them are finally — and HOTLY — knocking some werewolf/vampire boots:

If you told me at the beginning of the first season that I would one day be rooting for rapey Tyler, I would have thought you were tripping.

Sadly, the afterglow gets a bit spoiled the next morning by his mother shooting her with Vervain while Tyler still sleeps on, blissfully unaware. DUN!

And that’s it, folks! Tune in next week for more campy goodness in: “The Hybrid.”

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