By Kelsea Stahler, Hollywood.com Staff
This season, The Vampire Diaries has been spoon-feeding us storylines that, for a season where everything is different, feel remarkably easy to chew. Elena's new lifestyle forces her to ask great, uncomfortable questions and those questions lead her to consider which Salvatore is really right for her. It's not entirely unlike the first season of the series when Elena was gradually being introduced to the fact that vampires existed and she had to come to terms with the fact that her boyfriend drank blood could fly/run (or whatever that speedy mode of transport is called). This time, she's asking the questions about herself, so the emotional component is a little heightened, but from the over-explanatory "previously on" reel to the over wrought expository devices, it's like the show thinks it's got a brand new audience this year. That's why getting to the story of the Backstreet Boys of ancient times, the Five (which really sounds like the name of a band who could rival One Direction and The Wanted right about now), is such a welcome development. It's about time we got this show on the road.
Of course, there are two very selfish reasons I found the reveal of the Five so wonderful. One: five built, shirtless men playing with fire and getting tattoos in the forest is some nice imagery. Two: these flashback scenes give us a dose of Elijah who's been missing from the show for far too long. The other, more important, element of this woodland reveal is that a witch is the one who creates the five (just like a witch is the one who created vampires and the one who created werewolves). Everything stems from witches. Isn't it funny then, that Bonnie is invited on a college tour by the (hot) professor who took over Bonnie's grandmother's college course on witchcraft and that the class she, Damon, and Elena sit in on is the introductory course which explains that all other magical beings were born out of witches' ingenuity. Curious, indeed.
It gets curiouser when Professor Hottie gets all sentimental with Bonnie at a frat party which appears to be at the house where his office is located? And since when do professors attend frat parties? Even the hot ones? It could be sloppy episode composition, but we'll take it as further proof that this guy is up to no good. Of course, it's confirmed when Klaus' "red room of pain" (how long have you been waiting to reference Fifty Shades of Grey, TVD?) fails to keep Buffy (who had now earned the real name Connor) locked up and he beheads one of Klaus' hybrids with a chain before rendezvousing with Professor Hottie. All we learn this episode is that Professor Hottie is in charge of Connor's "missions" and that he's very interested in whether or not Bonnie practices witchcraft. Between Jeremy's ability to see the hunter tattoo and Bonnie's crush on this sinister professor, we're going to have quite a few Elena groupies looking to get in on the wrong side this season. (Then again, Bonnie always ends up falling for the bad guy.)
But speaking of Jeremy, his vision proves useful this episode. Klaus, who's since pulled Stefan in on his mission to find the Five's buried treasure weapon, forces Jeremy to question Connor about his tattoo, and surprisingly Connor gives up some serious detail: He met a guy when they were stationed in Iraq. Said guy had the same tattoo, Connor could see it and was therefore a potential (like Jeremy). When the guy died, the tattoo appeared on Connor and now, every time he kills a vampire, the tattoo grows. We learn from Klaus that the tattoo is growing to reveal a map that leads to the ultimate weapon: the cure for vampirism.
Now, the only problem with this story is that the way we know the weapon is a "cure" is that Rebekah, way back in ancient times, was in love with one of the hunters and he told her the weapon was a cure. This guy also stabbed her with a dagger and then did the same to her whole family, so perhaps we shouldn't be trusting his word. Let us also remember that secret societies love to expand the definitions of words, so the cure to vampirism could just mean death to all vampires. Let's not rule that out. Still, everyone seems to trust that there is a cure (likely because they want to believe it's true). Klaus wants the cure for Elena so he can keep making hybrids, but I imagine if that works its going to be like putting a leftover hamburger in the microwave (you're still full after eating it, but man was that bun rubbery, those veggies were slimy, and the middle of the patty was ice cold). Stefan wants the cure for romantic reasons: Elena's not cut out to be a vampire and he would relish the thought of being able to have kids with her and die together in a bed like that couple at the end of The Notebook.
Next: Let's all prey on poor Rebekah.[PAGEBREAK]
The problem is that they both need Rebekah in order to find any clues on the cure's whereabouts. And with Matt hating her guts and the fact that Klaus murdered her conniving Five boyfriend way back when, the emotional wreck isn't feeling like doing anyone a favor. Especially her selfish brother. But, because she's a sucker for romance, however short-lived, when Stefan tells her about wanting to grow old with Elena, Rebekah spills the details of her old lover's resting place. He's buried with his sword, which helps decode the tattoo map. And just like that, Stefan's got himself another deal with the devil (played by Klaus), the hybrid leader has once again stabbed his sister with a dagger, and Elena may have yet another way out. And it couldn't come any sooner.
At the university, Damon is determined to teach Elena his ways. And before she escaped on this adventure, Stefan warned her not to get too caught up in the feed and to retain her humanity. This was a confirmation that Elena would have trouble doing that.
Although, it doesn't happen right away. Damon picks out her first victim: a bubbly blonde bimbo. But when Elena tries to compel her and feed on her, she spies a picture of the girl with her little sister on her ever waving iPhone. She sends her away and Damon swoops in to lecture her about how every single person she could feed on has someone who'll miss them. (True, and kind of profound. For TVD, anyway.) Elena's having trouble coming over to the dark side, but Bonnie shows up with a flyer for a "murder house" party, which solves all their problems. It's practically a douchebag buffet!
When the party starts, Elena (who looks remarkably like Katherine in her Jack the Ripper victim costume) makes a bee-line for douche number one: roofie guy. Even Damon is worried she might kill him, but she doesn't and it gives her such a sense of erotic power that she leaps towards Damon in a sexually-charged hug and whispers "I want more" in his ear. She doesn't realize what this is doing for Damon, but the look of sheer, devilish pleasure on his face says it all.
They dance and feed all night until they're both dripping with blood and descending upon each other with intense, desire-filled eyes. They probably would have kissed if Officer Bonnie hadn't shown up with her judgemental glares (funny, because she's crushing on the enemy). Elena says she can't be like Damon and she won't. She's feeling things she didn't want to feel. Damon is furious because he thinks she's his kind of vampire and that the only way she won't snap and become a ripper like Stefan is if she revels in the blood and the kill. But that's not Elena.
She winds up in Stefan's arms by episode's end, claiming she can't do it and strengthening his resolve to find this "cure." He even tells her to just hold on a little longer. He's convinced it's real, which means it's probably not.
But what can Elena do? This cure probably isn't real (because what would they call a show about humans who used to be vampires?), which means Elena is going to have settle with her emotions somehow. Damon insists she's like him, but then why is she resisting the change so whole-heartedly? Well, when Damon was first turned, he was the gentler one, but he was certainly no Elena. She's like a bunny filled with rainbows and hearts and sparkles. She loves everyone and cares about everything. TVD would be wise to let her really suffer through these emotions instead of finding her a solution in the next few episodes, but since she's been doing that for a few episodes already, it's time for her to get dark. Really, really dark. Hey, you know they'll bring her back from the edge, but why not make us sweat a little first?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Annette Brown/CW (2)]
'Vampire Diaries' Recap: The First Cut is the Deepest
'Vampire Diaries' Recap: Growing Pains
'Vampire Diaries' Season Premiere Recap: It's All Coming Back to Me Now
From Our Partners:Country Music Association Awards 2012: See the Best-Dressed Stars of the Night (PHOTOS)
'The X Factor' Live Shows: 10 Things You Didn't See on TV