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The Vampire Diaries 3x01: The Birthday

Posted on the 16 September 2011 by Tvgeek @TVGeek_blog

The Vampire Diaries 3x01: The Birthday

Original Air Date: 15 September 2011

Storyline: On the morning of Elena's 18th birthday, Caroline is busy planning a party, but Elena is focused on searching for any clues that might help her discover where Stefan is. Damon is also searching for Stefan, while trying to protect Elena and keep her from doing anything that would draw Klaus' attention. Meanwhile, Klaus and Stefan are busy trailing a werewolf named Ray Sutton. Now working at the Mystic Grill along with Matt, Jeremy is struggling to understand why he keeps seeing the ghosts of Vicki and Anna since he was brought back to life by Bonnie's magic. Meanwhile, Alaric does his best to watch over Elena and Jeremy, while dealing with his grief over Jenna's death. Finally, Caroline and Tyler face a new and unexpected challenge. 

Trivia: From this episode onwards Joseph Morgan (Klaus) is a series regular.

Best Quote:

Damon: Andie wants me to pick her up. 
Alaric: Your fake, compelled girlfriend wants you to be a chivalrous boyfriend?
Damon: Well, it's a complicated dynamic. Hold the fort down, will you?
Alaric: You mean the fort full of my drunk history students?
Damon: Drink more. It'll feel less weird.

Damon's BestIt's his signature. There is a reason they called him the ripper. He feeds so hard he blacks out, rips them apart, but then when he's done, he feels remorse. It's the damnedest thing. He puts the bodies back together.Review: We've waited the entire summer to see what happens with Stefan and, even more, how Damon and Elena are coping with his new ripper self. Will this bring them closer together? And is Stefan really all that bad now?

The new season begins two months after the events from May's finale and, while some things have changed, a lot of them haven't. There's still a lot of drama and, although a lot of people seem now to know everything about everyone (Matt being on the in with everything was a bit of a shocker), each of the characters seems to be hiding something from their friends.
"The Birthday" was a wild ride from the start. We were thrown right into Stefan's new life - the one where he does Klaus' bidding in every which way. Is he all that gone to the dark side that he stopped caring about the life he left behind? His phone call to Elena at the end of the episode might imply that the answer is no. Nevertheless, his actions have all the makings of a true serial killer and Damon gave us a bit of an insight in Stefan's dark side: "He feeds so hard he blacks out, rips them apart, but then when he's done, he feels remorse. It's the damnedest thing. He puts the bodies back together." It was difficult to watch the new Stefan - and the worst thing of all was killing Andie just to get Damon off his back. He's very much like Angelus - but with one major difference, in that Angelus didn't feel remorse after the kill, he could only feel that as Angel. Also, Paul Wesley doesn't have the charm David Boreanaz had so, although Stefan is now a much more interesting character, he still has a long way to go.
I don't feel much sympathy for him despite his being a tortured soul now. Wesley is not a great actor and he simply doesn't sell the ripper gig. While I'm glad Damon is alive and Elena is safe(ish), I can't condone the fact that he put one life above all the ones that he takes at Klaus' command.
Klaus, on the other hand, is a great villain. He's calculated, well-spoken and elegant and - despite his cliché take over the world goal - I find him very compelling. His goal? Create an army of hybrids by turning all the werewolves he can find into vampires. Will it work, or will Stefan find it in him to stop Klaus?
In the meantime, Elena and Damon spent two months looking for leads on Stefan (with sheriff Forbes' help - isn't that just a little bit twisted?). However, Damon kept Elena intentionally out of the loop and didn't tell her he was tracking Stefan's victims piece by piece. Point Damon, in that he didn't want to destroy her hopes and her love for the little brother. Also point Damon, for not wanting to let Klaus know that Elena is alive. 
As always, she overreacted because she is too stubborn to take a look at the facts and accept the reality. Does Stefan still love her? Yes, but that doesn't mean she should forgive him so easily for leaving a trail of body parts "up and down on the eastern seaboard." I thought she had grown as a character in the second half of season 2, but she's still childish and obstinate in her passions. 
Despite all this, Damon and Elena still have magnetic chemistry. They may never be really together, but whenever they are in the same room, everything else fades away. I cannot blame Elena for taking a few seconds before looking away when he appeared naked in front of her, and the scene where he gives her back the necklace and puts it on her, followed by escorting her to the party, was sweet and romantic.
Moving on to another fan favorite couple, Caroline and Tyler spent the summer being just good friends, despite the appearances (I loved Jeremy's look when they both said they weren't dating, he was obviously amused by the fact that they denied the obvious). But everyone knows that the best way to make Caroline interested is making her jealous, and it only took Tyler coming to Elena's party with another girl to awaken what we all knew was there. They have amazing chemistry even with their clothes on, so imagine how it was when they got out of them! I love the tension and the danger a relationship between a vampire and a werewolf entices. But the next morning she was ready to bail on him, so that's not good, not to mention that - surprise, surprise! - Mrs. Lockwood figured out she was a vampire and shot her just before the end credits. How did she find out, anyways?
Jeremy kept seeing Anna and Vicki's ghosts throughout the summer and he may just have his first confidant in Matt, who misses Vicki so much that he thinks he sees her too. Is this a hint? Is Matt really seeing his dead sister? And what did Vicki mean by asking Jeremy to help her? One last thought: does it feel like all vampire shows are following the same supernatural pattern with werewolves, witches and now ghosts?
Other notes about this episode: Damon in the bathtub and Damon getting out of the bathtub still covered in foam - sexiest TV scenes since the last time Sookie and Eric hooked up in "Spellbound" and that was a month ago. I guess I missed my share of vamp nakedness. I cannot help by think that Alaric is one of the best characters of this show. In fact, he may just be my second favorite, after Damon. He's still in a bad place after Jenna's death, but he managed to be hilarious by calling himself "the chaperone teacher from hell" and being at Elena's party in a room full of his history students - all drunk or stoned. I simply love his friendship with Damon - I know I've said that before, but it's one of the best and most complex relationships on the show. And on the bad side: please stop putting tears in Stefan's eyes, he looks ridiculous when he cries!
The Vampire Diaries 2x22: As I Lay Dying
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