"Dead Man On Campus" might be the strongest episode of season five so far… or perhaps I'm really tired and the pretty people on my screen comfort me. Whatever. It works. The pacing is great, the WTF moments are epic and everyone looks fantastic.
You can take the girls out of Mystic Falls, but you can't take Mystic Falls out of the girls; so this week, Elena and Caroline host a dorm party in celebration of Bonnie -- their once-dead-witch-turned-corporeal-ghost, Other-Side-anchoring friend. Jesse breaks free of Dr. Maxfield's mad lab in order to attend, and shares some sexy dancing and smoochies with Caroline, but since he's been dosed with the blood of the Augustine vampire, Jesse is hungry for blood -- but not human blood -- blood of the vampiric variety.
After Jesse accidentally bites Caroline's lip and realizes he wants to gobble her up, he high-tails it back to Maxfield's lab to ask what the bad doctor did to him. The problem is, Damon is already there and is injecting Maxfield with every manner of pathogen in order to get him to 'fess up to his nefarious schemes.
When Damon and Jesse tussle, Damon is already bleeding. The aroma gets Jesse all hot and bothered, because -- well, Damon is nothing if not magically delicious. In the end, Elena has to stake Jesse to save Damon's life and Caroline is none too pleased.
Once Damon is alone again with Maxfield, he learns the doctor's experiments tie into the Augustine Vampire (a vampire bred to feed on vampires rather than humans). The problem is, Damon was one of these lab rats not 60 years ago. He realizes that despite Elena's previously stated request that Damon not kill Aaron's guardian, Maxfield needs nothing more than a good killing.
There's a second problem and that problem is this: Maxfield breaks free of his bonds before Damon can get to killing him and he then deploys atomized vervain into the lab. Damon succumbs. Maxfield locks him up. Damon wakes in the same cell he once occupied in 1953, which we can tell by the huge "DS 53" inscription he once carved into the wall.
Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, Katherine uses Nadia and that mysterious dagger, to free my Pudding Pop, Matt, from Gregor -- who has been occupying the holy place that is Matt's body. I owe you one for that, Kiki.
Nadia, who had a thing for Gregor (even though he was using her to get to and kill not only Silas, but also Katherine), stomps off in a fit of pique. Katherine is suicidal -- not because of Nadia's snit, but because she's aging and dying at an accelerated rate. Since earlier in the evening, Katherine saved Stefan from his PTSD, Stefan saves Katherine from jumping off the clock tower and killing herself. Love is a many splendored thing and it looks like we might get some of the Katherine/Stefan variety. I just hope their dates involve watching Back to the Future.
In other news, Bonnie has a stunning new haircut -- a bob. She also has sexy fun times with Jeremy, but only after suffering while she serves as the passageway to the Other Side for both a random dead witch and poor, dearly departed Jesse. Bonnie could have warned a brother it's not safe for his kind in these here parts. Seriously, Show. You still need to do way better on this front. My headline, "And The Black Guy Always Dies," is from a viewer who made it up LAST SEASON, because you play into this evil trope every damned time.
I'll be back with the recap, ASAP. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page, and then come on over to the forum, where we're injecting Maxfield with necrotizing fasciitis, just because we can.
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We open in Dr. Maxfield's lab at the Magically Moving Whitmore College. He's again dictating into his handheld tape recorder, but I've come to think of it as exposition machine and hence, I've come to resent the hell out of it. If you've been reading regularly, you know that I've been enjoying this season until I have to pay recap-level attention. This week, I'm going to try not to. No, I'm not sure how that will work out either, but let's give it a whirl, because right now I'm imagining that little Davina over on The Originals actually does figure out a way to kill Klaus. That means in the process, she'd knock off Mystic Falls entire vampire population. Just the mental picture prompts a smile is so bright, I ought to be in a Colgate commercial.
Maxfield says the subject (Jesse) has transformed from human to vampire in approximately 14 days. I'm not sure what that means anymore. I seem to recall that if you die with vampire blood in your system, you will awake as a transitioning vampire. You then have to consume blood in order to complete that transition. If you don't do so within 24 hours or so, you will die. When Maxfield hooks Jesse up with an intravenous dose of what he exposits is "undiluted Augustine blood," the camera pauses long enough for Maxfield to make mad scientist eyes at us. Maxfield predicts a positive response to it, but he's not only wrong… he's also nearly lunch. As Jesse strains against his bonds, Maxfield stops the transfusion, but by then Jesse is strong enough to break free so he just grabs the bag and sucks it down. Maxfield dictates that he's activating emergency procedures, but Jesse stands between him and the red button the bad doctor needs to press. The feed comes upon Jesse hard and fast. Grabbing his tormenter by the arms, Jesse sinks his fangs into Maxfield's neck. Title card.
Bonnie, who is sporting a fantastic new bob, has moved into Caroline and Elena's dorm room. It seems a little late in the semester for that, if you ask me, but then since her roommates have the power of compulsion, perhaps her late entry is our clue that the Admissions Office isn't part of the
Initiative Secret Society at Whitmore that knows all about vampires. She's recording a video greeting for her mother, when Caroline and Elena return with far too much booze. Just because they're no longer in Mystic Falls doesn't mean that our girls can go without an Event O' the Week. This week's Event is meant to welcome Bonnie to Whitmore.