Vampire Diaries

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: A | 1 USERS: A+
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The Secret Policeman's Other Ball
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
Was "Family Ties" the best episode of The Vampire Diaries so far, or what? I'll get right to the recap, and save the chit-chat for the end, but seriously? "Family Ties," which was written by Andrew Kreisberg (Fringe; Eli Stone; Boston Legal) and Brian Young (Kyle XY), and directed by local boy Guy Ferland (Sons of Anarchy; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; The Riches; The Shield) just stripped the top layer of guilt from this guilty pleasure.

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: For over a century, Stefan Salvatore has hidden in the shadows, but now takes a flying leap off the roof of Mossy Manse and into the sunshine of Elena Gilbert's love. Stefan and Elena meet. Elena and Damon meet. Damon and Stefan? Well, "It's complicated," m'kay? Stefan and Damon's ex, Katherine, who -- unbeknownst to Elena -- was last alive around 1864, is Elena's doppelganger. Damon hates Stefan because of her. Damon enthralls Caroline, feeds off her, and uses her as a puppet for his amusement. He then tries to use his vampyric compulsion to induce Elena to kiss him, but she's wearing the Vervain (vampire saltpeter)-laced amulet Stefan gave her, so she smacks the bad brother, instead. After Damon kills All-Trades Tanner, Stefan concludes that Damon is but a monster, "who must be stopped." Damon then reveals his humanity (only to us) as he watches over a sleeping Elena and tenderly strokes her cheek.

Now: Elena wakes with a start in her bed at Gilbert Gables. She walks out of her bedroom, saying, "Hello?" Looking down over the banister, she calls for her brother, Germ, but no one answers. As a door creaks, a shadow flits across the floor, below. Elena runs downstairs and hits the light switch. The lights don't come on, but a few seconds later, the TV does. Reporter Logan Fell, played by other local boy, Chris J. Johnson (Fifty Pills; South Beach), reports that there's been another wild animal attack. The victim? Elena Gilbert. As Elena tries to take this in, Damon sing-songs: "You know what's coming next." Yes, Elena has once again fallen prey to the Stealth Salvatore. She runs to the front door, opens it, and is Stealth-Salvatored AGAIN. So she closes it, and is Stealth-Salvatored, one more time. She brings her hands to her head as if to keep it from exploding, rubs her eyes, and Damon disappears, only to Stealth-Salvatore her from the side. He sinks his fangs into her neck; she screams, and...

Stefan wakes with a start in his bed at Mossy Manse. As he gasps for unnecessary breath, his brother Damon says, "Bad dream? Do you know how easy it was to get in your head just now? You really need some human blood. It might even the playing field.... Football reference! Too soon?" Ahahahaha. Damon, you card, it's never too soon to joke about All-Trades Tanner. Stefan gets up and fast-forwards himself to his desk, picks up a silver letter opener, and hurls it at Damon. He hits him, but misses his heart. Damon glances down at it as though it were a common pin, pulls it out, and waves the bloody, makeshift weapon around, while he informs his brother that he's framed a mountain lion for the death of All-Trades Tanner and all the other recent victims of the "wild animal attacks." MYTHOLOGY MOMENT: Okay, the letter opener doesn't kill Damon, but the way Stefan hurled it, I suspect we may learn that silver kills these vampires. Anyhow, Damon pauses for effect, because he's always pausing for effect, and then mimes laying out newspaper headlines, as he announces: "Deadly Beast Captured. All's Well In Mystic Falls." Damon is covering his tracks because he'll be staying in town to have even more fun with Stefan and Elena. Yippee! When Stefan reminds Damon he can't touch Elena now, Damon replies, "Well, the Vervain keeps me out of her head, but maybe that's not my target." Dirty. "Believe it or not, Stefan, some girls don't need my persuasion. Some girls just can't resist my good looks, my style, and my charm -- my unflinching ability to listen to Taylor Swift." Even though Co-Executive Producer Julie Plec insists that is not a Swift jab, I hope it was filmed before the VMAs.

Damon punctuates his point by returning Stefan's letter opener to him -- right in the gut. Stefan groans and falls to his knees in front of Damon, setting off the next round of carpal tunnel amongst the Salcest slashers. Damon ignores his brother's struggles to remove the letter opener from his person, and looks down at his own damaged shirt. "This is John Varvatos, dude. Dick move." Heh. Only lesser TV vampires would be caught undead in Ed Hardy. Stefan pulls the blade from his belly just as the thorn in his side saunters out of the room. Next, we're treated to a shot of Paul Wesley's six-pack abs. I am not one to jump to conclusions, so I have to ponder whether or not that was gratuitous skin, or necessary to drill home the MYTHOLOGY MOMENT -- these vamps heal almost instantly. I'm afraid I'm going to have to rewind and watch it again. Huh. I'm still uncertain. Again... Two hours later... Yeah, it's inconclusive. I hope the show includes a shot like that every episode until I can make up my mind. Who's with me? Title card!.

Mossy Manse: Stefan watches as reporter Logan Fell interviews Mystic Falls' (blonde, female) sheriff about the "mountain lion" who had been wreaking havoc on the town. It's dead now, poor maligned kitty. Stefan tells his diary that the real animal is still out there. "How do I stop a monster without becoming one myself?" Xander says, "You are a monster. Vampires are monsters. They make monster movies about them." We cut to...

Gilbert Gables: Elena and Aunt Jenna have the same newscast on, but while Jenna is fixated on the visual, she's providing her own audio. "Scum ball. Scum bucket." Seems "Logan 'Scum' Fell," is the reason Aunt Jenna moved away from town in the first place. Elena laughs at her aunt and pronounces Scum "cute," before returning to the table where she's polishing various family heirlooms. The late Mama Gilbert had promised use of these items to Mrs. Lockwood ('Roid Rage's mother) and the Founders Council for their Heritage Project. Jeremy picks up a pocket watch and wonders aloud how much the stuff would be worth on e-Bay. Elena snatches it back, scolds the Germ, and assures him she's not giving the trinkets away; they'll just be on loan.

Stefan rings Elena's bell (hush). Elena answers the door, pulls him out of view, grabs his face and kisses him. I shudder to think how forward she'll be once she lays eyes on his abs. Contrary to TWoPular opinion, I think Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev have lovely chemistry. Elena stops sucking Stefan's face long enough to say hi. To each her, own. Anyhow, because Aunt Jenna is a crap guardian, Elena feels free to take Stefan to her bedroom. Seated on her bed, they resume macking with their feet on the floor, but do not remain in the upright position for long. As Elena's breath comes hot and heavy, Stefan takes the opportunity to peek at himself in the mirror, which makes me giggle. MYTHOLOGY MOMENT: These vampires have reflections. And I'm sure we're meant to understand that his desire for Elena has brought forth the beast within, but the timing of his transformation has me breathless with laughter, because it looks like he vamps out, only after he catches sight of his fine self. And who would blame him? So yeah, Stefan abruptly ends the make-out session, and sits with his back to Elena until his face returns to normal. They agree it's time to "press pause," and he moves to her window seat. She asks him how he looks in a suit. Use your imagination, E. I know I do when Stefan says, "I can pull one off," at least until I remember that's not what he means, and that my husband and mother will likely read this recap. Hi, guys! She asks him to be her date to the Founders' Party. Stefan slips. "They still do that?" When Elena asks if he's been before, he says the Salvatores are no longer invited. She explains that her mom was on the Founders Council and was invo

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Vampire Diaries

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