Because it's always Halloween in Mystic Falls and the surrounding vicinity, The Vampire Diaries' Halloween episode is less Halloween-y and more Event O' the Week-y. Whitmore College is hosting a ball (the name of which escapes me) at which all of the college's entire collection of… um… collectibles is on display. As is common with Event O' the Week episodes, most of the storylines converge at said event. "Monster's Ball" has so many balls (sorry) in the air that I can't begin in a way that will keep this recaplet a recaplet. Not just because Demian teases me about how long my recaplets are, but also because I have two other stories due and it's Halloween, which means I watched this episode later than it aired. I know. My problem, not yours. Let's break this bitch down.
Matt: Is not in the episode. Bless you Pudding Pop for making my job easier.
Tyler: Comes to Whitmore with Caroline, but just to sex her up, dress up as Clyde to her Bonnie for the Collectibles Ball (that's what I'm calling it until I write the full recap) and then dump her, because exacting his revenge against Klaus is more important to him than his love for Caroline. Ptui. I will speak of it no more (at least until the recap).
Caroline: Is heartbroken. But before she's heart broken, she's a little demanding and controlling. Oh, and she lights up like a neon sign when she gets to dance with Stefan, so it's pretty easy to understand why Tyler is shipped off. I'm okay with the fact of it (although I'll miss Trevino, it's natural for the old gang to break up during the college years). I'm not happy about the execution and damn it, I said I would speak of this no more. Ptui.
Elena: keeps Damon at arm's length due to her guilt and grief over Bonnie's death, so she decides to throw herself into the investigation of her dead roomie Megan's death. She meets a boy, Aaron (Sean Sipos), at Megan's sad campus memorial. He claims to be a childhood friend of Megan's and is standoffish at first, but later, when Elena approaches him at the ball, he warms up slightly. She compels him to confide in her, but once she learns he's lost everyone he loves, she feels his pain and sends him on his way. What Elena doesn't know yet, is that Aaron is Dr. Maxfield's ward and the bad doctor warns the boy to stay way far away from Elena. Maxfield only does that, though, after he warns Elena to leave Whitmore and never look back. There are people who are onto her and watching her every move.
Jeremy, Bonnie and Damon: Damon wants to find a way to cure Silas and trade his life for Bonnie's -- a witch for a witch. Bonnie thinks this is far too dangerous, but since Jeremy is her mouthpiece and Jeremy wants Bonnie back (in every way), Jeremy lies to Damon and says Bonnie's fine with it. Bonnie eventually gets on board, because she wouldn't mind being able to feel it when Jeremy touches her. Their scenes are sweet. If you like Damon, he's doing this for Elena's sake. If you dislike Damon, he's doing it as a way to hold onto Elena. If you're me, you think it's a little of both, plus a pinch of practicality -- it's handy to have a witch in your Fellowship. And to his credit, I think Damon has developed a grudging respect for Bonnie and is sorry she's dead.
Ball: In a private salon at the venue, Damon snaps Stefan's neck. Since Q-Tessa linked Stefan with Silas to nullify Silas's telepathy (wipe Stefan's mind) while Stefan is temporarily dead, Silas temporarily regains his telepathy. He finds Q, pretends he's Stefan and using his power, learns that she's looking for her amulet. She needs it to do a locator spell, so she can find the MacGuffin she used to anchor her spell that created the supernaturals' Other Side. Silas wants the MacGuffin, too, to destroy the other side and then cure himself (by drinking all of Katherine's blood), kill his witchy self and join his love, supposedly on the uncapitalized other side that, you know, isn't for supernaturals. Silas fools Q-Tessa for a good long while, but once she discovers he's him, she forces her hand into his chest and squeezes his heart until it stops and he desiccates.
Damon and Elena take home Silas's corpse. Damon lures Katherine (who just found out Nadia is her daughter -- a long story I'll hit in the recap, but thank goodness it's true, because it's been bugging me how much they look alike) to Mossy Manse, bites her and feeds her blood to Silas. He un-desiccates. Katherine dies, but then she's alive again. Best line of the night? Upon revivifying, Katherine opens her eyes, sees Damon and Elena and asks, "Am I in Hell?"
As for Dr. Maxfield, when he's not threatening or dissing Elena, he's got Jesse tied up in the lab. He says Jesse has completed the "first part" of his transition. I guess that means he's fed once or it seems to me he'd be dead by now (like Bill Forbes). Maxfield is withholding blood from Jesse for… science! It's no accident Doc goes to the ball as Dr. Jekyll.
"Monster's Ball" is a fun ride, but in Tyler's story and others, there are times when it takes the easy way out too much. When this happens on The Vampire Diaries, I tend to chalk it up to the writers cramming so much into an episode, rather than laziness. I think that's the case here, but there are still things that bug, like so many unknown people attending the party and having full access to private rooms, including one that contains the treasured Whitmore collection. It's a little too facile, you know? And while I'm grateful I didn't have to watch Damon and Elena get Silas's corpse out of the ball, I'm just rolling my eyes that they weren't discovered. I'm also rolling my eyes at Katherine staking Nadia and then just walking out of a restaurant. Nadia apparently follows suit with the stake still sticking out of her. And what? It doesn't make the news. Don't even get me started on Damon's two roundtrips to Whitmore in one day. I knew when I saw the premiere that the show was going to ignore they'd set the school "a few" hours away from town when needed, so why set it quite that far?
I'll be back soon with the full recap. In the meantime, please grade the episode at the top of the page, and then come on over to the forum, where we're letting Caroline play all the Taylor Swift she needs to. P.S. Yes, Demian. I can see my word count.
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Before I dive into "Monster's Ball," I have to take a moment. If that's not your thing, and you're already thinking, "Sheesh, Cin, just recap the fricking show," here's what you do -- do a control + F search on these words: "The recap starts now," and you'll jump to where it starts (I may go on long enough that TWoP's page breaks mean that you'll have to start your search on page 2 or 3, or 7; I'm not sure). The thing is, I'm having a bit of an existential crisis covering this show, because while I don't love it, I don't hate it, either. I like and enjoy it.
For me, The Vampire Diaries (TVD) is that guy who asks you out, and you say yes, because why not. Your forever crush has another girlfriend anyhow. You're not in love with this new guy, but you sure like him, and have fun with him. He cleans up well and you get along. When you're not with him, you're not preoccupied with thoughts of him. It's not going to last, and when it ends, your heart won't even be bruised, but you are only 16, so why the hell do you have to be in love anyhow? As long as you don't pretend you are, it's fine to go to the dance with him and have a good time.
I first became aware of my feelings (or lack of intense ones) when I updated my TWoP Staff Page bio, and couldn't list TVD as a favorite show. If you'd asked me in the first two seasons, TVD probably would have made the list, but seasons 3 and 4 changed that.
This only matters, because I'm me and I over-think stuff like this. You see, most TV shows are not made for obsessives, which is fine. But recapping a show, even when you're not obsessed with it, requires you to engage in obsessive fannish behavior. You watch a single episode a few times in one week, and you pause and rewind and spend hours thinking and talking about it. When you don't feel passionately about it, you start to find fault for fault's sake and that's not right. I'm starting to feel guilty about covering TVD, because while I'm fine with snarking on shows I hate (because they deserve it), or shows I love (because I deserve it), with entertaining shows I simply like, sometimes I feel like I'm giving them grief they don't deserve, because all they were doing was taking me out for an ice cream, you know? What kind of person picks on that?