It's pathetic when a mother of three is sitting in her living room watching a teen vampire show featuring a keg party and has to pause it to say, "Oh no you didn't." But you know, like the kids do (or did… I don't even think anyone says that anymore), where it comes out like Dih-Ent, which it totally Dih-Id, because Rebekah RIPPED OUT MY PUDDING POP'S HEART. And possibly mine.
Okay yes, I know Matt's murder was only Rebekah's werewolf venom-induced hallucination, but here's how it played out at my place. As soon as Matt's heart was in Beckster's hand, I paused the TiVo, looked over at my sputtering daughter and did the Dih-Ent thing. Once my girl finished WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT-ing, I managed to stammer out, "It-it's the stuff… the-the Tyler tooth juice… um, the werewolf venom. It's making her hallucinate, right? RIGHT?" But still. A half-hour later, my chest still hurts a little, so Julie Plec, Brian Young and whichever other diabolical creatures are responsible for this sharp decline in my health, what I'm saying is -- you'll be hearing from my estate.
But you, gentle readers, you came to read about "The Rager," rather than read about my during-show raging. The episode has been over for an hour and a half now (I took a break) and I still can't collect my thoughts, so this one is more of a review spew than a recaplet. "The Rager" is a breathless hour of TV. Elena's still feeding off Matt, but her hunger is growing as is her rage. Stefan is trying to get her to have a little fun, but he's Stefan so he can only help so much in that department. Besides, Elena's a little preoccupied with her secretish plot to kill Rebekah, who -- at one point -- throws Elena's daywalker ring down the garbage disposal. And you know I love Elena, but I'm just going to admit right here that I was a little appalled that she starts out so angry at Rebekah, who killed her, sure, but then turned around and saved her unlife.
Hunter Connor Jordan is still on the prowl, but instead of trying to kill Tyler yet again, he instead injects him with a paralytic and then draws werewolf venom out of the boy's gums. He'll later use it to spike some beer kegs (no, I don't know how he knew which kegs were going to Becky's party), in an effort to exterminate the Mystic Falls vampire infestation. Efficient. Connor says that since Jeremy can see his tattoo, it means that he too (the Germ) is a born vampire hunter. Buffy never had a tattoo like that, but she did have a Principal, who reminds me of Connor. I'd have some white liberal guilt about having one strong, handsome, determined, bald, black vampire hunter remind me of another, but since I think I'm looking at Anna every time I see April, I suspect this is more about how my brain is over-associative. Yes, that's a thing. You just read it on the Internet, so it must be true.
I think my favorite thing about "The Rager" is its relationship shell game aspect. Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), a beautiful young werewolf, arrives in town. She's a member of the pack Tyler crashed with when he was trying to break the Klaus sire bond. It doesn't take Klaus long to twig to the fact that Tyler and Hayley had a little thing going on. And you'd think the main point of this is to give Klaus a better shot with Caroline and I suppose it is… except there is also palpable warmth between Stefan and Caroline, tonight. I'd forgotten how well the latter two played off each other when Caroline was a baby vamp, but it all came rushing back tonight and not just because the Exposition Fairy played a visit, but also because there's definite chemistry there.
Stefan and Damon are still on the outs and Stefan feels that without Damon to pull him back from the edge, he might not be well-suited to teaching Elena how to enjoy vampirism, because that makes him want to enjoy it and he enjoys it by ripping people apart, putting them back together and throwing out cell phones. No, I'm never going to completely ditch that gag. But back to the 'ship shake-up -- Caroline promises to be there for Stefan and keep him well from the edge. Because of the rift between the Salvatore boys, when Damon gets in a fix, he refuses to call Stefan and instead appeals to Meredith and there are some sparks there, too. Plus, Damon teams up with Klaus, to confront Connor and I can't decide if I like it better when Damon and Klaus are fighting each other or fighting crime. Having just watched The Avengers though, I'd like to see them both in Captain America suits or perhaps the Thor costume, which, incidentally, would honor Klaus's roots.
Elena knows she's going to need Damon to teach her how to be a vampire, because she can't unlive in the hyper-controlled way Stefan does, which she finds out when she almost kills Matt while he's voluntarily feeding her. Oh and by the way, that was my second heart attack of the evening, because even once it sunk in my head that Rebekah didn't kill Matt, I kept thinking that Matt still may not be long for this world and if the show kills him off this season, well I… can't even. That is not a dare, Julie Plec. So yeah, Elena starts hurting Matt and gets way too rough with him, making me sure (for a moment) that the show is going to go just that dark, have Elena lose it and kill Matt. I could go for that (the darkness, not the Mattlessness) had Stefan not spent these first three episodes hammering in how Elena's compassion will torment her, if she kills someone. She may kill someone, but were she to kill Matt Donovan she'd never get over it. It would make her become as depressing as hell and I'd probably have to quit my job. So yeah, I'm glad Damon zoops in and saved Matt's life above and beyond the fact that no one ever should kill my Pudding Pop. Ever. Not even writers. Are we clear? Oh, but in all the infarction, I forgot to mention there are also Matt/Elena vibes in "The Rager," and I'm thinking they are intentional, since Matt calls attention to the fact that they've chosen their old make out spot for Elena's before-school snack.
Elena drinks some of the tainted beer and ends up having hallucinations too, which generally involve her kissing Stefan and thinking he's Damon. Stefan has to bring Klaus in to save Elena from Rose's fate. Is it just me or was the irony all too delicious? Stefan has been in a snit that Damon fed Elena his own blood, because blood sharing is basically vampire sex, even though vampires also have regular sex. Yet here he is, bringing in Klaus -- his nemesis -- to feed his girlfriend. I only wish Klaus had rubbed it in a little.
I typically 'ship any two characters who share a scene on this show, so all the shake- ups left me excited and intrigued to see what comes next and I haven't even mentioned how Connor seems to be part of some vampire slaying consortium called The Five. Twitter friend Val asked if that meant he was one of five hunters or one of the five people of color left in Mystic Falls, but she's just being silly, because no way are there five black people left in Mystic Falls. What? I love this show, but there are some issues. I'll be back with the whole story in 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've got a defibrillator handy.
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What a difference a day makes. I wrote my recaplet of "The Rager" right after the episode aired, when all I really had on my mind was the show and my daily grind. I knew there was a hurricane approaching, but honestly, my daughter's cheerleading competition was more on my mind. And I don't even mean that in a stage-mommy way. Mostly my thoughts were things like: I don't even know how to get to Lowell. Is my back going to act up, if I have to sit on bleachers or plastic seats for hours? If her teams wins again, and they continue to progress, how are we ever going to afford getting her to Florida for the finals? What are we going to do for the two hours between dropping her off and the beginning of the competition? We probably won't celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend. I think I'm gonna skip church on Sunday. How do I get to Lowell, again? Shallow. Every thought was shallow and those not strictly self-absorbed were very much us-absorbed (and leaning heavily toward myself). Even once my attention turned to the storm, I mostly fretted about how entirely useless I am without electricity and wondered why we have so many trees in this yard, anyhow. I mean, I've gone about 48 hours without power before, but after that? I'd have to move.
Then it happened. You know, I've never been to Rehoboth Beach, or Fire Island, or Queens, or even Atlantic City. I went to Staten Island when I was a kid to visit a great-aunt. I'd have to ask my mother where else I've been in and around New York City. I've mostly only traveled through the Mid-Atlantic states on my way to South Carolina. Once. We're among those Bostonians who tend to go North. New Hampshire. Maine. Vermont. Canada. Cool air. Fewer people. But as I read and watch these news reports of all this destruction in New York, New Jersey, and up and down the seaboard, my gut clenches -- my throat tightens like this is my own neighborhood. And I have nothing to say. I'm reduced to tears and prayers.
If you're here -- if you're reading this, that's a real blessing today, isn't it? Not reading this, mind you. That's already patently clear. I just mean it's great that you have a smart phone or electricity and internet... My own stupid, shallow self -- we never even lost electricity or internet. But the Boardwalk has been devastated and I feel like I lost a loved one. The whole region. Lives. Homes. Neighborhoods. Businesses. Boats. Ways of life. First Responders are out there selflessly risking their lives. People are suffering and struggling just to get through a day -- trying to come to terms with losing so much. And I'm supposed to write something quippy about...vampires.