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Vampire Diaries – “Under Control” – review
This show gets more soap operatic every week! Seriously, y’all, it’s not even trying to hide it anymore. This week was full of crazy hook-ups and plot reveals that only made things more complicated.
Basically, the Founder’s Council is gearing up for the Mystic Falls Sesquicentennial (and the fact they are celebrating 150 years gives me a new appreciation for my hometown, which is over 300 by now) with a big party at the mayor’s house. Elena and Jeremy’s uncle, Jonathan Gilbert (their father’s brother, where Jenna is the mother’s sister, which was only just made clear), has come back to town for a visit. He and Jenna have hostility, which he claims is because they used to sleep together. Regardless of what he’s come back for, he steps right back into the Gilbert slot on the Council. He tells them about several blood bank break-ins and bloodless bodies found recently within 75 miles of Mystic Falls and reignites vampire vigilance among the Council members—of which Damon is now unofficially one.
At the party Stefan copes with his bloodlust by drinking too much, and Jon tips his hand to Damon by discussing the tomb, the vampires who escaped from it, and Damon’s part in opening it. Damon throws him off the roof…only to see him walk back in a few minutes later to help the mayor ring the original town bell to officially start their Founding Day celebrations. Matt’s mom gets drunk and starts to make out with Tyler; when Matt catches them and punches his friend, Tyler responds with ridiculous aggression. The blood on Mrs. Donovan breaks Stefan’s control, and Damon and Alaric confront Jon Gilbert. He shows them his ring, which was his brother’s; Alaric has Jon’s ring, which he had given to Isobel, and tells them he had been the one to send Isobel to Damon when she wanted to be turned.
So, the soapy plotlines were mostly about Jon Gilbert and Alaric. Poor Rick…first his wife runs off with him, and now he’s dating Jenna, who is one of Jon’s exes. Awkward much? The other one was Matt’s mom playing the cougar AGAIN, this time with one of his friends (and a high school kid!). Good on Matt for kicking her out of the house after that. He really is better off alone.
I am glad they had another Tyler gets aggressive under a bright big moon moment. For those who know the books, obviously that part is going to come in—the question remains will it be natural, that he can’t help it, or will he have to choose it? Speaking of possibly supernatural family inheritances…WHAT is the Gilbert heritage? Jenna refers to it as a mysterious “legacy” that she was never told because she wasn’t a Gilbert, but that Jon will share it with Jeremy someday. What the heck is it? Obviously the rings are part of it, but what, exactly, are the rings and what do they give to the wearer? Is it protection against attack by a vampire? Or does it confer an inability to die, period, while the bearer wears it? If the latter…how did Grayson Gilbert die in that car crash? If it’s attack from vampires only, that implies that the crash was truly an accident, not one orchestrated by a vampire.
I thought Damon and Stefan’s relationship had a stand-out episode. Damon looks like a bit of an enabler when it comes to Stefan, kind of encouraging him to go back to drinking human blood and leaving it around to tempt him, except…one, I think he knows that Stefan doesn’t need encouragement but a challenge to prove himself, so Damon’s teasing is his way of throwing a gauntlet at his brother’s feet; and two, he really is concerned for his brother that this withdrawal from blood is so hard and painful, and he wants his brother strong in case they need to fight. Seeing Stefan drunk and happy was hilarious—not surprising that he’s a happy drunk, considering how brooding he is all the rest of the time. He was giving me a contact buzz just from watching! And Damon was obviously aware that Stefan would be no help right now, since he went to Alaric to help him confront Jon Gilbert and not his brother. Personally, since I am totally on Team Damon when it comes to which brother I like (and seriously, am I really the only one? Every. Single. One. of my friends prefers Stefan–Ian, CALL ME), I love that he is getting to be a more and more sympathetic character with every new enemy that stands up to threaten both brothers. Also his relationship with Elena continues to grow, as she is coming to him for help with Stefan, and he sees her more and more as part of the family to be protected no matter what.
But the other sibling relationship took a turn for the worse. Elena decided to start opening up more to Jeremy, and finally told him she was adopted. They bicker and banter and seem closer than they had been before. Then Jeremy finds out Elena knows about the vampires and something about what happened to Vicki, which started when Elena tried to encourage him to let go of his obsession with why her body was buried if it was an overdose, and ended when he snuck a peep at her diary. I think I recall, in the first episode, her writing that she had never kept a journal before, which, if it is a correct memory, was really good seeding for this new development. Because anyone who kept a journal in junior high with a brother near that same age around knows that brothers love nothing more than to find that diary and read it and then tease you about it. She could have no possible expectation of privacy if she had kept one when they were both a few years younger. But now Jeremy is old enough that he doesn’t care about teasing her…just being lied to. This will grow into big drama later.
In the meantime, new games are afoot with the Council, and when is Bonnie coming back, and how long will Stefan have to suffer before he either gets his blood addiction under control (for real instead of just lying about it to himself and everyone else) or adopts some of Damon’s morality, and…?