The Vampire Diaries "True Lies" Review: The Stench of Wizardry (PHOTO RECAP)
I may only have several thousand flaws, but certainly one of the biggest is my inability to realize when people are sick of me. Maybe you can relate? Like, someone's entire body language and maybe even their spoken language will be saying "Price, kindly get the f*ck out of here so that I can relax or eat my meal or raise my family or slip into a dreamless sleep, please, I'm so tired, please just leave already." But then here's me thinking we're still having a great time and I'm laughing and rolling around on the living room floor ripping up newspapers and frightening the help. Like, I get it. I overstay my welcome sometimes or even most of the time or maybe even always. But as it turns out, knowing what your audience thinks is harder than it looks! That's not only true IRL (in real life), but it's especially true for TV shows. Viewers can VERY easily grow tired of certain characters or plots, but we don't have the option to stamp our feet or huff & puff or call 911 about it. No, when an episode airs, the people making that show are already like eight episodes ahead and might not even KNOW we hated something they made eight episodes ago. You know what I'm saying? The lag is too great.
That's what makes The Vampire Diaries such a magical phenomenon. It just KNOWS when we're going to be sick of something, like it's psychic or something. And sure, maybe it's not exactly batting a thousand (which is a baseball euphemism that means "full intercourse") when it comes to successful plotlines, but considering it wrings four seasons' worth of story out of each season it airs, this show's success rate is astonishingly high. Let's see, how do I give examples of this show's psychic abilities without seeming too negative? Uh, well, how about the absence of April so far? It's almost like the show realized she was a waste of time and just called it a day? Or, in the example most relevant to this recap, the fact that by episode 2 of this season Stefan is already out of the safe and Silas seems so doomed? Like, both of those were good concepts for a finale, but nobody wants to see a show with Stefan drowning over and over or Silas walking around being a jerk and using very ill-defined and boring powers on people. We as viewers are done with those things and it's delightful to realize that the writers seem to be very done with those things also. Of course, one could argue that this show also sometimes jumps the gun and ends plotlines prematurely (Lexi's existence comes to mind), but that's a fair tradeoff if it keeps the twists churning.
Anyway, this is just an overwritten way of saying that this show just GETS us. It knows what we will or won't like. It knows when to convince us we were wrong about not liking something; it acknowledges when we were right all along about not liking something. It's frankly amazing how subtly and effectively this cruise liner corrects itself, and probably without us ever knowing it's happening. But let's stop talking about generalities and get specific: "True Lies" was one of the best episodes of this show in recent memory. In addition to the usual amounts of suspense and excitement, wasn't it also very hilarious? Like way more noticeably funny than usual? Maybe that's just a sign that things are still lighthearted and aren't yet as nightmarish as they probably will become later, but what an enjoyable hour of television. Let's talk about it!
The episode began with a brief acknowledgment that Bonnie had just witnessed the slaughter of her own father. In this town that sort of thing barely merits a second thought, so it was nice she got to mourn for about 11 seconds. But if we're being real, it seemed like Bonnie was mostly just sad about not being able to physically grope Jeremy in this, her hour of need.
This WAS the true tragedy of her situation. But anyway, who cares about some dead Cylon, let's get back to KATHERINE! What was she up to NOW?
Apparently after she'd left Jeremy for dead on the side of a highway, she wandered around in the woods all night? Typical Katherine! Except she looked real busted now and had to resort to flagging down cars for help.
Unfortunately the citizens of Mystic Falls were not very helpful to Katherine! This lady just straight MACED HER.
But it was truly hilarious how Katherine immediately went into BRAWLER mode. Human or not, NOBODY maces Katherine and gets away with it.
But before Katherine could beat this lady's head right into the pavement with her tiny fists, Matt ran out and captured her at gunpoint.
So there you had it. Katherine had basically gone feral and Matt was now taking hostages at gunpoint in broad daylight. Just another beautiful Tuesday.
Meanwhile in Stefan's very wet, very soggy brain, he and Elena were enjoying a nice afternoon nuzzling their cold dead vampire parts together under a blanket of lens flares.
But because all bliss is fleeting if not completely fraudulent, suddenly Elena began to impersonate a fire hydrant and spit water all over the place! Stefan was all, "Oh no, this blanket is chenille!" but Elena didn't listen, she was just like *spitttttttttttt*. Still though, it was Stefan's most pleasant drowning to date.
Poor fella. At least now we know that vampires don't prune up.
Meanwhile at Virginia's answer to the University of Phoenix, Elena was still kinda freaked out over her former roommate. Not because the roommate had been brutally murdered, but mostly because the roommate had had a picture of Elena's dad on her cell phone. Also, her murder had been covered up and Elena really, really, really wanted to investigate. Caroline wasn't as excited about that idea.
Honestly, Caroline had the right idea here. These ladies should know by now that anytime there's a suspicious incident or hints of a secret society, getting involved will only lead to, months down the line, some climactic, over-the-top, catastrophic showdown with a powerful supernatural being and one or more of their closest friends or family will be murdered forever. Maybe just stay out of it this time? Let some other gang of monsters get caught up in it?
Oh, and in this scene we learned that they had planned on majoring in either Communications, or in Caroline's case, drama. Hahaha sure, guys. I guess you are potentially immortal now so your formal education doesn't matter, but quit playin' like you're going to attend college all four years. Can you imagine if the next EIGHT seasons of this show all took place in college? Not gonna happen.
Meanwhile at the quarry (which is my favorite segue), Damon was very nicely pleading with Sheriff Forbes to check the water for his brother.
I'm not sure why Damon didn't just strap on some floaties and take the plunge himself, but then again, yeah, a citizen being in mortal danger really does fall under Sheriff Forbes' jurisdiction. She muttered something about working on the murdered mayor case (which, WHAT? That had to have made national news and sparked a nationwide manhunt right?), but eventually agreed to let a deputy or two search for Stefan. So, uh, phew.
Haha okay. So. This is the new professor on The Vampire Diaries. This is what he looks like. Whoops BRB I need to check for something on Instagram real quick. Okay got it, anyway, so this professor guy is also a doctor, which is only important because Elena saw that he'd forged her roommate's fraudulent death certificate that omitted any mention of vampire bites. So of course this meant that Elena and Caroline needed to infiltrate his lecture on Applied Microbiology where he immediately creeped everybody out by telling them that the school bonfire was inspired by the burning of bodies during the Civil War. But while you guys were busy being creeped out by that speech, i was laser-focused on that weird glass of brackish water on the table. It was there before he arrived in the room! What WAS that? Who left it there? What beverage was it? WAS it a beverage at all? I need answers and I need them now.
While it made me laugh that we finally saw Elena attend a class and it wasn't even one she was enrolled in or taking seriously in any way, it still seemed so harsh when the professor kicked her out for not knowing ANYTHING about ANYTHING.
Anyway the main revelation here was that The Vampire Diaries tends to have attractive teacher figures. Did you ever notice this? Maybe that's just my opinion.
So then Silas showed up on campus and it was the first time Elena had laid eyes on Stefan or Stefan-like dudes in months. So she was very happy to awkwardly hug him with joy.
So I have a very basic question. Vampires have extremely sensitive eyes and ears and noses and mouths, but they are totally unable to detect that their friend/brother/lover has been replaced by an immortal monster who had just spent upwards of a thousand years rotting in a tomb? I don't care how many showers Silas had taken, or how quickly he had adapted to the world of Kiehl's, I guarantee you he still had a touch of tomb-stank on him. Well, whatever, Elena definitely did not notice that Stefan wasn't Stefan, which was one of the more insulting things to have happened to Stefan in a while. "We love you and care about you, but we literally didn't notice when you were replaced by some dude with no personality who we barely know."
Okay, so, this was hilarious. Katherine had a cold!
Sorry, had to. But yeah, Katherine had a cold and she was miserable, and it was made all the more degrading by the fact that Jeremy and Matt were keeping her hog-tied in Matt's truck. Except for this brief restroom break where a gas station attendant tried to murder Katherine with a shotgun.
Luckily Matt pulled a classic Matt-style shotgun snatch! But poor Katherine, seriously, summer colds are not fun.
So then Damon paid the campus a visit, and this was a funny scene in which he came in to bark orders at Caroline to help him figure stuff out and he kept picking up clothes and throwing them at her. Like, relax, let a lady choose her own clothes, jeez. Also this scene reminded me of Season 1 when Damon and Caroline had VERY debatable sexual relations that will make fans very mad if you imply they were something close to rape OK MOVING ONNN
So at some point shortly after Stefan offered to "hold" Elena's phone in his pants pocket, his story started to sound shadier and shadier. Like, he'd shown up on campus to inform her that her brother had gone missing and then also ask her where her brother was? Elena's come a long way since her human days, but this scene was just Classic Elena.
So then the new college bro--Jessie?--offered to give Elena the scoop on her new sexy professor-doctor, the one who'd been involved in her roommate's murder cover-up. I guess the professor-doctor was part of some secret society that seemed not unlike the very terrible and incompetent secret society back in Mystic Falls. And then Damon ran in and punched Jessie in the face!
Poor guy. I honestly feel so bad for any new friends these girls make at Whitmore. Though it was charming how openly smitten both Elena and Caroline were by him despite both of them having boyfriends. Caroline especially seemed 'bout it.
This was another great and well-written bit of dialogue. Katherine openly groused about how many incredible things she'd overcome in her life (childbirth, Klaus, etc.) only to be nearly undone by some sniffles. And then it was extremely heartwarming when Jeremy wrapped her up in a blanket and she seemed very surprised and touched. I love that stuff.
Meanwhile Matt was off in the woods doing whatever and Silas found him!
Silas' mind-control tricks weren't working on Matt, so he leaned in closer to get a better look and found out that Matt's head was already occupied by some other entity! So then Silas reverted to Plan B: Snapping Matt's neck!
We knew Matt had the ring on though, so it wasn't super surprising when he woke up. What WAS surprising though, was that he woke up on The Other Side. And we got to see what it looked like finally! Oh, and guess who was just sort of hanging out:
The coolest part about The Other Side was the way it sounded. All echoey and silent and eerie. Loved that. I mean it still looked like a fake forest, but it was consistent with what we'd known to be true: It's exactly like the world of the living, except living people can't see them. Not even Jeremy, for some reason, who can legit see ghosts usually. Not sure how that worked, but still. Also, we learned that every time someone with an immortality ring dies, their soul gets swept further and further away from their body, which explains why it takes longer and longer for them to resurrect. Anyway, these were some info-nuggets strictly for the nerds, but I loved learning them. Bummed there weren't other ghosts hanging around though. Still holding out hope for a Sean Faris cameo :(
So then this whole thing went down. Elena mouth-attacked Damon only to then shove a bottle of Vervain water down his throat.
And then she tried to murder him so much!
Luckily he spit Vervain right in her face and got her to chill out for a sec. As it turned out Silas had put a spell on her that would make her want to murder Damon anytime she looked at him. Oh, Silas, you catty c*ckblockin' jerk.
I liked this moment where Caroline tended to Jessie's bruises with a popsicle. I found it very romantic, especially when they bonded over disappointing exes. But again, I worry for anybody who becomes friends with these kids.
Jessie should not so much as go through a Wendy's drive-thru with these ladies until he's had his will notarized.
Meanwhile Jeremy and Katherine heard Matt's screams and fled their campground. Jeremy really wanted to go back and save Matt but Katherine advised him to just pull a Katherine and RUNNNN. That's when she learned a valuable lesson about assholery.
Yep, it looked like Katherine was finally starting to soften up with regard to others. I mean, YOU try and not feel super introspective after an angel-faced hunk tells YOU off.
Speaking of which, how amazing was Jeremy's tussle with Silas?
First Jeremy got all braggy about how as a hunter he was impervious to Silas' mind control tricks, but then he went on to brag about doing Crossfit and then threw a hatchet at him and THEN ran at him with windmill arms. Unfortunately Silas had a trick up his sleeve!
A double self-stabbing! OH NOOOOOOOO, JEREMYYYYYY
It was looking bad for Jeremy, you guys. It was looking real bad. Silas was about to plant that hatchet right in Jeremy's skull and Jeremy's personal death count was probably going to finally enter into the triple digits. But then!
KATHERINE!!!! And then my heart and brain exploded into fireworks because this was THE BEST. A real, genuine, emotionally motivated character reversal by the baddest ass lady on the show. She showed up and shotgunned an ANCIENT WIZARD to save Jeremy's life. Just so perfect and great. I only care about Katherine anymore. More of this arc pls. It's everything great about this show all wrapped up into one tiny Bulgarian.
Meanwhile, Elena and Damon were still chillin' half-naked in her dorm room and Silas' curse made Elena want to break a gas vein and explode them both to pieces.
But then Damon realized that Elena needed to refocus her emotional energies elsewhere...
And it worked! Elena just needed to think about Stefan and she cheered up. Oh, and she also admitted that she'd been having psychic dreams about Stefan, meaning those weird lens flare scenes were actual scenes transpiring between Elena and Stefan in their MINDS. Which, WHOA. Vampire telepathy?? That would certainly make things interesting on this show FINALLY. But yeah, anyway, the whole think-about-Stefan thing was probably not Damon's highlight of the day.
This was hilarious though... Immediately after the curse was broken, Caroline walked in to find them both tied to chairs looking wrecked.
Hahah that was funny. I usually try not to recap the jokes, but I just really laughed a lot at that one. This episode had a lot hard laughs in my opinion, I definitely approved.
So then Bonnie came out to Matt about being a dead person and he lectured her about keeping such a weird secret like that. Then he found his own body and was it slightly erotic to anybody else when he touched himself? JUST ASKING.
Before she disappeared into the woods to do whatever it is Bonnie's ghost does in the woods, she gave an emotional speech about how crummy her afterlife had been and how much she wants to be human again. Uh-oh, I smell an ill-advised dabbling in some form of dangerous magic! Which, fine. Let's get Bonnie human again. It might not change the fundamental aspects of her character, but it'll at least end this tragic horror show before it gets too unbearable.
Then I guess Silas healed his shotgun wounds and went to a gas station to steal blood from the guy working the counter. That's when he was confronted by those two Europeans who'd put a spell on Matt or whatever last week. Did you LOL (laugh overly loudly) when Silas joked about how "gypsy" isn't a politically correct term? But anyway yeah: They were gypsies. And they'd been using Matt's skull as a sort of peephole to keep tabs on Silas. But now that they had Silas at (tiny) knife point, they could finally put their plan into action!
In this case the plan of action was that the sexy lady gypsy stabbed her friend and then sexily brain-seduced Silas for some reason.
Whatever she was thinking about, Silas LIKEY. Hey quick question, is Silas still all worried about his dead wife and committing suicide and all that? Or is he just a full-time dick-for-no-reason now?
This was just another scene of the professor talking to Elena. He knew her father and wanted to tell her more about why he forges death certificates, but she mostly just blew him off. She had undead Italian-Americans to worry about!
For his part, Damon openly claimed he was secure enough in his relationship with Elena that he didn't mind that she and Stefan were each other's emotional constants. SURE, Damon. We all know how Elena is only ever just a series of mass murders away from changing her mind about whom she'd like to sleep with. Don't be TOO secure.
Anyway, their intense mouth-battle was interrupted by a phone call. Stefan's lockbox had been found!
And it was in the middle of the woods for some reason? Sometimes my brain simply rejects basic facts or information so I don't remember why the safe was in the forest. All that's important was what was inside:
NOT STEFAN. Just a dead body all ripped to pieces by a Ripper. But again, NO STEFAN.
Uh-oh. This was definitely a good news/bad news scenario. Their friend and brother and ex-lover was no longer drowning to death over and over. But on the other hand he was probably running around eating EVERYBODY. Elena should probably just go back to college and wait it out, but she probably won't. Typical Elena.
"True Lies" was a mega fun episode. We're still in the beginning stages of some presumably major madness to come, but for an episode of mostly set-up it sure was a breezy, funny, entertaining hour of--
... What is the more valuable college degree, Communications or Theater?
... If you had super-smelling abilities, would you be able to smell an ancient wizard while in the midst of an intimate hug?
... Should more college professor-doctors look like Dr. Wes Maxfield?
... Will Stefan take a break from eating citizens to change out of his wet socks?
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