Vampire Diaries: Burning Sensations

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Sign my yearbook? Okay I know we don't know each other that well, and we only had Algebra II together, and I spent most of the school year copying off your tests, and we only really made eye contact that one time we both snickered when Bianca got kicked out of the class for throwing a Jolly Rancher, but still: What a year! Okay, this metaphor is over, it's just too inappropriate to talk about school when discussing The Vampire Diaries. These kids will never be educated and I shouldn't rub it in. But I meant that last part—what a long, crazy season this has been!

Do you realize that when this season first began, Katherine had only JUST arrived and Caroline was still a human being? That seems IMPOSSIBLE. So much has changed over the what-seems-like SIX seasons worth of story lines that have crossed our screens over the past 22 episodes. And on a personal note intended to blow your mind, my first recap of this show (which was also my first piece for TV.com) only contained 8 pictures. EIGHT. And none with captions! The fact that this recap will have 104 pictures is a testament to the fact that my brain went away for good. Goodbye brain, you were like the Aunt Jenna of my body: Legally necessary but ultimately useless.

After last week's pyrotechnics and tear-filled nightmare, this week's denouement contained fireworks of the more emotional kind. Exemplifying a trend more recently seen in (dare I mention it?) True Blood, this season gave us its actual finale in the next-to-last episode and then used its final 'sode to introduce some of the main elements of next season. But next season's looking AWESOME, am I right? (I am right, just trust me*). *Don't. It looks pretty good though, I'll probably watch it.

Before we jump into this recap, let's just get something out of the way first: Damon and Elena kissed. Literally billions of you have been waiting for this for literally thousands of years. Congratulations! But come on, get real. He was on his DEATH BED, you guys. Don't read too much into it, Damon certainly didn't seem to. Okay I feel better for having said that. #truth2power

We began only about two days after Klaus' mass murder-themed campfire party.

Elena was grieving the best way she knew how: By creepin' around the house.

Get out of there, Elena! It's bad enough this kid has to share a bathroom with you.

Because everyone was DYING to see the reverse angle of this bedroom. Nope, this added absolutely nothing to my impressions of the criminally negligent guardian who once slept in this bed. I forget her name.

Damon did that trick you do when you're trying to win someone over-- Sneak into their house at dawn and silently approach them when they believe they're alone. Anyway, Damon was like, "I was wrong" and Elena was like, "Yes, you were."

Honestly, Damon was just being a gentleman at this point because NOBODY was more wrong than Elena. Last week one of you commenters/hotties pointed out that once upon a time Katherine subverted Klaus' plans by becoming a vampire and forcing him to postpone his ritual another 500 years. SO WHY DIDN'T ELENA DO THIS? The entire Season 2 plotline could have been nipped in the bud! I mean, sure, Klaus would've been super annoyed, but there'd also be a half dozen characters still alive. Anyway, yeah, Damon was SUCH a villain for trying to turn Elena into a vampire. Ugh, teens. No wait, Ugh ME for thinking about this so much.

Whatever the case, that conversation was Damon's cue to commit suicide? Not sure. A pretty song started playing and Damon started drinking everything in his liquor cabinet.

Which-- That liquor cabinet was confusing. Did it have a back wall or didn't it? Speaking of confusing:

Nice try, opening credits. That character DIED. Plus, this show would NEVER bring back dead characters. Okay?

Damon's bite was looking pretty bad, and it was clear he didn't much want to face the horrible demise our dearly departed Rose once suffered. So, off came the ring and in came the sunlight.

But then SWOOP! In comes Stefan to stop the madness. (Plus, the smell of charred vampire never comes out of upholstery).

It was pretty awesome to see Stefan forcefully take charge of Damon's fate like that. Remember when he was just a wilting wallflower when it was Elena's life on the line? I guess he learned his lesson! So, Stefan definitely got points for throwing Damon in the dungeon and being all, "Tough titty, Damon." But then, of course, he LOST points when he claimed that he had Bonnie out looking for a solution. Haha perfect.

Meanwhile out in the woods, Klaus woke up from his 2-day werewolf spree. I realize he's a reprehensible villain, but he seemed slightly more appealing in this scene! No idea why.

Really, can't quite put my finger on it.

You know who was NOT having it? Elijah. He'd had the bummer job of following around a werewolf for two days "cleaning up" after it. I'm guessing that means gathering up stray bodyparts with a werewolf pooper scooper or something. You could tell Elijah had HAD IT because his Brazilian blow-out was starting to frizz.

Alaric was dealing with his grief the old-fashioned way: Public drunkenness. Fair enough, he's pretty much homeless now. This lady did NOT want to give him the entire bottle of hooch. They practically tussled over it!

Also, I feel like I forgot to notice this in the past few episodes, but when did Mystic Grill re-open?? Didn't an angry warlock burn it down like a week ago?

Anyway, Stefan phoned Alaric to break the news about Damon's condition.

It was weird how HARD he took it! I mean, I knew they had a tentative friendship, but this whole episode Alaric was arguably more upset about Damon's fate than his dead ex-girlfriend.

Okay, so the obligatory town-wide event was a public screening of Gone With the Wind. First off, it's like, What? This was questionable for like a dozen reasons, but this probably isn't the forum for a thoughtful debate about modern racial politics. But this IS the forum to discuss what a bunch of weirdos the residents of Mystic Falls are:

I mean, honestly. I used to feel bad for the poor citizens of Mystic Falls, but now it's like they're something out of a horror movie?

Anyway, Jeremy did NOT understand why he was attending this "chick flick" with his sister. Elena gave him some flip response about how going outside and being around people is the best way to grieve. Sure, Elena, hanging out with 30 maniacs in sweaty costumes is just your typical grieving process. Call me old-fashioned, but I do not believe that grieving should require sunscreen.

LUCKILY Caroline showed up with two baskets full of good times.

We didn't see Tyler in this episode, but Caroline sure looked like SHE had. Over and over. She gave a speech about how the burning of Atlanta in the movie was an apt comparison for Elena watching having witnessed her guardian be murdered. Okay, so Caroline lost me a bit, but I think she was just trying to say we should all persevere. Fair enough!

Plus, it made me laugh when Jeremy was like, "Let's eat," and Caroline gave HER OWN picnic basket the side-eye like, "Something BETTER be good in there." What a gem. Someone give this girl a spinoff, okay?

Haha SOMEONE was tired. I guess I couldn't blame Bonnie for wanting to light candles the old-fashioned way, all that mountaintop yammering can really wear a girl out, you know?

At Damon's insistence, they held an impromptu seance with Bonnie's dead witch relatives.

Bonnie channeled the ghost of Emily Bennett and almost immediately she seemed to know what the F she was doing FOR ONCE. But hey, by the way, in the promos for this episode, wasn't Emily supposed to actually APPEAR to speak this dialogue? Who knows how these things work. HollyWEIRD, am I right?

Emily was NOT forthcoming with any good info, and in fact she made a big stink about how Bonnie was "abusing" her powers and whatnot. But she did allude to the fact that Klaus may hold the key to Damon's werewolf bite situation.


NEXT: Damon's bad wig and the Mayor's bad mood

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Meanwhile Mayor Lockwood had her GAME FACE on. This lady was MAD, all barging into Sheriff Forbes' office.

It made me laugh how she merely had her arm in a sling despite THIS happening only THREE DAYS ago:

So the Mayor wanted to know WHAT the Sheriff was doing about the vampire situation! Haha, wasn't their vampire council thing supposed to be a secret? Oh, nobody gives an F anymore. Let's just discuss it loudly in public. Well, the remaining members of the public that Sheriff Forbes hasn't gotten killed yet.

I gotta say, it was pretty amazing how the Mayor actually DID HER JOB last night. When Sheriff Forbes claimed "I'm handling it," the Mayor was like, "ARE YOU HANDLING IT? Because I left you in charge of this town's safety and I'm not seeing any results!" Dang, bring it on home! I mean, it was obviously just the writers trying to put the screws to Sheriff Forbes, but still. Way to go, lady. Now FIRE HER.

Maybe it was the grief, but was Elena looking slightly potato-faced in this episode? I realize that's not a nice thing to say, but yes? She was?

When Stefan broke the news about Damon's situation, she took it hard. One of the good things that came of Rose's death (R.I.P. Rose!!) was it certainly raised the stakes for all future werewolf bites. All future werewolf bites, that is, except DAMON'S. Because guess what, Damon wasn't going to die. He just wasn't. Sorry, he's the star of this show. Get real, people! No suspense whatsoever.

Whoops! It wouldn't be an important episode without flashbacks! These were actually pretty cool-- Not just flashbacks but also hallucinations brought on by Damon's sickness. Whatever the case, Damon's wig was looking BETTER THAN EVER.

There was some sultry wordplay between Damon and Katherine, but I found it pretty funny that neither one of them spoke in era-appropriate accents. Because when you think of Civil War Virginians, you think vaguely disaffected Canadians. I know, I know, Ian Somerhalder's American, but so what? You're telling me these actors get decked out in these costumes but they draw the line at having to use Southern accents? Are they afraid they might seem slightly ridiculous? Just go for it next time, Vampire Diaries. Own it!

Right, so Elena herself showed up in the Civil War era flashback. This was actually pretty cool, but the downside was that yet again she just seemed like a bump on a log compared to Katherine. The gist, though, was that Damon found himself torn between the women, but Katherine had no such dilemma: She allowed herself to love TWO men. Except, let's face it, Katherine has loved every man she's ever met? Including Klaus, Elijah, Mason, Trevor and whatever Bulgarian knocked her up back in the day? I mean, nice try, lady, but you are LOOSE.

Speaking of Katherine, here's how she spends her free time. In case you were wondering.

Did Alaric's lease expire or did I forget about the time he invited Stefan inside his apartment? You know what? Forget I asked. These kinds of questions get me nowhere in life.

Right after Stefan arrived to chat up Katherine, who should waltz in but Klaus and his spineless brother!

There was a bit of a standoff between Stefan and Elijah, but it was pretty quickly interrupted by…

Whoops! Lesson learned? See you later Elijah! (And we WILL see you later).

Also, it made me laugh how, after stabbing Elijah, Klaus pinned Stefan to the wall and was like, "Now what am I gonna do with you?" Then we cut to commercial. Then we returned and Klaus just STABBED Stefan. That answered that!

So then Elena pulled up to the Salvatore mansion in a SWEET SUV. WHOSE car was that? Was it Jenna's? Am I missing something or did Elena steal a car or something? Not sure.

Then Sheriff Forbes jumped out of the shadows and cupped a hand over Elena's mouth. You know, typical Sheriff stuff.

Then this dunce snuck into the Salvatore basement all stealthily like whatever the opposite of a ninja is, and ignored Alaric's advice not to disturb Damon in his LOCKED CELL.

So even though she had full knowledge of his vampirism, she still felt it was a good idea to get up close and check him out. That, of course, led to THIS:

Oh, Sheriff Forbes.

Out at town square, the kids looked like they were REALLY enjoying the flick. When Jeremy got a call from Alaric giving him the heads up that Damon was on the prowl, he decided to go look for him. Good plan, Jeremy!

Bonnie pointed out that maybe she and Caroline should go deal with it, but then Jeremy got all angry that he kept getting left out of all the town's supernatural adventures and informed her that he'd deal with it THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The main cool thing about this movie screening was that there were tons of shots of the characters standing in front of a projection screen while it played. It was cool! Credit where credit's due.

We finally confirmed what Stefan had come to suspect: Klaus' blood was the cure for a werewolf bite, as he demonstrated on Katherine.

In exchange for the cure, Stefan essentially agreed to become Klaus' all-purpose wingman. I guess Klaus had heard about Stefan's dirty past, including the time he wiped out an entire migrant village in Monterey. But, you know, who HASN'T done that? We've all had those days.

I guess I was under the impression that Stefan was ALREADY drinking human blood at that point? I mean, I know he became a junkie briefly, but he'd been drinking Elena's blood, plus the occasional blood bag when he got hurt. So I guess I don't see why he was acting like he'd fallen off the wagon or whatever. Anyway, it's what Klaus wanted.

Not that I'm trying to start any rumors, but didn't it seem like Klaus had a bit of a crush on Stefan? He was SO into the idea of Stefan becoming his right-hand man. I dunno, it just struck me as kind of flirty, that's all.

Oh, but get ready, because then something CRAZY happened. Jeremy ran into Damon who was looking a mess, and he dragged him into Mystic Grill. Sheriff Forbes followed them inside and then THIS happened:

It was a CLASSIC Sheriff Forbes moment! I mean, yeah Jeremy got shot in the chest, how horrible, but seriously, WHAT? This lady!!

It made me laugh when she knelt down beside him all panicked and literally said, "You'll be fine." She'd SHOT HIM IN THE HEART. With a gun!

I liked when Caroline ran in and was like, "Mom, what'd you do?!" like her mom had merely embarrassed her in public and not MURDERED her friend.

After Caroline's initial attempt to heal Jeremy with vampire blood, Bonnie spirited his body off to the haunted witch house to ask her bitchy cousins for help. Lo and behold they were NOT happy. In my opinion she should've asked for Jasmine Guy directly, but oh well. Alaric was sitting there with her, and when Bonnie informed him that the ghosts didn't want to help, he actually said, "Tell them to shut up!" Haha, this guy.

Finally Bonnie ended up BEGGING Emily for help. Something about, "I love him!" and "He looks like Steve McQueen!" After an ominous warning that there would be consequences to this, Jeremy finally woke up.

He was all groggy, like "Wha happen?" You were shot by a dunce, Jeremy. It happens. Life is hard.


NEXT: Caroline catches a break and Delena finally happens

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Damon, meanwhile, was staggering around the town square like a sweaty mutant where he spotted familiar looking brown-eyed waif.

The sequence ingeniously flashed back and forth between the past and present, and two very different contexts:

When he actually BIT Elena's neck, it was sort of creepy how she put up only the faintest resistance. It was a lot like the consensual sort of neck biting that she'd let Stefan do, so clearly Elena had turned some kind of corner when it came to our favorite eye-acting brat.

Back at the diner, Caroline kind of had it out with her mom. Sheriff Forbes was obviously distraught about having nearly killed Jeremy, but she seemed fairly receptive to what Caroline was trying to tell her. Basically Caroline didn't give a--pardon my French--damn about what she thought anymore, and that she's still her daughter and she'd better shut up about it already.

Suddenly Sheriff Forbes found herself in a topsy-turvy mixed up world where you just don't know if you can do something so crazy as, you know, HUG YOUR OWN DAUGHTER.

All together now: Awwww. She came around. Yay for Caroline!

I guess after his resurrection, Jeremy and Bonnie immediately parted ways?

Luckily they had SWEET video chat capabilities on their identical Windows laptops? Don't you love how close to the vidcam Bonnie is sitting? Anyway, Jeremy hinted at the fact that he felt, well, unwell since being dead. It raises the question: Did he ingest any of Caroline's blood before becoming technically dead. I'm guessing not, but it's just a question, Jeez! Don't haul me off to jail for asking a question okay?

Uh-oh, looks like we may have a new legal guardian on our hands!

Haha when I first saw that closeup, I was like, Mystic Falls Hospital needs to fire its staff for losing so much blood. But then I was like, "What staff?" There's probably tumbleweeds blowing through those hallways.

Whatever, Stefan was really vamping out now and Klaus really spelled it out: If Stefan left town with him, he'd save Damon's life.

When Stefan agreed, Klaus "compelled" Katherine to deliver the blood to Damon. But since she's not technically able to be compelled anymore, it became a point of suspense about whether she'd actually deliver it.

Damon and Elena were spending some meaningful moments on his enormous bed. He thoroughly apologized for all his dick-ish behavior over the years and she thoroughly forgave him for everything. He started ruminating about how he'd always blamed Stefan for turning him into a vampire, but deep down it was always his own decision.

You know what I totally respected? That in this moment of Damon and Elena finally getting somewhat of a romantic due, they both looked their absolute worst. Seriously, these are two of the most attractive people on the planet, but they just looked WRECKED. It was actually really endearing!

Damon told her he loved her. Again. Except explicitly this time. And then she went in for the kill:

To prove my point that this wasn't a romantic situation as much as it was a parting gift, Damon actually said "Thank you," and she responded, simply, "You're welcome."

Which is why it's gonna be AWKWARD when Damon doesn't die. Hi, Katherine!

Katherine came through! She said it was because she sort of owed Damon a favor, which was pretty much true. But also throughout the season we've come to get the sense that Katherine is not as reprehensible as we first thought. So duh, she was going to help Damon not die. But how hilarious was her reaction when Elena asked where Stefan was.

"Are you sure you care?" Haha Katherine WINS. But also, on her way out, Katherine casually tossed out the awesomest and simplest advice to Elena in her new state of mind: "It's okay to love them both. I did." Bingo, give this lady a spinoff too.

In case you were wondering, the rest of the Originals' bodies were also being kept in Mystic Falls for some reason. Because WHY? Not sure. Klaus tends to overpack, I guess. Anyway, Elijah's gonna be in a casket for a while. See you during sweeps, guy!

Then Klaus tempted Stefan with a treat he hadn't indulged in for a while: MURDER.

Tasty, tasty murder.

But then we got to THE BEST reveal of the finale.

It seemed SOMETHING or SOMEONE had awoken Jeremy from his peaceful slumber.

VAMPIRE GHOSTS!!! (Or regular ghosts, who knows.)

Hi, Vicki! Hi, Anna! Jeremy just got awesome, you guys, and he's got the undead friends to prove it!

That's it! Boom. Season 2 is dunzo. I'm not saying it was better or worse than Season 1, but Season 2 definitely happened and we will never be the same because of it. I don't know about you, but I will definitely miss these monsters, dunces and dreamboats.

QUESTIONS:

-Where will Klaus and Stefan go?
-Do Damon and Elena have a future?
-Will Vicki and Anna be actual ghosts or just in-head hotties like in Battlestar Galactica?
-Could the reappearances of Jenna or Jasmine Guy be far behind?

FINAL NOTES:

... I just want to give a big, heartfelt, snark-free thanks to the Vampire Diaries community for treating me so right. I basically just swooped in and bagged on your favorite show, but you've been the awesomest sports about it, especially in the sense that you understand how fond I am of this show deep down. And yeah, thanks for pointing out all my mistakes. I am learning so much!

... A few more Season 1 rewinds are on the way (to be concluded with the first few Season 2 episodes I missed, also). Stay tuned!

... Tomorrow night, Saturday May 14, you can hear me sassin' off in a roundtable discussion hosted by I Heart Vampire Diaries, where I'll be joined by other Vampire Diaries commentators and funny fans. It all starts at 8pm Pacific. Listen live here or even call in, or you can just download the episode after the fact!

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