“Friday Night Bites,” Episode 103. Air Date 9/25/09
With a title like “Friday Night Bites,” why should I bother making up something else? Good title. Binge-approved.
Please direct your attention to the man in the photo at the top of this post. That’s Damon (as in Demon, Damien, etc), the “evil” vampire brother (with a heart of gold… or not). Thing is, Damon is also the wittiest guy in town. And, obviously, handsome.
Imagine that you wake up in the morning, a little bit discombobulated, with a hot, shirtless Damon sleeping next to you. You know that he seduced you last night, and that you had hot, steamy sex. But then… he bit you!? Your neck is all bloody. He’s probably a vampire or something.
What would you do, if you woke up with a sexy probably-vampire in your bed? (I know what I would do.)
This is the question that blonde head-cheerleader Caroline faces in the opening scene of this episode. But she doesn’t take time to weigh the options. She just flips and quietly tries to escape.
Before I forget: Everyone pronounces “Caroline” differently. At the beginning, Bonnie pronounces it like “Carolyn,” but later the vamp brothers say “Caro-LINE.” Work it out! (Actually, that kind of feels realistic, in the sense that Caroline is a name that can go either way.)
Anyway, Caroline doesn’t escape, because when she looks back at the bed, Damon is gone. And then he’s RIGHT NEXT TO HER. Scary music! Caroline freaks and throws a lamp at Damon, among other breakables. “This could have gone a completely different way,” Damon sighs playfully.
Ugh, you guys. I totally feel for Damon right now. I mean, I know he’s supposed to be the bad guy or whatever, but… he wouldn’t have had to do what he’s about to do if Caroline had just said, “Hey, I realize that you’re a vampire. Thanks for letting me live. I think you’re cute. Let’s do this again sometime.”
But I always sympathize with the vampires. They’re tragic figures, in my opinion.
So Damon bites Caroline (again), and we’re supposed to think that he kills her this time? Maybe. But really, he glamours her (I don’t know what it’s called in this universe, but I’ll stick to the “True Blood” terminology until somebody corrects me) into forgetting about the biting. Much later in the episode, Damon drives Caroline to school in his cool old car. Because they are a couple now. For now. And Caroline starts wearing scarves, but she doesn’t know WHY.
After maybe-psychic Bonnie got a crazy vibe from Stefan last week, she warns Elena to be careful. Stefan walks up and scares Bonnie away. Nearby, football players Matt (Elena’s love-lorn ex) and Tyler (a general creep, and maybe a rapist? I need to re-watch the pilot), decide that it would be funny to nail Stefan with a football from really far away. Apparently they are very confident about their aiming abilities (ha), because if they miss they’ll break Elena’s face.
(On second viewing, Tyler throws the ball while Matt tries to stop him. Matt, you are absolved.)
But they don’t hit Elena, because Stefan catches the ball. Vampire senses sure can come in handy! Elena pesters Stefan to try out for the football team and stop being a “loner.” Finally, finally, Stefan is developing a personality. He felt kind of wooden in the first two episodes, but tonight he’s cracking a few jokes. Don’t let Damon have all the fun (lines)!
(On second viewing of episodes one and two, Stefan wasn’t as wooden as I remembered. Stefan, you are absolved.)
Elena and Stefan have history with a totally dick teacher. In the past two episodes he has been a dick to… everyone. He even told Elena’s aunt that she was doing a terrible job as a caregiver. That’s crossing a line.
In the pilot, Stefan corrected the history teacher because… he has lived for a long time. He knows his shit. Tonight Mr. Dick (not his real character name, but whatever) is quizzing the students about WWII-related dates. I think that everybody ought to know when the bombing of Pearl Harbor happened, but Elena doesn’t, so Stefan answers for her: December 7th, 1941.
Dear students of the imaginary “Vampire Diaries” high school: You are dumb.
For some reason the history teacher is astonished that Stefan had the answer, and Stefan says, “I’m good with dates, Sir.” (That’s kind of a double entendre. Stefan should have leaned over and winked at Elena. “Get it? I’m great at going on dates. The best. Wanna go out sometime?”)
So Mr. (Small) Dick and Stefan have a date-off, where Mr. Dick says an event and Stefan has to say when it happened. But… none of the events are particularly obscure. Brown v. The Board of Education. The Kennedy Assassination. MLK’s Assassination. I mean, come on, kids. Learn some history. At any rate, Mr. Dick is shocked and impressed, and finally Stefan outsmarts him by knowing when the Korean War ended.
My favorite part of the scene is that when Mr. Dick and Stefan disagree on when the Korean war ended and Mr. Dick shouts, “Look it up!” at the class, the first guy to say that Stefan is right is looking at his phone. History books are for old people. Hip teens use the Wikipedia on their Blackberries. It’s faster! (And the Korean War ended in 1953, not 1952.)
And guess what? Maybe Mr. Dick is kind of bad at history because he’s also Coach Dick. He coaches the football team. And the football team sucks. Ugh, Coach Dick has a shitty life. (Wow, sucks… dick… shitty? This is getting out of hand.)
Stefan goes to Coach Dick and asks to try out for the team… presumably to impress Elena. Earlier in the episode, Stefan told Elena that he loves football, and that he played a long time ago. Now he tells Coach Dick that he used to play wide receiver. But… the very first words we heard of this episode were Stefan saying, “For over a century, I lived in secret…”
So, he lived in secret and played football? Because American football started in the late 1800s, which gives Stefan a pretty narrow window to have played before he went into hiding. Just sayin’.
But yeah, Stefan used to play football. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.
Coach Dick lets Stefan try out because he wants to see Tyler and Matt kick the shit out of Stefan. I don’t call him Coach Dick for nothin’. Apparently, Stefan does a great job at tryouts? I can’t really tell which player he is, because of the helmets. He’s wearing black gloves, presumably to protect his magical Day-Walking Ring?
Toward the end of practice, Tyler and Matt ambush Stefan, and he lets them knock him over, because… to avoid suspicion of his super-human vampire abilities. He breaks his finger, but it heals super-fast. Foreshadowing! (At first when he took off his glove, I thought that his ring had fallen off. That would have been a much bigger UH OH. Like, a turning-to-dust UH OH.)
And Elena is watching this whole tryout because she sucks at cheerleading now (she didn’t go to summer cheer camp, because… dead parents), so Caroline told her to fall out of formation.
When Stefan gets home, he finds Damon reading his diary. “Very Emerson, the way you reveal your soul.” Damon teases Stefan. “So many… adjectives.” Ha! Also: Do vampires have souls, in the world of “Vampire Diaries”? I mean, I think that pretty much everything has a soul, even vampires who say that they don’t have souls. In fact, the more they protest, the more likely they are to secretly be big softies.
Anyway, Stefan and Damon fight a lot. And Damon is always zinging Stefan with witty zingers. You got told, Stefan!
Elena decided that the best way to make Bonnie like Stefan is to invite both of them over for dinner. Conveniently, Aunt Whatever-Her-Name-Is isn’t home. (Maybe Mr. Harsh Dick was right about her parenting skills?) And in the previous scene, that human guy who lives with Stefan was absent. (Does Damon live there, too? I don’t know. I think he just skulks around at night.)
So Elena and Bonnie dump tins of greasy order-out Italian food into a salad bowl. Yum? Bonnie freaks herself out by psychically knowing where everything is located in Elena’s kitchen. But they’re best friends, so… it’s not that freaky. She says, “Birthday candles,” and then opens the drawer that contains the birthday candles. GASP! The power of Bonnie compels you.
Also, Bonnie keeps thinking of the numbers 8, 14, and 22, and drawing them everywhere, A BEAUTIFUL MIND-style.
Stefan sits not-eating a plate of food, and nobody calls him on his not-eating. I feel like somebody was supposed to say, “What’s the matter? Aren’t you hungry?” Since Elena needs to sleuth out that Stefan’s a vampire, eventually. But… maybe my thinking is cliche. Maybe I need to get with the program. It’s 2009, and if a guy isn’t eating his food… duh, nobody eats anymore. Manorexia.
Just kidding. Eat up, non-vampires.
Elena tries to break the awkwardness by telling Stefan about Bonnie’s lineage of witches, or whatever. Stefan talks about some Celtic Druids who used to live in this town (whatever their town is called), but those aren’t Bonnie’s peeps. Bonnie’s family came through Salem. You know, Salem witches. How did they stay alive, if they were Salem witches? I guess they didn’t get caught.
Okay, here is a fact but don’t hate on me: Bonnie is African American. Remember Tituba from “The Crucible?” You know, Tituba from Barbados? She didn’t get executed during the Salem witches trials, apparently. And she had at least one descendant. So… The More You Know. (Cue shooting star.)
I’m not saying that her great-grand-witches couldn’t be white. I’m just saying… Tituba! How often do you get to say that? (Or Lake Titicaca!)
Anyway, Bonnie’s kind of embarrassed when Elena tells Stefan about her witchy family. Or maybe she’s just irritated that Elena would tell scary-Stefan any somewhat-secret facts about her family. Either way, Stefan is intrigued. “Salem witches are heroic examples of individualism and non-conformity,” he says. Sort of. I feel like they’re also an example of… McCarthyism? Oh wait, I’m back on “The Crucible.”
The thing is, the women who were accused of being witches weren’t individualists so much as they were… falsely accused, and unable to defend themselves within a shoddy Puritan court system. But Bonnie likes Stefan’s spin, so now they’re friends? Sort of.
Guess who’s coming to dinner? It’s Damon and be-scarfed Caroline. Stefan tries to stop Elena from inviting Damon into the house (vampire rules!), but she doesn’t know the vampire rules and/or that Damon and Stefan are vampires, so she’s like, “Whatever, come on in.” OOPS.
The couples and odd-man-out Bonnie sit in the living room chitty-chatting. “Stefan and I have watched almost every single person we’ve ever cared about die,” Damon says. See? Vampires are the tragic-est. He accidentally-on-purpose brings up Stefan’s “ex,” long-dead (and looks-just-like-Elena) Catherine. OOPS.
Damon helps Elena load the dishwasher. (Dishwasher-loading? Deaths in the family? This is so RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, minus the multi-cultural wedding and Mather Zickel.) (I just like saying Mather Zickel. What a cool name!) (Also, Damon fairly expertly works that dishwasher. Vampires: They do dishes? Just like us!) (What are they using dishes for?)
Anyway, Damon tells Elena that she should quit cheerleading. Who needs it, anyhow? He saw her at practice, and she was obviously miserable. Aw, sensitive. See? Damon GETS Elena. (As in, understands. For now.) He’s not so bad. (But he IS so bad.) (Yum.)
Damon tells Elena that Catherine died in a fire, and based on… the powers of deduction, I guess… Elena asks which brother dated Catherine first. And she’s right, they both dated Catherine. Oooh, everybody’s psychic around here. Damon and Elena actually have a nice conversation, and she tells Damon that she’s sorry for his loss, because he obviously loved Catherine, too. Elena GETS Damon. Uh oh, love triangle! But not, because Elena doesn’t LIKE Damon, she just GETS him.
Based on the various pronunciations of “Caroline,” I decided to embark upon a quick IMDB-aided survey of who on this show is actually American. Because vampires these days are all imported from elsewhere and forced to learn regional American accents. (I’m looking at you, Vampire Bill from “True Blood” and Mick from “Moonlight.”) (I’m looking at you, adoringly.)
Turns out, Paul Wesley (Stefan) is from New Jersey, and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) is from Louisiana. Well, look at that. God Bless America. (Land that I love.) (Because we are still producing hot vampire-actors.) And don’t you worry, haters of America. There’s something for everybody on this show: Katerina Gordon (Bonnie) and Nina Dobrev (Elena) are from Switzerland and Bulgaria/Canada, respectively.
Damon is totally glamouring Caroline into being with him so that he can feed on her whenevs. Stefan is mad: Humans are not meat puppets, Damon! But as long as Damon’s feeding on Caroline and not killing anybody else… works for me. Works for Vampire Bill and Sookie on “True Blood.” But… totally different situation. For one thing, she’s knows he’s a vampire. And for two things, she’s a willing participant.
Stefan asks Damon to leave, and Damon’s happy to oblige. But… “I’ve been invited in. And I’ll come back tomorrow night, and the following night, and I’ll do with your little cheerleader whatever I want to do. Because that is what is NORMAL to me.” Ooh, Damon. That was a good speech. I really like whole “normal to me” part. Deep. Throughout the show, we’ve seen that Damon is super-annoyed that Stefan is trying to fight his vampire impulses and act like a human. Just be a normal vampire, Stefan! If you want to, I guess.
Or don’t, because it’s fun to watch you fight with Damon and lose. (Stefan is weak because he drinks cat blood or something.)
Another thing I love about Damon is that he knows what the cool kids do. At some point during this episode he says “BTW: That means by the way…” If he were as cool as me, he would have said, “BTDubs.” But that’s okay. Being not as cool as me is what’s NORMAL to Damon. (Not really. He’s way cool.)
Okay, here comes the hot part that seemed like it might be sex in the preview. Stefan and Elena are sitting on her bed, debriefing about the night. Stefan’s still pissed that Damon was there. Elena says something, and Stefan does the “Shhh” finger to Elena’s lips. Usually, that’s a hilarious move. Cole and I do this to each other all the time at work, and it cracks us up. “Shhh. No words.”
But Stefan just sort of brushes his finger against Elena’s bottom lip, and then he leans in and they start making out. I approve.
Time out for a few words from our sponsor (me). Okay, so we know that Stefan has this magic ring. Good times. And we know that Elena and Stefan made out at the end of last week’s episode. Is the ring making him feel warm to Elena? Because… isn’t it kind of a vampire trademark that they feel noticeably cold to the touch? Like wouldn’t Elena say, “You’re so cold?”
Maybe I’m just up to my neck in cliches, and it’s 2009 and we’re all past that. Maybe she didn’t notice because they were outside on a cold autumn night. (And this makeout turns out to be a dream, so it’s whatevers-ville in that regard.)
Okay, back to the hot makeout dream. There are a couple of reasons why I love this dream. A) When Stefan moves toward Elena in a wide shot, we see that his shirt is tucked in and he’s wearing a belt. Now, I’m not always a fan of that look, but it’s so proper, and looks SO GOOD on Stefan. B) When Stefan lies down on the bed (Elena on top, rawr), he has a stuffed animal under his head, and he pulls it out from under him and throws it on the floor.
Now, this is television, so you know that, in all likelihood, someone planned that stuffed animal stunt. Some propmaster picked the perfect stuffed animal, and made sure that it was there. Really nice touch, “Vampire Diaries.” No joke. That was one of the real-est things I’ve seen on TV in a while. And it’s some sort of law of physics that a stuffed animal will always get in the way while you’re trying to have a sexy makeout.
So Elena takes off her shirt (with her arms crossed, which is TV & Film’s Official Sexy Way to Remove a Shirt), and helps Stefan take off his shirt. But when his shirt crosses his face, Stefan turns into Damon. Elena SCREAAMS and jumps back off the bed. And then she wakes up sweating and gasping, and a mysterious crow is on her windowsill. (Hey, Damon.)
So… no sex for Elena and Stefan this week. But I’m not going to gripe, because… they’re in high school. They have time.
But really, Elena? Was the dream that scary? Come on. You can make out with the wrong brother in a dream. No guilt, no big.
You know what IS freaky, though? Ian Somerhalder (Damon) looks disconcertingly like Rob Lowe. Sometimes I think he IS Rob Lowe. Just a flash, and then it’s over. But still… whoa. SCREAAM!!!
Stefan and Elena meet up before the football game, and he notes that she’s not in uniform. She quit the cheer squad. Scandal! But Stefan understands. “You’re not a quitter,” he says. “You suffered a great loss. You’re not the same person.” Aw, he GETS her. I bet that throughout the course of this series, Elena is going to be torn between Stefan and Damon. (I am joking around, because every single description I read about this show says that Elena is “torn between two vampire brothers.” Thanks for the spoilers, America.)
Then he says, “You should be looking ahead. You should be starting over.” Don’t tell Elena what to do!
Elena: We’re a pair. I quit, you start.
Stefan: We’re a work in progress. We’ll figure it out.
I think I’d be attracted to my high school’s vampire, too. He’s more mature than your average guy. And full of vaguely assumptive pseudo-wisdom about their relationship.
Stefan gives Elena a necklace, which he has had “forever” (literally!) and never wanted to give to anyone else before. At least he acknowledges the potential weirdness of this gift, given that they have been dating for… two episodes. A few days? Luckily Elena accepts the necklace, because it contains a Very Special Magical Herb.
Thoughts: Stefan’s jersey is unrealistically form-fitting. Oh, television. (Also see: The scrubs they wear on “Grey’s Anatomy.”) But more importantly: Where are Stefan and Damon getting their magic from? A Wizard? Let’s tally it up: They both have magical Day-Walking (and maybe making them feel warm to the touch?) rings, and now there’s a magical Protection Necklace. (Always use protection.) Do all vampires have access to this much magic? Are we going to get some answers about this?
After Stefan gives Elena the necklace, they share a quick kiss. Still, no “your lips are so cold.” Hmmm. I need answers! It bugs me when vampires are not vampire-y enough. (Vampires: Just like us!)
Okay, football times are here again. Pre-game, the school has a rally with a giant bonfire, which… really? At a high school? Whatever. Coach Dick announces that Stefan is going to lead the team to victory. Way to make his teammates hate him that much more, Dick.
But then… okay, C-story time. Elena’s druggie little brother (Jeremy) is in love with Matt’s slutty little sister (Vicki). (You know, Matt: Elena’s ex, Matt.) They like to do drugs together and have sex and listen to emo music. But Vicki is embarrassed to be seen with Jeremy, who is a freshman. So… she dates Tyler, who is maybe a rapist? I really have to watch the pilot. Anyway, Tyler and Jeremy finally have a much-threatened fight, and Matt and Stefan run over to stop it. Stop it, kids!
Jeremy accidentally slashes Stefan’s hand with a bottle, and Elena sees it. Yu-uck. But when the fight ends and she runs over to him, he doesn’t want to show it to her. When she finally pries open his hand, it’s fine. He tells Elena that the residual blood must belong to somebody else. But… she doesn’t buy it.
Hmm, almost over. Oh yeah, Elena, now a bit freaked, asks Bonnie what she saw that made her afraid of Stefan to begin with. Now that Bonnie and Stefan are friends, she’s reluctant to share, but she finally reveals that when she handed Elena’s phone number to Stefan, she felt… Death.
I like Bonnie’s green eyes. I never noticed THAT before. Thanks, stills-from-the-CW.
Now Matt and Stefan are buds, because Matt’s like, Thanks for helping me stop that fight. Siblings do the darndest things!
In the parking lot, Damon sneaks up on Elena and apologizes for making her uncomfortable. She’s like, Um, you’re trying to make me feel uncomfortable. Damon tries to glamour Elena into kissing him, but thanks to the Magic Herb (TM) in the necklace she… does she slap him in the face? Maybe. I forget. But yeah… how Sookie of her.
Oh yeah, another theme of this episode is that Stefan wants to try to find Damon’s humanity. But Damon reads Stefan’s diary or whatever, so just to be a dick, he attacks (and kills, maybe?) Coach Dick. Just to prove that he can attack anyone! Mwahaha.
As the ambulance shows up (and animal control, because they think it was an animal attack), Bonnie sees the number 8, 14, and 22. Like… it happened next to parking space 22. Stuff like that. She’s very ZOMG! about it, but seriously… it wasn’t very helpful psychic info, if it only became vaguely significant in retrospect.
Elena’s freaked about the attack, and Stefan holds her in a long and comforting hug. Take note, boys: Hugs are important. I could have used that hug, like, 53 different times this week.
After all of his threats about what he’s going to do with Elena now that he has access to her house, Damon… stands over her while she sleeps, and touches her hair. That big softie!
And Caroline somehow got away with wearing this scarf with her cheerleading uniform, which would never fly.
I mean, she’s head cheerleader, but still. I have two cheerleader sisters. I know that uniformity is important. EVERYONE wears a scarf, or NOBODY wears one. (PS: Congrats to Nicole on making Homecoming court. Very soon I will be experiencing a real-life high school football game. Sadly, vampire-free.) (As far as I know.)
And how coincidental is it that the school colors are red and black? Vampire colors! (It is NOT coincidental.)
But back to Damon: I realized that the thing that makes “Twilight” an inferior vampire story is that the good vampires are always good, and the bad ones are always bad. Edward talks about what a scary guy he is, but he never does anything scary. So far Stefan is… good, and doesn’t even talk about his scary-ness. BUT Damon makes up for it with his mix of fun and frightening. And the “True Blood” vampires are all over the place: Eric winks at kids, but also… you know, lots of scary stuff. Ripping people apart.
The more surprising a vampire is, the more enjoyable.
I must have forgotten something that I wanted to say, but I ended up doing a lot more recapping than I expected (based on memory). So… we’ll talk more about this later, I’m sure.
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