The Vampire Diaries, Episode 3: “Bad Moon Rising”
Previously…The aftermath of the season premiere finds Caroline a confused new vampire, Damon and Elena on the outs after he ‘killed’ Jeremy and a bit more on the Lockwoods family secret…
The episode starts with the season debut of Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis) arriving at Salvatore manor. Being that he was married to Isobel (Mia Kirshner), Elena’s birth mom and current vampire, the Triumvirate of Elena (Nina Dobrev), Stefan (Paul Wesley), and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) believes that Alaric can help track down any research Isobel may have had regarding the Lockwood family. Though he doesn’t have anything on hand, Alaric suggests that they may be able to find something in Isobel’s old records kept in her office at Duke University.
So once again, Damon and Elena embark on a road trip (similar to last season’s “Bloodlines”) but this time with a chaperon in Alaric. Conversation inevitably turns to Damon’s actions at the end of the season opener when he “killed” Elena’s brother, Jeremy (Steven R McQueen). Damon tries to ease her loathing of him by telling her that he knew Jeremy was wearing the immortality ring originally owned by John Gilbert (David Anders), Elena’s birth father. By her reaction, Elena doubts the truth of Damon’s words though we do see a shadow of hope as if searching for a reason not to hate him.
When they arrive at Duke, they meet Isobel’s research assistant, Vanessa (Courtney Ford) who, after showing them Isobel’s office, tries to kill Elena with a crossbow. Returning the favor from last week’s episode, Damon steps in front of the arrow, saving Elena’s life. Once they have Vanessa on board, they work out the legends of the lycanthrope curse. In addition, Damon provides Elena with a book that may help her delve a bit more into the life of Katherine, Stefan and Damon’s maker and ancestral doppelganger of Elena. After some of their usual cat and mouse games, things get serious upon their return to Mystic Falls. Damon admits to Elena that he didn’t know about the ring. Elena replies to his earlier question confirming that their friendship was through. Another figurative stake in Damon’s heart as he realizes that she used him, he walks away, but not before letting Elena know just how much she and Katherine are alike in more than just looks.
Though we are also privy to Stefan helping Caroline (Candice Accola) with her struggles as a newly undead vampire (courtesy of Katherine), Bonnie’s (Katerina Graham) growing strength as the resident witch, and Tyler (Michael Trevino)attempting to figure out just what his Uncle Mason (Taylor Kinney) is hiding, the crux of the episode, as usual, is focused on the Triumvirate of Damon, Elena, and Stefan. Though Damon’s standing as by far the most interesting and complex character on the show may color my views, the chemistry between him and Elena (even when she “hates” him) is undeniable, more so than what is on display when she and Stefan have their screen time. The fact that she is the only one that has been able to reach the humanity that he tries to hide behind a wall of disinterest and snark, further allows us to experience empathy for him, despite his sometimes less than virtuous actions.
The official addition of werewolves to the show’s mythos (and the fact that their bite is deadly to vampires) provides The Vampire Diaries with that extra umph that it was missing (sans the chemistry and dynamics of the Triumvirate). Our favorite vampires now have a legitimate threat to them (other than Katherine, of course). And speaking of, the evil, manipulative vampire will come face to face with her human descendant for the first time. Fireworks will abound and this week’s episode was an excellent spring board into the remaining first quarter of this season.
– Darryl (Follow @djasper07 on Twitter)