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Vampire Diaries: Unpleasantville

“What is this, like, a threesome now? You and the Salvatore brothers?”

The Vampire Diaries are all about vampire diaries in this episode. Not just Elena’s and Stefan’s journals, but Jonathan Gilbert’s, Papa Salvatore’s, Anna’s alleged grandfather…The parallelism is interesting: a whole collection of first-person narratives being exchanged among people (vampires) who have inhabited all the times under discussion. Whoever possesses the stories has the power.

Well, and whoever possesses Elena. Just in case there was any doubt after Damon’s and Elena’s trip, Stefan and Elena were pure chemistry at the dance. On the other hand, Damon’s new relationship with Elena certainly makes for strange bedfellows, doesn’t it? The fratelli Salvatore immediately put aside their differences to make sure that Elena would be safe.

When they were discussing their alliance, though, there was no full shot of the three of them, just quick cuts from one brother to the other, with Elena between them. She might unite them, but she divides them, too. At the dance, we never got all their faces in the same frame. But after their fight, we got a shot of all three of them standing in the teacher’s lounge.

Elena, Stefan, and Damon made a great vampire-slaying team (maybe that will be season six). Elena caused some serious harm with the pencil, and I’ve always been impressed with people who can break mop handles over their knee sans superpowers. Stefan and Damon did some post-fight bonding, didn’t they? Stefan will help Damon get Katherine out of the tomb if they work together to kill the other 26 vampires. Or so Stefan says—he and Elena seem to have other plans. Finally: someone other than Damon is plotting.

Anna revealed her true nature to us, if not to Jeremy. She’s a vampire whose partner was trying to kill Elena. She’s also playing for Jonathan Gilbert’s journals, and she has something to do with Katherine and the tomb. (Without giving anything away, let me take a minute to applaud the awesome season-long plotting that must have gone into some of these character decisions. This is an incredibly organized show.)

We got our first Alaric-Damon scene tonight, and it was a just full of subtexty goodness, wasn’t it? And our second scene, with Alaric hiding the vervain in his hand, was darn tense. I like Alaric and Jenna together, too. All of which is my way of saying: Woo-hoo, Alaric!


• Damon: “You’re pathetic when you’re fishing.”
Stefan: “You’re transparent when you’re deflecting.”

• Alaric: “A first-person account of the Civil War? That’s like porn for a history teacher.”

• Bonnie: “What do you want from me?”
Damon: “I think we need a fresh start.”
Bonnie: “You tried to kill me.”
Damon: “But I didn’t. And if I’d wanted to, I would have. Does that not count for anything?”
Bonnie: “You know I can start fires with my mind.”

• Elena: “If he’s trying to kill me, why call first?” That is a very good question.

• Damon: “Did he say what he wanted?”
Elena: “No, he was too busy trying to kill me.”

• Damon: “Elena, would you like to dance?”
Elena: “I would love to.” [grabs Stefan’s arm.]

• Bonnie: “Don’t rain on my hot guy parade.”
Caroline: “It’s just a drizzle.”

• Alaric: “No, definitely not a date. But, Friday?”

• Elena: “It’s going to take a lot more than a road trip and a rescue to make me forget everything that he’s done.”

And Pieces:

• Elena’s adoptive parents were named Miranda and Grayson. Her bio-mom’s name was Isobel. Alaric’s wife was named Isobel, too. Weird coincidence.

• Matt and Caroline update: they’re still figuring out their relationship.

• Anna’s two boy-toys looked so much alike that for the first part of the episode I thought they were the same guy.

• The episode title is a reference to the movie Pleasantville, about, among other things, the idealization of the past and of television.

• A neat soundtrack tonight, with lots of updated oldies. Hey…old journals and new journals, old songs and new songs... is it, like, a motif?

Three out of four broken mop handles.

(Screencap courtesy of vampire-diaries.net. Thanks!)

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. The slaying at the high school reminded me so much of Buffy. So did Elena saying she was safe because she'd be with Stefan *and* Damon. Whoah. She's safe with Damon? It was like the first time Buffy said Dawn would be safe with Spike.

    Vampire compass? Possibly the silliest artifact yet, but a great plot device.

    Points for a great episode title.

    Just loved the photo you chose.

  2. Elena: "If he's trying to kill me, why call first?" That is a very good question.

    It's very "Scream" of them actually. The photo too. ;)
    (It's sort of like saying: "Hey, we've got Willamson on the team") ;)

    By the way I would like to thank you for your interesting reviews, especially those first ones. If it wouldn't be the word-of-mouth and your constant assurance that thing will get better I would probably stop watching after few episodes. But I made it through, mostly due to your reassurance. And you were right - the things DO get better after episode four. The fifth was the first one I really enjoyed and then it improves with every episode. I hope this trend will last, as I'm about to follow the show. :)

    It's not "True Blood" though. Just an interesting mix of teenage-show meets the supernatural, but I kinda like it now. Let's see where it goes from here. ;)

  3. Mike, it only gets better and more addictive.

  4. What Josie said. I love this show, and I'm so glad Josie is reviewing it. If she hadn't taken it on, I'd have had to.

  5. Well, so much for my hope of a cool homeschool character (but it is a neat plot device - good reason other students wouldn't know her). I might have suspected more if I knew the library scenes took place after dark. Weird seeing Dillon Casey (Nikita) as a vampire, but I totally didn't expect Ben to be one too.

  6. Just before watching this episode I was talking to my husband about how unrealistic it was when they killed vampires with pencils in Buffy. At least the pencil didn't kill him here. =)


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