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Vampire Diaries: Dangerous Liaisons

“It’s some twisted Cinderella fetish.”

I have ball envy. Ball envy, not unrelated to Freudian penis envy, is a condition that affects women of a certain age who skipped their high school proms. Us ball-enviers (we call ourselves “ballers” at the monthly meetings) are fans of anything with a tight bodice, poofy skirt, and dazzling men in tuxedos. Up-dos are optional, but heels are mandatory for all but the Jane-Austenite splinter groups, who advocate a lifestyle of empire waists, saucy ringlets, and Darcymania. (Freaks. And dangerous, too, especially around tea-time.)

Obviously, I thought “Dangerous Liaisons” was delightful. It had some disturbing moments, though—most having to do with Caroline. Is she going to fall for Klaus’s shtick? He actually took her upstairs to look at the medieval equivalent of his etchings, just like the bad punchline. Caroline has terrible taste in men, so she just might fall for it. And, more troublingly, Klaus likely does have other “tricks” than the dagger-threats that Kol mentioned. The novel from which this episode took its name did make famous the phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold.” (It was a novel written by Klingons.) Is Klaus genuinely interested in Caroline, or is he plotting something Angelic?

That phrase could also apply to Esther’s long-standing grudge against Klaus, though. Her time on the other side seems to have made her comfortable with modern life, but she definitely hasn’t lost her conviction. She’s willing to kill all of her children to punish them (and herself) for her mistake in making them such monstrosities. The binding spell was a neat trick: I half wanted Elena to tell Elijah not to drink, half wanted him to figure it out himself. But no part of me wanted him dead again: he is moral, as Esther said. Shouldn’t she consider that in her plan, or does she need all of her children in order to make the spell work? The tree-blood thing would seem to indicate that is the case.

More important that the spell—which surely won’t work the way it’s supposed to, after all—is the complicated dynamics between Damon, Stefan, and Elena. Stefan is back in love with Elena, but faking his cold-revenge motivation to punish himself by keeping them apart, right? That’s absurdly complicated. It’s almost as complicated as Damon’s back-and-forth with the guilt, self-punishment, and self-loathing expressed through inappropriate relationships with inappropriate women. Like Rebekah. Yowza!

Bites:

• Kol: “Again with the dagger threats? Don’t you have any other tricks?”

• Damon [to Elena]: “You look stunning, if it isn’t obvious.”

• Damon [to Rebekah]: “Well, you’re no dog.”

• Caroline: “I like horses. But I also like people, and they like me, so I’ll be inside.”

• Matt: “If I could compel myself a Maserati, I would.”

• Damon: “I care too much. I’m a liability. How ironic is that?”

And Pieces:

• Matt is definitely growing into his looks.

• No Alaric, no Bonnie, no Tyler this week.

• No funeral for Caroline’s dad, either. Again, I refer you to Rule 10.

• Damon and Kol seem to have history. Finn is rather a cold fish, isn’t he?

Four out of four balls.

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

13 comments:

Billie Doux said...

OMG, loved the ball. If only for the opportunity to put all of the gorgeous cast in formal clothes. I was also hoping that Elena would tell Elijah not to drink, and I think she was trying pretty hard to tell him something with her eyes.

For some reason, I absolutely loved the way Klaus signed that first note to Caroline. "Fondly, Klaus." Fondly? :)

Mark Greig said...

Mystic Falls must be a gold mine for party planners and caterers. I bet they don't need to compel themselves Maseratis.

Chela Madison said...

Loved to ball!! And I really liked the song playing in the background of that scene btw ("Give Me Love" by Ed Sheeran). I am really curious about this Klaus/Caroline thing. It can't come to fruition. Caroline wouldn't be able to justify it to herself...would she? And when are the other vamps/Elena going to be informed of Klaus' affections? Damn Klaus for being evil because "I fancy you" assuredly said in a British accent gives me pleasant shivers down my spine lol. I like Elijah. Why couldn't Elena widen her eyes or something lol. Tip him off. He saved her from Rebekah. Sigh. Until next week.

Panda said...

Great review!

I really loved this one, too. The ball was really well put together, and the montage with the spell being put into effect was so disturbing, yet amazing at the same time.

Obviously the spell won't work as well as they think it will, so I'm hoping Elena will come clean to Elijah, though based on next weeks promo I'm not sure how straight forward that would be!

Ashke said...

I have a theory about that spell. I think since all vampires are from the original family, then the spell will work on every vampire that drank the champagne. This means that it would work on Stefan and Damon. Once they figure that out then Elena, Stefan, & Damon will be forced to work with Elijah and possibly Klaus to derail the spell. Just a thought.

Panda said...

Just thought I'd ask, what do you guys think of 'The Secret Circle' these days? It's had its ups and downs, particularly lately, but overall it's been catching up with 'The Vampire Diaries' in terms of appeal.

Though it does tend to skew slightly younger. In terms of viewers, the CW should try it out in an earlier time slot next season. It may lose the valuable lead in, but what it looses in Kevin Williamson fans it could gain in more excitable viewers, being in that more appropriate time slot.

Billie Doux said...

Hey, Panda: I watched The Secret Circle for several weeks, but finally gave up. It felt too much like I was doing homework for The Vampire Diaries. Has it really gotten better?

CrazyCris said...

Ball envy, love that phrase! ME TOO!!!

Fabulous episode, can't wait to see if that spell will work properly or not, and what the consequences would be for other vampires! (in Anne Rice's series at least one of the two "originals" had to be kept alive or else all the rest of the vampires, her descendants in a sense, would die as well) After all, if the Mikkaelson family is the "original", then all other vampires came later?

PS: I wwas surprised Bonnie didn't get an invite!

Panda said...

Billie: I actually really enjoyed it at the start, but after a while I started to get fed up because I sort of expected it to grow into something more. It didn't really seize all the opportunities it could have.

Its sort of like what maxpower03 said about 'Ringer' this week. There's definitely a greater plan, but they're were trying so hard to pace it right that it just got slightly tedious.

This week ('Valentine') was a definite improvement, they've started to have fun with the witchy premise, and I'm starting to get really intrigued by the mythology as well, though it's not as captivating as it's sister series just yet.

It strikes me as a binge series too. Maybe wait to watch it once the season's finished, all in one go? That's what got me into 'Diaries actually, and probably how I survived the dodgy first episodes!

Harry said...

What a great episode. Loved your Ball Envy concept Josie :)

I think Elijah didn't drink the champagne. We got to watch it twice in the episode, and his lips were not wet at all. I think he picked up on Elena's inner turmoil and sensed something amiss.

I was so worried Matt was going to die - hooray he lives to grow even more handsome next week.

That last Stefan and Elena scene on the porch was fantastic - Season 3 Stefan has the honourable, tortured, brooding vibe that Angel used to have and it's so damn hot. Paul Wesley did a great job. And so did Ian Somerhalder - that moment when Elena entered the ball as Hurts - Devotion was playing, wow his expression did justice to how stunning she looked.

Josie Kafka said...

Harry, Julie Plec answers that question here: http://www.tvline.com/2012/02/vampire-diaries-tvd-dangerous-liasons-julie-plec-season-3-episode-14/

(I want to keep it out of the comments because it's a sorta spoiler.)

ChrisB said...

Josie - loved your comment about the 'ballers'. I'm right there with you. But I'm also a huge Jane Austin/Darcymania freak. Does this make me schizophrenic? :-)

Loved the ball! It's difficult to imagine a better looking group of people all gathered together in one room. And IS in a tux? Swoon...

ChrisB said...

Josie - one more quick thing. I would argue that the waltz was very Austenesque. :-)