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Vampire Diaries: Dead Man on Campus

Top Ten List of Things to Do While Procrastinating about Writing a Review of an Episode in Which We Find Out that (highlight for info) Damon was Experimented on By a University-Based Vampire-Mind-Altering Group Hell-bent on Creating Vampires Who Only Want to Hurt Other Vampires:

10. Work. My job is relatively seasonal and the lead-up to Christmas is crunch time. The Big Beard totally freaks out if we don’t clock overtime in November. He’s always going on about “flexy-merry-time” and we’re all like, “Flex this, you holly jolly beardy freak.” But at least all those nice kids will have oranges and ball-and-cups in their stocking this year.

9. Take six naps in one day. Really, that was my Saturday. Then the last nap turned into sleep, and suddenly it was Sunday. So perhaps I really did need to sleep that much. (See above, re: the Big Beard.)

8. Reassure Sam T. Cat that I am not dying of African sleeping sickness. Really, baby, that’s not a thing people catch in Los Angeles. I also don’t have Ebola, necrotizing fasciitis, or rabies, all of which sound awfully gruesome to just keep around in the deep freeze of a college campus science lab, especially since Ebola is a level-four contagion.

That’s not to say Dr. Enfield (or Dr. Max, as we’re suddenly calling him) didn’t deserve it. Experimenting on students and other “Mengele-level crap” is, I believe, a tenure-track no-no.

Sure, Sam, we can cuddle more. I’m really not dying.

7. Think about getting my hair cut. After all, Bonnie’s new ‘do is adorable, and appropriate to her new status as a non-witch ghosty-tangible-otherside-anchor thing. Of course, having to feel the death throes of every supernatural being that passes to the Other Side sounds awful, but Bonnie seems to feel like it’s a fair trade.

I wonder if she’ll maintain that position. After all, there are lots of supernaturals in this universe, and the diminishment of her witchy prowess can’t be helping matters, no matter how many breaks she takes from life to “register for classes” with Jeremy.

6. Wish I could be more like Caroline. She did a wonderful job of taking control of the newbie vamp situation, and I loved the sparkage between her and Jesse. Of course, Caroline has worse luck with men than I do, and TVD seems to want to keep her in reserve in case Tyler ever returns. Which brings me to…

5. Pondering the mystery that is the forgetfulness required of a viewer of this show. TVD has done everything in its power to make Damon likable for the past few seasons. He’s flipped the humanity switch back on, shown that he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for Elena, and generally been a better vampire than the one that abused and raped Caroline for most of the first season.

I assumed we were supposed to forget that, but this episode reminded us again and again via Caroline: Elena is dating a (reformed?) serial killer. They must be setting up a Dark Damon arc, perhaps one inspired by his (recovered?) memory of being experimented on by the Augustine group in the 1950s.

4. Consider the nature of memory in general. For instance, why is Duckling always surprised to discover his reflection in that one picture frame? Why does he stare at it for hours? Does he think a Doppelduckling lives in my Edward Hopper print? Perhaps Duckling, like Stefan, is trapped in his own mind. Maybe Katherine could whip him into shape. Duckling could list all of the mouse toys he has failed to kill.

3. Worry about the passage of time between when the episode aired and when I would post my review. Like Katherine, I am painfully aware of time passing. (Unlike Katherine, I am not going gray, nor do I need to pee every five minutes.) Katherine’s solution—to jump off a clock tower, which is definitely our Obvious Symbol of the Week—seems a bit harsh, though. Perhaps I will just start typing and see what comes.

2. Wonder when Elena got so hardcore. A few episodes ago, she batted nary an eyelid when Damon force-fed Katherine to Silas. This week, she killed Jesse to save Damon. As far as I can tell, she killed him needlessly and didn’t have to go for the heart. As Caroline pointed out, the old Elena would have given Jesse a chance. Why didn’t she?

The first half of this season has been interesting: at first, it felt like too much Silas. Then, it felt like the Silas story wrapped up too soon. Now, we’re in an odd hybrid situation, with our characters divided between Whitmore College and Mystic Falls. But in college and in town, both Katherine and Elena are undergoing interesting transformations. Elena is pulling fewer punches. Judging from her smirk after being rescued by Stefan, Katherine seems to be regaining her sense whimsical willingness to mess with her allegedly-fated lover Stefan. I’m curious to see where that goes.

1. Think about Buffy Season Four. The Vampire Diaries seems to be revisiting many plots from that season, and oddly they’re the plots that many Buffy fans agree are not the best. I hope TVD’s continued willingness to reset the show’s big arc means that the Whitmore/Augustine plot will become fascinating and not peter out like Matt’s Gregor infection.

Yes, Sam. We can keep cuddling.

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


  1. Well at least Bonnie missed the big kill every vampire in Finn and Kol's lines from a ways back. THOSE would have been a HELL of painful pass throughs. "Vampire Number 2165", begat by [list all the vampires in that line leading up to Kol]. Plus with Elijah, Rebecca and Klaus starring on their own shows, Bonnie should be spared a vampire extinction for a long time.

  2. Billie's thoughts during this episode:

    -- Yes, that's what *I* do when I come back from the dead -- get a haircut.

    -- And now Caroline is the mature voice of vampire experience. How about that.

    -- Is it wrong of me to enjoy Damon torturing the professor and then be totally freaked at the possibility of Damon being tortured?

    Take heart, Sam T. Cat. The holidays are coming.


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