I'm going to go out on a limb here and say something pretty surprising. The Vampire Diaries is good. And I'm not just talking good-for-teen-vampire-show-on-the-CW good, but actually, really good.
This last episode had a lot of nice stuff going on in it. One thing that I think the show is doing right--and not getting credit for--is actually being creepy. There's a lot of talk lately about how much it sucks that vampires aren't scary anymore. I may address this topic later in another blog, when I can give it the attention it deserves, but for now I'll just say that's probably because everything a vampire represents (dangerous sexuality, basically) isn't exactly timely. We don't live in a sexually repressed society. Sex isn't as scary as it used to be. (I'm thinking about writing a book in the opposite direction, actually. An adult horror novel about monsters who steal sexual appetite. I think it might resonate with people. I know it's something that scares me.)
But back to the show. The episode starts off nicely, with a bit of humor. Williamson throws in several glib references to popular culture in a very Scream-like fashion. Damon is lying in bed reading one of the Twilight books and criticizing Edward for being whipped. If I know Williamson, this almost surely means that Damon will be "whipped" in the episodes to come. His characters always criticize fictional characters and then find themselves in similar situations. It's smart, and I don't care who thinks the show is dumb. That was a witty, smart moment.
We're still giggling, and the show immediately switches to an uncomfortable creep-factor moment. Damon pins Caroline to the bed and begins tenderly kissing her. In a little-girl voice, she asks, "Are you going to kill me?" Damon smiles. "Yes," he tells her sweetly. "But not yet." Caroline giggles.
Augh. Just tell me that doesn't give you the chills?
The episode moves at a nice pace plotwise, twisting the existence of each of the characters a little bit. We start to learn that Caroline has a mother who she's trying to shock, that the jerk-wad Tyler might have a little depth after all, considering his mom's a rich bitch, and we see Elena begin to notice that there's something really weird going on with both Stefan and Damon. Furthermore, Bonnie's witch powers are growing. In an unsettling scene, she accidentally lights all the candles in the room with her mind.
But maybe the best thing the show has going for it is the final scene reveal--there are a group of vampire hunters in town. And they know that something's up!
I'm also still really enjoying the fact that Stefan is weakened by the fact he doesn't drink human blood. I think it's a nice plot twist. It raises the stakes that much higher.
Honestly, this show is really good. I didn't think it would be. At all. But I like it. I actually really, really like it.