With a title like “Children of the Damned” I was kind of hoping we’d get more juicy info on Elena’s birth parents. But we did see other familial relationships – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers – in full dysfunctional glory. Our biggest reveal was that Anna is not only a smart-talking vampire posing as an overly eager home-schooler, but is the daughter of Pearl, the infamous Katherine’s vampire bff. We have yet to learn in this mythology what “vampire’s daughter” means – her biological daughter who was turned with her, by her, after her? Her undead daughter, namely the offspring of her turning? One way or another, she has just as many reasons to want into that tomb as Damon does. Which does beg the question Damon asked her himself: why didn’t she seek out Damon’s help? Now that Damon feels (yet again) betrayed by Stefan, perhaps another more practical alliance will be forged between these two bereft vamps?
The central family relationship of the episode was the Salvatore family, which took us back to the gorgeous period costumes and sad parody of southern gentility of Mystic Falls, 1864. Yay for a return of spoiled, selfish Katherine and her blood-sucking excesses! I loved how this episode let us see Damon in a less arrogant light – his sweet gentlemanly hesitation as Katherine urges him to kiss her blood-soaked mouth. It also illustrated Damon’s early insistence to Stefan that he was never compelled but knew exactly what he was getting himself into with Katherine, while emphasizing just how naive Stefan was. But the big betrayal felt a bit off to me: would Stefan really have given in to his father so easily and run after the sheriff once Katherine was revealed? Surely he couldn’t have hoped for clemency for Katherine at that time. Are we supposed to think he was either already uncertain in his love for Katherine or so under his father’s influence that he didn’t have the gumption to stand up for her for more than a few moments? I have to admit, given how recklessly Damon seems to have been in love with her, he has a pretty damn good reason to bear his eternal brotherly grudge. I suppose I really wish we had gotten more time with James Remar (after Dexter is he going to be type cast as the overbearing father trying to save his sons from homicidal impulses?) and more back story on the underlying tensions between Guisseppe Salvatore and his sons. Maybe this is for a future episode? We still haven’t seen the showdown at the church, after all, or the death of the Salvatore brothers that renders them immortal.
This episode also gave us another side of Stefan, following up from his turn as torturer/killer last week. Who is this tough guy who so calmly asks Alaric “are we going to have to do this the hard way?” I hope we see more of Stefan’s range in the weeks to come. And speaking of Alaric – do you think we have the whole story? He is the wife of a para-psychologist who went missing with Damon (nice call, Natalie, on suspecting Damon turned her. Though that does make we wonder why he never even saw Alaric until he showed up in Mystic Falls – wouldn’t his new vampire companion at least have lingered for a moment over her lost husband? wouldn’t he have at least paid enough attention to who she was married to before he made her a vampire?) and now, driven by grief and unknowing, has fashioned himself a modern day Van Helsing. Is that it? I mean, that is pretty cool, but what about that mysterious ring? Was it just a red herring? (speaking of rings, we learn that it was Emily who crafted the magic rings that let Katherine, Pearl, Anna, and eventually Stefan and Damon stay out in the daylight – I wonder what this means about Bonnie’s future?).
Final thought – we left this episode with Bonnie and Elena in the clutches of Anna (and her sad henchman Ben). There is no mention made of Bonnie’s plight on the preview for next week, but the photos on the CW suggest that Bonnie’s grandmother is going to get involved and that something is going to happen with that spell book. How much longer before the final showdown and how are those lines of brotherly affection, betrayal, and remorse going to be drawn?
posted by Kathryn.