Flashback Central: Review of The Vampire Diaries 2.04: “Memory Lane”

By Carla Lee

To start, I want to say that I am intrigued by the fact that the moonstone belonged to Mason’s mother, but since it’s so explicit THE VAMPIRE DIARIESthat the werewolf curse passes through the Lockwood line, I doubt we’re actually going to see any female werewolves.

I want to know why not. Why do the men get to have all the fun?

(Yes, I realize that Mason would argue that being a werewolf isn’t fun at all, but still.)

Katherine, Stefan, and a History Lesson

Anyway, the episode opens with a semi-flashback to Katherine and Stefan at the first Founders’ Day celebration. While they dance without really touching, Damon lurks in the background and glowers at them. So, basically, nothing has changed in 150 years.

Though it starts as a flashback, soon, it becomes obvious that this is either a dream or Katherine manipulating Stefan’s mind (of course, it turns out to be Katherine), because as Katherine and Stefan flirt, Elena shows up and takes off with Damon. Subtle, Katherine.

I do like having Katherine and Elena in the same scene, even if not face-to-face. It nicely drives home the differences and the similarities between them, and I love getting to see Nina Dobrev pull double duty.

Stefan wakes up with Katherine-as-Elena cuddled against him. Unlike last time, he actually seems to believe her this time, holding her close, basking in her presence, but after a moment, he realizes who she is and flips out.

I love Katherine and her casual cruelty. When Stefan tries to start another fight with her, she mocks him soundly: “We both know I could rip you to shreds and do my nails at the same time.” Too, their flirtation while Stefan claims to hate her is far more interesting than their flirtation when Stefan was still human and didn’t know what she was.

Katherine is as nosy as she is manipulative; not only does she make herself at home in the Salvatore (former) Boarding House, but she reads Stefan’s journal (another nice reference to the title), including the entry about his recent werewolf sighting. (Good to know that despite everything going on, Stefan still takes the time to blog journal. I guess when you don’t have to sleep, you have plenty of time to write. Except Stefan does sleep, as we just saw, so he must actually make time for writing.)

After he catches her reading, she teases him with her knowledge of werewolves. At first, she gives him nothing new – she knows not to pet one because its bite kills – but then she starts in on a history lesson, asking if he remembers much about the Founders’ Ball in his dreams, the one to which he escorted her, back before Stefan and Damon knew her secret.

Flashback Time! Damon toasts George Lockwood for so valiantly defending the South. At the same time, Henry brings news to Katherine; he has researched the local attacks and they weren’t caused by vampires, but the victims were torn apart in ways he’s never seen before. Katherine says she knew George would be a problem from the moment she met him; because he’s a werewolf, Katherine, or because he’s a powerful, flirtatious young man who is playing his own games around you? Or both?

Katherine tells Stefan that the werewolf gene runs in the Lockwood family, but they don’t all turn into wolves. The Lockwoods aren’t the only werewolves in the world, but mostly, werewolves exist only in books and really bad movies. Come on, Katherine, some werewolf movies are awesome.

All of this is really just small-talk, though, and Katherine finally gets down to the main conversation: If Stefan hates her so much, why did he keep the photograph of her instead of destroying it? If he hates her so much, why did he come back to the place where he first fell in love with her? No matter what he says, she doesn’t believe he came back for Elena. He came back to fall in love with Katherine all over again.

Stefan crosses the room with vampire speed to stand right in front of her, gently cups her face in his hand, and asks what it is about her that makes him still care. She’s in your head, Stefan; that’s why! Literally in your head, manipulating your dreams, manipulating your thoughts – even if she isn’t compelling him, he can never trust that she’s not, can never really trust his emotions. Even beyond that, you did love her once, madly and deeply, for whatever reason, and extracting her would take work I don’t think you’ve done any more than Damon has.

Katherine lifts her head to kiss him, but Stefan has learned his lessons from her well; he stabs her with a dose of vervain and Katherine collapses. He takes her down and locks her in the cell in the basement. Aww, how sweet, all three of them have been locked down there now. He asks her again why she came back to Mystic Falls; she tells him again that she came back for him.

Stefan doesn’t buy it anymore now than he did the last time she told him. Instead, he dons heavy gloves, tells her they’re playing by his rules now – oh, Stefan, how little you know – and plucks a bit of fresh vervain from the plants growing in the cell. He caresses Katherine’s face with it and her skin burns.

Of course, Katherine isn’t disturbed by this little torture scene at all. Instead, she continues her history lesson, even though Stefan says he doesn’t want to hear anything else about the Founders’ Ball.

That night, George flirted with Katherine, and she teased him, as she does, telling him she didn’t understand why he came to her. He was amused by this and asked her why, because she was in the middle of the Salvatore brothers? That wasn’t the reason and Katherine drives it home nicely: She was surprised he came up to her when she’s a vampire who could kill him in his sleep, which he knew, and she knew his secret, too. In the scene, it’s almost a flirtatious dance, the way they slip around each other with words and knowledge, and is a lovely little scene.

Stefan doesn’t really like this history lesson as an answer to his question and threatens to put Katherine in the tomb with her normal_007name on it. Katherine isn’t bothered by his threats – understandably, Stefan doesn’t really do bad cop very well – and asks if he pretends to be human when he’s with Elena, if that’s her appeal. Stefan softens a little and says that he doesn’t have to pretend to be anything with her; he can just be himself. I do like that about their relationship.

Another flashback history lesson: after the Founders’ Ball, Human Stefan gathers his courage and tries to tell Katherine how he feels, and good grief, Stefan and Damon were even more ridiculous when it came to love when they were human. Katherine at least appears to be shaken by his declaration of love, and excuses herself quickly; Damon waits in her rooms and she acts surprised to see him, though he told her he would come. She orders him away – eventually even compelling him to go – but not before he asks her if his love isn’t enough.

Oh, Damon, don’t you know that eavesdropping brings just as much bad as it does good?

Back in present day, Katherine claims she never compelled Stefan’s love; his feelings for her were real and her feelings for him were, too. Stefan takes himself off to the corner to be an emopire for awhile, because he says he can remember her compelling him. She admits that she did, but not to love her; once he found out what she was, he was so scared of her she had to compel him to remove his fear.

Wait, you mean Stefan had a bit of self-preservation kick in back then? I’m shocked.

More history lesson: George used the vampires’ presence to cover up his own hunting and his kills, and he was the one who first told the founding families about the vampires and made a deal to rid the town of them. So, the founding families unknowingly trusting a supernatural creature to deal with their problem isn’t a new thing, then, huh. Katherine and George make a deal: George will set her free after the church has burned if the other vampires are killed.

Stefan doesn’t take this revelation well; he accuses her of selling out her friends and family. And this is why I love Katherine so much. She absolutely admits it and point-blank says she did it without blinking. Katherine is stone cold and I adore her for it.

Once he’s done being an emopire, Stefan wants to know what George got out of the deal and what Katherine got out of it, for that matter. Katherine said her plan was to leave her past far behind, but because Stefan was dosed with vervain by his father, when she drank from him, she was too weak when she was caught. Plus, then Stefan and Damon tried to save her, which also threw off her plan.

She tells Stefan she didn’t want to be saved and Stefan is understandably upset, because now he knows they died for nothing. Katherine corrects him; they died for love. I think Stefan has the right of it, though.

The tables have turned in the conversation and Katherine promises that she will kill Elena if she must in order to get what she vampire-diaries-promo-pics-01wants, and what she wants is Stefan. Stefan attacks her at the threat to Elena, but at the last second, he can’t do it. Be stronger, Stefan! He backs off and Katherine tells him not to see Elena anymore, and tells him that if he doesn’t remove Elena from his life, she will make Elena watch her kill every person Elena loves (except for Stefan) and then she will kill Elena.

That causes him to attack her again, but Katherine absolutely beats him down, breaking out of her chains with ease. She was playing him all along; after he tricked her once – and it wasn’t even really Stefan’s trick – she sipped vervain every day for 150 years in order to never be tricked again. She sat there and took his abuse, took his threats because she simply wanted to spend time with him.

Elena arrives upstairs then; when Katherine hears her, she slams a stake into Stefan’s leg and goes up to confront her. At last, they come face-to-face and it is delightful. Elena asks how it is possible that they look exactly alike; Katherine doesn’t answer her. Instead, she stalks forward, invades Elena’s space, and trails one finger along her body as she circles her.

Elena is asking the wrong questions, Katherine says. Stefan barges in on them then, breaking Elena’s attention, and when Elena turns back, Katherine is gone.

They both admit they are really not okay and then move into each other’s arms. I have to admit, after the frustrating roller coaster of last season, when their relationship settles down, I really like it.

Damon’s Obsession with Mason

Over at the Only Bar and Grill in Mystic Falls (I’ll admit, I’ve kind of missed mocking the show for having exactly one place for both adults and teens to hang out), Elena is doing research. When Damon tries to sit down with her, she gathers her things and reminds him that she wants nothing to do with him. Before she can leave, he picks at her and says he’ll see her at Jenna’s bbq in honour of Mason Lockwood, a friend of hers from high school. Damon even picks up a peach cobbler at the Only Bar and Grill in Mystic Falls as a fake peace offering, since Jenna hates him too, all so he can get close to Mason, put some silver into him, and prove he’s a werewolf.

Damon’s obsessions aren’t just limited to Katherine and Elena, obviously.

It seems that back in high school, Mason and Jenna had a history of flirting with each other, though they never dated because she was hung up on that jerk from last season. They continue to flirt in present day, even in front of Alaric, despite Jenna’s budding relationship with Alaric.

Basically, Damon convinced Alaric to throw this bbq. Alaric’s excuse for Jenna was that he wants to get to know her old friends and they should welcome Mason back into town, but what it really comes down to is that Damon is freaking obsessed with Mason the Werewolf.

Jenna’s past as a party girl comes up again; she and Mason have stories and they kick the party off with shots while flirting and The-Vampire-Diaries-Episode-2-04-Memory-Lane-Promotional-Photos-the-vampire-diaries-tv-show-15605268-800-533teasing each other. Damon shows up and totally kills the mood, because Jenna is not his biggest fan by a longshot. Mason and Damon finally officially meet, and Mason says he’s heard good things about Damon. That’s surprising, considering what a dick he is. Though I suppose his sources don’t know the real Damon.

For some reason, the game of the bbq is Pictionary and Damon picks at Mason, drawing a wolf in a tutu. No one else gets it. I would say they are idiots, but I’m going with the excuse that they’ve been drinking a lot by this point. Mason, of course, gets it: Dances with Wolves. Subtle.

Damon manages to have a little aside with Jenna and Jenna becomes even more awesome. He wants to know why she doesn’t like him and she tells him, “You’ve never date you. I have dated many yous.” I want more of Jenna’s history; the more we learn about her, the more interesting and fun she becomes.

Mason and Damon also get some oh-so-subtle digs into each other. As they talk about high school back when Jenna and Mason were in school together, Damon calls him a lone wolf. Mason smirks and says he wasn’t half the killer Damon was. Oh, you quirky supernatural creatures, so snarky. (Not gonna lie; I love this.)

At one point, Damon finds Jenna’s mother’s silver set and of course has some ideas about how to use it. He proves to actually be a little subtle; instead of flat-out stabbing Mason with it in front of everyone, he gives Mason the silver pie server and has him serve the first piece of pie. Mason casually turns the pie plate so the server is away from him and scoops out the first piece with his bare hands. Kinda love you, Mason.

When they’re alone, Mason tells Damon he’s not the enemy and he doesn’t want to spark some age-old feud between vampires and werewolves that doesn’t actually apply to them. Damon wants to know why he came back to Mystic Falls, then. Mason looks like he thinks this is as ridiculous as I do; as he points out, he came back for his family, because he just lost his brother and Tyler just lost his father. Yeah, because the three men are the only members of the damn family. You just blew some cool points there, Mason. Anyway, they seem to call a truce and even shake hands, but behind Mason’s back, Damon steals the big knife from the silver set. Because Damon is a dick and he needs to die. Not for picking at Mason, but just in general.

Mason and Damon leave the party at the same time, and a short bit later, Damon stabs Mason with the knife. At first, Mason falls and Damon starts to go through his truck, but then Mason pulls out the knife and stands, good as new. He mocks Damon, telling him he thinks the werewolves started the silver myth just for situations like this.

They square off and Mason tells Damon he just made an enemy. Damon lets him go, but if vampires are stronger than werewolves, as we’ve been told before, and Damon so wants Mason dead, why didn’t he just take him out right then? I mean, besides the fact that the show would lose a plot before they want to.

Caroline in the Middle

Caroline is Elena’s only friend who attends the bbq. They talk about how difficult it is for Caroline to fight her bloodthirst; she THE VAMPIRE DIARIESsnacks a lot now, on people food, because Stefan told her to sublimate her craving for blood with food and it would help her stay in control. She also refers to how Stefan must fight his own urges when he’s around Elena, because his first instinct is always to rip out Elena’s throat and drink her blood. Not because she has Super Special Blood, just because he’s a vampire and he wants human blood. This rattles Elena a little.

Later, Elena asks if she would be the worst friend in the world if she left Caroline alone at the bbq and went to check on Stefan. At first, Caroline tries to stop her, but then she offers her a ride. I guess because they still haven’t replaced Elena’s car from the accident last season? Which surprises me a little, but sure is convenient for Caroline, who sneakily starts a slow leak in the tire so it will go flat.

Caroline keeps snarking about vampire and human relationships and their difficulties and the way it will never work. Some of this is obviously about how she feels about Matt, but some of it seems pretty out-of-character. I’m betting Katherine’s plan at work here.

There’s a really ridiculous moment where Elena says she likes the song playing and Caroline asks her car to tell her what the song is. It’s very product-placement moment and I dislike it a lot.

Sure enough, the tire does go flat, and Caroline claims to have called the tow truck. They wait for it for awhile and Elena gets more and more frustrated as it becomes obvious that Caroline is trying to keep her from rushing off to see Stefan. She actually points out what a pain it would be to grow old while he stays young, and how Elena will never be able to have children with him and Elena is so good with kids she absolutely must be a mother. Oh, Caroline, wrong. Elena calls her on the constant drilling and Caroline says she’s just trying to be a good friend.

As Elena finally leaves, after the tow truck arrives, there’s a moment where Caroline actually looks desperate for Elena to stay. Whether this is only because she doesn’t want to let down Katherine or if she’s truly worried about being alone with a human stranger is unclear, but Elena really should have read it as Caroline not trusting herself not to drink from the driver, and if she was truly a friend, she would have stayed to help distract Caroline.

Once her tire is fixed, Caroline heads for the Mystic Grill, of course. Katherine finds her in the bathroom and confronts her, wanting to know why she couldn’t manage to occupy Elena. Caroline is apologetic, but still stands up for herself, informing Katherine that she told Elena all the problems about mortality in human and vampire relationships, and that she really thinks she got through to Elena.

Katherine has a dangerous smile. She tells Caroline that she really hopes Caroline got through to Elena, because Katherine already killed Caroline once, and she can easily do it again.

This is a really effective threat, of course.

When Elena arrives at the Mystic Grill, Caroline tries to apologize to her. Elena waves it away, however, and says that everything she said was right, it was just hard for Elena to hear, and Caroline was just being a good friend in her own way. Caroline of course says, in her own headcase, crazy way. I get tired of Caroline a) using that as a pejorative and b) being so down on herself.

Their friendship supposedly repaired, Elena heads off to join Stefan’s side, leaving Caroline to eavesdrop.

Elena and Stefan’s Cunning Plan (Is Not So Cunning)

When Elena sits down with Stefan, she acts obviously upset at him for spending the day with Katherine, even going so far as to claim she’s not afraid of her. Stefan says she should be, because Katherine is sadistic and threatened Elena and everyone Elena loves. He comes across as very worried and as if he’s considering following Katherine’s orders. Elena asks why they’re giving Katherine so much power over their relationship and that it feels like Katherine is getting between them. Stefan says she already has. At that, Elena gathers her stuff and walks away from him.

The scene pans out to show that not only is Caroline listening, but Damon, sitting at the bar with his drink, is eavesdropping, as well. This would have been a fantastic final shot of his smug expression, and I even thought the episode ended here, but no, it kept going.

When Damon leaves the Mystic Grill, he runs into Katherine, who accuses him of being jealous of the attention she is paying Stefan, because he’s acting upset. He tells her he doesn’t do jealous, not with her, not anymore, and he’s pouty, as she claims, because he tried and failed to kill a werewolf and now he’s worried he isn’t living up to his best self.

Katherine tells him not to try to be the hero or he’ll end up dead. Damon smirks and says he’s been there and done that, and if he does it again, at least this time it will be worth it.

When she gets home, Elena finds Stefan waiting for her. He asks if she’s okay, and she throws herself at him, telling him how much she hated that fight. He agrees; it felt too real, he says.

Nicely done, checking to see if Caroline was working for Katherine because of how she tried to keep them apart, but really, you should be less surprised and more worried about Caroline, considering Katherine already killed her once, damn it. I hope the show isn’t going to try to turn her into a real enemy when she’s being used and abused by Katherine.

Elena says she thinks Damon was listening, too, and wants to know if they should tell him. Stefan thinks the fewer people who know the better, and I think he has a good point, but I know this is just setting up for more drama and trying to sell it as a love triangle.

She’s also perturbed that Katherine is doing so much manipulating just to get Stefan back, which is kind of a blow to Stefan, I guess, though I think she more means that she didn’t expect Katherine to love so much. Sure enough, Stefan says that Katherine doesn’t care about anyone but herself, she’s incapable of actual love, and she’s really in Mystic Falls for some other reason entirely.

The Lockwood Werewolves and Potential Werewolves

Tyler tries to talk to Mason about him turning into a wolf and his very-understandable worry that he, too, might do the same, but Mason continues to be secretive. He dismisses Tyler’s worry out of hand, because he claims Tyler will never trigger the curse. Of THE VAMPIRE DIARIEScourse, he doesn’t actually tell Tyler how the curse is triggered, which looks like the show is setting up for Tyler to accidentally trigger the curse and become a werewolf. Good times.

Mason also says that Mayor Lockwood didn’t know anything about the Lockwood curse and neither did Mason until it actually happened to him. I want to know why the family keeps this such a total secret, because if it’s the Lockwood curse, someone other than Mason must have known about it at some point. I’m also disappointed that Mayor Lockwood just had the temper; he didn’t know he was a werewolf.

Mason gets home and Tyler is still pissed at him because he’s still keeping secrets. Tyler says he might know a couple of places the moonstone might be. Tyler says he will tell if Mason tells him how the curse is triggered. They yell at each other, Mason slams him against the wall, and says that the trigger is killing someone; if you take someone else’s life away from them, then the curse is yours forever.

So, of course, I want to know whom Mason killed, and I’m curious as to whether Tyler will ever become a werewolf, knowing what he knows. I still think an accidental killing would do the trick and is likely how the show will go, now that Tyler has become a more sympathetic character.

Katherine Gets the Last Act

In the final flashback of the episode, as Katherine escapes the church, she sees the fallen Salvatore brothers and hesitates. George comes for her then, urging her on to the carriage; she gives him the moonstone, then rushes back to the fallen brothers (though not at vampire speed, or at least, they don’t show us vampire speed). She takes the time to stroke Stefan’s face, tell him she loves him and they will be together again, and then she kisses him just a little.

In the present day, Katherine touches her lips, seemingly touched by the memory, smiles a coquettish little grin, and looks up at the waning moon. I am not sure how I feel about the gentler Katherine, but at least she’s still willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

You can watch The Vampire Diaries, season two, episodes on Amazon.com. Also, we’re covering vampires all month on Thursdays.

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IFPFlashback Central: Review of The Vampire Diaries 2.04: “Memory Lane”