The Vampire Diaries - There Goes the Neighborhood

Caroline is having trouble detouring the insecurities that come with being the “rebound” from Elena for Matt while Matt’s mom—still basically reliving her teenage years, irresponsible and often a bit too carefree—goes to the bar and grille to interview for the vacant bartending job (vacated due to being the newly turned vamp for Annabelle burned alive by Stefan; this guy should’ve decided against vampirism and just remained a former jock agonizing over lost high school glory), immediately eyeing Damon, and later Jenna. Annabelle’s mom, Pearl (Kelly Hu, emerging as a potentially lethal villain), is gradually behind vampires leaving the tomb from the woods and acclimating back into society, either in Mystic Falls or out of town, a 400 year old vampire with great strength (how she overpowers Damon is impressive, even nearly gouging his eyes after tossing him around a bit) and plans she’s waited for quite some time to implement. Securing a rental with help from Jenna, Pearl and her daughter will use this small business opportunity to re-integrate and become a part of the township.

Meanwhile Pearl has a nuisance in her camp who looks like trouble almost the moment he is introduced: Frederick (Stephen Martines), wanting to go into town and confront the Salvatores (stupidly going against Pearl’s advice not to leave the house, a place belonging to a human servicing them as a blood supply). He sees Elena in the bar and grille, believing her Katherine. Caroline wants to do a double date with Elena and Stefan, so that she and Matt can fully form as a true functional couple. While Elena is a bit unsure of this idea, Stefan encourages her. They just want to have one normal day without danger and drama. Stefan will face an attack by Frederick and his lady, with Damon helping him fend them off, killing her while he flees to fight another day. Certainly Stefan staking Frederick’s woman is bound to mean Elena’s safety is questionable. Caroline confronts Elena about her spell on Matt and feeling second fiddle is getting old. Matt, though, reassures her that Elena is now a friend and that any memories shared during the double date were just that, memories. They even share touchy-feely thoughts and embrace in a kiss in Stefan’s hot ride, needing Matt’s grease monkey talents to start it up after spending quite some time under a tarp.

 Stefan and Matt finally seem to find a friendly tone and the rivalry for Elena’s affections (which never was one because Matt is mature and a class act) appears over. Which is what I was happy to see because much like Sam and Sookie on True Blood, seeing Matt finally accept that Elena was all in for someone else brushed aside further anguish and angst on his (and their) part. Damon overpowered (well everyone it seems is) by Pearl was quite a memorable sight as was his chemistry with the fetching Melinda Clarke, a woman who goes after what she desires, although her behavior leaves Matt often disappointed and embarrassed. She and Jenna being buds is a nice surprise to me.

Considering I’m crazy for Sara Canning, anytime she reveals her playful side, popping shots with Clarke and Somerhalder at the bar, it gets my attention. I’m just nuts about Canning and her Jenna character. Frederick trying to pick up Jenna as she leaves the bar proves to us that danger lurks around every corner and just outside the door…vervain was her friend in this episode. Stefan and Damon teaming up to defend themselves against an attack reveals that despite their friction and rivalry, they are still brothers…they’re family despite their differences. Damon once again seems to find himself in the middle of the drama as Matt finds him making out with his mom!

I can’t believe it but Jeremy was actually involved in a storyline I cared about! He is studying up on vampires (and it seems his memory is returning), and he tests a theory regarding Anna who just can’t stay away from him. It’s clear Pearl would have none of her dating a human teenager, but Anna is unable to quell her feelings for “sad-eyed and floppy” loner, Jeremy. So Jeremy cuts his hand, feigning accident just to see if Anna reveals herself to be a vampire. When she does and he wants her to feed from him, Anna confronts Jeremy on his motives. He gets to close the show, and that is a rarity. I miss Bonnie, though. After the death of Jasmine Guy, it was time for Bonnie to get a brand new story or love interest.

Pearl expects Damon to be her spy, since he is trusted by the town's vampire hunting council. Refusing such a request isn't an option Damon can afford as her age and power is far greater than him. He is, however, quite resourceful and resilient...