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The Vampire Diaries Recap: Stefan vs. Damon, Round One — Molly Ringwald Never Showed

The Vampire Diaries -- "After School Specia" -- Pictured (L-R): Candice Accola as Caroline, Paul Wesley as Stefan, and Nina Dobrev as Elena

Hello, everyone. I am crazy excited to be joining the Vulture team. My name is Rebecca Serle, and I write YA books about all sorts of things (you can learn a little more about me here), but never vampires because I need variety in my life. Every week in this recap space, we will engage in what I consider to be the Debate of a Generation: Stefan or Damon? I know there is some conflict among TVD fans, and to that I say, Have you seen Paul Wesley’s face and Ian Somerhalder’s abs? I think we’re all winning here. But, like with any love triangle, a choice must eventually be made, and so, we will make it. Week by week, episode by episode, shirtless scene by shirtless scene, we will soldier on until one of these brothers is crowned Elena’s forever love … or Damon and Stefan bag the whole thing for a cozy cottage upstate (just think of all the antiquing Stefan has definitely been doing!). To kick off this initial recap, I’m going to try a reality-index-like accounting and see how it goes. Are you in?

This week’s episode took a play from the John Hughes handbook as Elena, Stefan, and Caroline found themselves in a Rebekah-induced detention. Meanwhile, at the Gilbert lake house, Damon was still working with Jeremy to try and grow his hunter’s mark. We also learned some stuff about Silas and more on what it’s going to take our heroes to get this cure. Hearts were broken. Love confessions were made. And Michael Trevino was awesome, naturally. To the debate!

Stefan Has Unlimited Texting, and He’s Not Afraid to Use It

  • I promise to be unbiased, and therefore I am not going to tell you my personal team preference (PS: It’s Stefan), but can we all just agree that Paul Wesley is a gift to acting? Plus 7 for tearing our hearts out right along with Stefan’s.
  • Caroline and Stefan having witty phone banter. Honestly, those two. We are so obsessed with their friendship that at this point we feel they should have their own theme music. The soundtrack to I Love Lucy, maybe? Plus 4
  • Minus 4 points for Elena’s confession about Damon to Stefan. And ow, minus another 6 for Elena admitting she’s not in love with Stefan anymore. After three seasons of these two defying absolutely all odds for each other, this one was hard to swallow.
  • Stefan looking at Caroline to confirm to Rebekah he and Elena broke up gets a Minus 3. Come on, dude. I hate to say it, but isn’t this one of the reasons you’re no longer together? Man up.
  • But Plus 3 for Stefan blurting out that Elena and Damon had sex. I’m sick of Ian having all of the awesome eye contact on this show.
  • Minus 6 for Stefan asking Rebekah to compel him to forget (and minus another 1, writers, for making us believe that that was going to happen). Look, Stefan — if we have to remember, you do, too.
  • Stefan’s allegiance with Rebekah deserves a Plus 6. Honestly, this guy surrounds himself with so many hot blondes, we’re going to have to start calling him Leo.
  • And finally — Plus 8 for Stefan walking away from Elena. See above: Paul Wesley/acting.

Total: 8

Damon Would Like to Make It Official on Facebook

  • Damon cutting off Elena’s voice mail was kinda awesome. Not because it wasn’t sweet to hear her cooing into the phone but because dude is BUSY. Playing hard to get only makes them want you more, Damon! Plus 4
  • Plus 2 for Damon’s “couldn’t miss it. It was in slow motion.” Is it just us, or does he use his best lines on Jeremy and Matt?
  • Sorry, but minus 2 for Damon then picking up and listening where the voice mail left off AND making us feel like that definitely was not the first time he’s done it (also, voice mails don’t hold your spot. This isn’t TiVo).
  • Damon shooting Klaus for Mayor Lockwood was pretty great. Sometimes we forget Damon is friends with all the grown-ups, but when we remember, we always love it. Plus 2.
  • Plus 10 in Damon’s column for Elena finally admitting she’s in love with him. I see you, Delena people. You are kind, you are smart, you are important. (It’s a riff on a movie quote, no one freak out. PS: I love you, Meryl!)
  • We do not know who put Damon in charge of Matt’s safety, but we do not like it. Minus 2
  • Plus 2 for Damon and Klaus bonding by the (sorry) bonfire. We’ve been waiting for this for what feels like forever.
  • I would normally give points for this, but minus 2 for Klaus’s revelation that Damon has not been letting Jeremy kill in order to “spare his soul,” or whatever. Damon’s growth does not need to turn him into Stefan.
  • Elena told Damon she loves him. It happened, and it was beautiful. Plus 6 for that phone call, and plus another 20 for Damon asking Elena to come to him. I love the way he looked up at the sky, like he was asking for permission or forgiveness — or just saying thank you. Great moment.

Total: 40

*I’ll be giving bonus points to characters and plot aspects not included in our Stefan/Damon recap. If they total more than either brother gets, no Salvatore wins the episode. I’m going to try REALLY HARD not to just give Matt or Tyler an additional 100 points every week, but let me be clear: They 100 percent deserve them.

Bonus Points:

  • OMG, Rebekah killed Elena! You guys, she’s never died before (as a vamp). Plus at least 1, right?
  • Plus 3 for the return of Kol. Related: Daniel Giles, why you gotta stay away so long?
  • Plus 2 for Jeremy saving Matt, and the awesome biceps of one Mr. Steven R. McQueen.
  • Plus 4 because I think maybe Shane’s confession means we’re going to get Alaric back. Obviously this is worth way more than four points, but since it hasn’t actually happened yet, we gotta keep it in check.
  • Caroline running to Tyler in the gym was one of the most poignant, moving moments of this episode. Plus 5 for Tyler’s breakdown about his mother’s death, and the sweet way Caroline cradled him in her arms.
  • Someone want to explain this Silas stuff to me? Thanks.
  • Nina Dobrev is perfection as always, but the way she delivered those confessions was truly award-worthy. We saw how much guilt Elena is experiencing over causing Stefan pain. Breakups are hard, no matter what side you’re on. Plus 8 to the show for remembering that.
  • Bonnie is the key to everything. So, yeah, that. Plus 2?

Total: 25

Nothing could take this episode away from the Damon camp. Love conquers all, right? Tune in next week to see … Jeremy. From what we can tell, next week is mostly about Jeremy. Please come over to Twitter and chat more about TVD with me: @RebeccaASerle.

Photo: Bob Mahoney/CW