Halloween may be over but the witches and vamps of Mystic Falls didn't get the message. If the All Hallows' Eve-themed "Haunted" tied the bow on a lot of dangling ribbons, then "162 Candles" started wrapping a whole new present. Taking full advantage of their chance to stop and a take a breath, the writers introduced us to an old — make that really old — friend of the Salvatore brothers while giving screen time to characters we haven't seen much of lately.
So, what happened?
Stefan's into older women: No, he didn't leave Mystic Falls for Cougar Town. His longtime vamp buddy Lexi turned up for her traditional birthday visit. Don't worry, Elena! They're just friends. And besides, she's twice his age. We're talking mid-300's. Not mid-thirties. They've been through a lot, though. Their adventures include a skinny-dipping session in The Trevi Fountain, a drunken excursion on the torch of The Statue of Liberty and a "pretty crazy weekend" with Bon Jovi.
Where's Veronica Mars when you need her? Sheriff Forbes is having a tough time solving a mystery; two, actually. One, what happened to Vicki? And two, who in her town is a vampire? Obviously profiling is not her strong suit. She's willingly giving Damon information on the investigations, and not the files marked "Cougar Attack." The uncensored reports filed under the letter "V."
Mind Control on Caroline= Mean. On Jeremy = Godsend: It might be unethical but Elena's request to have Damon re-wire her bro's brain (like he hasn't voluntarily done it any number of times with an even greater number of substances) was a wise decision. Manufactured or not, he's healthily dealing with his pain, kicked his substance experimentation/abuse (depending on who's reading this) and even started caring about school.
Aunt Jenna did not leave town: Despite not being in the past few episodes, Aunt Jenna has not shirked her responsibilities as caregiver to the Gilberts. We learned she received an e-mail from Logan Fell explaining that he left town. There's a lot of that going around.
"She's a witch! Burn her!" Okay, nix the burning but she is a witch. Bonnie opened up to Elena and revealed the early results of her grandmother's tutelage. And what did she do for her first trick, as they say? Levitate hundreds of feathers. Oh, snap! Damon, your time is almost up.
It's the eyes. No, really — It's the eyes: Damon, yet again, exercised his power over Caroline by telling her to throw a party at The Grill and get "his" crystal back from Bonnie.
Lexi thinks Katherine was a "raging bitch:" That's pretty much it on that one.
The Plan: In an alley outside the Mystic Grill, Damon mixes business and pleasure by taking a chunk out of one-half of a teenage couple, and gives the still living girlfriend a long, hard look. Later, he goes back inside the party and puts his "good-bad boy" (as opposed to "psychotic-bad boy") face back on.
Lexi is Stefan's wing man: While telling Elena about a human she once loved, Lexi is also telling her to embrace the uniqueness of a relationship like that instead of running from it.
The Plan, Part II: The second half of Damon's plan unfolds when Sheriff Forbes comes into the Grill with the alleyway girlfriend. Wow, that sounds dirty. Damon's made her believe it's Lexi who killed her boyfriend. A confirmation from a witness is all Sheriff Forbes needs.
Where's the ACLU when you need them? Nary a word was spoken of her right to "remain silent" or "a fair trial" while she was being arrested. Instead, she was pumped full of first, vervain, and second, bullets. I guess the Sheriff got her guns mixed up as they weren't the wooden kind. It's a good thing Damon's close by and always had some wood on hand then, huh? Rimshot! But, seriously, folks...actually, really very seriously... Damon took a stake to Lexi's heart. Happy birthday, bro!
Maybe they can go BYOB: There goes the liquor license. Seriously, Mystic Grill — Serving the Sheriff's daughter? Not smart.
Matt the Xander: I've said it before and I'll say it again. Matt's just a good guy. He's an ordinary guy caught in an insane world. He's also one of the few characters in the show who has not had supernatural occurrences happen "out loud" (if you will) in front of his very eyes.
A new man for Caroline? Sources tell TVGuide.com it's too early to tell if there's a future, but Matt Donovan and Caroline Forbes were seen canoodling at The Mystic Grill. What? I'm sorry. "Canoodling" was the word on my word-of-the-day calendar.
Lexi's "Wanted: Dead or Alive:" Living up to the name of "their song," Lexi's death has caused a sense of loss in Stefan that has finally sent him over the edge. He wants to kill Damon and end this feud once and for all.
Payback's a — well, I guess it's not so bad, actually: Stefan spares Damon's life (afterlife?) but still gives him a good stabbing. Why'd he change his mind? To Stefan, this evens the score. In "Lost Girls," Damon removed a wooden bullet from his brother's chest. So, this ends all the Salvatore drama, right? What, are you kidding me? Have you seen the ratings? There's no end in sight.
Production: Marguerite MacIntyre, who plays Sheriff Forbes, has also had roles in The Shield and Vampire Diaries co-developer/writer/producer Julie Plec's previous series, Kyle XY.
Great Lines & Moments
Damon: Why are you so mean to me?
Lexi: Uh, have you met you? You're not a nice person.
Caroline: Look, Dungeon Boy, I'm done being your little slave girl. You seriously hurt me and I will be damned—
Damon compels her.
Caroline: Oh, my god! Where have you been?
Stefan: Damon, stay away from Caroline.
Damon: It's cool. We're friends.
Caroline: Are you having a good time?
Damon: Do you have my crystal?
Damon: Then I'm not having a good time.
Caroline: I'm totally sorry to do this. I know it's so "Indian Giver" —and I know we're not supposed to even say that anymore, but I need my crystal back.
Bonnie: I can't give it back to you.
Caroline: Okay. Uh, well, I didn't want to have to tell you this but I'm your friend... When you wear it, it makes you look fat. There, I said it.
Damon: I have a diabolical master plan.
Lexi: What is it?
Damon: Well, if I told you, it wouldn't be very diabolical, would it?
After being staked by Damon...
Damon: It's part of the plan.
Don't miss the next episode, "History Repeating."