Television proms are usually the proms every teenaged girl dreamed she would have, not just romantic, but significant. Over twenty years later, Brenda wearing the same dress as Kelly then losing her virginity to Dylan still resonates. So my bar for “The Vampire Diaries” prom episode was set a couple thousand feet high.The show usually pulls out all the stops for big events, like season two’s masquerade ball. It definitely had its moments, but there was neither transcendent romance or full-on “Carrie” horror. It was just a dance with a bit of nostalgia and some darkness, and nobody really having much fun, sort of like a real life prom.
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It’s fitting that it was called “Pictures of You,” because this whole season has been about the cure. We even heard a cover version of the song. It’s the theme of the prom, which, Caroline (Candice Accola), of course, planned. She set up an impressive outdoor display of video projections of photographs from the Mystic High yearbook. It’s a genuinely cool idea, but it’s also part of the gang’s plan to rehumanize Elena (Nina Dobrev) by reminding her of who she used to be. That means everyone has to play nice even when they want to punch her in her bitch face.
Pre-Gaming: Even though everything starts out being all about Elena, for once, the literal and figurative queen of the episode is Bonnie (Kat Graham), who finally gets her turn in the spotlight.The opening shot is of her at Jeremy’s grave. She talks about how their last words to each other weren’t a goodbye. Then Jeremy appears, telling her to open her eyes. It’s great to see Steven R. McQueen again. She wakes up. Her couch is on fire thanks to her magic powers, which now seem to be activated by her emotions, whether or not that’s what she wants.
Catch Up on a Recent Episode of “The Vampire Diaries”:
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Rebekah (Claire Holt) makes her argument to Elijah (Daniel Gilles) about why she should have the cure, while Klaus (Joseph Morgan) thinks that it should be given to him. Elijah decides Rebekah deserves a shot at happiness. Klaus tells her, “When you’re sick and dying, and you beg for my blood, I will laugh in your face and compel you to forget me.” That’s not much of a threat given that Rebekah wants to get old and die. Elijah asks her to prove this isn’t another one of her whims by living a day as a human – no compelling people or using any of her other powers. It will be the Yom Kippur of vampirism. Elena offers to keep an eye on her to make sure she obeys the rules because it’s her goal to get rid of the cure.
The Prom: On prom night, Elena, who has stolen Caroline’s dress,is surprised to find Stefan (Paul Wesley) in the limo. I am not sure if she was planning to go stag with Rebekah, who would want a male date, or what. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is with him. Elena should be happy that she gets to have both brothers as her date, but she can’t feel happiness. They aren’t there to dance, Their goal is to “keep her from eating the prom queen.”
Caroline makes the best of losing out on her dream dress, by persuading Klaus to loan her a gorgeous vintage gown. She, Bonnie and Matt are going as "friend dates." This has got to be the least romantic prom ever.
Once they arrive at the familiar Mystic Falls basketball court/ dance hall, Damon and Stefan both try to work their mojo on Elena. Damon refers to himself as her boyfriend. He just Defined The Relationship. That's a power move. But she calls him out on trying to stir up feelings that he compelled her to stop having. He says, "Hindsight's a bigger bitch than you are." She claims that their love was only about the sire bond. Stefan tries to use the universal language of dance to bring back her humanity. He puts his hand on her waist. She claims to feel nothing
Bonnie goes outside and sees Jeremy dressed for the prom. They dance outside. It's beautiful. But of course it isn't real. He asks her if she wants this to be real. He says her magic can bring him back. She realizes it's Silas and angrily walks away.
Rebekah asks Matt who has no use for her if she would make a good human. He says he's never seen her do anything remotely good, so no. She tells Matt she's going to try to be good because he's everything she wants to be. "You're so beautifully human." Think this through, Rebekah. That's why he never has major storylines.
Caroline shows up in a beautiful white beaded gown. Elena asks Caroline how she likes her dress. She initially calls her a bitch but then remembers the plan and compliments her. Stefan leads her away to dance, throwing a bone to Stefan/Caroline shippers.
Elena is Rebekah’s vampire proxy. She attempts to compel April (Grace Phipps) to make sure Rebekah wins prom queen. Unfortunately, April is still on vervaine so it doesn’t work.
Way Too Old for High School: Elijah gives Klaus the White Oak Stake as a peace gesture. He asks him to spare Katherine. Klaus says that if he doesn’t get the cure, and goes on the run to avoid Silas, he will hunt Katherine down because it will be his mission to make Elijah unhappy. So basically Klau’ss hit list is everyone but Caroline. Elijah contemptuously tells Klaus he has a shallow, empty life,.
Carrie III: Bonnie tells everyone about her encounter with Silas. Her prom night gets a little better when she and Matt are voted king and queen. They don’t get much of a moment. Elena decides she can stop Silas by killing Bonnie, since he needs her powers. Rebekah, deciding to be good, warns Matt. Unfortunately, she’s too late.
Elena attacks Bonnie. She goes Carrie, paralyzing Elena, and filling the room with an unpleasant noise. I wait for the dance to descend into chaos, but none of the random students seem to notice what's happening. Elena bites April. Matt asks Rebekah to save her. She refuses because of her vow. Matt tells her helping is the human thing to do. So Rebekah does, preserving the show's most useless character for another week. Matt promises to keep it a secret. But Klaus was spying. He points out that being human is powerless. He tells her she will tell Elijah the truth. But he's just distracting her while Silas disguises himself as Rebekah and persuades Elijah to give But Silas as Rebekah cons Elijah into giving him the cure. Rebekah figures out what is going on, and phones him, but it is too late. It would be cool if Silas immediately swallowed it and we saw the dead rise, but that's not what happens.
Actual Romance for Caroline: Caroline goes to the Lockwood mansion and finds Tyler (Michael Trevino) in his tux. At first I thought he might be Silas, but one couple got a moment of actual happiness — just a moment. After a slow dance, he leaves, only to find that Klaus is waiting for him. He asks if his moment with Caroline was worth it. Then gives him a five second running head start. It’s so ovious he has no interest in killing Tyler. It’s getting old. Fortunately, he goes home and finds a letter from Katherine telling him to find a witch in New Orleans who is plotting against him. He leaves to star in the backddor pilot “The Originals.”
Silas is The Phantom of the Opera: Silas impersonates Stefan, playing on Damon’s insecurities by telling him that he and Elena had a real relationship while Delena was just a one night stand. Then he stabs Damon. He tells him that the real Stefan is bleeding in the woods.
Outside the prom, Silas as Jeremy tells Bonnie she needs his help controlling her magic. She makes car alarms go off and commands him to get out of her head. Elena uses the moment to bites her, but Bonnie's blood makes her vomit. Apparently, her new powers have altered her blood. Bonnie uses expression to break Elena's bones. Elena begs for help. Bonnie finally stops. Damon shoots weak Elena with vervaine. Stefan and Damon realize Elena felt fear. They lock her in the Salvatore basement cell and plot to torture her back to humanity. That should be fun.
Bonnie goes to the cave where Silas ,with his real face lurks in the shadows. He says he is disfigured and wants to die because no one could love him now. That would be a lot sadder if he couldn’t shapeshift into Ryan Gosling. Or if he hadn’t orchestrated several massacres to achieve his goal. Bonnie demands to see his real face. He steps out of the shadows, and does look monstrous in a Phantom of the Opera way. Will Silas turn out to be yet another ultimately sympathetic villain?