Season 1, Episode 3 (“Friday Night Bites”)
Before rewatching this episode I primarily remembered it for being the most catty teen TV episode the show has. And in the rewatch my thoughts have not changed. There is a lot of teens being mean to each other for no real reason and not a lot really happens.
Elena is finally feeling happy again and wants to return to the girl she was before her parents died. Which apparently was a cheerleader who was very involved and dated a football player. Though the boyfriend has changed, everything else can be the same. However, when she goes back to cheerleading practice she doesn’t really fit into it anymore. Caroline is also incredibly bitchy to her which doesn’t help. Essentially this whole plot serves to teach Elena that she isn’t the girl she was before her parents died. Loss changes people and you can’t always go back to caring about the things you did before. By the end of the episode she quits and Stefan tells her that it’s okay to change.
Damon is furthered as the villain in this episode though we still don’t really know what he is trying to do. He is using Caroline to infiltrate Stefan and Elena’s lives and cause more problems. He keeps bringing up Katherine to Elena causing her to realize that both Salvatores were in love with her. Is he just trying to cause tension between Elena and Stefan? Because he wants Stefan to be as unhappy as he is? Or does he hope that if he talks about her enough, Elena will start to ask questions and realize that they look exactly alike?
Stefan doesn’t really believe that Damon is the monster he is pretending to be. Damon threatens to “seduce or kill” Elena but Stefan doesn’t really believe he will do this because if he was really without humanity, he would have killed Stefan a long time ago. Its during this encounter we learn exactly how long they have been vampires – 145 years. Stefan believes that Damon’s love for Katherine is the humanity that he still has in him. Damon tries to prove Stefan wrong by killing the dick history teacher/football coach saying he has no problem killing “anyone, anytime, anyplace”.
Damon killing Mr. Tanner leads Stefan to believe that he really is a monster and he was wrong about there being any humanity left in him. As he is writing this in his diary, we see Damon watching Elena sleep and he strokes her face. I assume this is because she looks like Katherine who he is still in love with, but it’s a weird scene.
Meanwhile, Jeremy is still upset that Vicki is with Tyler. In this episode, Jeremy’s protectiveness of Vicki is starting to rub me the wrong way. He has a bit of nice guy syndrome where he believes himself to be the good guy compared to Tyler (which is fair since Tyler is a total dick) and that means that he should have Vicki. His rage at Tyler seems to come more from jealousy than from actually caring about Vicki. He is more concerned about Vicki being with him than with her just not being with a guy who treats her badly.
Finally, Bonnie is still not convinced that she is a witch but all episode she gets premonitions about three numbers 8, 14, and 22. After Mr. Tanner’s body is discovered and the coroner and animal control show up she sees all three numbers at the scene. She is losing her ability to deny that something supernatural is going on.
Overall, this episode is not one of my favorites – its actually probably one of my least favorites in the series and I found it very difficult to write about beyond plot summary. In several of these early episodes, it feels like they are still trying to figure out what they want the show to be. What the right balance of teen stuff and vampire stuff is. This episode leans far too heavily on the teen stuff. At least we see Elena come to the realization that she is not the person she was before her parents died and maybe thats okay.
Episode Grade: D
- Most Bitchy Teen: Caroline. She says that Elena used to be more fun before her parents died. Right in front of her!
- Most Angsty Teen: Jeremy
- Most Like-able Teen: Matt. He realizes that Tyler is a dick and appreciates that Stefan had Jeremy’s back and makes amends.
- Most Toxic Masculinity: Tyler
- That History Teacher is a Dick: He hates Stefan for knowing more history than him (sorry dude Stefan lived through all of those things) and doesn’t want to let him on the football team because of it, but changes his mind when Stefan is good. Then he tells the entire school at the pep rally that Stefan is going to turn their shitty team around.
- Most Problematic: Damon’s treatment of Caroline. This is something that as the show goes on they try to sweep under the rug. We see a lot throughout the show where a vampire will feed on someone and then erase their memory of it. But when there is a sexual component is when it gets really uncomfortable. He is also controlling her in a really gross way. Damon is also pretty pervy about Elena a few times.
- Stefan claims to not know much about witches but then proceeds to admit to knowing a lot of specifics.
- New Things We Learned About Vampires: Vervain protects humans from mind control and they can heal from various injuries.
- Body Count: 1, Damon kills Mr. Tanner (not sorry to see you go)