Season 1, Episode 19 (“Miss Mystic Falls”)
“I don’t want to hurt people, I don’t do that I’m the good brother”
“Do you want to hurt me?”
“I want to kill you”
Like the decade dance, the Miss Mystic Falls pageant is an event that crops up a few times in the series and they are always significant episodes. As I’ve said before I think many of the best Vampire Diaries episodes are those that center around an event, especially Founders related events. Founders events pretty much always end up with a dead body or some sort of vampire related disaster that the Council takes care of and the rest of the attendees have no clue what has happened. This episode is no exception, Stefan almost kills a contestant and Damon tries to kill John.
Elena has completely forgotten that the Miss Mystic Falls pageant is happening until Caroline tells her that they are both on the court. Caroline keeps hoping that Elena will drop out so that she can improve her chances of winning. She is acting pretty shallow for most of the episode but when she fully realizes that Elena is doing this for her mom, and not for herself, she becomes much more supportive and even stops Elena from dropping out at the last minute. This was a good moment of growth for Caroline and showed that she can actually be a pretty good friend.
Less friendly is Bonnie. She makes her first appearance since her grandmother’s funeral in this episode. It is stated that she and Caroline talked every day but Elena has barely heard from her. She is keeping her distance from Elena because she blames the Salvatores for her grandmother’s death. She doesn’t want to have to make Elena choose between Stefan and her so she removes herself from the equation. Bonnie’s frustrations are totally fair and her grandmother’s efforts were all in vain since all the tomb vampires got out, and the reason for opening the tomb in the first place wasn’t even in there. Bonnie was just learning about her witch side and her grandmother was the only person she could really talk to and learn from. Because of Elena she lost that, so its understandable she would need time.
Meanwhile, Stefan is completely losing control of himself. He is lying to everyone about the fact that he is still drinking blood. This episode really emphasizes the metaphor of Stefan’s human blood problems as alcoholism. He cannot resist any temptations and he gets dangerous once he is found out. Up to this point he seems to be keeping to blood bags, he is just drinking a lot of it. Once he kidnaps Amber he is conflicted about what to do. He knows that if he feeds on her there could be no return. He could lose everything if he does this. But the urge to feed and kill her is too strong. He ultimately does end up feeding on her and is only stopped from killing her by Elena, Damon, and Bonnie showing up. Damon is acting like he is only concerned that the town will catch on to them. Stefan cracking is just an inconvenience to him. But I think it is fairly obvious that he does care about Stefan at this point. He wants Stefan to learn to control himself on human blood instead of abstaining.
With Stefan bailing on Elena at the pageant, Damon steps in has her escort. This whole scene is a bit over the top. Obviously the writers wanted to underline the idea of there being a love triangle between Elena and the Salvatores which has mostly been fairly subtle up to this point. I don’t mind them using the dance and Stefan’s absence as an opportunity to do this, but it could have been done better. The music swelling while they dance hits you over the head with it. If they had kept the music quieter and had Elena at first be uncomfortable with it before settling in, it would have made more sense. If you watched this scene in isolation you would think they had some great romance when really at this point the most you can say is Elena doesn’t hate him.
Overall this is a great episode and I have been thoroughly enjoying this last section of season 1. Stefan’s break down is rooted in who he is as a character and it feels like it was inevitable. At the beginning of the episode he really believes he has it under control this time, but if you are hiding it you know you don’t. By the end he knows he’s gone too far and is concerned that he will be a danger to Elena. Too bad there isn’t a vampire rehab, the detox cellar will have to do.
Episode Grade: A-
- “John anything I can do to keep this town safe, even if it means spending time with you”
- “Have my actions negatively impacted you? I can’t imagine what that must feel like.” Stefan gets sassy when he is on human blood.
- Caroline is very involved, maybe that’s why we don’t see more of her
- Stefan tells Amber that if you do it right, you don’t have to waste a single drop of blood when biting into someone’s neck. However he seems to be wasting a lot. Maybe it’s because he is out of practice.
- Body Count: No real deaths in this episode! Though there are two close calls.