You've got to wonder, what really changes in a town like Mystic Falls when Halloween rolls around? I mean, we've already got vampires and witches. Other creatures, demons and warlocks are bound to follow. 'Halloween' owns the town and only a few humans admit it. I suppose the holiday gives the townspeople a chance to let their freak flag fly. You know, subconsciously admit there's something unsettling about their settlement.
The Diaries gang garnered their second best ratings of the season with their last episode. But, ratings-schmatings. A lot of bad shows deliver in the demos. Thankfully, The Vampire Diaries is not one of them. With the past two episodes especially, the series seamlessly made the transition from mythology heavy set-up to fast-paced fun.
While I'm not ready to call the Halloween-themed "Haunted" better than the episode that preceded it (sorry, "Lost Girls" had too many solid twists), I will say it kept things moving and proved the series has no interest in milking storylines to the bitter end. There are plenty of characters who drift in and out of Mystic Falls. Some drift in and never out. But either way, why stall? Stalling is the number one way to lose an audience and by not doing so, the series has remained consistently fresh.
So, what happened?
Vampire School, it's Hogwarts with more blood: Professor Stefan instructs Vicki to live a moral afterlife - no feeding on humans. Damon's advice? Compel your victims to forget the meal they put their blood and sweat (well, at least blood) into for you. Or, as he put it, "Snatch. Eat. Erase."
Damon knows his musicals: Oh, come on! You're surprised? Elena arrives at Chateau Salvatore and asks Damon where Stefan is. Referencing My Fair Lady, Damon replies, "Upstairs, singing 'The Rain in Spain.'"
"Did you survive Mystic Falls High? Have I got a college for you:" Bonnie's Grams is a professor of the occult at the university. I smell season three!
Professor Damon's turn: A super-speed lesson in the front lawn, turns into a jailbreak when Vicki uses the freedom to run back home where she encounters another downside of being an immortal. Without an invitation, she's even blocked from entering the home she once lived in. I really liked this section of the episode. We've seen characters dealing with their new life as a werewolf so many times but I can't recall the last time we saw the first-time experiences of a newborn vampire.
'Bonnie + Crystal Necklace' = Vampire BBQ: The crystal Damon swiped and lost to Caroline in "Family Ties" found its way back into the story when Bonnie wore it to the school's Halloween dance as part of her Halloween costume. Turns out, it's also a family heirloom and burns Damon's hand when he tries to remove it from Bonnie's neck.
R.I.P. Vicki (for real this time, right?): After numerous attacks, a death and a rebirth as the undead, Vicki's teenage trauma seems to have finally come to an end. The end of a stake, that is. Vicki's hunger took over while making out with Jeremy. Her love, lust, anger and desire all fuel the hunger. When she couldn't be controlled, Stefan staked her through the heart. I'm pretty sure that never happened to Eliza Doolittle.
Elena's changed: Lying to her lifelong friend and ex, Elena told Matt she didn't know where Vicki was.
Elena's changed, part II: After Jeremy tells her he's afraid everyone just dies on him (Not literally... yet, anyway), Elena begs Stefan to make her brother forget all about what happened to Vicki. Stefan declines, explaining his powers are probably not strong enough to convince him for good. Damon steps up and compels Jeremy to no longer worry about Vicki. As far as he's concerned, she left town and won't be back.
Great Lines & Moments
Elena: If you wanted me dead, I'd be dead.
Damon: Yes. You would.
Elena: But I'm not!
Damon: ... Yet!
Vicki: Where's your bathroom? I have to pee. Why do I have to pee? I thought I was dead.
Don't miss next week's episode "162 Candles."