The third episode of [[The Vampire Diaries (TV Series)|The Vampire Diaries]], Friday Night Bites continues to intrigue. Rather than remain the cool outsider, Stefan joins the school football team. Meanwhile, Elena arranges an ice-breaker meal to let Stefan and her witchy friend Bonnie get to know each other better.
Unfortunately, Devious Damon and irritating cheerleader Caroline gatecrash the party. Damon takes a moment to speak to Elena alone and mentions the fabled Katherine, but betrays the fact that he was in love with her too. Interestingly, Elena seems to see through a lot of Damon’s bullshit and game playing.
At the same time, Stefan deduces that Damon has been drinking blood from Caroline, who has been charmed into not removing her scarf – which would reveal some nasty fang marks courtesy of Damon. The two brothers quietly argue about their attitudes towards humans – Damon choosing to do “whatever [he] wants to do” with them.
To his diary, Stefan confides that he believes his brother still has a shred of humanity somewhere. This is something which becomes a bone of contention at Stefan’s first football game.
Before the game, Stefan gives Elena a necklace containing herbs to nullify Damon’s mind-control powers. The game goes well for the team, except for the part where Damon savages and kills the team coach, Mr Tanner (who totally had it coming, BTW). Oh, and Elena’s brother Jeremy has a fight with his love rival Tyler, goes to glass him and ends up cutting Stefan, who had come over to split them up.
Elena’s convinced that Stefan needs medical help, but is stunned and confused whenever Stefan’s hand seems undamaged. This troubles her, and she later goes to Bonnie to find out why she had ominous feelings about Stefan. We wonder how long it can go on before Elena guesses that her boyfriend is a vampire.
Damon makes a little faux pas when he tries to charm Elena into kissing him and gets a stinging slap as a reward. This prompts him to have a confrontation with Stefan in which Stefan claims Damon has some humanity left. The claim is not received well, and Tanner interrupts them at the wrong time – Damon attacks him as if to prove the opposite.
In this episode, Damon Salvatore emerges as possibly the most complex character. His mocking of the furrow-browed Stefan is hilarious in places – “BTW…that means By The Way…” – but can veer quickly into the terrifying. Damon’s hatred for his brother is counterpointed by his affection for Elena. However, sometimes he botches things for himself by trying to mock Stefan in front of Elena.
In “Friday Night Bites”, Elena’s insight into Damon’s character surprises him, and he seems intrigued by her – not as a means to torture his brother, or as a replacement for Katherine. The closing shot of him tenderly stroking Elena’s face while she slept was more affectionate than it was creepy. The big question is, is the monster side of Damon all an act, a rebellion against his brother?
For the minor characters, Bonnie’s developing psychic powers haven’t exactly proven themselves to be exactly useful, but should we expect to see an increase in their potency in the next few episodes? And will she become more comfortable with Stefan? Elsewhere, the love triangle between Jeremy, Tyler and Vicki intensifies and it looks more like Vicki has feelings for Jeremy but is choosing Tyler because he’s older.
A few more hints at a confusing triangle between Elena and the Salvatore brothers, as Elena has a Devil’s Advocate-style dream about romping with Stefan, but his face changing to Damon’s. So far though, Damon has a bit of work to do to win her over.