The Vampire Diaries: A Prank Night to Remember (PHOTO RECAP)

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What a terrific season finale! It seems kind of weird that The Vampire Diaries' third season only lasted five episodes. Maybe it's the economy? I don't know. But hey, at least those were five great episodes! Anyway, this season finale had it all: huge suspense, insane stakes, shocking deaths, and surprising twists. How will Season 4 even top it? It's anybody's guess, see you next September! Byeeee!

Haha you got moded, this episode wasn't the season finale at all! It just SEEMED that way. Man, can you believe all that stuff happened in just a normal episode? It was nuts! You know what makes me so mad, though? There are people out there who aren't even watching this thing. It's not that they're not watching, it's that they'll GET to watch this show later on when it's all out on DVD and they can just marathon the whole season rather than go week-to-week like us martyrs. Doesn't that make you so angry? Ugh, my blood is BOILING just thinking about it. I am so jealous of these imaginary people right now I can hardly stand it.

Anyway, the episode. It all began in the middle of the night at the worst educational facility south of the Mason-Dixon line.

First of all: Is that a FRUITOPIA machine in the hallway? Didn't Fruitopia get discontinued in like 1996? Already I'm confused.

But LOOK who's working out in the world's tiniest gym with the LIGHTS OFF? Matt. This is pretty much typical Matt stuff right here, all poor and sneaking into public facilities to blast his pecs. I'm still pretty sure he lives at Mystic Grill and gets his mail sent to the gas station or whatever.

But then Matt heard a mysterious noise and saw a mysterious shadow. So, because he's the only person left in his circle of friends who can easily be killed, he decided to go investigate.

WHOOPS! He accidentally set off dozens of mouse traps that were being carefully laid out onto the floor in PITCH BLACKNESS by his friends! What a total rube.

Apparently it was Senior Prank Night, an annual tradition that always takes place the night before the first day of school. Remember last year's first day of school, when Elena had that prank played on her where a vampire followed her around after having witnessed her parents die? THAT WAS THE ULTIMATE PRANK. Anyway, this year it was Elena's turn to pay the prankery forward, and is it just me, or was she in a super chipper mood? Maybe she finally got over that mass murderer she spent the summer pining away for?

But then UH-OH. She came face-to-face with Klaus! And it was only the cold open still! This show just skipped right ahead to the part where Klaus knew about Elena's existence and also tracked her down. We were in the hands of professionals, basically.

Somewhere along the highway were the modern day Micky and Mallory:

Damon ended up pushing Katherine away because she just "doesn't do it for him anymore." I object to this sentiment because Katherine is awesome. But oh well! Damon's loss.

Stefan was NOT thrilled about having been repeatedly murdered throughout the day and he took his frustrations out on a one-thousand-year-old vampire.

Stabbed in the heart with a crowbar! It turned out Rebekah is a major badass? Not only was she very intelligent and witty, she was SUPER PETTY. Apparently she wasn't much of a fan of Stefan's ex.

Meanwhile in the gym, the perfect prank was being set up by the school's remaining eight or nine seniors.

The ol' cups-of-water-on-the-basketball-court trick! But then a very uncool older dude just barged in and threatened to rat everyone out?

I find it kind of hilarious that Klaus doesn't even bother compelling people anymore. Witnesses aren't even a problem for him apparently. Anyway most of them ran off, except for two people he'd met before:

Dana, the only other named character in town. But then also someone named "CHAD"? That's right, Klaus knew him by name. HOW exactly? Did they spend some quality time together when Klaus was in Alaric's body? I'm suspicious, you guys. Consider this one more piece of evidence in my dossier that Klaus is on the DL.

Elena was nervous that Klaus would kill them. Why, because Stefan should be the one to do it? Relax, Elena. They'll be dead soon.

Meanwhile at some rest stop, Damon pulled a classic Damon move and threw their car keys into the woods.

Katherine was NOT happy about it.

This blind joyride had gone on long enough and Damon wanted some ANSWERS. So Katherine proceeded to explain the strangest plan imaginable:

Classic Katherine! But anyway, hey Jeremy! Look at him in there, just sleeping peacefully like an angel (for nine hours?)

Come on, Caroline, this was just gross. Honey on the doorknob? You're better than that. Maybe she was just having an off day because she was so concerned about Matt's loneliness.

Tyler had a nice moment where he first questioned why she still cared about Matt so much, and then admitted that Caroline is basically just a superior person to anyone else. Which is TRUE. They were definitely moving from friends-with-benefits territory into full-blown romance, a status made official by their gentle forehead touch:

DING DING DING! They are in a relationship! Yay, they are great.

Uh-oh. Rebekah interrupted their makeout session with some mischief in her eye.

She was werewolf hunting!

Over at the swimming pool, Matt admitted to Bonnie that his life has changed a lot in the past year. Bonnie was super patronizing, like, "Yeah, this must be so hard for you." I think it was probably just the first time Bonnie hadn't felt like the saddest person in the room and she was living it up. Poor Matt, though! It's not easy being a regular mortal in this town.

Meanwhile Vicki was following Matt around all day, but he wasn't about to hear a ghost.

Moments later Vicki and Matt went into the gym, only to find that the whole gang had been forcibly assembled and Klaus had a very special magic trick he wanted to share.

My new favorite recurring thing on this show is how easy it is to force people to swallow blood. I don't know, you'd think it'd be pretty easy to NOT swallow, but that's Vampire Diaries for you. Everyone's just protestin' while guzzlin'.

And he KILLED Tyler! CRAZY, right?! I was simply LIVID. Our dear sweet, precious Tyler! We knew Klaus' hybrid experiments hadn't worked in the past, so suddenly there was a ticking clock on Tyler's life. But the stakes were crazy: Either Tyler was going to die, or else he'd be resurrected as a vampire-werewolf hybrid? What was even going ON? I really thought Tyler was a goner, and I had already gotten out my nice stationery to write a letter to the president about it.

His friends were pretty upset too. Understandable!

I loved how pissed-off Matt looked. It takes A LOT to rile him up, so you could tell Klaus had really stepped over the line as far as Matt was concerned.

In a nice follow-up to the finale, Klaus fingered Bonnie as having been the powerful witch who prevented Elena's death. But instead of getting revenge, he merely tasked her with figuring out how to save Tyler, and he gave her twenty minutes to do so. Unbeknownst to him, Bonnie no longer had her ancestors' powers (plus they were ignoring her), so Bonnie was NOT having a good night, basically.

Rebekah was super catty with Elena when she finally got to see her. She even mentioned the Original Doppelganger, and the assertion that she was much prettier than Elena. How rude!

Then Rebekah whisked Tyler's body away somewhere. Not sure why. "Don't ask questions." -The Vampire Diaries.

So then Katherine FINALLY revealed her plan: They'd use Jeremy to talk to Anna's ghost, as Anna had once learned how to kill Klaus from her mother Pearl. I got my hopes up for a second that we'd get to actually SEE Pearl, but nope! Oh well.

Anyway, Stefan finally dragged himself off the pavement and stumbled into the gymnasium where he pathetically attempted to apologize to Klaus for having lied to him.

So right off the bat Stefan was put to the test and he basically listened to Elena's urges not to do it:

UNFORTUNATELY, Klaus simply back-handed Elena across the gym floor and then compelled Stefan to follow his commands.

So then it was curtains for Dana and "Chad."

R.I.P. Not Now Dana (2011-2011).

Back at the rest stop (wait, why were they at a rest stop? Why did they leave Mystic Falls before consulting Anna? Anyway...) Anna was like, no way, nuh-uh. She HATED Katherine for getting her mom locked in a tomb for a century. Fair enough!

Luckily Damon is not above beating information out of people, and the ghost of Anna quickly relented. Do you want to know how to kill Klaus? Drumroll please... Some other dude knows how to kill Klaus. That is how to kill Klaus! In this case it's a vampire vampire-hunter. That's right, a vampire who hunts vampires. Anna claimed that if they awaken him he'd kill not only Klaus but all other vampires in the vicinity. Seems weird, but cool!

Meanwhile at the pool, Matt was having ghostly encounters of his own. Specifically, some ghost had strewn his junk all over the pool deck and tossed his car keys into the deep end. Vicki was RUDE!

Um, SO. As much as I love this episode, here was easily the dumbest plotline I've maybe ever seen? The ghost of Vicki literally just TYPED A MESSAGE TO HIM. Yet Matt still felt he needed to "communicate" with her by drowning himself?

WHY ON EARTH? This made NO sense! Don't get me wrong, it was great TV. But WHAT?

Anyway. Yeah, so he drowned.

So this was DEFINITELY a Fruitopia machine. Look, they forgot to cover the logo on the side. Also, was this the same Fruitopia machine that Bonnie busted up all bad when she fought Klaus-in-Alaric? Or are there MULTIPLE Fruitopia machines in this high school? What is the student-to-Fruitopia Machine ratio at this school? 2:1? 1:1?

Anyway, all I can think about when I see this thing are those kaleidoscopic new agey ads that Fruitopia plastered all over MTV back in 1995.

Oh, whoops. Yeah, Bonnie dove into the pool and saved Matt. I bet she was STOKED that he expected her to drag a 180-lb grown man out of a swimming pool, but also she had to get her hair wet? Man, so much L.A. Looks hair gel was in that swimming pool now.

So then, yeah. Matt saw Vicki on The Other Side. And she had like the simplest, dumbest message to impart to him. "Elena should have died during Klaus' ceremony." Duh! Thanks, Vicki. Couldn't she have texted it or something?

Anyway, Matt came back to life, which is good because Matt is a nice guy. I bet that pool water wasn't so fun to ingest though.

So again, very exciting, but completely stupid. Sorry. It's true.

Meanwhile in some science lab, Tyler woke up and Caroline broke the news about the fact he was turning into a vampire.

Also he was dying. You could tell this Rebekah broad was starting to really get on their nerves.

Meanwhile, Bonnie's time was up to resolve the broken curse, so it was time for Stefan to attack Elena (per Klaus' compulsion).

Elena pointed out that Caroline's dad was able to overcome his compulsion through sheer mindpower. Because sure, when it comes to vampires why have any rules at all? Anyway, if Stefan really LOVED Elena, he'd be able to fight it. No pressure!

The best Stefan could do was give her a head start, and then he struggled to not chase her.

Pretty much the only thing he could think to do was murder himself. Interesting tactic! Unfortunately Klaus intervened.

Not only that, but he "compelled" Stefan to shut off his emotions entirely.

And then he proceeded to attack Elena. The reason I put "compelled" in scare quotes was this: When Klaus compelled him, I took a good look at Stefan's pupil and it didn't dilate. Same thing happened with Bill Forbes when Damon failed to compel him. At the time I noticed it, and it looked like the same thing here. So yeah, I am suggesting that Stefan's putting on a huge, elaborate charade in order to trick Klaus. He wants Elena to be genuinely afraid, much in the way they wanted her to believe Bonnie was genuinely dead that one time. Plus, Katherine was able to evade Klaus' compulsion by drinking vervain. Wouldn't Stefan have to be crazy to not have been drinking vervain just in case? I don't have all the answers, only shaky theories. But still. I'm calling it as Stefan just being a good actor.

Anyway, back to the hybrid stuff: Klaus heard Matt and Bonnie talking and realized that if the Original Witch wanted Elena dead, then she should remain alive (Klaus was enemies with the Original Witch). Not only that, but drinking Elena's blood was the key to "completing" the hybrid. So, Tyler had to take a shot of it:

Success! So now Klaus had what he wanted and Elena was to remain alive. PROTECTED, even. Win-win! But also: Whoa, Tyler is a HYBRID now. Holy moly.

How scary was the part where Elena woke up in the hospital, but the nurse was instructed to TAKE her blood?

That was pretty freaky.

Rebekah started asking Klaus some tough questions. Mainly why the hybrid curse has been his white whale all these years.

He was basically just like, "I'm lonely." Poor Klaus!

But then Damon showed up to start some trouble.

Apparently Klaus is so spooked by the vampire hunter that he high-tailed it out of there immediately. No big deal, nothing to be worried about, Damon!

Then a really pleasant song started playing and everyone got heartfelt:

Damon carrying someone is always the best.

Speaking of the best: Two people were in a much better mood all of a sudden.

To her credit, Caroline was totally weirded out by Tyler's newfound joy in being dead. Kind of seems like there'll be some trouble on the horizon for these lovebirds!

Also it was genuinely nice when Matt finally got to see Vicki. Now HE has the gift too! But also, do you think it's important that Vicki's ghost is The Darkness? Or was that just a mean thing Anna said because that's how ghosts insult each other?

Back at the mansion, Damon was trying to cheer Elena up with some booze.

I don't know, this show loves not SAYING there's love on Elena's part, but her face seemed pretty definitive to me. Haha just kidding, Delena fans, I still don't think this will ever happen. First of all, check out the new jerky roommate who just moved in!

Haha, Jerk Stefan is gonna be the BEST! He's probably always going to leave his dishes in the sink and order too many Pay-Per-View movies. Just a total jerk who doesn't even CARE anymore.

Elsewhere Jeremy and Katherine (cool combo! Seriously!) were knockin' on tomb doors.

Hey Michael! It's Michael the Vampire Vampire Hunter, you guys. This should be interesting!

 

Amazing episode. Amazing season so far. What did YOU think?

 

QUESTIONS:
... Will Stefan overcome his compulsion, or is he faking it?
... Does Rebekah have an agenda of her own?
... What will become of Tyler?
... Who cleaned up the bodies in the gym? Or will they just be considered a prank?

 

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