The Vampire Diaries: Head Trauma Drama (PHOTO RECAP)

The Vampire Diaries S03E21: "Before Sunset"

Are we operating by the geological timeline now? Why is time moving so quickly? It seems like Stefan was JUST eating a Tennessee floozy and Detective Katherine was JUST snooping around the 1920s in her shiny bob wig. But here we are, basically at the end of Season 3, a full 21 episodes into the Season of the Originals. It doesn't seem reasonable or right. I'm not ready to let this season go, you guys. I want to stab Season 3 with a witch-forged dagger and store it in a coffin for a thousand years just so I don't ever have to feel alone again. Seriously, I love this season so much and this week's episode, "Before Sunset" was a perfect example of why. It had everything! It had a Caroline-Rebekah team-up; Klaus busted out his best hero moves; Bonnie nibbled on some dark magic; a window was broken with a rolled-up newspaper; EVERYTHING.

But enough of my yammering, I've wasted enough time already. (Oh no, did I miss Season 4??) Let's talk about this thing.

It was the morning after Esther had arrived and spewed forth tons of unprecedented magic. Even though Alaric had been transformed into an invincible vampire A-hole, his work attendance was already much better than regular Alaric's.

Meanwhile Rebekah and Caroline had the unfortunate duty of cleaning up after the Decade Dance.

For vampires who can move at lightspeed, they sure weren't in a hurry to clean that place up.

In a really nice moment, Caroline reached out and disarmed Rebekah's 'tude with some straight-up empathy. Classic Caroline. But it was pretty hilarious when Rebekah countered with "Sorry about your teacher." It made me laugh how this show tried to make those two things seem equal. Sorry, show. I don't care how charming Matt Davis is, Alaric was still a stone-cold creep if you ask me. (Actually, don't ask me if you are a lady because I think I just committed a crime against ladies?)

Anyway, after parting ways with Caroline, Rebekah came face to face with her new nightmare:

And then look who helped save her!

This was great. Caroline and Rebekah are two of the show's best characters, so to see them join forces like this gave me chills.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, Alaric couldn't be killed by that stake. So he was officially immortal! It wasn't long before he was pulling it out of his chest and chasing after Caroline.

And then he pretty brutally killed her! OH NO. NO NO NO.

After that, he dragged her across the blacktop back toward the high school, his skin sizzling in the sun the whole time.

It was a startling sequence. The one thing this show does when it wants us to REALLY hate a character is it has that character harm Caroline. So already Alaric became the most loathsome villain the show's ever had. And the ordeal had only just begun for Caroline. (Sadface emoticon!)

So, okay. This was nuts. Apparently Elena decided to REPAINT Alaric's room only hours after he'd died? I think this just confirms a theory I've been keeping to myself for a while now: Elena has mental problems. You know how dying made Alaric slightly more brain damaged each time? I think the opposite is true for Elena: Being alive too much has made her go mental. It's understandable, she's been through a ludicrous amount of emotional trauma. On the daily basically. But can we stop pretending this is a show about a teenager caught between two dashing vampires and admit it's actually an exploration of a damaged girl on the brink of insanity? At this point Elena is about three episodes away from sleeping in a woodpile and shouting at airplanes. After whatever goes down next week, let's hope she gets some R&R;, you know? Or, you know, maybe dying a little more often might ease some of the mental pressure she's under.

Then suddenly sensitive Stefan arrived to lend a hand with whatever other manic things Elena had on her to-do list. It was pretty great how curt Jeremy was towards him.

Meanwhile at Klaus' house Rebekah was pretty insistent that they get out of town.

But Klaus didn't want to leave without his precious doppelganger blood dispenser; he still intended to create an army of young hunky hybrids so that he'd have a cool gang to protect him and also hang out with him and play Mario Kart or whatever. Rebekah seemed pretty offended by this and ended up peacing out by herself.

Shortly after that Damon showed up at Elena's house with a simply mortified looking Bonnie. It seemed her possession the night before was merely temporary and now everyone knew what had gone down. The Salvatore Bros weren't super stoked about how she became, yet again, a pawn for her witch ancestors. I'm with them: Wear a protective amulet or something, lady. Fool her once, shame on Emily. Fool her twice, shame on Bonnie times infinity blackout forever.

Fortunately it's also Bonnie's job to fix things, so it wasn't long before Damon was telling her to get on with it.

Unfortunately Bonnie did not yet have a solution. To her credit, she'd had a long night. Jamie was probably still chillin' in her bed spooning a pillow.

Meanwhile upstairs Elena got a pretty surprising phone call:

Whoops! Evil Alaric told Elena that she had to sneak off to the high school or else he'd kill Caroline. And that's why she apparently crept out the second floor window, because seriously there's only one staircase right?

Anyway: Ding dong! Guess who'd arrived to pick up his favorite lady-shaped bottle of hybrid juice?

But Jeremy sassed him right off the bat, which made Klaus look legit sad. But he perked right up again when his favorite ex-bestie came to the door.

Klaus hadn't ever been invited into Elena's house, so for the time being everyone was safe. Or at least until Klaus found a sufficiently insane way to get inside!

That's right, he busted out the front window (and broke through the plantation shutters) by throwing a ROLLED-UP NEWSPAPER! That is one Original superpower I was NOT expecting.

While everyone was battling over her honor back at home, Elena successfully snuck into the high school to find Alaric and Caroline chillin' in his classroom.

Oh man, between the pencils jammed into her hands and the vervain-soaked gag, Caroline was NOT having a good Saturday.

And so began a number of similar scenes that alternated between the severe torture of Caroline (NOOOO!!), Alaric attempting to get Elena to murder Caroline, and worse, him being super condescending to her about all the bad choices she'd made in life. Just going out on a limb here, but Elena did not seem to be enjoying herself one bit.

Meanwhile back at her house, Klaus was still brainstorming super stupid ways to terrify the house's inhabitants. And that's when he came up with what has to be the most diabolical and genius plan a villain has ever concocted.

The camera really lingered on that soccer ball and then cut back to Klaus' scheming face. Remember, this is the man who at the beginning of the season was always about ten steps ahead of everyone else. His talent for scheming was unrivaled in the entire world. What WAS he planning to do with that soccer ball, anyway?


HE DESTROYED THE FRONT DOOR BY KICKING A SOCCER BALL AT IT REAL HARD! And he followed that up by hurling fence stakes inside the house!

Man, this sequence was incredible. It was nuts! Everybody was all ducking in the kitchen and Damon kept shouting back "You missed!" And then top top it off, Klaus returned with THESE:

LOL a propane tank and a lit newspaper! I mean, can you imagine being a neighbor or someone driving by and witnessing this? This town!

Unfortunately, before the Gilbert house was finally destroyed, Stefan received a phone call from Alaric. So that's when Stefan decided to call an impromptu truce to inform Klaus that Alaric planned to kill Elena AND Caroline unless Klaus showed up in person.

And this kicked off one of my all-time favorite storytelling twists of all time: Villains teaming up with heroes for the common good! I love it when that happens so much! So yeah, suddenly Klaus and the Salvatores were pacing the front porch brainstorming ways to save their ladies from Alaric. I guess that whole time Bonnie was upstairs showering and putting on some of Elena's makeup (who knew they used the same foundation?), but then she came down and announced she had a plan.

Bonnie's plan? To get her mother to return to Mystic Falls (within the hour) and teach her how to enact the desiccation spell that Abby had once cast upon Mikael. So yeah, then everybody's favorite, most dynamic character ever Abby showed up and informed Bonnie that the spell had some caveats.

I was getting chills already. I'm on record as not being 100% enthralled by Bonnie's abilities or plotlines, but I've always hoped that she'd turn evil somehow, at least temporarily. And this looked to be it! Fingers crossed for some dark magic action! Oh, the other thing was, in order to do the spell Bonnie would have to physically murder a human being. If you're like me you immediately wondered who ABBY killed when she desiccated Mikael, but it didn't occur to anybody to ask about that. Oh well. R.I.P. random dude somewhere.

Oh, and did you like how Damon FINALLY cleared up that whole question of why exactly vampires can enter the Salvatore house even though Elena technically owns it? As many of you had guessed, Elena's temporary death in the penultimate episode of Season 2 somehow voided the legal document she'd signed and notarized and which is probably still on the books in Mystic Falls. Honestly, this just raises even more questions: Wouldn't that same death (and Jeremy's death days later) have voided her ownership on the Gilbert house? I don't know, I didn't go to law school and I never will.

By the way, at least three main characters use these enormous phones now:

I liked that Bonnie needed to look up where her friends were even though Alaric had explicitly told them where he was. IN HIS CLASSROOM.

So obviously Jeremy was going to have to die (temporarily) and the rest of the gang would have to drink Bonnie's blood in order to be somehow linked to her. So everyone took a sip!

In Alaric's classroom— Seriously so much Caroline torture. I'm not even going to bother screengrabbing it because it was so upsetting and I don't want to ruin your day all over again. But Alaric was being a total jerk to our precious angel and the weirdo brunette who wanted to save her. In addition to attempting to convince Elena she's a failure of a human being whose parents would've been disappointed in her, he tried to make her STAKE Caroline. Fortunately Elena's shifty.

Alaric got vervain'd!

After Elena quickly freed Caroline she ran out only to find herself in the surprisingly comforting presence of Klaus!

He whispered in his velvety tone that he'd save Elena and Caroline should run home immediately.

I don't know, I loved this moment and it seemed like Caroline seemed to really appreciate his presence.

Alaric was super mad about what Elena had done, but for some reason couldn't quite finish her off.

And that's when a trio of dreamy vampires made their move!

Whoops, the Salvatores were not exactly up to the challenge. Fortunately an Original was:

Outside Bonnie was slowly stopping Jeremy's heart, which was surprisingly sad! Our poor, brave boy, just splayed out on the forest floor waiting for his demise. Seriously, this kind of disturbed me.

Unfortunately Klaus couldn't hold onto Alaric's heart for long enough and the spell couldn't be completed.

Just before Alaric finally did Klaus in, Elena stepped up with a knife to her own throat!

This wasn't the first time Elena had used potential suicide as a way to get leverage in a conflict (she also did this with Elijah during Season 2). And just like the last time, Alaric called her bluff.

And she started cutting her own throat! It was so nasty!

Elena had correctly deduced that her life was linked with Alaric's, so if she died, he died with her. So he was so alarmed/grossed out by this display that Klaus knocked him off of him, snatched up Elena and did that lightspeed vampire strut right out of there.

Unfortunately that would be the last of Klaus' heroics for today.

Now that he knew her death would bring about Alaric's, Elena would have to die (but not before donating 100% of her blood for hybrid-making purposes). This was a nice symmetry: Klaus confirmed that he was the progenitor of the Katherine/Damon/Stefan/Caroline/Abby bloodline, so his life was inextricably linked with theirs, just as Alaric and Elena were linked. Definitely raised the stakes for future battles.

This was Tyler's cue to enter and make a tough call about whether he could reveal he was no longer sired to Klaus.

He decided to keep on pretending at least just for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, the tables just kept turning!

That's right, Alaric needed the Salvatores to go save Elena so as to prevent his own death. It's not immediately clear why he decided to sit this mission out seeing as his sole purpose in life was to kill Klaus, but whatever. Salvatores were on it!

There was a pretty amazing bit right here as Elena was having the blood drained from her: Klaus was badgering her a ton about which brother she liked better.

Earlier in the episode he'd declared himself firmly Team Stelena, but it seemed like maybe he was just flirting with Stefan. But here he was actually digging for confirmation. Oh, Klaus. Nice to know you can be the oldest living thing in the world and still be a total gossip.

So right after Klaus finally left the room, Tyler scuttled in and untied Elena. At which point OBVIOUSLY Klaus returned.

And that's when Tyler finally admitted he was no longer sired to Klaus, and even kinda teased Klaus for being a loner-loser while he was at it.

Klaus was NOT happy, so he took it out on the girl at the center of all his failed relationships.

And she hit her head pretty soundly. That's when the Salvatores bum-rushed Klaus for another round of tusslin'!

Jeremy died. R.I.P. Jeremy! But uh-oh, LOOK AT BONNIE! Holy moly! Jackpot!

And as the life drained from Klaus' increasingly desiccated face, there was this lingering gaze between him and Stefan of pure, abject heartbreak.

And it was kind of devastating!

I mean, sure, Klaus was a villain. But also the most charismatic, dynamic, interesting, charming, and complex character on the show. I know this couldn't possibly be the end of him, mostly because the prospect of watching a Klaus-free TVD is almost too horrible to imagine (ugh, with this love triangle already), but still. I was genuinely bummed. This guy knows what I'm talking about:

Outside Bonnie regained herself, Jeremy resurrected, and they immediately touched foreheads, which in some cultures means you're engaged to be married. Watch out, Jamie!

Later as they were walking back to Elena's house, did anybody else laugh at the neighbor just sort of watching them?

Seriously, I would love to just walk a mile in HIS shoes. What on earth does he think of the Gilbert family? What kinds of things does he witness on a daily basis? Now THAT's a spin-off.

Anyway, then, for some reason Elena was compelled to tell the brothers that she didn't want to have to choose either of them romantically because she was confident they'd be too devastated to carry on if she did. At least that's what she SAID. Because I think deep down she was thinking she needed to sample more of their wares if you know what I mean.

And then this was weird. Keep in mind this entire episode took place over six hours or so: Suddenly everyone was in Elena's kitchen looking all showered and festive!

Knowing full well that their #1 danger was still out there and hungry for vengeance, these monsters were so thrilled with Klaus' desiccation that they were going to get blasted when sunset was only minutes away. Honestly, these were stone cold idiots in this scene. And I'm not just bitter because my sweet baby Klaus had just been sorta-killed! Yeah, he'd caused problems, but come on, Caroline. Where was your empathy NOW? Weren't ANY of your special moments with him genuine? I'm not mad, Caroline, just disappointed. Miss U Klaus.

Anyway, Caroline had overheard Elena telling the boys that she didn't want to choose, and felt she needed to inform Elena that she definitely had to choose one of them.

What is everyone's deal? From the supporting characters to the fans, why on earth is everybody insisting that this 18-year-old has to decide ANYTHING other than which community college she'll be attending? Leave her alone, you guys! Let her get her swerve on in peace.

Yeah, I seriously didn't get this celebration. Y'all know there's still a SEASON FINALE coming, right? Get it together!

I'm not sure I understood this next part. I THINK Alaric decided he needed to murder the Anti-Vampire Council or something.

So first he decided to tell the council that both the sheriff and the mayor have monster children— To the SHOCKED murmurs of the room. Haha shut up, you buncha nobodies. I mean, did any of them really care anyway?

So yeah, big whoop. Have at 'em, Alaric.

This was a nice conversation. While driving Klaus' corpse toward the Atlantic Ocean, the boys discussed what they'd do if Elena chose one of them.

It was awkward. But they both claimed they'd honor the decision and leave town until Elena had died of old age. Fair enough. They're immortal, so who cares. Maybe the one who loses out gets dibs on the next doppelganger?

I can't stop LOL'ing at Elena's painting skills:

This reminded me that Elena is an 18-year-old HOME OWNER. Oh jeez, that place is going to be in shambles in a few months. But then again, by that time Elena will be sleeping in a shopping cart behind the Library. Because you know how I was joking before about her damaged brain? It's now TRULY damaged!

Whoops! Elena spilled that paint! Also she didn't seem to be doing too well. And this show does not mess around when it comes to head trauma: Remember Caroline in the Season 1 finale? And we all remember how THAT turned out. So yeah, what did this mean??

Guys, this was just a straight-up entertaining hour. One of this season's best. I don't 100% love the Alaric stuff, his motivations are muddled, and the circumstances of his existence are hooey. But the entertainment value was sky-high anyway. Only ONE MORE episode! That just seems plain wrong. What do you think will happen???




... Who will wake up Klaus and when?

... How did you feel when Alaric tortured Caroline all kinds?

... What is wrong with Elena's brain?

... Are Jeremy and Kol still Facebook friends?

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