While a sizable percentage of The Vampire Diaries viewers care VERY MUCH about the primary love triangle—or even the secondary or tertiary love triangles, squares, or pentagrams [sic]—my personal favorite element of this show is how casually and effortlessly WEIRD it is so much of the time. It's almost like that YouTube video where you're supposed to be paying attention to a card trick but a man in a gorilla suit walks by in the background. Are the TVD writers intentionally trying to insert the strangest things into this show because they think we're only paying attention to Elena's issues? For example this episode, "My Brother's Keeper," contained at least a half-dozen howlingly hilarious moments: Stefan doing log push-ups while talking on the phone; Jeremy WHITTLING in his sleep; the presence of an Olympic gold medalist as a put-upon extra? If it weren't for the dark lighting and emo ballads, this show would be straight-up camp sometimes. Which is a compliment! As I've said before, The Vampire Diaries is an inkblot test and you get out of it whatever you want from it. Me, I'm looking for thrills, angst, and ridiculousness, and "My Brother's Keeper" had A LOT of those things. Solid episode in my opinion! Definitely ended much stronger than it began. WITH SEXY RESULTS.
Haha I know I'm burying the lede of this episode's BIG EVENT, but that's what I'm trying to say here: Even THAT was kind of hilarious. More later! In the meantime let's talk about this episode please thanks!
MEANWHILE IN A FOREST GYM:
Like, WHAT? First of all, why do vampires need to exercise? They are immortal and have super strength already! In fact, shouldn't Stefan be a blur right now? Instead he's huffing and puffing like he's nostalgic for being a weak-ass human again. And second of all, what kind of undead gym rat does push-ups (on moldy logs!) while speaking to someone else on SPEAKER PHONE? Nothing about this situation made any sense and I was laughing out loud (LOL-ing).
Caroline didn't seen to mind though. She was too busy taking Stefan's side in his breakup and also ignoring Gabby Douglas.
Then Klaus showed up to hassle Stefan about whatever part of his plan he needed Stefan to carry out this time. Something about keeping secrets and getting Jeremy to kill vampires? Typical Klaus. Get a hobby Klaus! (Haha just kidding, he developed a MAJOR new hobby in this episode and she was a cute blonde).
Most episodes of TVD start with the brothers telling each other what the object of the episode will be (thus filling in the audience about what's up), but this time they actually had REAL news to share. Heartbreaking information.
While sure, Damon's brain was probably tingling with possibility now that Elena was back on the market, to his credit he DID offer to be a good brother and take Stefan out for a night on the town. But Stefan was NOT in the mood for those kinds of things because he knew that Elena had specifically cited Damon as the reason why she didn't want to be with Stefan. So yeah, Salvatores be fightin' now.
Meanwhile Mystic Falls High's star quarterback cannot lift a keg off a truck.
But a certain newborn vampire hunter CAN.
Oh Jeremy, quit showing off. JUST KIDDING FEEL FREE TO SHOW OFF WHENEVER.
So then Stefan roamed through the hospital checking everyone's medical records to decide which patient most deserved to be murdered and turned into a vampire and then re-murdered.
LOL! I will never get tired of the force-feeding of blood on this show. It's like JUST DON'T SWALLOW. You don't have to swallow! I am not trying to brag, but NOT swallowing a stranger's blood is one of my best skills. Like, seriously, try me. (DO NOT TRY ME)
Oh, did I mention it was time for the Miss Mystic Falls pageant? It hadn't happened since Season 1 when Caroline won it, so now she was organizing the whole event and also her personality returned to her more annoying Season 1 ways? It pains me to admit this, but my precious darling babygirl angel Caroline was kind of a B. this episode.
Fortunately when Caroline wasn't busy openly judging Elena, taking the side of Elena's EX, and also yelling at Gabby Douglas, her character was STILL awesome mostly due to the straight-up electric plotline with Klaus. I am not even kidding. I don't ship anybody on this show, but man did this particular series of scenes really get me:
I'm not talking about Caroline falling for a noted villain (which is what's happening here and why it's slightly disturbing that she'd be so bossy about Elena's romantic choices). The thing that got me was how much Klaus seemed eager to change FOR Caroline. Because she's that amazing. She's so amazing that a noted villain would actually TRY to win her over. You know? That's just old-fashioned romance right there. SORRY. So good. (Hi Klaus)
Then we met a new hybrid named Kim who looked like a slightly nicer Michelle Rodriguez, but she was still not very happy about breaking all the bones in her body a ton. Yup, Hayley's after-school hybrid mentorship program was in full swing!
Then Tyler came in and whined about not wanting to attend the beauty pageant being held IN HIS BACK YARD and hosted by his MOM and GIRLFRIEND. So that's when Hayley basically invited herself as his date and he pretended it wasn't the best idea.
Haha then Kim yelled at them for being annoying about it. I liked Kim immediately.
Then Jeremy offered to help Elena put on a necklace? It was very creepy in my opinion. It got even creepier when he tried to STRANGLE HER TO DEATH.
Except psych! It was just a dream:
And this was so lulzy I couldn't stand it: In his sleep Jeremy had WHITTLED intricate vampire-hunting stakes! Like what a WEIRD aspect to The Five, you know? I get the super-strength and killer instinct, but SLEEP-WHITTLING? Writers, you crazy for this one.
Here's Jeremy putting on a tux:
Here's Matt telling Jeremy about vampire hunters and reading from some xeroxes that he probably made at the public library just before taking a sink-bath there:
The gist was that the mythological vampire hunters are so consumed by their thirst for murdering vampires that once Jeremy starts he may never stop. Fair enough!
Then after a weird scene in which everybody argued over what kind of dress April should wear in the pageant as though April is a character that anybody cares about let alone forms thoughts about her outfits, Elena just straight-up told Damon why she dumped Stefan:
Then Professor Shane interrupted with some truly perfect timing. Then he went outside with Stefan and Damon was all "I'm onto you" and Shane was like "What?" and Damon was like, "I dunno." It was a great scene you should've seen it.
So then Stefan lured Jeremy into some basement (doesn't matter which one) and made him murder a baby vampire.
But he did anyway! The idea was that Klaus and Stefan REALLY wanted to see the full extent of Jeremy's tattoo (WHO DOESN'T?) but the other members of The Five are super hard to find in general, so risking Jeremy's vampire bloodthirst was just a risk they'd have to take.
Um, then it was time for the pageant and Klaus arrived and Caroline literally said that he looked "perfect." And this is how they looked at each other:
YOU KNOW? That's all I have to say about that.
Hayley was great in this episode, especially when she showed up with Tyler in a sorta-trampy dress and immediately started making fun of the entire charade by trying on the tiara. SUCH a Faye move. (Not gonna lie, my heart ached a tiny bit for TSC in this moment). But also Tyler and Hayley had some chemistry going too:
(Did you like my "backyard" joke? LIKE BUTTS! LOL #butts.)
Was this year's Miss Mystic Falls pageant especially chintzy? I don't know, it could just be that April sorta looked like Bristol Palin and also who cares? I don't mean to sound harsh but April as a character has been kind of a disaster so far. I get that we needed another human being in the mix (and someone who can remain in high school next year), but would it have killed the writers to give her a distinguishable personality and/or interesting inner life? Yes? Okay, nevermind then, I don't want people to be killed. Forget I said anything!
So then the gloves came off when Elena and Caroline started fighting over Elena's new ladyboner for Damon.
Obviously Caroline is a Stelena shipper and always has been, but I think this episode should've pointed out that Caroline spent a lot of Season 1 as Damon's perpetual rape victim? I know that sounds like harsh language but vampire compulsion is basically roofies, you guys, and Damon treated Caroline very badly for many months (which she of course remembered after turning). So this episode in a weird way tried to paint Caroline as a villain in this debate when she was actually totally justified. On the other hand, don't try and tell Elena who to love? That's like friendship 101. Anyway, I was kind of tired of seeing Caroline lose her temper (because who cares what Elena does) so I wanted both of them to hush. And I wasn't alone!
Klaus, a one thousand year old vampire, intervened in some teenage girl drama and actually looked good doing it. Caroline listened to him and even accepted his offer of a commiserative drink. (WAIT WHO IS THE SIRED ONE AGAIN? haha spoiler)
So yeah, goes without saying that increasing Jeremy's hatred against vampires was not a good plan on Stefan's part:
Live and learn, Stefan.
This scene was so cute I won't even ruin it with captions. Basically, Klaus was teasing Caroline by reading her application for the Miss Mystic Falls pageant from the previous year:
And she gave him TOTAL heart-eyes. In fact, she looked more vibrant and giggly than she had in MONTHS, which made it all the funnier when the camera cut to this:
Haha sorry but I laughed here. Tyler's a good guy, but that was a total soap opera-style reaction. (Don't you love how in TV shows characters can never have a private moment that won't be walked in on by the exact person it would hurt?) Anyway, my favorite thing about the dissolution of Tyler and Caroline's relationship was that it was supposed to be PRETENDING at first, but now they're genuinely breaking up. That's just an interesting way to go about it, in my opinion.
So then Damon outed himself as a vampire to Professor Shane:
In the process of not capitulating to Damon's threats, Shane confirmed that there were many layers of MacGuffins at play here: Jeremy's tattoo would lead to a map, which would lead to a box that could only be opened by Bonnie, which only then would cure Elena's vampirism. Ugh, that's at least four more episodes of MacGuffin' chasing right there.
Also, can I just say how hilarious it is that ANYBODY in Mystic Falls wouldn't automatically assume that Damon is a vampire? It's a town with a rich history of vampires, first of all. But he's also wealthy and stylish and unemployed? And I mean, just LOOK at him. Even in real life, where I am 100% confident vampires do not exist, I've been in the same room as Ian Somerhalder and I'm STILL not convinced he isn't an immortal supernatural creature of some kind. It's just a first-impressions type of thing. So yeah, sorry Damon, I'm not sure you're fooling anybody ever with the vampire stuff. Of course Professor Shane already knew.
April won Miss Mystic Falls, presumably via pity vote:
And then Jeremy showed up and he seemed pretty dead-set on murdering his sister! The whole scene was an emotional nightmare for them both, but here was the gist:
Yikes! He even stabbed her in the neck with a wooden thingy before Stefan could wrestle him off of her! I am not gonna lie, that seems like a tough situation, being a vampire but having your little bro be a vampire hunter. That's rough. Also rough? Having a five-inch wooden thingy pulled out of your neck by your Ex.
Shortly afterward there was this moment where Elena confirmed what we'd been suspecting: She may actually PREFER being a vampire now. (Which makes sense... I don't see Caroline or any of their other vampire friends racing for a cure.)
And I personally appreciated Elena calling Stefan out for once again trying to meddle in her life. You know, when Elena turned, that's what we all wished for right? Self-sufficiency? Elena being able to protect herself? But nothing changed: Everyone's still trying to save her all the time. This was a nice beat where it's like, actually, Elena is fine. She's fine. Leave her be! Life is full of mistakes and she needs to start making them.
In a scene that I found pretty lovely, Hayley and Tyler bonded over their werewolf experiences.
In what I imagine is the analogue to how when gay people go on first dates and inevitably discuss their coming out experiences, Hayley and Tyler discussed who they murdered to activate their werewolf genes. (Hayley got into a drunken speedboat accident and killed one of her friends, a phrase that sounds kinda funny except it wasn't really because poor Hayley!)
Elsewhere, Klaus finally answered a question that Caroline had posed to him earlier: Had he ever fantasized about becoming human again? In my opinion this would've been a fantastic opportunity for him to talk about how mortality would allow him to have a natural family, or how the fact that we're all going to die someday bonds us as a human community and allows us to feel empathy in a way that vampires can't. But instead he told some extremely dumb story about how hummingbirds fly around the Andes struggling to survive. Um, nice try but I think humanity holds more appeals than Andean hummingbirds. Anyway it always gives me a thrill to see Klaus being earnest, so it still worked on me. And we could tell by Caroline's face that she was pretty moved by it too.
SIIIIIGH. (In a good way.) But then LOL:
Tyler was listening in and reported back to Hayley that Klaus was saying "some B.S. about being human." Which seemed SLIGHTLY RACIST to me? I don't know.
OH, BIG NEWS: Elena moved out of the house and Matt moved in!
Aw, I am so happy for Matt. He truly deserved to live in a proper home again, and now he and Jeremy can do so many push-ups together! For his part Jeremy seemed pretty rattled by how he had tried to murder his sister earlier, but the fact that she moved out was probably a good idea.
What was NOT a good idea was that she moved into the home of her EX-BOYFRIEND and also BRAND-NEW BOYFRIEND. You know? Maybe sleep at Alaric's? Rent a studio somewhere? ANYTHING OTHER than staying with the Salvatores? Whoops, what am I, Caroline? Who am I to judge?
Oh, and another thing: Hayley is in league with Professor Shane.
Because Hayley is likable and so is Professor Shane, I'm not positive that they're actually villains. At the very least they don't want Klaus to have an army of hybrids. Fair enough! How sinister could the rest of their plan actually be though? Guys, these characters are going to college next year, so don't you get the vibe that Professor Shane is actually going to become a mentor-figure for them? Yeah, sorry, I just don't buy that either of these two are bad people.
Oh, okay, so are you ready for the GRAND FINALE MONTAGE? Two things happening: Elena and Damon slow danced their way past a truly alarmingly huge fireplace fire and right out of their clothes.
MEANWHILE Caroline and Stefan came to a shocking conclusion about Elena's vampirism:
ELENA IS SIRED TO DAMON!
AND THEN ELENA AND DAMON DID SO MUCH SEXXXXX!!!
Okay, now just to analyze this turn of events for a sec, the reason this finale was so controversial in the fandom was because Elena and Damon were FINALLY able to consummate their corner of the love triangle but then it felt like it had a HUGE ASTERISK by it, just like all the other times Elena and Damon have done romantic stuff. (Oh, it was just Katherine! Oh, Damon was just dying!) Like, does this romance count or not? So now there's this guttural yelping going on about how the writers just can't let Elena and Damon get their moment in the sun. But in my opinion WHAT EVEN IS siring except just being madly in love? You know? The hybrids don't all try and sex up Klaus, they just instinctively love him for setting them free from pain. Elena must've already had feelings for Damon before she turned (as regularly implied for three whole seasons now) for her to want to actually do a shirtless hug with him at this point. Anyway, I don't actually think siring is that big a deal in the context of this love triangle. I mean if you've ever been so in love with someone that you were borderline obsessed and would do anything for them, then YOU TOO have been sired. Anyway, for me the only annoying thing about this siring situation is that it threatens to turn Caroline into a full-time cockblock, and she deserves better than that. Like, please don't devote entire episodes to Caroline trying to "unsire" these two. Just let her and Klaus go on more dates thx.
Okay that's all SORRY. JUST MY OPINION. I'm conflicted but enjoyed this episode nonetheless. I am almost scared to see what you guys thought... But let's hear about it!
... You okay?
... Hayley and Prof. Shane: Are they good or bad?
... Are you rooting for or against Caroline + Klaus?
... Jeremy and Matt: Who will be the inside spoon and who will be the outside spoon?