Holy moly, am I glad to see you again! I've just spent two weeks clinging to the underside of a hovercraft (long story, not as interesting as it sounds) and I darn near forgot about The Vampire Diaries. The whole show just totally slipped my mind! What even happened in the previous episode? Something something wooden stakes something. See? Pffft. Nothing. It's all gone now. But it's almost like that doesn't even matter because this week's episode was perfect. Man alive did I love this week's episode. If this season was a pack of Starburst, "Heart of Darkness" was definitely one of the pink ones. Definitely the best episode since "Our Town." The "epic kiss" was fine, but that's not even what I'm talking about. It's more just that this episode was full of nice moments and thrilling dynamics and returning characters and cool surprises and is it just me or was everyone wearing slightly tighter T-shirts this time? Just a recipe for success, basically. Seriously, this was one sweet hour of television.
May I discuss it with you? Question is rhetorical!
We began like many a TVD episode has: In the Salvatore basement jail. Like a good warden, Elena was bringing her prisoner some supplies.
Alaric did not look thrilled to be locked up, but at least he has a cot now. That's new right? Or was it just folded away when Rebekah was laying face-down in the dirt all those weeks?
It was humorous when Elena handed Alaric some reading materials: An old copy of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. But it wasn't funny because of the obvious irony of Alaric's mental problems, but more because Elena actually frowned at the book while she held it, like it was burning her hand or something. Lady, your illiteracy is turning into a full-on phobia! Get over it, girl.
Then Elena mentioned she was going to be heading to Colorado with Damon in order to get Jeremy to return to Mystic Falls. Rather than be concerned about Jeremy's safety, Alaric immediately started hassling Elena about hooking up with Damon on the trip.
But as she pointed out, the whole thing was Stefan's idea! Apparently he'd decided that Elena needed to exorcise her crush on Damon and the road trip was just the thing. And then, apparently, she'd return and be totally over Damon and fall back into Stefan's arms. Or something. To be honest, I didn't entirely understand this plan at all. And maybe Stefan didn't either? I don't know, he was just chillin' in the living room mad-dogging a fire.
But we could definitely tell he was having HECKA mixed feelings about sending Elena off with Damon on some fancy aeroplane.
Nice try, Stefan! You looked saaaad, guy. Honestly, I was not really caring about Stefan at this point. Did he skip over the whole apologizing profusely step of winning Elena back? I mean, fine, he's moderating his bloodthirst, but still. He went from homicidal jerk to jealous ex and that's supposed to be enough for Elena? How about busting out some stationery and apologizing to the families you destroyed during your mass murder spree? Or, you know, make Elena a mixtape? I just don't think he's tried hard enough yet.
Meanwhile at school the best character entered the gym and was NOT happy to see that her choice of the 1970s was not being honored for this season's decade dance.
Quick aside, not related to anything: Do they give an Emmy for Best Shirt?
Anyway, almost immediately a furious Caroline found herself outnumbered by people who'd prefer to celebrate the 1920s.
Even Matt agreed with Rebekah! Betrayal city, you guys.
Just after Caroline flew into a rage and left, Matt chased her outside. Or, you know, walked briskly after her. Pretty sure he was having a hard time breathing for some reason.
But the whole thing was a psych-out!
Apparently Caroline just wanted to distract Rebekah with the dance preparations so she could go out to the woods and meet up with some as-yet-unnamed dude. So yeah, Wingman Matt stepped up so he could help his ex-girlfriend get laid! Poor guy.
Meanwhile it was Stefan's turn to babysit the prisoner.
It ended up being a nice series of scenes. Turns out Stefan had a similar personality dysfunction recently and so he did his best to cheer Alaric up.
Oh and then we got to Colorado! This animated .gif is pretty accurate with regard to how quickly we were shown some B-roll of the Centennial State:
There you have it. Colorado. Honestly, it was pretty cool seeing our characters leave Mystic Falls. The slight change in scenery really refreshed things, am I right? Or was it the return of a certain undead-former-stoner-jock-bro-dreamboat that refreshed things? Either way.
What a weird reunion! Anyway, Jeremy was pretty happy to see them, even though normal people probably would've called ahead and not just shown up at a random batting cage joint. So then Damon and Elena broke the situation down for him right away.
Not only was Jeremy in physical trouble, but they also needed his ghost lady conjurin' skills in order to ask Rose who sired her so they would know which Original NOT to murder. It definitely made more sense than how I just explained it, trust me. Unfortunately Jeremy was reluctant to just up and leave town!
It was Kol! Klaus's baby bro with violent tendencies!
Fortunately for Damon, Kol was about as talented with a baseball bat as Jeremy was and it wasn't long before he was temporarily staked on the ground.
This part made me laugh because remember THIS IS NOT MYSTIC FALLS! This is Denver, an actual city with a real police department and citizens who most likely frown upon brutal murder in public! God, I was seriously praying a passerby would so much as notice, but nope. Never happened. A man was brutally beaten in broad daylight, then his attacker was rammed through with a splintered baseball bat. Is this show suggesting that EVERY city is now as blasé about murder as Mystic Falls? What a depressing, nightmarish thought!
In related news, 100 percent of Jeremy's friends died.
Temporarily! Don't worry Jeremy, you'll find another spotter.
Back at some random motel, the three set to work contacting Rose. Jeremy had never even met her, but Damon was so confident in his own hotness that he assumed her ghost just always follows him around.
I'm not sure I believe that, but sure enough, after a heartfelt moment of remembrance, she showed up.
Hey Rose! I <3 Rose so much! I find Lauren Cohan so appealing and I think the Rose character is such a burst of logic whenever she appears. Guys, I was so happy. I mean, I basically clapped when Cohan's name appeared in the opening credits, but I still got chills when she first appeared. Apparently a lot of viewers (almost all female?) hate Rose, but I don't get it. I think she's awesome. I liked how she immediately flirted with Damon.
Oh, and it was pretty charming when she straight-up endorsed Damon hooking up with Elena. Who knew Rose was a shipper? And I loved how conflicted Jeremy was about hearing this stuff. Fair enough! That's his sister.
So yeah, out in the F*** Woods, Caroline met up with her "secret" lover who was just Tyler! Obviously. Who else would it have been, Klaus? No way, guys, get real. I mean, I didn't mind that flirtation, but it would've necessitated Caroline to have a split-personality issue also. Anyway, a nice song played and the two kids snapped together like magnets.
This was a great scene:
Matt drove Rebekah home. She immediately suspected ulterior motives, which was pretty sad. She's definitely at a point where she assumes everyone means her harm.
It was genuinely nice to see her be so touched by Matt's kindness. But it was even more heartbreaking when we knew she WAS RIGHT to be suspicious. She was being played! By Matt Donovan! The nicest mashed-potato sculpture in town! Man, Rebekah's plotlines just break my heart week in and week out. Such a great character. Rebekah alternates between BAMF and tragic doll basically every ten seconds and it's a thrill to watch. Guys, I'm getting genuinely nervous about this season. I think the writers have created such incredible characters in Rebekah and Klaus that if they get killed off, I might actually like this show LESS. Seriously. I truly think there will be an emptiness left behind if these characters aren't on the show anymore. Hats off to Julie Plec, man. Who knew it was possible to do TOO GOOD a job with creating villains?
Anyway, then Rebekah went inside to make a startling discovery.
Esther was back! And she was just standing in the living room staring at the mantel for some reason. Rebekah, understandably, was still pretty steamed about the time Esther had tried to murder everybody.
Ahaha! I laughed so hard at this part. That was the perfect response in my opinion. I am definitely going to try that sometime. If someone ever grabs me to show me what's what, I'm just gonna be like, "I'm dying." I guarantee that'll give the person pause. There wasn't one in this show, but in my head I heard a record-scratch sound effect right after she said it. What made this even funnier was how quickly the scene cut away. She just dropped that bomb and it barely sank in before we were back to motel.
Back at the motel [saxophone music] Damon was giving his bro an update and just casually mentioned that he and Elena were staying in a motel.
But really, where were they supposed to have stayed, Stefan? In an abandoned boxcar somewhere? Get real, guy.
Loved this beat:
Jeremy was so judgey in this episode! It's fine, I'm not mad at him. The welcome-back glow was still in effect. And he HAD just lost his favorite tandem-ziplining pal. Let's all cut him some slack, okay?
So then this lady peaced out.
Esther said she began to die when Bonnie's mom (intentionally forgot her name) was turned into a vampire. Or something. I don't know, all I know is Esther told Rebekah to her face that she had no right to live 1,000 years and also that Esther had been spying on her the whole time. Was that supposed to be heartwarming? If it was, it definitely ceased being so when Esther fell to the floor dead. So yeah, Esther was definitely dead. An important character definitely only returned for twenty seconds and a chump death. Forget about her, she's gone forever. Moving on!
Tyler really knows how to romance a lady. I guess theoretically he was trying to keep his presence in town a secret from Klaus, but whatever. Filthy dungeon sex it was! He'd just spent a few weeks in the Appalachians turning into a dog over and over about 100 times. Imagine being a hiker and stumbling onto that scene. I bet so many peanut butter sandwiches were thrown at Tyler in a panic. "It just wants our food, Marion!"
Then there was some pretty awkward pillow talk during which Caroline informed Tyler about the whole Klaus bloodline thing.
Needless to say, Tyler was not completely comfortable with the idea of Damon intending to murder Klaus. But I'm just gonna throw this out there: Why are we presuming that a hybrid would also die by the same rules? Maybe monster genetics are such that the werewolf chromosome would make Tyler immune to the bloodline link. However, I guess we HAVE TO assume he'll die because this is such a new and unexplored field of science, you know? We just don't have the technology to know for sure.
So then this whole scene happened. It involved Damon prancing around the room undressed while Jeremy slept and meanwhile Elena was all up in the bed creepin' with her peepers.
But after Damon noticed Elena's hungry eyes, he came over and got in bed next to her for a genuinely charming little chat. She expressed awe that he'd been such a good guy in Rose's final hours, and he admitted he doesn't like people to know how nice he is, lest he be held to that standard all the time. It was a terrific moment, actually.
So of course Elena got weird and rejected his attempt to hold her hand. (Seriously, THAT was his move.) Next thing we knew she was outside catching her breath against a soda machine and hugging herself. Then this happened:
Elena MOUTH-ATTACKED him!
No ambiguity this time, Elena was the one who initiated.
They kissed so long, they actually kept at it during an entire commercial break! When we came back from the commercial they were still macking out. If you ask me, these two actors were a little TOO GOOD at kissing each other, am I right? It's almost like they might've been practicing on their own time or something.
[RECORD SCRATCH!] [Crickets] Busted! Jeremy caught them eating each others' mouths, and he was simply appalled. But also, he told them that Rose was back and she'd done more investigation into her own bloodline and they were supposed to go to Kentucky now. Because sure. That's just a quick trip you can take in the middle of the night, right?
So meanwhile in the Salvatore basement, and after a quick interlude in which Klaus attempted to lend a hand in getting Alaric to flip personalities (so they could ask the evil one where that final stake was), they all decided that Stefan should just beat the ever-living hell out of Alaric.
But it worked! Evil Alaric was back and he had a blood-goatee for maximum creep-factor.
This was funny. OF COURSE it was in the cave. Why hadn't they checked there yet, exactly? Oh well, anyway. The final stake was in a cave where vampires couldn't go. Good thinking Evil Alaric.
Several minutes later, the gang arrived in Kentucky. (Don't ask questions.)
They were there to talk to the vampire who'd sired Rose, someone with the nickname of "Scary Mary." In case it wasn't obvious, yes, Damon had slept with her.
But this scene was scary! Using only the flash on her cell phone, Elena and Damon walked through a decrepit residence, horror-movie style.
Whoops! Well, at least she went out in the same manner in which she lived: SCARILY.
Kol had been tipped off as to what Damon and Elena were up to, so he then proceeded to beat the crap out of Damon with a bat. Which, including the one he stabbed Scary Mary with, meant he'd brought TWO BATS from Denver? What a weirdo. But yeah, it was in his best interest to prevent them from finding out whose bloodline was whose. Fair enough!
Unfortunately the incident left Damon with tons of broken bones and a particularly vulnerable heart. Elena was only in the mood to help him with one of those problems.
At this point Elena just told Damon she had no idea whether she even liked him and that she'd only really jumped his bones to test her own feelings. What? That's crazy. But he then took a higher road than usual by telling her that he wouldn't be torpedoing the relationship as per his usual M.O. No, this time he'd let Elena be the one to ruin things, then he walked off. It was a good scene! And probably not what Stefan would have wanted. I'm sure he felt they'd have a falling-out by the time they'd returned to Mystic Falls, just another situation where Elena loathed Damon for something he'd done. But not this time!
Speaking of former relationships, guess who seemed VERY eager to patch things up?
I mean. This was a tiny scene but I loved it. Stefan asked Klaus point-blank why he hadn't murdered him for all his 'tude lately. And Klaus essentially just sang a Death Cab For Cutie song right back at Stefan. "I'll wait for you. We were meant to be." Stuff like that. Yeah, Klaus is holding out hope that Stefan might return to Ripperdom sometime. I mean, was it kind of heartbreaking for anyone else? Poor Klaus! (Sure, he's an awful murderer, but still.) See what I'm saying, though? Imagining this show without Klaus appearing regularly is almost too grim to consider. Stay forever?
On the drive home, Damon and Elena were still smarting from their standoff. But a couple of chatty Cathys were going at it in the backseat.
Haha first of all, I love that Rose caught a flight and/or carpooled with these people. I'm getting the impression that The Other Side is mind-numbingly boring, aren't you? Why else is she following these people around? Anyway, then Rose turned into Professor Rose and gave a seriously on-the-nose speech about why Damon and Elena are good for each other. I honestly kind of liked how Rose explicitly laid out the state of their union. She's always struck me as a slightly more grown-up and logical character, so I like the idea of her sort of giving her blessing to this relationship and supporting her arguments.
Meanwhile back at Caroline's house, Tyler was gearing up for a sleepover when guess what he found?
It was Klaus's drawing! You know, for someone who seemed to have sworn him off, Caroline sure didn't think anything of keeping a sentimental gift from him on her bedside table. Tyler was right to be concerned, but didn't he sort of overreact?
So now that's TWO relationships that have run into trouble because one member can't tolerate competition. Stefan and Tyler are kinda lame! Appreciate what you've got when you've got it, fellas. Stop trying to be the Thought Police over here.
So then Rebekah led Evil Alaric into the cave to retrieve the final stake. Knowing she couldn't enter the threshold, he attempted to bargain with her: He'd spare her if she assisted him in killing Klaus (or whoever).
But whoops, SHE DID ENTER. What did it mean????
She was possessed by Esther! Just like Alaric had been possessed by Klaus around this time last year!
I mean, don't ask me why the BODY of a vampire can now defy curses, but whatever. Esther was back in the game! And she WANTED to team up with Evil Alaric. And that is the sound of two big plotlines dovetailing together perfectly. I'm seriously impressed.
Stuff is getting intense, you guys! Only three episodes left! Will they be as good as this one? Or even, dare I ask, BETTER? I don't dare ask, actually, so forget about it. Loved this episode.
... Are Rebekah, Klaus, and/or Elijah IN TROUBLE?
... Are you worried about Tyler and Caroline's relationship, or is he kinda sucky?
... Are Elena and Damon better or worse off than before?
... What happened to Jeremy's dog?