I'm going to level with you, this was a difficult recap to write. First off, my expensive prosthetic arms were stolen by some neighborhood kids. THEN my television was virtually destroyed by raccoons. Finally, this morning I learned "the hard way" that ghosts are real and cannot be made to stop shouting if they feel like shouting. Ugh, and the ectoplasm. Honestly, YOU try recapping a show under these circumstances.
However, something that made this recap somewhat easier to tackle was how good Thursday's episode of The Vampire Diaries was! It was very good! I'm on-record as "not loving flashback episodes," mostly because in the past they've basically been tension-free information dumps. They also generally kind of seem like fan-fiction cosplay brought to life? I don't know, but look: "The End of the Affair" WORKED. While it was still an info-dump, the episode also managed to enhance the main story and set up some important new ones as well. We saw the return of an awesome character (hi, Katherine!), the introduction of two cool new characters (hey Rebekah! Lookin' good, Gloria!), and also, unfortunately, the return of my LEAST favorite character (take a hike, Stefan's Diary!).
Which means we'd better hurry up and talk about this episode PRONTO.
We began in Damon's breakfast nook, where he (suspend your disbelief for a second) answered a "Caller Unknown" call. Who does that? Anyway, the caller was NOT Stefan.
Hey Katherine! After an impossibly long two-episode break, Katherine finally returned, and in her best version yet: DETECTIVE Katherine! Did you guys know that Katherine is apparently a crack sleuth who spends her free time getting the scoops and dropping dimes on people? Now THAT is a procedural I would watch.
Anyway, we learned that Katherine is literally following Klaus and Stefan around, if only to keep herself safe. Fair enough! But she also sort of wants to help Stefan? Damon called her out and and she was just like, "I'm conflicted." One thing she was sure of, however, was that the dudes were presently in Chicago. Or, you know, across the lake from Chicago.
And just like that Klaus proceeded to whisk Stefan away to the land of flashbacks!
Can I just say that I hate it when I see rich folks doing this? Who wants a sticky champagne glass and a sopping-wet tablecloth? I don't understand!
But what's this? A comely, flaxen-haired vampire flapper turned on the flirts for a certain dapper ripper.
Who WAS that mysterious lady? And why did her accent sound so similar to Klaus's? Maybe we will never know! (Just kidding, we'll know.)
Meanwhile at Elena's house Damon had slipped into the bed to play a sexy prank on her and she did NOT appreciate it.
It was a classic Damon move, but Elena was hella mad. Anyway, Damon had gotten up into the bed at 6am for a REASON: He wanted to enlist Elena to drive up to Chicago with him and get Stefan back or something. Much like their earlier attempt in the Tennessee mountains, they seriously didn't have ANY plan or scheme or anything.
Okay, cool. Way to learn from your mistakes!
Also Damon nosed around in Elena's unmentionables and acted like a super creep. Oh, Damon!
The one subplot that was NOT very fun was this one involving Caroline's incarceration and torture in a custom-made vampire execution room.
In what was definitely the running theme of the episode, her dad also did NOT have a very good plan. It was basically, "I'm gonna make you stop being a vampire" but without any real solution except torture.
Honestly, it was tough to watch. Granted I am thoroughly upset whenever anything bad happens to Caroline, but this whole gay dude torturing his child to rid her of her metaphorical gayness was just so complicated and unsettling. It wasn't even like he knew how to convert vampires back to humans, or ever explained the difference between blood thirst and a biological reliance upon blood. He just seemed like a monster, basically.
Luckily at least TWO people in Mystic Falls knew something was up, and for perhaps the first time in history, one of those people was Sheriff Forbes.
Onto more entertaining things, meet Gloria! Gloria's a powerful witch and bar owner who also was the white-haired jazz singer in the flashbacks. (Witches can slow their aging now, because whatever, this show's witch rules are meant to be witch broken I guess.) Anyway, Gloria looks pretty good for 110, doesn't she??
Klaus needed to track her down because his hybrid curse wasn't fully broken and he wanted to know why. He demanded to speak with the "Original Witch" who created the curse, but she was apparently long dead and only Gloria could speak with her and even then only under certain circumstances. One circumstance was the presence of Rebekah, the blonde lass from the flashbacks.
Then Stefan found a picture of himself WITH KLAUS. Dun dun dun!! Just kidding, I think it was supposed to be a WTF moment, except it was already established that Klaus can compel other vampires to forget things and also why would Klaus be discussing flashbacks he wouldn't have a part in? So, obviously there is a picture of Stefan and Klaus together. I doubt Stefan would have been surprised by this, honestly.
Here's something extremely plausible: Stefan's apartment from the 1920s, left completely untouched since he lived there! Great work, landlord.
I really liked the secret liquor pantry with the names of murder victims scribbled all over the walls:
I know I mentioned this last week, but it's official now: ELENA IS NUTS. She cares exactly zero percent about the fact her boyfriend is a MASS MURDERER. I suppose the fact that he has literally torn apart hundreds of human beings is just some issue she and he can work out and move beyond? Like snoring or personal hygiene. This list denotes the people he murdered BEFORE meeting her (which should have been ENOUGH of a deal-breaker), and now he's gone on an all-new rampage! At what point do you really need to ask yourself how important "true love" is? Or maybe Elena is just like a modern-day Wednesday Addams now? She's kind of starting to look like it.
Really enjoyed the completely necessary turn of events whereby Damon randomly left Elena alone in Stefan's apartment.
FYI this is what it looks like when two vampires fall in love.
Whoops! Rebekah's necklace looked familiar! Except rather than the Vervain-filled locket Elena is presently wearing, Rebekah wore it for the mystical properties imbued by the Original Witch.
Oh here was Klaus, coming to cockblock his SISTER! Dun dun dun!
That's right, Rebekah is an ORIGINAL.
Also, this episode was really confusing because it mostly concerned flashbacks that Stefan just had to smile and nod at. He didn't remember them!
Haha look at all these coffins that Klaus ships around the country. I guess Elijah's in there somewhere? Sleep tight, tiger!
You know, Rebekah just needed some Cetaphil, maybe a touch of Jergens and she'd be good as new.
Klaus pulled out the dagger (there's a dagger for each Original?) and as they waited for Rebekah to wake up, Klaus filled us in on why he liked Stefan so much back in the day. Apparently it had to do with his ruthlessness?
What a gross scene this was! It's funny that I was so nauseated watching a human being drink another human being's blood, until I was like, "Maybe anybody drinking human blood is gross?" Thought of the day!
Elena was "reading" Stefan's diary some more, including two pages that seemed to span the course of thirty years (Stefan was a lazy diarist). The interesting part was the mention of how Lexi (R.I.P. babygirl) helped him stop being a ripper during that whole time, and her continued awesomeness just makes it that much more maddening how frivolous her murder was. Shame on Damon!
But WHOOPS! Footsteps!
So yeah, anyway. OBVIOUSLY Klaus and Stefan were gonna show up. And obviously Elena and Stefan shared a silent "moment" in the liquor cabinet. But I'm sorry, Elena is just so glassy-eyed crazy now I can't even care about their "romance." She is a walking horror story and I'm starting to suspect that in the final ever episode of The Vampire Diaries, we'll learn that the entire series was just some hallucination Elena had while feverishly masturbating in a mental facility somewhere. Take THAT, final episode of Roseanne!
Haha, just joking, I kid because I love. Elena's a nice, strong-willed person and she deserves to find happiness. (I think I'm afraid of Elena, you guys.)
In a super-winky joke, Damon basically walked in and said "I am a fictional character at the mercy of writers who reverse-engineered my absence so that you could be alone in the apartment. Wink wink." It's okay though, at least he was charming about it!
In one of my favorite moments, Stefan was weirdly pep-talking Klaus, trying to make him feel better about having murdered his family.
And Klaus was SO IN LOVE. It was really charming! A lot of people joke about the gay subtext of the Klaus and Stefan relationship, but is it really subtext? I don't know if we've ever heard of Klaus's romantic life (outside of manipulating women), but his weird jealousy toward his sister in this episode made things pretty clear in my opinion.
However, maybe I won't assign Klaus the gay card TOO quickly. We don't need TWO CRETINOUS GAY VILLAINS on the show at the same time...
How awesome was Sheriff Forbes's arrival?? She is the world's worst sheriff, spending most of her time confused, late to the scene, or just straight up shooting innocent bystanders. But for once in her life she actually got something right: Defending her daughter.
Also it was nice seeing Tyler get in on the rescue action. He's had a bad habit in the past of just sort of hanging out while terrible things happen to his friends. Way to get in there, buddy!
Also did anybody else get chills when this happened?
What about when THIS happened? Ugh they are the BEST.
Back in flashback land, we were told that Stefan and Rebekah were in a full-fledged love affair. Except it was unclear how much time had gone by, and we only ever saw them in the same club. However, they did The Forehead Touch and where I come from that means ENGAGED.
Oh no! Unseen policemen opened fire on the club and murdered all of the bottles and paintings!
Also, their tommy guns were filled with wooden bullets! What the?
And just like that, Klaus erased Stefan's memory.
This was huge for one reason: There are people AFTER Klaus and Rebekah. My first guess was VAMPIRE HUNTERS, but also I suppose they could just be fellow Originals looking to even the score. Either way, it's awesome to see that Klaus isn't necessarily at the top of the pecking order. And I loved how mad he was when Stefan asked him a simple question about it.
Meanwhile, in what I think constituted their "plan," Damon and Elena made their move in the bar parking lot by first luring Stefan out for a chat. Stefan was like, "Um, what are you doing here and why?"
You know your plan is a good one when the ace up your sleeve is Elena standing off to the side in a purple jumper.
Anyway, Damon went inside and "distracted" Klaus by being SUPER sassy. Like, even for Damon it was really sassy. At one point he even called Klaus "Honey," and that is a bold thing to call a man when you're wearing a full face of makeup!
But seriously what was Klaus's deal? Did he even wonder what Damon was doing there, and where Stefan was at that moment? Or did he just not care anymore? I could see where he was coming from if so. Anyway, the truth was that Stefan and Elena were having a bittersweet confrontation in the parking lot:
Whoops! Stefan was too quick for Elena and fought off her assault! For one thing, duh, of course he did, nobody likes to be stabbed by horrifying hypodermic needles. But also: WHAT did she have planned exactly? It was pretty clear there's no getting Stefan back until Klaus is dead. Had she been consulting witches, researching grimoires, going on vision quests, ANYTHING to concoct a plan to kill Klaus? Nope, she was just going to abduct Stefan and then I guess patiently wait for Klaus to immediately find and kill them? Cool plan! But that's Elena, allergic to brainstorming.
Meanwhile Klaus was getting sick of Damon's sassery and he found the world's strongest toothpick to make his point.
Oh no! Now Damon was gonna have to swing by the Club Monaco outlet on his way back home.
The best part about Gloria kicking them out was that Klaus seemed so bummed to be put in his place. Nobody yells at Klaus! Gloria is awesome.
But meanwhile back in the parking lot, a pretty definitive break-up conversation was happening:
Oh Elena! Don't worry, you don't need Stefan, there are literally hundreds of stray cats out there who need a home.
Over at the Forbes house Caroline and her mom were enjoying a nice quiet moment.
In a fine bit of writing (for real), Sheriff Forbes described what it was like to be brought up with conservative principles and then change her mind about something when it was humanized right before her. She assured Caroline that Caroline's father would eventually come around too, but Caroline seemed pretty devastated about the whole thing. Who could blame her?
Then Tyler came in and cracked a joke about Caroline not sneaking out on him anymore, which was pretty rude considering what his mother had done to Caroline. But then he held her while she sobbed...
And it was the best. Poor Caroline! Don't worry it gets better, babygirl.
Meanwhile, LOOK who woke up!
Hey Rebekah! Say, how'd you get so stabbed in the first place?
It seems right after the club was shot up and Stefan got memory-wiped, Klaus attempted to force her back on the road against her will. However, the memory of a certain prominently browed dreamboat nagged at her heart.
See what I'm saying with the jealousy??
So now Stefan remembers EVERYTHING. Now he knows why Klaus chose him and worse, he knows he had a love interest BEFORE Elena, and that love interest is now back in the picture. Quick question though, why did Klaus draw out this whole plot point and not just un-erase Stefan's mind from the get-go? You know what? Nevermind. Forget it.
It was funny to think that Rebekah hasn't been alive since the 1920's. Times have changed! Hopefully she doesn't commit any cultural faux pas!
Ooops, so it turns out the whole reason Klaus woke up Rebekah was that Gloria needed her to speak to the ghost of the Original Witch. Except specifically Gloria really only needed the NECKLACE that Rebekah lost on that fateful day and that Elena now wears. It was a big FML moment for Stefan, who suddenly realized the inevitability of Klaus and Elena crossing paths again.
Meanwhile back at a certain poorly lit mansion, we had time for one more phone call plus a flashback:
Detective Katherine was ON THE SCENE even back in the day.
We learned how Stefan came into possession of that necklace in the first place.
And THIS GUY revealed himself as Klaus and Rebekah's stalker. He claimed to be the chief of police or whatever, but I'm guessing he's supernatural somehow. We'll see!
So Katherine more or less witnessed that whole exchange. Plus two more things are in play: Did she tip off the police? And also, did she continue stalking Stefan so closely during that WHOLE time she was pretending to be in the tomb?
I mean, she IS a persistent stalker...
Because Katherine's in Chicago too! And from the looks of the previews she aims to have a more direct involvement in next week's episode. (Like removing a certain dagger, dare I ask?) What kinds of scoops and mysteries will Detective Katherine uncover next? Stay tuned!!
... Is Caroline the greatest of all time or merely the best?
... Would you watch a Detective Katherine spin-off procedural?
... Who's the better British vampire, Rebekah or Rose?
... How permanent is Stefan and Elena's break-up?
... How permanent is Sheriff Forbes's competence?