The Vampire Diaries: Tragic Magic

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Um, Hi. What was THAT? What HAPPENED last night during the hours of 8pm and 9pm on The CW? I'm not even sure what I saw. There were moving images and sounds and tons of screaming and crying and DANG, that was just a devastating episode of Vampire Diaries. I mean, really, it was so sad and horrible it was almost difficult to watch. But it was also spectacular? TV at its best, for real.

I am not a robot. I have normal human emotions just like the rest of you. I have seen upwards of 40 episodes of this show and at no point did I ever believe I would grow attached to a character like Jenna. Although, to be fair, ten minutes of being interesting does not make up for two years of being boring. And maybe it's simply the actress I've grown attached to. Who knows. All I know is…

RIP Jenna!

You were useless
But you were our friend.
Godspeed, you "cool," oblivious legal guardian!

Also, peace out Jules, Greta, and John—you three were junk, but you had your moments. Man, but seriously, this episode was full of tears and failure. Let's just jump in, I guess?

We knew this episode would be serious when it opened with the ultra rare TRIPLE COLD-OPEN!

Caroline and Matt were having a dickens of a time locked in a cage as an angry werewolf tried to ram its way in.

Caroline did her best to reason with the werewolf, but the first rule of werewolves is YOU DON'T REASON WITH A WEREWOLF. Everyone knows this.

Luckily Matt had a gun. Problem solved! Don't worry, Tyler didn't get killed, he just had to chill on the ground for a minute while Caroline and Matt escaped.

Damon's werewolf bite had grown way worse. It was starting to look like he'd been spending time in that junkie apartment in Trainspotting.

Katherine was NOT impressed with his festering wound, but she actually did seem kind of bummed about it. When he tried to leave without saying goodbye, she got worried she'd never see him again.

He of course got all mad that she'd dare give up Jenna rather than herself. Well, YEAH, can't fault her there. Why should Katherine give an F about Jenna? She's been on the run from murderers for half a millennium, she's just in the habit of surviving.

It was weird seeing Damon be all emotional and condemn Katherine to loneliness for not feeling enough love for others. I mean, fine, Damon, but aren't you also a bit of a psychopath that way? The fact is, Katherine has made pretty solid decisions for as long as she's been on the show, and meanwhile Damon's been running with a crowd of dunces.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out that Katherine showed signs of humanity in this scene. Dare I imagine that she may have a moment of redemption coming up?

Over at the quarry, Jenna was still trying to remember how she'd gotten there. She definitely remembered having been tricked by a doppelganger and force-fed the blood of an ancient creature, but everything was a blank after that.

Luckily Elena helped her piece things together.

That's when it dawned on Jenna that she was on her way to vampirism. Aside from the obvious tragedy coming later, this plotline was the best. My favorite element was how Elena had to teach Jenna to be a vampire during the span of like an hour, and how each new vampire trait would help her in certain situations. But let's not get ahead of ourselves—first Jenna had to complete the conversion by drinking human blood!

Ugh, this lady. Greta was disgusting. Fact. That grin on her face and her terrible brain.

Poor lady! See, I was already feeling sorry for Jenna. I think it's because she was so calm and confused the whole time. It really was A LOT to process. I mean, all this happened BEFORE the title card even popped up.

I have to admit, though, I was kind of looking forward to having Jenna be a vampire character. Like, maybe she'd take on a supernatural likeability like Caroline did? How naive of me…

Damon called the fellas with his bad news, which he delivered in between sips of booze.

Both Stefan and Alaric were STUNNED to learn that Jenna was set to be turned into a vampire and then executed. Okay, hold up. Let's get something straight here. So they were FINE with Caroline and Tyler getting executed, then? Is that what this show was trying to tell us? I think it needs to be pointed out ONCE AGAIN that Stefan and Elijah's plan to take out Klaus was the WORST. No matter how you slice it, their friends were going to be killed. It's funny that they took such pains to make sure Bonnie didn't die, but in the meantime Caroline was on the chopping block. Jerks!

So yeah, just to recap: It was Tyler and Caroline or Jenna and Jules. Was this a difficult decision AT ALL? No, no it was not. If anything, Klaus proved that he was a pretty good guy for choosing the latter pair.

Hey Jules! There was a pretty amusing scene where Elena questioned how Greta could be so evil when witches are SUPPOSED to be, like, the sheriff's deputies of nature. And Greta just smirked like a lady who's getting it on with a 1,000 year-old vampire. Fair enough!

Ugh, what is it with witches and low self-esteem?

I might've missed something, but did Caroline and Matt go hide from Tyler AT TYLER'S HOUSE? I couldn't tell from some of the angles, but I'm guessing Sheriff Forbes doesn't have 5-ft oil paintings of fops in her home.

WHEREVER they were, Caroline finally got some answers from Matt about his weird spying shenanigans.

Man, the look on her face when she found out her loved ones had been plotting against her—SAD. And pardon my French, but Matt was being kind of a dick about it? This whole episode, Matt basically just—and again, pardon my French—sucked. Matt sucked, okay?

Back at ELENA's underlit mansion (which, again—FAIL), Damon started feeling woozy, a symptom that was NOT helped by the arrival of this guy:

Don't you love how he's always standing this way when you open the door? Just hugging himself and looking all googly-eyed and smug. Anyway, he came to bicker with Damon about how they were both doing a bad job keeping Elena alive. Okay, cool! Waste time much? She's out in a RING OF FIRE, waiting to be killed. Don't worry about saving her, you guys should definitely sort out your arguments first.

The dreaded moonstone macguffin made its FINAL appearance (hopefully) as the gruesome twosome started putting their ritual into play.

The circles of fire were a nice touch, but I was concerned that local rubes might suspect UFO activity. Wrong show, rubes!

Things were already looking bad for Jules, but they seemed especially bad when she started getting all conciliatory about her life and her mistakes and whatnot.

It was funny how Jules confessed to Elena that she was only trying to help Tyler, and then Elena was just, like, "Oh, are you Jules?" Because did those plotlines really never cross? Was Elena off with Rose or whatever when Jules was in town? I don't know, I seriously need a flowchart for this season. Or a PowerPoint? Something.

Given the opportunity, Jules made a DASH for it!

But she ran directly toward Klaus (for some reason), so he easily pinned her down and ripped her heart out! Ouch!

Poor Jules. You really should've stayed in Florida. Haha j/k, you're better off.

Jenna was starting to get worried, you guys. SO WAS I.

Meanwhile at the old crusty ghost house, Bonnie and Jeremy were leafing through grimoires, looking for spells.

Of COURSE they found one that could potentially keep Elena from becoming a vampire. "Rules are meant to be broken, regardless of how much it lowers the stakes." —The Vampire Diaries.


NEXT: A lot of people get hurt.

PAGE TWO

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Klaus used Jules' heart to make a gnarly soup. I don't know about you, but I would NOT eat that. It looks like something you'd find on Allrecipes.com or something.

UH-OH. Then Jenna started talking about how she first came to be Elena's guardian and it was like she was TRYING to die. Man, if you are a character in harm's way, NEVER reminisce about old times or say anything that might bring your character full circle. YOU WILL DIE. Everyone knows this. If anything, start throwing out random allusions to your backstory, create even more mystery about yourself. It worked for Klaus! (Spoiler alert.)

Jenna started to feel pretty guilty for how she'd raised (or not raised) Elena and Jeremy. Failing to enforce curfew, letting them skip school, allowing them to have sex with monsters, things like that.

Elena countered with a very persuasive argument.

It was true, all of this was basically Elena's fault, and even Jenna, at her most gracious and saintlike, had to agree. Because seriously! Elena had literally months to get herself out of this situation, but she didn't. Jenna only had two hours. Know why? Because Elena felt Jenna should be kept in the dark. Even at this point, Elena was still promising she'd figure out how to save Jenna. Oh really, Elena? You mean in the same way you'd kept everyone safe so far this season? Nice try, you brain-dead liar. Sorry, I am so mad at Elena right now. Everything that happened in this episode happened because Elena wanted it that way. Keep that in mind! If it wasn't Jenna, it would have been Caroline.

And do I even need to point this out? DAMON WAS RIGHT. I said that last week and it's even more true now. Bonnie's death would have saved a ton of other, more deserving characters. But nope, Elena put her foot down and look where it got her. This is what happens when you trust an uneducated teen to face off against a 1,000 year old vampire.

So anyway, Damon brought up a good point when he asked Elijah if he'd actually be able to follow through with his plan to murder his own brother.

Elijah's explanation was simple: Klaus had murdered the rest of their family and Elijah was thirstin' for revenge. Made sense to me!

At this point Stefan had decided he'd save Jenna's life by offering himself to be sacrificed in her place. It was pretty much the least-compelling thing ever, since we KNOW he will not die. In that same respect, Damon's werewolf bite was also a major snore. Wake me when it's resolved, alright?

Also, John and Bonnie put their heads together and discovered one of Emily Bennett's old spells, one that could bind two life-forces together in order to bring one back from the dead.

How dumb was it when Damon was all doubtful of the idea? Yeah, all right, Damon, a VAMPIRE, who wears a MAGIC RING, had no real reason to believe in magic, witchcraft or anything supernatural. I definitely bought this scenario.

Oh hey, Tyler came back! Caroline borrowed Matt's jacket so she could wrap it around Tyler's junk. I bet Matt was like, "Keep it."

After putting Tyler to bed, Caroline and Matt had a heart-to-heart. He came out with the most bizarre speech about how he's just a simple guy with a trashy mom and bills to pay and wanted nothing to do with these monster shenanigans. I mean, in one respect, fair enough? But also, he just found out that all his friends are part of a fairly fantastic supernatural underworld, and even though he's dating the hottest lady in town he'd rather be single and doing dishes? None of it made any sense, honestly. Someone throw these mashed potatoes in the street, they are rotten.

Poor Caroline. Things have just not been going her way EVER.

I don't know how John could have allowed himself to be in this position, but there he was, allowing the world's worst witch to put some juju into his brain. Anyway, she cast the spell that would bind his life-force to Elena's. Righteous.

Then Bonnie, Damon, and Elijah took off for the quarry and forced Alaric and Jeremy to stay behind. Once again, we heard that hilarious sound effect when someone runs into a barrier.

For a brief and terrifying moment (for Elena, anyway), it seemed like Klaus would actually let her CHOOSE which vampire he'd sacrifice. But then he staked Stefan and broke off the handle so that he'd just have to roll around on the ground and observe the carnage about to unfold.

Earlier, while Elena was trying to give Jenna some tips and tricks about her vampire powers, she urged Jenna to simply RUN AWAY the first chance she got. As far as Elena's plans go, it was decent—if Klaus missed his window of opportunity, the whole ritual would be ruined.

But that's not what Jenna ended up doing. Instead, she decided to go out like a HERO.

The above image is from Jenna's very first shot in the original pilot. Notice how she BEGAN the show by opening a door. That was kind of her thing—we should all be so lucky to have a unique skill, you know? But anyway. This was sad. By typing this I am keeping the tears at bay. Seriously! Elena was sobbing, plus Jenna had become so tragic these last few episodes. Gone 2 soon, babygirl.

By the way, great plan so far, Stefan. Aren't you glad you stuck by Elena? You two really are a pair.

So anyway, Klaus continued with Step 3 of the ritual, but by this point Elena was so distraught she kind of wanted to die. He was nice enough to thank her for her cooperation, but she was like, "F U," basically.

Upon breaking the curse, his transmogrification began almost immediately. His bones started to crackle and his eyes went yellow (and slightly cross-eyed?) and we were about to finally see what the big deal is with being both a vampire and a werewolf (wait, isn't being an Original powerful enough? Nevermind).

But then… BOOM!

Suddenly Bonnie came down the mountain yammering like a baglady and throwing magic all over the place!

This happened:

(I could just watch this for hours.)

And it worked! Bonnie was kicking Klaus' ass! BONNIE.

I gotta say, it was a fairly badass moment for Bonnie. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was also RIDICULOUS. Like, how could you look at this and not laugh:

Still though, Bonnie pushed this guy right to the BRINK of death!

Oh, Bonnie.

Luckily, Elijah tagged in!

And just before Elijah was able to rip out Klaus' heart…

Klaus presented Elijah with a tantalizing bit of info: He knew where to locate the bodies of their family members. And it was clear that Elijah was IMMEDIATELY interested.

Bonnie and Stefan could tell what was up and they threatened to kill Elijah if he didn't finish Klaus.

But it didn't matter! He scooped up Klaus and bounded out of there.

Stefan and Bonnie weren't thrilled about that one bit.

Okay, so, let's look at the score card for the season.

1. Eluding Klaus — FAIL
2. Preventing family harm — FAIL
3. Preventing the ritual from occurring — FAIL
4. Preventing Klaus from breaking the curse — FAIL
5. Killing Klaus — FAIL

That's A LOT of failure for the whole season. I can imagine that might hurt the rewatchability of Season 2, just knowing how much failure these kids will be up to, but still. Very badly done, you guys!


NEXT: Both the episode and Caroline get some redemption.

PAGE THREE

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Anyway, back at the witch house, John was writing a very thoughtful letter to Elena which was MOST DEFINITELY some kind of last-testament thing.

Not coincidentally, Jeremy finally read the fine print and realized that for the spell to work and for Elena to be resurrected, John would have to die. He seemed pretty cool with it, though.

Damon returned with Elena's corpse. There had been a brief moment earlier at the quarry where Damon carried Elena's body over to Stefan and set her beside him. I guess it could have been romantic, except F THEM. These two bozos just got a lot of people hurt.

Well, at least Damon still liked Elena. LIKE-liked. You know what I mean.

He was all tender with her, saying she had to wake up a human because he wanted her to forgive him for what he did. I was all frustrated because Damon had the right idea! He was thinking on his feet by giving her vampire blood, and he knew she'd be too much of a dunce to drink it willingly. But anyway, whatever. This is a show for people who think Elena and Stefan are very interesting soulmates. I'll stop rocking the boat so much, I guess.

Yikes, Alaric and Jeremy. Poor guys. Damon broke the news about Jenna and they took turns staring aghast into the middle-distance. Sad times.

John took a stroll outside in the sunlight like people do when they know they're about to drop dead.

And sure enough, Elena woke up and John keeled over. It was pretty fitting that he didn't even really say goodbye. He wasn't a big part of her life except from a distance, so this was pretty consistent with that.

SO THEN! A palate cleanser, if you will. Up until this point, the episode was almost overwhelmingly a bummer. Just bad things happening, and failure, and bad decisions, and terrible execution, and so forth.

But both the episode and Caroline got a bit of redemption in the end.

Tyler woke up from his slumber with some curious new wounds and a very sad blonde sitting beside him. She explained that she'd broken up with Matt, and also she'd missed Tyler. He responded that she was right, he never should have returned, but she countered that he never should have left. I think Tyler probably was right, but that's beside the point. This scene was all kinds of sad/cute. This about sums it up:

See that, Caroline was so crestfallen that she didn't even notice she'd just gotten under a blanket with a naked dude. These poor kids! Hopefully they can make it work.

If you recall, one of the first images of Elena we ever saw in the pilot was her looking into the mirror and glancing at pictures of her parents. Maybe that's why this shot made me kind of choke up.

That's just a nice picture of her, you know? Aw, Jenna!!

Luckily Jeremy arrived in a suit and things started to look up again.

The siblings had a sad conversation about how everyone around them dies, but Jeremy didn't seem too fazed. Also he handed her the letter John wrote.

It was a fairly poignant note about how he'd been a bad father, but he loved her and he was a victim of his own prejudices, etc., etc.

Meanwhile the kids had a secret funeral for John and Jenna (because that's just how this town works, okay?) and it proved once and for all that Matt is a JERK. Where was he?? Anyway, everyone looked very handsome in black.

Alaric and Elena laid roses on various graves.

Nina Dobrev remains one of my favorite television criers. She looks so raw when she does it! That takes skill, seriously. But also, I am a sucker for it. This scene was very moving, to be honest.

Damon and Stefan enjoyed a moment of broceptance, much-needed after all their bickering of late. If you ask me, Stefan owes Damon some apologies, but whatever.

Damon finally showed Stefan his werewolf bite.

And Stefan went immediately into Stefan mode, assuring Damon they'll find a cure and so forth. But, of course Damon had been paying attention for the past few years and knew for a fact that Stefan is bad at solving things.

And so he just waltzed across the graveyard to hang out with people who are slightly less brain-dead, I guess.

Next week's our last episode of the season, you guys! What could possibly top this one?

QUESTIONS!

... How will Damon survive his bite?

... Will Katherine survive the finale?

... Will Matt realize what he's given up?

... Will Alaric adopt Elena and Jeremy?

... Is Elijah kind of a dirtbag now?

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