Is it cool if we talk about this episode of Vampire Diaries, you guys? I know this is the kind of show best enjoyed in solitude, where we can just sit in a trance state thinking deeply about it in silence, but I NEED to talk about this episode! It was great. Many things happened, very few of them dumb; characters made reasonable choices (MOSTLY); the action was intense and the plot lines started coming together like an intricately woven friendship anklet! I think I even like Jenna now. JENNA.
Yes, this was an episode just packed with good stuff and filled to the brim with really great character moments. Even the world's worst sheriff had a sympathetic moment. Look, I am as uncomfortable as you are that I am so excited about this stuff, but episodes like this one are what make all the lame ones about theme dances really worth it. You know? This was like the Cool Ranch Doritos of the variety pack. (Doritos brought to you by Bing—AOL Keyword: Bing).
Hey let's just jump in okay? Wait, I'm scared! COUNT OF THREE, one-two-hey you pushed me!!
The morning after his tantrum in the living room, Damon and his nipple were clearly feeling pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. Meanwhile, downstairs in the living room, Elijah was STILL explaining the Sun & Moon Curse to Stefan and Elena?
But seriously, WHAT were they talking about all night? I mean, sure, now the curse was slightly different from what they thought, but everything else about their circumstances was the same. Klaus STILL wanted to sacrifice Elena, and he was going to do it in the same exact way, and their plan to stop him was only a slight variation on what they'd planned all along. Even the dumb moonstone was still involved:
How weird was that cut-away—just Klaus and Greta chillin' with the moonstone like they were in a scene from Red Shoe Diaries. I mean, did you see the way she LOOKED at him? Get a room, you two. Alaric's room. (Barf.)
So Elijah busted out his NEW plan, the one that would save Bonnie's life (somehow, it wasn't really explained) and cause Elena to die temporarily in order to murder Klaus while he's weak. Or something. Did I fall asleep during a stretch of episodes, or does this scheme really make no sense? Like that time when we first found out Elijah wanted to sacrifice Elena, did he just forget to mention that it would be a non-lethal sacrifice? (Maybe she wouldn't have murdered him if she'd known!) And why do these people still think that Bonnie's powerful enough to kill Klaus when she couldn't even short-circuit a vending machine? I am skeptical!
Leave it to Damon to bust in on their bad planning committee and tell 'em all off. I mean, Damon's plans aren't usually the greatest either, but I definitely sided with him in this discussion. For instance, right after Elijah procured his ancient powder, he admitted it may not work. But then when Damon suggested that Elena wear the immortality ring, Elijah immediately ruled it out, like, "No, that might not work." So, same odds as the powder, but one was immediately ruled out as a possibility. Makes perfect sense. Wait, why am I questioning this show so much? What am I, on the Nobel Committee or something?
Uh oh, guess who'd been compelled to summon her hunky son back to Mystic Falls? It made me laugh how she explained to him in a very calm, natural voice that she was in the hospital severely injured from taking "a terrible fall." I mean, we all get calls like that from our moms, right? Typical mom phone call.
But then she had an ACTUAL terrible fall!
Poor Mrs. Lockwood!
She's had a rough year.
Damon continued pouting. I'm not sure I completely understand why he was so mad. Do vampires go through some kind of bratty phase, like the Terrible Two Hundreds or something? (I got jokes, y'all.)
Honestly, it's not like Stefan was helping matters. He made some weird claim about how he trusts Elena's instincts because she took a chance on him once upon a time. Cool logic! She definitely makes great decisions week in, week out. Now is definitely the time to stop brainstorming solutions and start trusting an uneducated teen's intuition.
By the way, NICE flowers, fellas. Who's got the green thumb? Or was Andie Starr out there with a gardening trowel?
Meanwhile, at the hospital, a sad-eyed woman woke up beside daffodils and smiled once more.
Hi Tyler!!! Tyler's back, everybody.
All I know is, SOMEBODY was missing this kid BAD, and no amount of broken bones or warlock assaults was going to ruin her day.
Whew, SO MUCH has changed in the four episodes since Tyler left. He's slightly more smoldering. SLIGHTLY. Plus his hair's a little longer? Not sure. Honestly, he might've only left last week as far as I know. This show's timeline has yet to be decoded. But I guess it's been a month, according to the lunar cycle. Look, I'm not a scientist.
Over at Mystic Grill, it was clear that Matt had started to come around on the whole dating-a-vampire thing. This was a very no-duh situation. I mean, sure, Matt was kind of an idiot for turning against her in the first place, but at the same time he is a human being with a brain and he realized that he was DATING CAROLINE. It's like, wow, twist his arm. How horrible for him. Anyway, I'm glad that both Matt and Tyler are back to being decent people again. Caroline DESERVES a decent love triangle for once!
I laughed when Caroline scooted off and Matt immediately sat down with her mom to talk business.
Within twenty seconds, Matt realized that he'd been scheming with the town dunce. He seemed almost mad at himself! Fair enough. That said, Sheriff Forbes DID have a flash of humanity when she admitted that she still loves her daughter. But it's like, "Great. So don't plot against her, brainiac."
This image really sums up Jenna's involvement for most of the episode. I gotta say, for someone who usually makes even the tiniest issue all about herself, Jenna handled herself pretty well! She genuinely just sat there and listened attentively and tried to not freak out too much. Great job, Jenna!
Damon was in his room staring at the edge of the window frame and pouting.
Like most people with questionable ideas, Elena was desperate to prove to him that her ideas were not questionable.
His contention was that maybe killing Elena wasn't an ideal plan. It was a good point! But throughout the episode, both Elena and Stefan would immediately shut him down whenever he said this. It was crazy how nobody would even ATTEMPT to think of a better solution.
Anyway, Elena's bizarre obstinacy didn't make him love her any less. He was basically like, "I'd die without you" and she pulled some weird facial reaction that meant either that she was touched or that she was trying to suppress a belch.
Either way—angst. It sort of seemed like Damon was going to just accept Elena's plan and leave it alone. But then he DIDN'T!
Instead he FORCED her to drink his blood (which—what? DON'T SWALLOW), virtually guaranteeing she'd resurrect as a vampire after the sacrifice. AWESOME! This was awesome. I mean, gross and pretty messed up, but it really changes things!
Elena was NOT happy about it. She was hoping she'd just drink 500-year-old powder and just wake up a regular boring human, but now her plan was all spoiled! The thing is, I haven't read the books. I will NEVER read the books. But I am aware that Elena becomes a vampire in the books [spoiler alert]. I don't think the show will go that route, but still, I love that it's a possibility now.
Oh yeah, Stefan was pretty sore at Damon for having done this. But it seemed like he was mostly pissed because he'd wanted her to drink HIS blood? Ugh, these guys.
Damon STABBED Stefan and it was just like old times.
At this point I was getting uncomfortable because I was basically CHEERING on Damon. I have no idea why, I guess because I'm a terrible person? I don't think I'm supposed to be rooting for Damon. It's just that I think he's a good character played by a good actor and all of his decisions make sense to me?
Jenna forgave Alaric, which was nice. Again, I can't believe I'm saying this but I guess I LIKE Jenna now? It's amazing how much easier it is to like a character who's not completely in the dark about the main premise of the show. Not only is Jenna on the same page as everyone else now, but she's also making good decisions and being charming again. Cool, great job, Jenna! I hope nothing horrible happens to you.
Ugh, I take it back. Forehead touching is where I draw the line. Have at her, Universe!
Oh, outside the hospital Tyler ran into an old friend! Caroline was VERY surprised to see him, especially when she saw who he was hanging out with.
Oh, Jules. Now, I defended Jules for a while because I thought her motivations were pure. AT FIRST. Then a little incident happened where she dated a psychopath and allowed Caroline to be shot in the head and whatnot. Man, she could have at least APOLOGIZED. Nope, she just threw shade at Caroline and walked off. To her credit, Caroline was pretty cool about it. I mean seriously, that was some straight up TRAUMA she'd been put through and it was only a month ago! I guess vampires are more chill than I thought.
Anyway, Tyler and Caroline's awkward reunion was cut short by a WITCH ATTACK!
By the way, how GROSS were these witches? Like, I guess they really loved their jobs, but did they have to be so SMUG about it?
Man, I thought witches were supposed to be maintaining the balance of the supernatural world or whatever, but these ones were just maintaining the balance of assholery, you know?
Damon and Alaric hit up the bar for some reason? Fine, might as well.
Except, WHOOPS! Klaus was equally bored. Can we blame him? He's a thousand years old and suddenly he's in some tiny town in Virginia. Kind of anti-climactic, right?
I'm really not sure what this whole scene was about, but it had to do with Klaus warning Damon to step off, and Damon bein' like, "No," and Klaus bein' like, "No seriously, stay out of it," and Damon bein' like, "Aight" but with his fingers crossed behind his back. Didn't matter, the REAL subtext was that there is now a new battle for PRETTIEST JERK! It's like Highlander, there can only be one.
So, resigned to the fact that she was probably gonna become a vampire later that night, Elena decided to spend one last day with Stefan. Because he is such an AMAZING boyfriend, he took her on some ugly walk in the hills. If it were my last day alive, I'd just pop in Serial Mom and call it a day, but whatever, Stefan's the romantic hero, not me.
Except, this was hilarious. Do you want to know what Mystic Falls looks like?
THIS. I mean, WHAT? IS. THIS. No really, just look at the trees to the left of this "waterfall." There is not even a HILL there. Man, these falls really ARE mystical. I think the special effects guys were like, "It is 10am after an all-nighter and we need to sleep." I can RELATE, but still. Come on, Vampire Diaries, this was terrible, even for you.
And it's a shame, too, since the last time we saw this town's titular waterfall was in the pilot, when Mystic Falls looked a lot more Canadian. If I can be real for a second, that was one of my favorite scenes from this show—that party out by the wood bridge over the river where they're all having normal teen drama and listening to "Death" by White Lies (which is a song version of what it feels like to be a teen). I miss that bridge. And NO, the one they showed in the next scene after this one does not count.
Another momentous thing: I actually CARED about the Stefan-Elena plotline in this episode. HEAR ME OUT.
They finally had THE TALK. You know what I mean—the talk every human and vampire have to have, where they discuss whether the human will become a vampire or not. Honestly, I thought this was really well done, from Stefan's explanation of what it's like to be a monster, to Elena's apprehensiveness.
Okay, she wasn't so easily sold, but still. That looked like a TOUGH climb! It was like Stefan was trying to prove to her that the human body is kind of the worst? No need to convince ME. Sometimes I sleep on my face wrong and I wake up kind of cross-eyed? Ugh, mortality.
We've all been here, right? Condiment dinner AGAIN?
Damon and Alaric swung by Klaus' lair (again, WHY are they so cavalier about doing this?) Couldn't Klaus murder them with, like, a single kick-slap? But anyway, Katherine was NOT ready to spill the beans about where Tyler and Caroline were being kept. That is, until Damon rattled her to her very core.
I know it's been pretty obvious that Katherine and Elena don't care for each other much, but was this the first time it's been so clearly stated that Katherine views Elena as a romantic rival? I kind of got the impression that Katherine pretends to like Stefan and Damon in order to get things from them. I guess she ACTUALLY likes Stefan for real. Either way, she DEFINITELY doesn't want to be besties with Elena for eternity. Fair. ENOUGH.
It didn't take long after Caroline woke up all chained up in the tomb to realize what was set to go down.
Tyler, of course, had NO IDEA who Klaus was, and that made me laugh. Oh Tyler, this is what happens when you spend too much time hanging out in Florida with some hussy.
Another really great scene in this episode had to do with Klaus' suspicion that Katherine was on Vervain. If he was halfway perceptive he could've noticed that her pupils weren't dilating during the compulsion, but oh well. Anyway, he "compelled" her to stand in the sunlight to see if she'd do it. AND SHE DID!
How sick was Klaus' face when he watched her sizzle? This guy!
Poor Katherine. Total trooper, though! She actually convinced him she'd been compelled and he finally relented.
Bye, Maddox! R.I.P. White Witch 2011-2011.
Oh Man, Matt was ON FIRE. I loved that he was mostly confused about everything, but he knew enough to grab his rifle and head out to the tomb. Sure, Damon had to pistol-whip some sense into him, but all in all, I'm super glad Matt's back on track!
INSIDE the tomb, Caroline took the opportunity to clear the air.
It was CHARMING. That LOOK on Tyler's face when he found out Caroline missed him. Who could blame him? Caroline is the best! Honestly, that still frame doesn't even do it justice. This here is called ACTING:
[Dreamy sigh]. You know?
So then came a bit of a centerpiece scene—for the episode but also for the series. Not only was it kind of gorgeous (that sunset!), but also pretty important in the scheme of things. This show is, essentially, a romance, but it so rarely addresses the everyday factors that go into maintaining it. After briefly being disgusting by casually mentioning he's climbed Mount Everest (we all know Lexi probably dragged his ass up there), Stefan got real for a second and admitted that ever since he met Elena he'd been kind of hoping she'd be a vampire someday so they could be together forever. It didn't even come across as creepy either! I'm no fangurl, but I briefly—for a split second—actually understood the appeal of vampire romances. BRIEFLY.
Elena finally blurted out how she really felt about becoming a vampire. She's against it. But it wasn't your typical Elena wishy-washy naive/dumb reasoning. She was just being honest—she's 17 and she wants to grow older and make life decisions and have children and all that, and it just became so profoundly sad to think that someone so young could become "soul mates" with some very old, dead man. I tried to think of a funny caption for the above photo, but I felt genuinely bad undercutting one of Nina Dobrev's finest moments? Man, this lady knows what she's doing sometimes.
Poor kids. Go on, have your moment.
Okay, that's enough, because now they're back at the Salvatore mansion actin' a fool.
Klaus came to PERSONALLY pick up Elena, which was very thoughtful of him. Of course Stefan just kind of pretended to man up and protect her, except he'd spent the first part of the episode completely willing to let her be sacrificed and also making absolutely no effort to come up with a better solution? Total hero. Great work, guy.
Elena was all, "Be strong, baby" and he was like, "I'm tryin, I'm tryin."
They did this thing where she told him to close his eyes, and when he did, she pulled away from him and DISAPPEARED.
Ugh. Again, credit where credit's due. This WORKED.
After Damon busted out Caroline and Tyler, they all tried to make a run for Tyler's family's slave quarters (not weird at all) in time for his transmogrification, but they were too late!
He almost immediately POUNCED on Damon and got very bitey with him.
Much like Jenna earlier in the episode, Matt was just doing his best to be a casual observer of CRAZY SUPERNATURAL SHENANIGANS. It was very charming, actually.
In case you were worried that all the mounting tension and season-ending action would derail this show's intention to place the hell out of some products, don't worry! Tonight we saw some AWESOME devices—including a combination laptop/cell phone thing that only the most discriminating of 1,000 year-old vampires would use. The shot of the laptop was the worst, since the AT&T; logo was poorly CGI-ed onto it as a WHITE SQUARE. Totally, I'm sure it definitely looks like that.
So it turned out that Klaus kidnapped Tyler and Caroline as a DECOY to throw the Salvatores off his scent. VERY clever! Except, you know, how genius could your plan be when it relies on happenstance? Good thing Jules' boyfriend is dead, or else she'd be at some Olive Garden in Florida, am I right?
Caroline and Matt found themselves trapped in the Lockwood slave quarters while a werewolf version of Tyler growled at them tons.
It's no big deal, Caroline! Just relax for a few hours and he'll just be a naked teen again.
When Damon came to after Klaus had knocked him out, Klaus was gone and Katherine was itchin' to confess her sins.
She began to explain that Klaus had tasked her with finding a replacement vampire. A sense of dread began to set in when we realized there were only two female vampires in Mystic Falls, and both Caroline and Katherine were accounted for.
Meanwhile, Elena and Greta were traipsing through the woods. Elena mentioned that Greta's family had been looking for her, but Greta bitchily retorted that they were wasting their time because she was never lost. Um, Elena, THAT is when you mention that Greta's family is effing DEAD. But nope, Elena kept mum on that subject. Might as well, I mean, might as well not even try to not be murdered. Just go with your instincts, crazy.
By the way, NEVER whine to a witch that it's too dark. They'll be starting fires with their brains all over the place.
But what's THIS? A female figure sprawled on the forest floor?
And THIS was where Katherine's story started to make sense. She didn't help capture a vampire. She helped MAKE one…
DANG. Did NOT see that coming. Elena was pretty upset, Jenna was confused, Greta was gross.
Meanwhile Jenna's transition had begun.
This is exciting news! Remember how much Caroline improved after becoming a vampire? What if Jenna becomes awesome too? It's almost too mind-blowing to contemplate! But there was one final bombshell left to drop. It seemed Damon's feelings were hurt that Klaus hadn't chosen HIM for the sacrifice. But as Katherine informed him, Klaus had diagnosed Damon with a bad case of "about to die."
And that's when Damon noticed a familiar, gnarly smell…
Oh no! Him got bit!
And now we're just barreling right toward the finale. Dang, this show should have more season finales! Vampire Diaries just does them RIGHT.
... Will Stefan do ANYTHING AT ALL to save Elena, or will Damon continue to be the pro-active one?
... Will Bonnie and Jeremy quit making out in time to stop Klaus?
... Is Greta under some kind of spell, or is she just full-blown gross?
... And the BIGGEST question: Tyler or Matt?