There was a whole lot of competence happening in Mystic Falls this week, and frankly, it was kind of disconcerting. The hard truth is that when Elena Gilbert has a plan, it is usually kind of a disaster. Her bright idea last week to kill Kol was audacious, complicated, and obviously destined to fail. That it didn’t is one of the great joys of this season so far.
Of course, just because it works doesn’t mean it goes well. Elena has a decent handle on what they need to do in order to pull it off at least, focusing on drawing Kol in with the promise of a fake truce in finding Silas before staking him, then having Matt dagger Rebekah and Bonnie take care of Klaus to avoid sibling backlash from the staking. It’s convoluted and complicated but is at least coherent, and the fun in any plan on this show is more of how horribly it breaks down than how smoothly it goes anyway. And boy, does this plan break down, almost resulting in a dead Elena and an armless Jeremy until the Gilbert siblings come together at the last minute and stake Kol, with him burning to a crisp right in their kitchen.
More compelling than the death of Kol (who was basically a nonentity) is Klaus’ reaction to that death. For a guy who said barely two words to Kol and was always willing to dagger him when he became inconvenient, he certainly doesn’t take well to young Jeremy killing him for good. It’s a feral, instinctive sort of reaction, one that suggests Klaus isn’t going to sit around playing nice with the gang just so he can kindly get what he wants from Elena; no, he seems far more willing to take everything by brute force now rather than the extreme manipulation and games he’s been using. His angry turn is especially interesting in relation to the conversation he has with Damon earlier in the episode about the nature of being a “bad” guy and how Damon gets away with doing bad things without everyone hating him. To Damon, it’s simple: be bad with a purpose, don’t be bad to just be a dick. Klaus certainly seems to have a purpose now.
Kol’s staking wouldn’t have been so easy, though, without Stefan working to occupy Rebekah. Stefan wakes up in Rebekah’s bed post-hookup immediately remorseful and trying to sneak away, but his pledge to help Elena and Jeremy with their plan forces him to remain in her orbit and do anything he can to get her to reveal where she’s hiding the dagger (which Matt is then to stab her with). It’s ruthless stuff, but what’s always great about Stefan in these situations is his ability to completely manipulate Rebekah and yet do it in a way where he remains completely sincere in their conversations. It’s a tricky tightrope to walk, but every conversation Stefan has with Rebekah right up to the one where he has to obviously lie feels real, and feels like he’s making a connection with her. That these conversations took place at a failed '80s dance, complete with The Cure and Bon Jovi on the soundtrack and references to Say Anything only made them all the more fun.
The thing we perhaps learned most about in this episode, though, is Rebekah. Rebekah has always been the most naïve of the Original siblings, stuck in an almost teenage mentality and desperate for love and affection any way she can get it, yet always insisting she doesn’t care and turns off her emotions. When faced with the realization that Stefan is just manipulating her to get the dagger, she instead gamely offers it to him, saying all she wants in life is this cure, so she can be human again and have the family she’s always desired. It’s the most nakedly honest the character has ever been.
The final piece in the puzzle here is Bonnie. According to Elena, her part of the plan is to contain Klaus but what she means by this is never explained, for good reason: it’s too awesome a trick to spoil by some measly little dialogue. Bonnie’s arc this season with Shane has been problematic at times and spotty at best, but it takes a great step forward tonight. Bonnie’s big story tonight was to claim her own power and finally refuse to be jerked around by outside sources. The ironic thing here is that this owning coincides with her parents finally paying attention to her and putting down some boundaries about her potentially devastating new power and the extremely shady people she hangs around with. I love that Bonnie is standing up for herself, but it’s too bad that someone actually does some parenting on this show and is immediately punished for their efforts. (Does that make me sound old? Yes, I believe it does.)
Bonnie’s big trick to contain Klaus is to bind him to the new moon and keep him contained in a sort of invisible cage in the Gilbert living room, giving them all three days to find the cure before he is let out and murders them all. The episode ends with Jeremy ripping off his shirt like an underage Hulk and revealing the completed mark, and therefore giving them everything they theoretically need to find Silas and the cure. The only response from the peanut gallery upon witnessing this hilarious and important event? Damon’s “Here we go.”
Here we go, indeed.
- “I’m a new vampire and there have been…complications.” That’s dumb. Very, very dumb.
- First an Elijah mention last week. Now a Katherine mention this week. Is it too much to ask that they be working together as the unseen party in the race to find Silas? Pretty please?
- It seems very strange for a show to kill its own characters before it even begins, but it looks like The Originals spinoff wasn’t very concerned with developing Kol beyond “crazy; bad hair.” Sorry buddy! At least you got to be the first to introduce the New Orleans backstory to set up the backdoor pilot you aren’t going to be involved in!
- I like the idea that Bonnie is partially helping find the cure so she can cure her mother. That is, when I remembered her mother exists and is a vampire. Whoops.
- Stefan’s Bon Jovi love is delightful.
- As is Kol asking Elena if she’s a “Mary Sue vampire.”