My biggest complaint about the plotting this season has been the imbalance between the serialized plots and the love triangle, with the latter being far more heavily featured, mostly to the show’s detriment. “Catch Me If You Can” completely rights that ship, using the love triangle as a runner within the episode rather than the entire focus, and everything about that return to previous form feels right. It doesn’t hurt that the episode was filled with its fair share of murder, snark, and general mayhem.
The action basically picks up where we left off last week, with Jeremy standing in a bar full of transitioning vampires wearing the biggest “oh, crap” face of all time. When Jeremy is less than cooperative, Klaus forces his hand by compelling all the vamps to come after Matt. Poor Matt really needs some new friends.
This is where things start to get interesting, though. It’s clear at this point that the quest to find the cure and/or free Silas has three separate camps: Klaus and Damon, Stefan and Rebekah, and Bonnie and Shane. The three separate executions of this plan—and their requisite miserable failures along the way—is what gives the episode life and cements that framing the narrative this way was an excellent storytelling choice. Throw in a wild card in Kol who doesn’t want the cure or Silas to be found at all, and you have a recipe for a perfectly intricate TVD story.
The main component this week was Kol’s interference in Damon and Klaus’ plan by compelling Damon to kill Jeremy. If Jeremy dies, the mark doesn’t grow, and Silas can’t be located. The best thing about this was that the show didn’t succumb to the temptation to use Damon’s compulsion as a cheesy way to prove Elena and Damon’s love can conquer all; instead, Elena is only able to snap him out of it long enough for him to realize he is being compelled and warn Jeremy he needs to get away. In the end, Jeremy is only spared when Stefan shows up (thanks to Elena’s pleas for help) and blithely snaps Damon’s neck and locks him in the Salvatore basement until they can get rid of the compulsion.
But what we need to talk about most in this episode is Stefan, who finally seems to be snapping out of his Elena funk. Stefan is such a tricky character because when pushed too far in one direction he has the tendency to go self-righteous, but he’s never better than when he just does not care, and Stefan quite obviously Does Not Care here. The show made it easy to forget Rebekah was introduced as Stefan’s love interest (back in the 1920s flashbacks), but teaming them up brings all that chemistry to the forefront again, and it’s pretty fantastic. At this point, Stefan seems to only even want to find this cure so he can know for sure if Elena truly loves Damon for his own piece of mind, not because it would immediately bring them back together. This sort of resigned nonchalance is great for the character, especially in the brutally honest conversation he has with Elena where he says, quite rightly, “You don’t know what I look like when I’m not in love with you.” If this version of Stefan is what he’s like, then keeping those two apart might be the best thing that’s ever happened to the character.
As for Shane and Bonnie, their extremely creepy partnership is less one of equals than one where Shane is controlling Bonnie’s every whim. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, so Sheriff Forbes and Bonnie’s father busting in and arresting the guy is a welcome turn. All this accomplishes, though, is Shane admitting his insane version of the truth to Bonnie (which boils down to “I’m not a killer because they’ll all be resurrected someday”, which, okay, I suppose) and Bonnie finally losing control and using her new expression magic for more nefarious purposes. It’s one of the better magic scenes the show has done, though, and Bonnie’s quick return to control and Shane’s lionization of her powers spells nothing but trouble for Bonnie in the days to come.
But in the most immediate trouble are Jeremy and Elena, who now that Damon is locked up have to contend with crazy Kol and his quest to kill Jeremy before his mark can be completed. Elena’s plan—which is decent in at least an efficiency standpoint—is to kill Kol, therefore killing the thousands of vampires in his bloodline and completing Jeremy’s hunter’s mark all at once. The only downside of this plan is its absolute moral insanity. Elena was adamantly against killing the vampires in the bar because they were innocents, but she’s willing to kill thousands in their stead? What if the vampires in Kol’s bloodline were innocent before they were turned? Elena frustratingly still thinks far too much like a human sometimes, and it can make her seem like a bit of a hypocrite.
No matter the moral implications, a huge standoff against an Original does sound like a heck of a good time. But with a spinoff coming, the plan’s success does seem a bit less likely.
- Nice try, show, but I’m pretty sure I said Matt isn’t allowed to die. OBEY ME.
- The fourth party in the search for Silas has to be Elijah, right? No one else could have so perfectly compelled that guy to bite off his own tongue and then kill himself rather than confess. Elijah isn’t too embarrassed to show his face; he’s just busy out-badassing everyone else before showing his face right at the most opportune time.
- The return of the heart snatch. Be still my own, still-beating heart.
- “I’m not crazy; I’m just passionate!” Is this meta-commentary on the fans?
- “And this will be the second time Damon tried to kill Jeremy. Nobody’s perfect, right?” Can we keep this Stefan forever?