After three episodes with a bit more of a streamlined focus, the crazy whip-quick plotting The Vampire Diaries is known for was back in full force tonight—and yes, this is a very good thing. What other show could fit vampire ghosts, a stabbing, a neck-snapping, a subsequent reanimation, an attempted murder, a vampire fight, and a few various back-stabbings and double-crossings, all in a non-premiere, non-finale episode? The answer is none other. The truly crazy thing is how, as the show has progressed, they’ve increasingly managed to weave so many genuine character moments throughout these intricate plots. It’s hard enough to do one or the other well, let alone both.
The main plot of the episode, carrying over from Rebekah’s big arrival last week, is she and Klaus’ quest to find the necklace they need to contact the original witch. This means Stefan is walking an even tighter rope than he has been since the beginning, since Elena has the necklace, and the last thing he can do is indicate to either Klaus or Rebekah she is still alive. Stefan, for his part, is handling this in a fairly bad-ass manner, acting calm and collected and even rebuffing Katherine’s surprise offer of help, until things go horribly wrong when he goes to Gloria for help and she ends up torturing him to find out the necklace’s exact location. Well, that is until Katherine shows up and stabs Gloria right in the throat, because however bad-ass Stefan may be, Katherine is that times twenty. Things get even more complicated for Stefan when he has a later encounter with the very savvy Rebekah, who quickly realizes Stefan isn’t exactly being forthcoming about all his true feelings. To figure out what is going on once and for all, Klaus decides to bring Stefan back to his roots: Mystic Falls.
This is a messy development but oh, is it a good one. Stefan’s greatest strength in this story is seeing how he reacts to being put in impossible positions, and this will definitely be the most impossible of all. This storyline also needed to intersect with what’s happening with the rest of the characters at some point. That they had the stones to do it only four episodes into the season shouldn’t be surprising, and yet in a landscape of shows that wouldn’t dare move the story so quickly, TVD always manages to do exactly that. Things will be especially dicey considering Damon picked this exact time to go off on a little sojourn to God-knows-where with Katherine. (I hope it’s to Chicago! To take the dagger out of Elijah!) With Klaus in Mystic Falls and Damon not there to protect Elena, it will be very interesting to see how all of this shakes out.
While Stefan was doing his best to keep Elena safe, Elena was busy being very, very conflicted over Damon. The closer they become, the more she unconsciously pushes for him to become less like himself and more like Stefan. In turn, the more she pushes the more he regresses into his most base Damon characteristics. Base characteristic Damon is my favorite Damon, and he’s been a bit absent as of late, so it was nice to see him back attempting to murder people and then actually murdering other people. It’s also quite revealing that, although he obviously still wants Elena, he is refusing to change himself into his brother in order to get her. This is a bit of an evolution from what he felt on the matter at the end of season two, but it’s an evolution that feels important to the integrity of the character. Let’s face it: A watered-down Damon is not an interesting Damon.
Also, Damon said it himself: He’s a vampire. The things he has been doing are vampire things, and not all that bad of vampire things in relation to how horrible Stefan has been lately. I mean, are we really angry with him for trying to kill Caroline’s dad? That guy sucks. (Okay, the Alaric thing was less cool.) Elena deluded herself for a long time where Stefan was concerned because he was so relatively pious for a supernatural being while they were together, but perhaps she’s slowly becoming aware of what type of men she’s being drawn to. I adore Elena, her strength, her determination, and her loyalty, but she needs to face facts. She loves men who do bad things. If she would come to grips with this and find a way to make peace with it in her life, it would be a really refreshing character choice. Bless Caroline Forbes, who called Elena out on the whole situation and is attempting to help her work through her feelings.
Even more than Caroline Forbes, bless Alaric Saltzman, who finally realized what is happening between Damon and Elena and went right to Damon to put an end to it. Protective Alaric is a good role for him, and he and Damon having an “I’m looking after her harder” fight was very amusing. Even better was Alaric’s insistence on joining the Council in the Gilbert spot. His argument—that two of the people on the Council have supernatural children, and someone needs to represent the regular folk—is a good one, and his being in charge of reigning in supernatural activity is a nice callback to his introduction as a hunter. It’s especially interesting in light of his newfound little grievance with Damon, considering Damon killed him and all. Once again, Damon: very uncool.
As for Bill Forbes, the Sheriff gets Damon to compel him to forget Caroline is a vampire, but it doesn’t take. Bill’s theory of the human mind being able to adapt to anything is correct in the matter of vampire compulsion, it seems. Bill wants to control the Council, but Damon decides to simply off him instead. Before he can complete the kill, Caroline bursts in, beats Damon quite soundly, and saves her father. (Caroline basically wins this episode, by the way. Flawless.) Caroline heals his injuries with her blood and later, she and her mother just let him leave town. He does manage to get one more horrific jab to Caroline’s psyche before he leaves, just to reiterate the fact that he is total scum. What’s strange is how easily they just let him leave, which will certainly come back to bite them sometime in the future.
Lastly, we have Jeremy and his newfound vampire whisperer abilities. He’s finally able to see Anna on a regular basis, with them figuring out he can only see her when he’s thinking about her. This creates enough push and pull between their worlds that they can interact; they can even feel each other’s touch. Jeremy is obviously conflicted but does eventually tell Bonnie what is happening, choosing his living witch girlfriend over his dead vampire one. (This show is weird.) The compelling part of his story is the theory Anna presented of Vicki being attached to some sort of dark force that is in direct conflict with the light Anna feels around herself. Who knows how this will all play out, but it will undoubtedly be much more complicated than it appears to be right now.
- No teaser this week. Has that happened before?
- I can’t wait to see what Michael the vampire hunter has in store for the originals.
- Katherine is just simply the best. What I don’t know here is her angle. She’s always looking out for herself, so what does she have to gain by getting involved in this mess when she should have at least three continents between herself and Klaus?
- I am absolutely destroyed Gloria is dead. She was fierce, and I would have liked to see her teach Bonnie a thing or two.
- The writers are just teasing us with Elijah at this point, right? Stefan was SO CLOSE. Someone remove that dagger, already!
- “So women in the 21st century dress like prostitutes, then?”
- “Oh, I forgot. You’re bad now.”
- “So Mayor Lockwood called your gay ex-husband to torture your vampire daughter?”
- “I’ll let you pick who we eat.”
- “You’re not, like, switching Salvatores, are you?”
- “He threatened to out me. Don’t get me started on the irony of that.”
- “Where’s Damon?” “Probably off somewhere, doing bad things to good people.”
- “Don’t you want to know why an original vampire who can’t be killed is afraid of a vampire hunter?”
- “I am not Stefan. How about you stop trying to turn me into him.”
- “You killed me!”