Episode 3.22 TVD – “The Departed”

If I hadn’t made a left hand turn, if you hadn’t made a right, if I’d waited just a moment more, if you’d missed the light
If that car had never blown its horn, if that friend had stopped to talk
We’d have never met at all, if I didn’t take that walk
I’d have gotten there too early, you’d have gotten there too late
We are children of coincidence, coincidence and fate.

(“Children of Coincidence” – lyrics by Dory Previn)

The lyrics above flashed through my mind as I watched the final episode of Season 3 at the moment when it became clear that Damon had actually met Elena before Stefan saved her from drowning.

The episode opens with Elena waking to “So What” by Pink!  Dressed in her cheerleading uniform, she joins Aunt Jenna for breakfast.  Clearly we’ve flashed back to a pre-vampire time in her life.  We meet her Mom, and then, Elena awakens in present time, in a hospital bed.

Meredith is reassuring Jeremy that Elena has a mild concussion.  She asks him if there is anyone he wants to call.  Next thing you know, he’s locked horns with Damon, who is furious (as is Stefan) because Elena is now an exposed target.  The Salvatores are turning back.

Meredith encounters Ric in her office.  He spills the vials of vampire blood out on her desk, and tells her that her license is being revoked – and that Mayor Lockwood and Sheriff Forbes are also being relieved of their duties – Ric is in control!  He wants Elena released to his custody.

But when he goes to get her, her hospital bed is empty.  Matt, Tyler and Caroline has rescued her and brought her home (- is it me, or is this not the first place Ric will look for her?) Here she has another flashback to when she was a cheerleader, dating Matt, and Bonnie was her non-witch best friend.  And her best friend notices that Elena doesn’t seem to be responding to Matt the same way anymore – and admonishes her not to string him along.

Clearly, it is time to choose – which Salvatore brother will Elena select?

She wakes to find herself alone with Matt.  They reminisce.  She apologizes.  And she acknowledges that she needs to let one of the Salvatore Brothers go – just as Stefan appears.

(And right there – I knew what her choice would be – and I cried a little inside.)

There is an exchange between Stefan and Matt about choices – Matt is convinced that allowing Elena to make her own choices is wrong – but Stefan is all about free-will because he had it taken away from him, so he values it highly.  And while it is true that the freedom to make one’s own choices is a value to be treasured, one is not always aware of exactly what the consequences of a choice will be.  I shared Matt’s concern.

Enter Elijah!!

Elsewhere, Ric is interrogating Jeremy about the location of Klaus’ body, and Jeremy is not very cooperative.  Ric wants to kill Klaus and all of his line – and tells Jeremy once that’s done, Bonnie can spell him the way she did with Klaus – and they can lock him away so Elena can live a long, normal, human life.  Then when she dies, he will die and there will be no more vampires.

Meanwhile Elijah is attempting to strike a bargain with Elena, Stefan, Matt and Damon (by phone).  He says he and his family can take Klaus’ body and the weapon and scatter.  Ric will go looking for them – but they have been running for 1000 years – they are good at it.  They can surely make it another 50 years.  Klaus promises not to revive Klaus in her – or her children’s – lifetime.  But Elijah has broken his word before.  Damon is totally against the deal – but Elena goes for it.  (And here I am thinking “Stupid girl, will you never learn?”)

At the Lockwood mansion, Carol and Liz are explaining to Caroline and Tyler that they need to leave town after being out to the council.  They don’t have a choice – stay and die or leave and live.  Caroline is reluctant but Tyler convinces her it’s the right thing to do.  Caroline says she needs two hours to help her friends.

Damon and Bonnie arrive at a storage facility – and I’m excited.  I love Damon and Bonnie team-ups!  Damon has stashed Klaus’ body here.  Even Damon finds Klaus’ desiccated state creepy.  At Bonnie’s request, Damon leaves her alone with Klaus.  Something’s up and I have no idea what, but I’m sure it’s not good.

Stefan has an intimate moment with Elena, who is clearly struggling with her choice – and then we hear Stefan and Damon plotting.  Jeremy is going to lead Alaric to them.  Damon describes the stark contrast between them and their approaches.  For Damon, there is nothing more important than keeping Elena alive and he would sacrifice anyone and anything (including Elena’s free will) to ensure that.

Stefan, in contrast, believes in freedom to choose – no matter where the consequences of the choice may lead.

Damon hears a noise and hangs up on Stefan, assuming it is Rebekah.  But it’s Ric – who gets him in a lock and when Damon won’t tell him which storage locker Klaus is in – Ric breaks his neck – again.

Meanwhile, Matt is serving up “over-honeyed tea” to Elena (and I recall that in the books on which the show is based, Matt’s last name is “Honeycutt”.)  Elena tells Matt for the first time that Stefan saved her life.  She says she doesn’t feel that she “owes” Stefan her life, but he made her glad she was alive, and that’s what love should be.

“You should love the person who makes you glad that you’re alive.”

But there’s a problem – when she is with Damon, he consumes her.  And she doesn’t want to lose anyone else – she’s sure if she makes a choice between the brothers, she will lose the one she doesn’t choose.

Flashback to “Family Night” ditch – Elena is calling Jenna from the bonfire, asking for a ride.  She and Matt have had a fight and she needs someone else to get her home.  Jenna hands the phone to Miranda, who tells Elena that Matt is trying to figure out where he stands with her.  He seems to have his life mapped out – and he is pressing Elena on the future.  She claims she doesn’t know how she feels – but Mom knows best.  Elena needs to tell Matt how she feels – and set him free.

Elena awakens in Matt’s truck – Matt has doped her! Matt is taking Elena out of town to keep her safe.

At the storage facility, Rebekah arrives.  Damon manages to grab and silence her as Ric comes upon locker 1020 – which is now empty, since Damon and Bex are rushing it out of the facility.  But Ric catches up to them – he quickly dispatches Bex, then Damon – and opens the coffin and plunges the Original Stake into Klaus’s heart!  Klaus catches fire – Ric removes the stake and closes the coffin lid.

And turns for Rebekah, knowing that Damon will be dead soon.  Damon pushes Rebekah behind him and tells her to run – and then takes on Ric, who quickly dispatches him and takes off.

Damon calls Stefan to tell him the bad news.  Both of them are feeling OK at the moment.  But they know it took an hour for the effects of Finn’s death to be felt by Sage.  And an hour is not enough time for Damon to return to Mystic Falls.  But it is not his own good-bye that Stefan is worried about – it’s the one between Damon and Elena.  Damon tells Stefan he will just have to say good-bye for both of them.

Jeremy tells Stefan Elena is not at home – he and Matt are getting her out of town.  Elijah and Caroline arrive and Stefan has to tell them the news.  Jeremy calls Matt, who tells Elena the bad news – and now she is insisting they have to go back before everyone dies!

But Matt tells her Damon is not with them – Damon is 100 miles from where they are, but they are driving toward him.  Elena has to choose – go back to Stefan – or forward to Damon!

Going backward is rarely a good choice!

Elena calls Damon.  She has made her choice – Matt is taking her home.  (And here my brain is going “stupid girl, stupid girl, stupid girl”.)  Not just to Stefan, but to Caroline and Tyler.  Damon presses her – and she makes it clear she is choosing Stefan.  (“stupid girl, stupid girl”).

And here was the kicker – TIMING.  Stefan came into her life at a critical moment – and she fell for him on the spot.  (Please go back and check the lyrics above!)  Elena cares enough about Damon to let him go.

But maybe if she’d met Damon first (please go back and check the lyrics above…again!)

Elena and Damon say goodbye – and Ric is pissed.  Rebekah has somehow eluded him.

Caroline has run back to meet Tyler – and BRAVO to Michael Trevino for his acting chops – the look in his face when Caroline tells him that Klaus is dead (especially when we find out later what has transpired with Bonnie) is wonderful!  If you get to watch it again – check out that big hug.  Tyler tells Caroline to leave.

Caroline has called Elena and let her know Tyler is starting to feel the effects of Klaus’ demise.  Matt is pretty broken up by it too.  Meanwhile, in the woods, Bex is telling Elijah about Klaus’ fate.  Elijah tells her Tyler Lockwood is dead, but how are the others alive if they are “descended” from Klaus?

Bonnie shows up at the Lockwood dungeon – and in walks a very much alive Tyler.  Once again – all the kudos to Michael Trevino – he’s got Joseph Morgan’s walk and attitude DOWN!  Brilliant!  There has been transference – and that explains the look on Tyler’s face in that hug with Caroline – Klaus finally got a piece of what he’s longed for.  Bonnie did a transference spell to save her friends.  And she’s not concerned with blowback from her ancestors or anyone else in the spirit world – she’s done being pushed around by them.

But Bex is pissed.  The deal made with Elijah is off – Klaus is dead, and the only way to get rid of Ric is to get rid of Elena.  And as Matt and Elena drive across Wickery Bridge, Bex stands in the middle of the road.  Matt swerves to avoid hitting her (why – what harm would that do?  She’s immortal, for the lord’s sake!!!) and his truck flies through the air and into the water – in virtually the same place where Elena and her family went just a few years ago.

In the water, Elena is reliving the experience of being in the car with her parents.  And Damon is getting the crap kicked out of him by Ric at the storage facility – and reliving an experience of his own – the first time he met Elena.

And it was before Stefan saved her!  (Please go to the top of this post and read the lyrics!) Before Elena’s parents came to pick her up from the bonfire, Elena encountered Damon on the road.  He thinks she’s Katherine, but Elena tells him no. He’s momentarily taken aback – but then we see the Damon of Season 1!  They have a conversation – Elena’s fight with Matt, his mapped out future, she doesn’t know what she wants.  Damon, who’s been around a long time, tells her she wants what everyone wants.

“A love that consumes you.  You want passion, adventure, and even a little danger.”

Now, isn’t that what I’ve been saying for 3 years??  This is the life Damon represents – passion, and adventure, and risk.  What fun.  I don’t pretend to understand how Elena can still want a life with Stefan – steady, solid – and BORING Stefan.

But that’s me.

As Elena’s parents approach in their car, Elena asks Damon what he wants.  And he says he wants Elena to get everything she’s looking for – and as he says it, he is compelling her to forget he’s been there.

Back in storage, Ric is about to stake Damon, but when Damon reaches out to defend himself, surprisingly he is able to fight Ric off – Ric is getting weaker – and Damon knows it’s because Elena must be dying.

Back in Matt’s truck, Elena is flashing between her current experience with Matt – and her former experience with her parents.  In both dreams, Stefan arrives.  In the past, Elena’s father tells him to save Elena.  But in the present, Elena tells Stefan to save Matt.


Is Elena sacrificing herself to save the people she loves – knowing that if she dies, Ric will die also? Is she sacrificing herself knowing that Stefan and Damon are about to die, and life without them is not worth living?

As Ric dies in a distraught Damon’s arms, Jeremy is calling Matt wondering where the hell he and Elena are – and he encounters Ric in the hall – and realizes he’s a ghost!  Which means Elena…..?

….is lying on a gurney with Stefan looking over her.  Damon arrives at the hospital, and demands that Meredith tell him where she is!  And Meredith tells him – Elena had a cerebral hemorrhage – Meredith gave her vampire blood.

And Elena wakens………


Did Elena know Meredith had given her vampire blood?  Did she make the decision to save Matt knowing she’d “live”?  Was it part of her plan to spend eternity with Stefan, knowing she’d made the right choice for her at this point in her “life”?

Or is she going to wake up a vampire, and have all her memories flooding back – the ones that Damon compelled away?  She will learn she met Damon first, and he suggested a life far different than the one Stefan represents.  She will wake with her most dominant trait magnified – how will she see the brothers Salvatore from this new perspective?  Will she regret her decisions?

So, this turn of events nullifies “Elena’s choice”.  The triangle begins all over again –with a totally new set of rules.  How will Stefan look to her now that all her emotions are magnified?  What does steady, stable, and boring look like – especially if your true nature is strong and adventurous?  And if, being a vampire, you no longer need safety and security?

And how will Damon look when she remembers everything he’s made her forget?  Elena will see the side of himself that Damon claims he hides so he won’t have to live up to expectations – but which is really a protective mechanism so he can avoid being hurt.  Elena will see that vulnerability.  How will she feel about that?

And let us not forget that in addition to being a vampire (should Elena complete the transition – there’s another choice!), Elena is also a doppelganger!  Not only that, she is descended directly from the Original Petrova doppelganger, Tatia.  What does that mean in the mythology?  Will Elena have special attributes as a vampire/doppelganger that the other vampires don’t have?  (The ability to make the transition back to human form, for instance?)

Oh, the possibilities!!!!!

Next season is going to be like all the other seasons – all about the choices we make and where they lead us.  Elena will be reflecting on her choices of the past – and living a new life with new choices.

I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes us all.

If the planets were in perfect place, if your sign was on the rise
if my stars were in complete accord, but the sun was in your eyes
You’d have only seen my shadow, as I passed you on the street
and it might have been a hundred years, before our souls would meet again
and we would still be strangers, too early and too late
we are children of coincidence, coincidence and fate.

(“Children of Coincidence” – lyrics by Dory Previn)

Episode 3.21 TVD – “Before Sunset”

Wow, wow, wow and wow.  As opening scenes of “The Vampire Diaries” go, this one was the best I’ve seen in the series to date.

The “historical tableaux” ending with a long shot of our favorite history teacher, the now vampire-hunting vampire, Alaric Saltzman, stretched out at his desk in Mystic Falls High School.   Stake in hand, contemplating who knows what until he hears the voice of …..no, it’s Caroline.

She’s talking to Tyler about cleaning up after the decade dance, but Tyler tells her Klaus has summoned him to help pack.  Klaus and Kompany are leaving Mystic Falls.  Tyler is bound to behave as if he is still sired.

In the gym, Caroline encounters Rebekah, who tells her that Matt was called to work at the last minute, so she’s there alone, cleaning up  – and she’s got major attitude.  She chastises Caroline for being two minutes late.  Clearly what she’s upset about is that, as she says herself, she didn’t get to attend the dance that she organized.

And then Caroline does what we all love her for.  She shows Rebekah compassion, telling her she’s sorry about her Mom.  Remarkably, Bex responds by telling Caroline she’s sorry about Ric.

As Rebekah leaves for cleanup in the gym, she encounters Ric in the hall, and clearly, she did NOT expect to see him. When he attacks Bex and is about to stake her, it’s Caroline to the rescue!  Grabbing the stake, she shoves it into Ric’s chest. But when he simply pulls it out, the two blondes take off at vamp speed.

Caroline reaches her car just in time to see Ric behind her in the window.  He breaks her neck, she falls to the ground, we see  a sizzling Ric (no ring to protect him from the sunlight, after all), dragging “Vampire Barbie” back into the school, with Bex watching from the sidelines.

Yep – best opening scene of the series!

Meanwhile, back at Casa de Gilbert, apparently Elena and Jeremy can’t wait to redecorate Ric’s old room.  Elena spreads drop cloths as Jeremy pours more paint.  Stefan shows up to comment on how weird this is, but Elena tells him they’ve got to keep moving.  Someone should tell Elena activity does not mask thoughts and feelings – and burying them is worse than dealing with them.

Not that she’d listen.

Jeremy is confused about Stefan and Elena’s “relationship status” but who isn’t?  Getting no clarity from either of them, he unleashes his frustration with a request – can we please have one day – just one – without any vampires in it?

The doorbell rings, and Stefan finds Damon and Bonnie.  She is bleeding from the neck.  Damon says “We have a problem.”

Back at the Mikaelson manse, Rebekah is telling her brother that Ric just tried to kill her, and thanks to their mother, he’s got a white oak stake that can’t kill him.  And he’s strong – they can’t defeat him.  For now he’s stuck in the school without a daylight ring, but when it’s dark, he will come after them.  She wants to leave – NOW.

Klaus says – sure, I’ll collect Elena and we’ll leave.  But Bex argues he doesn’t need Elena, or any more hybrids.  Klaus counters he needs protection – from their mother. But Rebekah says they can protect each other just like they always have – always and forever. But Klaus won’t leave without Elena.  So Bex tells him he either leaves with her now, or he is on his own.  When he makes no move to go, she stabs him one more time.

“Fine.  Choose your hybrids over your family.”

She storms out, crashing into Tyler on her way.

Back at the Gilberts, Bonnie is explaining that the witches took control of her while she was sleeping because they wanted Ric to turn.  Damon is annoyed with himself for alloying his friend Ric to “die with dignity” instead of just killing him.

So what are they going to do now?

Bonnie explains that a witch can’t really make an immortal creature – there is always a loophole.  Problem is, she doesn’t know what that workaround is in this particular case.

Upstairs, Elena’s phone rings.  She sees it is an incoming call from Ric – and when she answers it, she’s angry, thinking it is a prankster.  But Ric is on the other end.  He tells her he’s got Caroline at the school and if Elena wants to keep her alive, she needs to get to the school right away.  And don’t tell anyone, or Ric will kill Caroline.

Caroline is looking really bad – tied to a chair, with a rope in her mouth, face bleeding, and palms down on the desk with pencils driven through them – right, just like a crucifixion!

Back downstairs, the doorbell rings and Jeremy answers the door.  It’s Klaus on the other side – and Jeremy is not happy to see him (“What the hell are you doing here?”  GO JEREMY!) Stefan shows up at his side.  Klaus has never been invited into Casa Gilbert.  Stefan tells Jeremy to go to his room (and again, the look Jeremy gives him is priceless – like “Screw you, what am I – 5?”) and Damon comes up from behind and says “Now”.  Jeremy, recognizing he’s dealing with 3 vampires, reluctantly leaves.

When Klaus announces he’s leaving town, just needs to pick up the doppelganger, Damon shuts the door in his face!

The brothers are off looking for Elena, while Klaus paces outside, anxiously trying to find a way in, or get the occupants out! Taking a page out of Brother Elijah’s book, his weapon of choice is not a handful of coins, but a rolled newspaper.  He hurls it through the window – breaking the glass and the plantation shutters!

At the school, Caroline can hear Elena approaching.  And Elena can hear Caroline.  When she arrives at Ric’s classroom, Ric tells her to free Caroline herself.  (Matt Davis looks deliciously blasé and malevolent.) As Elena attempts to remove one of the pencils, Alaric grabs it from behind.

Klaus spies his next weapon – a child’s rubber ball, abandoned in a neighbor’s yard.  As Stefan, Damon, Bonnie and Jeremy discover that Elena’s car is gone, the ball breaks through the front door – and right behind it is Klaus with a supply of – I don’t know – pickets?  From the picket fence of the same neighbor’s yard.  He starts hurling them like darts!

Damon ducks – then springs back up shouting “missed me” and grabbing the weapon out of the wall to hurl right back at Klaus.  GO DAMON!  Next one is over his head – and he shouts “Missed me again”!  Gotta’ love Damon! In the midst of all this, Stefan gets a call – from Alaric.

As Klaus approaches with a propane tank and a lit newspaper, Stefan comes outside and tells him to put it out.

And Klaus counters with “Come outside and make me.”

That may have been the best line of the show.  It demonstrates so clearly that no matter how big or bad a villain Klaus may appear, inside he’s just a frightened and angry kid who didn’t get enough love and wants to appear invulnerable to pain so no one will hurt him.

Stefan informs Klaus that Ric has Elena and Caroline and unless Klaus turns himself over, Ric will kill them both.

Klaus wants to make sure he’s not being set up – but Stefan reminds him that if he dies, they all may die – and certainly Tyler will die, while Damon is willing to gamble with those odds (as always).

As “the boys” negotiate, Bonnie joins them – with an idea. She suggests a desiccation spell (like her Mom used on Mikael) but they still need vampire power to take Ric down, including Klaus. He reminds them that if they can’t pull it off before sunset (8 hours from now), he’ll be gone, Elena will be dead, and they will be stuck with Ric.

Back at the school, turns out the ropes around Caroline’s mouth are vervain-soaked.  Ouch. Alaric explains that the torture is designed as incentive for Elena to put Caroline out of her misery.  Ric taught her how to hunt vampires but she’s never actually staked one.

Back at Casa Salvatore, Bonnie and Damon wait for Abby to arrive.  As Abby shows up, Stefan and Klaus are at the school.  Stefan says he’d leave with Klaus if it meant protecting Elena – and Klaus appears to be a Stelena shipper, saying Stefan is her better option. But Stefan makes it clear all the trouble Klaus has gone to – trying to put a wedge between them – has only made them closer.  They have survived worse – they will survive him.

Abby has no trouble walking through the Salvatore threshold, and Damon explains that sure enough, when Elena died, the seal broke.  Abby refuses the blood Damon offers, and then tells her mother that she wants to desiccate Ric the way Abby did Mikael.  Abby warns her that the spell is dangerous.  Bonnie’s magic comes from the earth, and is pure.  The desiccation spell uses Dark Magic.  Abby doesn’t think Bonnie can handle it.

But Bonnie tells Abby she doesn’t know her – or what she can handle.  And Damon backs Bonnie up! (Remember, Damon has personal experience with Bonnie and exactly how far she is willing – and able – to go in the magic department.  This is really nice to see.)  Abby informs them that the spell involved stopping the vampire’s heart – but to do that, you need to find a balance among the living.

In order to do the spell, Bonnie will have to stop a human heart. (Which begs the question, who’s heart did Abby stop to desiccate Mikael?)

But in this case, the sacrificial human is….Jeremy.  He is convinced he’s the perfect choice because Elena’s his sister.  He will fight for her.  Damon wants Jeremy’s lifesaving ring – Jeremy has already used up to of his lives, and if Bonnie can’t restart his heart, Damon fears they will have a Ric Jr. to deal with.

Stefan and Klaus arrive.  Bonnie tells them to drink her blood (which she is conveniently carrying in a little bottle) so they will all be linked. Then one of them will have to make a physical connection to his bloodstream – a vein or an artery. Two of them hold Ric down, the other takes his best shot at the “contact point”.

Before they execute their plan, Klaus reveals that he’s responsible for their bloodline – and Tyler’s.  No way to know if he’s telling the truth or buying insurance. But why didn’t Rose know this? Damon points out the fact that Klaus may be lying – and he dares them to call his bluff.

Inside the school, Ric and Elena are locked in a debate over right and wrong.  He tells her if she doesn’t side with the humans, she’s as bad as the vampires – and she needs to kill Caroline, or Ric will and he will make it hurt.

When Elena takes a shot at him with the stake, he grabs her arm, and she counters by heaving the beaker of vervain in Ric’s face!  GO ELENA! As he writhes in pain, Elena frees Caroline and tells her to get help.  Elena knows she can’t outrun Ric!  Sure enough, Caroline escapes but Ric blocks Elena.

And Caroline runs straight into Klaus, who tells her to go home and stay there.  That’s twice he’s saved her life!  This is NOT a guy I’d want to be obligated to.

Ric is roughing up Elena, and eventually she asks him why he doesn’t just kill her.

Stefan and Damon grab Ric from behind – but he’s too strong – he knocks Stefan out and breaks Damon’s neck. But Klaus is able to make contact with Ric’s heart – and Bonnie is gibber-gabbering in the woods over Jeremy’s body.  But Klaus can’t hold the connection, and Ric grabs the stake.

But before he can put Klaus away, Elena grabs something sharp and threatens to cut her throat.  She’s figured it out!  If she dies, Ric will die.  That’s why he can’t kill her.  They are linked via her blood – the blood Esther used in the spell to turn him into the invincible vampire hunter.

Ric tells her she’s wrong – and she calls his bluff and starts to cut her own throat.  GO ELENA!

Ric’s concentration is broken, and Klaus is able to get away.  So does Elena.

But apparently Klaus grabbed Elena outside because now she’s at his place, with a needle in her arm, being drained of all her blood.  Now that Klaus knows if she dies, Ric dies, he’s going to take her blood until she’s dead.  Tyler walks in – and now he’s in the throes of a dilemma.  He can’t help Elena without giving himself away.

Meanwhile, the Salvatore brothers awaken to find Alaric standing over them. He tells them Klaus is killing Elena to kill him so they’d better go do what they do best – save Elena’s life.

Klaus lies to Elena – using Stefan’s argument to him earlier.  He tells Elena he doesn’t need his hybrids so much anymore because in trying to kill them, his mother just strengthened the bonds with his siblings. But Elena sees the faulty logic – if that were really true, Klaus wouldn’t need her blood at all.  He wants a back-up family. Klaus fight back – telling Elena that she knows once she picks a brother, the Salvatore bond will be broken.  He’s saving her from having to make the choice – but he wants to know who she would have picked.  She practically spits in his face.  He leaves.

Tyler returns to help her. Tyler informs him he transformed into a werewolf 100 times because of his love for Caroline – which is stronger than any sire bond.  Not that Klaus would understand that. And by the way, Klaus doesn’t give a crap about Tyler or any of his hybrids – he just doesn’t want to be alone.  As Tyler goes to help Elena, Klaus grabs her and shoves her – she falls and hits her head on the sharp end of a table – she’s out!

Tyler and Klaus are locked in a fight – when the Salvatore boys show up.  Stefan establishes contact – and since they are linked, Bonnie gets a signal – not knowing it’s Klaus and not Alaric on the other end.  As she chants, Klaus is looking worse and worse.

And actually, the look on his face as he sinks deeper and deeper into desiccation – it’s heartbreaking.  Especially when he looks at Stefan.  Bonnie revives Jeremy, and Klaus is done.  And it’s brilliant.  If he did create their bloodline, they are rid of him without killing him and hurting themselves.  But Stefan reminds them they still have Ric to deal with.

The brothers take Elena home.  She’s feeling secure – Ric can’t hurt her, day or night.  The brothers are about to go on a road trip to dispose of Klaus’ body – in the Atlantic.  But before they go, Elena explains that she can’t make a choice because she’s afraid of losing the brother she doesn’t choose – and she’s lost too many people already.

As the brothers leave, Elena finds all her friends in her kitchen – celebrating.  As great as the group scene was last week – the Ric “funeral” scene – this scene is totally dumb.  They Caroline, Bonnie, Tyler, Jeremy and Matt all look happy, energetic and giddy – just the way you’d look after a day of torture and spells and fights to the death.  Yeah – right.  Worst scene of the episode.

Liz Forbes shows up at the Lockwood house for an emergency council meeting – called by Ric!  Who “outs” the Forbes and Lockwood children!  And just who the hell are all these people – and where’s Meredith????  Then Ric vamps to the door to block the Sheriff’s exit.  Shock – horror!

Now what?

On their road trip to the Atlantic, Damon’s cracking jokes and celebrating. Stefan admits that 150 years down the road, they make a good team.  But what happens when Elena makes a decision? Stefan says if she chooses Damon, he will leave town.  Damon is philosophical – in 60 years – it will be over and they will go back to being brothers – and he agrees to the same terms on his side.  Although it’s a lot for one girl, they both agree she’s very special.

The special girl, meanwhile, is back to painting – but clearly she is suffering from effects of the blood draw – or the crack on the head – or both.  Elena falls unconscious to the floor and blood drips from her nose.

Did anyone take her to the hospital to have her checked out?

Season 3 finale next week.

Have we seen the last of Klaus?

Will we see Elijah?

Who will Elena chose?

Will Elena chose at all?

And what’s Ric’s next move?

Episode 3.20 TVD – “Do Not Go Gentle”

There are good shows, and bad shows.  There are funny shows, and sad shows.

But the best shows are the ones where the writing and acting and production all come together in a way that touches the heart.

And no show does that better than “The Vampire Diaries”.

“Do Not Go Gentle” was one of those episodes that had me crying, more than once, because it pulled at my heart strings.  One of the hallmarks of any good story is that you care about the people in it.  You come to know them in a strange way.  And when something terrible happens to them, it hurts.

The episode opens with Klaus expressing his artistic side – in oil.  A very angry picture – in black.  Reflective of his state of mind, no doubt.  Enter Esther – in the body of Bex – holding the “last of the white oak stakes that can kill us”.  Klaus takes it from her and throws it into the fire, with a satisfied grin. Then he tells her to pack her bags because they’re leaving – today – Klaus, Bex and the doppelganger, Elena.

Esther reminds him she’s the head of the dance committee – and when he says he’s not going to a dance – she also reminds him that Caroline will be there.  Esther knows her son.  He agrees to a last hurrah.

Damon’s on the phone with Ric – Becca’s got the stake (it’s not at Ric’s), and he wants to get out of town because he keeps blacking out.  After hanging up, we see that Esther and Ric are alone with the Original family coffins.  And it’s actually “bad” Ric who was on the phone with Damon – who he says is too arrogant to believe his best friend would betray him.  Esther says Klaus – too – is unable to refuse his little sister, unaware he is headed to his own death.

Bex opens a coffin and inside is Esther’s body.  It seems if Ric will take the dagger she’s dipped in the white oak ash, and stab Bex with it, Bex will be “dead” and Esther can be revived in her own body.

So naturally, that’s what he does.

(The plot thickens and I have to take notes to keep up.)

At the high school gym, Elena is helping Caroline decorate for the dance.  Matt and Jeremy are working together hanging stars – Elena has asked Matt to please help Jeremy readjust.  A new bromance?  Matt’s helped get Jeremy his old grill job back.  Elena says Jeremy’s having a hard time with the Ric situation – but Caroline suggests his problem might be witnessing her dalliance with Damon.

Caroline also tells her that Bonnie asked Jamie to the dance as her date.  Caroline suggests Elena ask Stefan – and tells her he is her “epic” love. Clearly, Caroline is biased, and Elena calls her on it.  Caroline is on Stefan’s side because he was good to her when she turned – a real friend.  Damon, on the other hand…well, we all know how Damon treated Caroline when he first came to town.

So Caroline is a Stelena shipper, and she convinces Elena to ask Stefan to the dance.  And he agrees.  Damon overhears the conversation and makes a few, choice snarky remarks, obviously peeved at Elena’s choice of date – and then walks off to meet up with Meredith at the hospital.  He tells her – and shows her – that Alaric has NOT been taking the herbs Bonnie left for him.

Meanwhile – at the cemetery – right in front of the Salvatore family crypt, no less – Esther explains that a long time ago, right on this spot, Klaus literally ripped her heart out.  The violence of her death marked the ground for all time.

They enter the tomb and inside, there is the stake and a chalice (it’s never good when there’s a chalice, especially if it’s sitting inside a tomb).  Esther says she needs Ric’s ring When he asks why he would give up the one thing that can protect him, she says she will give him all the protection he needs.

I’d have trouble with that.  Esther’s behavior has not exactly been trustworthy up to now.

She continues to explain, and again I’m taking notes.  When the last stake is used, it will burn up in the body of its first victim (remember Mikael?).  If he is to be successful in killing all her children, she must bind the protective magic in his ring with the last stake.  This will render the white oak indestructible (or is it re-useable?)

I had to replay this section of the episode 4 times before I got all that.  Complex stuff this Esther is messing with.

Ric hands over his ring (oh no) and Esther drops it into the chalice.  She chants some witchy woo over it and the ring melts.  Then she takes the stake and dips it into the chalice (except now she looks more like a chemist using a mortar and pestle!) and when she raises it, the stake is covered at the large end with liquid ring!  When turned pointed side down, the silver drips down the sides until the stake is coated – and looks like Hermoine Granger’s magic wand!

Esther declares it the ultimate weapon for the ultimate hunter.

Later that evening, Elena is dressed like flapper (looking very much like Katherine back in 1929 – except for the hair) and Stefan arrives to take her to the dance.  There’s a little old-fashioned furtive looking at each other, and off they go.

Bonnie appears to be having a great time with Jamie – and good for her, because lord knows she gets no love and rarely smiles – it’s nice to see (you can hate Tweet me for that if you like!  I don’t care – I like her.  But then, we share a name…).

Matt looks absolutely adorable in a newsboy cap, and he’s really growing on me.  I like that they are making him more and more an integral part of the whole gang, even if he’s just human. Caroline warns Matt not to get caught in the Elena-generated cross-fire.  Tyler arrives – looking like a gangster from Chicago, and Matt is not pleased.

Tyler’s not going to just lay low and let Klaus move in on his girl – even if it’s dangerous.  And he literally sweeps Caroline off her feet, just as Stefan and Elena arrive.  The joint is rockin’ and they join in – but suddenly the music turns soft and romantic.  And the conversation turns serious.

First Stefan says he’s sorry about what happened with Bonnie’s Mom, and Elena suggests that he apologize to Bonnie.  Then she wants to talk about the trip to Denver and what happened between Damon and her.  And Stefan doesn’t want to know.

This is one of the reasons I don’t like Stelena.  No fire.  All in his head, no fire in his heart.  That would NOT excite me, and it’s not exactly interesting to watch it play out on screen either.

Stefan is just honored to be Elena’s date.  All while “You Do Something to Me” plays in the background.  (*** yawn***)

And just as I think I’m going to fall asleep, a wild-eyed Damon appears and says “We three need to talk”, and off they go, with Jeremy close behind.  But he does literally run into Bonnie on the way out.

Out in the hall, Damon is suggesting that they “put Alaric out of his misery” just as Jeremy walks in on them.  He turns and walks back into the dance – like Caroline, Jeremy is not exactly a Damon fan either, for equally good reason.  After all, Damon killed him once!

But Damon’s reasoning is consistent.  He suggests that Elena’s in danger – and we know that any time Elena’s in danger, Damon will do anything to protect her – even if it means killing his best – and only – friend.  Remember his words – “I will always choose you Elena.”  The man is totally devoted to Elena – consistently, no matter who or what.  Elena comes first.

Elena runs after Jeremy, promising him that no one is going to hurt Alaric.  Little does she know…

And who shows up behind her but Esther, telling her if Elena wants to help Alaric, she needs to come with her. Elena instructs Jeremy to get Damon and Stefan – NOW.

“I mean you no harm – but willingly or not, you will come.”  Say what?  Esther is the bomb at speaking out of both sides of her mouth at the same time.

And as they walk off, I’ve seen enough of the ground in the wide shots to notice that there is NO SALT.  But seconds later when Jeremy reappears with Damon and Stefan, suddenly there is a quarry sized amount of salt surrounding the entire school – and keeping Damon and Stefan inside its barrier.

Then there is this whole distracting scene with Bonnie and Jamie – I like them, but I feel this whole thing slows down the action.  It’s actually nice to see Bonnie getting some love from a nice, normal guy – but it’s short-lived, of course, because Damon barges in and beckons Bonnie to follow because “there’s trouble and we need you.”  If I were Bonnie, I’d be so pissed at being yanked around like a toy all the time by these people – but she knows this might involve her friend Elena – to whom she can’t seem to say no.

Meanwhile, out in the cemetery, Esther is apologizing for taking Elena away from the dance but that’s the price of being the doppelganger.  Her blood is a potent binding agent in spells.  Elena begs Esther not to hurt Ric, but when he appears from the crypt, it’s obvious Esther is no threat to him at all.  He’s “bad Ric”.  But there’s something else.

Elena asks Esther what she’s doing and Esther tells her she will remake him – like her children.

Uh oh.  She’s going to turn Ric into Mikael – a vampire who hunts vampires! Elena points out that there’s a danger that Ric could be even worse than her children (who we know she hates).  But Esther is convinced that won’t happen because Ric has embraced his “darkest aspect.”


According to Esther, dark Ric’s hatred of vampires will “become more pure and uncompromising?”  Ah – I get it.  Each vampire has a characteristic that is magnified when they are turned – in bad Ric, this is apparently “vampire hatred”.  Elena claims she can’t be sure of this – she doesn’t know Ric.

But Elena is wrong.  Every time Ric died with that ring on, Esther was there on the other side. She spoke to him and nurtured him. She fed his hatred – vampires took from him – and now he’s going to take from them.

Esther is what has been driving Ric crazy!  Yikes!

Back at the dance, “The Man I Love” is playing as Caroline dances with Tyler, and in walks Klaus – wearing an off-white suit.  Now, this is a bit obvious, no?  Tyler – the good guy – in the black hat, and Klaus – the evil guy – in a white suit?  Really?

Tyler pretends to be compelled to allow Klaus to cut in, and Caroline erupts, asking him why he always has to prove that he’s the alpha male.  Klaus’s response is perfect.

“I don’t have to prove anything, luv – I AM the alpha male.”  Pure Klaus.

Klaus leads her into a dance, and tells her he’s leaving.  He’d ask her to come along, but they both know she’s not ready.  After an intense look, Caroline nearly laughs in his face, and he is crestfallen.  In his anger, he tells her that a small town boy and a small town life won’t be enough for Caroline.  Is that true, or is this Klaus wants to be true? And he leaves. Outside, he is bound by the ring of salt, and asks aloud “What is this?”

Stefan answers… “Your mother’s back.”

Now the part of this that I don’t get is – how did Klaus get into the dance?  No matter!

Somewhere in the high school, Bonnie is chanting Latin over candles yet again.  She is trying to break the salt barrier.  Matt says people are walking right past it – he and Jeremy can leave and save Elena.  Klaus grabs Jamie by the neck and threatens to kill him if Bonnie doesn’t break the spell. Stefan tells Klaus that Bonnie is helping them for the sake of Caroline and Tyler.  If Klaus starts hurting the people Bonnie she loves, she will tell them all to go to hell.

In the Salvatore mausoleum, Elena is arguing with Ric as the other witch, Esther, lights candles and prepares the spell. She forces blood from Elena, and it flows from Elena’s hand into the mortar – or is it a chalice now – because Esther tells Ric to “drink”. Elena begs him not to, but he does.  And when he asks if it’s finished, Esther replies “Not just yet” before plunging the “super stake” into him.

And here is where we start to hear the word choice – over and over.  Funny, but I wrote about that last week.

Bonnie is going to do a locater spell to find Elena.  Damon makes a half-hearted attempt to apologize for turning her mother into a vampire, but says he had no choice.

Elsewhere, Stefan is telling Caroline and Tyler that Matt and Jeremy have gone off alone to save Elena.  Caroline is furious, and Stefan says they had no other choice.

Back at the mausoleum, Elena removes the stake from Alaric’s chest.  Esther tells her he’ll wake soon, and may be his old self for a time.  And if that happens, she can say good-bye before his transition is complete. Elena is angry and tells Esther that this is worse than turning her children into vampires.  But Esther says Alaric will never be what her children became.  When his task is complete, he will die.

Elena asks how that can be; if he is immortal, but Esther tells her that she has granted Ric enough power to complete his task.  When it is complete, and the time is right, he will die.  All Elena needs to know is that when it’s all over, the earth will be rid of vampires once and for all.  Elena says that will kill the good along with the bad.  She tells Esther she’s no better than her son Klaus.

And then Esther tells Elena that Jenna is at peace.  Even as a vampire, Jenna was pure and did not dwell in the place that Esther inhabited on the other side.  Jenna knows a peace that Esther never has.

A noise draws Esther outside, where Matt cocking the trigger of his rifle, and Jeremy with a cross-bow, demand to know where Elena is.  Esther says they are foolish to risk their lives in defense of those who would kill them (what), but if that is their……choice?

And Esther spells Matt and Jeremy to aim at each other! As the struggle not to shoot at each other, Ric emerges from the crypt and stabs Esther with the “ultimate weapon”.   It’s “good Ric” and he has no idea what’s happened!

Klaus tries to blame everything on Stefan. Then he tries to re-engender their friendship – which never really was a friendship.  Damon breaks in – and Klaus wonders what will happen to the unshakeable bond of brotherhood the Salvatore’s have when Elena makes her “choice”.

There it is again – choice.

Bonnie emerges to tell them the spell is broken – Klaus vamps off.  Stefan thanks her, but Bonnie – seemingly unaware that the spell is broken because Esther is “dead” – tells Stefan that she didn’t do it for him.

Back at the crypt, Klaus has taken Esther’s body. Jeremy joins Elena and Ric inside to tell them Damon is outside. Ric tells Jeremy that he is not going to complete the transition – his alter ego is much too dangerous – he can’t let himself turn into a vampire.  Jeremy is angry at Alaric’s “choice”.  He tells Elena and Jeremy to go – Damon will make sure everything happens the way Ric wants it to go.

Ric hugs Jeremy, who leaves.  Elena is full of sorrow and guilt, blaming herself.  But Ric tells her taking care of her and Jeremy is the closest he’s ever come to the life he always wanted.  Elena hugs Ric as Jeremy did, and tears are falling, not just from her eyes, but from viewer’s eyes as well.  Mine included.  My eyes are full of tears as I write this.

As Elena and Ric emerge from the tomb, the gang stands in a tableau of silent solidarity to honor their friend, their teacher, their surrogate parent.  This scene was just exceptional – no speaking, just silence and coming together for a man who arrived in town alone, and leaves surrounded by admiration and love.  We should all have the impact in our lives that Alaric Saltzman had in Mystic Falls.  The look on Rica’s face, the look of a man forcing himself to hold it together, broke my heart into a thousand tiny little pieces.

Back at the Mikael son Mansion, Klaus endangers his sister, and rages at his mother in her coffin.  He is determined that her plan will fail.  She will never destroy him.

Jamie has brought Bonnie home.  He tells her she is amazing – but she says she’d settle for ordinary.  At the Mystic Grill, Matt and Jeremy are knocking back a few, toasting Alaric – and a tear falls from Jeremy’s eye.  He brushes it away, and another falls. Kudos to Steven McQueen – it is not easy to cry and still look like a man.

Elena is trying to clean out Alaric’s classroom – she’s busy distracting herself, trying not to think about the fact that her family keeps dying.  Stefan asks her to come with him.  They go to the gym where Klaus compelled Stefan to turn off his feelings.  But he reminds Elena that she kept telling him it was OK to feel. Our emotions make us human – good or bad.  Elena is feeling alone – but Stefan tells her she has him.

Outside the tomb, Meredith tells Damon – already on his way to getting wasted with booze – that she’s given Ric a sedative.  Damon tells her he offered to snap Rica’s neck but he wouldn’t take him up on the offer.  Meredith thanks him for giving Ric the “choice”.  Damon reflects that lately his own choices have been a bit controversial.  Meredith tells him not to leave Ric alone too long. Damon thinks Ric wants to be alone – but Meredith asks him “Is it really?”

Damon enters the tomb and sits down beside a Ric who is actually looking not so good.

Ric: “Is this the part where you give me a dream, rainbows and rolling green hills?”

Damon: “I was drunk when I told you that.”

Ric, laughing:  “And I said I’d use it against you.”

Damon: “Sorry I killed you…twice.”

Ric: “So I actually have to die to get a real apology out of you?”

Film has a history of fine pairings in brilliant scenes that touch the heart and become classics.  That is how I feel about this scene between Ric and Damon.  It was just perfect.  Brilliant writing incredibly well-played by two fine actors.   It made me cry out loud – sobbing.  And if it didn’t do the same to you, I’m sorry for you.

Esther is haunting Bonnie’s dreams, telling her to finish what Esther started. When Damon exits the tomb, he finds Bonnie – looking somewhat dazed – walking towards him.  She passes him and when he tries to talk to her, she ignores him.  Then she turns and gives him the “mind daggers”.  She enters the tomb with the sleeping Alaric, and stabs herself with the ultimate weapon.  It’s clear now that this is Esther possessing Bonnie. She force feeds Alaric her blood and he turns.

And then he bites into her neck.  It’s ugly – he’s ugly.  He’s the worst vampire I’ve ever seen and he’s got the ultimate stake!  And there are only two episodes to go!

Episode 3.19 TVD – “Heart of Darkness” or “Breaking Over Me”

Right off the bat, you should know that this is not a recap of S3, Ep 19 “Heart of Darkness”.  Only one thing happened in this episode as far as I am concerned, and I will get to that momentarily.

In this episode, the following things also happened:

  • Klaus “killed” Alaric and when he woke up, he convinced Stefan to beat him to a pulp in hopes that his alter-ego would appear and divulge the location of the stake- it worked! (And the arrival of evil Alaric was chilling!)
  • Tyler returns, makes wild love with Caroline, and then has a jealousy attack when he suspects something between Caroline and Klaus.
  • Esther reappears, “dies” and transfers her life force to Rebekah.
  • We still don’t know which blood line Rose came from – Mary Porter turned her and Mary’s dead – thanks to Kol. And we don’t know who turned Mary.

The only other thing that happened is the ONLY thing that happened for me. And for all the “Delena shippers” out there in the TVD “faniverse”.

Damon and Elena make a road trip to Colorado to visit Jeremy, hoping to contact Rose so they can ask her who turned her – to discover the bloodline.  Jeremy has never seen Rose – doesn’t know a thing about her.  So Damon is the conduit through which they are hoping contact will be made.  To facilitate that process, Jeremy asks Damon what Rose was like.

Damon gets a wistful look on his face – and says Rose spent her last day in paradise, soaking up the sun and reminiscing about what it means to be human.  This is not insignificant.   Damon gave her that vision of paradise in “The Descent”.

Damon and Rose understood each other, and that is precisely why he gave her the gift of her humanity on her last day.  This is a bond they shared – they both missed being human.  Elena didn’t realize that – but Jeremy knows it’s true because he’s communicating with Rose.

I do not pretend to understand why so many fans did not like Rose – in fact, there was some downright Rose hatred during her tenure on TVD.  But I loved her.  And I loved her precisely because she was great for Damon.  She was never afraid to challenge him – especially Damon’s emotional life.  She tells Jeremy to tell him “He’s still dripping with sex” because she knows that under all that bravado, Damon is vulnerable.

But she also tells Jeremy that she is rooting for Damon and Elena.  She will explain this later.

The highlight of this episode is the long scene between Elena and Damon right in the middle.  It has moments of tenderness and vulnerability and incredible sexual tension.  Elena watches Damon – and then Damon lies down on the bed next to her.  Elena asks him why he never told her what he did for Rose.  Damon says – interestingly enough – “It wasn’t about you”.

Elena asks “Why don’t you let people see the good in you?”  His answer is revealing.  Damon tells her “When people see good, they expect good, and I don’t want to have to live up to anyone’s expectations.”

There is pain in that statement – because Damon has a long, painful history of not living up to the expectations of people he loves – people he doesn’t want to disappoint.  This particular issue goes back all the way to Damon’s childhood.

Remember his Father, Giuseppe Salvatore – and more importantly – his expectations?  Giuseppe expected his son to go off and fight for the South.  But Damon ultimately did not believe in “the cause”.  And his father never let him forget his disappointment.  Imagine going through life knowing your father is disappointed in you?

Now imagine falling in love, and showing you vulnerable you are – and being used?

This is part of who Damon Salvatore is.  Damon spends a lot of time not showing his vulnerability – and not behaving in a way that will make people who care for him be disappointed in him.  And that includes Elena.

Elena senses the depth of Damon’s feelings, and she is drawn to him – and she turns away.  Knowing that there is a soul under that bravado is making it harder and harder for her to resist the pull of her attraction to Damon Salvatore.

And now – before we continue with “the best scene all season” – a bit of a diversion.

What is that pull that Elena is experiencing?

Well, it’s simple.  It’s the desire to take a risk.  It’s a desire to feel Damon’s passion and match it with her own.

This is important.  We do not know what kind of girl Elena Gilbert was before she lost her parents.  Oh sure, we know that she was sweet, and kind, and she loved her family.  We know she was popular at school.  But who was she at her core?  All we know is who she’s been since she lost her parents.  She hasn’t stopped being sweet, loving, and popular, and she is still deeply attached to family.

But since she lost her parents, Elena has played it safe.  She’s continued to experience loss – and she’s continued to play it safe.

This is the basis of her attraction to Stefan.  Stefan is safe.

Damon is dangerous.

The Salvatore Brothers are two sides of a coin, and they represent two aspects of life.  One side is safe and familiar.  Predictable, stable – what you see is what you get.  Feels good – but it’s not terribly exciting.

The other side is risky and dangerous.  Step outside your comfort zone and who knows what will happen – could be terrible – or it would be wonderful.  But you just don’t know until you take that step.

You can’t steal second if you never take your foot off first base!

Into her world comes Stefan Salvatore.  He saves her life, and unlike her parents, he can never die.  He is safe.  Interestingly enough, he brings all kinds of danger into her life, including Damon – but Elena sticks with Stefan.

But I think that Elena has slowly started to realize that being safe has not stopped any of the bad things that are happening to her or her family and friends.  I think she may be re-discovering the young woman she was on her way to becoming before the horrible accident that took her parents and nearly cost her and her brother their lives.

I think Elena is slow realizing she has “the Petrova Fire”.  Elena is strong.  Elena is a risk taker.  Elena has a passion of her own.

Stefan is a nice guy to snuggle up with if all you want to do is sit by the fire and read the classics.  His love is sweet.  And that’s fine, if that is what you want.

But if you want to have a life worth living – a life rich in experiences – a life with fire and passion – give me Damon Salvatore.  Unlike Stefan, who has spent most of his life as a vampire fighting his nature, Damon (thanks to Sage) learned to embrace it.  He still has to deal with “feelings magnified” but he sure takes a big bite out of life…so to speak.

And now, back to “the scene”.

Lost in the confusion of her conflicted emotions, Elena feels herself losing control, and she gets up and leaves the room.  Damon won’t let her off that easily – when he follows her outside, she says “Don’t” and again, Damon presses.  “Why not…Elena?”

And BOOM!  Elena takes a risk. She goes with the emotion of the moment – and you can’t tell me she didn’t enjoy every bit of the consequences!  When passion joins with passion – well, let me tell you that it just doesn’t get any better than that!

And the music was perfection (thank you Chris Mollere).

“And it’s over, And I’m going under, But I’m not giving up! I’m just giving in.”

But then they are interrupted by Jeremy – you know, her brother – the one Damon killed in the first episode of Season 2 – that guy?  Yeah – Jeremy and Elena are both remembering that, and you can see that Elena is wondering “what the hell am I doing?”

And later, Damon asks her this very question.  After Kol has attacked them again, and Elena is bleeding, Damon asks her if she’s OK and she says she’ll be fine.  But then he asks “What are you doing?”  Feigning ignorance, she responds “What do you mean?”

D: This trip, you kissing me. What the hell is this?

E: Stefan thinks that I have feelings for you?

D: Well, do you?

And Elena plays the “I don’t know” card.  Geeze. (Interesting that Caroline played that same card with Tyler regarding Klaus.)

But Damon, to his credit, calls her on it.  Maybe she’s hoping he will screw it up and make the decision for her.  And Elena tells him yes – that’s the behavior she’s kind of counting on because it’s what he does.  He sabotages things.

E: “Every time there’s a bump in the road, you lash out.”

D. “What if I didn’t? What if there was no bump?”

In other words, what if Elena just has to make a choice? Damon tells her this time he’s not going to make it so easy for her.  This time she’s going to have to figure it out for herself.

As Elena, Damon and Jeremy drive back to Mystic Falls, Rose, sitting next to Jeremy in the car, tells him that she knows Jeremy wants to protect his sister, but he’s young and doesn’t see what she sees.

And that is important – Rose brings 500 years of perspective into the situation.  She tells Jeremy…

“It’s not that she makes him a better person – she does – but he changes her too. Damon challenges her. Surprises her.  He makes her question her life – her beliefs.  Stefan is different – his love is pure and he will always be good for her.  Damon is either the best thing for her, or the worst.”

What does that mean exactly?  Whether or not he is the best or worst thing for her depends entirely on Elena!  In Rose’s eyes, is Elena chooses Damon, she will have a best life – if she chooses Stefan, it will just be a good life – and Rose doesn’t think Elena will be satisfied with just a good life!

If you can watch the episode again, check out Jeremy’s face – he’s weighing Rose’s words, and he’s weighing them against the sister he’s known all his life.  Yes, Jeremy knows who Elena was before the accident that killed their parents.   Is he thinking that Stefan is the best man for Elena, or is he considering Damon in a new light, and remembering who his sister used to be?

Our lives reflect out choices.  Will Elena ultimately choose the safety and security of life with Stefan, or will she take a chance and choose a life of adventure, spontaneity and “bumps in the road” with Damon?

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” William Shedd

Episode 3.18 TVD – “The Murder of One” or “Blood Will Out”

Elena drops by with food for Alaric – Damon encounters her at the door.  He takes the food and brushes her off.   Behind the door, Damon, Stefan and Alaric are cutting up the Wickery Bridge sign to make the stakes that will kill Originals.  Alaric has a power saw in his apartment?  Now that is strange.  Stefan critiques Damon’s whittling skills – the stakes needs very sharp points.  The only surprise here is that they could only get 12 stakes from that bridge sign.

Ric wants to turn himself in to Sheriff Forbes but both brothers talk him out of it.  They insist he must be part of the hunting party – and Damon insists that he wear his ring for this dangerous adventure.

Elena finally tells Caroline about Ric – specifically that he killed her father.  Caroline is understandably upset but Elena sort of defends Ric – portraying him as a victim.  None of them (Stefan, Tyler, and Caroline) asked for what they wound up with.  They are joined by Matt but not Bonnie.  Damon and Stefan show up with a bag full of stakes – this is a group project.  They will all have a weapon that can kill Klaus.

Meanwhile, Finn is walking about in a city and is being followed by Klaus.  Finn is not happy to see him.  He’s still got a death wish.  They turn a corner and there’s Rebekah – still on Klaus’ side.  Klaus knocks Finn to the ground.  They are still linked, but Klaus has Bonnie (he mentions a witch, who else could it be?) and he’s going to force her to unlink the siblings.

Back in the woods, Damon and Stefan describe one of a number of scenarios they have concocted to dagger an Original, bringing them all down.  The group likes the plan.  Each has a stake and they are to be on the lookout for any opportunity to take one of the Originals down.  There are 12 stakes – 12 shots – seems like a good plan.

Back at Kasa Klaus (AKA Evander Holyfield’s digs), Finn lands on the foyer floor, and Klaus and Bex tell him they are going to take his blood.  He says he won’t cooperate, but who’s at the top of the gorgeous staircase?  His one true love, Sage!

Kol’s in on this deal too – he’s texting Klaus – who’s got a neat new toy – a smartphone with a stylus – perfect toy for an artist!  Bex tells Klaus she’ll make a blood donation but she has to get after Damon for retribution!  Uh oh.  Nothing like a woman scorned.

Back at Casa Salvatore, Damon is “hiding” the stakes in a wood bin – and Ric is reminding him of the disaster with the moonstone in the soap dish debacle!   They are distracted by a loud noise downstairs, and when Damon goes to investigate, Ric follows – he’s thrown down the stairs by Bex – who is behind Damon when he turns – and she stabs him.  Yep – Bex is really pissed!

Elena is trying to call Bonnie without success.  When she asks Caroline and Matt about it, Matt answers by saying Finn is in the town square.  Caroline turns on her super hearing to listen in on their conversation.  Sage is recalling life in Mystic Falls 900 years ago.  Sage is still in love with him and doesn’t want him to die.  Finn suddenly has something to live for.  Ah, the power of love!

Elena calls Stefan, who warns her not to try anything against Sage, who is 900 years old and very strong.  Stefan then discovers Ric on the stairs, recovering from Bex’s smack down – Stefan tells Elena there may be a problem.

Sure enough, there is.  Bex has incapacitated Damon with a couple of small animal traps – of the kind they use to trap bears, only smaller.  She has shackled him at the wrists and is cutting him with a knife – her plan is to bleed the vervain out of him.

Meanwhile, Bonnie’s trying her best to resist Klaus’ instructions to get on with the spell to unlink the siblings, but as usual, Klaus has a way of “compelling” people when he wants something.  He strikes at Bonnie via Jeremy – turns out Kol’s in Denver keeping an eye on Jer and Klaus is threatening to kill him if Bonnie doesn’t cooperate.

Back at Casa Salvatore, Caroline has a heart-to-heart with Ric about him killing her Dad.  He makes a sincere apology and Caroline – sweetest girl in the world – forgives him.

Stefan meets up with Elena and they argue over which way they should proceed – Elena insists they should rescue Damon – if Stefan were in danger, Damon would blow the plan to help him.  But Stefan is equally insistent that they need to stay on point – their mission is to kill one of the Originals and Finn and Sage are at the Grill right now!  He knows that is what Damon would do – stick with the plan.

Damon is now hallucinating that Elena has come to rescue him.  But it’s not a real hallucination – Bex is in his head “messing with his thoughts”.  Damon taunts her.  Go Damon.  Bonnie hears it!

Go Bonnie.  She resists Klaus again but Klaus uses his powers of persuasion to get her to do his bidding.  He’s got blood samples of all the sibs and bites his hand for his own sample.

In the Grill, Sage is introducing Finn to tequila, and one of her vamps – Troy – walks by.  Sage explains that she turned him because she doesn’t want to be alone in enemy territory.  When Sage asks Matt for two more tequila’s, he spikes them with vervain.

Bonnie is casting the spell to separate the Originals as Sage explains to Finn that she’s turned a lot of people.  Repulsed at first, Finn starts to warm to the idea that living an eternal life might just be fine with Sage.  As they toast to “living life” they realize they are drinking vervain.  They see Stefan leaving – with a smirk on his face.  They follow.

And fall into the trap.  Although Sage is able to disarm Stefan before he has a chance to stake Finn, Elena appears and uses the crossbow to send a stake into Finn’s chest.  He rips it out but not before Matt stakes him in the heart.  Matt and Elena bolt back through the door from which they came – and Stefan runs off.  Sage cries as Finn dies and then bursts into flames.

But Bonnie has completed the spell.  The siblings are no longer joined. Bex and Klaus are fine.  But on her way out, she sees a bloody Damon hanging around in the ballroom.  Klaus tells her to help him, but Bonnie can’t wait to leave.

Thus, the “Murder of One” has not achieved its purpose.

Or has it?

Back at Casa Salvatore, Stefan tells Elena and Caroline he won’t believe killing Finn has worked until he sees Klaus’ dead body.  Bonnie calls Elena and tells her Klaus has Damon and that Klaus is not dead – he forced Bonnie to do the unlinking spell.  Bonnie starts to break down, revealing that Klaus threatened Jeremy and Abby – and when she hangs up, she comes undone.

Stefan starts to leave, with Elena trying to convince him they need a new plan.  He no sooner walks out the door when he is thrown back in – by a furious Sage, who is accompanied by her friend Troy.  But as she attacks Stefan, she is struck down by something, and so is Troy.  At first I thought “well, sure, no one invited them in to Casa Salvatore’s house” but then I remembered Damon did.  So that’s not the deal here.

They both fall dead on the carpeted floor.  As Elena and Caroline try to figure out what happened, Stefan has reasoned it out.

It’s the bloodline – all vampires began from an Original.  The bloodline consists of whoever they turn.  Troy was turned by Sage, Sage by Finn.  Finn’s death brings death to anyone turned by Sage and those she turned.

The full meaning of this turn of events hits them.  If all the Originals die, all vampires go with them!

Stefan shows up to rescue Damon – and he brings the stash of stakes with him to make a bargain with Klaus.  He tells Klaus and Rebecca that Finn is dead.  But he hasn’t brought all the stakes. And Klaus suspects it.  Klaus compels Damon to leave – and Damon tries to free himself from the traps, his flesh ripping away.

Meanwhile, Caroline returns from burial detail to find that Stefan has taken most of the stakes to bargain for Damon.  Elena tells her 3 stakes remain and they need to determine which of the Originals NOT to kill.  Caroline was turned by Damon, Damon and Stefan were turned by Katherine and Katherine was turned by Rose.  If Rose was NOT turned by Klaus, they can kill him.  But that’s not a great plan because as Caroline reasons, Klaus turned Tyler!

Klaus compels the true number of stakes out of Damon and then goes off one of his narcissistic rants!  Rebekah releases Damon and tells Stefan to take Damon as a sign of good faith – she believes Stefan will bring them the remaining stakes.

Alone together, Klaus reveals his disdain for Finn, which riles Rebekah who truly believes in family.  She knows and likely respects but definitely admires the bond between the Salvatores.  A bond she can’t claim with her own brother.   She tells him he has destroyed their family – he counters by saying he wanted a family but they didn’t want him!  Now, they are no longer linked – and it’s apparently every man for himself.  Klaus is leaving when he has the remaining stakes – and he’s taking Elena so he can create a whole new family – one that will have no choice but to be loyal to him.

And he tells Bex that if she chooses to stay, she is just as pathetic as Finn. Klaus is an incredible idiot – Bex is not a girl I’d piss off – especially not with Elijah still alive!

Stefan does a soliloquy about time wasted over Klaus – Elena does her best to convince him he’s a better man for it, but Stefan says Elena is in love with Damon, he dares Elena to admit it – but she admits only that she doesn’t know what she’s feeling.

Meanwhile, Damon shows up at Ric’s to get the last stake – to find that Ric’s alter ego has hidden it!

I chose “Blood Will Out” to summarize my feelings about this episode because it is about bloodlines, but also about character.  Klaus has revealed his true character once again quite plainly to his sister.  He cares about no one but himself.  Whether or not he was driven to this perspective by his father’s treatment of him or not, he is a narcissist and incapable of feelings for anyone else.

This is in stark contrast to every other character in the show, most especially the Salvatores.  But also two other members of Klaus’ own Original family.  Elijah is well known for his moral character – but even Rebekah understands the bond of family, and however selfish she may seem on the surface, this episode was not the first time we’ve seen how important family relationships are to her.

The bloodline mythology is not a complete surprise.  Esther’s plan made this a possibility.  Tracing vampire lineage now becomes an integral part of saving them in the race to find the dagger.

But there is another part of Esther’s plan that I find just as intriguing – make her children human before they are killed.  At some point, this has got to come up again.  Considering Damon’s “secret” (revealed way back in “The Descent” – how much he misses being human), I cannot imagine that this angle won’t make an appearance at some point in the future.

Until then, exploring “vampire genealogy” works for me!

Episode 3.16 TVD – “1912” or “Brotherhood Trumps Romance”

This episode evoked many emotions, none of which live in the “shipper” realm.  This was all about brotherhood and family, with a touch of romance and madness.  I loved it.

The action takes place in flashes between the present and 1912.

1912: The first scene in the episode is a conversation between Zachariah Salvatore and Gerald Forbes, who are discussing the recent murder of a founding family member.  Mr. Salvatore departs and is stabbed en route to his destination.  Another Founder murdered.

2012:  The second scene is in the present – a conversation between Carol Lockwood and Sheriff Liz Forbes.  Carol knows someone’s in jail, but Liz isn’t going to jeopardize the legal process and protects the rights of the accused, even though her ex-husband is one of the victims.  Go Liz!

Alaric wakes up – in the jail cell.  He’s the accused.  Damon arrives to protect his buddy, but Liz tells him to get lost.  There she is all “sheriffy” again, and Damon actually listens to her this time.

Elsewhere, Elena is jogging with Matt following and tells her she can’t run away from her problems.  Ah Matt – the voice of reason.  Matt explains why there is no Bonnie or Caroline in this episode.  Abby is going to transition and they are helping her.  Elena’s feeling guilty – Matt tells her it’s not necessary.  Elena feels guilty any way.  Then there’s a phone call – and Elena’s at the jail.

Damon meets her – Season 1 Damon!  He makes a joke, she doesn’t find it funny.  “I’m mean, you hate me, the earth is back on its axis.”  His squirrel imitation is priceless.

Back at Casa Salvatore, Stefan has a monkey on his back and it’s beating a rhythm on his desk with his ring finger.  Damon cracks a hilarious joke, but the humor is lost on Stefan.  In best Big Brother fashion, Damon determines what Stefan needs and sets a plan in motion to provide – with no expectation of gratitude.  This is the first true hint at the emotional underpinnings of the episode.

1912:  Stefan is attending the funeral of his “nephew” and is surprised to see Damon there.  And he’s genuinely happy.  It’s been 50 years and Stefan has missed his brother.  However, his brother does not appear to have missed him!  Damon behaves as if he’s spent the past 50 years hating Stefan – all the time.  He still resents him for his current fate, AND having to live it out without the love of his life.  But Stefan is undeterred.  He asks Damon to share a drink with him – he’s missed him.  Damon’s response “Sure, why not” has a contemporary feel about it.

2012:  At the Mystic Grill, Rebekah is chatting it up with the Mayor – asking about the town’s trees!  The Mayor tells her most of them were cut down during the 1900’s to make the homes in the town – and the Salvatores owned the mills!  Interesting.   Damon and Stefan are now at the bar as well, and Damon divulges an interesting Salvatore family history tidbit.  Their father, Giuseppe had an illegitimate child, so the bloodline continued.  Stefan mentions Sage and we’re back in…

1912: Damon and Stefan are drinking, getting reacquainted and find themselves in a tent at a boxing match – but the fight is not exactly regulation.  A redhead in scanty dress is beating up a guy!  She knocks him out and looks for more challengers – $100 a pop.  Out of the ring, she challenges Damon by sticking $100 in his pants!

2012:  Elena confronts Meredith, who tells her more than she ever wanted to know about Alaric’s history.  Seems he had an aggressive streak – Isobel had two restraining orders against him. Surprise – Alaric had anger-management issues.

Later, Elena and Matt break into Meredith’s house and discover a secret closet in the closet – she’s a Founder, after all!  They find a box of interesting papers and a Gilbert journal just as Meredith returns – and catches them red-handed!

Back at the bar, Damon and Rebekah are doing dramatic readings from Stefan’s diary – the subject is Damon, who was joyless and living a largely utilitarian life in 1912.

1912:  Enter Sage.  She suggests he can do more with a woman than feed.  Like an uptight virgin he responds “I’m spoken for”.  What?  Damon has been living a monk’s life for the past 50 years, waiting for Katherine?

2012:  Rebekah interjects that Sage had it on for Finn 900 years ago!  How old is this broad?  And Finn?  Talk about joyless!

Stefan’s jones is growing by the second, and Damon jumps in to get him to admit he’s got a problem (name it and claim it!). You can’t fight a problem if you won’t admit it’s there.  Good man, Damon.

At the jail, Matt and Elena are getting quite a dressing down by Liz, who explains that what they found is not “news” (she’s got a copy of the coroner’s letter changing the medical examiner’s time of death) and she’s just waiting for authentication before she sets Alaric free.  And she lets them go…

…just in time to find Stefan in mid-feed on an innocent stranger.  Damon and Bex have performed an intervention of sorts.  They have served up a passerby, and he’s gorging himself.

To some, this may appear cruel – but I think it is perfect.  Stefan is a vampire, and he needs blood. It’s not like drugs – it’s a food thing.  He needs to eat or he will die.  Stefan confronts his demons, and Damon supports his brother.  And he will stop Stefan when he is in danger of going too far.

This scene was one of my favorites in the episode.  Stefan just gives himself over to the feeding and loses control, and is then shocked by his own behavior.  Damon, recognizing the depth of his problem, intervenes to keep him from going too far.  Elena is shocked, scared and surprised – and is on the outside looking in for a change.

And Matt, perfect at every turn in this episode, says “Elena, let’s just go.”  I love Matt.

Stefan, horrified by the fact that Elena has just witnessed him at his (nearly) worst, quickly makes his exit, hanging his head in shame.

At the Gilbert House, Elena and Matt have a fairly normal conversation for two people who have just witnessed a bloody vampire feeding.  This was another favorite scene.

Elena reveals something that – in retrospect – makes a great deal of sense.  When she first met Stefan, shortly after the death of her parents, she felt safe because she knew he’d never die – like her parents did.  She is reflecting on her feelings at the time from her now more mature perspective.

As for Damon, she admits he just got under her skin and she can’t shake him.  Matt says “Once you fall in love with someone, I don’t know if you can ever shake them.”  Elena doesn’t disagree.  In so many words – or lack – she is acknowledging her love for both Salvatore brothers.

And Matt, in his quiet and sensitive way, is admitting he still loves Elena!  As such, he delivers to her a copy of the journal they found in Meredith’s secret closet.  As Matt explains, he was able to sneak it out of the Sheriff’s office because in a town filled with supernaturals, the “normal” folks are invisible,

Alaric arrives, and Elena welcomes him.

Back at Casa Salvatore, my favorite scene of the episode unfolds.  Damon is gentle with Stefan when he says “I know it may not seem like it, but you did really well tonight.”  Simple, straightforward, snark-free words of encouragement from a big brother to a little brother.  Can’t you just see these guys as kids, Damon teaching Stefan to ride a two wheeler, Stefan falling off, Damon offering encouragement?  Priceless.

Stefan reminds him that Elena is between them.  He’s sure Damon is helping Stefan out of guilt.  He can’t believe Damon cares about him because he doesn’t feel worthy.  We saw the same thing with Elena.  Stefan is feeling ashamed and unworthy of anyone’s understanding and compassion.

1912: Damon, encouraged by Sage to acquire his swagger, convinces his brother to try drinking human blood again.  Damon says “Let the past be the past” and Stefan interprets it to mean his brother has forgiven him for “turning” him.  We know how Stefan felt – he turned Damon because he didn’t want to face his life as a vampire without his brother.

So, Stefan goes for it. And, to Damon’s horror, he goes too far, all the way back to his original ripper origins.  After ripping off Marianna Lockwood’s head, he feels immediate remorse and tries to put her back together again. When that won’t work, he blames Damon and runs off.

Lots of blame flying all over the place – Damon blaming Stefan for making him complete his transition, Stefan blaming Damon for turning him back into a Ripper.

And lots of guilt as well.

2012:  Damon reveals “I watched you go over the edge and I didn’t do anything to stop you.”  So while Stefan became the Ripper of Monterey, Damon built of a boatload of guilt.

And now?

Damon: Whenever you go too far I will be there to pull you back. Every second. Every day until you don’t need me.
Stefan: Why?
Damon: Because right now, you’re all I got.

This is one of my all-time favorite moments of the series.  As much as I love a good love story, there is nothing like the emotional pull of family ties.  Every scene between the Brothers Salvatore in this episode was pitch-perfect, touching, and true.

Later, Damon is playing the piano (really?) when Stefan brings him a rather large book with information about the possible identity of the killer in 1912.  It seems that Samantha Gilbert went insane, but not before she confessed to the killings in 1912.  She was committed to an asylum and the Founders kept her secret.  Damon is surprised by this, because he’s sure he killer her.  Ah – she had a Gilbert ring.  All evidence points to her ring being the source of her insanity.  There were two rings – and two people who wore them went nuts – the original Jonathan Gilbert and his granddaughter, Samantha.  Now, Jeremy has one, and the other is on Alaric’s finger.

Back at Elena’s house, Meredith arrives with the same information.  She convinced that Alaric’s ring has been driving him crazy.  Either the ring itself makes it wearer crazy, or the process of dying and coming back to life does.

Elena, who’s been reading Samantha Gilbert’s journal, comes down the stairs and announces that she agrees with the good doctor.

This is not good news for Alaric, or Jeremy, who is wearing the other Gilbert ring!

Episode 3.15 TVD – “All My Children” or “Be Careful What You Wish For”

After last week’s episode, this episode was set below the usual level of intensity I’ve come to expect from TVD.

The low points:

  1. Alaric is (presumably) killed – again.  How many times can his character come back from the dead?  This is getting too predictable.
  2. Elena is in danger and everyone puts themselves at risk for her – again.  As with Alaric, this is getting tiring.  I understand that her dilemma was central to the theme of tonight’s episode but I’m getting tired of everyone having to take a back to seat to Elena and her needs.
  3. The witchcraft “loophole” seemed highly contrived and lacked an emotional pull.

The high points:

  1. Every time the Salvatore Brothers were on screen together.
  2. Caroline playing hard to get with Klaus!
  3. The idea that there is a “descendant” of the original white oak ash tree that endangers “the Originals”.  New mythology!

But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

The story picks up the morning after the Mikaelson’s ball.  Elena wakes and calls Stefan, who ignores her.  Stefan is writing in his diary – in the most gorgeous handwriting I’ve ever seen.  This is schmaltzy – even his penmanship is “poetic”.   (Note:  I am not a Stefan fan.)

Elena then tries calling Damon – he answers but he’s reserved with her – and she actually snaps at him.  She actually tells him if he’s mad at her (if?) he needs to get over it!  Really?  I do not like Elena at all.  And this is unsettling because she’s supposed to be the sweet, loving heroine that everyone cares about.  How can anyone care about the selfish bitch in this scene?  This rather spoiled the rest of the episode for me considering that it is centered on protecting Elena (again)!

Anyway, Damon tells her flat out he’s over it – and rolls over in bed with Rebekah.  Elena arrives at his door to find him escorting Rebekah to it “the morning after”.  Elena is shocked – and my reaction was “good”.  Hope that hurt your feelings as much as you hurt Damon’s.  (Note: I AM a Damon fan.)

However, I am neither a Delena nor a Stelena “shipper” for reasons I’ll make clear a bit later.

Bex leaves and Elena tells Damon all about how badly she feels that Esther’s true plan is to kill all her children, and that includes Elijah!  Why Damon should care about this, I have no idea.  Both he and Damon don’t care if Elijah is “collateral damage” as long as Klaus is killed.   (Note:  I love Elijah – Daniel Gillies’ portrayal of this character is one of the highlights of the show and I would not be happy to see him leave.)

One of the best scenes of this episode occurs next, when Rebekah returns home, Kol calls her a strumpet, and Klaus makes a charming, knowing smirk as he sits by the fire sketching.  The scene was as charming as a Norman Rockwell family portrait.

Meanwhile, at Caroline’s house, Bonnie tries to recreate Esther’s privacy spell with sage as Caroline listens outside her bedroom door.  Bonnie is informing Elena that she and Abby met with Esther that morning (because, after all, neither of them was invited to “the ball” .)  Not sure why this (technically) first meeting was off camera, but so be it.  It appears that Bonnie is complying with Esther’s plan.    We are left to believe it’s all OK because ultimately it will mean the end of Klaus.

The next scene is the first of three with the Salvatore Brothers.  Damon wants to celebrate.  Stefan is cautious.  Both brothers appears to be making the case that Elena is better off without either one of them, but it looks like the scene was really there to show us that Stefan is fighting his impulses to feed on human blood.  One of the contrived moments I alluded to.  Basically, it concludes with Damon saying “I’m OK with neither one of us getting Elena but we need to make sure she doesn’t screw up Esther’s plan.”

Elena meets up with Elijah.  He tells her that Elena reminds him of qualities he valued before he became a vampire.  It’s not her nature to be deceitful – but he knows she lied to him and she’s lying now – because he has a built-in lie detector – he can hear her heartbeat.  But we did get some history in this scene.  The high school was built on an Indian burial ground and the town square was once a field where horses grazed.  He leads Elena to a cavern – one of many the Original Family used to hide in during the full moons of a thousand years ago.  There are tunnels running under them – and as soon as he discovers Esther’s true plan – he punches a hole in the earth and jumps in with Elena.

Damon and Ric have a short conversation about Elena’s guilt and Elijah’s dilemma, but Ric is distracted by Meredith.  Unfortunately, Klaus and Kol (who is looking for some action and enlisted Klaus to help him find some) show up at the bar.  This is going to be trouble for someone.

Bonnie and Abby meet Esther (and the colorless Finn) at the old witch house.  Esther claims she’s an admirer of Bonnie – who fought Klaus bravely; and Abby, who put Mikael into the deep sleep.  She is using the power of the entire line of Bennett witches.  Anaya Bennett was her mentor and good friend and Esther now needs the power of the entire line – living and dead – including a mother and daughter.

Elijah lets Damon and Stefan know that at 9:07 the moon will be full and Esther will have the power she needs to complete her spell.  If they do not kill either Bonnie or Abby by 9:06, Elena (who is stuck in the tunnels with Rebekah guarding her) will die.

But Damon has a “less diabolical plan”.  Dagger Elijah. One goes down, they all go down – witches live, Elena’s safe – problem solved.  Get Ric and Caroline to help.

As this turn of events is unfolding, Elena and Rebekah are locked in psychological combat.  Back at the grill, Caroline has been enlisted to use her prodigious charms to distract Klaus – who follows her outside like a homeless puppy after she rejects him inside the bar. Outside, one of the best scenes ever in this show occurs – Klaus going after Caroline and trying to worm his way into her heart.  He’s all “tell me about yourself – your hopes and dreams” and it’s sweet and charming.  Joseph Morgan is fabulous as the pursuer – and Candice Accola is his equal in every way.  (Note:  As much as I love these scenes, I know Klaus is ultimately going to cause Caroline great pain and I just want her to stay away from him because I LOVE CAROLINE FORBES!)

Now we hear “The Plan”.  Esther is planning to harness the Bennett power and the power of the full moon to turn her children into humans again, and once human again her brave Finn (who hates what he is and is as “dull as dishwater” – to coin a phrase) will sacrifice himself.  Once he dies, they all die.

Now, I have major problems with this – all because of that “suspension of dis-belief” thing.  Wouldn’t these humans be over 1000 years old and fall dead immediately?  And if they are dead, how’s Bex gonna’ kill Elena in the cave?

I am so confused.

Back at the bar, Kol is trying to ingratiate himself (in a way) with Meredith, and Ric gets pissed.  So pissed, he daggers little Kol. The family members are linked, and Rebekah and Finn are affected immediately.  Elena uses the opportunity to try to escape.  Klaus feels something and accuses Caroline of doing something – which clearly she hasn’t.  He takes off and finds the Brothers Salvatore and Ric dragging Kol out of the bar.  He removes the dagger and Kol, Rebekah and Finn are fine once again.  Klaus threatens to kill Damon (who steps right up to volunteer) but Elijah stops him by threatening to call Bex to kill Elena.

Elena, meanwhile, has escaped into the area of the cavern where Esther’s coffin sits – and where vampires cannot enter.  I thought this was pretty smart – until I saw Rebekah counter this move by splashing gasoline all over the cavern and Elena.  Touché!

As Stefan and Damon drive to the abandoned witch house, Damon stops the car.  They are preparing for what comes next.  They don’t know that Abby and Bonnie are at the house, but it’s a calculated risk.  If they don’t take action, Esther completes the spell, Klaus and the others die, Stefan gets his revenge, and Elena is collateral damage.  They both know she would die to save her friends.  Damon says “she’ll hate us” but only the one who does the actual deed.  I am reminded of how he previously said that he was prepared to have Elena hate him as long as she was safe.  Now he wants to toss a coin to determine who will do whatever needs doing.  We don’t see who “won” the toss – but to me, it seems fairly obvious.

Back at the cavern, the psychological warfare continues, with Elena telling Bex she won’t kill her because that would be too easy and not as much fun in terms of revenge.

Elijah, Klaus and Kol arrive at the sight of the ritual (which involves a pentagram and a ring of fire) and when confronted Esther reveals that she’s been forced to watch the murderous exploits of her children for a thousand years – forced to endure the pain of their victims.

Stefan and Damon have arrived at the witch’s house – Stefan confronts Bonnie, while Damon turns Abby, forcing his blood into her mouth and breaking her neck!  So now Abby is not a witch, the Bennett blood line is broken, and Esther’s spell goes all to hell.  Finn grabs her and they run off at vamp speed.

Turning Abby was one of those moments that didn’t work for me.  First, this was not great as loopholes go – makes me wonder why Esther didn’t turn herself into a vampire when she turned the rest of her family.  Also, although I’m glad it was Abby who was turned and not Bonnie, emotionally it left me flat.  I don’t know enough about Abby to be sad, and I haven’t seen anything develop between Abby and Bonnie (yet) that would make me care for Bonnie’s sake. So the whole thing just seems a little too convenient.

I actually do have sympathy for Bonnie but I don’t agree that “Bonnie is always the one who gets hurt”.  It seems to me that everyone on the show has had major hurt and grief.  Now it’s Bonnie’s turn – again.

The final brother’s scene is pretty much perfect for me.  Stefan knows he lost the coin toss and it should have been him who killed Abby.  Damon is honest – he knows that Stefan wants to be the old Stefan again.  Stefan is still lying to himself – saying that part of him is gone for good.  But Damon calls him on it.  How long since you’ve had human blood.  And Stefan confesses he hasn’t touched blood since the night he threatened to drive Elena off Wickery Bridge.

This is all about how much Damon loves his brother.  Stefan reminds Damon that he (Damon) still loves Elena.  And Damon admits that he does.  But he tried to win Elena fair and square and it didn’t work.  “It’s for the best.  I’m better at being the bad guy any way.”

And at this juncture, we appear to have come full circle.  Damon is back to being the “bad” (but charming) Damon – and Stefan is getting close to being back to what he wants to be.  It just seems to me that Damon has learned more from his time in this “role reversal” arc than Stefan has – but I could be wrong.  Anyway, I loved this scene and it was the best scene in the entire episode.

After Elijah waxes poetically about how “Mother turned us into vampires – but we turned ourselves into monsters” – he leaves, along with Kol.  That leaves Rebekah with Klaus – and she forgives him because he’s the only one who’s stuck by her for the 1000 years – and not only that, she shares the little video she took of what were to be Elena’s final moments in the cave.  Behind her are pictures of a white oak – 300 years after they burned it to the ground!  Uh oh.  Someone can use that to create weapons to kill them.

In the final scene, Ric discovers murder investigation files at Meredith’s house – and she shoots him! (Or so we are led to believe.  Maybe he ducked!)