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:
- Alaric is (presumably) killed – again. How many times can his character come back from the dead? This is getting too predictable.
- 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.
- The witchcraft “loophole” seemed highly contrived and lacked an emotional pull.
The high points:
- Every time the Salvatore Brothers were on screen together.
- Caroline playing hard to get with Klaus!
- 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!)