As Damon says, “It’s family day at vampire rehab!” and not just for him and Stefan – as Elena winkles a few “Original” family secrets out of Rebekah, thanks to “The Lockwood Diaries,” aka, the carvings under the Lockwood property. Ric is at first pretty puzzled by the drawings, until he finds some names scratched into the rock in some form of Futhark – Niklaus, Elijah, Rebekah and Michael – and we get a brief flashback to Rebekah and Niklaus scratching their names into the rock.
Damon isn’t convinced the carvings will turn out to be useful, given that they (or rather, Katherine) have already found Michael, so Elena goes straight to the source: Rebekah. Rebekah thinks she’s just bluffing, but when Elena mentions both Michael and where he is, Rebekah invites her over to the Salvatore house for a chat – which turns out to be a live fashion show, as Rebekah has compelled five girls to act as models for her possible Homecoming dresses (help us non-USAers out – what is Homecoming, anyway?) and pretends to bite one until Elena picks a dress for her. It’s a minor set-up for Rebekah to remind Elena who is in charge before she spills the beans about the Original family:
You do not threaten me. You will learn what I allow you to learn, is that clear?
Meanwhile, Damon goes to visit Stefan in his handy cell (the same one where Caroline was kept by her father, I think?) and after some typical Salvatore brothers back-and-forth teasing:
Damon: You really have given up.
Stefan: Actually, this is my happy face.
Damon releases Stefan’s chains and lets him go. Elena won’t like this, Damon!
Back in the Salvatore house, with Rebekah rifling through Stefan’s stuff, she tells Elena why their names are written in Virginia a good few hundred years before any Europeans are supposed to have landed on North America.
Her parents, Michael and Esther (all very Biblical names for Northern Europeans; where are the Sigurds and Freyas?), lost their first child to a plague, and a witch, Ayana, told them that across the sea there were no plagues, and they could live in a land where the people were “gifted with speed and strength” i.e.: they were werewolves. So they moved, and the rest of the family – Elijah, Niklaus, Rebekah, and little brother Henrik – were born and brought up at what would become Mystic Falls. They even got on OK with the local werewolves, simply retreating into the caves every full moon. Klaus and Michael already had a difficult relationship – one flashback, which Elena isn’t privy to, shows Michael going ballistic over a sword trick Klaus used on Elijah – but when Klaus and Henrik snuck out of the caves one night to watch the werewolf transformation, and Henrik was killed, Michael went all-out.
He and Esther begged the witch Ayana to perform some magic on the rest of the children to save them from death, but she wouldn’t – so Esther did it herself. She worked magic using a white oak tree in the settlement, Michael stabbed the three remaining children through the heart, and then brought them someone to drink when they woke up (presumably Michael was also transformed at this time, but we aren’t shown that). They were protected, and immortal – but the change had consequences: the burning of sunlight, vervain poisoning, not being able to enter others’ houses – and of course, the irrepressible desire to drink human blood. What a downer.
But somehow, Michael found out that Klaus is half-werewolf and therefore not his son, and even though Esther put the hybrid curse on Klaus in an attempt to make it right, Michael was still so enraged by her betrayal that he killed her. Esther, not Ayana, is “the Original Witch,” and the apparently indestructable necklace is hers. Knowing that the white oak tree is the only thing that can kill them, the three children burned it down, and made an eternal vow of solidarity to each other:
We stick together as one – always and forever
Damon, meanwhile, takes Stefan to a bar where they drink the day away: Damon on whiskey, Stefan on the barmaid. Stefan is enjoying himself, but is not at all convinced by Damon’s attempts at brotherly bonding, and tells him Elena will be angry when she finds out Damon freed him (which of course she does, when she calls Damon to check up on him). Damon is trying to get at why Stefan has given up fighting against Klaus – and it’s not even really because of Elena, it’s because he knows Klaus can’t be killed… which is just when Michael walks in to the bar. Handy, because he knows just how to kill Klaus and is eager to do so, just as soon as he can find him – and he tortures Damon to make Stefan tell.
Stefan, being under Klaus’s compulsion, can’t physically tell Michael where Klaus is, but he does offer to lure him back to Mystic Falls, which is good enough for Michael, who is also happy to kill Stefan if he fails. The brief moment of fraternal concord is shattered by Damon’s explanation for why he is trying to save Stefan from Klaus: Damon owes Stefan his life. Stefan is amused:
Better be careful, brother – your humanity’s showing.
and Damon promptly beats him up.
Rebekah’s revelation that their mother Esther was the Original Witchâ„¢ makes Klaus’s earlier remarks about how much the Original Witch hated him that leetle bit more poignant – until Ric and Bonnie finally decipher the cave drawings fully. They show that it was Klaus, not Michael, who killed Esther – and though Rebekah at first refuses to believe Klaus has been lying to her for a thousand years, it seems that might make more sense than she wants it to.
Elena certainly thinks Rebekah is now on their side (this being all those in favour of killing Klaus). and Damon, likewise, thinks he has brought Stefan round with his promise to help Stefan win freedom from Klaus.
He’s an even bigger dick than ever, except now he’s on our side.
Elena thinks it will be Damon, not her, who will save Stefan, because nothing’s more important than family, she says, as she lies on her bed staring into the eyes of her ex-boyfriend’s brother.
Questions: Jeremy was absent in this episode – are he and Bonnie definitely over? Where’s Katherine? Did Michael kill her? And where’s Tyler? There’s been a disturbing lack of shirtlessness in this episode. And when Elijah wakes up, whose side will he be on?
All screencaps, as usual, via vampirediariesweb.com