Welcome back to Mystic Falls after an annoyingly long hiatus, yet in their alternate universe full of ridiculously good-looking living and undead people, very little time has passed. And the stakes are high.
(Sorry about that. I couldn’t help myself.)
There are two plot questions that are driving this episode. Number one: where has Alaric’s Evil Alter Ego (AEAE for short. In my head.) hidden the last white oak stake? Y’know, the only one left in the world that can kill an Original vampireâ€¦ and the one that Klaus, consequently, wants, or he’ll
â€¦wage war, murder people… you know, Klaus stuff.
Number two: whose Original bloodline do Stefan, Damon, and Caroline descend from? Because if they kill the wrong Original with the aforementioned stake – the one they’re descended from – then they will die, too. They were all sired by Katherine, who was sired by Roseâ€¦ but Rose is dead (properly, not just undead) and they don’t know who sired her.
To answer the first question, Alaric is (willingly) locked in the Salvatore basement, supervised by Stefan, waiting for AEAE to take over so Stefan can persuade/torture him into revealing the location of the One Stake to Kill Them All. Stefan is confident; Damon is skeptical:
I like that confidence, Stefan. I don’t share it, but I like it.
When copious amounts of whiskey and classic literature (Moby Dick, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde) fail to produce the desired results, impatient Klaus shows up and breaks Alaric’s neck. This also fails to produce the desired results, and Alaric, self-described “failed hunter/drinking buddy of vampires” takes off his ring and challenges Stefan to really try to kill him:
You’re so weak. Look at you. One of nature’s most hideous creatures and you can’t even get that right.
This, in contrast, really does work, and AEAE tells Stefan the location of the stake (the cave where no vampire can go, because duh! Why didn’t anybody use their brains instead of their fists/teeth) and also helps him realise he must accept his dark side to become a fully actualised blah blah blah.
Rebekah takes AEAE to the cave to get the stake; he wants to negotiate, because he may be single-minded and a serial killer, but he also has a sense of self-preservation and he knows once they have the stake the Originals have no reason not to kill him. Rebekah plays along for, ooo, about thirty seconds – before stepping into the cave herself. Wait, what? Turns out an earlier scene – the one where Matriach and Witch Extraordinaire Esther shows up and dies, clutching Rebekah’s hands, in Klaus’s living room, the one that I wrote â€œtotally pointless!!!â€ about in my episode notes, and yes I should have known better – was actually really freaking important because it turns out Esther is now possessing Rebekah. Did not see that one coming. Does that mean Rebekah’s soul is with Esther’s body, or is it fighting for space with Esther?
For the second question, Damon and Elena fly to Denver to get Jeremy, who is: (a) in danger because Klaus’s brother Kol (note spelling) is following him around; and (b) useful due to his ability to talk to the dead. This is apparently also a way for Elena to figure out her feelings for Damon (with Stefan’s and also Alaric’s approval, not that she needs it) once and for all. Because what’s important here is Stefan’s feelings:
No matter what I go through to get her backâ€¦ none of that matters if she has feelings for somebody else.
Jeremy is delighted to see Elena but not particularly willing to help them out – he’d prefer to spend time with his new baseball buddy – whoops, it’s Kol!
Damon takes Kol out, they repair to a motel, and Rose tells Jeremy the name of her sire (Mary Porter) and where to find her (Kansas) while Elena and Damon make moony eyes at each other and make out outside the motel room.
But Kol is one step ahead of them in Kansas, having already killed Mary Porter, who was â€œsomewhat of an Original groupieâ€ – or at least he would have them believe. Damon also finally twigs that Elena has been kissing him with Stefan’s tacit permission, and is not pleased, but he won’t make her decision for her by fucking up:
This time I’m not gonna make it so easy for you. This time you’re going to have to figure it out for yourself.
To be honest, I’m bored of the seemingly neverending Stefan-Elena-Damon thing. How many times have we heard this conversation in one form or another?
“Stefan thinks that I have feelings for you.”
“I don’t know.”
With Stefan embracing his dark side and Damon showing Elena his good side more and more, there’s less difference between them than there ever was, Damon’s better lines and more toplessness notwithstanding. I rolled my eyes at Rose’s lecture to Jeremy from beyond the grave, too:
It’s not just that she makes him a better person, and she does, but – he changes her too.
I’m much more invested in the Tylorine storyline; Tyler’s back, baby, and he and Caroline get to have hot sex in the Lockwood family dungeons. Tyler is cautiously optimistic that he’s managed to break the sirebond with Klaus, but he won’t know until it’s tested, i.e., Klaus orders him to do something he doesn’t want to do. FORESHADOWING. The mood is dampened somewhat when Caroline fills him in on the story with the stakes – and that Damon will kill Klaus if another vampire was his ancestor, thus killing Tyler too. But with reassurance that Caroline is on board, Tyler is happy until he finds Klaus’s drawing of Caroline back at her place and suddenly decides not to spend the night. Way to over-react to Klaus liking your girlfriend, Tyler. Surely you understand where he’s coming from?
With three episodes left in the season, we have several overlapping and competing factions: the Originals, now infiltrated by the one person who wants them all dead, who has an alliance with the evil alter ego of Alaric; Alaric is pretty much on Team Elena, who is on Team Damon and Stefan, who think Caroline is on their team, but she’s on Team Tyler most of all, who hates Klaus, but may have to ally with him out of necessity. As for Bonnie – who knows? Damon turned her mother into a vampire, Jeremy cheated on her, Klaus has abused her powers so many times, and Esther/Rebekah did too.
Other things: I like that Caroline wasn’t genuinely slutshaming Rebekah, because Caroline is too cool for that. My bet is on Matt to twig that it’s not Rebekah first, by the way, just wanted to put that on record. What is Esther’s plan? She has the stake and can kill herself/Rebekah any time she likes, but she’s more ambitious than that, I think. And where are Elijah and Katherine? I trust neither of them, but especially when we haven’t seen them for weeks.
Screencaps from homeofthenutty.com.