This week’s episode starts off well, with Damon in the shower (they got my letters!) and Elena punching the crap out of, well, a punching bag. Kissing Damon and getting him to take away her brother(/cousin)’s free will isn’t sitting well with her, it seems… but that’s the least of her problems in this episode.
Bonnie, Stefan, and Damon have an early–morning meeting at the house where they’re keeping Klaus’s coffins. Bonnie, having gotten there on time, unlike the brothers Salvatore, is trying another spell to open them, but it doesn’t work – and then they suddenly disappear. Enemy in the house! It turns out to be one of Klaus’s hybrid minions, whose heart Damon rips out. Stefan is pissed, but Damon is the one who takes the brute force approach to the coffins, to no avail. They discuss what I’ve been wondering about: who is actually in those coffins? One is Elijah, two are apparently other Original siblings (that we didn’t see in the flashbacks, presumably because they weren’t cast or invented yet), and the other one – the one that is magically locked – is a mystery. And they also discuss strategy: Stefan wants to get Klaus off their backs and call his bluff, while Damon urges caution (kissing Elena seems to induce caution in Salvatores).
Bonnie, meanwhile, has headed off to school to act like a normal teenager, and she and Elena are decorating Caroline’s locker for her birthday, because apparently that’s a thing they do. Elena tells Bonnie that Jeremy is leaving, and why: Bonnie marches straight over to Jeremy to ask him why he hadn’t told her himself. He didn’t think she’d care, apparently (Jeremy, you silly manchild), and she almost slips up and tells him he’s compelled to leave – but doesn’t.
Caroline shows up at school (yay Caroline!) and Tyler is waiting for her. He wants to apologise for trying to have Jeremy killed (on Klaus’s orders), to give her a birthday present (charm bracelet. Bor-ing), and to say smushy things like:
Even though I want to put you first, before anyone, I can’t. I’ll never be able to, and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
Caroline turns right back around and goes home, where she is waylaid by Elena, Bonnie, and Matt (Normal Guyâ„¢ is still with us!) who propose an impromptu party: tequila and s’mores at the falls! But Caroline rejects that, because it’s not really her birthday. She’ll be 17 (“a filler year!”) forever, and she doesn’t want to celebrate. So Elena has a better idea: they move the party to a mausoleum, and have a funeral party for Caroline. (Bonnie lights the cake WITH HER MIND. Handy.)
Stefan has shown up at Klaus’s in-progress house and they trade insults like seven-year-old boys fighting over a treehouse (“I was here first!” etc. etc.). Stefan wants the hybrids out of his (artfully coiffed) hair, and threatens to “lose” one of the coffins, and Klaus threatens Damon in return:
Maybe I’d be willing to lose one brother, if it meant killing yours.
But Stefan, like the noble honey badger, don’t give a shit, and emerges the winner of the pissing contest by decapitating another of the hybrids in front of Klaus. Point: made. Klaus summons Tyler, and orders him to bite Caroline (a bite that would kill her as it nearly killed Damon). Tyler refuses, and Klaus… just lets him go. Hmm.
Damon and Alaric head off to a Council meeting – cunningly disguised as a fundraiser to build a new version of the bridge that Elena’s parents died on – and surprise after surprise… Alaric’s Dr. Fell is there. And so is Klaus. Dr. Fell is on the Founder’s Council, and Klaus is throwing his money around to get Mayor Lockwood on his side: he’s offered “protection” for the town as long as Stefan does nothing to him. Damon tells her what he is, but she seems unperturbed. Stefan shows up and stabs another of the hybrids, but Damon stops him from finishing the job: “No dead hybrids at the Founder’s Party!” but Stefan has a plan and he’s sticking to it:
To beat the villain, Damon – you have to be the better villain.
Alaric disturbs a guy who is yelling at Dr. Fell outside the fundraising party. She tells him that he’s Brian, the medical examiner, and has to be kept on-side as he’s the one who falsifies the town’s autopsy results. No word on why he was yelling at her or insulting her to Alaric, though.
Tyler, elated, turns up at the mausoleum party – which is good because the atmosphere has chilled slightly after Bonnie told Elena she was wrong to have Jeremy compelled, and that she put her need to control things above her brother’s free will, and then left. Tyler and Caroline go outside for some private time, and he tells her that he can defy Klaus when it comes to her – and he loves her. Hurray! Tylorine are back! They start with the kissing (careful now) but when he gets to her neck (careful!!), his teeth break her skin. Turns out he can’t escape the compulsion after all. She yells at him to leave, and he does.
Matt and Elena, still in the mausoleum, are having heart-to-hearts. Matt just wants everyone to be happy “in the crazy lives you’re stuck with” – aww, Matt, that’s not going to happen. Elena admits that Bonnie was right, but she doesn’t see any other way to protect Jeremy from Klaus. Eventually they realise Caroline hasn’t come back and go looking for her – but they get knocked out (Matt) and kidnapped (Elena) by Stefan. Stefan’s humanity is neither on nor off, but “on a dimmer switch” (Damon) and he has the ultimate way to call Klaus’s bluff:
What’s Klaus going to do if he can’t make any more hybrids?
That’s right, he is threatening to make Elena a vampire – which, like Kathryn, would mean her blood couldn’t be used by Klaus to make hybrids. (And also, since unlike Kathryn, Elena hasn’t had any babies as a human, the Doppelganger bloodline would be extinct). Klaus is still thinking he’s bluffing:
That kind of love never dies.
But Damon isn’t at all sure of how far Stefan will go, and tells him so. Stefan calls Klaus and feeds Elena his blood so Klaus can hear – and hear Elena screaming at Stefan to slow down as he approaches the bridge.
Klaus gives in, and Stefan brings the car to a screeching halt on the bridge where Elena’s parents died, and Stefan rescued Elena, way back before the first season started. Elena is understandably a bit upset that Stefan bet her humanity against Klaus, but he is indifferent:
Destroying Klaus is all that’s left. I lost you the minute I left town with him… I don’t really care what you think about me anymore, Elena.
and he drives off and leaves her alone on the bridge.
Matt, conscious once more, has found Caroline in the woods and brought her home: she’s already hallucinating and the bite has spread. Klaus shows up – Tyler asked him to cure Caroline – and he gets the Sheriff to invite him in, in return for her support on the Council. Klaus apologises to Caroline: “You’re what’s known as collateral damage,” and offers to let her die if she’s so unhappy as a vampire. But he tells her being a vampire is freedom, and there’s a whole world of art and music and great cities out there for her, if she wants to live. She does, and drinks from him.
The next day, Caroline wakes up healthy again, and finds a birthday present from Klaus in his lovely runic handwriting: a bracelet (does this girl have a third wrist we can’t see, or something?). Does Klaus now have a soft spot for Caroline or is it all part of his master plan?
Elena, back at home after Damon picked her up the previous night, is preparing to say goodbye to Jeremy. Bonnie also shows up to say goodbye, and again almost tells Jeremy the truth, but doesn’t. Once Jeremy has skipped off to Denver, Elena goes back to the bridge with Matt; she feels like the Elena she should have been died with her parents, and hates feeling like she’s disappointing them and herself. But Matt thinks it’s ok to let that girl go, and they throw flowers into the water as a goodbye to her. Alaric is drowning his post-Jeremy sorrows at the Grill bar – no surprises there – when smiley Dr. Fell shows up. Chuckles! But Damon has been called to a body in the forest by the Sheriff: it’s Brian, the medical examiner and non-vampire, yet whose body has a giant stake through the chest. Murrrderrr!
All right, so votes on Dr. Fell, please: villain or no? Why was Brian killed? Will Jeremy be back or have the writers just got bored of him entirely? Can Jeremy and Matt still see the dead? Will Caroline end up sympathising with Klaus too, and be back on Tyler’s side? And does Stefan really not give a shit about Elena any more?
Screencaps c/o www.vampire-diaries.net and my laptop.