If for some reason you missed watching this episode, or don’t feel like watching it, that’s really no big deal. Though it wasn’t bad by any stretch, it didn’t have any shining moments of true TVD glory (most everyone wore all their clothes! No Caroline or Klaus!). Basically, it was pretty utilitarian and is setting us up for what’s to come.
If you recall, last week ended with Alaric being shot by Dr. Fell. Subsequently, she convinced Liz that Alaric was the serial killer and that she shot him in defense. Naturally, he’s in a holding cell with Liz pissed at him and pretty much everyone else for making her do her job. Damon doesn’t believe it was Alaric and decides to play detective, even (especially) against Liz’s orders not to interfere in the investigation. But he’s a bored vampire, so what are you gonna do?
Elena, who has been spending some QT with Matt these days, finds out about Alaric’s situation. She goes to Dr. Fell, guns ablazing, but the good doctor shuts her down. And really, do we actually know anything about Alaric, this mysterious history teacher vampire hunter that showed up out of nowhere? Apparently not, given that he had a restraining order against him at one point and various assault charges from his past. (But at the same time, how much do we ever know about somebody’s past that we weren’t a part of? It’s kind of weird to think that you should do a criminal record check on new friends is all I’m saying. But maybe when you’re friend is a murder suspect it’s okay?) Anyway, back to the story. Dissatisfied with Dr. Fell’s insinuations, and with the help of Matt, Elena decides to break into Dr. Fell’s place. And of course, since Dr. Fell is a member of the Founding Families, she has a secret hidey hole where they find all sorts of evidence, including a coroner’s report that gives Alaric an alibi. But Dr. Fell returns (from the world’s fastest surgery) and finds them there. She in turn dumps them over to Liz, who gives them a slap on the wrist and informs them that Dr. Fell had already provided the updated report and Alaric was being released. So.
Meanwhile Damon and Stefan are brother-bonding over murder mystery. Stefan is super crankypants because he’s still not drinking human blood and is totally jonesing, though he won’t admit it. They recall a time one hundred years ago in Mystic Falls when another serial killer circulated, offing Founders members. (Because what this episode needs is some random period-costuming. It’s been a while.) Back then, both the Salvatore brothers were full of self-loathing and mutual distrust: Damon was pissed at Stefan for making him a vampire (wah wah), and Stefan was off the human and suffering under the weight of his Stefan-ness. They both ended up in Mystic Falls to attend the funeral of a murdered uncle-cousin and Stefan wanted to try and be friends again with his brother. So they went for a drink. Enter Sage, who I think we can assume basically becomes Damon’s Lexi. Remember Lexi? She was great. I wish she wasn’t dead. Anyway, Sage taught Damon a thing or two about being a vampire. Hey, drinking blood is fun! Damon attempted to pass it on to Stefan, who basically went berserk at the sight of blood and bled the woman Damon offered him so hard, her head fell off. No seriously. Out of all this flashback business we learn that the murders weren’t ever really solved and that Damon was the one who set Stefan off on another Ripper cycle back in the day. And now there’s Sage, who I think we can assume (and the previews for next week’s episode confirm) is going to be making an appearance in present day Mystic Falls.
Through all of this, Rebekah is impinging on brother bonding trying to dig up information on the other magic-tree-whose-wood-can-“kill”-Originals that might still exist somewhere in nearby parts. I like her in these scenes, and her commentary, but she’s really just there to advance some plot down the road.
I knew Sage once. Trashy little thing.
She agrees to help Damon deal with Stefan’s blood problem and they set Stefan up to either have to drink a woman’s blood or watch as Rebekah kills her. So Stefan drinks. And Elena sees. It’s kind of amazing how everyone is everywhere all the time. But wait! By some twisted Damon logic, Damon’s not a jerk and really he just wants to help Stefan get over his shit and stop being controlled by blood. And to do that, he has to drink responsibly and know his limits. Which Damon will help him develop. What a pal! Stefan is more interesting crazed on blood so maybe we’ll just see some of his I-don’t-giva-fuck attitude in the following episodes.
Oh yeah, and then finally, it turns out that Dr. Fell framed Alaric just so that she could get him off because it turns out that he might actually (for realzies) be the serial killer. The magic ring makes its wearer go crazy and kill (self and others), and after reading one of the Gilbert journals, even Elena agrees. So he’s guilty but innocent. (Cops never understand these things.) So that’s awesome.
The best parts of the episode centered around Matt and Elena. Matt is refreshingly normal in a place full of self-serving supes that operate under strange moral codes. My favourite scene is when Matt offers Elena a Gilbert journal he stole from Dr. Fell. He was able to scoop it because no one really pays attention to him, even during a B&E.
Sometimes it pays to be normal. I’m practically invisible.
Does this mean that Matt is going to develop the powers of invisibility and a future of cat burglary? No, probably not, but maybe something is happening between him and Elena. He asks her why she likes the Salvatores and her response, especially about Stefan, is highly revealing. She tells him that she knew he’d never stop loving her, that he’d never die. It’s nice to see the awareness that she’s developed over the years and see the long term effects of the death of her parents. I’m reminded of how great another Matt-heavy episode was, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and I hope this means we are going to see more of him over the next little while. Lastly, I’d like to remind you that Stefan bit a girl’s head off.