The Vampire Diaries continued to be indescribably awesome this week. Stefan is locked in the vervain'd vamp cell in the Salvatore basement and Damon and Elena have been keeping watch. In the time that's elapsed since the last episode, the vervain has worked it's way out of his system but he's super sullen and broody down there and is refusing to eat even the non-human blood that Damon has so lovingly procured for him. I'm a little bummed that we didn't get a scene of Damon juicing a squirrel in the kitchen, but maybe as an extra on the DVD box set?
Nothing lends itself to reminiscing about what could've, would've, should've been like a sulk so we get a little more information on the history of the Salvatore brothers and how Damon feels responsible for everything awful that's happened since the day Damon vamped. I don't usually enjoy the 1864 flashbacks because Katherine is the least interesting part of this show and also the wigs are deeply atrocious (much like they always were on Spike and Angel back in the day), but this one isn't so bad. Not so coincidentally, hardly any Katherine.
Into the way-back machine we go where we catch up with Damon and Stefan in the woods attempting to rescue Katherine from Pappa Salvatore and Old Timey Johnathan (it really bugs how they spell his name, by the way) Gilbert and the other Founders who are currently rounding up all of the undead citizens of 1864 Mystic Falls. A plan is hatched and just as they've pulled Katherine from the wagon, both brothers are shot dead. Or are they? The two of them wake up with Emily (but not like that) who tells them that the vamps were all toasted in the church and that their choices now are to feed on human blood and become vampires themselves, or not to feed on human blood and die. She also hips them to the rings that Katherine had her make them.
Damon says that since he only ever wanted to be a vampire to spend eternity with Katherine (I've always thought Damon's Katherine obsession merely meant he had bad taste in women but when he puts it that way, I think he's also a masochist), now that Katherine is dead, there's no reason to go on, he'll be letting himself expire. Stefan is also going to take a pass on the blood, but before they die, he wants to see their dad one last time.
When he finds Daddy, the moment is fraught with disappointment for them both. Daddy is pissed that his sons are undead and Stefan is less than pleased to hear that Daddy is the one that shot them. When Daddy attempts to stake his son, Stefan's vamp strength kicks in and in the scuffle that ensues Daddy winds up with a hole in his midsection. Stefan first tries to help Daddy but the sight of all that blood makes him go weak in the knees and before you know it there is the most disturbing scene of him making ecstasy faces while licking his father's blood off his hands. Stefan = vamped!
In the present, things are even more interesting. For example, Anna tells Jeremy that she's now officially enrolled in school because she wants to spend more time with him. Instead of her usual semi-subtle flirting she turns the subtlety off completely and sort of rubs up against him and he isn't on the fence about her anymore either so they start making out. And then later, they have sex. I know it's creepy to say, but I'm totally happy these two are hooking up because not only do they make a cute couple, Jeremy's secret knowledge of the truth is interesting and his character is much more tolerable when he's not pouting and mooning and getting high and crap.
Uncle Johnathan continues to suck in multiple ways. First, when he tells Elena that he knows her boyfriend is a vampire and attempts to lay some guilt down on her by asking what her mother would think of that. "Which one?" inquires E, sparking a little bit of a girl crush on my part. And then when he meets with Pearl at the Grill to discuss getting the mystery invention back. He toys with Pearl by telling her how Old Timey Johnathan loved her and regretted nothing more than having trapped her in the tomb. Since she really did love him, she is touched to hear this of course so that's when Johnathan laughs in her face and tells her that Johnathan despised her and blah blah blah. Pearl's little heart breaks and she tells Johnathan that he can go ahead and leave her alone now because she gave the stupid contraption to Damon. Then she goes home to pack up and get the hell out town.
Anna is understandably upset because she just got a boyfriend and now her mom wants to leave? Pearl says it's up to Anna whether she wants to go, but mom and Harper are history. Anna goes to talk to Jeremy about it, sneaks through his window and into his bed, where they have a very sweet conversation while he's only half awake. It's unclear what she's decided but it doesn't really matter because when she gets home she finds Pearl and Harper dead in the foyer. Uncle Johnathan, that sonofabitch, staked their asses for no good fucking reason. Oh, except for how this show kills everyone. I swear, it's simultaneously the best and most infuriating thing about this show that they are not afraid to kill anyone. Except for Elena and the Salvatores, of course.
Alaric remains intent on finding his (un)dead wife so he has a friend do some digging and finds that Uncle Johnathan had been exchanging calls frequently with the number that Elena dialed and got Isobel a couple of episodes back. After Elena called, that number ceased to exist but another number popped up on Johnathan's luds (look at me, with the cop-show lingo!) and Ric suspects that this is Isobel's new number. So his friend dug a little deeper and found an address to go along with the number. I think it's a little sloppy to be using land lines in the age of the disposable and clone-able cell phone, but it's a nit I'm not going to pick because the number corresponding to a location is what brings Ric and Damon together again in this episode.
Ric gives Damon a jingle and Ian Somerhalder proceeds to give the worlds most entertaining performance of a phone conversation. After a little trepidation about spending time together (Damon: "you tried to kill me." Alaric: "you DID kill me!"), the two make a date to meet up and follow this Isobel lead. Upon arrival at the rented abode, Damon notes that since it's a rental there's really no telling if he'll be able to enter or not. Alaric inquires about the finer points of the "invitation only" rule and Damon notes that he must be invited in by the owner or legal resident but with rentals and hotels it's a grey area so you just never know until you try. They ring the bell and while they await an answer, Alaric suggest that they not kill anyone tonight.
When there's no answer at the door, Alaric goes in and Damon tentatively kicks a foot over the threshold and then follows. A quick peek in the fridge (full of blood bags) reveals that the current resident is not human and just as the boys begin a search to find out if that non-human is Isobel, they're surprised by a young male vamp. Turns out the kid is a tomb refugee that Johnathan befriended. They get just a bit of info about Uncle John and then Tomby's cell rings - it's Uncle John. Damon's all "oh hey, I want to talk to him!" and takes the phone. It continues to ring and Damon just stares at it.
Tomby wants to know if Damon's going to answer that and Damon runs it by Alaric who thinks maybe not. Tomby is slow, but he's not completely stupid so he twigs to something being the tiniest bit up and makes a quick move to kill. But Damon and Ric are just better than Tomby in every way so they quickly subdue him and then Alaric stakes him through the back. Damon notes that not killing anyone was Alaric's rule. In case you're wondering why I include all of the minutia of these scenes and hit only the highlights for others, it's because I love every scene that Matt Davis and Ian Somerhalder have together. The two play off of each other so spectacularly that I don't feel like there's any detail that can be skipped.
Anyway, Damon pours himself a glass of blood and finds an errant beer in the fridge for his boyfriend and the two sit down for a heart to heart. Ric confesses he doesn't know why he is spending all of his time hunting down his (un)dead wife and he's going to stop. "After only two years?" Damon asks incredulous. The two joke a bit about how Damon's been pining for Katherine for a century and a half (and some change) and that he fully intends to give up at the 200 year mark.
Their date now over, Damon heads home and checks with Elena on Stefan's progress. She lets him know that Stefan has taken off his ring and gone running in the woods to attempt suicide by sunrise and kind of tries to put the blame for that on Damon. But Damon is all "whatever, let me tell you a little something about our history you don't know!" and then drops this knowledge on her. After Stefan completed his transition by drinking Daddy, he compelled some townie into the woods with him, nicked her on the neck and browbeat Damon into following suit.
It also seems that Emily led the brothers to believe Katherine was dead, instead of just imprisoned in a mystical tomb, because she didn't want the possibility of being with Katherine to have any bearing on their decision to change. She was loyal to Katherine only to a point and she'd have preferred if the boys didn't go through with it and live an eternal life of misery. And she doesn't say it, but the subtext is that even she was aware that Katherine was just a truly awful person to be around and really brought the whole show way down.
After Elena talks Stefan out of the sunburn of death, he and Damon have a little chat about Stefan's shit. Damon doesn't appreciate Stefan taking on all the guilt for Damon's past just because Stefan "helped" Damon become a vampire. The things he's done don't belong to Stefan and neither does the guilt for doing them. Those are Damon's and Damon's alone. Then Damon tells Stefan why he hated him then and still does now (kind of, but not really) - because he wanted Katherine to vamp only him. His issue, it seems, is that he's always been envious of Stefan's relationship with Katherine and because he can't bring himself to be pissed at that hateful bitch, he's deflecting his issues in Stefan's direction.
And finally, at the Grill, Alaric is once again drowning his sorrows via a night alone at the bar when Isobel stops in to say hello. DUN!!!