Sometimes on The Vampire Diaries, things happen that are the opposite of what I want to happen. On other shows, that usually bugs me but on The Vampire Diaries, I don’t really mind because I completely trust that whatever Williamson and Plec have in store for us is going to be amazing.
After a quick reminder of what’s what, we open with Ric arriving at the Salvatore Manse in desperate need of a haircut. What, Jeremy finally does something about his hair and now Ric has to take up the baton of the unfortunately and unattractively coifed? This won’t do at all. Damon welcomes his BFF into the house and offers him a beverage, then notices his hair and that’s the end of their chemistry for this episode. Boo! They get right down to business discussing the Lockwood situation with Stefan and Elena. Just as Stefan notes that they were hoping Ric could help them figure out the Lockwood mystery, we cut away to see Hot Uncle Mason slipping out of the house in his running shorts and tank top while Tyler spies and follows stealthily also in running shorts and a tank top. It’s tank tops galore in this ep, folks – all biceps and triceps and shoulders…oh my!
Ahem, anyway, Ric wonders why he’d know anything about the Lockwoods and Damon notes that he totally wouldn’t but Isobel might. So what they want is to rummage around in her old occult research and see if she knows anything that might be helpful. It would certainly be nice if that bitch finally made herself useful for something other than pissing me off. They're all “folklore and rubbish and vampires, hahaha” and then Ric says the word “lycanthrope” and everyone goes a little wiggy. “Like…werewolves?” Elena asks and Damon scoffs, “No way. Impossible. Waaay too Lon Chaney.” Stefan isn’t so sure but Damon says “I’ve been on this planet a hundred and sixty-some-odd years and never come across one. If werewolves exist, where the hell are they?”
Funny you should ask Damon! Right now a seriously hot one named Mason is jogging through the woods to an old, brick dungeon which this town’s woods are lousy with, it seems. Oh, and there’s Tyler, following behind and looking suspicious. And again, we zip back to the manse where Ric is trying to catch up to what the Salvatores already know. Damon explains how the Gilbert Gizmo took down both The Mayor and Tyler in the same manner it felled the vamps but vervain had no effect on them. Stefan adds that at the carnival last week Mason exhibited some super-human strength and was also able to leap a couple of cars in a single bound. So while they all discuss a field trip to Duke to see what Isobel knew, we join Tyler as he captures some cell phone pix of the creepy underground dungeon in the woods.
“Ric, we need to know what we’re dealing with. If this wolf-man thing is true, I’ve seen enough movies to know it’s not good,” Damon tells his brofriend just as something metal clangs in the dungeon, scaring Tyler. Oh, and there he is finding claw marks in one of the stone walls. I believe Tyler would agree with Damon’s “not good” assessment right about now. “It means, Mason Lockwood is a real-life Lon Chaney and that little Tyler punk may just very well be Lon Chaney, Jr., which means Bela Lugosi – meaning me – is totally screwed.” One of Damon’s super powers: summarizing every situation down to its simplest and most entertaining form.
After the title card, we find Matt at Caroline’s doorstep one sunny morning. He’s wearing a shirt I don’t much care for but it doesn’t really matter because he’s still beautiful. Oh yeah, and she’s inside being super quiet, avoiding the rays of sunlight streaming in from all of the open windows and being sad that she can’t open the door and make out with her boyfriend. I think we can all agree that’s a tragedy. Out on the porch Matt calls her cell and leaves her a message, “Hey, I thought you said you were at home? Tyler’s doing a whole thing out at the swimming hole and I wanted us to spend the day together. Where are you? Call me.” You guys, I’m not kidding when I tell you that every time Zach Roerig speaks, I go a little weak in the knees, that’s how dreamy he is.
Over in Elena’s bedroom, she and Stefan are discussing how it may or may not be a good idea for her to hit the road with Damon. She thinks it’ll be fine because Alaric will provide a buffer and some anti-Damon solidarity. I think she’s failing to consider that Alaric and Damon are actually besties and also that Alaric’s hair has rendered him no fun this week. Stefan thinks that they should just wait to go to Duke until they can trust Caroline around people unsupervised and then he can come too, but then as soon as Elena volunteers to stay in Mystic Falls and vamp-sit with him he changes his mind and says she should go. Then they profess their mutual love and smooch.
Downstairs, Aunt Jenna and Ric have this kind of awkward conversation about how they haven’t seen each other in a while and how it’s nice that he’s helping Elena have a connection to her birth mother and how it’s time he took care of his wife’s things. Ric's use of the word "wife" causes Jenna to act all weird and then Ric apologizes for the “start and stop” nature of their courtship but she just tells him that he should do what he needs to do and not put any kind of hope out in the universe that she might get to see him naked sometime. She hurries Elena out the door while Damon honks from the curb and Ric kind of half-smiles in that way that he does that can almost distract you from the awfulness of his hair. Out at the car there’s some in-your-face tongue wrestling by Elena and Stefan designed to get under Damon’s skin (which it does) before they’re off to North Carolina.
Tyler, still flashing his bare arms, God love him, is asking his mom if she’s ever been out to the Lockwood ruins in the woods. Old plantation house, burned to the ground, blah blah. “What’s the deal with the freaky, underground cellar?” Tyler inquires. Mom says that no one in the old south likes to reminisce about the slave days just as Mason comes in and Tyler announces that he’ll be having some friends over to the old swim hole on that property later and his mom warns him to be careful lest someone get hurt and sue them.
Stefan and Bonnie are chatting at The Grill. He’d like her to make an SPF ring for Caroline. She says she doesn’t know how but Stefan and I believe that since Emily made half the vamps we’ve ever met sunscreen jewelry, the instructions for that kind of thing must be in the Grimoire so Bonnie could totally do it too. But Bonnie doesn’t want to do it because she doesn’t trust Caroline not to eat everyone on account of how she already killed Carney last week. I’m finding Bonnie’s refusal to take some responsibility for Caroline’s current fangy state a little irksome. I mean, not only did she ORDER Damon to give C his blood, she also insisted he not stake her after she sent Carney to that big Ferris Wheel in the sky, so where does she get off being all “no, she killed someone and I don’t trust her and fuck her” now? Stefan is more patient than I am, he just tells her that they need to keep Caroline close to all of the parts of her life that represent her humanity and when that argument doesn’t work, he just asks her to trust him. Which she does, obvs.
Road Trip! You killed her brother. He came back to life. You didn’t know he would. Yes I did. Liar! It’s a big tacky ring, it’s hard to miss. Oh, you mean this old thing?
Caroline’s bedroom. Caroline has been briefed on the sunscreen jewelry and she’s being a little snarky about it as is her way. Stefan runs interference with Bonnie and then Bonnie says that she’s going to spell the ring but if Caroline ever hurts anyone, she’ll de-spell it. Caroline insists she won’t hurt anyone and gives her a well deserved “you’re supposed to be my friend.” But Bonnie has been marinating in her hypocrisy for a good long while so she’s all “I can’t ignore what happened!” when what she should be saying is “I can’t ignore what I totally helped turn you into!” Ring, sun, spell, snarking, daywalking, leaving in a huff.
Looks like Ric has saved the background information for when they arrived and were back on camera. Isobel worked in the anthropology department because all the vampire and werewolf hoodoo is rooted in mythology and folklore, blah blah. Ric introduces himself and his “friends, Elena and Damon” to Vanessa who used to be one of Isobel’s students. She lets them into Isobel’s office, leaves the room a second and just when Damon asks where she went she appears in the doorway with a crossbow that she fires straight at Elena’s heart. Damon, proving once again that while he may be a murdering bastard, he’s a chivalrous murdering bastard, superspeeds between Elena and the projectile, kindly taking the arrow between the shoulder blades while Ric accosts Vanessa and pins her to the wall by her throat. Commercial.
Back from commercial, Damon is bent over a table instructing Elena to pull the arrow out of his back because he can’t reach it to do it himself. I hate to gloss over this highly entertaining scene but I’m finding that it’s incredibly difficult to do justice to a lot of Ian Sommerhalder’s scenes because it’s 100% his delivery that make them so amazing. Anyway, once the arrow is out, he declares “that bitch is dead” and Elena says that if he touches Vanessa, she’ll never speak to him again. He works his “eye thing” and flirty snark and she totally appears impervious for the first time. In the other room Vanessa is flipping out in that way any person probably would when they see the faces of people they believe to have died over a hundred years ago. Ric gets stern with her and pushes her down into a chair just before Elena and Damon come in. “I’m Elena Gilbert, Isobel’s daughter and a descendent of Katherine Pierce. This is Damon Salvatore, who you just shot.” She tells Venessa they need to know what Isobel knew about Mystic Falls.
The woods are a popular place in Mystic Falls this week! Caroline and Stefan are out for a stroll talking about chasing bunnies and eating them. When Caroline makes a “first step to becoming a serial killer” joke Stefan tells her that if she isn’t serious about controlling her vampitude, she should just tell him now. She says she is but she gets all worked up and says “I haven’t been in the sun for days. And everyone’s at the swimming hole having fun. And Matt is there and he finally told me that he loved me and I’ve been blowing him off, and now YOU want me to eat BUNNIES and I’m kinda freaking out, ok?” Stefan laughs and lets us know that when a person is vamped, all of their natural personality traits are amplified. So as a person he was like super caring, empathic, emo guy and then when he became a vampire it all got magnified and that’s why he is the way he is now. It explains a lot. Caroline is as thrilled as we are that she’s now “basically an insecure, neurotic control freak…on crack.” He promises her that after they hunt they can go to the swimming hole because it’ll be really good for her to be around Matt as he’s the closest connection to her humanity. She’s on board.
Vanessa brings Elena a box of research about Katherine and in exchange, Elena gives Vanessa a sprig of vervain. “Does vervain really work?” Vanessa asks semi-incredulously and from an alcove a mere 5 feet away, Damon says “nope, not at all” while Elena nods in the affirmative. “Can he hear us?” Vanessa asks out loud – from FIVE FEET AWAY. Look, I know what they’re doing here, but he’s seriously the same distance I am from my television at this very minute, that’s not vamp super hearing, that’s clean ears! Anyway, Damon whispers in response “no, that would be creepy.” Vanessa asks Elena if Damon can also read minds and Damon answers with “if you want to see me naked, all you have to do is ask.” I then took a quick break to jot down a note requesting an audience with him in the nude and stuck it in the mail. When I came back Elena was setting the record straight that there’s no mind reading, only jack-assery.
The preternaturally attractive teens of Mystic Falls have all slipped into their bathing suits and joined Tyler for a little fun at the swimming hole. Tyler finds Matt at the keg and says something gross but who cares because Matt is wearing a grey wife beater and his arms are so beautiful I can hardly notice Tyler in this scene at all. Especially since he wore a shirt with sleeves. Matt is telling Tyler that Caroline is MIA and it’s not that they’re having a spat or anything, he’s fine, he just isn’t sure what’s going on with her.
Matt notices Mason pull up and asks Ty what his uncle is doing here. Tyler asks Uncle Mason the same question and Mason requests that Tyler make sure all his friends are gone by dark because he doesn’t want anyone to end up wasted and dead at the bottom of the lake. Tyler calls him a party killer and promises they’ll be out of there even though they totally won’t. On his way out, Mason shoots Stefan and Caroline (who are just arriving) the evil wolf eye, Stefan returns the volley with what Caroline calls his “serious vampire look.” He’s like “my serious vampire look? Wuh?” and she says “Mmm hmmm. I mean, it’s different from your ‘worried vampire’ look, neither of which stray too far from your ‘hey, it’s Tuesday’ look.” Bwahahahaha! Stefan is seriously a ton more fun when he’s hanging out with Caroline.
Over at the keg some tiny new girl is flirting with Matt as if he doesn’t have a girlfriend which is a pretty dick move in a town this small where she obviously knows that he’s dating Caroline who is just out of the hospital after a near-fatal car accident. Matt doesn’t flirt back but he’s nice and friendly and gorgeous so you know she’s taking it as flirting. Naturally this is when Caroline happens by with her heightened senses of insecurity and jealousy. Happy to see her Matt says “what the hell? I’ve been calling you.” Caroline answers “I know, I got held up, but I’m hear now” and shoots New Girl a look and then compels New Girl to go find someone single to stalk. Matt hates when she gets all possessive and he tells her she didn’t need to be rude. He’s mad that she’s been dodging his calls and now she’s showing up out of the blue being jealous which he rightly notes is kinda lame. Fix it Car! Did you see how good he looks in that tank, with those eyes and those arms and that face? FIX IT!
As Matt storms off, Stefan comes over and tells her not to mess with people’s minds for shallow reasons. Bicker, bicker, bicker. I’m blowing past it, but it was a cute scene between Car and Stefan. She really does bring out the fun in his usually serious, drippy personality, sort of like Matt does whenever they have a scene together.
Meanwhile, in the fanciest file room in history, Damon is trying to flirt with Elena who hasn’t found anything she didn’t already know yet. She’s having none of it when Alaric finds a book with something of interest and requests their attention. That’s when Vanessa gets all pushy and know-it-all and starts to tell them what the book ALARIC found says. There is no werewolf mythology in Mystic Falls but there are some “lesser-known legends” that are about werewolf-type things. Like this Aztec legend where a shaman made vampires slaves to the sun and werewolves slaves to the moon so that they would stop ganging up on and terrorizing his peeps and start terrorizing each other. Now, how is that not werewolf mythology? Vanessa gives the slowest of the viewers a little lesson in what exactly a werewolf is when she notes that “when the full moon crests in the sky, who's ever unlucky enough to fall under the werewolf curse, turns into a wolf.” Damon would like to know if the change is something they can control which strikes me as a question that is embarrassingly beneath a guy making Bela Lugosi/Lon Chaney jokes but I guess he’s helping Vanessa give the remedial viewers a tutorial. While this tedious convo is had at Duke, we watch Hot Uncle Mason chain himself up in the old Lockwood cellar.
Part of Mason’s chaining process involves taking his clothes off so I’m paying a bit more attention to the visuals than I am to Vanessa’s nattering but I’ll hit the highlights: werewolves will attack people but they’re instinctively drawn to attacking vampires. Werewolf bites can kill a vampire and vamps got a bit sick of being vulnerable to flea-bags back in the day, so they hunted their enemies to near extinction. Damon looks annoyed, and a little grossed out by this news. Rick looks alarmed because he does not want Hot Uncle Mason to kill his BFF. I don’t blame ya, Ric!
Oh hey, remember how Tyler was going to make sure his friends were all gone from the woods by dark? Would it surprise you to learn he totally didn’t do that? I didn’t think so. It’s completely dark out, moon is high in the sky, and there’s teenage wolf-kibble milling about all around. Matt has put a long-sleeve shirt on (bummer) and is still busying himself by the keg. Caroline is watching from a distance and tells Stefan sadly that Matt’s mad at her. Stefan suggests she go make up with him and he’ll wait for her. Is anyone worried that Matt will think it’s weird when he tries to take his girlfriend home for a goodnight roll in the sheets and Car and Stefan are both all, “no, that’s ok, Stefan can take me”? Because if I were Matt, I’d find that suspicious. At the moment though, we don’t have to worry about that because Stefan is off to take a phone call and Caroline is just trying to mend fences with her dreamy boyfriend. Matt thought they were past the stupid insecurity dramas, especially after he declared his love for her. He’d like to know what more she needs from him. She and I both assure him she needs nothing else from him. There is a sort of groveling apology from Car, then an admonition against ANY future drama from Matt and then they kiss and head off to find a quiet place where they can share some quality time. I’m feeling a little swoony again.
On the phone, Elena is giving Stefan the 4-1-1 on their wolfy discoveries. Stefan instantly goes into protector mode and starts looking for Caroline lest she become our first were-fatality.
Mason is now wearing only shorts and is chained to a stone wall. He’s a touch frantic and he’s sweating. I’m going to need a moment…
Ok, I’m back. So in the dungeon Mason has mixed something mysterious into a bottle of water and is about to drink it when he hears his idiot nephew arrive with New Girl who is ready to make out with Tyler because he’s single and she’s compelled to throw herself at single guys now. Off runs Mason into the woods toward his SUV, carrying his gym bag and chains, as you do. He lashes himself to a tree, drooling, screaming, thrashing around. Then he hops in the car and presumably completes his transformation as we cut to commercial.
When we return, Elena’s asking Vanessa about doppelgangers. Both Alaric and Damon seem curious. Vanessa says they don’t have anything other than what she’s already given Elena that pertains to Katherine but she says that doppelgangers usually torment the people who look like them, attempting to undo their lives. Damon plays more of his flirty, “I might know something else but I’m not going to tell you until you be nice to me” games. Ric rolls his eyes at Damon. I roll my eyes at Ric’s hair. I can assure you, I’m far more disgusted with the hair situation than Ric is with the Damon situation. Elena tells Damon that friends help each other, they don’t manipulate each other.
Dungeon. New Girl is not into her current make-out session with Tyler and while he doesn’t immediately abandon the effort, he does not attempt to date-rape her so I’m taking that as a sign that he’s grown as a person since his disastrous relationship with Vicki a year ago. He asks her why she came down there with him if she wasn’t interested in making out with him and she says she doesn’t know because she really likes Matt. I wonder if Damon and Tyler will ever get together and discuss how unpleasant it is to get all hot and bothered and then be told by the object of your affections that they’d really rather be nailing your brother or best friend. New Girl leaves and Tyler stands there dumbfounded, flexing his lovely back muscles.
Stefan is wandering the woods trying to super-hear Caroline. Instead he hears some ominous growling and goes toward it. Stefan is not the brains of the operation. He comes upon Mason’s SUV and, in the course of trying to peer in the windows, trips over the chains. Then Wolf Mason, Wolfson, crashes through the back window and runs into the woods, knocking Stefan flat on his ass in the process.
As Vanessa walks Alaric to his car, she totally comes on to him and he is not at all receptive as he tells her not to get caught up in “this” and let it ruin her life. Then he tells her that Isobel is a vampire now. His hair is slightly less heinous in the dark like this but its presence is still totally killing his charisma.
Damon helps Elena into the car and, while trying the sincerity tack as his new means of getting her to stop hating him, gives her a ginormous old book that was totally in the box Vanessa gave her containing everything they knew about Katherine which Elena apparently didn’t bother to read, preferring, I take it, to leaf through 6000 loose pages instead. The book is labeled “Petrova” which Damon says was Katherine’s real name. It seems she was originally from Europe and her name was Katerina Petrova. Damon recalls all of this from back in the 1860s when he used to stalk her and read her mail. “You have every right to hate me. I understand. But you hated me before and we became friends. It would suck…if that was gone forever,” he tells her. For the viewers too, Damon. He tries to work the eye thing on her one more time and she thanks him kindly for the book and then gets in the car.
Back in Mystic Falls, Matt and Caroline have found a spot in the woods that speaks to them so they stop to make out some more. Matt hears something growly and stops but Caroline is the teensiest bit over-come with desire and for that I can not blame her. For reals, Matt looks good enough to EAT right now. Oh…oops. Right, so Caroline starts kissing him pretty aggressively before pushing him up against a nearby tree and really going at it. Then Matt gouges his wrist on a branch. As if Caroline didn’t already want to devour Matt, now he’s bleeding so her desires for his smokin’ bod and for his tasty blood are all mixed up together and she starts licking his bleeding wrist. Which kind of grosses Matt out. Then she bites his wrist, he sees her face and she bites his neck. In swoops Stefan, who gets Caroline to come back to her senses and insists they get the hell out of the woods while he tells Matt to stay down on the ground where he is and not to move. Why? Well, because the growling has gotten much closer. Stefan tells Car that they need to run as fast as they can to lead Wolfson away from Matt and off they go.
They happen to stop at the Lockwood Wolf Cellar where Tyler is now emerging from his spectacularly failed hook-up with New Girl. He and Stefan are each in the process of determining what the other is doing there when Wolfson tackles Caroline and pins her to the ground while he slobbers his vampire hating slobber all over her and she screams. Tyler snaps to attention but doesn’t really know what to do. Stefan vamp-speed tackles Wolfson off of the hysterical Caroline. Now Wolfson is staring down Stefan and growling that growl that totally says “I am going to eat your skinny vamp ass for DINNER!” Fortunately that’s when Tyler thinks of something to do. Even though that something is just yelling “NO!” it’s still totally helpful because his uncle Wolfson takes notice, looks Tyler in the eye, and wolf-speeds away. Everyone stares agog as we head into our final commercial break.
We meet up with Caroline, still in the woods, compelling Matt not to remember what she did to him. She’s got him all mojo’d up with the “animal attack” story. While Matt cleans the blood off of himself, Stefan says they’ll get Matt on vervain and I instantly scream “NOW you think of that? What the FUCK, Stefan? That shit didn’t occur to you a year ago when his SISTER who LIVED with him vamped?” Oh, show! Anyway, Stefan notes that the herb will keep Car from being able to feed on him or compel him. She’s just upset that she hurt him, “He’s the one person on this entire planet that I NEVER wanted to hurt.” So they have a heart to heart about how tough it is to be a vampire dating a human and how it never gets easier and you have to work harder and harder to deal but how if you love someone, you can’t always do the smarter, safer thing.
Tyler has found the SUV now. He sees the busted out back window, the chains. He reaches into the vehicle and finds his uncle's shorts and that’s when a very dirty, very naked, VERY HOT Uncle Mason appears behind him. “Wanna toss me those?” he asks of the shorts. NO, Tyler. Don’t do it! Aw, damn it. The two men stare at each other for a minute while Mason makes himself decent and Tyler finally says, “it was you!” to which Mason responds with a very slight nod.
At The Grill, Matt is sporting a bandage on his neck and relaying the story of the animal attack to New Girl when Caroline arrives. She can hear that the conversation is innocent. She steadies herself, takes a deep breath and storms over in a faux huff to get her jealous bitch on with New Girl. Matt is incredulous but Caroline continues snapping at New Girl for being so obviously into Matt. I wonder if Caroline realizes that New Girl, like me, is powerless over Matt’s gorgeousness. Matt calls her on her promise of no more drama. Car says she lied. Matt sadly breaks up with her, his heart totally breaking as he does it. Mine too. Sniff! After he leaves, Caroline sits and looks very sad.
Aunt Jenna is pouring herself some wine in the Gilbert kitchen when Ric walks in purposefully. She says she wasn’t expecting him until later. He takes a breath, looks her in the eye and then plants one on her. She must have a good memory of what his hair looked like before because she seems happy and they continue to make out.
On the porch, Elena and Damon are chatting. She’s getting out her key to let herself into the house which makes me wonder how the hell Alaric got in 2 minutes ago. I mean, not only would he have needed Elena to unlock the effing door for him, but he DROVE their beautiful asses home so why are they just walking up when he’s had time to enter and slip someone the tongue a couple of times?
Editing issues aside, Damon is presently trying to determine if Elena is ever going to be his friend again. She says she needs to know the truth – did he know Jeremy had the ring on when he snapped his neck? Damon tells her honestly, and regretfully that he didn’t but peppers it with some excuses. “Katherine really pissed me off and I…I…I snapped and…I got lucky with the ring. I don’t know what I would have done if he wasn’t wearing it. Elena, I’m sorry.” She thanks him for his honesty and then tells him that she will never be his friend again. He calls her on knowing that all along and using him. As his heart breaks, again, for like the 4th time in a week, he clenches his jaw and tells her that she and Katherine have a lot more in common than just their looks and then walks away. Poor, sad, sexy Damon.
Elena considers that accusation.
Morning, Caroline’s bedroom. Katherine stands over Caroline’s bed and tells her not to be frightened, that they’re going to have fun together. God help us all.