You guys? Summing up a single episode of The Vampire Diaries in a manner that could be considered “brief” by anyone with even the remotest grasp of the English language is completely impossible but I’m going to try because I’ve had a long and terrible day. Ok, ready? Let’s do this!
First a quick refresher: Katherine is back, she made out with Damon on the porch and then Aunt Jenna invited her into the house where she promptly cut off Uncle John’s fingers (and thus his immortality ring) and then stabbed him in the gut. Damon thinks he made out with Elena so he’s headed for even deeper emotional turmoil because now he loves Elena, he feels guilty for trying to snake his brother’s woman (again), and he has all this concern for the town and most of its human citizens. That’s some particularly heavy shit for a guy who spent the better part of the last 200 years being a heartless, evil, murderous dick. The mayor is a dead werewolf. Tyler is a live werewolf. Caroline is in surgery to repair internal injuries suffered when Tyler drove his car into a large immovable object when the Gilbert Gizmo gave him a migraine. Elena loves Stefan. Stefan loves Elena. Bonnie helped Stefan save Damon’s life because she loves Elena and Elena loves Stefan and I love Damon. Or something. Distraught over Uncle John ruthlessly murdering Anna, Jeremy drank her blood then OD’d on pills because nothing makes you feel better about losing your second vampire girlfriend in a row than becoming a vampire yourself.
We join the action just about where we left off in May. Elena comes home to check on Jeremy before heading to the hospital to check on Caroline. What she finds when she gets home is Uncle John bleeding out in the kitchen. She knows a vamp did it but Katherine super speeds out of the house so Elena doesn’t know exactly who’s to blame. She runs upstairs to check on Jeremy where he suddenly gasps himself awake. The paramedics arrive to whisk Uncle John away and Stefan arrives to see what has become of Jerm. He looks at his eyes and determines that Jeremy is not a vampire – it seems that if you want to be a vampire, you can’t pussy out on the dying thing. Pills work slow enough that they merely give the super vamp blood time to heal you. That’s when Stefan drops a motherly lecture on Jeremy about not trying to kill himself in the next 24 hours because they’re not going to stand for him being a vampire.
Caroline, meanwhile, is barely hanging on. Elena, Bonnie and Damon agree to give Caroline some of Damon’s blood to heal her during awesome Bonnie/Damon scene number one.
It takes Damon a truly unfortunate amount of time to figure out that he made out with Katherine even though they engage in a conversation that basically went like this:
Damon: We should talk about how we kissed.
Elena: We didn’t kiss.
Damon: Yes we did.
Elena: No we didn’t.
Damon: Yes we did.
Elena: No we didn’t, INFINITY!
But then Jenna comes by and has the same conversation with Elena about whether or not Jenna told her she was going to fill out a report at the Fired Department and that’s when the light literally goes on over Damon’s head and he’s all “oh, shit!”
Back at the Gilbert house Katherine drops in on Stefan and after a 15 second hug he knows who she is and a tiny amount of vampy fighting ensues before she bests him and disappears just as Damon and Elena arrive. “What happened?” Elena would like to know. Damon takes one quick look around and knows “Katherine happened.” And then we dun, dun, dun into our first commercial break. Ten minutes in, I’ve skipped plenty of good detail and I’m already on page two. We’re going to be here all night.
Damon tells Stefan how Katherine pretended to be Elena earlier and the made out. Stefan focuses on how mad he is that his brother kissed his girlfriend even though she wasn’t his girlfriend. The scene, as usual was very good, but here’s what it comes down to – John might know something, so Stefan and Elena are going to go ask him. Damon, on the other hand, is “just going to ignore the bitch.”
Damon’s blood did the trick for Caroline who then has an adorable scene with Bonnie and Matt where they all hug and love each other and it’s so cute.
Over at the Mayor’s wake (less than 24 hours after he died? Oookay), Mrs. Mayor and the Sheriff are fighting about how the device did or didn’t work if it hurt Mr. Mayor because Mr. Mayor obviously wasn’t a vampire. Damon tries to mediate but mostly he just freaks me out being all “you’ve suffered a great loss, the whole town has. We have to stick together.” And it’s not so much the words as the fact that he comes off totally sincere when he says them. It’s deeply unnerving.
Mr. Mayor’s brother, the very attractive Uncle Mason, arrives with a bit of exposition about how long it’s been since he’s been back to Mystic Falls (6ish years).
Stefan and Elena ask John nicely to tell them what he knows. He acts like an asshole and just mouths off about wanting Stefan dead. Elena leaves and Stefan goes all bad-ass, strangling John and giving him some of his blood with a side of “get the fuck out of town or I’ll turn you into a vampire and let you spend all of eternity hating yourself .” Truly, hottest Stefan has ever been! Yowza!
Back at the wake, Damon gets some history on Mason from Sheriff. Mason is not a believer and he wants nothing to do with the Founders Council. Then poor, stupid Tyler gives Katherine the ol’ “thanks for comin’. Come on in” that the people in this town should have really been warned against by now. So Katherine comes in and makes that face that all bad-news bitches make just before they wreak havoc and we go to commercial again.
Elena and Stefan talk. Stefan mentions how he needs to go have a slap fight with his brother because it isn’t ok for Damon to try and kiss Elena even if Elena is Katherine but Elena thinks that Stefan should cut Damon some slack because Katherine is clearly messing with both of them on purpose and it’s particularly easy where Damon is concerned on account of his Katherine-related instability. She is so very right. It makes for a great show but holy fuck do I want that bitch to be GONE already!
That leads us to awesome Damon/Bonnie scene number two. Bonnie wonders if Damon is at all curious about why the Gilbert Gizmo took down the Mayor even though he wasn’t a vamp. There’s a whole bunch of snappy repartee between them and then Bonnie demonstrates that she can give Damon a torturous migraine with the power of her mind and storms off to bitch about him to Elena. Except Elena is Katherine. Then Bonnie touches Katherine’s arm and knows what’s what. Katherine knows that Bonnie is on to her so she introduces herself and flings us into another commercial break. But we pick up right there again with Katherine talking about how she knows all the players in Elena’s life (calling Matt the “delicious ex-boyfriend”). Bonnie tries to whip up a headache for Katherine but Katherine is stronger and therefore less susceptible than Damon. She pins Bonnie to the wall and fangs out but Bonnie throws the doors open with her mind, exposing Katherine’s toothy mug to the wake at large.
And as it happens, who should be just outside the doors, but Stefan, who’d like a word with Katherine. Three words actually: “leave her alone.” Then Katherine is off to mingle and chat with Stefan. They run into Matt so she puts on her Elena voice for a minute and then swoons at the dreamy blueness of Matt’s eyes (she’s evil, but she isn’t wrong!), before Stefan tells her that she needs to leave NOW.
Meanwhile Damon and Elena have a heart to heart about the kiss. He’s downplaying it as “doppelganger hijinks” but she calls him on his tendency to get hurt, but not admit that he’s hurt, thus getting angry and doing something stupid – just as he’s doing now. “You think Katherine’s going to send me off the deep end don’t you?” Damon asks her before finishing, “I don’t need Katherine for that.” Then Ian Sommerhalder uses his very sexiest face and sad eyes combination to ask why it’s such a surprise that he’d kiss her. But that’s not a surprise, what surprises her, is that he thought she’d actually kiss him back. The sad eyes take an even sadder, “now I’m hurt.”
Tyler is in his dad’s office drinking when Jeremy wanders in looking for the bathroom. He offers his condolences to which Tyler replies (in not nearly the mean tone I’ve come to expect from Tyler when it comes to Jeremy) “today’s been a bid day of ‘sorrys’ from people who really don’t give a crap.” But Jeremy understands a little about what Tyler’s going through right now so he mentions how it never really helped him after his dad died to have a house full of strangers telling him what a great guy his dad was. “Difference is, in your case it was true. My dad was a dick,” Tyler tells him. “Yeah. Yeah he was,” Jeremy concedes. Then Tyler offers Jeremy a swig from his flask before Mason walks in and ruins the first perfectly nice moment Jeremy and Tyler have ever had.
Out in the yard, Stefan and Katherine are having a walk and talking. Stefan doesn’t play along, he tells her that he doesn’t love her now, he hasn’t loved her in all the years he thought she was entombed or dead and, in fact, he never loved her. If she hadn’t compelled her, he wouldn’t have given a shit about her. She’s in denial about it, the same way Damon tends to be about Elena. It’s interesting how similar Katherine and Damon are, actually.
And while we’re on the subject of interesting – this time last year I thought that Nina Dobrev was the weak link in the cast but I’m going on record now to say that I was very, very wrong. All through last season she was very, very good as both Elena and Katherine but there was always that element of the costumey flashbacks that I thought might have been doing some of the work of ensuring that we knew when she was Katherine and when she was Elena. Now, the clothes are the same and it’s 100% Nina’s acting that’s got to convey the difference and she is doing an outstanding job. She changes her physicality completely to be Katherine – even to the extent that her facial muscles seem to almost change the way she looks. It’s really wonderful to watch.
Ok, now back to their conversation. Stefan tells her that she’s “the same lying, selfish, manipulative bitch” that she’s always been and that whatever it was that brought her there, she should just get on with it and get out of town or he’ll hunt her down and rip her heart out. There is barely contained JOY in his voice and face as he verbally eviscerates her there. It’s delicious. But that’s when she tells him that she came back for him. “Well the problem, Katherine, is that I hate you.” Would you like to guess how that goes over? I’ll give you a hint, she stabs him in the gut. Oh, and she also tells him that hating her sounds like the beginning of a love story rather than the end. I would never have guessed Katherine would be such a fan of romantic comedies.
Elena tends to the rapidly healing wound in Stefan’s rock-hard abs and they talk about Katherine’s grand plan while Damon tries to goad Stefan into fighting over one of their girls but Stefan won’t bite and Elena doesn’t want to witness anything this depressing so she leaves. Stefan notes that Katherine is going to try to play the brothers against each other and that putting up a united front is their only option. Damon snarks and smirks and generally acts like Damon about it all on account of his previously mentioned inability to deal with his own feelings. Stefan calls it out – Damon feels something for Elena which is actually one of the best things about the new and improved Damon, so Stefan won’t let Katherine come in and ruin that.
John leaves town but not before he tells Jeremy that he’ll someday grow to hate all vampires too and also that the immortality ring didn’t save Grayson because it can only keep you from dying by supernatural means, not natural causes or non-supernatural accidents. Stop yakking and hit the road, John!
Tyler is at home pouting and hating his dad when he goes all angry-wolf-destructo in the office. His mom asks what he’s doing and he says that he hates his dad then shoves his mom. Mason tackles him and fairly forcefully gets him to chill.
Over at the Vamp Manse Katherine has dropped in for some goodbye sex with Damon, for which I can hardly blame her. He’s all mean and snarky to her and I had great high hopes that he wouldn’t fall for her come-ons but she has Elena’s face and he has all of these wackadoo feelings that have been warping his mind for the last 150 years so he folds like a cheap suit and we’re left to watch a scorching-hot make-out session that leaves me feeling equal parts turned on and dirty. Then Damon puts the brakes on and wants to know whether she ever loved him. She didn’t, it’s always been Stefan. Poor Damon! You can see the unbearable pain and heartbreak in his eyes as we go to our last commercial.
When we come back, we’re with Elena and Damon in her room. He sits on her bed in an emotional coma. More arguing about whether or not he is upset and cares and then he asks “your surprised that I thought you’d kiss me back? You can’t imagine that I’d believe that you’d want to? That what we’ve been doing here means something? You’re the liar, Elena! There is something going on between the two of us, and you know it. You’ve been lying to me, and you’re lying to Stefan and most of all, you’re lying to yourself.” And then he kisses her – and this time it really is her but she doesn’t kiss back. “Damon, don’t? What’s wrong with you? Stop it, you’re better than this, come on. No, no, no. I care about you. Damon, listen to me, I care about you, I do, but…I love Stefan. It’s always going to be Stefan.”
Jeremy demonstrates the world’s worst timing when he comes in to see what’s going on, interrupting the second time that night that Damon has been told by the woman that he loves, that she only loves his brother. Honestly, in this moment, I feel so sad for Damon that I almost have to cry. And at the same time, I do not understand a world in which a person who looks like Damon has such a hard time finding a soul mate. Sweet fancy crackers, what genetic flaw have they bread into the Peirce DNA that keeps the women in that family immune to all of his many, many, many, MANY charms?
Ahem, anyway, Damon isn’t one to handle his worst pain well so he takes this moment to tell Jeremy about how it really is easier to be a vampire – you get rid of all your pain just by pushing a button and…SNAP! And that’s when he breaks Jeremy’s neck which is totally his preferred method of murder after blood draining. Awesome.
I mean, also AWFUL! He went from being 100% pitiable to 75% detestable in the snap of a neck (pun? Intended!). Elena screams “Damon? NO!” and then weeps over the limp, lifeless body of her baby brother for a minute before noticing that he’s wearing the immortality ring.
Over at Wolf Manor, Mason and Tyler discuss Tyler’s anger management issues. “I don’t know why I get like this,” Tyler tells him. “It’s the curse of being a Lockwood,” Mason says. Tyler would like to know how come Mason isn’t homicidal angry guy and Uncle M tells him that he just learned how to manage it. When Tyler says he doesn’t want to be “like this” anymore, Mason says that none of them do but that’s why it’s a curse. Mysterious! I mean, except for how we all totally know they’re werewolves.
While Elena lays on her bedroom floor holding her brother’s corpse, Stefan insists that Damon must have seen the ring and that’s why he did it but neither Elena nor I think Damon saw the ring and I’m willing to forgive this transgression on account of Jeremy is about to come back to life anyway and also Damon is having a really, really terrible day. Plus, I grade on a curve for Damon because he’s still pretty new to this not being a vicious killer thing. But Elena is not so generous. She hates him and she isn’t going to forgive him. Jeremy gasps back to life with full recollection that Damon killed him. Join the club Jeremy.
Over at the hospital, Caroline is getting some rest when Katherine stops in. Caroline, naturally thinks she’s Elena but Katherine introduces herself and requests that Caroline deliver a message to the Salvatore brothers for her. What message? “Game on,” she says, right before she smothers Caroline to death with a pillow. AHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
I have made my deep love for Caroline and the Caroline/Matt relationship well known so I’m sure you can understand why I’m a bit distraught by this development. I sincerely hope that we can find some way for Caroline and Matt to stay together and keep being the ridiculously cute couple I love so much even whilst Caroline is, you know, an undead, blood-sucking demon.