Drunken Alaric and badass Elijah. Werewolves that crash through the window with glee. These are a few of my favorite things about The Vampire Diaries.
Previously, Alaric took his job as history teach pretty seriously and gave us the back story on vamps and werewolves and curses and such. Katherine and Elena are distant doppelrelatives and the key to breaking the vamp half of the curse-spell jobby. Elijah was awesome and scary and awesome some more. Klaus was old and probably crazy. Tyler triggered his werecurse and started to fall for Caroline. Elena was whiny. Damon was having sex with Rose. And Stefan got stuck in a tomb with Katherine.
Lockwood estate. Tyler is packing an overnight bag full of all the things the young wolf on the go needs for a sleepover - mostly chains - while the video of Uncle Mason's first transformation plays soothingly on the laptop nearby. Ty sweetie, I know you're trying to prepare and stuff but maybe some yoga and meditation would be better for your nerves than repeatedly viewing the horrors that await you. He wigs a bit and grabs the phone to call Mason for what's probably the bajillionth time. When he gets the home answering machine he leaves a panicy, "I'm a werewolf!" message that is totally heard by the pretty woman getting dressed in Mason's bedroom. I'm confused by Mason's personal life because he'd obviously been "seeing" Katherine for a year and he said he was in love with her, yet he was sharing a bedroom with a woman who looked like that? As Tyler hangs up, Mason screams on the video and the pretty girl stares us into the title card.
In Elena's room, she questions Bonnie as to what the plan is for the moonstone now that they have it back. Bonnie tells us the same thing that we've already been told in the two previous episodes - remove spell from stone, render doppelganger useless - and Elena bitches about how that's just going to piss Klaus off and she's worried they might not like him when he's angry. Plus, she thinks that getting Stefan out of the tomb should be their top priority anyway. They bicker and Bonnie snatches the moonstone back just as Jeremy walks into the room and wonders what they're arguing about. Bonnie slips the stone into her purse while she and Jeremy exchange a look fraught with sexual tension and awkwardness then excuses herself to get a beverage but leaves her purse on the bed. Elena sits down next to the purse and argues with Jeremy about the same thing she argues with everyone about - her continued plan to sacrifice her own life to keep everyone else she knows "safe." Jeremy and his sexy hair leave the room and Elena immediately removes the moonstone from Bonnie's purse and heads for the exit.
She runs into Bonnie on the stairs and says she's going to see Stefan. "You're lying," Bonnie says. "No, I'm not," Elena meekly insists. "Really? Tell your face," Bonnie replies. Before Elena can really protest, Jeremy comes down the stairs with Bonnie's purse announcing that Elena took the moonstone and then he and Bonnie give her a big, fat F on that test. As rarely as she attends school, I'd wager that's a regular occurrence these days. Elena wants to leave, Bonnie steps aside, Elena opens the door and promptly runs smack into a mystical barrier. She snits, Bonnie says it's for the best and Jeremy sits on the steps looking like a fucking model. Welcome to this week's installment of Steven McQueen Is 22, I Am Not A Pervert.
Tomb of the undead hot people. Stefan can't BELIEVE that Damon (and Bonnie and Jeremy) magically locked Elena in the house but Damon's like "dude, be glad you're in there and not out here where Elena's stupid plan is crapping up our stupid plans right and left!" Then Damon gives his brother the care package he lovingly put together, and a bottle of blood which Stefan won't take on account of he doesn't want Katherine to get any of it. Sniping from Katherine, snarking from Damon, promises to free Stefan as soon as the moonstone issue is resolved, martyry requests from Stefan to worry less about him and more about protecting Elena, looks of bonding from the brothers, eye rolling and sighing from Katherine, fin.
Lockwood estate. Mrs. Interim Mayor finds her son hefting the world's heaviest gym bag toward the door and he lies that he's off to lunch at The Grill followed by practice and partying so she shouldn't wait up. Just as he's leaving, the doorbell rings and it's Jules, the pretty girl who might have been sleeping with Hot Uncle Mason. She's there looking for her old friend and introduces herself to Tyler as if she'd heard so much about him from Mason. Hand shakes and pleasantries are exchanged. The Lockwoods are shocked to hear that Mason is not in Florida where his single, random text message told them he was.
At The Grill, Jenna is trying to turn Alaric on with talk of the volunteer work she's doing with the Historical Society. Poor Jenna. Tyler arrives and promptly tells Caroline about Jules and then the two of them head out for Wolf Watch 2010. On the way out, Caroline and Alaric exchange The Meaningful Look Of People In The Know.
Damon arrives at the Gilbert Detention Center and promptly gets the cold shoulder from Elena. "Do you think this is funny?" she asks him. "Yes, Elena. I find hilarity in the lengths that I have to go to to repeatedly save your life," he replies. That makes one of us. They converse about Stefan being kept in the dark about continued undeadness of Elijah and then Damon inquires as to the whereabouts of Hocus Pocus Bennet. Jeremy arrives then just so the two of them can have an exchange that reminds me how much I love it when the various members of Team (Stupid But Still) Awesome work together. Jeremy thought Bonnie was with Damon but Damon says, no - Bonnie is on moonstone duty, Damon is babysitting Elena and "Vampire Barbie" is on werewolf patrol. Damon gets a call from Alaric then, alerting him to the Jules situation. Damon shuffles the team assignments moving Jeremy to babysitting duty while he and Alaric team up for Jules watch. Jeremy plops down on the couch with a grin, his head on his sister's leg, while Damon makes a joke at her expense. She heaves a pillow at Damon and then shoves her brother off the couch. Hee.
Woods. We get a beauty shot of Caroline's Ford Fiesta and some "maybe Mason's just off surfing somewhere" talk before Caroline and Tyler head down into the Lockwood Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down Cellar.
Elsewhere on the Lockwood property, Mrs. Interim Mayor is promising to call Jules if she hears from Mason. Jules makes a big deal about wanting to say goodbye to Tyler and Mrs. Interim Mayor says he's at the grill with his friends but she'll tell him Jules said farewell. If I were the mother of any teenage boy, but particularly one as good looking as Tyler, and an older woman with a black, lacy bra sticking 2/3 of the way out of her shirt showed that much interest in saying ANYTHING to him, I would call the cops.
In her car, Jules calls someone to tell them that she's arrived in Mystic Falls and the person was right - Mason lied and there is another werewolf who happens to be Mason's nephew.
Grill. Jules flags down Matt (I'll never be tired of how good Matt looks in his Grill t-shirt...I'm sorry, let me rephrase that, I'll never be tired of how good Matt looks.) to ask him if he knows Tyler Lockwood. The camera cuts away before we hear Matt's answer which I'm guessing was "do I? He once made out with my mom and then beat the shit out of me. Plus, a couple of weeks ago I picked a fight with him that resulted in a really annoying girl getting killed and now he's trying to steal the love of my life right out from under me. Why do you ask?" Over at the bar, Damon and Alaric eye Jules and discuss the whereabouts of Mason's formerly hot body. Jules and her visible undergarment thank Matt and he smiles in return. And that'll do it for Zach Roerig's two barely audible words and 57 seconds this episode. See ya in January, Zach. Alaric wonders if Jules is a werewolf and Damon hopes not but whips out some wolfsbane and another stupid plan to find out.
Lockwood Cage For Almost Wolves. Tyler is checking and rechecking the security of this chains. Caroline mixes him up a wolfsbane shake and looks concerned. Tyler takes his shirt off and Caroline averts her eyes with an "oh my God, you're not...gonna get naked are you?" which is the EXACT opposite of my reaction to this development. Tyler then tugs the waistband of his pants away from his unbelievably well-toned stomach and tells her it's elastic (I'm honestly not sure how that's an answer to her question, but I don't really care) before saying "I don't think it's like the Incredible Hulk where I get to keep my pants." She takes a deep breath because it's obviously going to be harder for her to remember she loves Matt if Tyler is going to be naked. I'm having the same problem over here, Caroline.
Bonnie's gone over to the Dub Hub to return Luka's necklace and apologize for raping his soul last night. I mean, I think it was last night...I'm hazy on the timeline of events that's unfolding here. Whatever, at first he's all mad at her and then she starts to apologize and before she can even tell him that there's big-time shit going down, he forgives her. Then he smiles and invites her in. Every time these two smile at each other, God kills a puppy. True story. inside the Dub Hub, Luka shows off his dad's enormous grimoire collection. Oooh, he really does know how to impress the ladies. The flirting goes on for a while but I can't hear what they're saying over the sound of the puppy screams. The upshot is that he's going to help her find out how to break the bond between the sun and moon spell and the moonstone. I'm going to go hug my dog before these two have another scene together.
Grill. Jules is at the bar when a sloppily drunk Alaric sits down next to her and orders himself another scotch along with "one of whatever this beautiful woman is drinking." She says that one is her limit and he smiles at her. His looks and devilishly-adorable smile are the only reason she hasn't slid off her bar stool and left by now. Small talk about his drinking problem and her being new to town until Damon comes over to be chivalrous. The bartender sets down the drinks, Alaric none-too-subtlely spikes hers with wolfsbane before sliding it in front of her and then leaving. He'd make a terrible date-rapist. Jules does not drink her drink and Damon and Alaric make eyes at each other from across the bar.
In the tomb, Stefan is trying to grab a few winks on a bench (there are benches in there now? When did they furnish that place?) while Katherine makes with the complaining. I continue to marvel at Katherine's ability to sex up literally everything she says because she's all rubbing Stefan's thigh and fiddling with his belt and heavy-breathing her way through a description of how painful desiccation is. Her sexy voice is apparently contagious because Stefan sits up and gets all seductively whispery when he tells her that he'll get more pleasure watching her suffer than pain from wasting away. I think I won't be taking on tips on foreplay from these two. Katherine takes this opportunity to remind us that she's been locked in the tomb for several days now without any means of bathing, and slips out of her party dress, the better to taunt him in her underwear. She slinks down to him, rubbing his chest, and talking about how Damon has Elena all to himself and will therefore not be in much rush to free Stefan. Aaaand, kissing. His shirt comes off, there's grunting and panting and bodies slamming into each other and walls and then Stefan wakes up, gasping for air and pretty pissed at how turned on he got by that hot tomb-sex dream Katherine just "forced" him to have.
At the Gilbert House Of The Boringly Incarcerated, Jenna is once again regaling us with stories of her work with the Historical Society. If it weren't for all the Alaric sex she gets to have, I'd have this woman on suicide watch, that's how boring her life is. When Jenna closes the closet door, Elijah is standing behind it smiling, the shock of which nearly causes Elena to die of a heart attack on the spot. He merely introduces himself and sends us into commercial. Heh, Elijah is such a scamp!
When we come back, Jenna is telling Elena that Elijah is a writer who's doing a thing with some stuff...whatever, his cover story and her riveting Historical Society hoo ha are related. He makes to leave and pointedly thanks Jenna for inviting him into her home. He hopes to see Elena again sometime soon which appears to scare the bajeesus out of Elena who quickly runs upstairs and pounds on Jeremy's bedroom door. Before Jeremy can answer, The Dapper One appears next to her in the hall and shushes her. When Jeremy opens the door, removing his noise cancelling headphones (way to babysit there, Jeremy. I can see Alaric taught you everything he knows on the subject), and asking what's up, Elena lies that Jenna needs help with the boxes. Elijah wants to chat with Elena alone.
At The Grill Damon is giving accommodation recommendations to Jules who professes to be in town only for tonight. She tells him she's looking for her friend Mason Lockwood and he puts on a big show of he and Mason being old chums. He's surprised to hear Mason is missing and she's surprised to hear Mason was friends with Damon. Damon tries too hard to prod her into drinking her wolfsbane cocktail. More meaningful looks across the bar between Damon and Alaric.
The moon is high in the sky and surrounded by ominous clouds. Underground, Tyler is pacing his cage with chains around his wrists, ankles, legs, waist and neck. Caroline is sitting nearby and staring into the middle distance, trying not to look directly at his sexy torso. You know how it is. They give some bloo blee blah about the time, the moon's apex, the "few hours" during which he'll actually be a wolf, and other technicalities. He gets this look on his face like he's suddenly decided this is the best moment to run to her and kiss her passionately like he's been meaning to do all day but when he tries, he's quickly brought up short by the chains. Embarrassing. He covers by reaching for his wolfsbane-laced water. I wish they could find out Mason's recipe because while his looked like cloudy, white water, the one they've made Tyler looks like pee. He appears to be drinking a bottle full of wolf pee. Big gulp, gagging, spitting, coughing, shouting. He looks at her lovingly and apologizes for his minor flipout. She caresses his head and shushes him.
Back in Elena's room, Eiljah is explaining that he killed the random vamps in Richmond yesterday because he doesn't want her to be taken to Klaus. He tells her he simply can't have word of the doppelexistence getting out because he doesn't want to break the curse. Klaus is a paranoid recluse and Elijah is interested in quietly luring him out. To that end, he'd like to keep her and her friends and family safe while she goes about her life as normal. When the time is right, he'll stop by, and the two of them will make a visit to Klaus and Elijah will kill ol' cranky pants dead. He professes to be a man of his word and I totally believe him. Either Elijah is so good that he's compelling me to believe him through the 4th wall, he really is telling the truth, or I'm ridiculously gullible. I'm pretty damn satisfied with this entire story no matter how it shakes out. Elena makes the deal on one condition....
On what appears to be the roof of The Grill, Bonnie is lighing a shit-ton of pillar candles. The owner of the local Wicks & Sticks franchise probably summers at her Italian villa and gets there on her private jet. I love that many of the pillars are arranged artfully in an imperfect circle because even when you're trying to save lives, it's important to create a pleasing aesthetic. Half a dozen puppies die before Bonnie takes out the moonstone and evades questions about the spell's specifics. They touch hands and another 50 puppies are sent to puppy heaven. Chanting, stolen glances, puppy death screams, growing flames, floating rocks, showy sparks, faked orgasms. Why do Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec hate puppies? Also, a shower of sparks? FAKE! Every time the result of a "spell" is all ostentatious like that, you KNOW it's fake. Did Bonnie learn nothing from her stupid floating Gizmo charade?
Wolfmitzah Bunker. Tyler appears to be choking. I knew the chain around the neck was a bad ideal. Caroline goes to him to try and calm him while he cries about burning up and tries to pry the chain off of his neck. She tries to talk him through it. He tells her she should leave now but she refuses. Suddenly his arm snaps back and cracks several times in a truly horrifying way that made me shriek. Michael Trevino's screams and sobs are haunting. He cries out that it hurts and Caroline looks on in horror.
Grill. Damon is still talking about what a mensch Mason was and trying to get Jules to drink up. She pointedly does not drink and then calls Damon a fool. Damon tells her she won't find Mason and she should leave town. She thinks he's stupid to threaten her on a full moon. Alaric comes over to try and defuse the situation but you know that ain't happening. Damon isn't afraid of her, she thinks he's an arrogant vampire and tells him he's now "marked." I really think this plan would have worked better if they'd played to their strenghts and Alaric had been the chivalrous "nice guy" while Damon was the creepy drunk.
Lockwood cellar. Tyler is lying face down on the ground with Caroline knelt over him. He tells her there is nothing she can do to help and then more of his bones start snapping and contorting. She cries and calls his name. He tells her to leave so he won't hurt her. She goes to him instead, holding him and trying to comfort him.
Outside The Grill Damon is worked into a tizzy and wants to find Jules and get her to explain what the hell she meant by "marked." Alaric is trying to calm him down. He points out the full moon and reminds him that if the legend is true then one bite from Jules and Damon is D-E-A-D dead. There is a hint of panic in his voice as he sends his BFF home to lock his doors and be safe until morning. He can't live without you, Damon. Don't make him try.
In the cellar, Tyler is once again exhausted on the floor. He looks barely conscious as Caroline holds him. Suddenly the panting starts again and he insists she leave. SNAP! She lovingly touches his gorgeous arm. SCREAM! She snaps away and he bears his now-wolfier teeth at her. She looks freaked even though they look a lot like her vamp teeth if you ask me. He barks at her, like actually barks, and she vampspeeds to the doorway, out of his chain-restricted reach. He flips over onto his hands like a break dancer before settling into a decidedly K-9 crouch. She shuts the gate and fidgets with the chains to lock it. He pulls his chain free of the big metal hook in the middle of the floor. She cries and he lunges at her. She backs out of the room and slams the door behind her, falling to the ground in tears. More lunging and screaming and cracking horribleness inside as Tyler sprouts hair all over his body and then...shrinks into the wolf. Yeah, it's all truly gut-wrenchingly awful until you see that his wolf self is actually about 1/4 his size. The transformation is way more terrifying than the finished product is all I'm saying. Still, the effects of this entire thing were exceptionally well done and there aren't enough glowing adjectives in the world to describe Michael Trevino's performance - or that of Candice Accola, who may have mostly been supporting there but supported the fuck out of every second.
Oh yeah, there's more scene here. Anyway, eery silence before Wolf-Ty breaks through the gate and comes crashing into the door, snarlingly trying to break loose and kill Caroline. Car stands on the other side of the door using her vampstrength to keep it closed and crying his name. She finally barricades the door and vampspeeds out of the cellar and through the woods.
Salvatore manse. Damon arrives home and looks worried by something he senses in the house. He finds Rose in the library wearing maybe the ugliest top I've ever seen in my life. If she was trying to take my mind off of her hair, she succeeded...at least temporarily. She apologizes and he forgives - because he LIKES her - and then something crashes through the window. He grabs a sword off the wall (ha!) right before the two of them come face to face to face with a snarling Were-Jules. Were-Jules lunges at Damon but Rose shoves him out of the way and is attacked herself. W-J takes a great big bite out of Rose's shoulder and then bounds out the window. Damon runs to Rose and they watch as the would heals. He's relieved that the legend is crap and she's hysterical over her near death experience. He holds her, strokes her hair and tells her she'll be ok. Excuse me while I skip around and sing "Damon has a girlfriend."
Luka arrives home to the Dub Hub, all smiles. I vomit. Dr. W asks his son, "you were successful?" Luka confirms. "She fell for the whole...show, and didn't suspect a thing." To his credit, he appears to feel bad about that but - I TOLD YOU ALL HE WA BAD NEWS! Dead puppies aside, he's got to GO! Luka gives Doc the un-exploded moonstone and some attitude. Doc tells Luka they have one more thing to do for Elijah before the full moon is over and we cut to...
The tomb. Katherine, still leaning seductively against the wall, is prodding Stefan to talk to her. He'd rather not. She isn't sorry for being a selfish pain in everyone's ass and he isn't surprised. Way to win yer fella, Kat. He asks her to prove that she's worth trusting. He flirts with her a little. She offers to help him find Klaus. He wonders what her price will be. She tells him to ask Isobel how to find Klaus because of all her vampy research. They hear a crash and make for the exit where they find Elijah in the vestibule. Katherine is scared shitless. I love the confirmation that Elijah is even more supremely badass and scary than Katherine almost as I love his bone structure. Elijah mentions that Elena requested that Stefan be let out of the tomb and so he's free to leave. Stefan exits tentatively. Katherine tries to run out but is swiftly stopped by a mystical barrier. Elijah works his extra-strength mojo on her and tells her to stay put until Klaus arrives. He tells Stefan to run along and get the explanation of events from Elena, promising once again to keep his word so long as Elena keeps hers. Elijah leaves, Katherine begs Stefan to get her out, Stefan bids her toodles and scampers off to find his girlfriend.
Woods. Caroline stands alone in the fog, listening to the creepy sounds of birds flapping by. She wanders back toward the cellar and tentatively enters. She finds Tyler huddled naked on the floor. She covers him with a blanket, takes him in her arms and comforts him, telling him he didn't get out and he's ok. "No I'm not," he cries, and she hugs him. He reaches up and touches her hand while Howie Day sings about "the longest night." Who you tellin', Howie?
Elena is brooding in her room when Stefan arrives, all smiles. They hug and kiss and hold each other's faces and get in some quality bed time. Good for them.
Salvatore library. Damon is telling a freshly showered and be-robed Rose that he heard from Caroline and Tyler was safe, sound and contained all night so it wasn't he who attacked them. Duh. They agree to resume their special friends with benefits relationship. Then they make out and when he touches her shoulder she cringes in pain. They remove the robe to find a hideous rash spreading down her back from where the bite was. Dun!
Werewolves and vampires and doppel-grudges. Boys in chains with sweat and dirt smudges. Hormones and heartbreaks and magic rings. These are a few of my favorite things.
When the wolf bites, when the vervain stings, when the hiatus drags, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad.
Happy holidays. See you in 7 weeks. Gulp!