THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: “Heart of Darkness”
Read on for my recap & review of The Vampire Diaries 3×19, “Heart of Darkness,” aired Thursday, April 19th, 2012:
Previously on The Vampire Diaries, Klaus threw a wrench in the Scoobies’ plan to kill him, and the Scoobies were sad. Bonnie was the saddest witch in all the world. Rebekah was the saddest vampire girl in all the world, and took it out on Damon. Damon got tortured, but on the plus side, he had some down time to fantasize about kissing Elena. Stefan got back on the road to well-adjustment, had an epiphany about Klaus not being worth it, and also declared that Elena had feelings for Damon. Elena didn’t know what she felt. Spoiler alert: she still doesn’t know. Caroline remembered that Tyler exists, foreshadowing his return to the story. Spoiler alert: he returned to the story. Oh, and Matt killed an Original. (Yeah he did. Confetti and all the parades for our dear Mattie!) This revealed the fact that killing an Original has unforeseen consequences. Namely, it also kills EVERY VAMPIRE IN THEIR BLOODLINE. Potentially, this could stop the Scoobies from plotting Klaus’s death ever again, so they all started crossing their fingers that Elijah turned Rose. And my poor Alaaaaaaric was still suffering a psychotic break, on account of all those times he died and was resurrected. Psycho!Alaric hates vampires, so he decided to hide Alaric’s white oak stake, for some vampire-killing purposes. Uh oh.
“Heart of Darkness” was an excellent follow-up to “Murder of One,” and an excellent episode all around. Matt was his perfect Matt-self. Rebekah’s dreams of attending a high school dance were thwarted once again by betrayal. Damon and Elena took a trip to Denver to find Jeremy, and also made out in a motel walkway. Kol played some vampire-style baseball. Tyler and Caroline reunited, only to be pulled apart by Tyler’s jealousy of Klaus. And Stefan and Alaric shared a deep bonding session in the Salvatore dungeon, that changed them both forever. A love story for the ages, people. So much happened, and there is so much to discuss, so let’s get on to the recap.
Can’t a girl just plan a Decade Dance without getting possessed by her mother?
Let’s start with the important stuff. Mystic Falls High School still exists! And there’s going to be another Decade Dance! And it’s going to have a Roaring 20s theme this year! I mean, if this was all that happened in the episode, I would have loved it. Let’s get into the details. Early in the episode, dance planning is going on in the school gym, where Matt is hard at work being perfect. Caroline picks a fight with Rebekah over the theme. Care insists that the theme is the 1970s, but Rebekah uses logic to shoot her down: “So you’d rather dress in tacky colors with bad hair than be a classic flapper from the Jazz Age? Honestly, I don’t know what my brother sees in you.” Caroline: “Maybe he sees a challenge. You see, unlike some other people, I don’t sleep with everyone I make eye-contact with.” Really, Care? You’re so much better than this. I am disappointed in you. Ladies, let’s not attack other ladies by slut-shaming. Point to Rebekah in this round. Also, she’s right about the 20s > 70s. I mean, did Care forget the meaning of fabulous? THE HORROR. My favorite part of this whole scene was Matt piping in, desperate to make peace: “Maybe we can do both decades.” In unison, girls: “NO.” Laughing forever. Hee. Rebekah then reveals that Matt loved her idea, and Caroline is highly offended. “Traitor!” she yells. Matt: “Bell bottoms and disco? I don’t know, this just seemed cooler.” Point to Matt. Rebekah: “See, it’s just cooler.” Caroline is upset and storms out.
Psych! Fooled you, viewers! Matt runs after her, and they reveal that they are in cahoots. Caroline thanks him for helping her out, and he says that she bought herself a day. Oh, you tricksy blonds. Care reminds him to keep Beks occupied and to be careful. Matt: “Tell him I said hi, okay.” At first I thought that Care might be going along on the Denver roadtrip, given Matt’s recent bromance with Jeremy. But, spoiler alert: she’s planning to go see Tyler. So many bromances, so little time.
Later that day, Matt drops Rebekah off at home, and the two have a little moment in Matt’s truck. Rebekah: “Okay, spill. Why are you being nice to me?” Matt: “I drove you home. You don’t have a car.” Rebekah: “Not just that, I mean, helping me with the dance, and standing up to Caroline—I don’t buy it.” Matt: “Buy what?” Rebekah: “The whole gentlemanly thing. After everything my family’s done to you. What are you up to?” Matt: “It’s sad that you can’t just get a ride home from school without thinking there’s some ulterior motive.” It is sad. But she’s also kind of right (though I think Matt would have been nice to her and given her a ride home regardless of Caroline’s instructions), which makes it even sadder. There are just layers of tragedy here. Like an onion. Rebekah: “You’re right. I’m probably gonna organize the whole dance, and then have to compel myself a date.” Matt: “Let’s not get crazy. Goodbye, Rebekah.” She says goodbye and thanks him for the ride, then gets out of the truck. She smiles as he drives away, and I’m pretty sure this might have been the best day of her life, and now I want to cry. I mean, Rebekah is just THE SADDEST. Especially since we know what happens next. Tragical. (But at least her hair looks AMAAAAAZING.)
When Beks gets inside, she sees her mom. She immediately pins her mom to the wall. As you do. Beks: “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you now.” Esther’s excuse: “Because I’m dying.” Hmmm. Rebekah asks how her mom is dying, since Ayanna had preserved her body with a spell. Esther: “She did. I’m drawing my power from the Bennett witch line. When Abby died, the connection was severed, so my body has weakened.” Hmmm. One of the plot holes from “All My Children” rears its ugly head. Ugh, I hated Esther’s plan, and its execution, and they way it fell apart. Why would Abby dying break the connection when Bonnie’s still alive, and she can still channel the power of 100 witch ancestors? Why does one witch who barely had any magic matter? When Bonnie was able to channel 100 dead witches all by herself, before we even knew Abby existed? (Yeah, it was dangerous, and could have killed her, but what does Esther care about suicide?) And what about Lucy? Lucy is the awesomest! Why not just find another Bennett witch, Esther? Try harder. Why is Esther now suddenly dying when Ayanna’s spell—the spell of one lone witch—was powerful enough to preserve Esther’s body for a thousand years? It just seems so contrived and über convenient. Blah. Ugh. (Yes, Esther could have been lying about this, so maybe that minimizes the plot holiness? I don’t know. The whole thing is still super annoying.) And now I’m wondering why Esther, who has been watching everyone from the beyond for the past thousand years, doesn’t know about the remaining white oak. Such a powerful witch should have been on top of that white oak situation, not leeching off unstable Bennett magic in order to perform a spell she couldn’t handle. Moving on …
Rebekah is not impressed by her mother’s imminent death: “Well, if you’ve come to spend your last moments with your loving daughter, prepare to be disappointed. You should have spent less time plotting my death.” I mean, “You should have spent less time plotting my death” … it’s all so sad when you think about it. Poor Rebekah. Esther tries to defend herself: “Is that what you think I’ve been doing on the other side? I’ve been looking over you for a thousand years of joy and heartbreak—your fights with Klaus, the nights you cried yourself to sleep calling out my name. Not a day has gone by that I wasn’t right there with you.” Rebekah: “And yet you still tried to kill me.” Esther: “Because it shouldn’t have been a thousand years, Rebekah. No one should live that long.” Rebekah: “But I haven’t lived at all.” OH MY GOD, I’M GOING TO CRY. SERIOUSLY, MY EYES ARE WELLING UP WITH TEARS, BECAUSE THIS IS SO TRUE. The girl has barely lived. Such a sad and pathetically limited life due to the acts of her parents, and their subsequent 180 degree turn. And the manipulation of Klaus … she has had a life so full of desperation and longing. I am just so sad right now. Esther, thankfully, has the grace to feel bad: “I’m sorry, Rebekah. So so sorry.” She then holds onto her daughter’s hands, starts to shake, then collapses. Klaus enters: “What’s going on?” Rebekah: “She’s dead.”
But things aren’t so simple, as we learn later. I mean, they never are on this show. At the end of the episode “Rebekah” takes Psycho!Alaric down to the caves to retrieve the missing stake. After he enters the cave and picks up the hidden stake, he takes a seat and starts to take control of the situation. He asks, “Now why would I give you the one thing that requires everyone to keep me alive?” Rebekah: “Are we bargaining now? Fine. What’s your offer?” Alaric: “There’s only one stake out there, which means only one Original has to die. Help me, and I’ll make sure it’s not you.” Rebekah: “Tenuous, but points for effort. You see, I don’t want one Original to die.” With this, she actually enters the cave, shocking Psycho!Alaric. “I want them all to die,” she declares. Psycho!Alaric: “How the hell did you do that?” Rebekah: “It was easy to fool Niklaus, but I thought you of all people would understand. After all, my son did use your body at one point.” Dun dun dun. Psycho!Alaric realizes the truth: “You’re not Rebekah.” The woman in Rebekah’s body confirms this: “No, my name is Esther. And we have a great deal in common.” Dun dun dun. You guys, I loved this twist and I was literally yelling incoherent noises at my TV, all alone in my apartment. You got me, Vampire Diaries. Again. Of course, the most important takeaway from this reveal is that ONCE AGAIN, poor Rebekah is thwarted in her plans to attend a high school dance. The girl never catches a break. I just hope that Bonnie banishes Esther into a cheerleading trophy, where she belongs. Moms who steal their daughters’ childhoods are THE WORST.
It’s a vampire-hybrid reunion!
So, freed from Rebekah’s watchful eye (did Klaus have his sister spying on Caroline or was this just mean girl stuff?), Caroline heads to the woods. She hears something and then smiles, and we see that she is meeting Tyler. “Hi.” Candice Accola is still THE BEST at saying “Hi.” It’s a special skill. Tyler tells her how much he missed her, and then they take things down to the cellar. Remember that underground room where Tyler used to transform? The really dirty one that was the setting for so many hours of pain? They two lovebirds choose this spot to get, um, reacquainted.
In the afterglow, Caroline and Tyler whisper sweet nothings. They are really happy. (TV rules say that this can’t last, so take a good long hard look, people.) Tyler promises that they’ll finally do this in a bed once he figures out what to do with Klaus. Caroline has a good plan to deal with Klaus: “Tell him to suck it. You broke his sire bond. You won’t have to deal with him ever again.” Tyler: “It’s easier said than done. Besides, I won’t know if it’s broken until I test it.” Caroline: “Wait, I thought that’s why you were coming back, because you said you felt different.” Tyler: “I do feel different. I feel freer. Way more myself. All I know is that I turned about a thousand times in the Appalachian Mountains. If I can get through that, I can get through anything.” Um, Appalachian Mountains reference? This had me rolling. You may remember that Alaric going on a bender in the Appalachians was quite the running joke back in season two. Hee. Also, there is a motel room in this episode, so that just confirms this as a shout-out. (Not really, but hee.) Alas, Alaric was not to be found sensitively passed out in a bathtub last week, but there’s still time for that.
But back to the recap. Caroline is happy to hear that Tyler made such progress and is in a good headspace, and she decides to fill him in on the bloodline stuff. She also casually states, “Matt killed an Original.” I have to admit, I’m really sad that Tyler didn’t show some pride at this reveal, and then throw his former bestie a party. Let me remind you all again: MATT KILLED AN ORIGINAL. Klaus: 1. Matt: 1. Everyone else: 0. Anyway, Caroline continues the story, right up to the crucial potentially deadly part. Tyler: “But Klaus turned me. So if he dies, I die.” Caroline: “I know that. They know that. The difference is, Damon doesn’t care.” Dun dun dun.
Later, Caroline brings Tyler home. She tells him that her mom said he could stay as long as he wants. Wow, Liz. Do you think she’s allowing this just to piss Carol Lockwood off? I hope so. Hee. However, Care does clarify that her mom didn’t go as far as to let them share the bed. Ty will be snoozing on the couch. They are basically in a holding pattern until they find out whether Klaus started the Salvatore’s line. Tyler: “And if Klaus didn’t create their line? And they try to kill him?” Caroline: “Tyler, I just got you back.” She kisses him, and adds, “I’m not losing you again.” She then goes in the other room to set up his couch bed, when things go terribly awry. Oh, teenagers. He finds the pony drawing from “Dangerous Liaisons” on her night stand. As you may remember, Klaus signed it, and wrote a little note. Tyler asks/exclaims/accuses, “Klaus drew this for you?” Caroline, from the other room: “Huh?” Tyler: “That’s pretty creepy.” Caroline: “Yeah, Klaus is pretty creepy. Even when he’s trying to be charming.” Tyler is NOT amused: “Charming? Does Klaus have a thing for you, or something?” Caroline: “No. As far as I’m concerned, he isn’t capable of real feelings.” Tyler: “I’m serious. What the hell happened while I was gone?” Uh oh. Caroline: “Tyler, nothing. Nothing happened.” Tyler: “Then why did you keep this?” Um, because it’s pretty. Hello! Caroline: “I don’t know.” There is strained silence. Finally, Tyler announces, “I think I’m gonna find someplace else to spend the night.” Caroline calls after him, but he’s out of there. Geez, Tyler, just when I was finding you tolerable. Blah. All the guys courting Caroline is just common sense. Duh, she’s Caroline. And one does not throw away art.
In which Alaric and Stefan do some violent soul-searching in a dungeon, and Klaus gets jealous.
So, what was everyone else doing? Well, the Salvatores decided to swap partners, as @Katelinnea pointed out:
Sharing is caring? So, Stefan encouraged Elena to head to Denver with Damon, while he remained behind to hang with Alaric. Of course Damon did leave behind a fitting token of his affection, by sneaking Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde into the pile of books Elena brings Alaric. Ha! Elena wasn’t so sure that Alaric belonged in the Salvatore dungeon, but exposition reminded us why he’s there: to get his alter ego to appear and confess where he hid the white oak stake. Elena and Alaric sort of worry over what Klaus will do if they don’t find the stake, but they both seem a bit bored by the idea of Klaus’s prospective retaliation. Elena: “It’s the only thing that will kill him, so … wage war, murder people, you know, Klaus stuff.” Same old, same old. I feel you, Elena.
Upstairs, in the Salvatore Great Room (I recently learned via Julie Plec’s Twitter that the Salvatore living room is referred to as the “great room” in the scripts, so obviously that is what I will call it now), Damon and Stefan discuss their little trade, and the whole missing stake situation. Stefan assures his brother that he’ll get the location out of Alaric, it’ll just take some time. Damon’s not so sure, now that Stefan has stepped away from the Dark Side. Hmmm. I have a feeling that Stefan will be able to connect to Alaric on a deeper level, what with their shared self-hatred and broken psyches. Have fun in that dungeon, boys! Spoiler alert: THEY DO.
Stefan goes down to the dungeon to see Alaaaaaaric, who is currently in his right mind, but having a hard time falling asleep. Stefan has watched enough of Damon and Alaric’s friendship to know what to do, and brings down some bourbon to “speed up the process.” So, reading and day drinking … this is really just a typical day for Alaric, after all. Alaric doesn’t want to drink alone, and Stefan doesn’t leave him hanging. The youngest Salvatore pulls up a chair so that he can bond with his brother’s bestie. Awwww. Alaric wonders why Stefan is the one babysitting him, since it’s just a waiting game. Stefan reveals that they only have a limited amount of time “before we have to resort to other methods.” Uh oh. I DO NOT LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT. HOLD ME. Alaric: “So you’re worried you’re gonna have to torture it out of me? You don’t think Damon could have done that?” Now, when I first watched this scene, I started hyperventilating at this point and refilling my glass. However, upon rewatch my reaction was more like: “TOO MANY JOKES. CANNOT FUNCTION.” I mean, these boys are really just setting up the fandom for all the snark here. Hee.
Anyway, Stefan decides to engage in some bonding through the magic of over-sharing: “Look, Elena needed to go on that road trip with Damon. No matter what I go through to get her back—fighting my blood lust, trying to gain control of my life again—none of that maters if she has feelings for somebody else.” See my thoughts on this further down, in the next section. Then the two of them discuss Jeremy. Stefan says that Elena is worried about her little brother, because … duh. Alaric: “Who knows? Maybe his alter ego is a pot smoking pot smoking pacifist.” Hee. That may have been my favorite line of the episode. Alaric continues, “I can’t say I thought mine would be so hostile and militant.” Stefan: “Actually it makes perfect sense. Your wife left you to become a vampire and your girlfriend was killed by one.” Well, look who’s an amateur psychiatrist. Good reading, Stefan. Alaric: “You must really hate me. Here I am, the failed hunter slash drinking buddy of vampires.” Stefan: “Nah, he’s too judgmental.” Alaric: “The thing is, he’s me. I’m not compelled. I’m not possessed. There’s no humanity switch. What drives him is me.” This is familiar existential territory for Stefan, so he jumps in: “No, no he’s not you. He’s the darkest parts of you. Parts we all have.” You know, these two really have a lot more in common than I ever thought.
You know that things are getting just a bit too cozy, because then Klaus interrupts: “Well, this is depressing, isn’t it?” Someone’s jealous! Oh, Klaus, don’t worry. Chin up, no one can make Stefan more depressed than you. Klaus shows them the white oak stake he found upstairs, and reminds them that he still needs the other one. Yes, Klaus, I think they can all do that simple math. Stefan says that it’s going to take more time, but Klaus is not willing to be patient: “Why? Because we’re waiting for that one to pass out? No thanks, I think I’ll just kill him.” Um, Klaus, STEP OFF. (This episode was soooo stressful for me, as you can imagine.) Stefan: “Well then you won’t know the location of the other stake.” Klaus says that he can live with that. I guess he really trusts that Alaric is an amazing hider, and/or didn’t hand it to one of the many (many many many) people who hate Klaus. Smarten up, lion face.
Stefan then makes the most soapdish move of the episode. While I appreciate the fact that Stefan does this to save Alaric, I think there would have been other buttons he could push. You know? Yep, Stefan tells Klaus all: “When we staked Finn, we discovered that killing an Original vampire killed its entire bloodline. Now, I don’t know which one of you I’m descended from, but I’d really rather not find out by dying. So why don’t we just find the stake and destroy it, so that we can all be safe.” STEFAN!??!! SERIOUSLY??!! Klaus: “So the fate of the entire vampire race depends on you [indicating Stefan] finding a stake, and to get it, we need you [indicating Alaric] to pass out, which means I feel totally justified doing this.” Klaus snaps Alaric’s neck. “There, sleeping like a baby.” Ugh, Klaus. You’re dead to me. I’m going to join Team Tyler now just to spite you. (Okay, not really. I wouldn’t go that far. But I do hope that Mommie Dearest puts him through the ringer.)
Sometime later, Alaric wakes up on the floor, and Stefan is there to greet him. Geez, Stefan couldn’t put the poor guy back on his cot, so he could resurrect on a less gross surface? How rude. Stefan says that he almost finished reading Moby Dick while Alaric was sleeping. Okay, let’s talk about the ring and its magical powers for a minute. The past few times that Alaric almost died, he needed vampire blood to supplement the ring magic. The ring wasn’t enough, and it wasn’t working fast enough. And now suddenly the ring is back to working perfectly with no worries? I am so confused about this ring magic, people.
Back to the recap. Alaric makes a good point: “This is stupid. Evil me, or whatever you want to call him, he’s not gonna make an appearance. I mean, why would he? The best hiding place is the one where you can’t find the person who hid it.” Stefan agrees. Alaric asks him how he wants to do this. Stefan: “I don’t want to do any of this.” Alaric takes off his ring, and Stefan protests. Alaric: “No, what I need is hope that my alter ego doesn’t have a death wish. So, I’m taking bets that my dark side has a sense of self-preservation. So let’s see if he defends himself against death.” (Soooooo stressful!) Stefan says that he’s not going to kill Alaric. While I admire this sentiment, Alaric does not. He points out that it’s their only chance. Stefan looks really unhappy at the prospect, but works up the nerve. Vampire punch!
The fight escalates, but Alaric tells Stefan that he’s not putting enough into it. Stefan: “If I put any more into it, I’m gonna break your spine.” Me: “Don’t break his spine!” More punching. Finally, Alaric starts to bleed, and Stefan gets freaked out. Alaric: “Oh c’mon, you’re past that.” Stefan: “No, I’m not.” Alaric: “Then use it. Give in to it. Try and kill me, Stefan, c’mon.” Stefan: “Not like this, Alaric.” Alaric: “Yes, like this. You’re gonna have to want to kill me for me to believe you will.” Stefan: “If I go this far, I might not be able to stop.” Me: “Don’t go too far!” Alaric: “If you want the answers from my darkest side, you’re gonna have to tap into yours. So don’t back down. Don’t fight it. Just do it. Do it!!!” Wowzers. Such a smart decision from a writing standpoint to put these two characters in this position. It’s all just SO INTENSE.
So, the fighting escalates, and at this point I’m maybe close to tears, when Alaric gets up, all bloodied, and suddenly … hello, Psycho!Alaric! “You’re so weak. Look at you. One of nature’s most hideous creatures and you can’t even get that right. You, me…” Gaaaaah! Bravo, Matt Davis. Bravo! Stefan asks Psycho!Alaric where the stake is. Psycho!Alaric: “You’re worse than I ever was. Spineless, pathetic.” Stefan: “Tell me where the stake is before I kill you.” Psycho!Alaric: “You know you’re all gonna burn. Ashes to dust.” Chills. Stefan starts pounding on him and asks again about the stake. Then Stefan puts him in a chokehold and threatens to kill him. After the “3-2-1” countdown, Psycho!Alaric spills: “It’s in the cave. Where no vampire can get it.” He follows this with an evil little chuckle. Nice. Oooh, trickly. Evilric is so smart! Armed with this info, Stefan locks his sparring partner in the dungeon and heads upstairs … where he finds Klaus and Not!Rebekah waiting for him in the great room.
Klaus pours a drink, fire roaring in the background. Rebekah brings Psycho!Alaric upstairs. Klaus: “It’s a little gratuitous, don’t you think, Stefan? I would have been more gentle.” Ha! Not!Rebekah heads off to the caves with Psycho!Alaric, so that Klaus and Stefan can have some alone time. Klaus: “And then there was one. I know about your brother’s little mission to Denver. He failed. Not that that’s news anymore.” Awww. Poor Damon. So sad, so true. Stefan calls Klaus’s bluff: “So, what are you gonna do now, Klaus? You gonna kill me?” Klaus: “I haven’t actually decided yet.” Stefan: “Oh, sure you have. See you’ve had every chance and every excuse imaginable to do it, but yet you haven’t. Which means you don’t want to.” TRUTH. Klaus: “You know something, you’re right. See, I’m still waiting for my old friend to come back. And from the looks of it, he’s just beneath the surface, waiting to come out to play. Isn’t that right, Ripper?” Klaus is SO OBSESSED with him. Stefan: “I’ve been fighting that part of myself, thinking that if I repress it, it will go away. But it won’t. And now that I’ve accepted it, it can’t control me. And neither can you. So, unless you’re gonna stake me, why don’t you get the hell out of my house.” Klaus looks impressed. And turned on. (I JUST REPORT THE FACTS.)
A tale of planes, motels, hoarding, and vampire baseball.
Okay, so this Denver trip was kind of a hot mess, but it was an entertaining ride. The highlights? First off, it turns out that Jeremy has taken up baseball. What did Damon’s compulsion do to our sensitive artiste? Also, his neck grew three sizes! Oh, and the littlest Gilbert also made a new friend! Unfortunately, this new friend is Kol. No one should be surprised by this given Gilbert proclivities. Ahem. (This is what happens when you erase your brother’s memory and send him off to Denver, Elena. P.S. I TOLD YOU SO.) Apparently no one thought to email Jer photos of the Originals, captioned “Watch out for hot people with sexy accents!” Sadly for Jeremy, Kol was just pretending to be his friend, but really watching him for Klaus. I have to say that I’m surprised that Kol has loyalty to Klaus at this point, and would do his bidding. Huh. Anyway, when Damon and Elena ID Kol, violence ensues, and it turns out that Kol really likes playing baseball … with Damon’s limbs. Eventually, however, after Kol experiments with a “newfangled” aluminum bat, Damon is able to get the upper hand and stakes Kol. Of course, not with a white oak stake, so it’s only temporary.
With Kol temporarily immobilized, the Scoobies have a chance to get a head start and hide out at a motel. Earlier, Damon and Elena had filled Jeremy in on the main reason for their trip. Oh, turns out it wasn’t really to rescue Jeremy, but to use his skills as a medium to contact Rose. You know, because they need to know who turned Rose, so that they can figure out which Original started the Salvatore bloodline. Poor Jeremy. And not just because Elena waits to rescue him until she needs something from him. You’d think he’d be spared meeting Rose now that she’s dead, but no such luck. Jeremy isn’t sure he’ll be able to connect with Rose, since he didn’t know her, but luckily Rose is obsessed with Damon and follows him around. After some light taunting, Damon reminisces about how Rose spent her last day in paradise. Elena is confused, but Jeremy pipes in: “It was in the dream he gave her. She’s here.” Oh, hi, Rose. We didn’t miss you at all.
Elena asks if Rose is lonely on the other side, but Rose says that she’s happier than she ever was. Damon asks if she’s still hot, and Rose says that Damon is “still dripping with sex.” Jeremy looks really uncomfortable, and I feel the same. Some mental images can just not be unseen. Ewww. Jer opts to share only the PG rated version of her missing Damon. Rose also establishes herself as a Delena shipper, and Jeremy is confused. He has missed so much. Eventually, we learn that Rose was not sired by an Original after all, but someone named Mary Porter. I gotta say, even though I’ve been hoping that Elijah started the Katherine/Salvatore/Caroline bloodline, I’m pretty relieved that Elijah didn’t turn Rose himself. Damon knows Mary Porter (in the biblical sense, as we learn later), and apparently her nickname is “Scary Mary.” OF COURSE someone named “Scary Mary” turned Rose. Why didn’t we already think of that?!?! Rose doesn’t know where she is, but she agrees to find out. Vampire-Ghost Detective to the rescue.
Now, since this show is complicated, we must also discuss the other motivation for this Denver trip: Elena’s feelings. As Elena revealed at the start of the episode, Stefan was the one who actually encouraged her to go on the trip with Damon, hoping that it would help her deal with her unresolved feelings. Now, while I appreciate that Stefan is giving Elena room to discover and grow, his whole attitude is short-sighted. Declaring to Alaric that nothing he does matters if Elena has feelings for someone else? If Elena were to love Stefan the most (I’m not saying she necessarily does, but if) and, more importantly, if she were to choose him, what would it matter if she also had feelings for someone else? Love is not a zero-sum game. I repeat: LOVE IS NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME. Also, you know what you get when you push the girl you love towards another guy who’s in love with her? EXACTLY WHAT YOU ASKED FOR. I mean, did those months as a Ripper damage Stefan’s brain cells? A little questioning and lust on Elena’s part is not an excuse to take yourself out of the game, Stefan! SIGH. Vampires …
Anyway, back to Elena and her feelings and choices, etc. I thought this episode did a good job of presenting a believable hook-up between Elena and Damon. Obviously the show has been building up to this moment, and the fact that it happened was wholly unsurprising. That said, I was a bit surprised by how hot it was. I mean, I’m only human. A run-jump-kiss on a motel balcony? Not too shabby. On the other hand, I’m glad that the show didn’t get too carried away by the romance and the sexiness, so as to make it unbelievable. Of course Jeremy would be confused and concerned and hurt. Of course Elena would question herself for doing this, and be a combination of turned on, ashamed, confused, and a million other feelings. This is Elena Gilbert! Just last week she was declaring her undying love for Stefan, and she has spent months chasing Stefan down, despite the fact he became a vicious serial killer. The girl does not give up on love. To think that one make-out session with Damon—as steamy as it was—would clarify her feelings is ridiculous. While I am really not a fan of this love triangle in general, I have to say, well-done, writers.
After the kiss is interrupted, Jeremy tells them that Rose found Mary. She lives in Kansas. Supernatural reference? When the trio arrives at Mary’s house, there is some sibling awkwardness, but eventually Jeremy decides to wait in the car while Elena and Damon go inside. Not going inside Scary Mary’s house? Jeremy is the smartest person on this show. The inside of Scary Mary’s abode looks like an episode of Hoarders, so that triples the freaky. Eventually, Damon and Elena find Scary Mary dead, pinned to the wall with a baseball bat. Uh oh. Kol got there first.
Kol explains to the newcomers that “she was a bit of an Original groupie.” Fandom: “We want to be Original groupies too!” Elena: “And were you her favorite?” Kol plays it smart: “You mean, did I turn her? I think I did. But no, wait … maybe it was Rebekah. Although there was also a Klaus period. And let’s not forget the Elijah affair. I spoke to my brother. I know you’re trying to find out who you’re descended from. Now you never will. So, where did we leave off?” Hmmm. Just another reason why Stefan shouldn’t have spilled about the bloodlines. (Ugh, Stefan!) Then Kol takes part in his favorite pastime: attacking Damon with baseball bat. Damon tells Elena to leave, and while Kol points out that she is off-limits according to Klaus, he does take the opportunity to strike her and push her aside. Damon is not pleased. Kol maintains the upper hand, however: “Oh dear, I’ve hit a nerve. Relax, darling. I just want us to be even. You snapped my neck, you killed my brother, and then you humiliated me. [Hits him some more with the bat.] There. Now we’re even.” You know, Kol is actually a really forgiving guy. He’s got a gentle heart. I mean, Damon got off easy.
Once Kol leaves, Elena and Damon have a moment. There’s some face holding, as usual. But Elena pulls away and now it’s Damon’s turn to be confused. He wants to know what is going on with this trip and Elena kissing him. She comes clean: “Stefan thinks that I have feelings for you.” Damon: “Do you?” Elena stumbles over the words: “I don’t know.” Damon: “Hmm. I guess you thought this little trip could help you figure that out, didn’t you?” Elena protests. Damon: “Or maybe you were hoping I’d screw it up, so I would make the decision for you. Am I wrong?” Elena: “It’s what you do, Damon. You sabotage things. Think about it. Every time there’s a bump in the road, you lash out.” I mean, she is not wrong. Damon: “What if I didn’t? What if there was no bump? [He looks at her doubting expression and gets mad.] Well, I’m sorry, Elena, but this time I’m not gonna make it so easy for you. This time you’re gonna have to figure it out yourself.” Yes, Damon, because all those times you hurt or killed the people she loved really made Elena’s life easier. Good one. Burn.
Now for my least favorite part of the episode: the car ride home, filled with ridiculous exposition. Rose appears in the backseat with Jeremy, and has secret things to tell him. You guys, she’s just such a Delena shipper that she can’t keep quiet a moment longer! She must be unburdened! Since Jeremy is the only one she can talk to, she forces him to be witness to her yammering. If only there was the internet on the Other Side, so Rose could keep occupied in a chat room with like-minded individuals. Instead, she directs her speech to the kid who Damon killed at the beginning of season two (and more importantly, to the audience): “I know you want to stop it, protect her from it, but you’re young. You don’t see what I see. It’s not just that she makes him a better person, and she does, but he changes her too. Damon challenges her, surprises her. He makes her question her life, beliefs. Stefan is different. His love is pure. He’ll always be good for her. Damon is either the best thing for her, or the worst.” PUKE. First of all, neither vampire is “good” for Elena. (Not that such a minor thing as “good” or “bad” will stand in the way of love. The romance will continue, regardless of notions of “good” or “bad.”) Second of all, Damon is neither the best the thing for her, nor the worst. The best thing would probably be someone like Matt. Or moving to Italy and finding a hot Salvatore who’s not a vampire. (Shout out to Nina Dobrev for that idea!) And the worst thing would obviously be getting kidnapped by Klaus and used as a hybrid-producing blood bag for the rest of her days, dying alone and anemic. But the stuff Rose said about Stefan was really the most ridiculous, and it is in direct opposition to EVERYTHING we’ve seen this season. Also, didn’t we hear enough about Stefan’s “pure” heart in season one? You can use that word as much as you want, writers, but it won’t ever make it true. Finally, Rose disappears. And she will not be missed.
So, I think that I covered all the important stuff. What did you all think? On a scale of one to infinity, how scared are you for Alaric? (I’m infinity times infinity on the fear scale.) Also, on a scale of one to infinity, how excited are you to see Claire Holt play Esther-pretending-to-be-Rebekah? (I’m infinity times infinity on the excitement scale.) Also, let’s talk about how much we love Katherine and miss her, just because. (I miss her infinity times infinity. TIMES INFINITY.) Oh, and if you were an English major and know about Moby Dick and its symbolism, please school us in the comments. Or was it just referenced for the phallic imagery? Thanks for reading!