Everyone is lost in the woods this week. Elena, Alaric, Damon, Stefan – even Klaus is groping his way through the darkness, wondering where it all went wrong. A bunch of Little Red Riding Hoods, and the Big Bad Wolf isn’t even coming to eat them because all the wolves are dying. While Elena and Damon go for a swim.
We begin our fairy tale with Klaus and Stefan wandering through the mountains of Tennessee, with Stefan carrying Ray, the werewolf Klaus killed last week. Klaus is thoughtfully solicitous for a maniacal killer – he asks Stefan: “Do you need a drink of water? Little sit-down?” Snerk.
They come upon Ray’s pack in the woods, and Stefan dumps his burden on the ground. Klaus announces to one and all that he’s the hybrid they’ve heard so much about, just as Ray wakes up. Klaus conscripts one of the pack members as a feeding bag for Ray – he needs human blood to complete his transition from werewolf to were-vampire. (Vampwolf? Wolfpire?) Klaus then proceeds to kill all the other members of the pack and feed them all his blood. Stefan asks, “You want to create a master race of hybrid slaves?” Klaus replies, “No. Soldiers. Comrades.” Aw, he wants to share his gift with others. We’ll start calling him Santa Klaus.
Elena comes banging on Alaric’s door first hangover in the morning. “Go away, Damon,” Ric growls, shirtless and annoyed on the bed. It’s funny that he automatically assumes it’s Damon when he’s shirtless and annoyed. Maybe Damon makes a habit of sneaking into Ric’s bedroom after a bender.
Elena got a tip from Tyler that there might be a wolf pack in Tennessee, so she conscripts Alaric into going on a hike with her to find Stefan. Ric tries to resist, telling her that he’s checked out. And why is it Elena’s job to save Stefan, anyway? (An excellent question!) Elena replies, “Because I’m not the kind of person who checks out.” Ouch. They argue some more, and Elena insists that she’s going with or without Ric’s help:
Elena: What? You’re the one who told me I could handle things on my own now.
Alaric: Yeah, I meant frozen dinners and SATs.
So off they go, a stubborn Gilbert and a drunken daddy figure. Aw, I heart dysfunctional families.
Speaking of which, Tyler’s mom is busy feeding him vervain. She knows Caroline is a vampire and she’s afraid she might have bitten her darling boy during their sexcapades last week. Mom makes a furtive phone call to someone named Bill, who shows up at the Lockwoods’ door promising to take care of Caroline. Duh duh duh DUH.
Jeremy shows up at the bar on his day off because he wants to talk to Matt some more about his Vicki sightings. He convinces Matt that they should try to get in touch with Vicki from beyond the grave. Which always leads to fun and puppies. They head back to Matt’s place, where he digs up some of Vicki’s stuff. Jeremy starts to do the ritual, but Matt backs out at the last minute, finding the whole thing too painful and creepy. Jeremy leaves, but Matt shows up at his house later with Vicki’s stuff, and Vicki suddenly appears to Jeremy: “Help me. Bring me back,” she pleads, promising candy and rainbows. Anna appears next, telling Jeremy, “Don’t trust Vicki.”
I’m sorry, I love Jeremy and Anna, but, bored now. Can we please have them say more than two words to each other? This storyline was set up as the big cliffhanger last season, and so far it’s gone exactly nowhere. Compared to Santa Klaus and his eight tiny vampdeer it’s a yawn. I want more Anna now, pls kthnx.
Elena and Alaric are on their hike through the woods. Ric has a pack on his back roughly the size of a Saint Bernard, filled with its own handy neck barrel of vervain and wolf’s bane. This sets up the funniest exchange of the evening:
Alaric: The moon’s going to rise in a few hours. Just over that ridge.
Elena: You were a boy scout, weren’t you? A boy-scout-slash-vampire-slayer?
Alaric: Slash-whisky-drinking-slash-all-around lost cause.
Elena: Well, we’d better hurry, then. I’d feel bad if I got you killed before happy hour.
The juxtaposition between Alaric/Elena and Klaus/Stefan is the best thing about this episode. Both Alaric and Klaus are put in the role of screwed-up mentor/daddy figure, while Elena and Stefan are the little lost children. Did I mention narrative kinks for the win?
Elena pulls out John Gilbert’s magic ring, the one that protects humans from death-by-supernatural-causes. She tries to give it to Ric, but he declines, still resisting being pulled back into the whole caring-about-people thing. Just as Elena and Ric are bickering, Damon does his speed-of-light appearing-from-nowhere trick, grabs Elena and throws her in the river. “Thanks for the tip, brother,” he tells Ric, which made me squee inside.
Elena sputters and pouts at Damon and insists she’s not leaving until she finds Stefan. Damon wades into the water after her and the two of them get in each others’ wet sexy faces. Which is pretty hot. Damon finally gives in, but insists, “We are outta here before the moon’s full. Unless you wanna relive that whole dead-bit-kissy thing.” Ahahahahaha.
Back at the hybrid factory, Klaus’s new recruits are bleeding from their eyeballs, which is always a sign of kittens and valentines. One of them tries to make a move on Klaus. “Careful, love,” he warns her. “There’s only one Alpha here.” EEEE, fanservice. \0/
Ray attacks Stefan and takes a big nasty chunk out of his arm. Stefan says he’ll need Klaus’s blood to heal him, to which Klaus replies that he’d better bring Ray back, or no sippy cup for him. So off Stefan runs, but he loses Ray, who is headed in the direction of the drunken, wet and snarky scouts.
Ray attacks Damon, who explodes a wolf’s bane Molotov cocktail in his face. Drunkie, Wet and Snarky tie Ray to a tree but he changes into a full-blown wolf even before the moon rises. Unlike Santa’s reindeer, these wolves don’t have to wait until dark before they start delivering pressies.
Damon leads Wolf Ray on a merry chase away from Elena and Alaric, who run for the car. Safe in the van, Elena wants to go help Damon, but Alaric once again talks the crazy woman down from the ledge: “Let the vampire fight the hybrid zombie mountain man.” He tells Elena that she’s a sucker for a lost cause. Elena replies, “You’re not a lost cause. You’re just lost. So is Jeremy. So am I. Our family is gone. We don’t have anybody, and I’m sorry but you don’t have anybody either, so, we’re kind of made for each other.” *HEARTS* Alaric tells Elena that he’s going to keep the ring, then, which officially makes him the dad. Squee!
Back in the hills, Damon is still wrestling with the hybrid zombie mountain man, and losing. Stefan swoops in just in the nick of time to save Damon from getting nicked by those deadly wolf teeth. He kills Ray, then asks Damon, “What part of ‘don’t follow me anymore’ got lost in translation?” Damon shoots back, “Might want to take it up with your girlfriend. You don’t want her chasing you, I’d stop with the late-night phone calls.” Stefan looks suitably chastened and wanders back to Klaus. Damon looks thoughtful, which always leads to drunken binging and dead bodies.
Stefan returns to Santa’s workshop, only to find that all the toys are defective. Half of them bled out, and Klaus had to kill the rest. He launches into a poor-me lament complete with throwing of beer bottles: “I did everything I was told! I killed a werewolf, I killed a vampire, I killed the doppleganger – it should have worked.” Stefan’s fear betrays him when Klaus mentions the doppelganger, terrified that Klaus will figure out that Elena is still alive. There’s an incredibly tense moment between them, but if Klaus is catching on, he doesn’t let Stefan know. Instead, he bites his wrist, squeezes his blood into a beer bottle and hands it to Stefan: “Bottoms up. It appears you’re the only comrade I have left.” Which made me bite my wrist, too.
Tyler confronts his mother about feeding him vervain, and asks what she did with Caroline. Mom says Tyler can’t be with Caroline because she’s a monster. Tyler, incredulous, says, “You really don’t know about me, do you?” He then proceeds to drag her down to his wolf lair, where he changes right in front of her. Mom is shaken and tells Tyler, “I’ll take care of it.” She tries to call off Bill, but Bill says Caroline is still a monster and he won’t be deterred from what he has to do.
Elena is back at home when she finds Damon in her bedroom, staring out the window. Damon tells her that Stefan is “an insufferable martyr who needs his ass kicked. But he can be saved. Even in his darkest place my brother can’t let me die. So I figure I owe him the same in return. I’ll help you bring him back.”
Wow, talk about being lost in the woods. No one believed that Damon could be saved; why do they all think Stefan can be? The guy is a ruthless killer. Yeah, he went with Klaus to save his brother’s life, and yeah, he shows remorse for his crimes. But he’s still a criminal, and it was his choice to become one, regardless of his motives. The idea of Elena trying to save him is pretty dark, and not a little creepy – that whole “love of a good woman” cliché. I kind of hope it all blows up spectacularly in her face, because it would be nice to see a TV show tear down that trope.
After promising to help, Damon then extracts a confession from Elena:
Elena: I didn’t want to see you get hurt. I was worried about you. Why do you have to hear me say it?
Damon: Because when I drag my brother from the edge and deliver him back to you, I want you to remember the things you felt while he was gone.
He stands very close to her, caressing her hair, and the sexual tension between them is so thick you could cut it with a really sharp knife like those ones that slice through shoe leather and tin cans and live baby pigs on the ginsu knife commercials. Cue the rising music and the rising… music.
For our final scene of the night, Caroline makes her first and only appearance: she wakes up in a dungeon tied to a chair, which always leads to spankings and bondage fun. A door opens, Bill appears, and Caroline smiles: “Daddy?”
WOW, that’s some kinky bondage!
SHIRTLESS SOMERHALDER SIGHTINGS: Sadly, none this week, although shirtless Alaric almost made up for it.
Damon: I was wrong.
Elena: Are you drunk?