It’s 5:15 in the morning, and off goes Elena’s alarm. (There’s a 5:15 in the morning, now?) She pulls herself out of bed and bumps into Alaric in the hallway. They sleepwalk their way through coffee, breakfast and teeth-brushing, then head for the woods. Alaric is teaching Elena how to stake a vampire.
Alaric has spring-loaded stakes (as seen on Angel, though obviously he forgot to get them patented). They’re supposed to release into the vamp when you punch him, but Elena can’t get them to work. “You’re not strong enough,” Alaric says, and tells her to start weight-training to “put some meat on your bones.” Elena thinks Ric has no confidence in her fighting strength:
Elena: You think I’m crazy to think I can protect myself from a vampire who’s flipped the switch on his humanity.
Ric: I think you found a way to get out of bed this morning. And that makes you the strongest person I know.
Daddy!Ric is the best. *hearts*
At the Salvatore mansion, Stefan is playing a bloody game of twister with a bunch of compelled girls. Last week, Stefan was Damon 2.0 in beta edition; this week he’s the official, market-ready version. There are bodies littered all over the house, and Damon is literally cleaning up after him. “The two brunettes on the staircase owe me a Persian rug,” Damon snipes. Stefan shoots back, “Owe us a Persian rug. It’s my house, too.”
And also, apparently, Rebekah’s house. She barges in with her shopping bags in hand, announces to one and all that she’s moving in and asks to be shown her room. “Who the hell are you?” Damon asks, and she calls him rude. Later, Damon calls Elena to give her the exciting news: “You might not want to come here for a while. We have a new housemate. Barbie Klaus.”
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end
It’s the first day of school, and the girlfriends are determined to make the best of it. They’re seniors, dammit, and they’re going to have a great year if it kills them. Which it just might.
Bonnie: Why should I let the fact that my boyfriend is seeing the ghosts of his dead girlfriends hinder this experience?
Caroline: Yes. And why should I let the fact that my boyfriend was turned into a hybrid put a damper on an otherwise fabulous day?
Elena remembers that this would have been her and Stefan’s anniversary – they met one year ago today. Bonnie and Caroline console her. I have to say, each of these young women is great on her own. But together, they’re the friend-unit of awesome. I love the way they support and care for each other.
And Elena will need a lot of support, since Stefan shows up at school and announces that he’s going to be shadowing her all year. Klaus asked him to keep an eye on her, and that’s what he plans to do – after all, Elena’s blood is the only way to make new hybrids, so Stefan’s going to make sure that she doesn’t meet with any unfortunate accidents.
After Stefan makes himself scarce, Caroline and Elena spot blood on Tyler’s shirt. They drag Tyler into the girls’ room and give him the smackdown. “Vampire 101,” Caroline says, “don’t wear your breakfast to school.” Tyler tells them to chill, it’s just from a blood bag that Rebekah gave him. Apparently Rebekah is keeping an eye on Tyler as Klaus’s newest “asset.” Ahem.
Rebekah then shows up at school, presumably as part of her eye-keeping-on duties. She sits in history class with Stefan and Elena. Later, she eats one of the cheerleaders, conveniently creating an opening for herself on the squad. At practice, Caroline confronts her:
Caroline: You can’t just come here and infiltrate all of our lives.
Rebekah: I’m only interested in yours. Your spunk, your popularity, maybe even your boyfriend.
She casts a covetous eye at Tyler, who’s practicing football on the field. The coach is busting the players’ asses for not working hard enough, so Tyler compels the coach to dismiss practice so the team can go out drinking. Caroline is not impressed, with Tyler or Rebekah. But Tyler and Rebekah seem pretty impressed with each other – especially after Rebekah shows off her backflips, cartwheels and splits to the cheerleading squad.
Elena’s on the track running and Stefan catches up with her. She tells him to leave her alone and literally runs the other way. “You think I’m annoying now?” Stefan quips. “Wait till homecoming.” He really is Damon Revisited, and Paul Wesley makes an admirable effort at being the vampire you hate to love. But he just doesn’t have the glib insouciance or facial elasticity that Ian Somerhalder has (not to mention the eyeroll of craziness) to pull it off.
Later, Damon finds Elena in the training room lifting weights. “What are you going to do?” he asks. “Bench press a vampire?” He calls her “Buffy” and “Warrior Princess,” but Elena is not to be mocked. She wants to lock Stefan up.
We then get the weekly scene of unresolved sexual tension between Damon and Elena. Damon takes Elena’s hand and lays it in the center of his chest. “Feel that?” he says. “That’s the sternum. Solid plate of bone.” He then spins her around, holds his hand against her midriff and whispers in her ear: “But right here, just below the rib cage, next to the spine – that’s your way to a vampire’s heart. I’ll do whatever it is you need me to do, Elena. No one’s going to hurt you. Especially not my brother.”
Ian can’t help but be smoking hot in those scenes. But I still prefer Damon/Katherine over Damon/Elena. All that unnecessary behaving…
I feel stupid and contagious
So it turns out? The final goodbye scene last week between Vicki and Matt wasn’t really goodbye. She keeps appearing to him, tugging on his heart strings. Matt’s lonely and he’s happy to have family to talk to again. At school, Vicki tells Matt that she’s been talking to a witch on the other side (the original witch, maybe?) and there’s a way for him to bring her back.
So Matt does. He conducts a spooky ceremony to bring Vicki back to life. It works, and they have a touching scene where they can, well, touch. But the happy reunion doesn’t last. Vicki tells Matt that in order to stay, she has to do what the witch told her. She has to restore the balance, which means no more hybrids. Vicki must kill Elena so that Klaus can’t make any more. Then she whacks her brother in the head with a wrench and runs off.
And for this gift, I feel blessed
Elena hatches a plan to capture Stefan at the bonfire, another annual Mystic Falls high school ritual. She pulls Damon, Alaric and Caroline in on the plan. It will be Damon’s job to keep Rebekah occupied while Elena and Alaric go after Stefan:
Damon: How? She’s an original. Last time I checked, we were out of daggers.
Elena: So, then, preoccupy her with your charm.
Alaric: Might have better luck finding the dagger.
Ouch, Ric is still mad at Damon for that whole breaking-his-neck thing. What’s a little murder between bestest buddies like them?
Tyler comes in, and they ask him to raid his mom’s vervain supply so they can subdue Stefan.Tyler refuses, bizarrely saying it’s not in Klaus’s best interests.
Caroline: Why are you acting like some freaky hybrid slave minion?
Tyler: Klaus made me who I am, Caroline. I owe him everything.
Damon clues in that something’s up, and he stabs Tyler in the neck with a tranquilizer. Then Damon utters the words which will launch a thousand D/s fanfics: Tyler has been “sired. He feels loyal to Klaus because Klaus’s blood created him. He seeks acceptance from his master.” We learn that this phenomenon is very rare, but maybe not so much in hybrids? Or on the Internet. Caroline, in despair, asks, “How do I fix him?” Damon replies, “Get a new boyfriend.”
She drags Tyler home, and when he wakes up she gives him another smackdown. She tells him that he’s putting Klaus’s needs first: “He’s your master now.” Tyler protests, “I’m not anyone’s pet, Caroline. He doesn’t control me.” Caroline says something must be, because he’s been acting like his old self, “the obnoxious you that I would never be friends with.”
Tyler freaks out at that. “I don’t want to be that guy,” he says. “I hated that guy. Please don’t hate me. Everything I like about me? Is you.” Caroline smiles, and they kiss, and then they have sexy times on the couch.
Here we are now, entertain us
At the bonfire, Elena is getting her doppelganger on. She gulps down a drink, and Stefan tries to get her to cool it:
Stefan: Alright, take it easy. We both know you’re kind of a lightweight.
Elena: Really? You think I’m gonna let a blood addict tell me how to drink?
Shades of Katherine! I approve. If Stefan and Damon are going to switch roles, maybe they can do an Elena/Katherine swap while they’re at it. Then maybe Damon/Elena might actually be interesting.
Damon finds Rebekah roasting marshmallows at the bonfire. “What, no friends your own age?” she taunts. “Like you can talk,” Damon shoots back. Rebekah is stymied by the mystery of the roasted marshmallow; it keeps burning. Damon shows her how to peel off the burnt skin and savor the soft gooey center. Elena is on the other side of the fire, watching them flirt, and she doesn’t look happy. Stefan comes up behind her and jibes her about being jealous. She stalks off in a huff, and Stefan follows her.
Rebekah wonders why Damon’s being nice to her. He says he’s trying to be a good housemate but she’s not buying it. She whispers to him, “There’s never a fair fight between us, Damon. Remember that.” Then she stabs him in the gut with a tree branch.
Stefan finds Elena hanging out – literally – at the bleachers. She’s drunk and dangling off the side. “Uh-oh, it’s the fun police. I thought that Ripper Stefan was supposed to be the life of the party.” BWAH. More shades of Katherine. Elena falls and Stefan rushes to catch her. “I knew you would catch me,” Elena breathes, and Stefan’s face softens. There’s a moment where it looks like they might kiss, but then Alaric shoots Stefan in the back, knocking him unconscious.
They drag Stefan to Ric’s SUV and stuff him in the back, but just as Ric is about to climb in, Vicki sets the SUV on fire. Elena is trapped inside and she can’t get the door unlocked, because Vicki is in the car with her and she keeps locking them. Ric and Elena both try to smash the windows but neither succeed. Elena wakes Stefan up and he kicks open the back door. Elena crawls out over him and then drags him to safety, just before Ric’s car goes boom.
Realizing his mistake, Matt calls Bonnie as soon as he regains consciousness. The two of them perform another spell to send Vicki back to the land of the really-dead, not the kinda-sorta dead. Vicki tries to convince Matt to let her stay, but he says her being here is wrong, and he has to let her go. Bonnie completes the spell, and poof! Vicki goes back to wherever she came from.
Oh well, whatever, nevermind
Still in Charlotte, Katherine is trying to awaken Michael by dangling mice in his face and looking incredibly bored. She’s offered “gravediggers, mourners, mice, rats, bats” but he’s not tempted by any of them. Finally she kills a mourner and drips the blood directly into Michael’s mouth. Michael revives, but then tells Katherine to get the blood away from him. He’s been denying himself human blood for as long as he can remember.
Katherine tells Michael that she wants his help to kill Klaus. Michael says he will kill him, so Katherine unchains him. He’s stiff and creaky, and Katherine again encourages him to eat, saying it’ll loosen up his old bones. “I don’t feed on living things,” Michael tells her. “Then what do you eat?” Katherine asks.
Instead of telling, Michael shows: he grabs Katherine, pulls her in and takes a big whopping bite out of her neck! Katherine struggles but can’t escape his grip, and finally goes still. Is this the end for everyone’s favourite bitch queen? Let’s hope not! Mystic Falls will be much less fun without her.
A denial, a denial, a denial
Back at the Salvatore mansion, Damon is giving first aid to Elena. She’s trying very hard not to show how jealous she is:
Elena: You played your part of the plan really well tonight. You had Rebekah drooling all over you and your marshmallows.
Damon: Yeah, before she skewered me. I thought you were too drunk to notice?
Elena: I was faking most of it.
Damon: So was I.
Heee. After that lovers’ exchange, we get another. “Good work tonight, Ric,” Damon tells Alaric. “Sorry about the car, man. Bummer.” Alaric brushes him off, and Damon makes his woobie face. Aw, Ric, he just wants to make it up to you! Elena tells Ric it’s okay if he wants to be friends with Damon again: “I think he kind of misses you.” Yes, Alaric. Yes he does.
And then, a third lovers’ exchange, this one between Stefan and Elena:
Stefan: You could have let me die in that fire tonight. Why didn’t you?
Elena: Because I still have hope.
Stefan: After everything I’ve done, you still think I’ll be able to find my humanity again?
Elena: Yes. I do. I know who you really are. Better than anyone, Stefan. And I’m not giving up.
Stefan: Elena, do you have any idea how pathetic that makes you?
Elena: No, Stefan. It makes me strong.
And with that, Elena stabs him in the gut with her spring-loaded stakes. This girl is getting her slayer on.
Back at Tyler’s house, Caroline is getting dressed and ready to leave. “You’re always running out on me,” Tyler says. “You have to earn the overnighter,” Caroline replies. You tell him, girlfriend! Make that boy work for it. After Caroline leaves, Rebekah shows up with a compelled girl wearing a big bite mark on her neck, and tempts Tyler to eat her. Tyler tries to resist, but when Rebekah bites into her wrist, Tyler rushes at the girl and chows down.
Meanwhile, in the land of the ghosts, Vicki may have been sent to bed without supper but Anna keeps getting summoned to Jeremy’s bedroom. He confesses that he can’t stop thinking about her, and Anna says the same about him. They touch hands like last week, but this time, they can both feel it. Surprise! Anna’s a solid citizen again. And may I just say, YAY.
After Elena and Alaric head on home, Damon’s trying to clean up Stefan’s mess (again). While he’s picking up debris, things start flying around the room. Then, out of nowhere, Damon gets hit with a mean punch to the face and goes flying. Pan back to reveal the suddenly undead, very solid ghost of Mason Lockwood, who remarks, “This is gonna be fun.”
It’s fun to lose and to pretend.
SHIRTLESS SOMERHALDER SIGHTINGS: No shirtless Damon. Shirtless Tyler again, this time wearing nothing but a blanket wrapped around his hips. No wonder Caroline and Rebekah are fighting over him.
Elena: What about Stefan? What’s he up to?
Damon: Oh, you know Stefan. Journaling. Reading. Shaping his hair.