Homecoming. As a non-American, this is one of those high school rituals that confuses me. What is a homecoming dance? Who’s coming home, and from where? No matter, because in this episode it’s everyone. Klaus, Stefan, others (hint) – even Daddy’s home. And daddy calls Klaus “boy” and Klaus calls him “old man,” so really, what more could I ask for?
Last episode saw the family history of the Originals and the return of Mikael, the father of all vampires. This episode sees Mikael working with Elena, Rebekah and the Salvatores to cook up a plan to kill Klaus. First step: dagger daddy vampire. They need Stefan to tell Klaus that Mikael is dead, and Stefan can’t lie to Klaus because of his compulsion. So in order to make it true, Elena daggers Mikael – temporarily, at least. (There’s also a weird conversation where Mikael says that if a regular vamp daggers an original, the regular vamp dies. This may be foreshadowing for later in the series, but for this episode, at least, it doesn’t seem to matter.)
Next step: Stefan calls Klaus and tells him the truth: Mikael is dead. Klaus is suspicious, so Stefan passes the phone to Rebekah, and she confirms it. She tells Nik that she misses him, and he replies, “I’ll be home soon.” I don’t know why, but this made me start singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” in my head. And now you have it in your head, too. You’re welcome!
Elena then undaggers Mikael and he comes back to life in Rebekah’s room. He looks touched to see her again, after she spent a thousand years on the run with Nik. But Rebekah gives papa the smack-down: “Whatever fatherly rubbish you’re thinking, save it.” Mikael looks stricken – aw, a vulnerability! – and tries to explain that he was never chasing her. He only wanted to kill Nik because he killed Esther, their mother. Rebekah says she knows what Klaus did, but she blames Mikael for it. “Nik was not born a killer,” she says. “None of us were. You did this to us when you turned us into vampires. You destroyed our family, not him.”
Ouch. Mikael looks guilt-ridden, and Bex leaves him to brood. Aw, poor daddy.
Back at Elena’s house, she and Bonnie are hanging out in her room, where Elena’s trying to pick out a dress for the homecoming dance. Bonnie remarks that Caroline is the only one of the three girlfriends who has a date. Elena says that Bonnie can talk to her about Jeremy, but Bonnie says, no, she really can’t. Jeremy is Elena’s brother, and she shouldn’t have to hate her own brother, no matter how badly he treated her best friend.
Later, Elena and Damon get an assembly line going in Damon’s master suite. Elena is assembling grenades and Damon is mixing up a fresh batch of wolf’s bane to put in them. It’s the supernatural version Molotov cocktails. It is a school party, after all.
Elena’s conversation with Bonnie is weighing on her mind. She tells Damon there’s a flaw in their plan: they can’t trust Rebekah. Klaus is her brother, and no matter what he’s done, she will probably betray them in the end in order to save him. Damon tells Elena not to worry, he’s formulating a secret contingency plan. Elena wants to know what it is, but Damon refuses to tell her.
Stefan then pokes his head around the corner, proving his point that it’s not safe for them to talk – Damon doesn’t trust Stefan not to betray them, either. Stefan says not to worry about him: “If I look back at our history of epic plan failures, it’s usually because one of us let our humanity get in the way.” Careful, Stefan, those words may come back to bite you.
At the school, Tyler and Caroline are decorating the grounds for the dance.Tyler asks Caroline to “go for a bite”: Rebekah knows some folks who are into getting bit, and the vamps don’t even have to compel them. Caroline, after making her “ew” face, replies, “OK, first of all, I finally almost just got your mother to stop hating me, so I probably don’t want to get caught in some weird vampire threesome with her son. And secondly, stop hanging out with Rebekah the evil blood slut.” She asks, “This is a sire-thing, isn’t it? Please tell me this is some family extension of your sire-bond to Klaus.” Tyler quips, “I’m here hanging streamers and have glitter all over my hands. If I’m sired to anybody, it’s you.” BWAH.
Tyler says Rebekah compelled Matt to take her to the dance, which makes Caroline make her “ew” face again. Then we see Bex admiring her red dress (which Elena picked out for her last episode) in the mirror. Thus definitively answering the question of whether vamps in this ‘verse cast reflections.
Rebekah is nervous, and she admits to Elena that it’s her first high school dance. She warns Elena that Mikael is not a good person and he can’t be trusted – no one in her family can. Then she starts crying. “I’ve spent my whole life loving and hating my brother in equal measure,” she says. “I never thought I’d be the one to help drive a stake through his heart.” Elena commiserates with her, and makes a gesture of friendship by giving her back her mother’s necklace. She helps Rebekah to put it on, and then daggers Rebekah in the back. You go, Elena!
Damon calls it harsh, but there’s a glow of pride in his eyes when he says it. “Hey, I’m not judging. It was very… Katherine of you.” (Hint hint.) Elena says she feels guilty about it, and admits that Stefan may be right – she’s worried she’ll let her humanity get in the way. She cares too much, and calls herself the weak link. Damon again says not to worry, he has a backup plan, but when it all goes down, he doesn’t want Elena anywhere near it. (Hint hint hint.) He asks Elena if she trusts him, and she says, “Yes.” What a difference a year makes! I don’t really ship them, but I love the bond of loyalty and trust that’s developed between these two.
Night has fallen, and the dance is about to begin, but when Carline arrives, the place is crawling with repair crews. Tyler tells her the gym has flooded and the dance is cancelled. Not to worry, though –Tyler’s moving the party to his house. When she gets there, Tyler’s house is packed to the rafters with people and there’s a band playing out on the lawn. Everyone wonders how Tyler managed to get such a great party together so fast. Tyler tells Stefan that he’s just doing what Klaus wants: this isn’t a party, it’s a wake. For Mikael.
Klaus takes the stage and thanks the crowd for being there to celebrate with him. Afterwards, he tells Stefan that he wants to reunite his family. Once he sees Mikael’s dead, daggered body, he’ll undagger the rest of his family – whose bodies he’s been carting around in creepy coffins for the past thousand years – and they’ll all live happily ever after. Oh, and once he’s sure Mikael is dead, he’ll set Stefan free from his compulsion.
Matt shows up at the door of the Salvatore mansion to take Rebekah to the dance. Elena tells him that Rebekah can’t go, then asks, “How would you feel about a backup date?” They go to the party together, and Elena has her hair curled, looking very Katherine. (Hint hint hint hint.)
In the study, Mikael shows Damon the weapon he’ll use to kill Klaus. It’s a dagger, carved from the ancient white oak tree that Esther used to cast the original vampire spell on her family. Mikael carved it before they burned the tree to the ground. Damon quips, “I’d offer you a drink, but Katherine tells me you’re more of a vampire-on-the-rocks kind of guy.” Did she, now? Odd, because we haven’t seen Katherine since Mikael bit her, and viewers were led to believe that maybe she was dead. (Hint hint hint hint hint.)
Stefan comes home from the party to tell Damon and Mikael that there’s been a change in plans. Klaus has asked Stefan to drag Mikael’s cold dead body to his own wake. How rude! You think they would have arranged a nice open casket in a hearse for a beloved family member.
Mikael: I’m afraid he’s in for a colossal disappointment.
Stefan: He’s certainly not going to come here. I hope your plan didn’t depend on that.
Damon: Didn’t depend on that.
Stefan: But you do have a plan, right?
Damon: Oh, yeah. We got a plan. Just doesn’t involve you.
With that, Mikael rushes Stefan, chomps down on his neck and drains him nearly dry. Damon asks, “You couldn’t just break his neck?” Mikael, wiping his mouth, replies smoothly, “Well, it certainly occurred to me.” And walks out. Daddy Vampire is a badass.
Damon takes one last look at his brother’s body, grabs his weapons and skeedaddles.
Back at the drunken funeral party, Klaus tells Tyler that he was a busy, breeding boy while he was on his little road trip. He got major neck while he was gone, and he shows Tyler his new hybrid brothers and sisters. “They, like you, were sired by me, they wish to serve their master, so if anyone should so much as make a move against me, they may feel obligated to retaliate.” Then, with a big beaming smile, he adds, “You’re free to warn your friends.”
So Tyler does. He finds Caroline and tells her that Klaus is onto her and her friends. Caroline says she doesn’t know anything, but even if she did, she wouldn’t tell Tyler because he can’t be trusted.Tyler then proves her right by stabbing her in the neck with vervain. He calls Matt to come and take her home, saying that if something goes down against Klaus, he doesn’t trust himself not to hurt Caroline. Getting her out of the line of fire is the only way Tyler can think of to keep her safe.
Klaus sidles up to Elena to thank her for killing Mikael – apparently it’s not easy for a human to dagger an original. Klaus then tells her that he knows she’s up to something, but he’s not worried. “People have been after me for a thousand years, and I’m always one step ahead. Whatever it is you’re thinking of trying, go for it. Give it your best shot. You won’t succeed.”
Damon then shows up at the party but one of Klaus’s bodyguards tries to bounce him. “Invite only, vampire,” he tells him. “Here’s my RSVP,” Damon replies, and rips the heart out of the guy’s chest. “Hybrid.” HEEEEEE.
Damon then muscles Tyler into the study and they fight. Damon tries to stake Tyler with the magical tree branch, but Bonnie comes in and spells them apart. She knocks Tyler unconscious but leaves Damon awake. When she asks Damon why he has the magic stake, Damon says it’s because Mikael doesn’t have an invite to the Lockwood home.
Sure enough, Mikael shows up but he can’t get in. He and Klaus have a face-off in the doorway where they call each other names and make fun of each others’ hair. Mikael calls Klaus a coward; Klaus threatens Mikael with his hybrids minions, but whoops! The hybrids are part-vampire, which means an original can compel them! All the hybrids then fall in, rank-and-file, behind Mikael, who drags Elena out of the shadows.
Elena is the one person Klaus needs alive if he wants to make more hybrids like him. Mikael challenges Klaus to come out and face him or Elena dies. Klaus calls his bluff, saying, go ahead and kill her. He doesn’t need other hybrids, he just needs to be rid of Mikael.
Mikael: You’ll live alone, forever. Nobody cares about you anymore, boy. What do you have, other than those whose loyalty you forced? No one.
Klaus: My whole life you’ve underestimated me. If you kill her, you lose your leverage, so go ahead. Go on, old man. Kill her. Kill her!
Mikael chuckles: “Your impulse, Niklaus. It has, and will forever be, the one thing that keeps you from truly being great.” Then he stabs Elena in the back.
Klaus looks shocked, and even a little wounded. Damon takes advantage of the moment to jump Klaus and stab him in the chest with the magic dagger. Then Elena pops up from the steps, uninjured – Surprise! It’s Katherine! Who would have guessed, with all that hinting? “Ba-boom,” Katherine says, and tosses Molotov wolftails into the crowd of hybrids.
Klaus still isn’t dead, so Damon raises the stake to stab him again, but Stefan tackles Damon to the floor with a wild look in his eye. Klaus gets up, grabs the magic stake, charges out the door at Mikael and rams it through his heart. Mikael screams and bursts into flames. Aw, bye-bye, daddy vampire! We hardly knew ye.
Damon is royally pissed at Stefan’s interference. “What the hell did you do?” he screams. Klaus replies, “He’s earned his freedom,” and releases Stefan from his compulsion. He’s clearly touched by Stefan saving his life, and calls him “my friend.” Aw. I still wish they had done more with the Klaus/Stefan friendship. Why give them all that history if they’re not going to do anything with it? *sadface*
Caroline wakes up in her safe, comfy bed. Tyler’s there, and Caroline is pissed. He tries to explain that it was the only thing he could think of to get her safely home. Caroline replies, “Oh, yeah? How about, ‘Hey Caroline, I’m worried about what might happen this evening. Maybe you should go home and watch Dancing with the Stars’?” SMACKDOWN! Caroline is nobody’s puppet, especially not her boyfriend’s.
They argue some more, and Caroline admits that if she had known what her friends were planning, she wouldn’t have left, so maybe Tyler did possibly save her from her own stubbornness. She still can’t trust him, though, because he’s bound to Klaus. Tyler says, “This is who I am now. Klaus can’t be killed, I can’t be fixed, but I’m okay with it.” His life is better now because he never again has to go through the pain of a wolf transformation. If being sired to Klaus is the price for that, then so be it. Caroline insists that he doesn’t have any real control over himself, but Tyler says he didn’t before – the moon controlled him. He begs Caroline not to turn her back on him after everything they’ve been through. Caroline is about to say something, but then he bolts, leaving her bemused and annoyed.
Back at the Salvatore swank palace, Damon and Elena are doing a panicky post-mortem, trying to figure out what went wrong. They were counting on Stefan wanting Klaus dead more than anything. Damon is furious, with Stefan and himself: “I had him, Elena. I had Klaus! This could have all been over!” He hurls his expensive crystal booze bottle into the fireplace and flames leap up the chimney. Elena tries to calm him down:
Elena: We’ll survive this. We always survive. Trust me.
Damon: We’re never getting Stefan back. You know that, don’t you?
Elena: Then we’ll let him go. Okay? We’ll have to let him go.
Oh, Damon’s face when she says this! He’s never looked so tormented. He’s losing his brother, and he can’t handle it. BOYS.
Damon’s phone rings just then. It’s Katherine. She’s on the run again from Klaus, and she’s calling to say goodbye, at least for now. When she hangs up, we see that Stefan is in the car with her. “He doesn’t know where it all went wrong,” Katherine says. Stefan replies, “He doesn’t need to know.” But the audience does, and so we get to see:
Flashback: Klaus talking to “Elena” at the party. He’s ordered his hybrids to avenge his death, so if Damon kills Klaus, the hybrids will be sure to kill Damon afterwards. Katherine, freaked, goes in search of Stefan and finds him unconscious in the Salvatore study, where Mikael left him. She wakes him up and tosses him a blood bag. Then she tells him: “I know that you’ve turned off your humanity and you don’t care, so there’s only one solution. Care, Stefan. Care enough to save Damon’s life.” And Stefan does.
And thus, the good princess’s words to the evil prince from last week comes to pass: “You’ll be the one to save him from himself, Damon. It won’t be because he loves me. It’ll be because he loves you.” OH, BOYS.
But it seems that Stefan isn’t the only one who cares, and he calls Katherine on it.
Stefan: You wanted Klaus dead for 500 years. Why would you risk all that just to save Damon’s life?
Katherine: I wasn’t just trying to save Damon’s life, Stefan. I was trying to save yours. Your humanity. Let’s just say I like the old you better.
Stefan: C’mon, Katherine. You don’t care about anybody but yourself. You know that.
Katherine: You and I know that is not true. I loved you. I loved Damon, too. Humanity is a vampire’s greatest weakness. No matter how easy it is to turn it off, it just keeps trying to fight its way back in. Sometimes I let it.
Aw, Katherine. The evil princess ain’t so evil, after all. She loves her boys as much as we do.
Stefan says he doesn’t want to let it all back in, after everything he’s done. Katherine says, maybe not, but he has to let himself feel, if he’s going to do what she needs him to do next. “What’s that?” Stefan asks. Katherine replies, “Get mad.”
The next day, Klaus is out enjoying the sunshine, happy that his not!daddy is finally dust. He tries to call Rebekah but she’s not picking up because of a slight case of dagger-in-the-back. Klaus is skipping through a parking lot, heading for the truck where he keeps his creepy coffin collection, but just as he’s about to wake them, Stefan calls. Klaus rolls up the back of the truck to find all his coffins have gone walkabout. Stefan has them hidden away. He says Klaus took everything from him, now he’s going to pay him back. “I wonder, Klaus. For someone who’s been one step ahead for a thousand years, were you prepared for this?”
Well, no, obviously not. Otherwise he wouldn’t have left his coffin collection unguarded right before the mid-season break when we have to wait eight weeks before the next episode! Stupid Klaus, he obviously didn’t account for the speshul evil genius of television executives.
SHIRTLESS SOMERHALDER SIGHTINGS: None, again, and now we have to wait two months for our next opportunity. Get with the program, writers.
QUIPPITY QUIP: “I’m a hundred and sixty-two years old, and I’m going to a homecoming dance. I need better ties.”
(Note to readers: I’ll be out of pocket for the next three days, so apologies in advance if I don’t reply to comments until Monday. Thank you for reading!)