The Vampire Diaries 3.12 – The Ties that Bind

The Ties That Bind

Shouldn't we be eating sandwiches instead?

There are all kinds of ties in life: mental, physical, familial. This episode contained so many references I expected the Man from Glad to show up and offer his patented sandwich bags as a solution. Look, son, no ties!

You’ll only get that reference if you’re as old as Klaus. Or me.

And speaking of Klaus, Bonnie’s dreaming about him. She’s in a graveyard with one of his beloved coffins, the one that won’t open. Behind her, Klaus says, “I figured out how to open it. Can you?” Then he rushes at her and bites her. The next thing she knows, Bonnie wakes up inside the coffin. After banging frantically on the lid, it opens, and she sees her mother standing above her.

Spooked, Bonnie confesses the whole deal to Elena. She takes Elena to the haunted mansion, where the dead witches reveal the coffins to both of them. Now Elena knows the secret that Stefan, Bonnie and Damon have been hiding from her. Stefan shows up, and isn’t happy that Bonnie has let Elena in on the secret. Bonnie says that in order to open the coffin, she needs to find her mother, and she needs Elena’s help to do it.

Elena takes Bonnie to her house, where they dive into deep research mode. Damon comes to the rescue, saying he found Bonnie’s mom in North Carolina. “Road trip,” he declares. “I call shotgun.” Elena says no, this is something that she and Bonnie need to do on their own. Damon makes his pouty face, and Bonnie notices the sexual tension between them.

Bonnie: What’s going on with you two?
Damon: We kissed. Now it’s weird.

HEEEEEEEE. Elena says they don’t need Damon’s snarky commentary narrating Bonnie’s reunion with her mom, but personally? I think Damon’s snarky commentary makes everything better.

Tyler comes to see Caroline and tries to apologize for nearly killing her. He wants to resist Klaus’s sire bond, so he’s called in an expert: Caroline’s dad. Since Bill can resist compulsion, maybe he can teach Tyler how to resist Klaus. I dunno,Tyler, but if you want to stop abusing your girlfriend? Maybe it’s not such a great idea to seek advice from the guy who tried to abuse the vampire right out of her. At any rate, Bill says he’s going to try to help Tyler.

At the Mystic Grill, Alaric is on a lunch date with Dr. Meredith Fell. After she leaves, Damon sidles up to Ric, apparently jealous that his BF is dating again. Damon asks who the hottie is, and Ric says she’s a doctor who used to date the town’s medical examiner. Damon tells Ric that the medical examiner is dead, staked through the heart, and the ex is always the number one suspect.

Stefan comes home to find Klaus sprawled on his sofa listening to punk rock and drinking his whiskey. “My hybrids left town as you demanded,” Klaus says, “so please tell me what I need to do to get my family back.” Stefan says he’ll hang onto the coffins for a few more years. Klaus laughs. “Right. Crazy Stefan. How’s that working out for you? Any friends left?” In the background, the music plays I’m a lonely boy. Obvious reference is obvious!

In North Carolina, one of Klaus’s hybrids knocks on the door of one Abby Bennett Wilson. Cut to black. Oh, Klaus, you are always one step ahead, aren’t you?

After the commercial (featuring the Man from Glad), Elena and Bonnie arrive at Abby’s house. They meet up with a young hottie named Jamie. Bonnie tells him that Abby’s her mom, and Jamie looks a little floored. He says Abby’s not home, but he welcomes them in while they wait for her. Apparently, Abby dated Jamie’s dad a few years back. His dad was kind of a deadbeat, so when they broke up, she sort of adopted Jamie and put him through school.

Abby comes in and Bonnie introduces herself as Abby’s daughter. The moment is suitably awkward, and Kat Graham does a great job with all her scenes in this episode.

In the Lockwood cellar, Bill chains Tyler up. He explains that Tyler’s bond to Klaus is rooted in gratitude, for releasing him from the pain of monthly werewolf transformations. In order to overcome that gratitude and break the bond, Tyler has to turn into a werewolf. “Own your pain,” Bill says. “Then you’ll owe Klaus nothing, and you’ll be free.” Tyler blanches, knowing what torture it is to turn, but he decides to go through with it because he loves Caroline and never wants to hurt her again.

Back at the Bennett homestead, Abby is feeding her visitors tea and muffins. She tells Elena that she knew her mother – in fact, Miranda was Abby’s best friend. 15 years ago, a vampire showed up in Mystic Falls looking for Elena. No one could kill him, so Abby cast a spell to desiccate him and entomb him in a crypt in Charlotte. The vampire was Mikael, and he was looking for the doppelganger. The spell nearly killed Abby. She recovered, but all of her magic was drained. It never came back. “And neither did you,” Bonnie snaps. She tries to leave, but Abby stops her, begging her to stay so they can talk. Elena leaves the two of them alone, and outside, she runs into Stefan.

Damon’s at the hospital spying on the mysterious Meredith. “Sorry about your boyfriend,” he quips, then notes that her name is at the bottom of the death certificate, the one that reads “animal attack.” Dr. Fell ushers Damon into a hospital room so they can talk in private. “Why do you even care?” she asks. “Because Ric likes you,” Damon snarks, “and if you’re a psychopath that would really suck for him.” Aw, Damon, it’s so cute the way you look out for him. *hearts* Also, Damon says, “I think psychopaths are incredibly high-maintenance.” You would know, Damon, being one yourself! Just as Damon’s about to leave, Meredith stabs him in the neck with a vervain needle. While he’s out, she draws from blood from his arm and runs off with it in a test tube.

In the cellar, Tyler is in agony. Caroline wants them to stop, but Bill orders her to leave. Once she’s gone, Bill comes at Tyler with an axe, telling him to get mad. “Your bond to Klaus is putting my daughter in danger. Either you turn, or I kill you right here, right now.” Tyler turns, and once he does, he breaks free of his chains. Then he comes at Bill, wolf teeth bared and sinking deep into his neck.

Abby and Bonnie have a heart to heart about why she left town, all those years ago, abandoning her young daughter. “I had no magic. I was in a new city. And I realized, I had a chance to be somebody else. To be Abby Wilson, the woman. Not Abby Bennett, the Witch.” She ran, and she’s not proud of it.

Let me just say, I really like this development. This is a brand new character, and already they’re giving her depth and flaws. I love the fact that Abby ran away from all the madness of Mystic Falls. It’s not noble or right, but it’s completely believable. And I don’t blame Bonnie one bit for being angry. It’s just nice that they show a character choosing to do the wrong thing and owning it, instead of passing it off as redeemable because the person did it for “noble” reasons (*cough* Stefan saving Damon *cough*).

In the barn on Abby’s property, Stefan and Elena argue. Stefan kicks over a chair and Jamie overhears. He interrupts, trying to rescue Elena. Stefan tries to compel Jamie to go away. He does, but seconds later he’s back with a shotgun. “Jamie, what are you doing?” Elena asks. “What I was told,” he replies. Stefan realized that Jamie has been compelled, but before they can do anything about it, BLAM! Jamie shoots Stefan in the chest.

Bonnie and Abby rush to the door to see what the noise is, but Abby grabs Bonnie from behind and knocks her out with some sort of herbalicious mixture. Jamie ties up Elena, leaves Stefan bleeding on the ground, and runs off to meet Abby, who’s loading an unconscious Bonnie into her car.

At Alaric’s loft, Damon shows up and interrupts his workout. “What are you doing here?” Alaric asks. “Oh, looking for a bunny,” Damon quips, and lifts the lid off a pot boiling away on the stove. BWAH. (You have to be as old as me to get that reference, too.) Damon tells Ric that Dr. Meredith vervained him and then bloodjacked him “when I went to the hospital to accuse her of killing her ex-boyfriend. Which, by the way? Very sensitive subject.” Hahahaha. All of Damon’s best lines happen during conversations with Ric. No wonder everyone loves them together.

On a darkened highway, Abby meets up with Klaus’s hybrid minion – the one who showed up earlier at her house. Abby tells him that Stefan showed up, and that Jamie took care of him. But Bonnie didn’t tell her where the coffins are, and there’s no way she’ll talk now. Bonnie gets out of the car and Abby goes to intercept her. “Don’t try any spells,” she says. “Those herbs I used muted your magic.” Abby then begs Bonnie to tell her where the coffins are. “If you don’t,” she says, “that man compelled Jamie to kill himself.” While they’re talking, she types in a message on her cell phone and hands it to Bonnie. The message reads, “Warn your friends.”

At the barn, Stefan is lying on the ground writhing in agony. Elena is trying to cut the ties that bind her (get it? Obvious metaphor is even obviouser!) by rubbing them against a sharp metal edge on the post she’s tied to. She’s almost got them when Jamie comes back in, still toting his gun. He says the gun was filled with wooden buckshot; one wrong move and Stefan could be dead. Jamie tells Elena that he doesn’t know why he’s holding the gun, only that some man came by earlier today and told him to shoot anyone who got in their way. The man also said that “if Abby didn’t find the location of some coffins, I’m supposed to shoot myself.”

The hybrid also told Jamie not to hurt Elena. Seeing an opening, Elena tells Jamie that the ropes are hurting her. Jamie lowers the gun and approaches her, and Elena pulls the most bad-assed move ever: she snaps the ropes, grabs the shotgun from Jamie and butts him in the face with it. He falls to the ground unconscious and Elena rushes to Stefan’s side. “Every time I move the wood shifts inside of me,” he gasps. “I can feel it scraping against my heart. You need to get the pieces out.”

At the haunted mansion, Damon runs into Klaus in the basement. “Hiding behind your witchy friends. And in squalor, no less,” Klaus quips. The witches don’t take kindly to Klaus insulting their abode, so they shoot flames out of the candles and hit Klaus with one of their killer migraines. “Funny thing about witches. They care about their own,” Klaus gasps. “As we speak, my hybrid friend is prepared to end the Bennett line.” The candles gutter and Klaus is released from his torment so that he can finish threatening the witches. Instead, he asks ever so politely, “Please. Show me the coffins.” And poof! They magically appear. But, oops! There’s one missing: the one that won’t open. “Bonnie gave me the heads up,” Damon confesses. “I didn’t have time to get all four, but I did have time to get one.”

Klaus makes another of his threatening ‘I will tear you limb from limb and eat your liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti’ sneers, but Damon politely declines the dinner invitation. “I know you want your family back,” he says. “But something tells me, you want what’s in that coffin a lot more.”

At the hospital, Ric confronts his not!quite!girlfriend about stabbing his not!quite!boyfriend with vervain. As they’re arguing, Bill Forbes gets wheeled past on a gurney. Meredith follows him into his room and says he’s not going to make it. She injects him with the blood she stole from Damon. Turns out Dr. Fell doesn’t like to lose patients, so she uses vampire blood to cheat death. Ric looks pretty impressed, and a little turned on. We’re not sure whether it’s Meredith’s gumption or Damon’s blood that’s doing it.

Meanwhile another medical procedure is taking place in the barn, where Elena is trying to haul wood out of Stefan’s chest. She’s having a hard time without any instruments, but she finally manages to dig it out with her bare hands. Afterward, Stefan stares at her admiringly. “You’ve changed,” he says. “There’s something different about you. You’re stronger. Tougher.” Elena retorts, “You’re not the only one who changed, Stefan. We all had to.” She then confesses to Stefan that she and Damon kissed. Stefan looks hurt, but he knows he has no claim on Elena anymore. He gets up and walks away.

Elena follows him to his car, where he admits he shouldn’t have kidnapped her. “The car, the bridge. It was too far.” It’s sort of an apology, and Elena says thank you. Then Stefan tells her, “You’re better than him, Elena. You’re better than both of us.” I found this kind of touching, because, yes. Yes she is. Elena, however dark she is or may be getting, hasn’t killed anyone yet (unless you count Rebekah, who isn’t permanently dead). However, Stefan (or anyone) telling a grown woman who or what she should do doesn’t really sit well with me. So, it was touching in a patronizing sort of way.

On the side of the road, Bonnie and her mom are still talking (minus Klaus’s minion, who has been summoned back to his master’s side now that he has his coffins back). Bonnie tells Abby that Jamie is safe, and she’s relieved. Jamie is her family, but she still cares about Bonnie and she wants to help her. “You can’t,” Bonnie replies. “You have no magic, and I don’t trust you.” Abby says that maybe Bonnie can help her get the magic back. Which sort of made me roll my eyes a little.

Tyler comes to visit Bill in the hospital. He says he feels a little more like himself, now that he’s made himself turn into a wolf. Bill says they’ll continue tomorrow – turning once isn’t enough. In order to break the sire bond, turning needs to be painless.Tyler says he can’t put himself through that again, but Bill says, he will, “because until you’re capable of acting on your own free will, I’m not going to let you anywhere near my daughter.”

Ric takes Meredith to Elena’s house to show her his weapons. (Does that line really work on anyone?) He tells her that he’s a semi-retired vampire hunter, and says he doesn’t want any secrets between them. He also tells her about his magic protecto-ring. She tries to take it off his finger but Ric yanks his hand back. “Are you worried I’m a supernatural being?” Meredith asks. “One can never be too careful,” Ric murmurs, and they kiss. Then Elena walks in on them, and it’s super-dooper awkward.

Meredith makes an ungraceful exit and Ric apologizes for kissing his new girlfriend in his old dead girlfriend’s house. Elena, however, gives permission to both Ric and herself. “Jenna’s gone, and you’re allowed to move on.” I saw a lot of folks talking last week about the end of Stefan/Elena, with the bridge and the screaming and the “how could you?” But this week feels much more like an ending to me. Relationships, like the world, usually end not with a bang but with a whimper.

And so Stefan comes home to his brother – the brother who will very likely be his ex-girlfriend’s next boyfriend. “You’re still alive,” Stefan says, and isn’t that the heart of their relationship? They exchange a few banal words about work, Damon asks how Elena is doing, and Stefan punches Damon in the face. Hard. “I take it you two had a heart to heart,” Damon gasps, clutching his jaw. OH, I love how these two understand each other! They don’t even need words because their fists and their continually saving each others’ asses says it all.

“And I take it you don’t want to talk about it,” Damon continues. “Noted. So why don’t’ we talk about this?” And he holds up a dagger that he pulled from one of the original vampires.

At his new home, Klaus is lovingly caressing the coffins of his dead family members. His hybrid minion asks, “Are you going to open them?” Klaus replies, “Not quite yet. I still have some unfinished business to take care of.” He starts to leave, but then there’s a loud sound of squelching internal organs and crunching bone. Klaus turns around to see his minion collapse to the ground, dead. Behind him, we see Elijah, holding the hybrid’s heart in his fist.

“So, Niklaus,” Elijah says. “What’d I miss?”




Alaric: I wonder what my exes would call me?
Damon: Nothing. They’re all dead.