The Vampire Diaries 3.17 – Break On Through

Stefan breaks through a bathroom door only to find Jim Morrison dead in the tub.

“You know the day destroys the night; night divides the day.” The title of this episode makes me think of that song by The Doors, which then makes me think about Krusty the Klown singing it on his anniversary special. “What was I on?” Krusty ponders, and I bet it wasn’t blood.

This week, Alaric is in hospital getting a brain scan. Dr. Meredith is looking for any physical anomalies that might be causing him to lose his mind and go on an amnesiac murderous rampage. We get a cool sequence of shots from Ric’s POV inside the scanner, looking at himself reflected in the glass above his face. The shots cut neatly back and forth between a god’s-eye view of Ric on his back, and Ric’s reflection framed tightly in the mirror. His reflection blinks at him – once, twice – and then, something switches, and we can actually see a whole new personality breaking through. There’s some excellent acting from Matt Davis as he transforms from anxious patient into pscho killer qu’est-ce que c’est with one twitch of an eyebrow. Fa fa fa fa fa, fa fa fa fa fa.

The scan shows nothing physically wrong with Alaric’s brain, so Elena decides to call Bonnie. The Gilberts’ magic protecto-rings were made by a Bennett witch, so maybe another Bennett witch can fix her adopted dad. Alaric gives the ring back to Elena, saying he doesn’t want it anymore.

Damon shows up at the hospital ready to take Ric and Elena home. “You look terrible,” he tells Ric, but at this point I’m sure bedhead and stubble are the least of Alaric’s worries. Elena scowls mightily in Damon’s direction and blows past him. Out in the parking lot, she confronts him about last week: “What is wrong with you? How could you just go out feeding with Stefan like some vampire pub crawl?” Bwah! Damon explains that he’s trying to help Stefan develop some control over human blood, but Elena shoots back that maybe Damon isn’t the right person to be teaching anyone about self-control. Yeah, she’s got him there.

And speaking of human blood, Caroline shows up at Abby’s house with a cooler full of blood bags. She’s there to help Bonnie’s mom through the transition to vampirism, but Abby’s not doing very well. She’s lost all her witchiness, so she can’t feel the earth’s power anymore. And her adopted son, Jamie, has been avoiding her because he’s afraid of vampires.

Alaric, Meredith, and Damon show up at the Wickery Bridge, where rebuilding is well underway. They spot Rebekah deep in conversation with Mayor Lockwood. The mayor approaches Ric and asks if he has “the sign” – apparently the history department promised they would restore the original Wickery Bridge sign, but Ric just plumb forgot, what with all the blackouts and brain scans and unintentional stabbings. He and Meredith make a hasty, embarrassed exit, but Damon spots his old mentor, Sage, the boxer from last week’s episode, and decides to remake her acquaintance.

While Damon and Sage chat each other up, Rebekah worms her way in and asks Sage what she’s doing in town. “I heard Finn was finally free from that casket your rage-aholic brother Klaus carted him around in,” Sage replies. We learned last week that Sage was, in Rebekah’s words, “obsessed” with Finn, and it looks like 900 years haven’t dampened her ardour. Rebekah tells Sage that Finn left town without telling anyone where he was going, so “have a nice life.”

We then get the Scene of Awkwardness between Elena and Stefan. She’s at the Salvatore house to pick up a book on her ancestor, Samantha Gilbert, the one who lost her mind from repeated dying and went crazy just like Alaric. Stefan knows how the story ends: Samantha was committed to an insane asylum, tried to give herself a lobotomy with a knitting needle and bled to death on the floor of her cell. Wow, things aren’t looking good for poor Ric! He might as well have left his brain behind in the scanner.

Damon and Sage go for a walk in the woods, and Sage confesses that Finn is her one true love. “He turned me so that we could be together forever. Klaus daggered him and locked him away, and I’ve been waiting ever since.” We also find out that Sage has no love for Rebekah or Klaus, who always treated her like some peasant whore. Damon says that Rebekah has been lurking around because she wants something from him – he just can’t figure out what. Sage says she could probably get into Rebekah’s mind and find out.

Damon decides to take Sage up on her offer. He goes back to the bridge party, where the Mayor is serving up juice and cookies to the construction crew. He sidles up to Rebekah and puts on his best flirt, thanking her for her help with Stefan last week and telling her she’s sexy when she’s bitchy. He invites her back to his place for a drink with him and Sage, but Rebekah blows him off.

At Abby’s house, Caroline finds Jamie out by the barn chopping wood. She offers to help him but he brandishes his axe and jumps away like he’s been bitten. No, Jamie, she only bites when her fangs are out,  or when she’s kicking someone’s ass – which she then proceeds to do. “Abby didn’t choose this,” Caroline tells him. “This was forced on her. She could have let herself die, but she didn’t. She’s trying to make this work so she can be there for you, and for Bonnie. So just get over yourself!”

Have I mentioned lately how TOTALLY AWESOME Caroline is?

Just then her phone rings. It’s Elena, asking for Bonnie’s help with Alaric. Meanwhile Ric is at the kitchen table with Meredith, pouring over his old police records. He confesses to her that he was the one who staked her cousin, Logan Fell, after he was turned into a vampire. Meredith says that, despite being on the Founders’ Council, vampires were never her fight – she’s only interested in using their blood to heal people. “Although, I have kind of been wondering why you never tore a stake through Damon’s heart.” Ric laughs, saying he tried once, and Damon killed him. Aw, their love is so life-for-a-life.

Jamie decides to take Caroline’s advice to heart. He comes back into the house, and Abby hugs him. But, whoops, all that yummy neck so close to her nose makes her face go all funny, and before she knows it, she bites him. Bonnie witches her away, and Abby is horrified at what she’s done. She runs outside and Bonnie follows. “I should go,” Abby says, “before I hurt Jamie again. Or you.” Bonnie responds, “The only way you’re going to hurt me is if you leave. Don’t give up on this. Not again.” Ouch. Caroline fixes Jamie right up with some of her vampire blood, and tells Bonnie and Abby that she needs a favor.

At the Salvatore mansion, Sage is convinced that Rebekah will show. “Between her craving for affection and her pathological fear of being left alone, our little get-together is too tempting to resist.” Sure enough, Rebekah shows up with a bottle of wine in hand. Sage cracks it open, literally, by breaking the neck off the bottle, and the party begins. She and Damon dance while Rebekah sits at the piano and snacks on the piano player. Damon then decides he’s tired of dancing, probably because he saw himself in a mirror and realized he sucks at it. Instead he decides to join Rebekah at the bar and takes a sip of the pianist’s wrist. When they’ve had enough, Damon shoves the poor human to the floor and he and Rebekah eye each other hungrily. “What about her?” Rebekah asks, indicating Sage. “I don’t want her,” Damon says. “I want you.” Then they kiss, while Sage remains sprawled across the couch, watching them with avid eyes. The whole scene feels oddly familiar – didn’t I read this threesome last week on Livejournal? I’m sure I did.

Caroline calls Elena with the happy news that Bonnie can reverse the damage to Ric’s head. Bonnie takes the phone, and she and Elena have a terse conversation, in which Bonnie tells her to get a personal item of Ric’s – something he wore before he started wearing the magic protecto-ring. Alaric suggests his wedding ring, which is hidden in a drawer back at his loft. Elena decides to go get it, leaving Dr. Meredith to babysit Ric.

Cut to Damon lounging in bed beside Rebekah, who’s asleep. Sage creeps in, lays hands on Rebekah’s head and figures out what’s in there. She then heads for the shower, stripping off her clothes as she goes. Damon follows, ready for round two with a different mistress. “I take it back,” our little manwhore quips.  “Your plan is amazing!” He and Sage make out in the shower, and when they kiss Damon can see everything that Sage saw: Rebekah is looking for the white oak tree that could kill all the Originals.

Afterwards, Damon goes digging through the family library (wearing only a towel, yay!). The Salvatore family made one of its many fortunes selling lumber, and they have all the milling records dating back to the Paleozoic era. On a hunch, he pulls out the book from 1912 (the focus of last week’s episode), and BINGO. The tree was used to build Wickery Bridge!

At Alaric’s loft, Stefan finds Elena. He says he’s not trying to hurt her, he just can’t be who she wants him to be right now. But he has found out some information that might be useful – Samantha Gilbert killed two hospital staff members while she was on suicide watch, meaning no jewelry. So the violent behavior can still happen even while the person isn’t wearing the ring. UH OH.

Back at Elena’s house, Ric wakes up from a nap on the couch looking altogether stone-cold. He finds two syringes full of tranquilizers in Meredith’s purse and empties them out. Cut to black.

When we come back, Damon is throwing the milling ledger from 1912 into the fireplace – still wearing a towel. (Talk about living dangerously; vampires are pretty flammable, and Damon’s dangly bits appear awfully close to those flames.) He tells Sage what he discovered, and she says it presents a problem for her. Damon acquiesces and offers a deal: “You help me kill Rebekah. I consider Finn untouchable. You guys walk into the sunset together.”

Elena and Stefan comb Alaric’s apartment looking for his wedding ring, while having this conversation:

Stefan: What if Bonnie’s spell doesn’t work? What are you going to do with him?
Elena: I’m not going to do anything, Stefan. I’m going to keep looking until I find something that will help him.
Stefan: You don’t know how long this has been going on. It might be too late.
Elena: It’s my family’s ring that’s doing this to him. It’s my responsibility to fix him.

OH, ELENA. Stefan then speaks for the entire audience when he tells her, “Don’t put that on yourself. Not everyone is your responsibility. Not everyone can be saved.” (Especially when they choose not to be, like Stefan has done for most of this season.) Elena sees right through him: “Are we talking about Alaric, here? Or are we talking about you? Because I wasn’t planning on giving up on either of you.” Poor Elena, she’s been blaming herself for everyone and everything, ever since the day her parents drowned.

Stefan then yanks open a drawer and finds a serial killer trophy stash, full of photos of Alaric’s victims. (One of them shows Bill Forbes with his neck sliced open, and I have to wonder how Caroline feels about helping the guy who probably killed her dad.) There’s also a very thick envelope addressed to Jeremy. It contains the Founders’ Council roster and a note, instructing Jeremy to “carry on my work if anything happens to me.” Elena rips up the note, finds Alaric’s wedding ring and rushes back to the house.

Ric then goes all creepy-stalker on Meredith. “The council was formed to protect the people of this town from vampires,” he tells her, “yet there you all are, looking the other way and ignoring your responsibilities.” (This is a great callback to “Disturbing Behavior,” where Ric told the Mayor and Sheriff Forbes, “The council’s job is to protect the people of this town. Your daughter’s a vampire, your son’s a werewolf. So who’s looking after the actual people?” Alaric may be losing his mind, but his motivations are internally consistent. Nice characterization, writers.) Ric then grabs a kitchen knife and slashes Meredith’s belly open – yet she still somehow manages to escape his grasp, dash up the stairs and lock herself in the bathroom. I like a girl who can play a few hard sets of tennis with a major stab wound.

Damon heads off to Wickery Bridge to gather some Original-killing wood, but when he gets there he finds that Rebekah has gathered up all the support beams and made a lovely bonfire. Sage is there, and Damon is furious with her for selling him out, especially after he promised to save her creepy boyfriend. Sage accuses him of lying: she knows that the Originals are linked, so that if one dies, they all die. She found that out when she got inside Damon’s head. Damon then gives her the heartbreaking news: “Your long-lost love has a suicide wish. When momma-witch linked them together in a spell, he’s the one who volunteered to die. He didn’t want to live. Not for you, not for anyone.” Sage doesn’t believe him, but Damon promises that when he finds another way to kill the Originals, he’ll start with Finn.

Elena and Stefan come home to find a mess in the kitchen and a knife on the floor. Alaric attacks Elena but Stefan jumps him from behind and chokes him until he passes out. Upstairs in the bathroom, they find Meredith bleeding to death on the floor. Stefan’s face changes, and for a moment the bloodlust is upon him, but then he regains control and feeds Meredith his blood to heal her. BREAK ON THROUGH, STEFAN.

Later, Alaric wakes up in his own bed to find Damon sitting watch over him. Bonnie did the spell while he was knocked out. “You’ve got an alter ego hell-bent on killing council members,” Damon tells him. “So we’re going to pack up some of your stuff, we’re going to go to the loft for a little bit… it’s like house arrest, lite.” Heeeeeee, I love the idea of Damon as Alaric’s jailer. Talk about the inmates running the asylum.

Downstairs, Bonnie gives Elena some herbs she used in the spell, with instructions for Alaric to take them twice a day. Elena asks how Abby is, and then bursts into tears. She apologizes profusely, saying she never wanted this to happen. Bonnie hugs Elena and says she forgives her – which, while touching, is pretty unfair, because it’s not Elena’s fault that Abby’s a vampire, it’s Damon’s. But Damon did it to save Elena’s life, so naturally she feels guilty, because everyone is Elena’s responsibility. I don’t know how her shoulders don’t collapse, with all that weight on them.

At Abby’s house, Caroline comes upon her in the kitchen writing a letter. Caroline deduces that Abby is running away, again. Abby says she doesn’t know how to do this. “Do what?” Caroline snaps. “Be a vampire, or a parent?” Oh, Caroline, you RULE. Abby argues that Bonnie is better off without her, but Caroline cries, “No one is better off without their parents!” You can see her heart breaking in this scene, and I love how this speech calls back to her anguish with her own dad, who let himself die rather than become a vampire (or be a parent for her). Caroline begs Abby to stay, but she picks up her bag. “Tell her I’m sorry,” Abby says, and she leaves.

Elena calls Jeremy, and this is the first time we’ve seen him since Damon compelled him to go to Denver. He seems happy – he’s not flunking any of his classes, and he got a dog, awwwwww! I bet the dog’s name is Tyler. It’s a short conversation because Jeremy’s on his way out with some friends. Elena tells him to have fun, but she misses him. In the background, Rosi Golan sings, “Some things you can’t go back to, ’cause you let them slip away,” and my heart breaks for our girls.

Damon comes home to find Stefan drinking a toast to control. He asks Damon why he’s in such a good mood, and Damon unwraps a package he’s carrying: the Wickery Bridge sign, made of the same white oak as the bridge itself. “I sold my rage,” Damon smirks. “You should have seen me.” Rebekah and Sage believe that all the wood burned, but now the Salvatores have a new weapon to kill some Originals.

Stakes all around! I’ll have mine bloody.

SHIRTLESS SOMERHALDER SIGHTINGS: This week is an embarrassment of riches! We get Damon shirtless in bed with Rebekah, shirtless with Sage in the shower, shirtless searching through the books, and even shirtless burning them. His wardrobe was a towel for most of the episode, and it looked damn good on him.

QUIPPITY QUIP: “Ric, the world can’t stop just because you’re an accidental psycho killer.”