And so we enter the final arc of the season. Only three episodes left, and in this one, there’s a lot of body-jacking going on. Sadly that’s not nearly as dirty as it sounds.
Last week’s episode ended with the revelation that Esther had hijacked Rebekah’s body. This week, we open with “Rebekah” handing over the last white oak stake to Klaus, who tosses it in the fire. We quickly learn, however, that the burned stake is a decoy, and that Esther has the real stake safely hidden away. Esther then asks Alaric to dagger Rebekah’s body, and she uses magic to return to her own.
At the school gym, Caroline, Elena, Matt, and Jeremy are busy decorating for the Decade Dance. Caroline convinces Elena to ask Stefan to escort her, even though she just made out with his brother on a motel balcony in Denver. “I’ve watched The Bachelor,” Caroline quips. “Fair is fair. It is Stefan’s turn.” So Elena calls Stefan and invites him to the dance, and he agrees.
Off in the town cemetery, Esther leads Ric into the Salvatore crypt. It’s apparently a mystical hot spot, because it’s the place where Klaus tore Esther’s heart from her chest a thousand years ago. The violence of her death marked the ground for all time. Using the power of the hot spot combined with the magic protecto-power of Alaric’s ring, Esther casts a spell on the white oak stake to make it indestructible. “The ultimate weapon,” Esther intones, “for the ultimate hunter.” Uh-oh, looks like she’s got big plans for Ric, and I bet they don’t involve body-jacking.
Stefan comes to pick up Elena for the dance, and she looks lovely in a white flapper outfit. Stefan is wearing the same clothes he wore back in the 1920s, and I bet they still have Klaus’s blood stains on them from when he and Stefan used to feed off victims together. And then make out. With fangs.
At the dance, Bonnie is swinging with Jamie and Tyler is spinning Caroline in circles. “Teach me some moves,” Elena asks Stefan, but he declines: “I blacked out for most of this decade, remember?” Elena’s not buying it, and leads him out onto the dance floor. They share a slow dance to “You Do Something to Me.” Elena starts to tell Stefan about what happened between her and Damon in Denver, but he stops her:
Stefan: When all this is over, if you and I find our way back to each other, you can tell me if you want to. Otherwise, I don’t need to know. I don’t want to know.
Elena: How can you be so fair about this?
Stefan: Because after everything I’ve put you through? I’m just honored to be your date tonight.
THANK YOU, Stefan, for acknowledging that you were a homicidal maniac, and that Elena doesn’t owe you anything. The two of them dance and exchange longing glances, but then Damon abruptly appears and says they need to talk. He leads them into the hall; Jeremy spots them, and follows. Damon tells them that Alaric is off his meds—I mean, the herbs that Bonnie whipped up for him to keep his alter ego under control. His psycho-killer personality is in charge and the friend they knew is gone.
Upset, Jeremy and Elena head outside, where they run into Esther. She tells Elena that if she wants to help Alaric, Elena needs to follow her. Jeremy runs back inside to get Damon and Stefan, but once outside they find that Esther has whipped up a barrier spell to keep all the vampires from leaving the grounds.
Bonnie and Jamie share a quick makeout session in one of the classrooms, but once again, Damon interrupts the moment. He then leads Bonnie off to help break Esther’s barrier spell.
Back at the cemetery, Elena meets up with Esther and other!Ric. Esther reveals her master plan for Alaric: she’s going to make him into a hunter the way she did with her late husband Mikael, “the vampire to end all vampires.” The spell to make a vampire requires the blood of the doppelganger and the wood of the white oak tree, so Esther yanks Elena’s blood out of her with a spell, tells Alaric to drink it, and then stabs him to death with the stake.
At the dance, Caroline and Tyler share a slow dance, blissfully unaware of Elena’s or Alaric’s plight. Klaus cuts in, and Caroline sneers at him, “Why do you always have to prove you’re the alpha male?” Klaus shoots back, “I don’t have to prove anything, love. I am the alpha male.” Heeee, Klaus, I love you and your ego. And your very dapper Great Gatsby suit.
They dance, and Klaus tells Caroline that he’s leaving town tomorrow. “Perhaps one day,” he says, “in a year, or even in a century, you’ll turn up at my door, and let me show you what the world has to offer.” Caroline scoffs at the suggestion, but Klaus tells her to remember his words. “A small-town boy, a small-town life—it won’t be enough for you.” All the while, Tyler stares daggers at them from across the gym. Later, Caroline reassures him that it doesn’t matter how many times she dances with Klaus, because she loves Tyler. Awwwww.
Klaus tries to leave, but finds he can’t because of the Great Wall of Chicanery. Stefan tells him that Esther’s back, and she has all the vampires at the dance trapped on school property. While Bonnie chants and the vamps watch and wait, Matt and Jeremy decide that they should go find Elena and Alaric themselves. Klaus figures out where his mother is by deducing that she must be drawing power from a mystical hot spot, so Matt and Jeremy head off to the cemetery. Hey, that rhymes!
While this is going on, Damon offers Bonnie an incredibly insincere and sarcastic apology for killing her mother:
Damon: I’m sorry Elijah forced us to turn your mother into a vampire to save Elena’s life. Didn’t exactly have a choice.
Bonnie: There’s always a choice. Whenever you make one, someone else suffers.
I kind of loved this exchange, because it’s so in character for both of them. Damon, completely believing that the end justifies the means (especially when the end is protecting Elena) and Bonnie, her hatred of vampires in general, and this vampire in particular, about to boil over. These two are headed for a showdown, and I suspect Damon is about to lose, big time.
Out at the cemetery, Matt and Jeremy find Elena and Esther at the crypt. They target Esther with a rifle and a crossbow, but she uses her magic to force them to turn their weapons on each other. Just as she’s about to make each of them pull the trigger, Alaric wakes up and stabs her in the back with the white oak stake. Killed by her own super-weapon! That’ll teach her to mine uranium for nuclear bombs.
Next, we get the scene of epic bromance between Klaus and Stefan, pacing back and forth on the red carpet outside the gym.
Klaus: You know, all of this reminds me of our time together in the Twenties.
Stefan: You say that like I’m supposed to have happy memories about it.
Klaus: Well, there were moments. [And at this point, music actually starts to play.] Real friendship. Brotherhood.
Damon, for the third time this evening, interrupts a tender moment when he appears:
Damon: He already has a brother. Not to be, you know, territorial or anything.
Klaus: No, of course! The Salvatores, and their unshakeable bond. I only wonder what’ll happen when Elena finally makes her choice. Will we see you shake? Juuuust a little bit?
EEEEEEEEEEE. How much do I love this scene? Jealousy and smugness and competition for Stefan’s affections, the way it should have been from the moment Stefan got his memories back in “The End of the Affair.” This is the triangle I’ve been waiting for all season. Too bad the season’s almost over.
Bonnie comes out and announces that the barrier is down, so everyone heads off to the crypt to save Elena and Ric. When they get there, they find Esther dead and Ric back to his old self. (Except for, you know, the dying and becoming a vampire part.) Klaus takes Esther’s body home with him, still believing that he destroyed the last white oak stake. At home, he undaggers Rebekah, and tells his mother’s lifeless body that she will never destroy him.
Alaric, meanwhile, still has to complete the transition to vampirism, but he decides he’s not going to. Elena, naturally, blames herself, because she blames herself for everything, but Alaric won’t hear of it. “Taking care of you and Jeremy—it’s been the closest I’ve ever come to the life I’ve always wanted.” Awwwwwww, Daddy Ric! You are my favorite of all the Rics. Then we get a touching scene of Alaric saying good-bye to all his friends, and finally turning and locking himself in the crypt.
Bonnie and Jamie head back to her house, and Jamie offers to keep her company through the night. Matt and Jeremy head back to Mystic Grill and drink a toast to their fallen friend. Elena heads back to the school and starts packing up Alaric’s closet full of weapons. She cries that she doesn’t have anyone anymore, but Stefan tells her, “You have me.” She collapses into his arms and sobs.
Damon, of course, stays with Alaric, and their good-bye scene could not be more perfect.
Alaric: Is this the part where you give me a dream? Rainbows and rolling green hills?
Damon: I was drunk when I told you that.
Alaric: [laughs] Yeah, and I told you I’d use it against you.
Damon: Damn you. [beat] Sorry I killed you. Twice.
Alaric: So I have to actually die to get a real apology out of you.
Alaric: Actually, I’ve been thinking about cutting back.
Damon: Yeah. This stuff’ll kill you.
Matt Davis plays this scene with tears rolling down his cheeks, and I am sobbing into my liquor bottle along with Damon. OH, BOYS.
Back at Bonnie’s house, she’s curled up with Jamie on her bed when Esther appears to her in a dream. She tells Bonnie that “your sisters need you to finish what I started.” Bonnie gets up and walks trance-like to the crypt, where she incapacitates Damon. Then she cuts her hand open and feeds Alaric her blood, forcing him to complete the transition to vampirism. Alaric revives and bites Bonnie on the neck, bleeding her until she passes out. Then he stands, white oak stake in hand.
Looks like Esther’s Manhattan Project was a success, after all! Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds. And Originals.
SHIRTLESS SOMERHALDER SIGHTINGS: None this week, but after the riches of last week I didn’t really mind.
QUIPPITY QUIP: “Sorry to spoil your seven minutes in heaven.”