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Vampire Diaries Episode Recap: The Descent

Jules wakes in the forest after another night as a wolf. Only this time, she’s been busy. She is bloodied up, and gets up to realise that she has slaughtered a bunch of campers in the night. Somewhat remorselessly, she begins to stack them in order to burn them and destroy the evidence. But before she gets very far, she hears the rumble of a police car engine.  The officer gets out of the car, to find Jules in a precarious position, hovering over a body. Without missing a beat though, Jules feigns shock and grief, pretending to be a member of the camping group, telling the officer that wolves came in the night and attacked their camp. The officer tells her not to worry, and goes to the car to radio in the emergency. At which point Jules beats him to death with a giant log. As you DO.  Seriously. Over you, Jules. You and your givin’ dogs a bad name.

At the Boarding house, Elena has gone to meet Stefan. In his bedroom. Where he appears. Without a shirt. I’ll be honest, it was one of those moments when I found myself being a lot more thankful than usual to find myself living in a house where The Vampire Diaries gets played on a plasma in HD every week. It ALSO made me think that Elena also possibly has a plasma and watches  The Vampire Diaries in HD. Why? Because after her tough decision to not be with Stefan until she felt safe again (good luck with that, babycakes) in Masquerade, it would appear Ms Gilbert has been compelled to reverse her thinking about her relationship with her one true love. Loved up, and back in each others arms, they kiss, mutually deciding to stop mucking around and be together. Stefan, unfortunately finds himself ruining the moment, by reminding Elena of the reality they have before them. Klaus is still a threat and they cannot afford to sit and be idle, no matter how ironclad Elijah’s promise of protection appears to be. Elena, however, has no intention of breaking her promise to Elijah to keep herself out of trouble until the time comes. Stefan tells her that she can keep her promise then, but he is not bound to the same promise; tells her of his plans to find and speak to Isobel, in order to find out more information about Klaus and the power of originals. Regardless of Elena’s plans, Stefan has no intention of going quietly into the night. He has an enemy, and wants to find about as much as he can before he inevitably faces him. As they discuss their plans, Stefan takes a shot of vervain, sticking to his Katherine-inspired plan to build up an immunity to the corrosive herb. He knocks it back in one fell, burning shot. Apparently vervain is one hot tamale when it comes to the taste buds of fanged types.

In the living room, Rose sits contemplating what she realises is a fairly imminent death: the were-bite has left her very, very sick. And it shows. Damon though, tries to keep the mood as light as he can. To hopefully help her heal, he hands her a glass of blood. She says she feels like it helps, but one look at the blistering wound on her back tells Damon in no uncertain terms that it’s not. When Elena arrives, he asks her to take care of Rose while he goes out to try and find a cure for Rose. Talking a little out of Rose’s earshot, despite Elena’s belief that he feels otherwise, Damon tries to keep brushing off her suggestion that he really is deeply affected by what’s happening to Rose.

At school (which they do still go to! Like, I KNOW! Who knew!), Caroline runs into Tyler. She asks how he’s doing. He says he’s sore from the change still and expresses strong, lingering concerns over what he is capable of once he turns. But Caroline still encourages him, and with a warm smile she speaks in a way that leaves him in no uncertain terms that she believes he will continue to get better at handling full moons. In truth, they make adorable chemistry on screen. The sweetness, the half smiles…it’s lovely. But after the conversation leads her to a rather unavoidable point, Caroline also finally tells Tyler that a werewolf bite is fatal to vampires. He is shocked, and starts asking questions. But before she can get a suitable explanation out, she is saved by the Matt. He turns up and it’s clear he wants to talk. After Tyler has skedaddled rather than stay and be the third wheel, Caroline immediately tries to convince Matt that nothing is going on with Tyler, but before she can get too worked up, he says believes her. If you read over my episode notes, I actually summed up Matts appearance here in three words: Matt is perfect. And it fits. He tells Caroline (in his own perfect, adorable, never to be killed off EVER way) that he thinks somewhere along the line, the pair of them just got their wires crossed. He tells her he gets tongue tied. At which point he promptly unravels it and kisses her.

I believe that’s Matt Donovan – 1, Crossed Wires – 0.

But just as they kiss, she pulls away after a moment and says he can’t – they can’t – and walks away. Don’t ask me how. If I walked away from Matt Donovan, in my dreams,  you could bet your gramma on me waking up tearier than a Miss Universe contestant at a weeping kitten convention.

Meanwhile at the Grill, Jules goes to see the Sherriff to ask about where investigations into Mason’s disappearance are up to. The Sherriff tells her an investigation has been opened. Another thing we can blame this Were-pain-in-the-proverbial for: wasting police resources. Seriously. Somewhere Katherine is STARVING, people. STARVING, while this fodder wanders round causing grief and eating campers.

Where’s the justice. All I’m sayin.

Nearby, Alaric spots her and calls Damon about Jules’ location. Also at the Grill is Stefan, who takes the opportunity to ask Alaric for Isobel’s number. Alaric quickly realises that Stefan’s request has nothing to do with finding a cure for Rose, but rather is about Elena and trying to work out how to protect her from Klaus and the Originals. After a little convincing from the younger Salvatore, Alaric says he has an old number somewhere.

At the Salvatore house, Elena is taking care of Rose as best she can. Helping her move, Elena puts her in Damon’s bed and pulls up the covers.

Wait. Stop the press. Major press stoppage necessary.

We are in Damon’s bedroom, ladies. So much hype, and yet, in a lovely way, it is a remarkably lovely, calm, unaffected space. Elena sees his books beside the bed, turning an old edition of Gone with The Wind over in her hands. When Rose remarks that it’s not quite what you’d expect to find in a Damon room, Elena quips that that’s true; maybe she expected silk sheets or something. Rose tells Elena no-one has ever loved her as much as people love Elena. Talking about such love serves only to make Rose reminisce sadly about who and what she’s lost; she asks Elena the obvious question: why she’s so intent on giving up when she has so much. Elena thinks her solution, while it may cost her her life, is the best one. Rose however thinks it’s not the best solution at all, just the easy one. Exhausted, Rose finally starts to sleep, but almost immediately begins to hallucinate. Elena gives her more blood, but Rose merely throws it back up immediately. This is bad. Elena goes into the bathroom to get wet washcloth for Rose’s face, but gets back to find she’s gone. Appearing suddenly behind Elena, Rose mistakenly hallucinates that Elena is Katherine and attacks her. She accuses her of betrayal, but quickly comes to her senses, although left extremely disorientated. She apologises to Elena, but realises she is losing her mind. Rose says she’s scared, but Elena tells her to not be afraid, that she’s not alone. In an effort to comfort her, Elena gets Rose to start telling her about her home in England. Rose is mournful about all the time she’s lost without that place and the people she loved there; but through all this, she speaks with great love of the life she used to know.

At the Grill, Stefan get’s Isobel’s number from Alaric, and calls her about Elena. Just as he hangs up, he looks up to see his seething brother making a beeline for the new were-wolf in town. Stefan blocks Damon’s path when he shows up to confront Jules. Damon, however just says he’s there to talk to Jules. That’s it. Damon threatens Jules but says he won’t kill her if she reveals a cure for the were-wolf bite. But Jules just baits a desperate Damon, says bite me. She rubs in the cruel and brutal nature of what she now knows is happening to Rose. She tells him that the only cure is to take a stake and drive it into her heart.

Elena comes back to the bedroom with fresh sheets for Rose, only to find that she has disappeared in the house again. Elena goes searching, calling Damon as she does and tells him to come home. Hearing a noise, Elena hangs up goes searching the house again, only to find Rose demolishing Stefan’s secret blood bank stash. Again, Rose thinks she’s seeing Katerina and becomes furious. Elena tries to reason with her for her life, but ultimately it’s drenching her attacker in sunlight and digging into Rose’s scar that proves all Elena can do to defend herself. Shoving the damaged and rabid Rose aside, Elena manages to barricade herself in Damon’s room. Behind the door, she kicks out the bottom of a table and makes a stake from one of the legs in anticipation of another attack. On the other side, Rose comes to her senses again, and begs Elena for help.

At the school, Matt finds Caroline, still eager to work out what’s going on with her. She says he caught her off guard when he kissed her. Matt however just says all he wants is the truth from her as to why she’s avoiding him and giving him all these mixed signals. And so the truth outs. She tells him straight up: she loves him, but she can’t tell him what’s wrong. Clearly upset by the need to lie to the man she loves so blatantly, Caroline uses a distraction while Matt’s back is turned to run away.

Back in Damon’s room, Elena has stayed bravely barricaded up with her stake but eventually cannot help but venture out into the house to find Rose, who has since fallen silent. She treads carefully, but the greater shock was coming into the lounge room to see that it’s dark, and the front door is wide open. Damon has only just come home, and asks where Rose is. It’s clear to the pair of them that Rose’s escaped, and the fear of the inevitable consequences is written all over their faces.

Desperately ill, Rose is throwing up behind a dumpster at the local fair having turned up at the high school where it’s being held. (As it turns out, NOT school. Should have seen that coming.) Rabid, she kills the maintenance man who sees her and has come to check if she’s okay.

Soon after, Sherriff Forbes calls Damon, having discovered the body and immediately realising that a vampire is responsible. Telling the Sherriff he will handle it, Damon goes out into the night with Elena to search for their ill-fated friend.

Elsewhere on campus, a couple is walking to their car on their way home. Out of nowhere, and with shocking brutality, Rose mauls and kills both of them. Damon catches her but it’s too late. She comes to her senses in time to see but some of the bloody carnage she’s caused in her insanity. Damon holds her down as she looks around hysterically at the bodies beside her. She’s devastated and begs him desperately to make it stop, to make the pain go away. Picking her up in his arms, Damon carries Rose back out into the night with Elena by his side.

Rose wakes later, at home in Damon’s bed, cleaned up with her face resting against the clean, softness of new sheets. Weakly, Rose apologises to Elena for what she’s done, at which point Damon tells Elena she shouldn’t be there. It’s easy to tell from Rose’s words that she hates herself desperately. She says, too, that Damon is much like her: he wants to care, but when he wants to care most, he runs because it’s so painful. She then tells Elena she has to fight for her life and not give it up so easily. She also asks why Elena is so kind to her after everything. At her side, Elena tells Rose that it’s the human in her.  Grieved but agreeing, Rose speaks of how her own lost humanity haunts her. She moves slightly, and starts to say she is feeling better, only to begin writhing in agony. Damon tells Elena in no uncertain terms to leave and that he will take care of Rose. He pulls her into his arms as she screams.

Having waited on her porch for her to come home, Caroline returns to her house to find Tyler waiting for her. He tells her he just wants to talk. She asks what’s wrong, and he asks the obvious question: why would she ever risk death for him, knowing what one bite from him could have done to her? Somewhat frustrated, Caroline is exasperated and questions in turn why Tyler tries so hard to make people not care about him. She cares. Why would she not be there for him.

Suddenly, he takes her up in his arms and kisses her. After the momentary shock (and from the looks of it cough enjoyment cough) Caroline flees into her house, saying everyone just needs to stop kissing her! (Man. What a problem to have. I want that problem.)

Elsewhere, two vampires are about to suffer an all too human tragedy.

Sitting up in bed as the night lays quietly around them, Damon cradles Rose as she drifts into sleep, finally, and begins to dream of home. She’s human, back in England. Her brown gold hair is long and shiny, tumbling freely down the back of her blue dress as she wanders through the grass under the glowing sun, stopping idly to pat a horse here or there in the field. She is the Rose that she had for so long wished to be again: healthy, bright, free…and human. She finds Damon sitting on the hillside in the sun in her favourite place as a child. She sits beside him, and they begin to talk as the afternoon washes over them both. Rose says she misses being human, and remarks that she mattered when she was with the people she loves. Damon looks at her earnestly and tells her she still matters. Rose smiles softly, and says no, she doesn’t. But he does. And as they sit basked in sun in her dreams, in reality he holds her in her sleep, grief etched like a scar across his face. Dreaming, she speaks in wonder as she tells him the pain is gone. She asks, too,  if she will see the people she loves again. Damon looks at her and says that he thinks she will see whoever she wants to see; she smiles, the idea of reuniting with Trevor giving her joy. Finally, she murmurs that she’s not afraid. As she speaks, somewhere in the Georgia night of real life, Damon holds the stake over her heart, knowing it’s the only way to take away her pain. His face is marred by tears as she dies finally in his arms at his own hand. That of a broken man who cared enough for a dying friend and lover, to put her out of her suffering.

Later, he finds Sherriff Forbes in the forest where it appears he has called her to meet. All business, he tells Liz that he has found the vampire responsible for the deaths at the school and tells her that he will take care of the body.

Elsewhere, Jules meets up with Tyler, finally telling him that she knows about both him and Mason, saying she can help. He asks about his uncle then, at which point Jules bluntly says he’s dead. But more than that, she gives up Caroline’s secret that there are more vampires, and tells Tyler that they are the one’s responsible for murdering Mason. The scariest part, though, she saves for last, There are more wolves out there in the world, and a whole bunch of them are on their way.

Knowing now what the elder Salvatore has had to do that night, Elena goes to see Damon to see if he’s coping with Rose’s death, and his part in it. But rather than finding him simply sad, Damon is angry, and when he tells her that Jules had actually come to kill him, not Rose, Elena realises he feels guilty. As he tries to brush off the pain he feels, Elena says he can’t give up on his willingness to feel, his humanity, because he’s so close. But he tells her that’s rich coming from her. A human who’s done nothing but try to throw away her humanity recently.

But he is her friend, and she hugs him still, comforts him, eventually leaving him to his grief.

When Elena gets home, it’s to Stefan, who says that he called Isobel. Did he get a hold of her? Well, not so much. As it turns out, no Isobel, but one Uncle John happened to pick up instead. Seriously. You’ll get more Hello and Goodbyes with John Gilbert than you’ll find in an airport terminal.

But tonight, this is Damon’s story.

Out on a dark highway, a girl gets out of her car late at night to find a man lying motionless on the road. A shattered man; Damon tells her that he’s not the kind of lost she thinks he is when she asks. It’s metaphorical. Existential. Damon Salvatore is having an identity crisis. It takes the girl little time at all to discern how drunk and upset he is, but she only discerns he’s not quite human when she goes to run, only to find him standing there compelling her to stay. She can’t move. She’s terrified, and with tears streaming down her face, tries to tell him that she doesn’t want any trouble. But, he tells her, that’s all he has. Trouble. As she stands, powerless to escape, he rants in his grief, until finally he lets his biggest secret of all, out: being a vampire may be what he is, but being human is what he desperately misses. Theoretically, why does he have to kill her? He has to kill her because it’s what he is, unlike what he wants to be. Which is whatever Elena wants him to be.

Again the girl begs for her life, and for a moment, it seems that that one bright corner of his soul will win out. He lets her go, but momentarily. As she goes to run, his grief gets the better of him, and with that, he mauls her violently in the dark, his black, bloody and grieved eyes wild as her lifeless body slumps to the tar.

Ruthie

Ruthie took her passion for The Vampire Diaries books and started Vampire Diaries Online in February 2009. After 8 years online, she continues to engage with fellow TVD fans here and on Twitter, sharing in the love of The Vampire Diaries. #TVDForever


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10 Comments

  1. i hope one day ian is rewarded for his amazing acting. its not a silly vampire show and he’s certainly not a one dimensional character. atleast his fans can give him the credit he deserves.

  2. I totally agree with you grace, he deserves a lot of credit, for this amazing job he has been doing at this show. He is a talented actor and deserves to be rewarded for it.

  3. Amazing episode. Ian is such a great actor. I cant wait till next week!! Still hoping for Delena someday…-_-

  4. wow this was definitely a damon filled episode. amazing recap! completely agree with everything you said! love the side humor you added in.

  5. nice recap. you said “in no uncertain terms” 3 times, what does that mean?

  6. Hey Liz.
    It means saying something in a way that makes it absolutely clear to others what you’re talking about. And thanks for the kind feedback! :)

  7. ugghh. I sooo want Damon and Elena together. If not officially, then at least on terms where Elena admits she has feeling for him. I mean, the guy has gone through alot, and for a vampire-according to vampire standards- he’s made alot of changes in order to accomodate her. I better see some Damon-Elena SERIOUS action at least at the end of this season. It started off the second season, then quelled completely after Damon’s violent reaction with Jeremy, then built up again, then Damon actually admitted, under compulsion, that he truly loves Elena. Now it’s her move, and I want to see progress. I love this show for many, many reasons, but this is what I want first to happen. First priority of watching this show is the relationship between these two characters.

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