Firstly, apologies this is so late – life called as they say, but strap in. One double whammy of recapping for your reading pleasure coming right up.
You know, you’d think when they were handing out life skills, that some people may perchance have just gotten a little bit more than their fair share. So after the emotional rollercoaster that was Plan B, this little recapper was a little bit lost as to how on earth they were going to top the epicness of killing off Uncle Mase (Oh Taylor Kinney, how I miss you…you and your perfect, perfect shoulders *sigh*), Stefan landing himself up to his eyeballs in a vat of vervain, not to mention THE BREAKUP to end all vampire/human breakups. I mean seriously, writers.
Everyone knows that when Paul Wesley cries at ANY time for ANY reason, somewhere a fairy falls down dead. And we were still recovering from that (not to mention fairydom, which was pretty much decimated population-wise once that bottom lip of his started quivering) when you went and pulled the whopping great awesomeness of Masquerade from your collective creative hat.
So, for my part, here is a quick run down of what I thought were the key moments that made Masquerade one for the recapping history books.
We began this episode with Caroline parked on the brothers’ couch with a stiff drink in hand, regaling Stefan and Damon with the details of a run in with Katherine. Bless her gorgeous, unbeating heart, she’s gone to the Mystic Grill for some wistful Matt-gazing (read: Matt-stalking) time, but unfortunately finds herself in Kat’s unexpected company, who tells Caroline to pass on this message to the Salvatores: if she doesn’t get the Moonstone tonight, she will quite literally make it start raining blood in Mystic Falls.
Starting with the Masquerade Ball, scheduled to take place in just a few hours.
Damon is determined now. He looks Stefan in the eye and says that this is their chance: Katherine will die tonight, and he will kill her. Stefan however, has other ideas. He says no: he is going to kill her. Either way, boys you’re going to need a whole lotta help.
Scoobies: The Next Generation
For those of you who grew up (I use that term broadly ;)) on the utter perfection of the original vampire-fightin’ gang who hailed from Sunnydale, CA, I sincerely hope you too were impressed with the new gen of supernatural-baddie-hunters, sorcerers, humans and bookworms that belong to this, the Mystic Falls Chapter of Scoobydom. Enlisting the help of every witch, man, vamp and his dog, the Salvatores and co. gather to concoct their plan to end Katherine.
Alaric stands at an arsenal covered table explaining to Stefan, Damon & Jeremy all the ways in which they can use what’s before them to take down Katherine once and for all. Bonnie arrives to help too; Stefan and Damon know they’ll need that they will need her magic on their side as well if they are going to have any hope of beating Katherine. As such, they agree on a recreation of the tomb spell that trapped the other vampires in the first place.
I don’t know about you, but it was awesome to be able to put away the clueless & vulnerable Jeremys, Carolines and Bonnies of Season 1 and replace them with those of season 2: they’re deeper, tougher, fiercer and edgier than they have ever been, and one couldn’t help be a little nostalgic as they all stood together comparing weapons and determining a cunning battle strategy, before declaring – for better or worse – that they were all in it to finish it.
Men. In Suits. With Masks. OH MY.
In reality, I should just put a picture of each of the boys in their suits and disguises here and let their collective perfection speak for itself, because collectively perfect is exactly what they were. Like a modern but beautifully gilded-with-Gatsby caper, the scene set for Katherine’s planned demise is as intricately laced and black as the mask she wears to the party. She does so disguised as Elena while an oblivious Elena sits at home with an injured Jenna, clueless to her friends dark plans and being secretly babysat (very poorly in the end, I might add) by Alaric.
Arriving with the mysterious Lucy – a witch with a serious debt to Katherine being held over her head in return for the use of her magic to get the Moonstone – even the usually mystifying Ms. Pierce is momentarily overcome by the sight of a still-compelled Matt Donovan in a suit, declaring him to be ‘dashing’.
Which ultimately is a bit like landing on the surface of the sun and declaring it’s a little bit on the warm side, so thanks Kat. You win tonight’s Captain Obvious award by daylight AND a country mile.
Good for you, honey.
Still, she quickly compels Matt further to once more cement her instructions to him for the night: pick a fight with Tyler, until he dies, therefore triggering Tyler’s curse in order for him to take his uncle’s place as Katherine’s werewolf du jour.
Elsewhere at the party, up in his father’s study, Tyler is hanging back from the arriving crowds on his own, also looking perfect in a suit. (Seriously, I’m talking so good it defies science).
When Carol comes in, he looks up at his mother and says he thinks they should have cancelled it, but she disagrees. The event had been the Mayors idea, and she tells her son that even if his father was a dick on occasion (okay, a lot of occasions) he still loved him.
Later in the episode, when Matt finally makes his play to pick the argument that should kill him by trashing the Mayor’s study and reminding Tyler exactly how much of a jerk his father was, this emotional wrecking ball hits home with a vengeance. Just as Katherine planned, he lashes out at his best friend, stopped only by Caroline (We’ll get to HER brilliant self later), but not before he accidentally kills Sarah, who has also been compelled to attack him should Matt fail.
Serious points to Michael Trevino, here.
He has crafted Tyler into a bruised, torn and multifaceted creature that you can’t but help be interested in, even care for; he plays the role with so much honesty, and I think in lesser hands, this character – no matter how good the writing – could have fallen into any number of bad boy stereotypes very easily. Instead, every week he gets more and more compelling, and as such, instils himself further into the creative fabric of this show as one of the best characters going.
Katherine Fodder Girls Go Bye Byes
Yes, sadly Masquerade saw the final chapter in the lives of the resident Rosencrantz & Guildenstern of Mystic Falls – the boy-cessories also known as Amy and Sarah – come to two rather violent ends, both in one way or another at the hands of the vicious Ms Pierce.
For those of you wondering, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were two characters in the Shakespeare play ‘Hamlet’. The only reason for their cult fame? They existed purely to be killed off, and one can’t help but think that from the minute these two party girls Oh-Like-Wow-I-Totally-Love-Your-Hair’d their way on to our screens, we sort of knew they were both destined for a grizzly end.
Unlike Sarah’s case above, I think we can all agree it was poor old Aimee Bradley who copped the short end of the stick here.
Stefan, having arrived at the party with the rest of the Anti Katherine Squad, agrees to dance with Katherine in order to put Phase One of their plan into play. They argue back and forth about the means of Stefan handing over the moonstone, and to show him she didn’t come here to muck around, she pretty much rearranges Amy Bradley’s insides before snapping her like a twig in the middle of a dance floor, leaving her to fall dead into Stefan’s arms.
The Oddly Excellent Couple
I know, I know. Any given number of fans will be willing to argue with the merits of this, but the introduction this episode of a potential new love interest for Jeremy in the form of none other than Bonnie Bennett, was, I thought, excellent. Both characters have had to journey a pretty long way through some pretty crap stuff to get to the fierce frames of mind in which they now both find themselves. Bonnie has been to the purgatory and back in most every relationship she has, whilst Jeremy has not only had to come to terms with the true, supernatural nature of the world in which he lives, but has had to do so burying 2 girlfriends and almost himself on the way. So in a lot of ways, their joining in the fight to kill Katherine speaks volumes of how much they’ve grown. Bonnie finds the strength to recreate the spell that ultimately saw the death of Grams; Jeremy goes face to face with Katherine, knowing she has the power to kill him in an instant, but brave because he is determined to make her pay for what she’s done to his family. And as they play their parts together, they really do start to bond over the common threads of their lives.
Not to mention the fact they share enough chemistry to facilitate the discovery of zero point energy.
Katherine has pretty much prided herself on being one step ahead of everyone since she first showed up in Mystic Falls. She has played every game and for better or worse won the majority of them. Until now.
Sick of the charade and thinking she’s got the Salvatores right where she wants them, she heads into the house to demand the moonstone. When she runs into Caroline (and by runs into, I mean slams throat first into a wall), Katherine is all business, demanding to know who has the stone and where.
A whimpering Caroline leads her to the doors of a room upstairs, telling her that Bonnie has the stone in there, and Katherine saunters in, not realising that the tomb curse has been place upon the room and that the Salvatores are waiting there to take her out.
For the record, Caroline’s gleeful ‘Sucked in, you murderous, conniving bitch’ expression at Katherine’s fury was freaking GOLD, and when Damon and Stefan begin their (awesome, badass, totally Die Hard) assault on their target, it seems the former Ms. Petrova is about to pay for her crimes with her (un)life.
But as always, even in the face of certain death via 2 hot brothers and a stake gun, yet again it is revealed Katherine has another ace up her sleeve. Having clued into the fact that something is going on after Alaric’s strange behaviour at home, Elena has also come to the party, snagging Jer and Bonnie from behind a bush and demanding answers. As the brothers begin to take Katherine apart one wooden point at a time, so too are they unknowingly killing Elena with the exact same injuries: Lucy, the other witch, has placed a doppelganger spell on them both meaning they now cannot hurt one without hurting the other. After Jeremy races in telling them why they have to stop, again Katherine thinks she’s got the brothers where she wants them. Between barbs at Stefan and Damon about the common love they both obviously share for Elena and the division that must cause, she tells them that all they have to do is give her the moonstone, and she’ll have the curse lifted by the other witch.
Which would have worked, perhaps…had Lucy and Bonnie not sensed each others magic, and in turn realised that they could trust each other, and had to: for their own different reasons, Katherine had to die, and they could make that happen.
Next Time, Say it With Diamonds
Boys: a tip.
If you’re looking to tell your lass you love her, for Pete’s sake do it with another gem, because it would seem that moonstones can get loved up people into all kinds of trouble these days. But after weeks of its mystery being woven through a number of storylines, the Moonstone finally proved to be the downfall of the mighty Ms. Pierce.
Stefan and Damon have already deduced some of the facts surrounding Katherine’s desperate desire for the moonstone, whatever the cost. They know that it is a key piece in the lifting/control of the Were curse, but it’s Stefan who puts two and two together and realises that it was her possession of it in the first place – in 1864 – that left her in need of an escape and a faked death.
He realises that not only was Katherine the Great running from the owner of the Moonstone, but that the reason she wants the stone back is because she is still running.
And so it is that, courtesy of some poetic justice delivered by yet another angry Bennett witch, Katherine finds herself absolutely screwed. After finding out that Katherine knew there was not only another witch involved, but that said witch was another member of her estranged family, Lucy lets her better self take the lead. With the help and trust of Bonnie, she curses the Moonstone before giving it back to Katherine, who unwittingly receives it into her care only to find herself incapacitated and now totally at the mercy of the Salvatore brothers. In a second blow, Lucy reveals as Katherine lays twitching painfully on the floor, that she has also removed the curse on Elena that saw her injured whenever and however Katherine was. Stefan and Damon can now do whatever they want to her.
But for all the chaos, death and mayhem the Moonstone has left in it’s wake, it did facilitate yet another step in Bonnie’s journey back to strength, family, love and by default, back into the waiting arms of a fandom who were just glad to see the witch they loved back on screen again after so long. Despite now knowing that they are family, Lucy still leaves but not before she imparts some wise words of advice for the cousin she so very nearly wronged at the cost of Elena’s life. Bonnie ask Lucy how to do it: how to separate herself from the world of vampires that she keeps getting so painfully tangled up in the middle of all the time. Lucy tells Bonnie that she – unlike her – is one of the good ones, and as such, the middle of it is more than likely exactly where Bonnie needs to be. She leaves, but with the promise of a return.
Speaking of returns, welcome back, Ms Bennett. We MISSED you.
The Thin Dead Line
Away from the others, another scene is unfolding with ghastly consequences. Having arrived just in time to stop the former best friends from killing each other, Caroline breaks Tyler and Matt apart, Matt still trying to pick the fight Katherine has compelled him to pick. She elbows him in the face, knocking him unconscious, only to find Sarah launching at him with a letter opener off the desk, similarly compelled to pick up the task of being the deathly trigger of Tyler’s curse should Matt fail. Caroline screams at him to look out, but it’s too late: Sarah stabs him in the shoulder. He shoves her away instinctively, only to watch on helplessly as her head is dashed against the corner of the desk killing her instantly.
The line is crossed, and the change is almost instantaneous. Caroline watches on as his rage, pain and fear converge inside him to trigger the curse, his eyes turning the flecked gold colour of a man newly possessed. He doesn’t believe her when she says she understands what this means, not until, very knowingly, she looks at him and asks if his stab wound is healed. Caroline covers for Tyler with Carol Lockwood, and promises to do the same later with the Sheriff, but it’s clear to the newly-Were’d Lockwood that Caroline Forbes knows a lot more about his condition than she’s letting on.
When What You Need Isn’t Always What You Want
Katherine incapacitated. Damon carting her off to be locked in the tomb where she should have been all along – in his mind, a more punishing fate that death ever would have been. Elena free of her evil twin, Stefan free to be with Elena. It was the happy ending that should have been, wasn’t it.
Believing it was still possible, Stefan goes to Elena by the lake later that night, after it’s all over, thinking that he will be welcomed back into her arms. But Elena tells him no: she needs to feel safe again before she can jump back into his world, needs to feel that the people she loves are safe, and right now neither of those things are the case, so she walks away from the man she loves.
Elsewhere, having shoved Katherine into the tomb he had once been so eager to rescue her from. Damon stands at the door ready to lock away the woman who has ruined the last 150 years of his life. But, never one to go quietly, Katherine drops a strange and foreboding bomb, calling Elena the Doppelganger and saying that she must be protected. Damon has no reason to believe her but still, he can’t help but react, telling her that if that’s the case, he will protect Elena. He draws the stone door closed, Katherine’s guttural angry cries of ‘You need me’ ringing around her as the dark envelopes her new – and hopefully eternal cage.
As with all the eps of this show, especially this season, there’s one lesson I realised by the end of Masquerade, that I really, really need to learn better: the writers are not done with you, until they’re done with you.
Elena is wandering back to her car. Jeremy is on the phone; she’s telling him she’ll be home soon.
Not if that creepy guy in a mask who’s about to abduct you has anything to say about it.
When not working, shopping, tweeting or trying to find her house keys, Erin Brown is a writer and blogger based in Sydney, Australia. She loves rain, thunderstorms; brooding vampires, reading, Coldplay, Bill Shakespeare, winter, red wine, killer heels, everything Bruce Springsteen, and has a clinically-proven penchant for chocolate, the supernatural and action movies. For more of her writing, you can visit her website @ www.mythconception.wordpress.com. If you’ve lost her, your best bet is to look in Borders or the shoe section.