You know when you walk into a bookstore, and you go the travel section where all the pretty Lonely Planet guides are? The guides covered in pictures that are meant to give you a visual feel for the place? Well heads up, guide writers.
If’n you’re ever planning to do one about Mystic Falls and you want a pic that tells a thousand words, do yourself a favour. Get a shot of the GIANTEST sign you can find that says ‘This Is A BAD, BAD Place For Camping’, put it in lights and smack it there right on the front. Because for all intents and purposes, it would appear that if you go into the woods tonight, every Were that ever there was has decided that Mystic Falls is the place to be.
It’s the morning after the ass kicking the night before, and Jules and Brady find themselves in, well a bit of a pickle, really. It would appear now that the enemy camp is populated not only by vampires but witches too, and some mighty powerful ones at that. As they clean up the carnage after the nights battle, burning the bodies of their were-brothers, Jules and Brady are joined by their very own supernatural nerdy know it all. Stevie – basically the werewolf equivalent of Slater (aka Damon’s late number one fan geek) – has been doing a little mental math, and after putting 2 and 2 together, tells Jules and Brady that he has worked out what’s about to go down in Mystic Falls. The appearance of witches and vampires, in conjunction with the fact that Mason had come to town to hunt down the famous moonstone (presumably at Katherine’s behest) can only mean one thing: someone is planning to break the sun and the moon curse.
Meanwhile, over at Caroline’s house, Elena is woken up by her mobile phone. It’s with much delight that she finds it’s Stefan. Both of them are over the combined craziness of curses and the impending arrival of Klaus to town, and in the course of their discussion, the lovebirds decide that the time has come for a little weekend romantic getaway. And lets face it: your boyfriend has that hair, those abs and a gaze that could melt butter, regardless of the possibility of a mini Armageddon taking place on your doorstep, you’d do your darndest to snag some time out with him too.
Speaking of hot boyfriends, Andie Starr reckons she’s found a keeper. Damon Salvatore is charming, deliciously handsome and a deluxe bad boy of the most sophisticated kind. Sadly for her though, there’s double parts compulsion for every part attraction in this case, and in a scene reminiscent of Damon’s early days with a then-human Caroline, he is about to see her out as she’s off to work, making sure that she has the stock standard strategically-placed bite hiding scarf (note it down, ladies: it really is the must have fashion accessory of this charming and somewhat deadly little town). With a little more compelling for good measure, he ushers his smitten new lady friend out the front door, only to be greeted by Alaric.
Firstly, YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!! that Alaric is back on the scene again. I don’t know about you, but I miss him terribly when he isn’t on screen, wearing that scruffy, smoldering expression that borders on both ‘I’m doing everything I can not to seduce you’ and ‘I stubbed my toe and now I have an ouchy’. In any case, it’s with a wry grimace that he lets Andie pass by and comes inside to have a word with Damon. The pair of them then discuss John’s apparent weapon for killing Originals, openly questioning whether or not John can even be trusted, let alone his method for taking out Elijah and possibly even Klaus. Damon’s propensity for snarkily delivered pay-back isn’t lost on Alaric, and he makes a point of asking the elder Salvatore to please not to be trying to kill Captain Sidepart at his own party. Namely, a tea party to be held in his honor at the Lockwood mansion, under the guise of him being in town to write a historical book on the area.
Over at the grill, Bonnie and Caroline are doing a little discussing of their own. But as Bonnie begins to tell her friend about her witchy plan to garner information from Luka about Klaus, it’s clear that Caroline is distracted by Matt’s presence. To be honest, if Matt Donovan were busing tables next to you, you wouldn’t have your attention elsewhere either. In this case however, he leaves Caroline in no uncertain terms that he’s avoiding her company.
Not so dissimilar behavior to her other former suitor, Tyler, who has gone to see Jules and Brady in the forest, presumably to deliver Jonas’s message to get out of town before they get taken out. It’s at this point that it gets revealed to him by the remaining three weres, the true reason behind both his late uncle’s return to Mystic Falls and his interest in the moonstone. If a vampire breaks the curse, it basically signals the end of them as a species, as it means not only vamps will then be able to walk (and hunt) in sunlight, but also that the werewolves will be condemned to a life dictated by full moons. If a were, on the other hand, breaks the curse, Jules tells Tyler that it would a were would never have to turn again if they didn’t want to, because they would be in control of their condition. Not to mention the fact that vamps would then be permanently condemned to a lifetime in the dark. Not surprisingly, this is an appealing option Tyler. But it’s when Stevie speaks of the need to find a doppelganger that the game really changes. Holding out a photo of a beautiful dark haired girl to the younger Lockwood, Stevie tells him that if they’re going to get answers, they’ll have to find the girl in the photo. Mason’s lover, Kathy. Or as we know her, Katherine. (As an aside, is it just me, or is calling Katherine ‘Kathy’ a little bit like calling a rattlesnake ‘Cutie Pie’? Just a thought.) Tyler’s response however, proves the icing on the proverbial cake for the weres. That girl, he says, is Elena Gilbert – who he’s known his whole life. Ding, ding, boys and girls. Someone’s just hit the doppelganger jackpot.
Back at the Grill, Caroline takes her chance and tries to talk to Matt, at which point he tells her that he knew she was lying about being with Bonnie the other night. Understandably, he tells her that he just wants the truth, but promptly leaves her standing, only a little bit shocked. So when Tyler comes in, bumping into her apparently by accident, she makes it clear that she really has nothing to say to him. But it’s little more than a distraction: in bumping her, the contents of her bag have fallen out, and he deftly steals her phone out from under her nose, before exiting stage left. Although, not before Matt grabs him by the scruff of his collar and makes it clear to his former best friend that he’s had enough. Regardless of what’s going on with Tyler and Caroline, he demands the least that his friend can do in his eyes: to stop lying.
At the Gilbert house, Elena and Stefan are just about to walk out the door on their way to Elena’s destination of choice – her family’s holiday house on the lake – when she gets a text from ‘Caroline’ asking what her friend is up to and where she is. Suspecting nothing, Elena texts back the location of their getaway, before she and Stefan head out. Receiving the message back, Tyler tells Brady and Jules where they can find their doppelganger. The plan, it would seem, is now set. Elena and Stefan, having arrived at the lake house, begin their getaway in as romantic a way that they can, despite the fact that she has not been back to the house since the death of her parents. It’s clear that she plans to make new memories here with the man she loves.
While we’re on the topic of men we love, Elijah’s tea party appears to be going smashingly well. Damon hasn’t stabbed him yet, and Andie gets to fawn over her new boyfriend in public. At this stage it’s a win/win situation, however when Damon is formerly introduced to the man he originally met while staking him with a giant stair paling, it’s clear this isn’t going to stay peaceful for long.
Later, when Damon gets his first chance to speak to Elijah alone, it’s Alaric who observes this potentially dangerous exit. But, as if he didn’t have enough problems, in saunters John Gilbert (in my mind, the only case where I will count staking a human as genuinely permissible), who promptly threatens our favourite history teacher with the outing of his secretly-still-alive-vampire-wife’s continued existence, to Jenna if he doesn’t stop staying over at the Gilbert home. He goes on to stick the knife further in later, when he obnoxiously chides Jenna for being an irresponsible guardian by letting Elena spend the weekend with Stefan, and by having Alaric over so much. At which point he drops a hint about as subtle as a two storey disco ball that Alaric hasn’t been completely honest about his wife. But as far as parties at the Lockwood mansion go, I really think they were SO MUCH FUNNER when John was being chucked off second story balconies by vampires. Don’t you?
But that’s not to say that the tea party is the only place where things are being stepped up a notch. At the Grill, Jeremy has arrived to find Caroline waiting, as Bonnie makes doe eyes at Luka by the pool table, with the secret intention of getting information out of him. Quietly slipping him what Jer describes so eloquently as a witch roofie, Luka all but collapses in their collective arms, at which point they spirit him out of the joint.
Damon, meanwhile – champion of the extremely ill-thought-out decision – decides to let Elijah know exactly whose turf he’s playing on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my Salvatores. But it was, surprisingly, with no small amount of satisfaction that I watched Elijah promptly proceed to stick Damon in the neck with a pencil (in a town of vampires, they’re more than just a writing implement you know). The elder of our favourite brothers, gushing blood, stumbles off to the side as Elijah – ever the suave operator – wipes the blood from his hands, and tartly informs Damon that he is in the presence of an original: show some respect. In that moment? Well, it was hard to tell exactly who Elijah was channeling more: James Bond or Aretha Franklin.
Put plainly, until he says otherwise, Damon’s mission is simple. Protect Elena. And presumably not ‘Punch Above Your Weight by Punking An Original At His Own Tea Party’.
Elena it would appear though, could not be more protected than she is really. As she sits watching Stefan cook dinner – after a day of talking about their future and the importance of what it is to make great memories – the pair of them look completely at home in this scene of domestic bliss. Wandering into her parent’s old room, though, which is still pretty much just as they had left it before they died, she is reminded of the former bliss she had known in this house. When Stefan comes in to find her reminiscing, it takes little time for the pair of them to find their way into each others arms. But, as they come to lean on a wall in the closet, Stefan makes a startling discovery: the wall is hollow, and as it turns out, also the perfect hiding place for a comprehensive anti-vampire arsenal of weapons.
Considering that protecting Elena is on everybody’s agenda tonight, it would surprise her little to know what her brother and two best friends are up to in this same pursuit. As Luka lays close to unconsciousness on Caroline’s living room floor, Caroline, Bonnie and Jeremy prepare for Bonnie to work some serious mind mojo on her fellow witch (sorry, warlock – sexism has no place in sorcery, my apologies). When Jeremy wanders out of the room to get candles, Caroline takes her chance to call out Bonnie on the obvious sparks going off between her and the resident hot baby brother du jour. It’s obvious there’s some feelings there, but their discussion is cut short when Jeremy returns with a bounty of candles for the ritual. Can it be? Will it be? Could tonight be the night they finally get their acts together?
Back at the Salvatore mansion, having returned from his ill-fated attempt at punking Elijah at the tea party, Damon and Alaric discuss not just Elijah but also Damon’s fledgling dalliance with Andie. Andie, he says, is Jenna’s friend, so not surprisingly, he’d really appreciate Damon not eating her for dinner at some point. As he begins to head over to the Gilbert house to see Jenna, however, a shocked Alaric is jumped and stabbed fatally in the guts by an intruder (well, almost fatally – he is wearing a magic you-can’t-kill-me ring, after all). It’s Jules and Stevie, who promptly proceed to incapacitate Damon, leaving Alaric for dead on the floor. Their purpose? They want the location of the moonstone, and they want it now.
The stone of course is with Elijah, Luka’s father having passed it on to his employer after his son faked the removal of it’s power with an unwitting Bonnie. In perhaps a little case of tit-for-tat, Bonnie proceeds to delve into Luka’s mind to seek answers about why he and his father are working for someone like Klaus. After meeting with initial resistance and pleas for her to stop, Luka finally admits their purpose: that they are working for Elijah in order to free his sister – also a witch – that Klaus has been holding hostage in preparation for lifting the curse. Having held generations of witches in slavery for this very purpose, they have aligned themselves with Elijah, after he promised to get his sister back in exchange for their help in taking out Klaus. That said, if he finds out what they’re doing, the Original Original wont hesitate to kill all of them. But to kill him, first they will need to attack him after the ritual is over, when he is at his weakest. The reality is not lost on Bonnie, Jeremy and Caroline. If the ritual is over, and Klaus has succeeded, that means Elena will be dead, and moreover, if this is the case, that Elijah is only planning to keep Elena safe until then. Little do they know it’s fine print with which Elena is all too familiar.
Out at the lake house, oblivious to the fact that Tyler and Brady are preparing to descend on her and Stefan, Elena explores the hidden weapons room, discovering yet more Gilbert journals while her boyfriend goes outside to fetch more wood for their fire. Having earlier reiterated to Tyler the fact that regardless of who they are or what his relationship with them might have been before, anyone who is a vampire or supports vampires is an enemy. As such, Brady tells him, that group now includes Elena, so Tyler better have turned up ready for what he has to do.
In the woodshed, Brady and Tyler surprise Stefan, shooting him straight in the chest with a couple of wooden bullets. Incapacitated, Brady leaves Tyler with the loaded gun and the command that if Stefan tries anything, he’s to kill the vampire. As Tyler stands shaking, angry and to be honest, a little crazed, Brady heads into the house to hunt his doppelganger. In a black game of cat and mouse, he hunts her methodically, telling her that he can smell her. Ever the clever girl, Elena promptly dumps her sweater and leaves Brady a false trail. Pretending to have escaped out the back door by slamming it, she doubles back and runs back into her parent’s old bedroom. Before long, Brady comes sniffing. He’s close now. Stefan, meanwhile, tries to talk some sense into Tyler, and despite the fact that his captor slugs him while he’s down with another wooden bullet to the leg, the younger Salvatore continues to appeal to Tyler, telling him that for the curse to be lifted, Elena will have to die. Something that Stefan realizes Brady and Jules have conveniently neglected to mention. In the house, Brady sniffs his way right to the open door of the weapons room, only to find himself staked in the shoulder by Elena, who promptly turns and runs outside. Tearing it out, he follows her, only to be cut down by Stefan, who Tyler has let go, and has been waiting ever since in the shadows with a stake of his own.
Altogether now: BAAAAAIIIII BRADY.
I know. I enjoyed that a little bit too much didn’t I.
Elsewhere, Jules is grilling Damon and, it would appear, rather enjoying it. She and Stevie, along with a few other irate members of their pack, have Damon tied to a chair and wearing a vicious neck brace full of wooden spikes. Something Stevie is obviously having a wonderful time tightening whenever he feel like it. Imagine their shock then, when a dashing Elijah casually wanders with the object of their desire in his hot little hand. Welcoming them to come and get it, the were pack proceeds to try and attack him. Now I don’t know who planned the programming of this particular ep in Australia, but in this case they had a spectacular sense of timing. Because Elijah really did get into the spirit of the Valentine’s Day, upon which his ep was aired. I mean really. He is just so talented at stealing hearts. Particularly beating ones. Jules smartly makes a quick get away while she has the chance, while Stevie find himself last were standing. Taking him out in a move reminiscent of his disposal of Trevor, Elijah proceeds to tell Damon that this time makes three that he’s saved his life.
At the lake house, with Brady dead, Tyler once again finds himself pleading ignorance, telling Elena that he had no idea that she would have to die in order to lift the curse. But, unlike Caroline, who ended up slamming the door in Tyler’s face after a similar appeal, Elena comes to him and hugs him tightly.
Before long, it’s phone calls galore. Bonnie is straight on to Damon to let him know about Elena’s situation, and Alaric – having healed from his near death experience at the pointy end of a stake – calls to cover with Jenna, with whom he’d had plans. She says she’ll see him tomorrow, but it’s clear John has gotten inside her head.
Elena meanwhile has the confrontation with Stefan that we knew was going to happen eventually. The shock to Stefan however is the fact that Elena has known all along that Elijah does not mean for her to survive as part of his plan. The deal was only to keep her family and friends safe – she says Elijah chose his words very carefully when striking his end of the bargain, and at no point was she under any illusion that this was going to end up in any other way than in her death. But this means little to her if it means that the people she loves will be safe. Not one to take such news lying down, Stefan accuses her of being a martyr. He may have been turned at a young age, but he has had the best part of 200 hundred years to make a life for himself, for better or worse, where she has had hardly anything. As such, he tells her point blank that her plan to die in order to save her friends, by not fighting the fate so many others seem to have planned for her, is not heroic at all. What it is, is tragic.
Back at Caroline’s house, having successfully discovered the truth about Luka, Jonas and Elijah, Bonnie prepares to usher Jeremy out the door. But first, the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. He is, she says, Elena’s kid brother. She was there as he grew up, but then suddenly one day she turned to find this same baby brother had turned into – to paraphrase the lady herself – a really hot, really sweet guy. This is all the encouragement Jeremy needs. He quickly gathers her up and kisses her with an intensity that visibly left Bonnie’s bells ringing. Not surprising. He’s been having that effect on a lot of us lately. AHEM, Mr. Gilbert. You big handsome fox, you.
But, for all this, it’s been a long night in Mystic Falls.
As Carol Lockwood gets ready to retire for the night, the sound of a door closing leads her to call out for her son in the house. In his place, she finds what is obviously a farewell note. Going to see Matt, Tyler makes it clear to his former best friend exactly what happened with him and Caroline: that she had been a friend to him unlike any he had ever known, during a truly difficult time. He’s honest, finally, about the fact that he had fallen for her, but also makes it clear that he knows Matt is the one she ultimately loves, and he tells Matt in no uncertain terms to be good to her. Saying goodbye, he leaves the Grill and Mystic Falls with Jules, but not without one final stop. But despite standing on Caroline’s porch, after everything that had come to pass between them, Tyler disappears unseen by her, into the night.
His leaving pact with Jules, however, he makes very clear, his words a determined echo of Matt’s earlier ones to him: whatever happens or has happened, from now on – no more lies.