(Screencap Credit: Vampire Diaries Web)
For the record, this is will be an epically massive recap. Just so’s you know. My apologies for that…
With television – like most things in life – as much as you’d like to think otherwise, you can only ever prepare for what you think is going to happen. When it came to this episode – our first one back after that hideous lapse in viewing networks call a hiatus – this is exactly what I did.
In reality, I really should have known better.
In quite possibly the most compelling episode to date, there were a number of twists in Plan B that even the most clairvoyant of viewers would have had a crazy hard time emotionally surviving, let alone predicting.
And so it was that we were reminded of that most epic of contributing factors that makes this show great: the creative prowess of Julie Plec & Kevin Williamson, and their innate ability to leave you feeling like you’ve had your heart pulled out of your nose, by pulling a plot stunt (or ten) so wild, so breathtaking, that you get to the end of it wondering how on earth you aren’t dead.
With that in mind, here’s my take on the moments that had us all put our fingers on the speed dial for a paramedic for one reason or another, just in case.
Did It Just Get Hotter In Here?: Making Out For Lost Time
Romantically speaking, the Stefan versus Katherine element of this season is as much about love versus lust as it is about revenge. Not content to tease us all with scenes fraught with more sexual tension than Twilight and True Blood put together, the episode opened with a smack between the eyes view of the private lives of these two former lovers.
Stefan and Elena wake up together in her bed, still caught up in the mildly delicious nature of their secret encounters with each other under the guise of their belief that they have fooled Katherine into thinking they’ve split.
But more importantly, it’s clear that they are as utterly in love with- and soul-bound to each other than ever. The happy but edgy intensity of their relationship can’t help but shine through their frustration at the Katherine dilemma…shining through loud enough for Aunt Jenna to get a bit of an earful a couple rooms down first thing in the morning, as she reveals to Stefan later.
Elsewhere at a little bed & breakfast nearby, Mason and Katherine are spending the same morning nigh on about to devour each other. Their passion is different to Stefan & Elena’s: it’s wild, heady and if we’re being honest, even a bit violent, but for all Mason’s alpha male tendencies it’s clear from the outset that it’s very much Katherine who’s dictating the terms of their relationship.
Either way, oh my stars.
The Worst Cut is the Deepest: Caroline’s Sacrifice
It’s been a long time since we waved goodbye to the Caroline of Season One: the ditzy blonde cheerleader, useful for little more than being Damon’s compelled snack thing. The Caroline that has taken her place quite frankly, for all her vulnerabilities and foibles, has now cemented herself as one of the most formidable characters of this show.
At the beginning of Plan B, much the same as where we left off, Caroline is trying her best to win back her vampire-despising mother’s affection, despite now being a vampire herself. Whilst initially Liz is as cold as the creatures she loathes, Caroline’s unwillingness to give up on her relationship with her mother despite this new and seemingly unsurmountable obstacle, sees the heart of the Sherriff begin to thaw, as she is reminded that the daughter she loved still exists, despite her new undead condition.
As the rest of Mystic Falls is off at the Lockwood Estate preparing for yet another traditional town event – a Masquerade Ball – Caroline sits in the basement cell of the Salvatore house, and speaks to her mother of her new abilities, as well as the fact that – despite the constant desire for human blood that she now has – she is able to control her thirst because she knows how essential it is to protect the people she loves from herself. Finally, Liz begins to recognise that her daughter is so much more than just the child she’s been ignoring. Liz even asks not to have her memory erased: for her daughter’s sake she’s willing to keep her secret, because she begins to see Caroline for what she is: loving, quirky and utterly courageous, and suddenly there’s that tiny spark of hope that maybe, just maybe they will find a way to a real mother-daughter relationship.
And then, in one hard twist, it’s snuffed out.
Not by hate, but – almost cruelly – by love of the most powerful kind.
Caroline knows that the intention was always to compel her mother. But rather than letting Damon do it as originally planned, she does it herself, erasing her mother’s memory of not just the fact that Damon & Stefan are vampires as well as she, but also of the precious time shared with the mother she has longed to connect with for years. On top of this, she intentionally compels her mother to once again be distant, Caroline knowing that Liz as a consequence will never know what her daughter has done in order to protect her, or the cost that was paid in return. And just like that, Caroline says goodbye to yet another precious bond with someone she loves, for their own good but at the sore, sore price of her own heart. As of right now, brutal is officially an understatement.
Jeremy Gilbert, Vampire Hunter
I’ll be honest. It’s taken me a while to warm to the junior Gilbert. For me for ages he was that annoying character who I knew was important but just seemed to hover around my television senses like an angry emo bee, justifiably buzzing crankily but nevertheless bugging me no end. But it’s taken me this season to realise exactly why this was: it’s because his parameters – as the angry orphaned kid, completely ignorant of his supernatural surroundings – had not been expanded yet at all. This season has built to a Jeremy – particularly from this episode – that is willing to do what it takes to not be a victim of the world he now knows exists.
He’s more grown up, resilient, and when he appears at the Salvatores door with his savvily acquired knowledge about the Moonstone and it’s relation to the Lockwood curse, it’s clear that he is willing to go toe to toe with bigger and darker things than he’s ever known. Despite the fact that Damon initially tries to shut him down, like the little kid who just wants to join in his elders’ games, Jeremy embraces both his inner Scooby by doing the research on what makes a werewolf tick (or die, as per Damon’s interests) and his inner tough guy by speaking up while Damon is torturing Mason for information (due to the fact that Jer discovers Tyler has already given the Moonstone to his uncle) as well as sticking around for (most of) the, er, process. As Damon so bluntly puts it, this is how it is: kill or be killed. And Jeremy sucks it up like a trooper.
Later, at the hospital after the incident with Jenna (well get to that twistedness later), Jeremy hugs a distraught Elena and vows fiercely that Katherine – the ultimate Big Bad – will pay for her cruel and brutal interference in the lives of the people he loves.
In short, new Jer, I LOVE YOU.
Bonnie Softens Up…A Bit
She’s been sad, she’s been mad, but most of all she’s been pitting herself against anyone or anything vampire or vampire-related, regardless of what her relationship with the people involved used to be. For ages, it was Elena. Bonnie’s You’re Either With Me or Pro Vampires attitude meant immediate estrangement from her best friend. After Caroline turns vampire, Bonnie’s stance is even more extreme: her friend is dead to life and to her – end of story. Couple this with her continued hatred of Damon & by default Stefan, the Bonster has been a pretty lonesome figure for a while.
In this episode however, there’s a big shift in her attitudes that rekindles the old allegiances we loved. *Cue The Happy Dance, Boys* :)
At the Lockwood Mansion where she is helping with the preparations for the Masquerade Ball, Bonnie accidentally brushes past Mason in front of Stefan, and has a rather insane vision of the elder Lockwood kissing Elena. When she tells Stefan this, he puts two and two together. He tells her no: the person she saw was Katherine, adding a whole new spanner to some already seriously twisted works.
All of this leads to Bonnie agreeing (albeit reluctantly) to help the Salvatores take down Mason, in that now they have a common enemy that threatens people they both care about. Using her mind-shredding witchy mojo to incapacitate Mason, the Salvatores quietly pick him up and shove him in the back of a waiting vehicle. At the Salvatore house, she digs into an unconscious Mason’s mind for information regarding the whereabouts of the as yet unexplained Moonstone. Her findings indicate that the stone is hidden in a well of some kind, deep in the woods. Caroline recognises that she’s probably seen the well located on the old Lockwood property (where lets face it, ALL the good hidey spots in Mystic Falls are). It takes her a second, but ultimately Bonnie looks past her feeling towards her friend and agrees when a hopeful Caroline offers to accompany her to the woods. After texting the location to Stefan – who’s also on the hunt for it – the two girls head out to join the search.
Ok. It’s not a let’s-be-BFF’s-forever invitation, but it’s a start, right?
All’s Well That Ends In a Well? I Think NOT.
Now in possession of the Moonstone’s location – and without Mason there to get in the way – Stefan races to the well followed by Elena, who is clearly breaking the golden rule by rushing to the aid of the boyfriend she has supposedly broken up with.
And so it was that, leaping into the well, Stefan was treated to a horrific and violently gruesome shock: a watered well chock full of vervain. As he cries out and flounders in the darkness below, Bonnie and Caroline arrive to find a desperate Elena trying to discern how to get Stefan out. Eventually, after dragging him to the top, we see the full effects of what vervain can actually do to a vampire; to date, we’ve only seen its effects when ingested.
But after Bonnie and Caroline have tied Elena off and lower her in so they can haul him out, it’s clear how devastating the plants effects really are. Stefan’s skin is bloodied, blistered and broken from head to toe, and it’s a hacking, gruesome sight to behold. Elena, still down in the well, hunts for the moonstone in the dark. She locates not only the box, but also a black snake that she only just manages to avoid before being pulled from the well screaming herself. But this is nothing compared to how she finds Stefan. Slicing the palm of her hand with a sharp edge of a rock, she forces blood into his mouth to heal.
Me? Heart. In. Mouth.
But to think.
The most horrific things were still yet to come.
When Love Comes Back To Smite You: The End Of Mason Lockwood
Be honest. When you knew that Mason was in cahoots (not to mention ca-BED) with Katherine, you hated his guts. He was hot, but you got over it: nothing would make you forgive his two-face betrayal of Tyler, or his alliance to the resident HBIC of Mystic Falls. Nothing.
So when it’s left to Damon to procure the information about the Moonstone from him – namely it’s location and purpose – you don’t know that you’ll be all that adverse to him taking a shot of his own medicine after his earlier anti-Salvatore stunt in the woods. In the process of this treatment, of course, Damon finally finds out from Mason the power that lies with the moonstone: it has the ability to lift the were-curse.
But it’s an ugly business, torture.
Damon shoves red hot pokers from the fireplace into Mason’s skin, and shoots emotional barbs from every angle into his feelings for Katherine. Drawing from over 150 years of personal experience, between the poker burns, Damon explains to his prisoner exactly the kind of woman Katherine really is. That it doesn’t matter if Mason really feels the love he ends up professing for her: she’s using him to her own ends because that’s how Katherine operates. Damon knows because once, he was in exactly the same situation with exactly the same sociopath.
I don’t know if your heart tweaked then – when you saw in his face the moment that Mason realised the truly pathetic nature of his feelings for Katherine. Mine did.
Which made what happened next so utterly devastating.
Damon leans in and peers into Mason’s face for a moment.
“Katherine will only rip your heart out,” he says knowingly. “Let me do it for her.”
And with one ripping strike, that’s exactly what he does, killing Mason instantly.
If it were anyone else, all you would have seen was Damon and the monster he was in that moment. If it were anyone else. What terrifies me though, isn’t even the knowledge that somehow, the writer’s will top this scene by the time this season is over. What freaks me out is how.
The Best Laid Plans
Remember that love hate thing with Damon I was talking about in an earlier recap? Yeah. Well this was my Are You COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MIND?! Damon moment of Plan B. Stefan, now healed, returns to the mansion to find Mason’s body wrapped in a tarp and Damon eager for news of the Moonstone. After all: Katherine, in control of a device that controls the Were curse? That in itself was dangerous. Taking Mason’s phone, he texts Carol Lockwood and pretends to be the dead man to cover his tracks, saying he’s gone back to Florida, and won’t be returning.
But before the brothers can discuss the fallout of the days events, Damon decides to scroll through and see who his victim has been calling. Dialling the last number on the list, who should pick up but Katherine, and Damon has a world of fun taunting her about having killed off her lover. Not one for being sentimental, an angry but still coldly calculating Ms. Pierce drops the Plan B bomb on the Salvatores. Did they really think she didn’t have a backup plan prepared? More than that, did not think that she would have had several?
You see at that same moment, Elena returns home. Jenna is preparing dinner with Alaric. For Elena, it’s a world away from the supernatural horror of the day. Little does she know. The phone rings, and Jenna walks in to hand it to Elena who is sharing pained looks with Alaric, knowing she can’t divulge what’s happened when Jenna is nearby. It’s Katherine, and she’s here to drop her second bomb. Like Damon and Stefan, did Elena really think that she didn’t know exactly what she and Stefan were doing? Sneaking around like no-one would notice? Because someone did: Jenna, who has been compelled into being Katherine’s spy for days now, and has been feeding Katherine every thing she knows about Elena and Stefan’s real actions.
After all. It’s so easy to compel someone. Even into doing something like, say, stabbing themselves with a kitchen knife. Alaric and Elena turn to find Jenna with the blade poised and aimed: they are too far away to stop her from plunging it into her stomach.
When they’re finally at the hospital, Jeremy consoles his sister. Jenna has survived, but it’s made it clear to Elena: she knows now what she must do. Going to the mansion, she does the one thing that she knows will hurt both the man she loves and her, more than any other action possibly can. In front of the fire place, a broken Stefan stands looking at her, and you realise that he can sense exactly what’s coming. He stands utterly shattered and weeping openly as Elena tells him they can’t do this anymore: they have to end their relationship. It’s the only way they can protect the people they love anymore. Leaving him behind, the both of them inconsolable at the hideous cost of their sacrifice, Elena is about to walk out when Damon sees her and tries to apologise. He baited Katherine, he says: it was his fault, that he didn’t think. But Elena shakes her head: it doesn’t matter. Katherine’s won, and that’s the end of it.
But what comes next makes you realise that Katherine is so much further from done with the residents of Mystic Falls.
In the low light of her room, she sits in the process of compelling none other than the most loveable, dependable and emotionally scarred man we know. He sits transfixed as Katherine makes her next vicious move. She’s lost the werewolf she has, and now is need of another one. And who better to be the arranged victim of Katherine’s choosing than our BELOVED, PERFECT, SHOULD NEVER BE HARMED EVER Matt Donovan: the best friend, who she plans to use to trigger the younger Lockwood’s curse by provoking Tyler to kill him.
I’m sorry, but if a little bit of you didn’t die at that thought, now would be a time to question your humanity.
And so we wait. Till next week, and whatever revelations Julie & Kevin try in all their brilliance to kill us with. As for me, I need a drink.
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.