Stefan, Elena, and Elijah kick werewolf butt, while Damon's tortured and Bonnie gets the truth (and possibly tongue)
Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

The great thing about this series, which this hour proved again, is that we don’t have to choose between romance and violence. It’s okay to like both. I believe one of the reasons the vampire genre appeals so much to women is that it takes us to that dangerous, dark place in our minds but still lets us sleep at night. We watch Elijah rip two werewolves’ hearts out at once (and Damon give him a nice! nod), and we’re not worried it’s going to happen to us because vampires aren’t real. I may think a Criminal Minds episode about a group of serial killers targeting exotic dancers sounds awesome on paper, but after seeing the promo with a woman being chased through a cornfield, I may decide I don’t need to see that. Also, it helps that we tend to identify with the woman the vampire wants to save or screw, not suck dry. But back to the episode…

So this would appear to have wrapped up the werewolf story line — for now. Don’t worry, Tyler will be back. I know that because that is the exact response I got from The CW when I emailed someone after the episode aired to make sure we hadn’t seen the last of Michael Trevino. In my mind, I already knew it (Elijah still needs a werewolf to break the curse, which I suspect is why he was fine letting Jules live). But my heart needed confirmation. Brady, Jules, and Stevie (aka The Third One) told Tyler about the curse of the sun and moon and what happens if a wolf or a vampire breaks it first. They also showed him a picture of the vampire Mason was banging, “Kathy” — how long did Katherine date Mason and wear those clothes to blend in in Florida? — and told him they needed to find the doppelgänger. Of course, they didn’t tell him they were going to need to kill Elena so he could choose never to transform into a werewolf again. He helped them find out where she was by stealing Caroline’s cellphone and texting her. (Smooth.) Elena told “Caroline” she was heading to her family’s lake house for a romantic weekend with Stefan.

To Stefan’s credit, he acknowledged that now was a strange time for Elena to follow-up her all-girls slumber party with a party for two. But Elena wanted to avoid Uncle John, Stefan wanted to have sex in every room of the lake house, and Porsche needed a product placement, so off they went. Just so the director knows, we noted and enjoyed the shot of Elena’s legs wrapped around Stefan when he picked her up and kissed because her joking that she couldn’t invite him into the house because her dead parents had left it to Uncle John turned him on. The writers are working hard to make us appreciate Stefan, and having him wear a Henley and cook Elena dinner after pouring her a glass of wine (I assume that’s what was in that glass) did it for me. My first reaction was that she’s too young for romantic weekends and wine, but I reminded myself that facing death as many times as she has, she probably deserves to experience the pleasure of growing up too fast as well.

NEXT: Elena’s fierceness warrants a Buffy reference.

They needed more fire wood, so Elena went looking for a jacket in her parents’ bedroom, and her manic reaction to being at her family’s cabin for the first time since her parents’ death hit its peak: She got misty smelling her mother’s perfume, then gave Stefan her great-grandfather’s jacket and told him he looked hot in it. Again, to Stefan’s credit, he thought that was weird. Elena must’ve been drinking. But the inappropriate joke turned Stefan on again, and he pressed her up against a wall. It was hollow. Turns out, they’d stumbled upon a secret room that held more old Johnathan Gilbert journals and a crap load of vampire-hunting weaponry. Stefan left Elena alone to her thoughts and snooping and went outside to get wood. [Insert your own joke here.] That’s when Brady shot him with a wooden bullet and told Tyler to keep him down, kill him if he had to.

Now Elena will never be Buffy because she doesn’t have the slayer strength, but the girl is as smart as Buffy was on her 18th birthday when she had to face that insane vampire as a non-chosen one. Elena walked onto the porch looking for Stefan with a knife in her hand and stabbed Brady when he tried to grab her. “I can smell you,” he said, all emotionless and creepy (and hot), when Elena fled back inside. Did anyone else think she was going to take off more than one layer there to throw him off her scent? Elena has nerves of steel. She stabbed him again by the family arsenal, and then ran outside. Unbeknownst to her, Stefan was lurking on the porch where Brady had, and Brady never saw it coming — “it” being Stefan ripping his heart out. Awesome. Tyler had let Stefan go after Stefan told him that the wolves intended to sacrifice Elena. Tyler needed Brady dead because Brady would have killed him for wussing out. Tyler apologized to Elena and explained he hadn’t known the ritual — he just knew he didn’t want to be what he was. Elena hugged him, and the way he embraced her, you could tell he really needed it.

While all that was going on, Damon decided he needed to know Elijah’s end game before he tried to kill him using Uncle John’s method. His new lady friend Andie Star (who he compelled to fall hard for him, which somehow made me say ah) had told him she was covering the historical society high tea being thrown in the honor of Elijah Smith (“He’s using Smith?”), an author penning a book on small towns in Virginia. If Andie’s covering high teas, Alaric is right: she really isn’t working for Action News. It was good to see the Alaric and Damon bromance rekindled this episode. It’s something that only gets to happen when Stefan is occupied elsewhere. I loved how Alaric and Damon shared a stiff drink post-tea party at the Salvatore mansion. Alaric made Damon promise he wouldn’t kill Andie because she’s Jenna’s friend and he’s already lying to Jenna about enough stuff. They’re almost friends now doing each other favors! Alaric even made Damon another drink (another ah moment for me). Alaric was unwinding from a run-in with John, who threatened to tell Jenna everything Alaric’s been hiding from her. “You’re a dick,” Alaric said. (This is the second episode in a row “dick” has been used. The things you remember.) John also said he doesn’t think Alaric should sleep over anymore because it’s inappropriate with children in the house and that the ring Isobel gave Alaric was his and he was gonna want it back. Damon was recovering from Elijah shoving a pencil in his neck after he didn’t show the Original the proper amount of respect. Elijah told Damon the moment he stops being useful, he’s dead, so he should focus on keeping Elena safe. In Alaric’s words, “Elijah’s one scary dude, but with nice hair.”

NEXT: Elijah and Damon are the new Iceman and Maverick.

When Alaric went to leave himself out, Damon heard a struggle in the foyer and found Alaric with a stake in his gut. Why does no one aim for the heart on this show?! It was Stevie, Jules, and some nameless wolves. It took a full syringe of vervain to knock out Damon (remember we learned he’s been building up a tolerance like Stefan). When Damon awoke tied to a chair, Stevie informed him that he was wearing a collar he’d seen in a torture porn movie modified with wooden nails. “Oh, if you only knew the irony of this moment right now,” Damon told Jules. “Let me tell you how this is gonna go. You’re gonna torture me. I don’t talk. Someone loses a heart. Last time it was your boy Mason.” This time, it would be Damon, Jules said. I feel like some of that torture had to have ended up on the cutting room floor. Damon’s neck was awfully bloody by the time Elijah showed up in another of his awesome surprise entrances.

Elijah put the moonstone down and told the wolves to take it. One ran to pick it up, and Elijah ripped out his heart. Two more ran at him at once, and Elijah ripped a heart out with each hand. (It’s his signature move, which, as previously mentioned, Damon fully appreciated.) Jules fled, and Elijah said it didn’t matter. Then he broke Stevie’s neck with one punch. He pulled up the chain restraints on Damon’s hands and accidentally lifted his shirt up a little bit in the process. I believe that was a subtle reminder that producers could’ve had Damon shirtless for that entire scene and chose not to. It’s probably a good thing, because that little hair toss Elijah did as he stepped back, looked at Damon, and told him “You realize this is the third time I’ve saved your life now” with a hint of a smirk would have seemed even more flirty. (It was a total Iceman and Maverick moment for me. I hope we see more of those.) Did anyone else think Elijah scratched that one dead werewolf’s head as he turned to exit? I had to rewind before I realized he was simply picking up the moonstone, which was behind the guy’s head. I thought that seemed a little too arch for Daniel Gillies‘ take on Elijah. (For the record, EP Julie Plec says they didn’t have to pull back on that torture scene as much as she and Kevin Williamson originally anticipated: “Maybe a couple shots of Elijah having a bit too much fun with the hearts in his hands,” she says. “Elijah’s antics and Damon’s reactions were so priceless that we just went with it.”)

Fortunately, Uncle John hadn’t taken his ring back from Alaric, and Alaric finally woke from being “dead” after Elijah left and Damon’s neck wounds were almost healed. He called Jenna and almost told her the truth about why he wasn’t around that night — until Damon mouthed “No, no” after hearing Alaric say the word “honestly.” I feel like we’re getting very close to Aunt Jenna finding out what’s going on in Mystic Falls. John told her to ask Alaric if they ever found his supposedly dead wife’s body. I’m not even sure what Jenna would think John meant by that. Like, if you don’t know about the existence of vampires, wouldn’t she think John either meant that they weren’t actually divorced or that Alaric killed her and hid the body?

Matt may be getting closer to being off Team Oblivious Human as well. He gave Caroline the cold shoulder at the Grill, then saw her talking with Tyler. He assumed she was with him when she missed their date last week after being tortured by Brady. Matt told Tyler he and Caroline should just be honest about it. After the dust settled at the lake house, Tyler left his mom a goodbye note and went to see Matt. Tyler told him he’d been going through a tough time that he couldn’t talk about, and Caroline had been there for him. He admitted he’d fallen for her. “But she loves you, and she needs you, and to be honest, she deserves someone like you,” Tyler said. “So you be good to her, okay.” So sweet. Can’t we all just forgive Tyler for hesitating to help Caroline last week? I have.

NEXT: Bonnie lighting candles is hot.

Tyler went to Caroline’s house, and I kept waiting for the camera to pan down to show us what he left on her doorstep but it didn’t happen. Maybe he’d planned to say goodbye, but then couldn’t. He walked back to a car and got in. It was Jules driving. He said if he was going to go with her, there could be no more lies. She agreed, and told him he was doing the right thing leaving Mystic Falls. (For now.) How will Tyler return? Will Elijah, who’d been talking to Tyler’s mom at the high tea, threaten her to get him to return so he can be the wolf needed to break the curse? Will the Salvatores end up needing the wolves to help kill Elijah and Klaus?

Speaking of Elijah and Klaus, can you believe we actually now know what Elijah’s plan really is? (Or that the whole Bonnie story line wasn’t even teased in this episode’s promo? I guess there’s only so much time.) So Bonnie decided she was going to put Luka in a trance and get him to tell her why he and his father were working with Elijah. She did this by putting a “witch roofie” in a coffee that she bought him under the guise of wanting to make peace after finding out that Jonas had saved Caroline, Stefan, and Damon from the wolf pack. “She’s givin’ him the sex smile,” Caroline told Jeremy as they watched the con go down from nearby so they could help carry Luka out. “Alright, Caroline. I get it,” Jeremy said. And with that, she knew Jeremy had the hots for Bonnie. They went back to Caroline’s house (Sheriff Forbes was going to be out for another hour or two) and Bonnie lit some candles around the room without matches. “Never gonna get used to that,” Jeremy said. Caroline cracked, “Oh come on, that’s pretty hot. You know it.” He didn’t deny it. He just went to get the bowl of water blushing Bonnie asked for. The magic scenes on this show don’t always match up to the quality of the action sequences, do they? But here’s why we love scenes like this: Bonnie was about to do some serious magic to find out if Elijah wants to kill her best friend, and she takes a moment for girl talk with Caroline, who told Bonnie they’re a vampire and witch — Bonnie shouldn’t hold the fact that Jeremy’s Elena’s younger brother against him.

Bonnie worked her magic and Luka spilled all: He and his dad want Klaus dead, too, because Klaus has Luka’s sister. Elijah agreed to return her to them if they help him kill Klaus. For centuries, Klaus has forced generations of witches to aid his search for a way to break the curse without the doppelgänger. Bonnie asked Luka how you kill an Original, and he said “he” (Elijah, I assume) would kill him if he told her. Badass Bonnie didn’t care. She made him tell her: He said after the sacrifice, Klaus will be vulnerable and weak. That’s their only chance. [Record scratch] After the sacrifice? “Yes, Elena has to die,” he said. Cut to close-ups of Bonnie, Jeremy, and Caroline. Wah-waaah.

Bonnie passed this news on to Damon, who then phoned Stefan. Damon told Stefan that he and Elena should maybe stay away a little longer (cue next week’s flashback episode and the reading of Johnathan Gilbert’s journals). Stefan told Damon, “Be careful. Try not to get yourself killed.” That was yet another ah moment, but it was quickly interrupted by Stefan giving Elena some tough love. He broke the news to her about Elijah wanting to sacrifice her, and she already knew it. Elijah chose his words carefully, she said — he never talked about protecting her, just her friends. (I should’ve listened more closely. He got me.) Stefan was pissed that she was still playing martyr, and she couldn’t understand why her being willing to die for him (and the others) was any different from him being willing to die for her. Because he’s lived 162 years, Stefan said. Her wanting to sacrifice herself, “That’s not heroic, that’s tragic,” he said. The other difference: They’re fighting, which gives them a chance of living; she’s rolling over, which doesn’t. At least we know now why she’s the only young woman to ever love a vampire who doesn’t want to talk about what their future would look like — she wasn’t expecting to have one.

NEXT: “You think I’m hot?”

Finally, we get to the moment of the night I rewound most: The Kiss. Bonnie and Jeremy were leaving Caroline’s place after she’d already gone to drop Luka, who wouldn’t remember anything other than he’d lost consciousness, back at the Grill. “Yeah well, I hope she drops him hard,” Jeremy joked. And then Bonnie said, “Wait.” [!!!] She started telling him how she’s always known him as Elena’s brother. She’s witnessed the awkward phase, the emo phase, and the druggie phase, and then, “overnight,” she said, “you turned into this hot guy who’s really sweet.” I think she was going to say she just needed more time to wrap her head around that, what with the curse and the sacrifice hanging over them, but he said, “You think I’m hot?” How many people yelled, “OBVIOUSLY!” at their TVs? That was all he needed to hear. As she continued to ramble, he said, “Enough already,” took a couple of steps toward her and kissed her. It was definitely not the kiss of a little brother. “Wow,” she said. (I opted for a chant of “Jere-my! Jere-my! Jere-my!” myself.) He smiled and they kissed again. I like to imagine Sheriff Forbes walking in on them making out in the foyer, but then I also hate to think of them sharing lip-locks we don’t get to see. Having not read The Vampire Diaries novels, I had no idea that Elena’s sibling in the books is a four-year-old sister named Margaret until Steven R. McQueen told me earlier this week that that’s why he hasn’t asked why Jeremy can’t just pass that magic ring off to Elena — he wants it on his finger for job security. So glad the TV show made that sibling switch, even if I still feel a bit of shame for doing an age check on McQueen after he got busy with Anna in his bedroom. But it’s innocent, really. If you’ve ever seen the way Ellen DeGeneres gets cuddly with Colin Farrell, that’s how McQueen makes me feel. It’s harmless for Ellen because she prefers women. It’s harmless for me because I know how old I am.

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? We know Elijah really does want to kill Klaus but we still don’t know why. Any theories? How long can you go without Tyler? Is Stefan the best boyfriend ever? (Or did he lose points for that memory-making and eyeroll-inducing “It’s when your boyfriend whispered to you that he loves you” line?) How many times did you rewind the Jeremy-Bonnie kiss? And how psyched are you for next week’s flashback episode to Bad Stefan?

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

  • TV Show
  • The CW