Elena's hungry for a fight, which is good because Bonnie's powerless, Alaric's ringless, and Katherine's tombless
Vampire Diaries Stefan Dinner
Credit: Annette Brown/The CW
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…

I will not mourn Elijah. Because I refuse to believe we’ve seen the last of him. Producers have said in the past that they loved the character (and Daniel Gillies’ performance) so much, they found themselves making it harder and harder to kill an Original. (They weren’t lying!) But it paid off in this episode, which had tons of tension as Damon plotted to off Elijah at his dinner party, and Elena neglected to reveal all relevant information about the procedure detailed in old Johnathan Gilbert’s journals at once. We now know that Elijah will rise again if the dagger is removed, so the question is: how soon will that happen? In the meantime, let’s dig in.

So Elena started reading Johnathan’s journals and found out that Stefan had taken revenge on the founding families for what he thought they’d done to Katherine. He attacked Johnathan, but he lived to write another day. We know vampires have superspeed, do you think they are speed readers? If so, she should have let Stefan skim it first. He wanted to tell her the truth, and so he did. He was worse than Damon. He felt so guilty about killing his father and making Damon become a vampire that he turned off the human side of himself and turned on multiple ladies. Was it just me, or did they seem to be enjoying being bitten a lot more than most people on this show? Damon, it turns out, was the bore back then. He didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. They had to be more clever than that, he said. He wanted to live, and if Stefan was on a suicide mission, he wasn’t going to watch. He’d leave town.

The year was 1864, remember, and I’m sorry, but having Stefan feed on wounded soldiers during the Civil War was just cool. He was helping himself to the endless anonymous blood supply when he noticed a cloaked woman. She’d been nursing a soldier, than got up and walked into the woods. Stefan followed her and was prepared to attack when she took him to the ground: “What kind of an idiot are you?” she asked. It was Alexia Branson, aka Lexi, his best friend, who he would eventually accompany to a Bon Jovi concert and who Damon would eventually stake. Since he’d tried to eat her, he offered her a place to stay. She took one look at the bodies in the parlor and realized he was a “ripper.” (New term! Fun!) “There are good parts of being a vampire, and there are bad parts. You’re the bad parts,” she explained. “Well, we’re going to have to change that.” I love how matter of fact she was. She took him back to the wounded and dying soldiers and asked him what he felt. Nothing, he said. To feel anything, he was going to have to feel everything, she said, including the pain and guilt from what he’d done. “Once you can hurt, you can love. Love, Stefan, that’s the point. Everything is intensified when you’re a vampire. When we hurt, we really hurt. But when we love…” she said. I know this is all about Stefan, but how many of us were thinking Damon has been really hurting as of late. Does that mean we can allow ourselves to believe, guilt-free, that he is capable of really loving?

NEXT: Damon’s shower gets more use.

Remembering how Lexi changed the course of his life, Stefan couldn’t help but recall how Damon had ended hers. We should have known that would have some poetry to it. Stefan had told Elena that story to inspire her to fight like he had then, and, near the end of the hour, when Damon asked Stefan how he’d changed Elena’s mind about being a martyr, Stefan said he told her about Lexi. That made Damon remember a conversation he’d had with Lexi as he was leaving the house. She’d reached out to Damon, too. She’d warned him that he wouldn’t be able to control the hate that he was feeling. It would get the best of him. He just asked her to help Stefan. And she said she would. You could see in Damon’s face he was sorry he killed her. He went up to his room to sulk. He heard the shower and thought Andie must’ve been in it. But it was Katherine who emerged through the steam asking for a robe. Round 10 begins now. Ding! Ding!

How did Katherine get out of the tomb? The woman always said she had Plan A, B, C, and D. Damon had gone to see her earlier in the hour to find out if she knew whether the dagger and ancient white oak ash Uncle John had told him would kill Elijah would work. I feel like Katherine should have needed more than one bottle of blood to recover from her mummification, but I like her pretty, so I won’t question it. She was scared hearing Damon’s plan, because if Elijah died, it meant she’d be stuck in the tomb forever since he’d compelled her to stay there until he released her. The fear was just believable enough to not set off any alarms for me. Or, maybe this show moves at such lightning speed, we don’t get a minute to stop and think, Oh wait, she’s acting that way so Damon will definitely kill Elijah and then, because an Original’s compulsions end when he does, she’ll be free.

I found it perfectly fitting that Damon just stood there in his bedroom with a confused look on his face. It could have just been because Katherine was naked and wet, but I think it was because she told him she was going to stay and help him. What do you think: Is she going to run the same scam as Elijah? Meaning, is she trying to amass all that’s needed to break the curse so she can lure Klaus out under the promise of sacrificing Elena and kill him even if it means Elena must die? Uncle John told Katherine he’d set things in motion for her to get out of the tomb. Did Katherine know he had the dagger and ash to give to Damon? Is that why Isobel and John have been working with her? They want to protect Elena, so Isobel was finding out how to kill Klaus, and John is the human who would actually do it? Regardless, I’m happy Katherine’s out. I can’t wait to watch the games she plays with Elena, Stefan, and Damon next week. We know in the end, she’s always been on her own team of one. But what if she’s not pure evil? What if she wants to kill Klaus, and it doesn’t take him being vulnerable after the sacrifice? Elijah would have been foolish to tell Jonas and Luka how to really kill an Original. Maybe he never told them about the dagger and ash.

NEXT: “Now get rid of him before Jenna comes back with dessert.”

We learned this episode that in addition to the human doppelgänger, the vampire, the werewolf, the moonstone, and the witch, to break the curse of the sun and moon you also apparently need to find the field where the witches who fled from Salem and settled in Mystic Falls in the 1690s were burned together on stakes. That witch burial ground is what Elijah was, I presume, hoping to stumble upon while getting a tour of the great outdoors with Jenna. Alaric had found them and was feeling a bit territorial. Look at Elijah with the sense of humor! “You don’t have to be jealous… I don’t really pursue younger women,” he said. Bravo to Gillies for the way he cracked a smile and had Elijah look to Alaric for a laugh. “It’s a joke, Rick. Lighten up.”

Back at the Grill — seriously, it’s time we build another restaurant set, folks — Alaric was telling Damon and compelled Andie about his day when Jenna and Elijah arrived. Andie suggested they all have a dinner party, which Damon offered to host. (Who did the cooking?) For some reason, Jenna told John she was going to a dinner party at Damon’s with Elijah, so John invited himself to watch the festivities. The way Alaric was talking to Damon about wanting no surprises or sneak attacks that would put Jenna in danger, I thought she might bite it for real this episode. Elijah, you see, had warned Damon that if he tried to cross him, he would kill him and everyone in the house. Damon’s plan was to stab a distracted Elijah with the dagger while they were having cognac in the study. He was all set to do it, too, but thankfully, Elena read the part about the dagger killing any demon that tried to wield it (because the Originals were men of honor, and a vampire killing a vampire was forbidden), and Stefan got a hold of Alaric on his cell phone. (Damon’s was conveniently turned off.) Watching Alaric write down that if Damon tried to use the dagger it would kill him — instead of speaking it, which Elijah would have heard — was so gratifying. It’s like a reward for being a fan who knows the rules.

The men were called back to the table for dessert, which apparently Jenna was in charge of. She said it was taking longer than expected (why didn’t she just buy something?), so she went back into the kitchen while Damon — who knew John was trying to kill him — told Elijah that Elena hated her uncle/father, so he should feel free to remove him from the endangered species list. John asked Elijah how he was planning on killing Klaus. Elijah wasn’t playing: He reiterated to Damon that he was only allowing him to live to protect Elena, and her to stay at her home among loved ones and friends as a courtesy. If Damon proved a liability (or, let’s face it, a hassle), he’d kill him and take Elena away. Andie had asked Alaric to fetch her notebook from her bag because she wanted to play journalist at the table and ask Elijah more questions about his book. Alaric couldn’t find it, so Andie had to get up and help him. She returned to her seat, and polite Elijah was focused on her when, in a true surprise, Alaric stabbed him with the dagger. Is Alaric really that strong, or are the back of those dining room chairs really that weak? I wonder how many takes it took Matt Davis to deliver the line of the episode: “Now get rid of him before Jenna comes back with dessert.”

NEXT: Jonas interrupts Jeremy’s seduction.

I was nervous the entire time Damon and Alaric stood over Elijah’s wrapped body in the Salvatore cellar. I thought he might somehow pop up, use the dagger to cut off Alaric’s finger with the ring, and stab him. Alaric admitted that he was Damon’s friend (ah) and reminded Damon that he doesn’t have many of those. No more lying. Damon nodded in agreement. Turns out, I was right to be concerned. Slow reader Elena finally told Stefan the bit about how the Original will remain essentially dead as long as the dagger stays in his body. Cut to Damon running down to the cellar and Elijah’s body not being there. Elijah went to Jonas and told him to find him Elena, now.

I’m assuming Jonas didn’t need to arrive unannounced at Elena’s house to fetch something of hers to perform a locator spell. It appears he dropped by because he’d pieced together that the blackout Luka couldn’t explain was Bonnie’s way of finding out Elijah was going to sacrifice Elena anyway. I want to like Jonas because his entrances are second only to Elijah’s, but the moment he interrupted makes it oh so hard. Jeremy had invited Bonnie over under the guise of him wanting to help her practice spells and build her strength. She showed up and he had the living room filled with candles. That’s just a teen boy response: He found out last week that her playing with a few candles was kinda hot, so he wanted 50 of them. It was major overkill. She didn’t seem to think it was too strange though. She just couldn’t let them go further until she asked Elena if she was cool with it. I would have told her to phone Elena right then and there. But Jeremy just told her, ever so eloquently, it wasn’t a date, it was a “Hey, I kissed you, and I thought you liked it hang thing.”

Bonnie admitted that she had liked it, and that pacified him for awhile. But then she had to go and play with the candles, stealing all their flames and putting them in her hands, and he got all hot and bothered again. She explained she’d siphoned power from fire, one of the elements, and it was called channeling. “So technically, you could channel me,” he said, knowing the human body is largely made up of water. Smooth, Jeremy. Smooth. “You could channel me” is my new favorite pick-up line. Steven R. McQueen was great in that scene. He had just the right amount of smile on his face, letting us know Jeremy knew exactly what he was doing. And that subtle jaw drop he did when Bonnie agreed to try it? That was a teen boy knowing he’d just gotten lucky. They faced each other and Bonnie reached out and put her hand on his chest. Swoon. They looked into each other’s eyes. I wished I was back in high school (sitting in front of this guy who used to give me great shoulder massages in Algebra 2). And BAM, there was Jonas.

With a flick of his hand, he had Jeremy pinned against the wall. He asked Bonnie what Luka had told her, and she admitted she knew Klaus had his daughter. She said she wanted to work together to get her back. Jonas told her if anything happened to Luka because of what she did, she’d answer to him. Then for her own good, he said, he grabbed her and uttered a chant. She collapsed in tears and when Jeremy fell to the floor after Jonas stormed out, he ran to her, held her, and asked what had happened. She told him Jonas took her powers. Helllll no. We know a witch brawl is coming up, so she must get them back, right? But how? Can he only weaken her for a short time, or will she need to call on witch reinforcements? (Hello, Lucy?)

NEXT: Elena’s the one who outsmarts Elijah. How great is that?

Elijah showed up at the cabin, and though he couldn’t come in uninvited, he threw some rocks at the door and sent it flying so he could talk to Elena. She wanted to negotiate a new deal, but Elijah wasn’t in the mood. She took out a knife, and Elijah said Stefan would never let her die. He’s right, she said. He’d make her drink his blood, then she’d kill herself and become a vampire, rendering herself useless like Katherine had done. Elijah called her bluff, and… ELENA ACTUALLY STABBED HERSELF IN THE ABDOMEN. Elijah begged her to let him save her, and she made him give her his word that the deal was back on. He did, and she stumbled across the threshold into his arms — and rammed the dagger into him. She collapsed beside him, and Stefan was there immediately to feed her some of his blood. Damon walked out. It made sense that he would have made just as good time getting there as Elijah. “Little tip,” Damon said. “Don’t pull the dagger out.”

How amazing was that? Elena has been talking about sacrificing herself for so long, but having the strength and determination to actually stab herself when that really was her only play? Bad.Ass. She suddenly became just as compelling a character as Katherine. And yes, she’s earned the right to tell the Salvatore Brothers that if she’s fighting for her life, she’s calling the shots, and there will be no secrets between them. What’s their next move though? They got the moonstone back, because Elijah, now safely in the Salvatore cellar, conveniently kept it on him. With Bonnie being powerless, will they have to turn to Katherine to see if she knows a way to destroy it? Or have they decided they need to use it to lure Klaus now because if he finds out they destroyed it, he’ll come after them anyway?

Last and always least, we get to Jenna and Alaric. After giving Alaric the cold shoulder all day, Jenna finally asked him what happened to Isobel. He wouldn’t answer. Was he being honest with her? His silence was an answer, she said, with a tear that made you wish Sara Canning got more to do on this show. Uncle John had overheard, and his plan had worked: He would clear up this little misunderstanding with Jenna if Alaric gave him back his ring. Alaric took it off and put it down, and for a moment, I thought he might tell John to come and get it and then stab him. That would have been poetic, too. But Alaric is too good a guy. He told John he could have it. After what he tried to do to Damon, John was going to need it more than him anyway. Do not die, Alaric. (But do take off the guyliner.)

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Are you inexplicably sad that we didn’t get to see the outfit Damon brought Katherine to change into in the tomb on her? What do you think Katherine’s plan is if it’s not immediately running to an island and sipping Klaus-free margaritas? What’s your favorite nonviolent Elijah moment? I’m fond of the way he greeted Jenna at the dinner party: “Jenna, wonderful to see you again. How are you? You look incredible.” Also, him taking Andie’s hand was pretty charming. Did you miss Tyler? If Operation Kill Klaus is on, someone’s gonna need to get him back in town so all the pieces of the puzzle are present, right?

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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.

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