Everything we thought we knew about Klaus was wrong

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Vampire Diaries Klaus
Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Have you ever choked on your own saliva? It’s not a pleasant image, I know, but I’m pretty sure it is the best indication that a TV show has changed the game we thought we were playing.

This episode was called “Klaus,” but for me, it was all about Elijah. Daniel Gillies is so good, I’m hoping season 3 revolves around Elijah staying in Mystic Falls to help fight his half brother Klaus’ new army of werevamps. But let’s back up. Elijah finally came to after Elena pulled the dagger out of him. He took one look at her and thought she was Katherine (even though Katherine would never be caught undead in a scoop neck T-shirt and yoga pants). Cue our first flashback to England in 1492, when Trevor (hi!) brought Katherine to Klaus’ birthday party. I thought Elijah’s eyes looked as soft as his long curls did when he met her, but I wasn’t sure if he was just excited to see the human doppelgänger, if he had taken an immediate liking to Katherine, or if he was perhaps remembering feelings he’d had for whichever Petrova ancestor Katherine resembled. I’ll take the theory behind door No. 3.

Having the Salvatores sign their mansion over to Elena last week came in pretty handy for the writers, who were able to force Elijah out of the house — he had no invitation — before he could get a hold of Elena or the Salvatores woke up. The brothers must be sound sleepers because Elijah wasn’t quiet when he was thrashing about on the floor and into walls and complaining about how he couldn’t breathe. (Since when do vamps breathe?) Elena wanted to bring Elijah up to speed, but not there. They needed to know they could trust each other. Elena gave Elijah the dagger, and he, well, he did nothing, but she knows he needs her alive until the sacrifice, so that’s good enough.

The next time we saw Elijah, he was in Elena’s SUV sucking on a blood bag and returning to his usual hotness. Stefan called Elena and wanted to come to her, but she told him that she and Elijah needed time alone. She said Elijah was a noble man. She could trust him. I often get asked if I’m Team Damon or Team Stefan, and I can honestly say I’ve never actually spent time debating who Elena should end up with. But if I did, Stefan would have earned major points when he respected her decision and showed faith in her negotiating skills. Elena and Elijah went to the Lockwood home because he’d gotten Tyler’s mother off of vervain and he could work his way inside to a fresh suit. For a moment, I thought that might mean Elijah had been sleeping with Mrs. Lockwood to steal her daily dose of vervain, but then I remembered that if he made her skip one day’s dose, he could compel her to not take it again. (So maybe it was just a one night stand.)

Staying with Elena and Elijah, he made himself a cup of tea and started spilling. He told her about Klaus — who arrived as fashionably late to his birthday party as he did to this season — meeting Katherine. “Do you mind, brother? I would like to have a moment alone with her.” I heard the word “brother,” and convinced myself that Klaus didn’t mean it literally. “Yes, Klaus is my brother,” Elijah told Elena. Gasp! “I heard that. I’m still processing,” Elena said. (And cue my personal flashback to 2006, when I said that exact same thing to Jon Cryer after he recounted telling the director of Pretty in Pink, ”I read the part in the script where Duckie’s supposed to come into the record store and do a dance. But I do both Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson singing ‘State of Shock,’ actually.”) Elijah admitted he was a little behind on the times, but he believed the term Elena was looking for was OMG. (I’ve decided Elijah used to watch Gossip Girl.) It turns out, there is a whole family of Originals. They were all born human. Elijah’s father was a wealthy landowner in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria perhaps?) and Elijah’s mother bore seven children. He wouldn’t go into the story of how they became vampires because it was too long — any theories? — but all she needed to know now was that they are the oldest vampires from which all others were created.

Elijah was still feeling…a bit dead, so he wanted to get some air. The walk was a nice idea because they ended up at the Lockwood pond, so later when Stefan called with the news we’ve all been waiting for — AUNT JENNA FOUND OUT THE TRUTH! — we would wonder whether Elijah would let Elena answer her cell, which she’d given him in the car, or throw it in the water. On the walk, Elijah told Elena that the witches would never let anything truly immortal walk the earth; everything needs a weakness in order to maintain the balance. His family had burnt the one tree whose wood could kill them. (Weak, witches!) That’s where the white ash used on the dagger comes from. So if the sun can’t kill an Original, why was Klaus so obsessed with breaking the sun and the moon curse, Elena asked. “The curse of the sun and the moon. It’s all so Biblical sounding, don’t you think?” Elijah said. We flashed back to Elijah and Klaus debating whether Klaus’ Roman scrolls, Aztec drawings, or African tribal carvings were his finest work. (I’ll let you debate whether Elijah was insinuating that the Bible is fiction or merely source material for the fiction the brothers created.) The curse of the sun and the moon, Elijah said, is fake. [Insert sound of me choking and Elena’s slightly more dignified, “What?”] The easiest way to discover a doppelgänger and long-lost moonstone was to have every single member of two warring species looking for it, he explained. There is a curse, but it’s one placed solely on Klaus. He’s been trying to break it for a thousand years.

It was then that Stefan called Elena away, and as Elijah watched her run off, we got our next flashback to 1492. Elijah was chasing Katherine outside in a game of tag. Apropos. How cute was that smile he flashed when he told her she’d looked so lonely inside he took pity on her? She had been expecting to spend the day with Klaus, but he’d never returned home from a night out. Katherine said she didn’t understand why he courts her when he doesn’t seem to care about her at all. Elijah asked Katherine if she had more with Trevor. Trevor said he loved her, Katherine laughed, but it’s not true love if it’s unreturned. She asked Elijah if he agreed, and again his eyes were soft: “I do not believe in love, Katerina,” he said. “That is too sad for me to accept, my lord,” she responded. “Life is too cruel. If we cease to believe in love, why would we want to live?” You know how it always hits you hard when you see a comic actor cry? The same is true for when you see a stoic man get tears in his eyes. Klaus’ walk of shame interrupted the moment, and he led Katherine away after explaining the blood on his collar came from a fight in a tavern. That smile of his still wasn’t working on me, but the badass 15th-century leather jacket started wooing me.

After dealing with Jenna (more on that later), Elena kept her word to Elijah and returned to hear the rest of the saga. Elijah said his family was close, but his father and Klaus never got along. When they became vampires, it was discovered that their mother had been unfaithful and Klaus had a different father. Elijah’s father killed Klaus’ dad, and oops, ignited the war between vampires and werewolves. Yes, Klaus’ dad was a werewolf. What does that make Klaus? Both. To quote my notes: WHAAAAAAAT? According to Elijah, the hybrid would be deadlier than either species, and nature was like, “Hell no” (paraphrasing). So the witches, who are the servants of nature, saw to it that the werewolf side of Klaus became dormant. He wants to trigger that part of him that is a werewolf by sacrificing Elena. If allowed, Klaus would sire his own bloodline and build his own race endangering not just vampires but everyone. (To quote Danny DeVito: Holy s—balls.)

Elijah said the silver dagger wouldn’t kill Klaus because even as a dormant werewolf, his body would heal wounds from silver. That means a witch channeling megapower really is the only hope. The curse must be broken on a full moon, and Klaus would be at his most vulnerable during his transformation, Elijah said. (I guess that’s because he’ll be distracted by the extended excruciating pain?) Elena told Elijah that Bonnie had that kind of power, and he told her the witches found a way to make the ritual nonfatal for the doppelgänger. We flashed back to Elijah telling Klaus that, and Klaus saying human life meant nothing. Klaus accused Elijah of caring for Katherine, and he denied it. “Love is a vampire’s greatest weakness, and we are not weak, Elijah. We do not feel. And we do not care,” Klaus said. “We did once,” Elijah countered. “Too many lifetimes ago to matter,” Klaus answered. Elena stated the obvious: Elijah had cared about Katherine. “It’s a common mistake, I’m told. It’s one I won’t make again,” he said. (It’s a shame Damon and Elijah won’t be friends: They have so much to talk about.)

Elena had asked Elijah why he wanted Klaus dead now if he had helped him before, and Elijah said he used to love Klaus but that had changed. I wonder at what moment. Was it when Klaus said he’d kill Katherine even though he didn’t have to, or when Klaus threatened to kill Elijah if he couldn’t find Katherine after she escaped? (That was the first time I saw Joseph Morgan as intimidating, and as someone whose face reminded me of Brad Pitt’s in Interview With the Vampire.) Maybe it was at a moment we haven’t even heard about yet? I believed Elijah when he told Klaus he hadn’t helped her flee. I suspect her choosing Trevor to save her instead of Elijah is the reason Elijah wants Katherine to pay now. She made him feel again, and then she ditched him. I’d love to see more flashbacks to Elijah, Katherine, and Trevor and find out how that all really went down.

NEXT: The Salvatore brothers get physical. (Physical.)

It’s rather poetic that the decision Elena faces now is whether she should put her fate in Elijah’s hands and that she’s stuck between two brothers with differing opinions on whether she’ll live or die. I can’t imagine all the twists we’ll see in the final three episodes of the season, but I’m choosing to believe that Elijah was telling the truth about finding a way to spare Elena’s life. We didn’t hear Elijah say that Bonnie wouldn’t die, but Elena told Stefan and Damon he had a way to save her, too, when she was trying to get Damon to apologize to Elijah. That’s all Elijah wanted from each of the Salvatores — apologies for their roles in his death — in exchange for him promising not to harm them. Stefan apologized, but Damon told them they all could go to hell. (Ooh, as Nat S. pointed out in the comments, Stefan told Elijah, “I was protecting Elena. I will ALWAYS protect Elena.” That could have been a deliberate eff you to Damon, who last week told Elena, “If it comes down to you and the witch again, I will gladly let Bonnie die. I will ALWAYS choose you.”) Stefan told Elijah that Damon was just angry with him, and he would come around. “Perhaps,” Elijah said. Considering Elena and Elijah, who now has an invite into her home, walked in on the Salvatores trying to strangle each other, I think he has his doubts.

Let’s dissect Damon next. So, seeing Damon treat Andie like a toy even though she has feelings for him is another parallel drawn between coldhearted Klaus and recovering d–k Damon. I think producers did a good job of forcing fans who want to focus on Damon’s sound bites and abs to see that he truly is victimizing Andie, while not totally demonizing him. I mean, when she told him biting her that morning would be too messy and he should get a blood bag, he didn’t munch on her. Damon didn’t have to take Andie on his rogue recon mission to Alaric’s apartment, so he must like her company. (Or, you know, the writers just thought it would be funny to hear Andie say, “Nice to meet you” as they left compelled-to-stay Katherine with some vervain to drink to prevent future compulsion. And it was.) I thought he might physically lash out at Andie when she told him to calm down as he tried to keep Elena from returning to Elijah after she talked to Jenna. That was the second time Stefan blocked Damon, and Damon told Stefan not to attempt a third. They came to fisticuffs later after Stefan tried to tell Damon how to treat Andie. Damon told Stefan he should be thankful Andie’s around because she’s what is distracting him from going after what he really wants. “You’re right. Thank you for being in love with my girlfriend,” Stefan said. “And there it is,” they each said, as if this wasn’t something they both already knew. Stefan’s voice gets sexy when he’s about to be cruel. “You can be in love with Elena all you want if it means that you’ll protect her. But I have the one thing that you never will,” he said. “Oh yeah. What’s that?” Damon asked. “Her respect,” Stefan said. And it was on. I think there’s a special kind of growl the Salvatore brothers reserve for when they’re fighting one another, and I like it.

After Elena and Elijah walked in and unapologetic Damon stormed out, he went upstairs and was about to take off his shirt when Andie appeared in her bra, panties, and heels. Damon’s shirt stayed on. Really, the only thing more unfair would have been if Damon had already started the shower water. He’d asked Andie to leave before but he hadn’t compelled her to. She wanted to be there for him. “I’m upset. You know what happens when I’m upset. You have to leave,” he said, grabbing her around the neck like she was a Barbie whose head he was about to snap off. She told him that he needed to know someone cared about him and she did. He bit her violently, and I thought for sure we were adding to the season’s body count, but he let her live. “Get out of here before I kill you. Just go. Go. NOW!” he begged her with blood dripping down his chin and tears in his eyes. See, not a total demon.

NEXT: Klaus’ travel trunk reminded me of the Judge on Buffy, but Klaus is way cuter.

Finally, we get to Klaus. Or, at least Klaric. At the start of the episode, Klaric bid farewell to his male witch who was going to retrieve Klaus’ body. “So I can get out of this bad hairdo,” Klaric told Katherine. Katherine wondered why he was trying to pull off the sacrifice in a town filled with enemies, and he said it has to take place in the birthplace of the doppelgänger. Personally, I think Klaus is going soft: All Klaric did when he left Katherine to go verbally torture Aunt Jenna was compel her not to leave until he told her to. That’s it? Nothing as creative as last week’s stab wounds? Jenna had called Stefan because she couldn’t reach either Elena or Jeremy, and she’d returned home and wanted to know what was up with all the warnings to steer clear of Alaric, who she was meeting for lunch at the Grill. Stefan told her not to go, that he was coming over to fill her in. When he got there, Klaric was already in the house looking the best Matt Davis has ever looked on the show.

I love how for most families, the kitchen is full of good memories, and for the Gilberts, it’s full of nightmares. Maybe it’s time to get rid of that giant knife, people. With how often you eat out, you don’t even need it. Klaric used it to cook them lunch. “I find chopping calming. The feel of the blade in the hand maybe,” he said. Then, he launched into a little story about how Alaric was obsessed with vampires. And werewolves, which were even older than vamps. He said he’d read about this curse that keeps the wolves slaves to the moon and vampires bound by the sun. “You know they say these creatures would do anything to have this curse broken. And that they wouldn’t care who they had to kill to do it,” he added, as Jenna looked appropriately freaked out. When she finally asked Klaric to leave he wouldn’t go. Stefan stood at that moment, and his protective instincts were a total turn on. Jenna said she’d leave then, and Klaric came after her with the knife. Stefan supersped over to him and took him to the wall with the knife at his throat. Klaric said he didn’t have the witch’s spell protecting him, but if Stefan killed him, what was to stop him from choosing Jenna as his next vessel? Jenna wanted Stefan to calm down, but he told her to go, with his face in full vamp mode, and she motored. Stefan punched Klaric to knock him out and kicked him twice. That amount of force would’ve killed a man, but whatever.

When Elena met up with Jenna at the safe house, Elena explained she’d kept Jenna in the dark because she thought that would protect her. Jenna wasn’t as upset about the betrayal as she was about Elena and Jeremy thinking they had to protect her when she was their guardian. Jenna admitted she was scared and ever empathetic Stefan got all teary-eyed standing outside the doorway listening. (Not as sexy, if I’m being honest.) Elena later told Jenna more of what was going on off camera, and Jenna was in shock, Elena reported. Understandable. I feel like confetti should have shot out of our TVs when Jenna finally heard the truth, but in an episode as packed as this one, it’s still the last thing we talk about. Do we think Jenna will make it to season 3? We’ve been wanting her to find out the truth forever. Now what if it gets her killed? Wah waaaah. I don’t think producers have given Sara Canning a juicy enough arc to cut her loose yet. So if she goes, it will have to be in a blaze of glory.

Klaric returned to his apartment, and Katherine stopped her bourbon-fueled solo dance party just in time. (So that’s what she and Damon had in common.) His mood only improved when the male witch returned with Klaus’ luggage, his body (in a giant trunk), and Greta Martin, Jonas’ daughter with whom he seemed quite cozy. The witches later did the spell to transfer Klaus back into his body and poof!, Alaric awakened, took one look at Katherine and called her Elena, then collapsed to the ground. (He’s in the promo for next week’s episode, so miraculously, the body count holds.) The trunk was opened and out walked Klaus, looking contemporary and fairly yummy. “Now that’s more like it,” he said, then flashed his already trademark grin.

So what do you think of Klaus? Modern day, he looks younger than Elijah, which is interesting. He has a bratty playboy vibe, which gives me hope that he’ll play him like a young James Spader circa Pretty in Pink. (Yes, that’s two Pretty in Pink references.) I think if/when Klaus makes manly Elijah cower again — as he did when he roared at him during the final flashback — it will make us quiver. We’ll catch ourselves underestimating him. I hope Klaus claims at least one life next episode. We need to fear him as much as we did Klaric and Elijah right away. Any bets on who’s next to bite it? Is there any doubt that Damon is the one who decides to screw up the ritual? Does anyone think he’s right not to believe the new mythology Elijah has given us?

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