In 'Kill or Be Killed,' the Salvatore brothers battle Mason and Liz, while Elena experiences bleeding love

By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated October 08, 2010 at 06:26 AM EDT
Vampire Diaries Kill
Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

It’s been about a week since I found out I was going to be filling in for Mandi Bierly on tonight’s TVD recap. (Your normal host is on vacation and will be back next week.) So please go easy on me. Not that I’m ill-informed; in fact, I’ve spent the last 6 days marathoning all 26 episodes of the show so that I would be prepared for you all tonight. Yes, I’m a latecomer to Mystic Falls. (You may hurl fruit in the comments.) But while I’m tardy to the party, I am certainly here now! How I’ve managed to let this show slip through the cracks of my TV lineup for so long, I’ll never know. Will I forgive myself? Maybe one day. For now, I’ll carry around as much perpetual guilt as Stefan. Now, on to the episode.

We opened with a flashback to one year ago. Mason was leaving a Florida bar after a night of drinking when an acquaintance (Mason knew the guy’s name, but didn’t like him enough to sit next to him while drinking = acquaintance) approached him from behind and accused him of sleeping with his girlfriend. Mason denied it, but the confrontation escalated. BAM! Mason was clocked. (One point to the man with the blonde ‘fro!) “I’m going to kill you,” his attacker said…ironically. After the man got a few good kicks and punches in, Mason retaliated and slammed the man into the ground with a disgusting, stomach-churning splat. Blood flowed from the back of the man’s head, confirming what we suspected from his attacker’s vacant eyes: Mason had killed him.

Back at the Lockwood home, we saw Mason telling Tyler the tale of how he trigger his curse. “You have to be careful. All it takes is an accident…and you’ll have a lifetime of this,” Mason warned doe-eyed Tyler, adding that he wanted the moon stone. A deal was a deal. So Tyler opened his father’s under-the-floorboards safe — coolest thing ever! — but the stone wasn’t in there. Mason was not happy.

At Elena’s, Jeremy probed for more info on the Lockwood were-curse, but was shot down by his older sister. “This is dangerous, Jeremy; you have to stay out of it.” Translation: He won’t.

Cue Stefan, he who lurks behind doors. (Won’t closing doors just seem so disappointing from now on if there’s no sexy vamp brother standing behind it?) Elena lamented their fake fighting because she didn’t want it to turn real. Ever the Salvatore brains, Stefan thought of a clever code. “Today, when we’re fighting, when I say ‘I can’t do this anymore, Elena,’ what I’ll really mean is that I love you.”

Everyone brought their various grievances to the Historical Society’s Volunteer Picnic event. (Gotta love small towns…) Caroline and her mother were on the fritz, Mason and Damon were going to be within fighting distance of each other, and Stefan and Elena had to keep up their fake fighting for show. And things didn’t get any simpler throughout the day. In fact, they got much, much more complicated. For everyone.

NEXT: Boy gets pushed into a wall…again?

For one, Stefan tried to smooth things over with Mason. Key word tried. First he tried sincerity. When it was thrown back in his face, he did what tends to work best (read: and is totally hotter): intimidation. “There’s one of you and two of us.” Yes. There. Is. (Yum.) Mason caved. Who wouldn’t? They shook on their peace agreement and humorously on cue, Damon showed up to complain. “But I don’t want peace,” he moaned. Then he leveled with his peace-seeking brother, “You don’t seriously think a handshake will solve the problem.” He didn’t. In fact, he knew Mason was out for them and would look for revenge soon. And soon came…well…soon.

The wolfman made a power move and told the Sheriff — wait, sorry, she’s out of uniform. We’ll go with “Liz” — that the Salvatore brothers were vampires. “I’ve watched him kill vampires. He’s an ally. …Damon Salvatore is my friend,” she defended against Mason’s mounting evidence. But he’d prove it to her — by spiking the lemonade with vervain. (How could that little girl betray Damon’s trust? He called her SWEETIE!) Upon seeing Damon react to it, Liz called for backup.

Meanwhile, Elena continued to throw Caroline off the scent of the truth by playing up her quarrel with Stefan. I think they gave a little too much time to this fake fighting. As viewers, we know it was fake/insincere, so why did the writers feel the need to drag out Elena’s speech to Caroline about it? I pretty much checked out of the scene because I knew it wasn’t true. Then, when I went back and rewatched it to look for undertones, I still got nothing. I’ll stick to my theory that more time could have been spent on…well, I don’t know what. But there were many torsos to choose from.

Back at the subplot, Jeremy and Tyler were entertaining a pair of drunken girls they met at the grill. (It couldn’t have been later than freaking 2 p.m.!!) Nonetheless, they danced and boozily ooh-ed over Jeremy’s drawings…of werewolves. Tyler panicked, and immediately confronted Jeremy. (As Mandi pointed out, shall we start a series count of the number of times the kid gets pushed into walls?) Jeremy admitted that he knew about Tyler’s family’s curse. Tyler explained that Mason wanted the moon stone, but he wasn’t going to give it up because he didn’t know the powers it held.

Enter drunk chicks to be totally inconvenient. As usual. They played a game of keep away with the rock, which was a bad idea. Anxious to get it back, Tyler chased one of the girls up the stairs to retrieve it. And in the minor struggle, she ended up losing her balance and falling down the stairs. Oh, crap, we thought. But she was okay. Still, it was a major scare for Tyler.

At the end of the episode, Tyler talked to Mason about what had happened, admitting that “just for a moment — for a split second — I’d hoped she died.” He didn’t like what was inside of him. With that, he handed the stone over. Perhaps he thought that Mason wanted to do something good with it? Unlikely. Especially since we found out that it was Katherine who wanted it the whole time. In fact, SHE had been the one to instigate Mason’s fight a year prior, the end revealed. All for the stone. WHAT DOES THE STONE DO?!?!

NEXT: Caroline unleashes the beast (within).

Back in the woods, Damon and Stefan sought revenge. They followed Mason into seclusion and prepared to tear him to pieces. But then they were torn to pieces by bullets. Liz and two lackeys then hauled the brothers’ beautiful forms into old slave quarters where they would be killed. Mason doubted Liz’s claim that she’d kill them. Still, she insisted he leave so he was not an accessory to the murders. Did anyone think she was about to have a change of heart and let them go? That’s where I thought it was going. Then, I saw she was serious. She was shooting them in an attempt to get answers about why they could walk in the sun and how they fooled the Council. She was seriously going to do it. That bitch. Damon wouldn’t talk, uttering only “But you were my friend.” Heartbreaking! (Stefan was worryingly still out cold.)

Elena and Caroline were hot on their trail. Caroline used her new vampy senses rather impressively in this episode. She tracked them quickly, but then they ran into Mason, who attempted to foil their rescue mission. That’s when Caroline went all speedy, kickass vamp on him. He got his butt kicked by a girl. A teenage girl. I hope someone teases him about that later.

They got there just in time. Caroline zoomed in and attacked the lackeys, exposing herself as a vamp to her mom. I would have felt bad about that crushed look on Liz’s face, but she had been pumping bullets into the Salvatore brothers. She’s dead to me.

After the rescue, Stefan was slow to recover. Damon and Caroline encouraged him to feed on the dead deputies, but he refused. Damon struggled to decide Liz’s fate, and Caroline begged her mom to not say anything so that Damon would spare her life. Caroline really could have wiped the blood off her face so it was all a little less creepy for her mom. Seriously. “Then kill me…I can’t take this,” Liz said. But Damon spared her, saying “You’re my friend.” (Yes, folks, if you count Elena, he’s up to two friends. That, is growth.) Admittedly, I had doubted his relationship with her, passing it off as a thing of convenience, but in this episode especially, the subtle clues to their genuine closeness were hard to deny. Like when Damon approached Caroline and asked her, “Why are you being such a bitch to your mom?” That was caring. He had nothing to gain. Very un-Damon, no?

They took Liz back to the Salvatore home so she could let the vervain get out of her system so she could be compelled into forgetting what she had learned. All would be right — well, except her relationship with Caroline. She overheard her mom telling Damon to keep her away. “She’s your daughter, Liz,” Damon pled. “No she’s not. My daughter’s gone.”

NEXT: Better than a Band-Aid!

In the basement, Stefan pondered near his cooler of human blood, and Elena caught him. “Katherine took a little vervain every day and built up a tolerance to it. I could do the same with blood.” Elena hated this idea. And they fought. For real.

Damon would bring her to her senses later on, partially, I think, because Damon had earned some of her trust back by sparing Liz’s life. (“What you did for Caroline’s mom, that’s the Damon who is my friend.”) All parties involved knew that without the human blood, Stefan would always be at a disadvantage to Katherine. “But I don’t want you to do it alone,” Elena told Stefan later. “It’s you and me, Stefan, always.” So she cut her hand and let him taste. His eyes darkened and fangs exposed themselves. Then she kissed him. As she pulled away, his face was revealed — he was back to normal. In her, he found control.

I wept like a pansy.

Oh, goodness. What an episode. Thanks for letting me guest host your party. Meanwhile, sound off below on the episode: What did you think? What’s the deal with the stone? Do you like Stefan’s Human Blood plan? What did you think of the Katherine twist?

More on Twitter @EWSandraG and beg Mandi to not go on vacation here: @EWMandiBierly

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