Damon was the man of the hour, though Jeremy was monumentally badass for a moment

By Mandi Bierly
Updated January 06, 2012 at 06:43 AM EST
The Vampire Diaries, Ian Somerhalder, ...
Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

It was the kiss heard ’round the world. Or, at least in my eight-apartment building. But if you’re like me, you were equally excited when Jeremy decapitated that hot hybrid Tony. This show can’t do explosions, but it can do one helluva good blood splatter! Let’s dig in. (And when you’re done with the recap, be sure to check out our postmortem with EP Julie Plec, who also teases next week’s Damon nudity — remember Ian Somerhalder’s post-Thanksgiving tweet? — and gut-wrenching Stefan-Elena drama.)

We began with Bonnie walking her cleavage to Witch Central and hearing Voldemort hissing. She was led downstairs and saw Klaus’ coffins. She opened one and found Klaus, which is when I decided this was definitely a dream. I’m quick like that. He was clutching the Original Witch’s necklace. There was some creaking, and before we could see who was behind Dream Bonnie, she woke up. Elena was already up and running (and apparently making good time judging by her smile). She turned around to head home and saw a man jogging toward her in a menacing hoodie. She continued running until she thought she’d lost him. Of course she turned around and walked right into him. He apologized and told her to have a nice day. Cut to Elena and Bonnie at the Mystic Grill — where else! — having a conversation about how paranoid Elena is waiting for Klaus to retaliate for their failed plan to kill him and how Bonnie’s Coffin Klaus dream is recurring. Elena suggested the nightmare was witch-related, but Bonnie just thought she was under stress.

How’s Damon doing? He’s at the bar trying to have “brunch in a bottle” with Alaric. “Come on Rick, I can’t drink all this by myself,” he pleaded. “I mean, I can, but then somebody’s gettin’ naked.” (Not a problem, sir!) I thought Damon then purred at the female bartender, but he was just whining “Ohhhh man” at Alaric, who was more interested in grading midterm papers and confronting Jeremy about his plagiarized F effort on the eve of Klausaggedon. Turns out Jeremy was fired from the Grill a week ago, and he’s been spending his time getting drunk and shooting stuff with Alaric’s crossbow in the woods with Tyler. That scene served the purpose of reminding us both how cocky Tyler has become as a hybrid (the only thing that didn’t annoy me about him in this hour was his hair, which looked great), and how a regular hybrid can be killed (cut off his head or rip out his heart). He told Jeremy to take a shot at him, and Tyler caught the arrow. Question: If vamps and hybrids can get drunk, does alcohol also affect their speed and reflexes?

Elena was worried that Jeremy was spiraling after seeing ghosts, having Bonnie break up with him, and losing everyone he cares about but her. She was also worried about Damon since “day drunk” isn’t his most attractive look. “What is my most attractive look?” Damon cooed, sliding up to her and showing incredible restraint with his eyebrows. They didn’t move once. “I’m not saying that you have any attractive look,” she answered. “I’m just saying that this is my least favorite one.” Klaus chose that moment to pop up at the pub with Tony, and you could tell Klaus enjoyed seeing the recognition on Elena’s face. Klaus said he has to find Rebekah (“Cute, blonde bombshell, psycho. Shouldn’t be too hard to find,” Damon offered) and the truth is, he rather fancies Mystic Falls. As long as he gets what he wants and everyone behaves themselves, they can all coexist there peacefully. Elena had his word. He wanted Elena and Damon to help him find Stefan, so he could get back what Stefan stole from him. Elena told him that was a problem between him with Stefan, but Klaus was bringing her into it. Didn’t you love how Damon kept stepping between Elena and Klaus? Swoon. Klaus noticed, too. I fear he’ll use that against Damon…

NEXT: Jeremy’s compelled, Alaric’s hit it by a car, and Stefan’s slapped and staked — a typical Thursday night

Bonnie went to Witch Central and followed the voices downstairs. “Hello, Bonnie,” Stefan said. He’s wearing a V-neck under that leather jacket — he’s still my Stefan. He told her that he’d stolen Klaus’ coffins and he needed her to help him keep them hidden. Klaus’ family is his weakness, he said. As long as he has them, he can ruin him. Bonnie said she didn’t have enough power to hide four Originals. Stefan said she’s a witch who hates Klaus — she’d figure it out.

Meanwhile, Alaric and Elena were cooking so they could have a talk with Jeremy over dinner. Did Alaric really need to be using that cleaver to cut whatever he was working on? Probably not. But we should have guessed it would come into play later. I would remove the knives from that house. Jeremy wanted to keep hanging out with Tyler, and when Elena and Alaric told him he couldn’t, HE INVITED TYLER IN. Such a brat move. I would have slapped them… then told him how good his hair looked. Maybe he and Tyler have been drinking, shooting stuff, and sharing product. Alaric asked Tyler the difference between compulsion and being sired: Compulsion is just mind control. Being sired is like faith, he said. “You do something because you believe it’s the right thing.” He insisted he doesn’t “serve” Klaus. He just owes him for releasing him from the curse that forced him to painfully change into a werewolf every full moon. If Klaus asked him to jump off a bridge? He wouldn’t ask that, Tyler said, but if he did, he’d be fine — he’s a hybrid. And if he asked him to rip out his own heart? He wouldn’t ask that, Tyler said again, but if he did, he’d do it. DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF, TYLER? “You’re overthinking it,” Tyler told Elena, who reminded him that Klaus had terrorized everyone of his close friends. “I can still make my own decisions.”

Damon was hitting the bottle back at Salvatore Mansion when Klaus showed up to bond over their mutual loathing of Stefan. Klaus told Damon about Stefan stealing his daggered family, and since he couldn’t compel Damon to find Stefan (he could smell the vervain in Damon’s alcohol), he had to do another display of violence to show Damon what happens if he and Elena don’t help him. Klaus made a call and told the person on the line to go ahead and get on with the thing he’d told him or her to do. Jeremy hung up his phone. NOOOO! Tyler left, and while Elena and Alaric waxed on about Tyler’s cult mentality, Jeremy took off his ring and walked out into the street. An SUV sped around the corner and Alaric got there in time to shove Jeremy out of the way, but Alaric got hit — bad. Tyler showed up at the mansion Klaus is having renovated (for free, I presume, since he’s having his most boring hybrid compel the men to open up a wall), and learned Tony had run down Alaric instead of Jeremy. Klaus was happy. It would still motivate Elena to get him Stefan. But Tyler wasn’t. He hadn’t known what Klaus meant when he said he was sending them “a warning” and asked him to steal Jeremy’s vervain bracelet so he could be compelled. (Wearing and ingesting vervain would be smart, people.) Klaus told Tyler to get over his guilty conscience. Human life is just a means to an end — their end. ARE YOU HEARING THIS, TYLER?

Damon arrived at the Gilbert house and told them Klaus wanted them to find Stefan and return the four coffins. Jeremy lost it: They want him to focus on school, but then this crazy s— always happens. What’s the point? No one will make it out of Mystic Falls alive. They should pack up and leave, he said. Elena called Bonnie to tell her the correlation between her dream and Klaus’ demand, and Bonnie told her to stay out of it — until she heard he tried to kill Jeremy. They wouldn’t need her to do a locator spell. Bonnie told them to go to Witch Central. Apparently the witches were willing to work with Bonnie again because they hate Klaus and want to restore the balance of nature. They, however, still dislike Damon, and rendered his ring useless inside the sunny house. Elena had to face Stefan alone. He looked damn good when he told her to stop talking and that he wouldn’t give Klaus back his family even if it meant Jeremy died. “Not really my problem,” he said. Elena slapped him and told him to go to hell. Damon heard everything from outside. He told Elena to go deal with her brother and he’d brave burning to deal with his. Damon ultimately pushed Stefan outside and staked him in the gut for screwing up his plan to kill Klaus. He wanted to torture Stefan until he explained why he then turned around and stole Klaus’ family. Stefan said Klaus took everything from him, so he’s doing the same to him — and he saved Klaus to save Damon. “No, no way,” Damon said, not wanting to believe Stefan did it for him. If Klaus died, his hybrids would’ve killed him, Stefan told him. “When are you gonna get it through your head,” Damon said, staking him in the stomach again. “Stop saving me!”

NEXT: Jeremy gets his hands dirty

Jeremy was contemplating putting an arrow in Tyler’s back the next time we saw him in the woods, but after firing a shot that Tyler caught, they just had it out verbally: “Whenever Klaus wants something, someone ends up dead. You think about that next time before you blindly do whatever he says,” Jeremy told him. Tyler told Jeremy to get home and stay inside. Klaus won’t stop until he gets those coffins back — he’s not done with Jeremy. At home, Alaric awoke but started spitting up blood. My theory: The ring didn’t work at full strength because while Alaric was killed by a hybrid, that hybrid was driving a human car. That make sense? We know the ring didn’t save Elena’s father when her parents crashed their car. Tony showed up along with the paramedics and compelled them to leave for the hospital without Alaric. If Elena wanted to save Alaric, she’d have to invite Tony in to give him blood. Elena went to check on Alaric, who was collapsed on the floor, and Tony got hit with an arrow in the back. Jeremy to the rescue! He knew from his chat with Tyler that Tony wasn’t dead. So he went and got that cleaver Alaric had been using to chop, what, rosemary or thyme?, and decapitated him on the front porch in front of Elena. AWESOME! “Now he’s dead,” Jeremy said, standing up and pausing to look at the body so we could fully appreciate the blood splatter on his face. They had to get Alaric to the hospital. Elena was more shaken than Jeremy.

Damon was back with Stefan. Apparently he’d left to go give Alaric his blood and came back to finish their conversation at nightfall? Stefan wouldn’t tell Damon whether his humanity switch was on or off, but he told him there had to be another way to kill Klaus and his family was one weakness he could use against him. Damon said he wanted in. He was better at being cutthroat and devious anyway. Stefan caved pretty quickly and assured Damon that the witches would be nice to him now — they all wanted the same thing. Stefan took him inside and showed him that the witch spirits were using their powers to hide the coffins. The coffins were only visible to those the witches wanted to see them. Pretty cool trick, witches.

At the hospital, a pretty doctor named Meredith Fell (played by Paul Wesley’s wife, Torrey DeVitto) was amazed to find Alaric standing when he had internal hemorrhaging, three broken ribs, and a severe concussion. She wanted to run more tests, but Alaric was checking himself out. What was his secret — a guardian angel or did he sell his soul to the devil? How many of us, including me, answered before Matt Davis did? “A little of both,” he said. Did everyone catch her last name — Fell? That’s a founding family name. Remember Logan Fell, who Alaric ended up staking after he’d been turned into a vampire? I’m thinking they’re siblings. That’ll be interesting. Alaric was clearly attracted to her.

Elena took it upon herself to call Klaus to Salvatore Mansion. She told him she couldn’t find Stefan, but she had something else — she showed him Rebekah and traded him Jeremy’s life for hers. “Consider him spared,” Klaus said. I forgot how smart Elena is: She told Klaus that she was the one who daggered Rebekah, which means Rebekah would come after her when she awoke. Klaus said he could control her. He still needed Elena to help him find Stefan, and Elena had plenty of other loved ones, including Damon, who he could hurt until she did. Elena reminded him that he’d turned Stefan into a monster that doesn’t care about her. He truly is Klaus’ problem now. Oh, and yeah, she informed Klaus, she also told Rebekah that Mikael hadn’t killed their mother, he had. That’s what was brilliant. No way Klaus would let that dagger stay out of Rebekah for long. He’s got enough on his plate. Later, back at his mansion, just as Rebekah’s fingers were twitching, he put it back in her chest and teared up.

NEXT: The kissssssssssss

Outside the hospital, Alaric and Jeremy had a heart-to-heart in which Jeremy was less melodramatic about his future: “This is the way things are. It sucks, but I just gotta get used to it.” At home, Elena was ringing out a bloody rag she’d used to clean up the porch after Damon disposed of Tony the headless hybrid (ha!) in the quarry. Elena made me nervous when she pushed back her hair with her bloodstained hand, but I guess none of it came off on her forehead. Whew. She told Damon about giving Rebekah back to Klaus. Damon really is the hero of this hour. He calmed Elena down when she got emotional thinking about 16-year-old Jeremy cutting off some guy’s head. There had to be another way. Jeremy living this life isn’t right. They have to fix it, she said. Damon held her face in his hands, looked in her eyes, and told her they would. Did you notice them each steal a look down at the other’s lips? Elena started it.

Up in Jeremy’s bedroom, Elena told her brother she’d been thinking about what he said earlier — they should pack up and leave town. Jeremy said he didn’t mean it, but Elena said he was right: He shouldn’t have to give up a normal life for her. As Alaric looked on, Damon walked in and said Elena thought he and Jeremy should have another one of their talks. Jeremy didn’t fight it. He sat there as Damon told him he was gonna go stay with nice family friends in Denver for a long while, attend a new school, meet new living girls, drink a few beers, take an art class, and do whatever he wants. Alaric told Damon to tell Jeremy he would leave Mystic Falls behind and never think twice about it. Damon checked with Elena, who agreed. Damon smiled sweetly after he said it to Jeremy. For a man who’s essentially taken Jeremy’s life before, it had to feel good to give it back and tell him it would be better now. Elena had a single tear. I didn’t cry, but only because HARRY POTTER SPOILER ALERT I was thinking about Hermione having to erase her parents’ memories of her — and that’s sadder.

Bonnie was with Stefan back at the coffins, which looked pretty romantic with all those candles lit. (I know they symbolize the witches’ powers, but I think someone is trying to hook those two up!) Bonnie was drawn to the coffin that drew her in her dream, and Stefan told her it wouldn’t open no matter what he tried. It must be closed with a spell then, Bonnie reasoned. And if Klaus wanted it sealed that badly, it must be the answer to how to make him suffer. Well done!

Elena and Damon hit the porch to talk about what she’d just had him do to Jeremy. She knows Jeremy wouldn’t like it (as history has shown), but Damon assured her she’d just saved his life and Jeremy would get over it if he ever found out: “Strange is bad, dead is worse,” Damon said. He told Elena that Jeremy was so lucky to have her as a sister, and she thanked him for that and for everything he’d been doing. “I don’t know what I would do if you weren’t here,” she said. And when he wasn’t staring into her eyes, he was looking at her lips. He took a step back and did one of the most decent things he’s ever done: He told her Stefan had saved Klaus to save him and then stole the coffins to get even. Elena was confused. What does that move mean? Damon said it meant that he’s an idiot for thinking, even for one second, that he wouldn’t have to feel guilty for wanting what he wants. “Believe me, I get it. Brother’s girl and all,” Damon said. Then, he walked away. But wait! [Don’t wake the neighbors with the squealing!] “No. No. You know what,” he said, walking back toward her. “If I’m gonna feel guilty about something, I’m gonna feel guilty about this.” And then, he kissed her. How many times did you rewind? Be honest. I did four times, but again, that’s really just because I’m a professional recapper. It’s my job to note that the kiss lasted 13 seconds. I thought it was just right: Long enough for a guy who’s been waiting to do that for three seasons and knows he may never get to do it again, but it still leaves Delena fans something to look forward to — she didn’t push him away, but she didn’t embrace him either. She put her hand on his as he gently cupped her neck, and you weren’t sure if she was going to lower his hand away from her or not. When the kiss ended, they stared into each other’s eyes (for 10 seconds). “Goodnight,” he said. As he walked away, Elena reminded herself to breathe.

Your turn! Are you breathing now? What did you think of the episode? Did you miss Caroline? (She’s back and turning 18 next week.) Are you hoping Jeremy actually leaves town? Can Tyler be redeemed, or is he just a major douche now? Are you Team Stefan or Team Damon? I have those lifesize cardboard standups of Stefan and Damon in my office (I’ve used them in videos — again professional!). I have one positioned in front of my desk that I can see at all times, and one behind my desk that doubles as a coatrack. I’ve had Stefan staring at me since the beginning of the season, but this episode was almost enough for me to want to switch them… But then I remembered that shot of Stefan talking about turning Elena into a vampire and biting his wrist in that recent promo (that’s next week’s episode!), and he got to stay put. I love how many times we’ve referred to him as Bad Stefan, and yet, we really haven’t seen him at his delicious worst… yet.

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