Esther's plan has unforeseen consequences for the Bennetts

By Mandi Bierly
Updated February 17, 2012 at 06:01 AM EST
Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S3 E15
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For the first time this season, an episode ended and I wasn’t on the edge of my seat. Maybe it’s because the two biggest twists involved characters I haven’t gotten close enough to yet — Abby and Meredith. Or maybe I’m just depressed because Elijah is packing up his suits and leaving town. That’s probably it. I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to type my usual “Let’s dig in.” Every graf just brings me one step closer to losing him again. Here we go…

So the morning after Esther’s ball, Elena awoke and immediately tried to call Stefan, who was already up journaling. Who freeze-framed to see what he was writing? That was a missed opportunity. It could have been something like, “I really thought The Vow would make me cry, but it didn’t.” Instead, it was something about how closing himself off and burying his feelings is better than wallowing in self-loathing. Hate to break it to you, Stefan, but if you’re journaling, your feelings are not being buried. Elena called Damon for the 11th time and he finally picked up. He assured her he was over being mad at her — he rolled over and there was Rebekah. I wouldn’t have thought she’d stay the night, but she did… so that when Damon opened the front door for her to leave wearing the gown she had on the night before (I expected more damage), Elena could be standing there to bust them. After the shock of seeing Damon with the vampire who tried to kill her less than 48 hours earlier wore off, Elena told him about Esther’s plan to kill all her children. Elena was feeling bad about Elijah, who’d found a way to keep her alive before the sun and the moon ritual, but Stefan agreed with Damon that Elena couldn’t tip him off and risk Klaus living.

Technically, Elijah figured out something was wrong on his own. After Kol made a lewd comment to Rebekah about being loose and guilted Klaus into going to the Grill with him (how long does he get to play the “it’s the least you can do after sticking a dagger in my heart” card?), Elijah told Rebekah he’d found burned sage — which meant their mother had done a privacy spell. Funny that she would be so worried about PRIVACY and then not get rid of the evidence of the spell that would tip Elijah off to her deception. Rebekah wanted Elijah to talk to Finn, but Elijah confirmed that Finn has always hated being a vampire. He had to talk to Elena again.

But first, Elena had Bonnie practicing the privacy spell, for what purpose we never learned. It didn’t work. Caroline could hear Elena telling Bonnie about Damon the Vampire Gigolo and Bonnie telling Elena that Esther had come to see her and her mother that morning. Since Esther was channeling the power of their entire ancestral bloodline, she wanted to introduce herself and invite them to join her during the full moon that night. She needed both of them to maintain the connection to the bloodline so she could have enough power to reverse the spell that made her children vampires and kill them when they reverted back to their human state. Anyone else wondering why she had to kill them once they were human again? They’d no longer be vampires. They’d be mortal and die soon enough. I wonder if the witches wanted them dead to pay for their sins, or if it was Esther, who we found out had been forced to spend 1,000 years feeling the pain of their victims. All I’m saying is, the balance would have been restored without them dying.

NEXT: Let’s rewind that bench scene

When Elijah went to see Elena, he took her for a walk in the woods. I wish there was a 5-minute webisode of their car conversation. He wanted to show her his old stomping grounds — an underground cavern he’d played in as a boy that led to tunnels that were used to hide from werewolves on full moons. Elijah told Elena he knew she’d lied about her meeting with Esther. He felt her heartbeat jump then, and he felt it racing now. She told him Esther doesn’t just want Klaus to die. She said she wished she could do something to help. “Be careful what you wish for.” He literally stomped on the ground, which gave way. He grabbed Elena and stranded her in the cavern, where she had no cell signal.

The Salvatore brothers were convinced Elena was going to screw up Esther’s plan, and while Stefan was off somewhere probably being “extra broody,” Damon was trying to reach Elena and couldn’t. He called Alaric, who Elena had told about the “Original sex,” and Alaric wasn’t as concerned about Elena as I thought he should be. He was with Meredith, or “sexy psycho doctor,” as Damon likes to call her. Meredith said it was impossible to tell anything about the person who stabbed him from his wounds or X-rays. Her theory as to why he couldn’t remember who’d done it: He was compelled to forget by a vampire. Cue Klaus and Kol showing up and taking offense to her blaming the new family in town.

Elijah, meanwhile, was now at Salvatore Mansion telling Stefan and Damon that the Bennett mother-daughter bloodline needed to be broken by 9:06 p.m., or else Rebekah, who he had in the tunnel watching Elena, would kill her. Why so specific? Because at 9:07 p.m., the moon would be full and Esther would have the power needed to kill the siblings. Elijah said he’d kill a Bennett himself, but he doesn’t know where they are, and the Salvatores can find out and meet them without raising suspicion. Stefan wanted to tell the Bennetts to stop letting Esther channel their power, but he rightly assumed they didn’t know how to block her. Damon had a plan: They could dagger an Original so Elena could go free.

Caroline was sent into the Grill in a low-cut shirt to distract an already drunk Klaus and separate him from Kol. Klaus invited her to join them for a drink, and he found her “I’d rather die of thirst” comeback charming. “Isn’t she stunning?” he said to Kol. Klaus followed her outside and dared her to talk to him and get to know him. I hope Joseph Morgan uses that extremely attentive look he gave Candice Accola on women in real life. It works. I’m 99.9 percent sure I was smiling back at my television at that moment. I actually rewound. Klaus sat facing Caroline on a bench and said he wanted to talk about her, her hopes and dreams, everything she wants in life. She reminded him that she was too smart to be seduced by him and admit it, you felt a little stupid because you were ready to tell him anything he wanted to know. He said that’s why he likes her. I believed him. I’d like to see a webisode of the conversation they had before he realized Kol had been daggered…

Kol had been sexually harassing Meredith over a game of pool, which meant he was distracted enough that the always chivalrous Alaric could dagger him. All the Originals dried up and went boom — but Klaus. He just felt a little pain. He asked Caroline what she had done, and when she said nothing, he knew something had happened to Kol. He arrived as Alaric, Damon, and Stefan were moving Kol through the alley and de-daggered him. Klaus was ready to kill Damon, but Elijah showed up in time to stop him and tell him that they needed Damon. He was bumping up the clock: Either Damon would take them to the Bennett witches now, or he’d let Rebekah kill Elena early. One problem, Elena had run while Rebekah was pseudo-daggered.

Elena isn’t the trip-and-fall kind of girl, but she did stumble more than usual in the tunnel. It wouldn’t have mattered: With Rebekah’s vamp hearing and speed, she was always going to catch her. Elena gave Rebekah a backwards headbutt as Rebekah stood behind her, which was fairly awesome. Elena had made it to the room in the underground maze that vampires weren’t allowed to enter. Well done. Rebekah, however, is equally resourceful. She went and fetched some gasoline and drenched Elena and the ground with it. She started tossing in matches. If Elena didn’t come out, she’d burn. Elena took a big risk and called Rebekah’s bluff. Elena told Rebekah she knew she wouldn’t do it. It would put an end to her revenge, and if there was a chance Rebekah would survive another day, she wouldn’t want to blow her chance to continue torturing Elena, who’d hurt her feelings by pretending to like her and stabbing her in the back.

NEXT: Eh, the twists

The Originals and Salvatores arrived at Witch Central in separate cars. The Salvatores knew Elena would let herself be killed to save Bonnie and Abby, so she was going to hate whichever one of them actually did the deed. Damon said they’d flip for it. I knew we wouldn’t actually see who won the toss. Finn, who was ready for his mother to release him from an eternity of shame, sensed Elijah, Klaus, and Kol coming, and Esther sent Bonnie and Abby into the house. Why did she do that when the Original trio couldn’t touch her or Finn inside the circle anyway? Wasn’t it safer there? Bonnie told Abby the witch spirits would keep them safe from the Originals but they had to get to the basement. Abby lollygagged, and Bonnie went down first. Stefan was there. He told her about Elena being held hostage and that if she couldn’t stop Esther from channeling their power, he had to find another way — either she or her mother could no longer be a witch. I knew there was a reason we’d learned that someone can be a witch or a vampire, never both. We cut upstairs to Damon force-feeding Abby his blood and snapping her neck. Outside, where Klaus had threatened to send Esther back to hell and she’d told them how she felt their victims’ pain for 1,000 years, the flames of the torches flared then went out. Finn had grabbed Esther and fled. Rebekah told Elena what Damon had done to Abby, that she was free to go, and that she’d been right — she does prefer to take her time and watch her suffer.

When all was said and done, Elena wanted to see Bonnie, who was waiting for her mother to wake up and go through her transition. But Caroline ran interference and told Elena that Bonnie didn’t want to see her now. She said Bonnie loves Elena, but every time Elena needs saved, it’s Bonnie who gets hurt (RIP, Grams). I wish we’d had more time to appreciate Kat Graham’s tears. All I really got to focus on in that scene was how great Candice Accola’s hair looked. Back at Salvatore Mansion, Stefan revealed that he’d lost the coin toss. Why did Damon do the deed then? Damon said he’s seen what we all noticed this episode — Stefan wasn’t drinking human blood. He told Damon he hasn’t had any since the night he threatened to turn Elena into a vampire on the bridge where her parents were killed. Damon knows we’re getting the old Stefan back. Stefan said Damon wasn’t fooling anyone either — he still loves Elena. Damon said he does, and he tried to win her fair and square, but she doesn’t want him. “It’s for the best. I’m better at being the bad guy anyway,” he said. Of course, by being the “bad guy” in that situation and turning Abby, Damon proved he was a “good guy” who cares enough about his brother to not give him another reason to hate himself and pull even farther away from Elena. But think whatever you need to, Damon.

Who thought the letter waiting for Elena on her bed was from Damon? Me! But it was from Elijah. It said he’d done things he abhorred to protect his family, but he thought if anyone could understand that, it would be Elena. Her compassion is a gift, he wrote, and she should carry it with her as he’ll carry his regret. Is he sorry he locked Elena underground with someone who’d have been happy to kill her, or that a woman had been turned into a vampire? I’m thinking he just cared about Elena, and really, she wanted to help him. So what’s the big deal? (Blind love of Elijah, people! I’m going with it.) Elijah is the one who needs to journal about wallowing in self-loathing now. He told Rebekah he’d wielded her like a sword and used her hatred of Elena to get what he wanted. Their mother made them vampires, but she didn’t turn them into monsters who torture, maim, and kill. They did that to themselves. Where is Elijah headed? He’s not Buffy‘s Spike. He has his soul, right? Does he just want to be away from his siblings, who are a bad influence, or will he go somewhere seeking redemption? In my dreams, he wants to find another way to become human again. Though I’d miss seeing him rip people’s hearts out, so no, maybe I don’t want that.

Klaus was moping by the fireplace, burning his sketches of Caroline, who he knows betrayed him. I like Klaus flirty, but I look forward to seeing how he treats her now. Will he lash out at her, or just quietly sulk? With Finn and Esther gone, Kol gone, and Elijah going, Klaus assumed Rebekah was leaving him, too. But she’s not. She realized Klaus is the only one who’s never left her (even if it meant dragging her ass around in a coffin). Oh, and also, they’re still in danger: She’d been filming hostage videos of Elena and noticed the natives’ cave drawings in the background. There was a native shown worshiping at a great white oak tree 300 years after they fled back to the Old World. Another tree had sprung up, and it could kill them. This isn’t over.

Speaking of not over, Alaric’s bad luck with women seems to be ongoing. Meredith had taken him back to her place — which really isn’t all that sloppy, Alaric — and told him he had a possible concussion and broken rib, so he needed to rest. She’d take care of him while Stefan and Damon took care of Elena. He woke up later, and after checking on angelic-looking Meredith sleeping in her room, he went into the kitchen. He found files of all the murder victims. He then found what looked like the knife that had been used on Caroline’s father and him. Why don’t people in Mystic Falls HIDE THEIR S—? Meredith popped up and said he wasn’t supposed to see that. She had a gun. And she fired it. If she’s human and that’s a kill shot, Alaric would be dead-dead. His ring only brings him back from a supernatural death. I don’t think Elena can lose another person, so I think we’ll find out that Meredith ISN’T human after all. Maybe she’ll be neither vampire nor wolf but something new to the show. That’d be fun, as oppose to her simply being a human psycho with bad aim. I don’t know why she’d be killing Council members, but I’m sure the writers could come up with a juicy reason.

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? What do you think happened to Alaric? Is Meredith a psycho or supernatural? Do you think Bonnie’s mother will choose not to become a vampire because it’s against witch code, or do you want her to stick around town for awhile? Do you want the old Stefan back, or do you want the limbo to continue? Are you more sad that Elijah is gone again or that Klaus will no longer be hitting on Caroline? Who really is better at being the bad guy: Ian Somerhalder or Paul Wesley? And though we have to wait a month for a new episode, which sucks, how excited are you to flash back to that woman who taught Damon to have vampire sex a good time?

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Till March 15, friends! In the meantime, if you’re still searching for copies of Entertainment Weekly‘s Vampire Diaries cover story, head here. And if you’re going through TVD withdrawal, talk to me on Twitter.

The Vampire Diaries

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