And suddenly, we're not sure who to kill... 

Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

For me, the big revelation in this episode — if you kill an Original, his or her entire bloodline follows — wasn’t as much of a bombshell as Elijah revealing that the Curse of the Sun and the Moon was fake in season 2. But it is another game-changer. Let’s dig in.

We began with Damon, Stefan, and Alaric hiding from Elena the fact that they were making stakes out of the Wickery Bridge sign when she came to visit Alaric. Why? I feel like Damon playing coy at the door was more for our benefit than hers, since they obviously went on to tell her about the stakes. But go with it. Stefan criticized Damon’s whittling, and Alaric said he wanted to turn himself in to Sheriff Forbes and pay for the murders his alter ego committed. But Stefan and Damon were having none of that since Operation Kill Klaus was back on. Alaric didn’t want to put on his ring, but Damon told him if he was going vampire hunting, he better.

Elena and Caroline took a walk in the woods, and Elena told her it was Alaric’s sociopathic alter ego that killed her father. Caroline was understandably upset, until Elena reminded her that Alaric didn’t choose to become a killer — it was forced on him, just like Caroline being turned into a vampire. And oh yeah, Caroline has a body count, too. Have we forgotten that? Elena didn’t abandon her, so she won’t abandon Alaric. All better, Caroline and Elena (savior of the cursed and the damned) met up with Matt, who’d also gotten a cryptic text from Stefan to meet in the woods. Stefan wondered where Bonnie was, and Caroline told him about her mother bailing on her again. She suggested they leave her out of it. Truthfully, that’s a dumb idea. I’m sure she’s grieving, but THIS IS THEIR CHANCE TO KILL KLAUS. Eye on the prize, people.

We cut to Klaus catching up to Finn on the street. Their mother is off somewhere coming up with a new plan to kill them all, and Finn reminded us he’s still willing to sacrifice himself. Klaus wanted Finn to come back to Mystic Falls, where Klaus said he had a witch who could undo Esther’s spell that binds them together. If he doesn’t come, Klaus said he’d put him back in that coffin he spent the last 900 years in. (Don’t you feel like the first 10 minutes of every episode now is spent reminding us of character history? Or is it for the new viewers they hope are tuning in each episode?) Finn said what happens to one, happens to them all, so if Klaus daggers him, Klaus may not feel the effects but he’ll lose Rebekah. This is what I don’t get: If the bond doesn’t work on Klaus when the dagger is used on a sibling, why do Damon and Stefan assume it would work with the white oak stake? Rebekah popped up to help Klaus corner Finn. Welcome back to Mystic Falls, brother!

NEXT: “I mean, did you learn nothing from the moonstone in the soap dish?”

Back in the woods, Damon and Stefan were explaining the plan in a fairly adorable scene. They’d use Klaus Bait Caroline to separate him from Rebekah, who was their target. Matt would distract lonely Rebekah with his pretty blue eyes, Damon would grab her from behind, and Stefan would have time for one strike to the chest. They’d all keep a stake, of which there are 12, hidden until an opportunity presented itself. There would be no last-minute mercy for anyone. After what happened to Bonnie’s mother, Elena is over saving Elijah. Caroline wants Tyler freed from Klaus’ sire bond. And Matt, well, he doesn’t have a choice. Stefan wanted to run through another scenario and told Matt to pretend to be Klaus while Elena wielded a crossbow. Remember that.

Back at Klaus Mansion, Klaus and Rebekah were trying to persuade Finn to give them his blood for the spell reversal by reuniting him with Sage. The way Rebekah had talked about Sage, I was worried she was more a stalker than someone Finn had turned into a vampire so they could be together forever. But the way he hugged her, I knew Sage was telling the truth about them having been in love. Klaus (whose cell carrier is AT&T, incase you missed it), got a message from Kol: “Let me know when I’m needed.” Klaus doesn’t type — too undignified I imagine. He wrote a large semi-messy I WILL back. Rebekah excused herself to go get revenge on Damon.

Damon was back at Salvatore Mansion hiding his stake in the pile of wood by the fireplace. “I mean, did you learn nothing from the moonstone in the soap dish?” Alaric asked. HA! Damon heard a noise and went to investigate. Alaric got tossed down the stairs, and somehow, Rebekah managed to get on the other side of Damon (I think we needed a sound effect of her landing, I assume she jumped), and she stabbed Damon in the gut with a knife. “Hello, lover,” she said, raising the knife. The girl gets style points.

In the town square, Elena was worried that Bonnie wasn’t returning her calls. She, Matt, and Caroline spotted Finn and Sage there, and Caroline eavesdropped on their conversation. Sage didn’t want Finn to kill himself. He smiled. He’d assumed after 900 years, she’d moved on. Now he wants to live because she hadn’t. Elena called Stefan because she thought they had an opportunity to put a stake in Finn, but when Alaric told Stefan that “Rebekah happened,” Stefan knew they had a problem.

Ah, the torture scene we’ve seen pictures of for weeks! In the bare ballroom of Klaus Mansion, Rebekah had Damon standing with his arms raised and each of his wrists in a metal animal trap. Even for him, it was kinky, Damon joked. Rebekah is pissed that he pretended to like her so he could exhaust her with sex and Sage could steal her thoughts. She felt the need to one-up him, and she intended to bleed the vervain out of him and then compel him to kill Stefan or Elena. I dug it. Damon’s shirt had to be open so we could see the blood run down him. And, as Rebekah said before slitting his throat — nice! — this would take awhile because vamps heal.

Klaus came home and suggested Rebekah should have hung Damon upside down to make him bleed faster. When I talked to Joseph Morgan yesterday, I asked him about that. He said it wasn’t practical. Ian Somerhalder had to spend more than one day in that position, which was already uncomfortable enough. Regardless, Rebekah told Klaus she knew how to inflict pain, so he should go deal with his witch. Yes, Klaus had Bonnie (surprise to no one!), and she was stalling by saying she wasn’t sure she was strong enough to do the spell, especially under duress. Klaus phoned Kol, who, it turned out, was in Denver stalking Jeremy while he played fetch with his new puppy.

NEXT: “Thank you, Bonnie. See you in physics class”

Caroline went to visit Alaric, who was recovering at Salvatore Mansion. She brought him his anti-psychotic herbal beverage to drink, and they had a nice talk during which he apologized for killing her father. She said she’s no better than him — she has blood on her hands — so she’s going to choose to believe he can be saved, too. Caroline stayed on Alaric watch, while Stefan and Elena disagreed about what should be their next move: He wanted to stay on point and try to take out Finn; she wanted to abort the attack and try to rescue Damon. I think they should have told those people it was too cold to be dining outside the Grill. Instead, they went their separate ways. Or so we thought…

Next we saw Elena, she was attempting to rescue Damon. We knew it was some kind of dream because of the lighting, also because odds are Rebekah and/or Klaus would’ve heard them making their clumsy exit with their super vamp hearing. Damon needed to rest, and Elena fed him blood from her wrist. It wasn’t anywhere as hot as Buffy forcing Angel to feed on her, but maybe Buffy the Vampire (as Caroline referred to Rebekah this episode) hasn’t had a chance to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer since she’s been out of the coffin. This was her playing tricks on Damon’s mind. Damon made a crack about Rebekah being desperate for attention, and she stabbed him again. Maybe he deserved that one. Damon moaned, and Bonnie asked Klaus who it was. Why wouldn’t he just tell her it was Damon? Instead, he took the opportunity to tell her that he could either help return her mother to her whole or in pieces. Then, he presented vials of his siblings’ blood, bit his own hand, and asked where she wanted them. Not dripping on the floor, Klaus!

Inside the Grill, Sage was treating Finn to his first tequila shots. Suddenly, I didn’t feel as bad about not having my first ones until I was 23. (I made up for it.) We found out that Sage had turned at least one local into a vampire because she wanted friends in enemy territory. She told Finn he couldn’t trust anyone there. She told Matt they were ready for another round, and Stefan slipped him vervain to put in the shots. Finn wondered how many people Sage had turned over the years. Oh, a lot. She told him not to judge her since he’d turned her. He said his passion overcame his morals. That’s what happened to her — just on a daily basis, she said. This is where I wondered if these two had sex already. I mean, you’d think if you were separated for 900 years, it’d be at the top of your list of things to do upon reuniting. Then again, if you thought you had eternity together, perhaps you’d take the time to get drunk first. They toasted to living life, tasted the vervain, and followed Stefan outside.

Sage attacked Stefan and knocked the stake out of his hands. She told Finn to fetch it down the steps, and as he did, Elena and Matt opened the door. Elena used her crossbow to fire a stake at Finn. I guess she hit too low, because Finn pulled it out. But Matt stabbed him with some good old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat. So did Stefan purposely drop the stake down the stairs then, knowing Matt (and Elena) would be there? I almost felt bad for Finn. Sage collapsed in tears after he went gray and caught fire. I felt bad for her, too. And man, I hoped they’d had sex.

Bonnie had been chanting this entire time, and we watched the Original siblings’ blood separate. The candles flickered right before Finn got staked. Wah wah. As Klaus escorted Bonnie out (kinda sweet, in a Bachelor rose ceremony way), Rebekah emerged wiping blood off her hands. “Thank you, Bonnie. See you in physics class,” she said. Bonnie caught a glimpse of bloodied, bound Damon, who was standing on plastic. Whew, the hardwood floors will be okay. Klaus told Bonnie to help Damon, the man who’d turned her mother into a vampire. She told him to just get her out of there.

Bonnie called Elena and told her that Klaus had Damon, and also about Klaus threatening Jeremy and her mother to make her do the spell. Bonnie broke down in tears — I hate to admit it, but I didn’t feel much for her, other than that she should just leave town — and Stefan was out the door. Elena tried to stop him because she was afraid his anger would make him careless, but he wasn’t going to allow Klaus to survive this. Stefan got his ass thrown back into the house by Sage, who was ready to go all 10 rounds with him (boxing reference!) and make him suffer before scoring a knock out. But she started coughing up blood. She called to Troy, the guy she’d turned and brought as backup. They both died. We knew it before Stefan, Elena, and Caroline: It was because of the bloodline. Apparently when an Original dies, everyone they turned dies. You say it, Elena: If all the Originals die, the entire vampire species dies — including Damon, Stefan, and Caroline.

NEXT: “I’m talking about the fact that you’re also in love with Damon”

Stefan arrived at Klaus Mansion with eight stakes and offered to trade them for Damon. How do they know there’s not more? Klaus compelled Damon to go home, to see if the vervain was out of his system. From what Joseph Morgan told me, we were to see more of Damon pulling his wrists out of the traps, but it got too bloody and gory for Standards and Practices. I imagine that’s why we lingered so long on Stefan’s reaction to the sound effect of tearing flesh and Damon’s groaning. (Someone make a gif of Stefan’s “ewww” face.) We only got a quick glimpse of Damon’s bloodied wrists.

Caroline and Elena were cleaning up after Sage and Troy at Salvatore Mansion when Elena confirmed Stefan was lying: They still have three stakes (the 12th burned along with Finn), so they have enough to kill three Originals, if they can figure out which one to save so Caroline, Stefan, and Damon don’t die in a bloodline. Caroline turned with Damon’s blood, Damon and Stefan both turned with Katherine’s, and Katherine turned with Rose’s. They have to start there and continue backwards. Naturally, I was pulling for Elijah being spared. But then Caroline had to go and remind us that Klaus had sired Tyler, so if they kill Klaus, Tyler would die, too… Nope, I love Michael Trevino, but I’m still rooting for Elijah to get the pass. And how great would the cry be if Tyler knew he had an hour to live and spent it with Caroline?

As it turns out, two Originals may be spared. Klaus compelled Damon to tell him how many stakes were left, and Damon said 11. (I thought maybe Damon had faked being compelled and was going to lie, which would have been heroic because of how much he’d had to suffer. That’s 127 Hours there.) After Stefan pulled a stake on Klaus and Klaus took it, there are only two left unaccounted for. Rebekah, for reasons that made no sense at first, decided to let Damon go then as a sign of good faith. If Stefan and Damon brought them the remaining two stakes, she’d let them both live. Really, keeping Damon and Stefan and making Elena bring the stakes would’ve been the smarter move. But I suppose Rebekah watched Klaus spare Stefan when he could’ve just turned that stake on him and killed him and thought she could save her toy then, too, if she wanted. It’s interesting, Klaus’ idea that he’s a friend to Stefan by being his enemy and giving him a target for his anger so he doesn’t turn it on himself. Maybe Rebekah realized she’d rather have someone to hate, like Damon, then not have anyone in her life at all. If Stefan and Damon don’t bring them the stakes, Klaus said he’ll wage a war on everyone they love. Again, not the smartest play for a villain, who could have phoned Elena and said bring the stakes or these two get it — problem solved. But it was the only play for a show that has more episodes to air this season and needs to keep this battle raging.

Next we saw Rebekah, she was pissed that Klaus wasn’t upset that Finn was dead. Instead, he was upset with her for letting the Salvatores leave. She’d let them go because SHE had the moment of mercy, admiring that they were willing to die for one another because they know the true meaning of family. Klaus said his plan is to get the last two stakes, then take Elena and leave Mystic Falls so he can use her blood to make himself a new family of hybrids. If Rebekah chooses to stay in Mystic Falls, then she’s as pathetic as Finn, Klaus said. The idea that Rebekah would even want to stay makes me like her again. Now I believe that part of her had actually hoped Damon really liked her — he’s a bad boy with a good heart. Of course part of her likes him. If she didn’t, she wouldn’t have tortured him so badly for hurting her.

Across town in Stefan’s bedroom, he and Elena came thisclose to reconciling. He said it was easy to hate Klaus because it allowed him not to think about how he did everything he could to make Elena leave him, and in doing so, pushed her toward Damon. Elena said she never stopped loving him, and Stefan said he knew that. “I’m talking about the fact that you’re also in love with Damon.” Gasp. She tried to deny it, and Stefan interrupted her. “Hey, I love you,” he said, touching her face. “I will always love you.” It was only later that I realized I exhaled and didn’t breathe again for awhile after he said that. He just wanted Elena to look him in the eye and tell him that she doesn’t feel something for Damon. She couldn’t. “I don’t know what I feel,” she finally said. I don’t know why I’m always pleasantly surprised when Stefan takes news that like SO WELL.

Damon was over at Alaric’s to fetch his stake. I knew there had to be a reason why Alaric never got to answer Damon earlier in the episode when he asked him where he was hiding his stake. Alaric hid it behind books on a bookshelf, and when he went to get it, it wasn’t there. Alaric insisted he didn’t tell anyone where he hid it, which means his vampire-hating alter ego hid it (and also that Bonnie’s herbs aren’t working?). My first thought: This Jekyll and Hyde routine is starting to feel a bit too Days of Our Lives. But then, it IS interesting: Now the Salvatores can’t make peace with Klaus and Rebekah, so the war is back on, and oh yeah, they have to find the stake, and apparently Alaric can still turn evil at any moment and try to kill an Original and wipe out the wrong bloodline. Do you have Caroline babysit him, which is dangerous for her, or do you risk him being alone so Caroline can help the Salvatores? I think it’d be nice to have three normal vamps face two Originals for a change, so I say just chain Alaric up the next time you need all hands on deck. Can’t Bonnie do some kind of spell to keep him on house arrest?

Your turn. What did you think of the episode? Were you sorry to see Finn and Sage bite it? Was the torture scene as bad as you thought it’d be? I wanted more blood, frankly. I guess Rebekah just kept reopening the same chest wound(s)? Do you buy why Rebekah let Damon and Stefan go instead of keeping them hostage and demanding Elena bring the stakes? Are you psyched that Crazy Alaric is still around, or worried this is turning into Marlena’s evil twin? I have faith in producers to pull it off. Where do you think Alaric hid the stake? How long will it take someone to find it? And how great did the promo look for the next new ep, airing April 19? Elena tells Damon that Stefan thinks she has feelings for Damon, and they somehow end up in bed together clothed. Jeremy and Tyler get screentime. Things remain violent!

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