A temporary victory comes at a cost

By Mandi Bierly
May 04, 2012 at 04:33 AM EDT
Annette Brown/The CW
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It’s hard to believe next week is the season finale, and Elena will finally choose between the Salvatore Brothers. Okay, it isn’t. From Klaus’ chats with Stefan and Elena, to Elena’s chat with Stefan and Damon, to Stefan and Damon’s chat with each other — this episode was screaming IT’S COMING! But let’s back up…

Has Alaric’s classroom decor always been war themed, or was it just now because he was teaching about the Civil War when he died and became a Super Vamp? I guess he was being oh so quiet in there because Caroline and Rebekah, who were at the high school to clean up after the Roaring ’20s Decade Dance, didn’t realize they weren’t alone in the building. Matt had been called into work, and Tyler had been called in as a mover for Klaus, who was packing up his mansion. (Rebekah’s hearing wasn’t strong enough to pick up Tyler’s call to Caroline either?) It’s funny: I think Caroline and Rebekah could have been friends in a different life. It was nice that they got one real moment — Caroline saying she was sorry about Esther, and Rebekah saying she was sorry about Alaric — before it all went to hell.

Alaric surprised Rebekah in the hallway and slammed her into a locker. He was ready to stake her, but Caroline stopped him and they staked him. He just pulled out the stake out because its bound to his resurrection ring. Caroline made a slower getaway than Rebekah, and Alaric caught her as she was fumbling with her keys to open her car door. Part of me was like, BREAK THE WINDOW, VAMPIRE! PULL OFF THE DOOR! But I suppose she’d still have to fumble with them to star the car. Let’s it: If I lived in Mystic Falls, I would totally have a car with one of those start buttons. Seriously, that would be good product placement for this show. Get on that. Alaric snapped Caroline’s neck and started dragging her back into the school as his body began to blister and smoke. So Esther had thought of everything but a day ring.

Over at the Gilbert house, Elena and Jeremy were painting Alaric’s room to keep busy. Stefan showed up to check on them and offered to help. Take him up on that. He’d get it done in two minutes. But Jeremy was pissy and said if Stefan was trying to be the good guy again, couldn’t he do the right thing and give them one day with no vampires? You’re lucky you’re wearing that cute Henley, Jeremy, or I’d want to slap you. And also, we’d seen the promo shots, so we knew your day was going to get much worse. Damon arrived with Bonnie and told Stefan about her feeding Alaric her blood to turn him. Bonnie explained that the witches made her do it. If Damon was so upset with her, why’d he feed her his blood to save her? Because he does stupid things, he said, like letting his friend Alaric die with dignity instead of killing him himself. Bonnie said witches can’t make a true immortal creature, so there’s a way to undo the spell on Alaric. She just didn’t know what it was yet.

Rebekah had seen Alaric frying in the sun and told Klaus that Alaric was so quick, their only hope was getting a head start before sunset. Rebekah wanted to leave immediately. Klaus wanted to get Elena first. Rebekah said he didn’t need to make more hybrids, they could protect each other, always and forever. Nope. “Fine. Trust your hybrids over your family. Let your spite be the death of you. See if I care,” she said and stormed out. (Since we do see her in the promo for the season finale, I suspect she does care.)

NEXT: “Missed me!” 

Alaric called Elena and told her to come to the school. If she told anyone where she was headed, he’d kill Caroline. He had her seated with a wooden pencil stuck in each hand to keep her tethered to the desk. She also had what we would later find out was a vervain-soaked gag in her month, which made it feel like she was swallowing razors with every breath. That explained why she was sweating, which I thought was a nice touch. The gag was ultimately more painful to look at than the hands. Brutal.

Back at the Gilbert house, Jeremy answered the door, and it was Klaus, who came to collect Elena. The Brothers didn’t know she was already walking down the high school hallway, making us admire her curves. But obviously, they shut the door in Klaus’ face. He wasn’t going away that easily. Immediately, I thought he should threaten to torch the place, and actually do it, so everyone would come running out. But sets are precious in Mystic Falls (see: the one restaurant), and if Elena and Jeremy lost their home yet? Instead, he threw a newspaper through the window. Elijah did more damage with coins, okay. Not impressed. Klaus grew more testy and went and grabbed posts from a neighbor’s picket fence and a ball that magically grew to twice its size when it was thrown into the house. Incoming! This was a fairly ridiculous fight, Klaus throwing in giant fence stakes and Damon ducking and yelling “Missed me!” But it was fun.

Stefan got a call from Alaric as Klaus FINALLY was about to resort to fire. Stefan told Klaus about Alaric having Elena and Caroline and threatening to kill them both unless Klaus turned himself over. Damon came out onto the porch, carrying a giant fence stake — again hilarious. The three of them stood on the porch, trying to figure out a plan to take Klaus down while Damon and Klaus took verbal jabs at each other. That was a cute scene, kinda like the players gathering on the mound in Bull Durham to deal with a lot of s—. (“Okay, let’s get two.”) Bonnie had an idea — if she could get it, she could use the same desiccation spell that Abby had used to immobilize Mikael for more than 15 years on Alaric. And she’s only thinking of that as an option against a (pseudo) Original now? Klaus said he’d help them until sundown. If they hadn’t succeeded by then, Elena would be dead, he’d be off, and they could fend for themselves.

Not wanting to invite Abby into Elena’s home, Damon and Bonnie waited for Abby at Salvatore Mansion. Bonus: We got the answer to the much asked question about how vamps can enter that home at will if Elena’s name is still on the deed. Damon told Bonnie that Abby could enter because the human seal was broken when Elena died. They couldn’t type up another document? Sign it over to Jeremy? A bigger question: Have we ever heard that doorbell ring before? “Don’t get your hopes up, it might be a Girl Scout,” Damon cracked. It was Abby. She said she could tell Bonnie how to stop a vampire heart, which would make the blood stop running and the body desiccate, but she didn’t think Bonnie could handle the dark places she’d have to go to do it. To stop the vampire heart, she’d need to find a balance among the living. For those who don’t speak witch (thanks for asking, Damon), that means she has to stop a human heart. Hello, Jeremy!

Meanwhile, Klaus and Stefan had already arrived at the school, and Klaus said if their plan isn’t an epic failure and they manage to take Alaric down and drop him in the Atlantic, he’s still leaving town with Elena. Stefan said he’d go with them to make sure Elena stayed safe. Klaus said that’s why he’s Team Stelena (not really, can you imagine if he’d actually used Stelena?!). Trying to get Stefan to hate Damon has actually had the opposite effect, Stefan said. So Klaus said he’d let Elena decide who goes with them and see how the brothers feel after that. When Damon and Bonnie arrived, Bonnie was showing Damon how she, Caroline, and Bonnie could map each other’s whereabouts through their phones. That’s how she could tell they were in Alaric’s classroom (even though there’s no way the tiny image on the screen could have been that specific). Is that digital locator a real thing? I never feel older than when I can’t tell whether some bit of cell phone technology is fake on a TV show. P.S. I loved that the ‘60s Decade Dance love bus was still parked in the parking lot.

Jeremy, of course, insisted that he be the human heart Bonnie stop. Damon tried to talk him out of it, because what if Bonnie wasn’t able to restart his heart, he died, and coming back to life one more time fractures his psyche? But then, who else were they going to use? It wasn’t like they had Matt standing there. Bonnie made Damon, Stefan, and Klaus drink her blood from a vial so they’d be connected to her and could use her power to stop Alaric’s heart when she stopped Jeremy’s. One of them would have to make a physical connection to a vein or artery on Alaric. Before Klaus drank, he said he was the one who created their bloodline, so they should protect him if Alaric comes at him. Damon said he could be lying to save his ass, but Klaus insisted he was telling the truth. What do you think?

NEXT: “I’m not your little bitch anymore”

Inside the school, Alaric was continuing to torture Caroline with the vervain gag. He said it was so it’d be easier for Elena to kill Caroline and put her out of her misery. Elena had wanted him to train her to slay vampires — now’s her chance. Her parents, who were on the Council, weren’t dead six months before she’d undid all their work, he said. Does she think they’d be proud of her? If she doesn’t side with humans, she’d be just as bad as the vampires, Alaric said. And if she didn’t kill Caroline, he’d do it for her and he’d make it hurt. Elena pretended she was trying to stake Alaric, but it was only a distraction so she could grab the glass of vervain and smash it into his face. As he writhed in pain, Elena freed Caroline and told her to get help. Alaric stopped Elena from leaving, but Caroline sped off and ran into Klaus, who told her she was safe. He said they’d save Elena, and she was to go straight home and stay inside. Maybe it’s because he was whispering, but that was totally hot. “Thank you,” Caroline said, and off she went.

Alaric had taken to slamming Elena against the wall and saying he should gut her like all the other cowards he had and would rip apart. Elena said it was clear he had no humanity left in him, so why hadn’t he done it? She told him to kill her. Instead, he left her go, and that’s when Damon and Stefan swooped in. Alaric broke both their necks, but Klaus made contact by driving his fingertips into Alaric’s chest. Bonnie started chanting over Jeremy and it was working — because there was wind. But then Alaric kicked Klaus’ ass. Alaric was about to stake him when Elena told him to stop or she’d kill herself. She’d guessed that Esther had tied Alaric’s life to hers — so when Elena dies, Alaric dies. That way, he has only one lifetime to kill the Originals and he won’t be the one vampire that gets to go on living forever. Alaric called her bluff, and she started to slit her own throat. Bad.Ass. Alaric was distracted enough for Klaus to run.

Now, here’s what I don’t get: How did Klaus get Elena back to his mansion? Alaric wasn’t knocked out or anything. Regardless, Klaus had her there, draining all her blood. It means he couldn’t make an endless number of hybrids, but it also means Alaric would die, too. Tyler took a break from his packing duties when he noticed Elena in trouble, and though he started to go to her when she asked for help, he stopped when Klaus told him not to and to instead get him more blood bags. Tyler tried once more to get to her, then left… I assume to call Damon (or Caroline, so she could call Damon). When Damon’s phone rang, he came to on the hallway floor and wondered why he was still alive. That’d be because Alaric knew that Klaus was now going to kill Elena, and since he was trapped in the school for a few more hours, he needed the Salvatore Brothers to do what they do best — save Elena’s life.

We had some time to kill until the Salvatores arrived, so Klaus and Elena had a chat. Klaus borrowed a line from Stefan and insisted that by trying to kill he and his siblings, their mother had strengthened their bond. Elena knew that’s bull, or he wouldn’t be taking her blood to build his backup family. Klaus told Elena she’d simply fall asleep and die painlessly, and that she should be grateful — if she dies, she’ll never have to choose between the Salvatore Brothers, break a heart, and ruin their relationship for good. Just between us girls (ha!), Klaus wanted to know who she would have chosen. I love that he cared. She told him to go to hell. You don’t get the answer to that question until the finale, Mister!

Klaus left the room, and Tyler snuck back in and started to free Elena. “I’m not your little bitch anymore,” he said, when Klaus noted the loss of the sire bond. He wanted to know how Tyler broke it. By breaking every bone in his body 100 times for the girl he loves, Tyler said. (Subtext: Take that sketch of Caroline and the horse and shove it!) In the resulting fisticuffs, Klaus accidentally knocked Elena down and she hit her head. We got a REMEMBER THIS CLOSEUP, so we knew it’d come back into play. Klaus was going to kill Tyler, but Tyler snapped his wrist. Damon and Stefan were there to do to him what they’d planned to do to Alaric. Bonnie started chanting, Jeremy’s heart stopped, and something clearly shot through Bonnie’s body — I assume dark magic that may, actually, give her a story line! Think she’ll go all post-Tara Willow on us?

NEXT: The brothers make a deal

I didn’t shed tears over Klaus’ death (he’s not Finn dead), but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t captivated by how it was filmed or Joseph Morgan’s acting. You could hear Klaus’ heartbeat slowing. How poetic that it was Stefan, the person he most wanted to be his friend, doing him in. And then it was Tyler, the one person he thought he could trust, holding him in place, stabbing him in the back. Klaus’ scared, hopeless, tear-filled eyes looking around — one of my favorite Joseph Morgan moments. He’s at his best when Klaus is fragile. For a man who didn’t want to be alone to be surrounded by people who all wanted him put down — it must’ve been the loneliest feeling in the world. But oh yeah, we had to get Jeremy back. For a second, it seemed Bonnie had let herself enjoy the dark rush for too long and Jeremy was gone. But she beat on him until his heart started.

The Salvatores wanted to get Elena home before sunset, so Alaric couldn’t come in and hurt her. She said he wouldn’t try to hurt her since their fates are connected now. She lost a lot of blood. Elena insisted she was fine, she just had a headache. A HEADACHE, did you catch it? At the very least, they should have called Meredith to come and examine her. Though then, Meredith would have put an end to the victory party Caroline had organized at Elena’s house with pizza and tequila shots. I think it’s hilarious that Elena doesn’t want Jeremy to drink but it’s okay if she does. They all toasted to a Klaus-free life and to each other, Elena’s family. Okay, drink the damn shot, Jeremy. Your heart did stop today.

Before Elena had gone inside for the party, she talked to Damon and Stefan on the porch. She’d told them she knows it’s selfish, stringing them both along. She doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do: If she chooses one of them, she loses the other, and she’s lost so many people she can’t bear the thought of losing one of them. Damon nodded to Stefan to say something. It’s been a long day, he said. They told her they’d call her from the road, after they dump Klaus’ body in the Atlantic.

When we caught up to them on the road, Damon was overtly happy: Klaus is dead (for now), Stefan is halfway sane again, and give or take Alaric, they won. He wanted Stefan to say it. We won! Once more, with feeling. WE WON! Stefan said they make a good team after all. But what happens when Elena makes a decision? Damon suggested she’ll make a list of pros and cons and dump both their asses. I’m hoping since Damon joked about it, THAT WON’T HAPPEN. If she does pick one of them, and it’s not him, Stefan said he’d leave town so Elena and Damon could be happy. Then in 60 years or so, they can go back to being brothers, Damon said. He agreed that he would leave, too.

“All this over one girl,” Damon said.

“She’s a pretty special girl,” Stefan answered.

“Yes, she is,” Damon said, smiling.

WHO WILL SHE PICK? And will the other brother leave, or will some new twist/danger force them both to stay in town to protect Elena?

Back at the Gilbert house, Elena told Jeremy she’d be the bad guy who wants vampires to live if it means she, Tyler’s mother, and Caroline’s mother not lose anyone they love. Jeremy’s done judging her: He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, and he doesn’t like knowing that when Alaric decides to end his life, he’ll try to kill her to do it. Jeremy left the room, and Elena collapsed and was bleeding from her nose. Good thing she’s the star of the series, or we’d really be nervous.

As for Alaric, he called a Council meeting and outed Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood for having vampire and hybrid children. The Council was appalled. Especially when they saw his speed, and no doubt pieced together that he’s a vampire now, too. What do you think his next move is? Kill the sheriff and mayor right then and there? Take them hostage to lure in Caroline and Tyler? Or tell the Council members, who can move around during the day and go into homes uninvited, that unless they help him kill Caroline and Tyler, he’ll kill them? Do you think Klaus will be rescued by Rebekah? Who doesn’t make it out of the season 3 finale alive? Go!

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