Vicki isn't the only one that made contact

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Vampire Diaries Stefan
Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

In EW.com’s second annual Season Finale Awards last May, Jeremy seeing dead people was named the Single Most Clever Twist. With this episode, that story line has started to deliver. I still hate you selfish Vicki, whether or not you can produce a single tear, but thank you for bringing back Uncle Mason and tempting Jeremy to do more than hold hands with Anna (fingers crossed!). Let’s dig in.

The hour started with Elena turning off her alarm clock at 5:15 a.m., and I wondered why she had to get up that early for school when she clearly wasn’t going to shower because we watched her try to cover up Stefan’s bite marks on her neck with makeup. Turns out, she was getting in a morning workout with Alaric, who told her she needs to build up muscle if she wants to work his stealthy stake-cuff that fires when you punch someone hard. She also needs to embrace the element of surprise, which is the only way humans can truly have a chance against vamps. And oh yeah, the show needs to never throw another exploding vervain grenade again because those special effects were like Syfy movie quality (excuse to type the word Mansquito!).

Alaric really is coming along nicely in the parental department: That little speech about Elena being one of the strongest people he knows because she found a way to get out of bed this morning (thinking she could learn to defend herself against Stefan) was exactly what she needed to hear. (Especially because she was going to echo it again later when she surprised Stefan with a stake-cuff punch to the gut.) Alaric thinks Elena can do anything. Like put on eyeliner and eye shadow to workout at that hour like a Kardashian?

Anyway, it was off to school, where Bonnie and Caroline quickly lost the my-boyfriend-is-being-a-D-bag battle to Elena, who realized it was technically her and Stefan’s first anniversary — they met a year ago on the first day of school. That’s reaching, Elena, but yes, you win. The gang was all there: Jeremy was back from Charlotte, where Katherine was still trying to wake up Mikael (a mouse? really), and saying all the wrong things to Bonnie. She’s pissed that he’s still letting his exes in. “I haven’t talked to Vicki in a while,” he offered. Oof. Matt hung out in the parking lot talking to Vicki in his truck until Tyler interrupted her right as she got to the good part: There’s a way Matty can help her come back. We’re gonna have to start calling him Not Now Tyler, because he also interrupted Caroline browbeating Elena into attending the spirit squad’s back-to-school bonfire. Tyler had a drop of breakfast on his shirt, so the girls took him into the bathroom to scold him and find out that Rebekah has been tasked with watching over Klaus’ “asset” Tyler. Tyler couldn’t understand why Caroline didn’t think it was the slightest bit awesome that he’s the first hybrid, so Elena excused herself so Caroline could explain it to him.

Damon had previously phoned Elena to tell her that “Barbie Klaus” Rebekah had decided to move into Salvatore Mansion, whether the boys liked it or not (they didn’t). Elena had asked what Stefan was up to. “You know Stefan. Journaling, reading, shaping his hair,” Damon had lied. In truth, Stefan was partaking in an early morning game of bloody Twister with a few girls. I thought perhaps Stefan was above returning to high school, but Klaus told him to protect Elena, so he had to be there…wearing a short-sleeved V-neck T-shirt that really showed off his biceps when he shoved Alaric against a locker after he tried to break up Stefan’s conversation with Elena. Everyone but Elena was late to history class, presumably so Elena could fill Alaric in on Stefan’s bodyguard routine, and so Stefan could make a grand entrance kicking a kid out of the seat next to Elena and saying “Hey, you” to her as he sat down. Paul Wesley is having so much fun now. Good for him. Rebekah showed up in class, too.

NEXT: Buffy reference

I loved how the bus from the ’60s Decade Dance was parked in the school’s stoner pit. That’s where Matt went to finish his conversation with Vicki because (a) he thought she’d feel at home there (ha!) and (b) stoners wouldn’t notice/care/remember that he was talking to himself? Jeremy stumbled upon Matt, supposedly looking for his stoner lab partner, and brilliantly pretended like he couldn’t see Vicki. He told Anna what he’d overheard. As of now, Vicki can only be on this side when Matt thinks of her, but there’s a witch on her side who can do magic that will push her to Matt’s side if he helps with the ritual. That way, she’ll be able to come and go as she pleases on this side, and even if Matt is the only one who can see her, it still means the two of them are no longer alone. Vicki turned on the waterworks and lonely Matt caved. Anna told Jeremy they had to stop her: You can’t upset the balance of nature without a price. If Vicki’s using a witch’s energy from the other side, you don’t know what price she’s agreed to pay.

That was getting heavy, so it was time to lighten things up. Tyler compelled his football coach to quit practice early so the team could go get drunk at the bonfire, which was advertised in school but apparently not supervised by anyone associated with the school. I think the coach just didn’t want to look at Tyler’s do-rag any longer. Rebekah joined the spirit squad because she’s interested in stealing Caroline’s spunk, popularity, and possibly her boyfriend. She wowed the other girls — and Tyler — with some light tumbling and a split. I suppose Rebekah would be smart enough to keep her skills realistic, but I wasn’t that impressed, frankly. Don’t you wish Caroline and Rebekah could take a timeout and like each other enough to go shopping and do a Clueless homage? Stefan, wearing a gray tank now, caught up with Elena on the track, and it suddenly felt very Grease to me. When he paused his soulless Angel-clever dialogue long enough to ream out a guy Elena had run into, she asked Stefan who he was. “I’m a guy who’s been assigned to protect a human blood bag…I mean, no offense or anything,” he said. That did it. She stormed of…to lift weights!

She called Damon, who came over and took one look at her and cracked a joke (“What, are you gonna bench press a vampire?”). Then he added a little resistance to the bar (“Helpin’ you out. Come on, Buffy”). She recovered and cut to the chase, her cleavage suddenly glowing with sweat: She wants to lock Stefan up until Mikael comes, kills Klaus, and Klaus’ compulsion ends. Stefan may not be a danger to her, but he’s a danger to everyone else. Also, every time she looks at him, she feels like she’s going to break and she doesn’t want to give him that satisfaction. Damon grabbed her hand and put it over his Henley-wearing heart. I would’ve been fake sweating, too, because that scene was HOT. She was touching his sternum, which was solid bone. He spun her around, slid his hand inside her loose-fitting tank, touched her skin, and whispered into her ear. Just below the ribcage, next to the spine, is the way to a vampire’s heart. He said he’ll do whatever she needs him to do. No one is going to hurt her, especially not his brother. REWIND!

Later, the plan was revealed: Elena would lure Stefan from the bonfire, Alaric would shoot him with vervain, Damon would distract Rebekah with his considerable charm, and Caroline would prepare the old Forbes cellar where she was recently held by daddy. Everyone was on-board but Tyler, who didn’t want to dip into his mother’s vervain stash as requested because, in Caroline’s words, he was a “freak, hybrid, slave minion” to Klaus. In Damon’s words, Tyler had been sired. He felt loyalty to his maker, Klaus, and would want to be accepted by his master. It’s rare in vamps, but apparently not in hybrids, which makes sense since wolves have the pack mentality. Damon knocked Tyler out with vervain and told Caroline the only way to fix him was to find a new boyfriend. Caroline took Tyler home, where she eventually told him all of his traits would be heightened now that he’s a vampire, and that he was behaving like the pre-wolf Tyler she never would have been friends with. He knows how to talk to his lady, Jeremy: He told her he’d be careful and begged her not to hate him. Everything he likes about himself is her, he said. And they made out…

NEXT: Damon seduces with marshmallows

Back at the bonfire, Rebekah couldn’t figure out how to work the keg but Elena had no problem. Stefan told Elena to slow down, but it was game on: “Really, you think I’m gonna let a blood addict tell me how to drink?” I took a little heat from passionate Delena fans on Twitter this week after daring to suggest that this Bad Stefan-must-protect-Elena arc could reset the sexual tension between Elena and Stefan (or, rather, give us some, since we never really got any because they got together so quickly). Yes, Damon and Elena’s scenes are still more palpable, but I think we all should acknowledge that it’s nice to see Stefan and Elena have a new dynamic to play. His love was so absolute for her for so long (a full year in Mystic Falls time!) that it became predictable. Now, even if it’s not Damon-level electricity, there’s a different spark between them. She’s toying with Stefan now, too, and Paul Wesley is playing Stefan as though Stefan’s somewhat amused and entirely engaged. There’s a new energy, so even if you’re someone who’d rather see more Delena, you should appreciate that if you’re stuck with Stelena, it’s this. It’s something different.

Stefan watched Elena chug a beer and look upset seeing Damon teach Rebekah how to eat a roasted marshmallow all wrong. The burnt exterior is the best part. Damon, however, wanted Rebekah to enjoy the soft, gooey inside and get turned on when he licked his fingers clean. Stefan thought Elena was jealous, which she denied, but it gave her the perfect excuse to leave. Damon continued his Smores 101, but Rebekah figured out he was trying to distract her and skewered him with her marshmallow stick. She was too late to help Stefan though…

Stefan followed Elena to the bleachers, where she was drunkenly lamenting her loss of knowledge about constellations. He’d drive her home, he told her. She climbed over the railing and pretended to fall repeatedly until she actually did. “I knew you’d catch me,” she said. And Stefan just stared into her eyes, holding her in his arms and somehow simultaneously smoldering and looking rather blank. Alaric shot him with two vervain darts in the back. “You look not sober,” he told Elena. Underage drinking doesn’t count if it’s to trap a vampire.

While Operation Catch Stefan was going down, Matt was off doing the blood ritual to bring Vicki to his side. He had to light candles, cut his hand and let it bleed over a photo of him and Vicki, and say he accepted her. I guess that’s what Anna had meant about Vicki needing a stronger foothold or anchor in this world — Matt’s blood as opposed to Matt’s thoughts. When the spell was over, Matt and Vicki could actually feel each other when they touched. The hug was sweet, but remember what else Anna said. Vicki had made a deal with that witch: If she wants to stay on this side, she has to restore balance. Klaus’ hybrids can’t be allowed to survive. She wasn’t after Tyler. It was Elena who needed to die since her blood was the key to Klaus’ success. Matt tried to stop her from leaving, but she knocked him out with some wrench or other tool I’ve never used. I think balance was restored: I despised Vicki again.

NEXT: Tyler wears the hell out of a chenille blanket

Matt later called Bonnie freaking out, and they met in a classroom to light some candles and do another blood ritual that would block whatever magic was helping Vicki. Again, worst school security EVER. Vicki showed up at the bonfire and picked up a joint. Not to (just) smoke it, but to use it to set fire to the gas she’d poured leading to Alaric’s car. Unconscious Stefan and drunk Elena were in there when the flames started engulfing it. Alaric couldn’t break a window to get Elena out, and that magic was helping Vicki keep Elena from unlocking the car door long enough to escape. Vicki had been trying to physically hold Elena in the car, but Bonnie’s spell kicked in and dragged Vicki back to the classroom with Matt, who told her he couldn’t let her hurt anyone and he had to let her go. Elena woke up Stefan, who kicked the back door open. Alaric pulled Elena out, and she made him help her rescue Stefan.

Next we saw Elena, she was getting first aid from Damon at his house. They each admitted they were mostly faking the roles they’d played that night, meaning he wasn’t really attracted to Rebekah and she was at least a little jealous seeing him with her. Happy dance on the couch! As for Tyler and Caroline, we caught up with them postcoital as she dressed to leave (he has to earn the overnight), and he sent her off while wearing nothing but a chenille blanket wrapped around his waist. Good god. I could describe how well that blanket fit from behind, but I won’t. (Though I sorta just did.) With Caroline’s super vampire hearing, shouldn’t she have heard Rebekah, who appeared seconds after Caroline left with a female nightcap for Tyler? He tried to ask her to leave, but Rebekah told him Klaus would want his hybrid to enjoy all that life has to offer, and so, he bit.

Next, we got Katherine’s cliffhanger. Mikael apologized for shouting at Katherine to get the fresh human blood she had dripping into his mouth away from him earlier in the episode. He’s denied himself human blood for as long as he can remember. He can and will kill Klaus, he said, if only Katherine helped get the chains off him. He needed blood to get his mobility back. “I don’t feed on living things,” he reminded her. “Then what do you eat?” she asked. And he grabbed her and fed. Part of me thinks a woman as brilliant as Katherine should have seen that coming, but most of me doesn’t care. Yes, we saw Katherine go limp, but no way this vampire who hunts vampires kills KATHERINE. I can’t wait to see how those two get along.

Alaric was ready to take Elena home from Salvatore Mansion, where they’d dropped off Stefan, and how sweet: Elena tried to reignite everyone’s favorite bromance by telling Alaric it was okay to forgive Damon for snapping his neck recently (again). Damon misses him. Stefan caught them before they left and reminded them that if he’s supposed to protect Elena, it’s better for both of them if he’s around. Then, Stefan asked Elena why she didn’t let him die in the car fire after all he’s done. She still has hope that he’ll be able to find his humanity, she said, and she’s not giving up. A tender moment? No! “Elena, do you have any idea how pathetic that makes you?” Stefan asked. “No, Stefan. It makes me strong,” she said, and punch-staked him in the gut as previously mentioned. Very Buffy. Well done, Elena.

Next came Jeremy, who was still in the doghouse with Bonnie. He left her another voice mail, but he was thinking of Anna. Even she was like, why are you thinking about me now when you’re calling her? I shouldn’t be here. He said he couldn’t stop thinking about her, and she said she couldn’t stop thinking about him. What are they going to do? She held up her hand so they could air touch and instead, they each felt it. Has Vicki opened the floodgates?

Back at Salvatore Mansion, Damon was rolling up some rugs, presumably to get blood off of them, when objects started being thrown. He assumed it was Stefan, but it was Uncle Mason — who clocked him one. “This is gonna be fun,” Mason said. My thoughts exactly. We know Mason won’t kill Damon, even though he should, so will he make Damon help him find and save Katherine? What do you think Jeremy and Anna will decide to do next? Will Rebekah and Stefan have to play nicely with the others to figure out the story with the ghosts? Are Matt and Bonnie going to comfort each other? Is D-bag Hybrid Tyler more tolerable than season 1 D-bag Human Tyler was? If you’re a Delena fan, do you really want them to get together now, or do you want the writers to just keep stoking the fire like they did this episode?

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The Vampire Diaries

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

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