Elena gets Rebekah to reveal her family secrets, while Stefan and Damon enjoy some brotherly bonding

By Nuzhat Naoreen
Updated November 04, 2011 at 09:40 AM EDT
Annette Brown/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S3 E8
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I’ve got to admit, you guys, when I saw those etch-a-sketch cave drawings in last week’s TVD preview I was a wee bit skeptical about how this episode was going to turn out. But once again this show has proven me wrong. From revealing flashbacks (with Elijah!) to brotherly bonding and of course, an all too swoon-worthy Damon and Elena bedroom scene (don’t worry we WILL discuss this), this week’s episode definitely delivered. Now, let’s jump in!

The episode kicks off with former besties Alaric and Damon showing Elena the cave that Mason Lockwood discovered in the last episode. Turns out that Mason was speechless moments before disappearing into the land of dearly departed vamps (again), because he saw a wall covered in cave drawings illustrating how the originals came to be. Now, I know this was meant to be a big reveal and what not, but there’s something about miniature chalk-stick drawings that make me chuckle. But I digress. The cave paintings were obviously a huge deal for Alaric, who finally got to release his inner-history geek. He explains to Elena that the drawings pre-dated the founding of the New World and that they were kind of a big deal. Before long, he’s translating the ancient Viking script on the wall (NBD right?), which apparently reads: Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah. And here we thought writing our names in a bathroom stall was cool.

This revelation leads to the first flashback of the night which shows a very human Rebekah carving her name into a wall with a blade, while a very human Klaus watches on. Klaus warns Rebekah that their father could figure out what they were up to at any moment and it’s evident that they are both very, very afraid of him.

Back at the cave, Elena wonders whether the drawings could just be another one of Klaus’ games, but Damon and Alaric assure her it’s not. Turns out there’s another name on the wall, one that they know Klaus wouldn’t mess with: Mikael. Or, as Damon likes to call him, “Papa Original.” Yep, Mikael (you know, the one who most recently chomped on Katherine’s neck? Whatever happened to her anyway?) is Klaus, Elijiah and Rebekah’s dad. Admittedly, this didn’t come as a huge surprise to me since I read quite a few comments from sharp fans who guessed it early on. The writers must have realized it wouldn’t be a gasp-worthy reveal too because they made sure to throw in another shocker (which I don’t think many people saw coming) later in the episode, but we’ll get to that in a few.

After taking tons of photos of the symbols on the cave walls, Alaric and the gang go back to his place, where he pores through them in hopes of deciphering what they represent. Meanwhile, in the background, Damon and Elena pick up their Buffy 2.0 training while theorizing with Alaric. Now, usually I’d critique them for not giving the cave drawings their full attention but come on, did you see that neck nuzzle Damon gave her at the end of their fake fight? Totally made the non-attention excusable. Anyway, apparently all the physical contact helped spark something in Elena because she realized that the best way to get the story of the original family would be to go to the source, a.k.a. Rebekah. Hey, I didn’t say it was a good idea.

NEXT: Damon and Stefan play drinking games

Elena finds Rebekah back at Mystic Falls High (at least someone bothers to go to school!), where she’s showing off her skills at cheerleading practice. Side note: Can she and Elena please have a cheer-off? It could be like Bring It On but with vampires. Anyway, Elena says that she knows the truth about Mikael and threatens to wake him unless Rebekah reveals why she’s so afraid of him. Rebekah refuses to spill any secrets and heads back to practice, but it’s clear that Elena’s words have had an impact as she flashes back to a friendly sword fight between Klaus and Elijah. YES, that’s right ELIJAH! He’s back as a brunette (a really hot brunette), and while we don’t get to see much of him, we’ll take what we can get. Though it’s clear the two brothers were just having fun, Mikael disapproves of a move Klaus pulled on Elijah. So, he takes the sword and fights Klaus himself until he’s just inches away from killing his son. It’s interesting because this entire time we’ve seen Klaus as the villain, and Mikael as the hero. Yet, in this scene the roles are clearly reversed. Klaus is helpless and innocent, while Mikael is heartless and cruel. Somehow I have a feeling will come into play later in the season.

After she fails to convince Rebekah to dish, Elena heads back to Alaric’s place where he’s still trying to establish what all the cave symbols stand for. He tells Elena that it’s unlikely Rebekah will talk, and then, right on cue (must be that vampire sixth sense), Rebekah texts Elena to come over. Why does Rebekah have Elena’s number? When did Rebekah learn to text? All important questions that I do not have the energy to answer right now. Of course, before Elena jets off to see her new gal pal she puts a call into Damon (ok, I admit, I love their phone call relationship), to check in on Stefan (who is still locked down). Damon says he looks pasty and pouty, but the new-tough-Lexi-trained Elena just says he’ll have to get over it.

Speaking of Stefan, he makes it clear to Damon that he’s not exactly digging the new digs or Elena’s detox plan. “We should all listen to Elena, right?,” Stefan says to Damon. “I mean, her plans always work out so well, don’t they?” Ha! Even in his darkest hour, Stefan still speaks the truth. Stefan just wants to be left alone, but Damon can’t help but prod him. Of course, his efforts only go so far because he soon realizes that Stefan really has given up. Instead of walking away from him though, Damon does something that…well, only Damon would do. He frees Stefan and suggests they go out for a drink. Somewhere Lexi is sooo pissed.

The two head to a bar, where Damon compels the bartender to let Stefan feed on her. Stefan is convinced there’s a catch, but Damon (who for the record did not drink the people blood) assures him there’s not. The two end up playing a drinking game and we get treated to some awesome brotherly banter.

NEXT: Elena picks out Rebekah’s homecoming dress…no really

While the brothers worked on their issues, Alaric worked out a key element in the cave drawings. With Bonnie’s help, he figured out that a symbol in the cave drawings matched Elena’s old necklace (or should I say Rebekah’s old necklace?) and represented the original witch. Being the multi-talented guy that he is, he also managed to sneak in a mini-therapy session with Bonnie, who in case you’re wondering, is still upset about her boyfriend making out with his ghost of an ex-girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Elena heads to Casa de Salvatore to meet up with Rebekah, who is busy watching compelled girls model homecoming dresses for her (imagine Mean Girls, but more twisted). Apparently homecoming is a really big deal for Rebekah, because before she delves into the story of her past, she asks Elena which dress looks best, and threatens to kill one of the models if Elena doesn’t give her opinion. Oh silly Rebekah, don’t you know that there’s no better way to guarantee a fashion disaster than to ask your ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend/enemy to choose your dress? I mean really.

Anyway, once Elena chooses a dress (the red, in case you were wondering), the two head to Stefan’s room, where Rebekah decides to snoop through his things while slowly opening up to Elena about her past. Rebekah explains that her parents moved to the land where Mystic Falls now stands after a plague ravished their homeland in Europe. Though the New World hadn’t yet been discovered, Rebekah says her mother, Esther, heard from a witch, Ayanna, that there was a mystical land where everyone was healthy and remarkably strong. It was a land full of werewolves, and Rebekah said she and her family (who were all human at the time) lived amongst them in peace for nearly 20 years. But of course that didn’t last. Every month, on the night of the full moon, the family retreated to the caves beneath their village while their neighbors transformed into wolves, but one night Klaus, along with his younger brother, broke the rules. They stayed above ground to watch the transformation, and in the process Klaus’ younger brother was killed. According to Rebekah, it marked the end of the peace her family shared with their neighbors. In an effort to protect themselves from the werewolves, the family implored Ayanna to call upon the spirits to turn them into vampires. But Ayanna refused, warning them that the spirits would turn on them if they followed through with their plan. So, fresh out of options, Mikael turned to his wife and said it was in her hands to protect the family. This is when we get the real big shocker of the night.

NEXT: The family tree just got a little more complicated

While so much effort was put into deciphering who Mikael was in context to Klaus and Rebekah, there was very little discussion about who the original witch was (at least on my part), which led to a reveal I simply didn’t see coming. The original witch, it turns out, is Rebekah’s mom. She helped her entire family become vampires, but did not turn herself into one because it would mean giving up her powers as a witch. After she set the wheels in motion to turn her children, her husband, Mikael, gave them wine laced with blood. Then he drove his sword through their hearts and forced them to drink from a human to complete their transformation. See what I mean about Mikael being the bad guy now? Though they both resisted, it was Klaus who really fought back and refused to drink the blood (anyone else reminded of Damon’s transformation here?).

Rebekah, meanwhile, was on a high from all the blood after turning (in her defense, she didn’t want to drink it either) but soon learned what consequences awaited her. She couldn’t walk in the sun anymore (well, at least not until her mother made her a daylight ring), or touch the flowers at the base of the white oak tree (which her family later burned to the ground since it could be used to kill an original vampire). Most interestingly though, she was isolated from her neighbors and other girls her age. A point which goes a long way in explaining her desire to be a part of the cheerleading team or to participate in the homecoming dance. Rebekah also explained that another consequence of their transformation was the desire for blood — a point which she says her parents never understood. It was this thirst for human blood that became Klaus’ undoing. His first kill triggered his werewolf gene, and in effect revealed to Mikael that Klaus was the product of an affair his wife had with a werewolf in the village. Klaus’ mother tried to fix the situation by shutting out her son and putting him under a hybrid curse to suppress his werewolf side. But Rebekah said it wasn’t enough to appease Mikael, who was so angry that he tore his wife’s heart out while Klaus watched. Mikael left the three siblings to fend for themselves and they vowed to stick together as they buried their mother.

After story-time wraps up, Rebekah reigns in her emotions and goes back to threatening Elena (and here I was hoping these two would become mani/pedi buddies). Rebekah warns her not to wake Mikael and threatens retribution if she goes after Klaus.

Umm yeah about that. Not only is Mikael awake, he’s already back to his vampire tracking ways. Old daddy-o proves he’s got sharp skills when he tracks down Stefan and Damon during their downtime at the bar. There he grills Stefan on Klaus’ location, but Stefan says he’s compelled not to speak. So, Mikael raises the stakes and threatens to pull Damon’s heart out. Now, by “threatens” I mean he actually puts his fist into Damon’s chest. This move awakens something in Stefan. Just as Mikael is about to pull out Damon’s heart, Stefan breaks his silence and tells Mikael he can lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls. Mikael says if he succeeds, he’ll drive a stake through Klaus’ heart, but if he fails, he’ll drive it through Stefan’s.

Of course, instead of hugging it out post near-death experience, the two brothers get into it after Stefan says he only helped Mikael so he could be free of Klaus and leave Mystic Falls, not so he could save Damon. Damon of course doesn’t buy it and this peeves Stefan even more. After Stefan asks why his brother is so intent on saving him, Damon explains that it’s because Stefan is in this mess because of him and that he can’t just leave him to rot in a cell. The only thing better than Damon’s emotionally packed speech? Stefan’s snarky response. “Aw, better be careful brother. Your humanity is showing,” says Stefan. The comment clearly pushed a button in Damon, who was quick to throw a punch (or three). Can’t you just feel the love?

NEXT: Damon and Elena make the best kind of pillow talk

Now, this is when it gets really good.

After getting the whole story from Rebekah, Elena meets up with Alaric and Bonnie at the cave site to examine the markings again. Now, I’m not really sure HOW she she managed to put this together so quickly, but somehow Elena figures out that a drawing with hybrid and original witch symbols shows that it was Klaus, not Mikael, who killed mommy dearest. Yikes.

Without putting much thought into it, Elena jets back to tell Rebekah the truth about her mother’s death. She explains that Klaus was probably so upset about being alienated by his mother that he killed her. Needless to say, Rebekah doesn’t take it well. Her reaction confuses Elena who asks why she’s so upset. Hmm let’s see Elena…maybe it’s because you just told her that the one “living” family member she has left murdered her mother. Rebekah loses control and nearly kills Elena, but doesn’t go through with it. Instead, she breaks down. I almost wanted Elena to comfort her here, but given the fact that Rebekah nearly ripped her head off seconds before, it’s probably better that she left.

Back in her room, Elena gets ready for bed and like so many nights before, Damon is there waiting for her. Let the swoonfest begin. Though Elena usually jumps when she unexpectedly finds him in her room, this time around she barely flinches. Damon, who is laid out comfortably across her bed, tells her that they got Mikael and that the plan is in motion. He also tells her to go ahead and yell at him for breaking Stefan out, even though it ending up working in their favor, but Elena says she’s not mad. She’s just tired. As she preps her pillow and comforter, Damon doesn’t make any effort to move and Elena (perhaps too tired to fight) just gets underneath the covers. She tells Damon that she thinks she got through to Rebekah and explains that at the end of the day, Rebekah is just a girl who loves blindly and recklessly even if it consumes her.

As she’s explaining this, Elena seems to realize that she’s not just describing Rebekah. She’s describing Damon too (minus the girl part obvs). Then she turns off the lights (!!!) and faces toward Damon to tell him that if Stefan comes back it won’t be because he loves her, it’ll be because he loves his brother. Sigh. Best pillow talk ever. At this point, I expected her to tell Damon to go home, but instead she just says good night and closes her eyes as he lies there next to her. I know this series has had a ton of cliffhangers, but right now the biggest one to me is whether or not Damon Salvatore spent the night sleeping next to her. Come on writers, don’t leave a girl hanging!

Okay, that’s it from me. What did you guys think of this episode? Where do you think this story line with Mikael is headed? Do you think Stefan had a breakthrough? And are you as obsessed with that last Damon and Elena scene as I am? Leave your answers to one (or all!) questions in the comments below!

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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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