Stefan and Damon try to save Elena from the hunter's curse at the expense of more than one relationship

By Mandi Bierly
November 16, 2012 at 05:27 AM EST
Annette Brown/The CW
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You guys, we live in a world where Elena and Stefan are no longer a couple, and it’s real because they both acknowledge it. My first thought: It’s so fitting that the breakup took place on Elena’s porch, because it’s her special spot with Damon. My second: It’s nice that it happened after Damon proved he was worthy of Elena again — by telling her why Stefan had been lying to her — and that Stefan handled it as well as he did. He understands that Elena’s desires have been darkened and magnified by her becoming a vampire, but he can’t pretend it’s okay that his girlfriend wants to bang his brother. In short: Each brother behaved nobly. But how long can the peace last? This show is a drama. Will Elena jump right into a relationship with Damon? How’s Stefan going to handle that? Damon was able to watch Stefan be with Elena, but maybe that’s just because Damon had never been with Elena, if you know what I mean. We have until Nov. 29, the next new episode to worry about all that. Let’s dig in.

We opened on Elena, whose sleep was so tortured that she had to get up and go make herself a cup of something (warm blood? warm milk?) in the Gilbert kitchen of death. “Can’t sleep,” said Connor, who appeared to her wearing a dirty, bloody tank top. “You know, it makes sense. Guilty conscience.” While Elena just kept telling herself that he was a ghost, Connor asked her if a ghost could do this — and grabbed her. A struggle ensued and, as one would’ve predicted from the location, someone ended up with a large knife in his neck. Elena had seen Connor, but it was really Jeremy, who she’d called for. Thank god he was wearing his ring. Still, that was a disturbing moment to watch.

Elena had Damon come over, and he wondered why she hadn’t called Stefan. It’s because she doesn’t trust him right now, she said. Damon argued that killing Jeremy was worse than compelling him. Enter Stefan. “P.S. I called Stefan,” Damon said. Ha. Jeremy awoke after Elena headed upstairs to shower, and though Stefan followed her to talk, she was still having none of him.

Over at Tyler’s, Hayley and hybrid Chris stayed up all night drinking in celebration of fallen hybrid Dean. The way Hayley wiped alcohol off Tyler’s bottom lip with her thumb and then sucked said thumb had me thinking hell no. But clearly she had seen Klaus coming and wanted to keep up the charade that she’s trying to move in on Tyler. Klaus was drinking himself, mourning Dean’s failure to recapture Connor. Caroline showed up to return a box of Tyler’s belongings, and Klaus, ever the gentlemen, told everyone to leave so the love triangle could have some privacy. Turns out Hayley had tipped Caroline off that Klaus was there. They’re friends! But, of course, we all caught that look on Hayley’s face when Caroline and Tyler kissed to celebrate Klaus buying their faux breakup. It was that “Oh, I don’t really want to watch this, but if I don’t watch this, it will look like I don’t want to watch this, so I have to watch this, and I might as well enjoy watching this, because he’s hot” thing.

Elena finally got to take her shower (equal opportunity exploitation on this show!), and saw blood in the water. Klaus called Stefan, all calm and sober now, and told him they’d find one of the other Five hunters. Then, he asked if Elena’s hallucinations had started. Stefan met Klaus outside Elena’s house for the details. Klaus had killed the original Five, so he knows what Elena’s in for. If you kill a hunter that’s chasing you, the hunter is magically able to torment you until you take your own life — so he takes you down with him. Tricky witches. Klaus wanted to kidnap Elena and lock her up so she couldn’t commit suicide. Stefan said she’s stronger than that. Maybe not. She was having more visions of Connor, and when she ran to Damon, she saw Connor instead of him. She bolted the house, and Klaus grabbed her and sped off.

At the high school, Jeremy told Matt about seeing the start of a mark similar to the one Connor had and how Connor had told him that he was only able to see his mark because he was a potential hunter. “So what does that make you, like the next Chosen One or something?” Matt asked. Buffy reference! Professor Atticus Shane showed up carrying pieces for his occult exhibit at the high school (sure, why not), and Not Now April was there, too. She said Shane looked familiar but couldn’t place him. Interesting. We cut back to Damon and Stefan telling Bonnie about Klaus taking Elena. The spirits won’t let her do that kind of magic to break the curse, Bonnie said, but she was quick to suggest they ask Mr. Know It All, Shane.

At his mansion, Klaus showed Elena to her new bedroom. Pretty fabulous accommodations, unless you like windows. He told her that she’d want to kill herself soon enough — he had. For 52 years, four months, and nine days. He was tormented in his dreams, in his every waking moment, he said. The problem was he’s an Original immortal. But the good news, recounting this story made Joseph Morgan’s eyes soft and wet. He’s tied with Sons of Anarchy‘s Theo Rossi (Juice) as my favorite male TV crier. Elena asked Klaus how he made the torment stop. He said he didn’t. It just eventually happened. Elena figured that’s why Stefan had tried to keep Connor alive — so no one would feel suicidal.

Stefan was now at work on Operation Extract Elena. He called Caroline and wanted her to ask Tyler if there was a way for him to get the hybrids watching Elena to leave their post. Stefan then went to Lockwood manor and was brought up to speed on Hayley and Tyler’s plan to help hybrids break their sire bond. Oh, and Chris already has. He was the one with Elena now, informing her that she was only being kept there until Klaus figured out where to hide her longterm. When he left the room, Connor appeared again.

Connor made her feel guilty about the family he left behind, including his brother and parents. Then he reminded her that she was the reason her parents were on that bridge the night they died. Elena wasn’t taking the bait, so he thought maybe she’d listen to someone else — and poof, there was Katherine. It wasn’t real Katherine, but we’ll take it!

NEXT: I’m thinking we should remember the name Silas

Back at the school, Shane gave a lecture on what is believed to be the first tombstone. April told Matt that she remembered she knew him through her dad. Shhh, April. We’re trying to listen to Shane. Apparently this tombstone belonged to a male witch, Silas, who was so powerful, he created a spell that made him immortal. He performed it with the help of a lady witch who loved him named Qetsiyah (and yes, I confirmed that spelling). Sadly, Silas wanted to grant another woman immortality, so Qetsiyah killed her and buried him alive — leaving Silas powerless, immortal, and alone. It’s said that Silas wants to rise again to regain his power and wreak havoc on the world. Should we be afraid, or is it just a rock? I’m guessing we should be afraid. The only question is: Should we be frightened of Shane’s motivations, too?

After we watched Katherine torture Elena by saying she’d end up being as bad as her, which we know Stefan hates, we cut back to Bonnie bringing Shane to meet Damon in Alaric’s old classroom. That was a sweet moment, seeing Damon tip the bottle of bourbon to Alaric, who wasn’t seen this time. Damon showed Shane the drawing of the hunter’s mark and asked him if he knew anything about the curse. He did: If a hunter is killed by that which he hunts, the killer will walk the world tormented until a new hunter is awakened and their legacy is passed on. So apparently this involves something more than Jeremy seeing the mark. I guessed that he’d have to kill a vampire and add to the mark to transition from being a potential hunter to an active one. Makes sense.

When Tyler and Stefan met with Chris, Tyler assured his fellow hybrid that Klaus wouldn’t be back anytime soon to catch them freeing Elena. That’s because Caroline saddled up next to Klaus in a sexy tank top at the Grill, which, as she pointed out, looks pretty good considering there had just been an explosion there, like, the day before. Seriously, it’s time for another restaurant, people. She asked Klaus to give back Elena. He said he wouldn’t for Elena’s own good. Then, the conversation turned to Tyler. “Just know that if Tyler was still sired to me, he never would have hurt you. I wouldn’t have let him,” Klaus said. Ah. I am such a sucker. He asked to buy her a drink, and she accepted. He smiled so sweetly.

Chris told the two hybrids watching Elena’s door that Klaus said they should go see Tyler. Katherine had Elena so frayed talking about how Bonnie must really hate her after all she’s lost because of Elena, that Elena snapped when she saw Connor enter the room. She stabbed him with a sword and bolted again. It was really Stefan, of course.

Stefan called Damon to ask him to find Elena because she’d listen to him (interesting). And Damon told Stefan they’d figured out how to stop the hallucinations, and Jeremy was ready. Stefan texted the news to Caroline, who had the unenviable task of coming clean to Klaus about both the real reason she was distracting him and Stefan having lost Elena again. But, she told him, they’d figured out the cure as well.

Elena found herself walking to the only place she could if she was going to die (again) — the Wickery Bridge. She had Connor on one side and Katherine on the other. When she got to the bridge, her mother appeared and told her it was okay. She got Elena to finally say she was a monster and deserved to die. Elena took off her day ring and dropped it in the water below. When the sun comes up, she’d burn.

After a commercial break, Elena had second thoughts. She couldn’t leave Jeremy. But her mother assured her that Jeremy would still have her — as a ghost that helped her, not a monster that hurt her. This was like the opposite of Harry Potter’s walk in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — not comforting at all. It made me want to read that chapter again. Anyway, Damon showed up and soon enough, Elena was seeing Connor instead of him. Would Jeremy kill a vampire in time? Yes. Because Klaus had the perfect victim for Jeremy — Chris. Klaus let Chris think he was letting him leave, but Stefan was behind the door and staked him in the stomach so he couldn’t fight back. Stefan apologized to Tyler, and then Jeremy decapitated Chris with an axe. With Jeremy being a hunter, get used to seeing that blood splatter on his face, friends! Jeremy’s mark grew, and Connor disappeared. Bye, biceps! I’ll miss you most of all! But now the sun was rising, and Elena began blistering and smoking. She called for Damon, and he grabbed her and jumped off the bridge into the water.

Elena woke up in her bed at home with the day ring back on her finger. Damon had fished it out of the river. She grabbed his hand and thanked him for saving her life. They were sitting on her bed. He could have taken advantage of her heightened sense of gratitude. But he didn’t. He didn’t leave go of her hand, but he told her, “I am about to take a very high, annoying road and tell you something…” He told her everything Stefan had been doing was for her, and that there may be a cure to turn her human again. Wouldn’t she have to be told the truth anyway now that Jeremy is a hunter and will need to kill vampires to lead them to that cure?

NEXT: The breakup heard ’round Twitter

From Elena’s sense of hope, to Tyler’s sense of despair… Caroline went to see him to apologize for Chris having been sacrificed. Not that she felt all that guilty for his death — she did it to save their friend. She doesn’t understand that Chris was a friend of Tyler’s, and more importantly, Tyler had promised him that he’d have his back. Tyler then thought to ask Caroline how she got Klaus to agree to give up one of his precious hybrids. Caroline said she agreed to go on a date with him, because it’d also help sell the breakup with Tyler. Yeah, Tyler didn’t take that well. He threw a bottle at the wall. That anger felt like pre-wolf Tyler, the one we didn’t like. Don’t make me not like Tyler. And yay, Klaus will be Caroline’s date to the Miss Mystic Falls pageant in the Nov. 29 episode. Fun!

Back at the Grill, Damon bought two rounds and saved one for Alaric. Love that he still does that. Let’s keep it going. Matt very bravely approached Damon because he needed to share information he’d dug up on the explosion. Hearing that April’s dad knew Professor Shane, who knows about the hunter’s mark and curse, he decided to have Sheriff Forbes check the pastor’s phone records. The pastor made a call a day the last month he was alive to the same number, and 10 calls to that number on the day of the explosion — Shane’s office.

Speaking of Shane’s office, Bonnie was there asking Shane how he knows all that he knows. He’s traveled the world, studied every supernatural creature, and since witches are the most powerful, he assured her that he is her biggest ally. He said he knows that she has a new hunter, and that when the hunter completes his mark, she’ll want to come to him because he’s the only one who can help. What does that mean?! Jeremy will be evil? Or simply that only Shane knows how to read the mark and perform the ritual that turns vampires human again?

Finally, we get to the breakup. Sitting on the porch, Elena asked Stefan why he’d sent Damon to her on the bridge instead of coming himself. He told her it’s because lately, he seems to be the one who can reach her, the one she trusts even when she doesn’t trust him. Stefan told her after all they’d been through, she can finally admit it. She didn’t say she loved Damon, but she admitted what she wants is darker now. “What you want or who you want?” Stefan asked. He understood: Her feelings for Damon are magnified. He told her understood why she wanted Damon when he was the Ripper, because he’d driven her to Damon. But now, he just can’t keep doing this. She agreed. It’s over.

Your turn. Even if you’re a Stelena fan, can you see how this opens up the show to a new dynamic? And are you already hoping that this opens the door for Stefan and Caroline to hook up down the road? (If Elena can date Stefan’s brother, Stefan should be able to date her best friend!)

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