Previously on Vampire Diaries: a whole lotta setup and also some pining.
Now this is more like it. Flashbacks! Katherine! The reason for Klaus’ mysterious crush on Stefan finally revealed!
So, the action in this episode is pretty evenly split between the Caroline and Stefan stories. First, let’s check in on the latter, which starts with Elena waking up the way everyone should: to find a smirking Damon in her bed.
(I know it’s creepy and stalkery and he should respect her boundaries more and yada, yada… I just find it hard to hold onto my indignation in the face of the Somerhalder. I am weak!)
Anyway, Damon’s now fully on board with the Operation Save Stefan, and after getting a cryptic phone tip from my girl, Katherine, he leads Elena on a fieldtrip to Chicago, where it turns out Klaus and Stefan are already busy taking a trip down memory lane. For, yes, this is a Flashback Episode! And if this blog had been covering VD during either of the previous seasons you would already know how REALLY ON BOARD I am with that. This cast was made to dress in period clothes, for one, and science has proven that Stefan is always more interesting in the past.
This time, we’re off the to roaring 20s, where Stefan, in full on Ripper mode (sorry, still find that incredibly silly and no, I cannot get the Buffy reference out of my head, but whatever, I am working on it) and looking quite dapper, was drinking his way through Prohibition.
And, no, we’re not talking about booze.
He looks like a Dapper Dan man to me.
20s Stefan meets a lady vampire named Rebekah and they bond over their mutual interest in 1) killing people, and 2) looking sexy while killing people.
Also, it should be said that Rebekah, while not normally my type, is completely adorbs and prone to making faces like this:
I kind of love her. I mean, she’s no Elijah, but… she can stay.
But the plot thickens, for it turns out that in addition to making silly faces and having awesome 20s hair, Rebekah is also… another original vamp, and Klaus’ sister! And not only did she and Stefan do a lot of banging while killing people, but also, Klaus and Stefan were total besties! DUN!
Needless to say, this blows present day Stefan’s mind, seeing as he still has no memory of any of it. Luckily, there’s photographic proof:
Drunk, non-stick in the mud Stefan looks like so much more fun.
Meanwhile, in the present, Klaus has taken Stefan back to the same club where they met, which is still run by the same lady — a long-lived witch named Gloria, who Klaus hopes will be able to help him with his hybrid-making impotence problem.
Gloria seems awesome, but unfortunately continues this show’s more and more uncomfortable tradition of portraying all African Americans as witches and all witches as African American. Not cool, show. Also, like nearly all the witches before her, I fully expect her to be turned into canon fodder before long, which also… would really not be cool. Knock it off, show.
The good news is that Gloria claims she needs Rebekah’s help in order to solve Klaus’ problem. The problem? This is Rebekah in the present day:
Baby, you got ugly.
While all this helpful flashbacking is going on, Damon and Elena make it to Chicago and set up shop in Stefan’s old apartment, still conveniently empty. Which… okay, whatever.
Damon shows Elena a hidden compartment where Stefan logged his victims’ names on the wall like a creepy creeper. Elena is not impressed. But she reminds Damon that he hasn’t exactly been a model of not-eating-people restraint himself. Point for Elena. I’d be more impressed if she told both of these murderers to stuff it, but it’s a start.
Damon leaves her there to go try and dig up a lead on Stefan at some of his other old stomping grounds, and promptly runs into Gloria. Fortunately, Klaus and Stefan aren’t at the club at the time. Unfortunately, that’s because they’re heading over to the apartment so Klaus can give Stefan more proof that they really were BFFs way back when.
Which he promptly accomplishes by opening up that same secret compartment where Elena is still hiding out. Stefan see her, but Klaus doesn’t (and for some reason can’t sense her there with his super werevamp senses, which, again… whatever). Anyway, she and Stefan share a long look and I think we’re supposed to feel tension over whether he’ll reveal her presence to Klaus or not, but seriously, show? Come on, now. You really shouldn’t have made Stefan so obviously still concerned for her safety during the past two episodes if you actually wanted us to think he’d give her up now.
They leave, Damon comes back, and there’s a nice moment where he’s clearly freaked by how stupid he was to leave Elena there by herself. Then he takes her back to the club. Not really learning your lesson there, Damon.
Elena and Damon’s big plan seems to boil down to Damon playing Klaus’ punching bag as a distraction while Elena gets close enough to Stefan to knock him out. This works about as well as you might expect, on both fronts.
Hilariously, Damon offers himself up as a sacrifice/replacement for Stefan, assuming (correctly) that most people would find the prospect of hanging out with him much more appealing. But what Damon doesn’t know is that Klaus has had an 80+ year EPIC MANCRUSH on Stef, so it’s a no go. Whoops!
Meanwhile, Stefan easily deflects Elena’s needle hug and tells her point blank that even if he does manage to get away from Klaus, he’ll need decades to recover emotionally from this latest “Ripper” stint, so she needs to give up the idea of their being together again like they were, oh and also, get the fuck out of town before Klaus realizes the real reason for his werevamp impotence is still walking around breathing and trying to stab people with needles, damnit.
Speaking of Klaus’ little problem, little sis finally wakes up from her staking nap… and she’s not a happy camper.
To find out why she was staked in the first place, we head back to flashback land, where, after a sort of rocky beginning, it seems Klaus, Rebekah and Stefan were all getting along like a house on fire, and Klaus was enjoying Ripper Stefan’s creative cruelty. (One example of which: cutting a woman’s wrist and forcing her husband to drink from it. Good times!!)
But all good things came to an end when the club was raided by a group wielding wooden bullets and drawings of Klaus and Rebekah — led by none other than this mysterious gentleman:
We don’t know much about him yet, but he’s played by Sebastian Roche, so I feel confident assuming: 1) we’ll be seeing him again, and 2) he will be kind of awesome.
ANYWAY. The reason why Stefan can’t remember any of this? Klaus messed with his memories before blowing town to escape from Sebastian Roche’s hunters. Although it clearly broke his big, soppy, hybrid heart to do it.
And when he broke the news to Rebekah that Stefan wasn’t coming with them, she sided with Stef… so he promptly staked her. Oh, Klaus. Have you ever considered the fact that you are to blame for your own loneliness? No? Okay, then.
(We also learn that by this time, Klaus had already gone to war with the rest of his family and killed most of them. But Rebekah — and presumably Elijah, although he isn’t mentioned by name here — sided with him and thus, survived the massacre. So Rebekah really should have seen this turn of events coming.)
But Klaus always intended to get his BFF when the time was right, which is why he’s been putting up with dreary old, non-Ripper Stefan’s pouting and whining and entirely half-hearted mayhem. Now that the three of them are reunited back in the present, he finally removes the block on Stefan’s memories.
This is Stefan’s remembering face.
Not to be confused with his sad face, appalled face, lying face, or constipated face.
Does this mean his Ripper personality will come back for real? One can only hope.
But poor Klaus just can’t catch a break: the help Gloria needs from Rebekah is her necklace… which she lost in the confusion of the vampire raid at the club. Stefan picked it up, forgot its origins, and… gave it to Elena. Who promptly lost it, only to have it returned by Damon in the season premiere. And you all thought that whole scene was just an excuse for sexual tension!
I love these writers.
Katherine calls Damon again after Operation Save Stefan crashes and burns. She’s being coy with her real location while he guesses wildly, figuring she’ll be as far from Klaus by now as she can possibly get. But a passing bus reveals she’s been in Chicago the entire time!
Not only that, but one final flashback shows us that she was lurking in the background back in the 20s as well! But was she keeping an eye on Stefan or Klaus?
Daaaaamn. Is there any time period that Nina Dobrev can’t rock?
I don’t know what she’s up to, and frankly, I don’t care. I could happily watch Katherine spend an entire episode painting her toenails and counting ceiling tiles. DEAR SHOW: MORE KATHERINE. ALWAYS. LOVE, ME.
So, to recap: in the space of one episode we’ve turned the Stefan/Elena/Damon triangle into a legitimate quad with Rebekah; recontextualized all of Klaus’ actions and motivations since vamp-napping Stefan in a way that actually makes the story thus far much stronger; added several intriguing new mysteries (what’s the deal with that locket, anyway? Sebastian Roche: friend or foe?); and gotten to see Katherine in flapper clothes. I call that a win for all parties.
Meanwhile, back in Mystic with the equally entertaining B-plot, Caroline spends most of the episode chained up in one of those abandoned dungeons that everyone in town seems to have. (Abandoned dungeons are to Mystic Falls what abandoned yet fully furnished cabins are to Port Charles).
It seems Caroline’s dad is determined to drive the vampire out of his darling daughter using some crude aversion therapy to overcome her vamp urges. Specifically, he wants her to associate the pain of being burned alive by the sun with her vamp reaction to blood.
(I’m really confused by how he thinks she’ll survive if he’s successful, since she still will biologically need blood in order to survive. But like most fundamentalist bigots, it seems like logical follow through may not be his strong suit.)
The good news is that Sheriff Forbes is back in town. (No lie: I actually sat up and clapped my hands with delight when she came on screen. Love me some Liz Forbes, you guys!) And Tyler wastes no time teaming up with her to track down his girl.
All of which leads to the utterly satisfying scene where they swoop in to rescue her and Liz gets to hold a gun on her asshole ex:
Get away from her, you bitch.
… while Tyler unchains Caroline and retrieves her sunlight ring. Love!
Later, Mom and daughter share a sweet scene safely back and home. Poor Caroline is convinced her dad hates her now, and even though he just betrayed and tortured her horribly, she still wants his approval. Oh, honey.
Liz leaves Tyler to snuggle her while she cries out her trauma.
These two, you guys… they are making me feel ALL THE FEELINGS lately.