Previously on Vampire Diaries: Elena went a little nuts. Then she got better! Also, Jeremy killed a man in Mystic, just to watch him die.
It’s that most magical time of the year again: time to crown a new Miss Mystic Falls! (How is this town so ridiculous, for serious?) Naturally, Caroline is all up in this biz, and we open on her in a party planning frenzy at the Lockwoods’ while Stefan gossips with her on the phone about his break up angst and sudden urge to go rip some throats. Wah, wah… sad vampires like to kill people. CRY ME A RIVER, STEFAN.
Caroline is shocked and appalled to hear that Elena threw Stefan over for Damon, and promises to shake some sense into her. As soon as they hang up, Klaus — who I guess was just waiting politely for Stefan to finish his phone call? — speeds up and indicates his displeasure with Stefan’s secret-keeping skills with a little light strangling. Stefan assures him that no one who knows about the cure has any intention of trying to stop them from getting it, and Klaus lets him go with orders to find more vamps for Jeremy to kill. (Because he luuuurves Stefan.)
Back at Chez Salvatore, Damon wants to confab about Professor Creeps and their hunter strategy. Stefan’s not in the mood and breaks the news about him and Elena instead. Damon, in a shocking display of tact, refrains from dancing a jig or even cracking a smile. Rather than appreciating this restraint, Stefan gets pissy with him and stomps off, ignoring Damon’s offer of drunkenness and brother bonding. Oh, Stefan. Pettiness does not become you.
Caroline’s trying to give Elena some tough love about the Damon thing, but they’re interrupted by Professor Creeps, who is one of the judges for the pageant, because apparently this town always needs at least one slightly sketchy history teacher who spends all his time with teenagers and gets invited to be involved with everything in town. (I MISS ALARIC, YOU GUYS.) (Also, is the college in Mystic? I thought it was a little further out, but I guess if Grams worked there, it must be closer than I was picturing.) Anyway, Elena thinks this is a little weird and creepy as well. Look, Elena, we don’t call him Professor Creeps for nothing.
Jeremy and Cute!Matt are also on party planning duty, as always. When the former shows off his new hunter super strength, Matt — displaying more good sense than anyone else in this episode — is immediately concerned that a mystically jacked up Jeremy with a destiny to kill vamps might not make a great roommate for Elena. Jeremy brushes his fears off, saying he’d never hurt his sister.
Meanwhile, Stefan is trolling for potential victims at the hospital, having apparently decided to completely ignore Damon’s plan to use a hunter other than Jeremy to find the cure. Guess the poor cop he compels into leaving his post here is about to be fired when his prisoner is discovered missing! Oh, well. Why waste time looking for another solution when you can just turn some criminal and then have Jeremy kill him while he’s chained up and helpless? I’m sure Elena would love this idea!
Klaus finds Caroline doing party prep and makes it clear that he’s cashing in the date she owes him as her escort to the pageant. Caroline reluctantly agrees in order to protect the Tyler/Hayley ruse. Those two, by the way, are out — in a… barn? I guess? — helping the latest hybrid recruit break the bond. Hayley wants to go to the pageant, while Tyler would sooner eat vervain than subject himself to a front row seat for Caroline’s “date” with Klaus. Somewhat hilariously, the hybrid they’re helping has zero patience with them bickering over their relationship drama and orders them out. I hear you, hybrid lady.
Later that night, Jeremy wakes up from a graphic nightmare about murdering his sister to find he’s been sleep whittling that hunter symbol into a stake. (Yeah, pretty sure that’s a safety no-no, witch curse. Magic or no, the first rule of whittling is do it with your eyes open!) Jeremy looks appropriately freaked out. The next morning, he is filling Cute!Matt — who is once again the only one with any sense in the episode, by the way — in on his nightmare when he gets a text from Stefan to come out to one of Mystic’s many cave dungeons right before the party. He takes off without letting anyone know. Bad idea, Jeremy! Stop trusting vampires who want to nail your sister!
Caroline and Elena are helping April get ready. Both think the more demure of her two dresses would be best, but then Damon shows up and votes for the sexy red number instead. There is much eye-fucking between him and Elena while this conversation takes place, and at his prompting, she changes her vote to the red as well. Caroline is not pleased. Elena seems a little distracted as she leaves to chase after Damon, but upon rewatch, she also seems a little dazed. Damnit.
Downstairs, Elena catches up with him and brings up the break up. She’s being coy, but eventually admits it was over him. Damon is still a model of restraint, but admits he’s not sorry. Well, duh, Damon. They’re in the midst of an intense staring moment when Professor Creeps interrupts, and Damon reluctantly leaves Elena to go “subtly” interrogate him about where he might find another hunter. When that doesn’t work, he flat out accuses him of orchestrating the council explosion somehow. Creeps is rather hilariously indignant that he’s being accused of mass murder at a high school beauty pageant. Oh, professor. If these people had any scruples about having these conversations at high school events, nothing would ever get done.
Meanwhile, Jeremy is down in the dungeon cave with Stefan and the newbie vampire he just turned, who Stefan would like him to kill. Because he is an asshole. Jeremy is forced to stake the guy to defend himself.
Back at the party, Caroline is taking her frustrations about Elena and Damon out on all the staff. Klaus shows up, looking dapper, and immediately begins charming her. (And me. Damnit. He’s just so likeable when he’s not actively being evil!) They spot Tyler and Hayley making an entrance, the latter wearing a dress that appears to be several sizes too small for her. Caroline has to pretend to be unhappy for Klaus, but it’s clear the sight of them together really is a little bit upsetting for her.
Cute!Matt, who is Elena’s date for evening, sidles up to her as Caroline announces each of the pageant contestants and their escorts. Matty confides his concerns about Jeremy, and when it’s clear Little J is AWOL, he steps in to escort April, because he is the nicest person on this show and I love him. April does not seem terribly put out by this turn of events, I must say. Good taste, girl. The ladies and their escorts line up for the big dance, and the camera makes it clear with lots of lingering looks that both Damon and Elena are remembering their dance from season two.
But poor Elena is distracted from the sexy memories by Jeremy’s absence and failure to answer his phone. She fills Damon and Caroline in on the situation and the nightmare he had. Damon looks briefly disturbed, but pretends to be unconcerned, brushing off Elena’s and telling her to let him go look for him. When Elena listens, Caroline is again disturbed… but I have to admit I didn’t really see anything particularly strange about that the first time around. Elena usually trusted Damon when she was human, too. Perhaps foolishly at times, but this isn’t really a shocking new development. Anyway, Caroline tries to stage a “friendtervention” about how she thinks Elena’s judgment has become clouded when it comes to Damon. Elena doesn’t appreciate this.
After Elena storms off, Caroline unloads all her issues about her and Damon to Klaus, complaining that it can’t be just becoming a vampire that’s causing it, as that only amplifies who you were before. Klaus makes an offhand comment about how it will all make sense soon, which I took on first watch to simply mean it was totally obvious Elena had feelings for Damon long before she became a vampire. But (spoiler!) that’s apparently not what he meant and I hate everything about this plot. Ugh.
Damon, meanwhile, has called Stefan, having figured out exactly what Jeremy’s absence probably means. He’s also figured out that Stefan’s motives might no longer be exactly pure. Not that Damon would know a pure motive if it bite him on the ass. In the background, Jeremy’s tattoo is growing. Of course, Stefan can’t see it, and when he tries to force Jeremy to tell him how much it’s grown, Jere rather awesomely demonstrates that he can no longer be compelled and then kicks Stefan’s ass. Um, team Jeremy on this one, guys. All the way.
Tyler is displeased to catch Klaus and Caroline laughing together over her application for last year’s pageant. She asks him if he’d ever consider taking the cure himself and he tells a story about “the one time” he ever considered being human again. Klaus really is ridiculously charming sometimes. Gah! I hate that I find them hot together because he’s also terrible and I’ll lose so much respect for her if she actually gives in to him! (But still! So much chemistry in these scenes!)
Damon spots Hayley and Professor Creeps looking friendly and asks Tyler if they know each other. Tyler’s defensive, but later on, he asks her about the Prof and she claims they just met. Meanwhile, Damon catches the prof alone again and is more forceful with his questions, not even pretending to not be a vampire anymore. Creeps lays his cards on the table, explaining that even if they complete the map, they won’t be able to get the cure without the aid of a special kind of witch — a Bennett witch. And since Professor Creeps is the only one Bonnie trusts to get her powers up and going, they need him alive.
Jeremy shows up at the party and makes excuses to April. She thinks he was just nervous about the dance, but he claims to have watched a video of it a hundred times to prepare. Hee! I kind of wish we’d seen that, or Elena coaching him. The conversation soon turns weird, however, when April mentions talking to Professor Creeps about her father’s state of mind prior to the explosion. Jeremy’s eyes go all cold and intent as he stares at Elena in the background and tells April that her father and the people on the council died heroes, doing what was best for the town. Um, okay. I am really going to need someone soon to explain how killing everyone in town who knew about vampires and destroying the entire vervain supply was supposed to help the town.
Elena spots Jeremy in the crowd just as April’s crowned Miss Mystic, and follows him inside to find him cutting his palm with a stake. Jeremy tells her that Connor was right — the compulsion to kill vampires is overwhelming. Elena promises that she’s still his sister and would never hurt him — and when she takes his hand, it seems to break him out of his creepy hunter pod-personality for a second. But then she senses the blood from his cut and involuntarily vamps out a bit. Jeremy instantly goes straight back to extreme hunter mode; when he comes at her, she throws him back with enough force to knock him out — or so it seems. Turns out he was just faking to get her close enough to stab her in the neck. Eesh.
Stefan and Cute!Matt bust in and pull Jeremy away before he can go for the heart. Stefan and Elena have a bit of a moment as he removes the stake from her throat. He confesses that it’s his fault and he’s beginning to suspect that for hunters, the act of killing vampires may trigger a compulsion to kill more. YOU DON’T SAY, STEFAN.
Elena is rightfully pissed that Stefan made the executive decision to force Jeremy into murdering more people to save her soul without even asking her, and points out, predictably, that she doesn’t want her humanity back if it makes her brother lose his. Duh, Stefan. He thinks this is the only way to fix her; Elena tells him to accept this is who is now and let it go. Cue Damon, lurking for some more eye-fucking. Stefan leaves them to it.
Back at the Gilbert house, Jeremy appears to be in control of himself enough at the moment to not want to kill his sister, but also knows that them living together would be a recipe for disaster. He’s packing his bags when Cute!Matt arrives with the news that Elena has moved out and asked Matt to move in. I am reminded once again that all these kids have been somehow paying their bills and living with no legal guardians for a while now and no one seems to care. (Or is Elena now 18? Time moves to slowly on this show, I have a hard time keeping track.)
Jeremy wants to know where Elena’s gone, as if he couldn’t guess. Because of course she’s at Chez Salvatore. Granted, they have the room. (And the requisite awkwardness!) Stefan tells her she can sleep wherever she wants, then makes himself scarce, as any sane person with super hearing would do in this situation.
Out at the barn, the hybrid from earlier has finally forced the change enough times to break the sire bond. We see Hayley reporting this to… Professor Creeps! With whom she is apparently in cahoots! DUN! She tells him that when it all goes down, she wants to leave Tyler out of it. He makes no promises. Intriguing!
While Stefan heads over to Caroline for some more girl-talk and moping, Elena and Damon cozy up for whisky, commiseration over homicidal brothers, and their usual round of episode-ending sexual tension. Damon tells Elena she’s never seemed more alive, and they slow dance the way they didn’t get a chance to at the pageant that afternoon.
Meanwhile, Caroline complains bitterly that Stefan and Elena are epic soul mates and he shouldn’t give up, and… I’m sorry, but I just can’t with this crap. Caroline can and should hate Damon forever for all the ways he abused her in season one. But she never puts her objections to him in those terms! In fact, the show seems to have forgotten all about that time period completely, and I would really rather it didn’t, given that issues of vampire ethics and consent are not really the writers’ strong suit. As we’ll see in a minute.
Caroline wonders why Klaus cares about the cure anyway, and Stefan casually answers that he wants Elena to be human so he can harvest her blood for more hybrids. Well, I’m glad to hear that someone realizes the giant flaw in this little alliance, but it would be nice if either Caroline or Stefan registered any concern about how they will keep immortal, invincible, immensely powerful Klaus from just taking Elena as soon as she’s cured.
Instead, Caroline quips that he’ll need more hybrids soon because Tyler and Hayley have nearly freed all the existing ones… which causes a light bulb to go off in her head. As we watch Damon twirl Elena into a hot and heavy make out session, Caroline puts the pieces together that all of Elena’s “strange” behavior — including her inability to drink from anything but the vein — makes sense if she’s sire bonded to Damon, and basically obeying anything he says.
DO NOT WANT, SHOW.
Really? That’s where we’re going with this?
First of all, I have huge issues with the way Elena’s attraction and affection for Damon is being framed like a completely new, post-vamp development, instead of a steadily growing main theme of the last three seasons, culminating with her admitting as a human that she loved both him and Stefan nearly equally at the end of last year.
Second, if the sire bond thing ends up being the reason for them sleeping together, then that is rape. And I have zero faith in these writers to call it what it is or deal with the consequences sensitively, given their lousy track record on the subject. And even if it turns out Damon had no idea — which I certainly hope is true — it casts an unnecessarily gross pall over their relationship and I’m not entertained by the prospect at all. Ew.
Next time: Flashbacks! Lexi! Damon in a WWII uniform!