Previously on Vampire Diaries: Klaus stole my sweet honeybear, Elijah, off to New Orleans, where there’s a witch/vampire war a-brewin’ and Hayley has a supernatural bun in the oven. In spite of that, it didn’t actually suck. (I know! We were shocked too!)
We open back in Mystic, with Damon and Stefan’s latest attempt at breaking Elena out of her emotionless funk. Simply starving her hasn’t been working, so this time, Damon has managed to get inside her head to make her think she’s at school with her friends, about to graduate.
(Has he always been able to do this? Because I thought he needed Sage to get into Rebekah’s head last year because these kinds of tricks weren’t something every vamp could do. I mean, whatever; in the pilot he could turn into mist and control animals, so clearly they’re not wedded to consistent rules of vampiracy.) (And… I just cracked myself up typing the word “consistent” in relation to this show’s world-building, so let’s just move on.)
In any case, the failed trip to Damon’s high school fantasy land is followed by a visit from Caroline in real life, which only gives Elena another chance to drop some deliciously mean truth about various subjects ranging from how pathetic she finds vampires caring about high school (WORD, Elena) to Caroline’s lack of love life, and relationship with her mother.
So it’s time to move onto plan D (or E? F? P? Honestly, I’ve lost track of the plans by now): torture her into feeling some negative emotions instead.
Meanwhile, having lost her chance at the cure, Rebekah is having a solo pity party at the only bar in town, where dear, sweet, underage Cute!Matt just happens to be getting off his shift. Matt being himself, he offers her some sincere sympathy… until she starts whining about how she knows he wanted Elena to have it anyway.
Which prompts poor Matt to let loose an actual tirade (for him, at least) about how he’s broke and failing his classes and basically trapped in this terrible town that brings him nothing but pain. OH, MATTY! (Warning: this is but the first of many times this episode will be giving you Matt feels.) Rebekah seems chastened as he storms off to go check on operation: re-humanify Elena.
Caroline has called Bonnie, who’s sitting alone in a diner, to beg her to come over to the Salvatores’ for moral support while the best friend who recently tried to kill them both is tortured. Bonnie’s like, “um… pass.” She tells Caroline it’s because she’s not ready to forgive Elena just yet, but it turns out it’s actually because she’s meeting with Katherine for some clandestine plotting.
Back at Chez Salvatore: Elena’s boyfriends have her tied up in the living room for some fun sunlight bondage games. Her veneer of indifference seems like it’s finally starting to crack into a little anger, but not nearly enough.
Outside the house, Caroline is distracting herself by telling Matt she ordered graduation gowns for both him and Elena (aw!) when Rebekah shows up, bearing burgers and an offer to help Matt study as a peace offering.
Caroline, who has somehow managed to hold onto Valedictorian on top of all the supernatural bullshit in their lives AND planning every single social event in town, reacts to the news that Matt’s failing his classes by immediately launching into an elaborate and enthusiastic study plan:
REBEKAH: You dated that?
MATT: [shrugging] She likes projects.
On her way back home to get her study guides and flash cards (hee! again!) Caroline senses something in the woods and does that stupid thing everyone in every horror movie does where they stand around like a moron, saying “Hello?” like anything that answers could possibly be anything good. Case in point: this time, it’s Klaus! Only not really, because it’s actually Silas wearing Klaus’ face, duh.
They do get me for a moment with talk of New Orleans and how “Klaus” wants Caroline to come back with him and psychoanalyzing how she’s really afraid of herself and her own reactions to him. But as soon as he starts quoting things Elena just taunted her about, the jig is up. Silas wants Caroline to find Bonnie for him, since she hasn’t been taking his calls since their cave meeting.
Except Caroline doesn’t actually know where Bonnie is, and likely wouldn’t tell him even if she did. So he stabs her. Damn. It’s weirdly hard to watch “Klaus” torturing her, even though he’s actually hurt her plenty while in his own body, so… ugh, these two. WHY DO I STILL LIKE THEM SO MUCH?
Bonnie is at that very moment making a deal with Katherine: she wants Silas’ tombstone, which Katherine took off the island. And in exchange, she’ll make it worth her while. Mysterious!
Torture time! Elena taunts Damon about how she never really loved him; it was all just the sire bond. Then, because she is a bad ass, she manages to get free of her ropes and runs full on into the sunlight — forcing the boys to frantically put her out with a fire extinguisher. Which was her point all along: they love her too much to actually allow her to be permanently hurt. Time for plan G: bring in someone Elena might actually be afraid of.
One of the many classes Cute!Matt is failing is Italian, which I can only assume is a reference to the books, in which Katherine and the Salvatores are less Southern Gothic and more Eurotrash-lite. Rebekah thinks the only reason he’s failing is that he spends all his time caught up in his crappy friends’ drama. (True!) She offers to be a better friend by compelling him into the grades and college of his dreams. Oh, so close, Beks… In spite of himself, Matt seems oddly touched.
But their tender moment is broken by Katherine’s arrival. Matt’s not down with the Katherine torture plan at all and storms off to call Caroline… who wakes up in the woods to “Matt” frantically telling her to come with him. Except it’s not Matt, of course. Silas stalks her with vision after vision, threatening to kill someone she loves most. Caroline finally manages to get away — mostly because Silas is clearly letting her — and falls right into his trap by leaving a frantic message for Bonnie and then heading home to protect her mother.
Katherine and Elena mean girl show down! Katherine wants to know what Elena said to Elijah that convinced him to leave her.
ELENA: I didn’t have to say anything. Look at you, self-absorbed ego maniac, on the run for five centuries. What good would you be to anyone? You’re the definition of damaged goods.
KATHERINE: I’ve done some pretty horrible things to survive. But unlike you — poor delicate Elena — I don’t turn it off. I deal with it. You wouldn’t last a week as a vampire without everyone fawning over you.
And then she leaves the door open so Elena can run off and have to deal with the guilt of eating an orphanage. Oh, Katherine. You complete me.
Upstairs, she and Damon snark about each other’s romantic failures until Stefan comes storming in with the news that Elena’s escaped. Damon takes off with Cute!Matt to look for her.
Meanwhile, Caroline arrives home to find her mother, and verifies it’s really her by calling her cell phone. Um. I’m sensing a flaw in this plan. Bonnie, responding to Caroline’s frantic messages, shows up at the house and immediately sees it’s Silas, not Liz. Real!Liz is lying bloody on the floor. (Oh, yeah. There’s that flaw!)
Elena has managed to stumble out into the woods somewhere, but she’s looking pretty rough. Luckily for her, here comes a car! And it’s Cute!Matt! All alone and unprotected! Oh, God. This is going to break me, isn’t it?
Elena immediately starts to vamp out but Matt talks her down by reminding her that she’s his oldest friend, “the girl that he’s loved longer than he can remember,” and she doesn’t really want to hurt him. Elena admits that deep down, that probably does mean something. But she’s really hungry.
Bonnie promises Silas that she’s still planning to help him, so long as he doesn’t hurt her friends. He tells her that promise is binding (uh-oh) and orders her to leave with him… leaving Caroline behind, desperately begging “mommy” to be all right. (This is about the point where I was already sobbing, which meant there was no chance of making it through the next scene in any sort of rational state of mind.)
Back in the woods, Cute!Matt is laying on the ground, bleeding as he weakly begs Elena not to take any more blood. But she’s still hungry and going back in for another pint when the Salvatores finally show up. While Stefan hold Elena back, Damon grabs Matt by the scruff of his neck, telling her she’s acting like a spoiled brat and promising to punish Matt for it since they can’t punish her.
Elena calls his bluff. So Damon snaps Matt’s neck.
NOPE. NOT OKAY WITH THIS AT ALL.
I think Elena and my face made the same expression here, even though I was 99.9% sure he had the ring on and wasn’t really dead dead. (You don’t do that to Cute!Matt, people! That’s like setting a puppy on fire or something!)
But at least we are finally getting a modified yellow crayon moment, which is admittedly one of my favorite things ever, so…
DAMON: [crouching over Matt’s body] How about now? You feel anything now? You angry I just turned your buddy into road kill? Or are you sad that the guy that everybody loves is just a bag of bones? Remember when he was just a little kid? Huh? Warm heart, big goofy smile, his whole life ahead of him… [over Elena gasping and crying] Guess it was a good idea that he was wearing this.
And of course, Matt’s wearing the immortality ring, and Elena and I are both filled with snot and FEELS as Damon tells her she’s now feeling joy and relief and humanity again. Stefan seems surprised too — although can’t tell if it’s surprise at her show of emotion or because he wasn’t in on the plan.
Elena sits, gasping and crying and stroking Matt’s face for a moment until Damon tries to assure her that she’s okay.
…which is when she starts flipping out over murdering that waitress and almost killing all her friends. Stefan, who’s old hat at this by now, orders her to find just one thing to focus on. It seems to be working — they stare intensely at each other as Damon backs away, and we’re clearly supposed to think it’s her love of Stefan that she’s focusing on. (Spoiler! It’s not!)
Back at the other plotline that’s trying to break me, Caroline’s trying to feed her mother her blood but it’s not working. So she injects some directly into her heart. And… it’s still not working. I was MUCH less sure about Liz’s survival the first time around, I have to say, so there might have been some serious begging and sobbing from both Caroline and I right about now.
But then she wakes up! Yay! I don’t want to live in a world without Sheriff Liz, folks.
Cute!Matt is also waking up with a gasp on the Salvatore couch. Rebekah’s standing watch, looking more fascinated than anything. But she gives him the good news about Elena and calls him brave for doing what he did. Matt reminds her that Elena saved his life last year when Rebekah ran them off the bridge. She sincerely apologizes for her part in everything that’s happened since and promises to help him without compulsion, if that’s what he wants. That’s… sweet? Matt seems to think so, at least.
Katherine and Bonnie meet again for the tombstone hand off — Katherine’s deduced that the reason Bonnie wants it is because it’s filled with her ancestor’s blood, which will give her enough power to drop the veil any time she wants, not just during the full moon. Bonnie makes her offer: once she drops the veil, she can get the immortality spell from Qetsiyah and use it on Katherine, and then she’ll never have to run from anyone ever again. They have a deal.
Elena tells the boys that she understands now how the humanity switch is a cheat. But not to worry, she seems to have found a new purpose — or focus, if you will. Trouble is, it’s killing the one person she now blames for every single terrible thing that happened to all of them: Katherine, of course! Damon and Stefan’s “ooooooh shit” faces are kind of priceless here. Yeah. You suck at this, boys.
Next time: hell on Earth! Kol resurrected, damnit! Goofy looking prosthetics! Elena on the warpath!