Previously on Vampire Diaries: Katherine was dying.
Welcome to the 100th episode! This is extremely late, so mea culpa. I can only plead extenuating personal life, because this was one of the few episodes I’ve actually enjoyed this season. The theme of which is: everything that’s ever happened on this show is Katherine’s fault.
We open on a flashback to Nadia’s birth, only to have her immediately taken away by her grandfather while Katherine screams and begs in the background. Back in the present, she’s in the hospital following her collapse at the end of the last episode. But there’s nothing to be done, so Stefan’s bringing her home to Chez Salvatore to die in (relative) peace.
Damon, meanwhile, has spent the night drinking away his epic manpain over the break up with Elena. I ROLL MY EYES FOREVER. But that doesn’t stop him from proposing some hair of the dog once he hears the news about Katherine: everyone takes a shot of bourbon for the worst thing she’s ever done to them, then takes another shot any time anyone else lists something worse. Don’t try this at home, folks.
OR YOU WILL DEFINITELY DIE
Jeremy reminisces about that fun time she fed him to Silas and then caused a car crash that nearly killed him a second time. (Or third, fourth, fifth–listen, Jeremy’s died a lot, you guys, and I’ve kind of lost count.) Damon drinks to her letting him spend over a century thinking she was locked in that crypt. Cute!Matt blames her for Vicki’s death. Which… okay? I guess? If you squint really, really hard? Damon is 100% behind shifting the blame for every shitty thing he’s ever done back to Katherine, because of course he is.
Things get a bit awkward with Elena’s arrival, but she gamely powers through the break up tension to submit her own numerous entries in the “Terrible Shit Katherine’s Done to Me” sweepstakes. Caroline accurately notes that while Katherine did kill her… she’s oddly better off now.
WELL, SHE’S NOT WRONG
Nadia interrupts the festivities to announce she’s kidnapped Cute!Matt and buried him alive somewhere on the grounds, which is just her charming way of asking for help finding a Traveler teacher to save Katherine. (Poor Cute!Matt. Do you think he ever gets tired of being the Mystic Falls butt-monkey?)
But it’s really all a big double cross, because Nadia’s already made a deal with the Travelers, and Elena and Stefan are the payment. Fortunately, all the Travelers really want is to chant creepily at them and take a bucket of their sweet, sweet doppelgänger blood before letting them go. (I’m sure that won’t come back to haunt every one in some horrible way by season’s end!)
The whole thing is made slightly awkward, though, since the beans, re: Katherine and Stefan’s tryst got spilled back at the house.
I don’t know what is says about me that Elena and Stefan sniping bitchily at each other is ONE THOUSAND TIMES more entertaining than any of the times they were actually together as a couple, but there it is. In the end, Stefan talks her around by being mature and charming, talking about forgiveness and giving good advice to Elena about Damon. I don’t know what to do with likeable Stefan. I really don’t.
Meanwhile, Caroline, Bonnie and Jeremy are out fruitlessly searching the grounds for Cute!Matt. But these kids are now so blasé about mortal peril that they’re actually spending more time gossiping about the group’s sex lives than anything else. Poor Caroline laments that everyone but her is having scandalous sex. Right on cue: Klaus shows up!
He claims to be there to gloat at Katherine on her deathbed, but he also knows about the big Tyler break up, so I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about motive. Regardless, Caroline punctures his bubble of smugness by explaining that Tyler chose revenge over her, and she has no time for any other man who is similarly focused.
They bicker and banter back and forth with their usual dance of him trying to bait her into admitting she likes him and her shutting him down. Ugh, I hate their stupid chemistry.
Back at Chez Salvatore, Damon’s feeling extremely sorry for himself and getting his rocks off by torturing Katherine, forcing her to relive the memory of the day Klaus murdered her family.
Damon applauds Klaus’ style, because even though he’s perfectly fine blaming Katherine for every bad thing he’s ever done since she turned him, he can’t quite make the mental leap to blame Klaus for all the crap he set in motion by forcing her to run from him all those years.
Speaking of Klaus, he magnanimously offers to give up getting his “revenge” on Katherine, and to leave and never return if Caroline will just once tell him the truth about her feelings. There’s something extra gross about his cheerful revenge talk juxtaposed with such a graphic reminder of all the torment he’s already put Katherine through.
(I guess killing her entire family and forcing her to spend 500 years on the run just wasn’t enough revenge for him? But then, we are talking about a man whose entire “grievance” in the first place amounts to a teenage girl thwarting his desire to murder her, so… shut up, Klaus.)
Caroline tells him she’s still at the beginning of her life and has plans that definitely don’t include him and all his drama. But she’ll be honest with him just this once, if he promises to leave and never make her feel awkward feelings again. And then they have crazy SCANDALOUS tree sex. As you do.
It’s all extremely satisfying, and I’m glad they gave us some closure on the big, long tease of that relationship. But I’m equally glad they made it clear it was a one time deal, because clearly having his own show has done nothing to give Klaus any real growth as a person, and I would honestly have lost all respect for Caroline if she’d been able to overlook that reality.
But moral qualms aside… this was really, really hot, people. Let’s enjoy it for a moment, shall we?
I’LL BE IN MY BUNK
In case you were feeling a little concerned about Cute!Matt, rest assured: Klaus also brought Rebekah with him. For… reasons? I mean, she doesn’t give a crap about Katherine, so I don’t know why she would have come, but it’s the 100th episode, so whatever. She finds Matt and they have a cute, five second long reunion. Hi, Rebekah! Bye, Rebekah!
Back in Katherine’s head, she switches the memory to the first time she saw Stefan… and swooned over his handsomeness. Hah. To repay this reminder of their special doppelgänger destiny, Damon mind whammies her into seeing Jenna and John, who stab her and cut off her fingers, respectively.
And then–and then! Elijah busts in to save her! The sounds of my own high pitched squealing must have drowned it out, but I assume a heavenly choir started singing at the sight of his perfect face? Only not really, because: hahaha, that was just Damon being an asshole again. THANKS FOR THAT, SHOW.
THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS
(Since I haven’t been watching The Originals, I don’t know if there’s a good reason why Elijah couldn’t have left New Orleans with his siblings. But assuming there wasn’t… not cool, Elijah.)
In any case, Nadia’s the one who actually busts in to snap Damon’s neck, which is far less than he deserved for tormenting Katherine me that way. Nadia wants Katherine to jump into her body, which takes mother/daughter closeness to a whole new level. But Katherine gently and movingly turns her down, explaining that she’s lived a long life, and it’s time now for Nadia to move on and live her own.
Damon wakes up just in time to hear this selfless gesture, and it sort of takes the wind out of his sails, re: torturing her further.
Which is good, because Stefan’s back! He shoots Katherine up with some pain killers and takes her back into her head — and seriously, now Stefan can do the mind meld thing too? I guess everyone can! Why not? That’s certainly not the kind of thing I’d expect people to be using all the time if they could! (Ugh, this show.)
ANYWAY. They end up back at the memory of her dead family from earlier. Katherine tearfully tells him that this was the worst day of her life, and she thinks Damon’s right that every bad thing that’s ever happened to her was her fault.
Stefan reminds her she was just a young girl, and that none of this was her fault. (The look of pure compassion on Paul Wesley’s face here kind of killed me?) He erases her dead parents from the memory, and then baby Nadia appears, the scene fading to white as Katherine finally gets to hold her daughter. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit I was full on bawling by the end.
ERROR. FEELS OVERLOAD
You guys… I think Stefan is my favorite character in this episode? It’s not that anyone else is wrong to cheer for Katherine’s death. (Well, except Klaus. Shut up, Klaus.) But it says something really important about Stefan that he’s able to look past all that and mourn for the innocent girl she used to be. After all, what really separates 17 year old Katerina from 17 year old Elena other than access to modern plumbing and a whole network of people dedicated to keeping her safe? So, basically… TEAM STEFAN.
(I know. I felt weird typing that, too.)
When Stefan surfaces, Elena is there. He tells her Katherine’s still alive, but will never wake up again. Elena stays to sit with her alone, because OF COURSE she does. And just when I was beginning to hope I was wrong about where this was all headed, too. At this point, the only thing they could have done to shock me would been to let Katherine actually die. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Outside, Stefan and Damon confab; Stefan gives some more good advice to Damon about getting over his stupid issues and fears about destiny with Elena. 10+ points for emotional maturity for Stefan!
The rest of the gang gathers inside to wait for the end, which they assume they’ll know when Katherine’s spirit appears to Bonnie. This segues into an admission that ghost!Vicki is kind of always just hanging around, watching over Matt, but Bonnie doesn’t mention it because it’s kind of weird.
(Um, okay. So where was she an hour ago when he was buried alive out in the lawn? You had one job, ghost!Vicki. ONE JOB.)
Before we can all think to hard about the creepiness of all our dead relatives just constantly and invisibly watching us, Tyler comes in. Because Rebekah brought him? I don’t even know, you guys. 100th episode! Go with it! Caroline, who wandered in a few minutes before, still buttoning her shirt and plucking leaves out of her hair, makes a great OH SHIT face at his entrance.
And finally, just as I’m preparing an epic rant about how they blew their entire budget on guest star cameos and left out the one I wanted most: ALARIC! Who pretty much admits he’s given up on that whole finding peace business because he could never just leave Damon alone. Damon can’t see him, but raises a glass in his boyfriend’s honor. OH, BUDDY FEELINGS.
Suddenly, Katherine’s spirit appears in the living room — and promptly freaks out and wills herself back to life. Damn, girl. Elena’s sitting vigil at her bedside to bestow some last minute forgiveness, having taken Stefan’s words to heart. And of course, Katherine lulls her into a false sense of security and OF COURSE she uses the Traveler spell to send her soul into Elena’s body.
Almost immediately, Nadia calls, confirming this was the plan all along. Which seems… dicey? I mean, how exactly did they know she’d be alone with Elena at the right time? That was pure chance! Oh, whatever. (100th Episode! Going with it!)
Next time: Damon steals the body. So many inappropriate sex jokes I could be making, but I’ll refrain.