|Alaric is getting revenge for how many times he's been killed!|
The episode begins with Elena cheerfully waking up in her bed. She turns up some music and dresses in her cheerleading outfit. Aunt Jenna and Elena’s mother are there. Jeremy, fourteen, has not so subtly locked himself in the bathroom. Then Elena wakes up in a hospital bed. Meredith assures Jeremy that, other than a concussion, Elena is okay. The “concussion” is an excuse for flashbacks. She asks Jeremy if he wants to call anyone. He looks annoyed because he realizes he should probably call the Salvatores.
The brothers tell Jeremy to bring Elena home. For once Jeremy has done the right thing, but he can’t win. Calling 911 is not the answer when Elena is linked to the life of a dangerous vampire killer. Damon thanks Stefan for not being the stupidest brother ever, and Stefan says that one of them must hide Klaus so Alaric doesn’t kill him and the rest of his bloodline. Damon puts it very well when he says that their life is one big proverbial coin toss.
Elena’s friends, sans Bonnie, usher her home. Caroline tucks her into the couch and gets her tea and vodka (a good mix after a concussion, I’m sure). Elena dreams about her relationship with Matt. Back in the day when Caroline bugged her, Bonnie thought Elena and Matt were sweet, but Elena should be honest about her feelings. She wakes up to see Matt. Elena apologizes for stringing them along, and now leading on the Salvatores. She thinks she must decide what she wants and let one of them go. Stefan arrives and comforts her. It seems as though she always will love Stefan, even if she also loves Damon.
Alaric shows up to check on his ward. He also empties Meredith’s vampire blood vials and says they will suspend her medical license. I would feel worse for Meredith if Alaric’s words about the inefficiency of the vampire council weren’t so true. Alaric goes to the bar where he meets Jeremy. Alaric makes Jeremy a tempting proposition. Help him find Klaus’s body and free Elena and everyone else from a world of vampires. He says that Jeremy had better be on the right side of this. Alaric even suggests that Bonnie trap or desiccate him until Elena dies.
|RIP Elena Gilbert the human.|
Elena doesn’t want to be coddled by her ex-boyfriends, and she doesn’t want to follow Matt’s reasonable suggestion that she move. Stefan tells Matt that he really appreciates free will after losing it. Then who should show up but the wonderful Elijah. He wants to know where Klaus’s body is, but he promises not to revive him for decades, perhaps centuries (to teach him manners and keep Elena and her immediate descendants safe). He plans to lead Alaric around the world on a wild goose chase until Elena dies. Damon is on speakerphone, and he is adamantly opposed to Elijah’s “word.” He’s sure Elijah’s “lunatic siblings” will kill Elena once they get the chance. Elijah notes that he could have immediately killed Elena, but he didn’t. Stefan leaves it up to her. Elena agrees.
Jeremy tells Matt about Alaric’s offer. The two of them want to whisk Elena away. Jeremy says that even if he wanted to help Alaric, he doesn’t know where Klaus’s body is. Plot twist of the century: Matt does. Jeremy calls Alaric (still drinking, even in the afterlife) to tell him that Damon plans to bury Klaus in the woods off route 12. Everyone else is in on Jeremy’s little prank. He thinks Alaric bought it, but is he really that stupid?
Mrs. Forbes and Mrs. Lockwood tell Tyler and Caroline that Alaric outed them to the council. Their two children have to leave town. Caroline agrees to run away with Tyler (forever?) after they help their friends. They plan to meet up in two hours. Their supernatural if tragic bond seems too good to be true. I have a bad feeling about Tyler’s survival. After claiming that every bad idea stems from Elena, Damon leads Bonnie to a warehouse where Klaus is stored (irony). Klaus’s eyes creepily pop open. He seems to be sentient. She asks for a moment to tell Klaus off and rationalize letting him out of their sight. Elena frets about Bonnie and Damon, but Stefan promises to do what he can to keep everyone safe. She wants to say something but says they can talk later. “In case there is no later,” he kisses her. You can tell he wonders if it is the last time.
Damon points out yet again that it’s better Elena hate him and live than like him and die. Of course, Stefan is trying to keep her alive, too. Damon plans to meet “sexy Beks,” but instead is put in a headlock by Alaric who asks where Klaus is. (Thanks to Alaric’s stellar leadership, the police are now model law enforcers.) Damon says he’s in one of the thousand lockers. For some reason, Alaric knocks him out, making Damon incapable of helping but perfectly capable of continuing to plot Alaric’s demise in the future. I guess he wants bodyguards for Elena.
|Don't trust those puppy dog eyes.|
Matt is a remarkable ex-boyfriend. He listens to Elena talk about how Stefan saved her life and helped her live again after her accident and parents’ death. (Stefan also helped her relive that, but Elena doesn’t want to go down that memory lane.) He makes her glad to be alive. But apparently her feelings for Damon are all consuming when she’s with him. I honestly didn’t know that until this moment. I kind of wish they had showed that more. I’d seen attraction and affection in her eyes, but overwhelming, passionate love? She wishes her mother were there to advise her.
She remembers her mother’s advice when she had a fight with Matt. Her mom said that Elena had to be honest and set Matt free. She wasn’t going to lose him. Er, how does she know that? I know some people remain friends with exes, but I am not best buddies with mine, and I don’t think that’s completely abnormal. Elena wakes up in a pickup truck with Matt. Apparently he drugged her with tea so he could take her out of town. Elena’s reaction is hilarious; yet another male is trying to control her?!
Rebekah goes to meet Damon but, in spite of being one of the oldest vampires on the planet, can hear neither Alaric nor Damon. In fact, Damon even does the “grab from behind and cover her mouth for her own good” thing. Give me a break. This episode has had an “I want to protect you” from Tyler to Caroline, from Jeremy and Matt to Elena, from everyone to Elena, and now Damon has to protect a thousand year old vampire because… she’s a woman? I’ve often liked the strong women in The Vampire Diaries, but they are doing a good job of trying to undermine them. If this were Elijah, Damon would not be doing the sexy grab thing. Anyway, Alaric stops them from removing Klaus and stabs Klaus in the heart. Klaus burns and Rebekah cries (Claire Holt is always so good) before Damon tells her to run and chivalrously stands up to Alaric who just tosses him out of the way.
Damon calls Stefan to tell him the bad news. A teary eyed Stefan knows that his brother might die without, as Damon puts it, saying his “epic goodbye” to him. Stefan wishes Damon could say goodbye to Elena. He feebly mutters that Klaus was lying about him being their sire. Jeremy confesses that Elena isn’t at home. Caroline and Elijah show up. In a scene reminiscent of Elena’s joy ride with Stefan, Elena begs that Matt turn back. Matt tearfully says that they are close enough to Damon so that she can choose whether to say goodbye to Damon or Stefan. She might choose to go to Stefan just to say goodbye to three rather than one of her friends.
|Elena's life has passion, adventure, and way, way too much danger.|
Elena calls Damon to say goodbye because she is indeed going home to see Stefan and her friends. Damon still asks her who she would choose to bid farewell between the two brothers. This choice seems rather sadistic. Elena says that she loved Stefan immediately and she still does. Though she cares for Damon, and maybe would feel differently if she met him first (presumably not in his sociopathic incarnation?), she has to let him go. A crying Elena insists that Damon will survive this. Also, Alaric shows up and punches Damon.
Caroline, bawling her eyes out runs to “Tyler.” She tells him that Klaus is dead. Tyler gives her a speech reminiscent of Elena’s: she has a beautiful future ahead of her, and she is strong. He wants her to tell his mother that he ran off. He feels pain and starts to transform into a wolf. Caroline doesn’t feel anything. He tells her to go, and she finally does. I actually shed tears here, but it turns out the writers completely trolled me on this one. One of my favorite couples was usurped by the only couple on the show that physically repulses me. I’ll get to that later.
Elena tells Matt about Tyler. He starts to freak out. She tries to calm him down, and he poignantly says that this isn’t how their lives were supposed to be. A red-faced Rebekah shows up in the woods. She and Elijah embrace. There is something very tragic about seeing these strong, old creatures mourn their helplessness and inability to save their (crazy) brother. Elijah says that Tyler is dead (is he?!), but why are the others alive? The two of them are sure that Klaus was their originator.
In a big WTF twist which has somehow been done before, we discover that Bonnie has transferred Klaus’s spirit into Tyler. So either Tyler is dead or he’s in that special place possessed people go on this show. Bonnie says she did it for her family and friends, but no one is going to be pushing her around anymore. You go girl.
|Wasn't my advice just as good as your mom's?|
Rebekah calls Stefan to tell him that the deal is clearly off, with Klaus dead. She doesn’t want to spend any more of her life running. She stands in middle of the bridge, causing Matt to veer off into the water. We see Elena struggling for air as her father tries to escape. They’re under water. He says that they will be fine. Alaric beats up Damon (instead of just killing him?) and says that their friendship made him weak.
Apparently, Elena really did meet Damon first. Damon remembers meeting her before her parents died. He mistakes her for Katherine before advising her that she wants an all-consuming love with a little bit of danger. I had assumed her love for Stefan was pretty strong (and hey, he was the mysterious guy) when they first got together, but hey, no reason not to rewrite the past on this show. He then compels her to forget their meeting.
Scenes of Elena struggling in the water in the past are split with present scenes. This is all beautifully shot, and the Sigur Ros song is gorgeous. But I am distracted by Elena yelling “Matt,” “Dad,” and “I love you,” when she should be saving her air. In the past, Stefan shows up like Aquaman and saves an unconscious Elena. In the present, he and she take way too long silently arguing who he should save. Can’t he save them both? He’s a super powered vampire. She insists he save Matt first, and he does. She looks satisfied but slips into unconsciousness. CPR, anyone?
Alaric tries to stake Damon, but Damon overpowers Alaric. Damon realizes that the only reason Alaric is growing weaker is because Elena is dying. Damon panics: “You are not dead!” Vampire ghost Alaric says goodbye to Jeremy and says that he will always be there for him. Jeremy realizes that his sister must be dead. Stefan cries by Elena’s dead body at the hospital. Stefan, you really did fail on this one. You are incredibly fast and strong, and yet you couldn’t save two people at once? He should have saved Elena’s family, too, I guess. Damon is enraged. Meredith proves herself a huge liar because she downplayed the severity of Elena’s brain damage. Meredith gave her vampire blood to survive. I guess that’s what happens when you just go around healing people with vampire blood. If they happen to die, Meredith really is breeding more vampires, without anyone’s consent. I mean, sure, it’s good they’re alive, but she really is a horrible doctor. As we’ve seen some people would rather die than become a bloodthirsty creature of the night. Elena gasps to life. She is a vampire. No longer is this a story of a human girl caught between two vampires.