I don't even know where to begin on this episode, so I think I'll do things the Holly-way, which is step by step, in order, from Scene One.
In Which Damon asks for Forgiveness: We open in the Gilbert House (I guess the Mystic Falls gang thinks they are now safe from Klaus? I know he got what he wants, but still, dude is nuts. I'd move everyone into Casa Salvatore, just to be safe). Elena looks in on a sleeping Jeremy and sadly into Jenna's empty bed before running into Damon in the hallway. He's there to ask her forgiveness for forcing his blood on her. She tells him she needs time.
I thought this scene was just beautiful and simple. The audience knows that Damon (theoretically since we also know Somerhalder is going nowhere) has no time to wait for her forgiveness, and its very telling of his feelings for Elena that he doesn't tell her about his bite in order to get what he wants from her. I think that shows the growth of his character over time. Damon's demeanor here is also very different than pretty much anything we've seen before. He's so gentle and calm with her, no biting comments at all.
In Which Stefan Sows the Seeds of his own Destruction: Damon heads back to the mansion, where he has his priorities in order: Elena and then a stiff drink. After fixing that drink, he wanders over to the window, opens the curtains to let the sun in and takes off his ring. Of course, Stefan speeds in, tackles him, and manhandles him down to the cellar where he locks him up, promising that he'll find a cure and that he has Bonnie looking for something.
I'm not all together certain that Damon intended to kill himself right that minute. I tend to think he was taking the whole 'burning to death' thing for a test drive before he really had to do it. I would hope he'd have a few more goodbyes to say before he really kicked the bucket. Surely he'd at least tell Stefan goodbye first?
In Which Klaus and Elijah have Incestuous Sexual Tension in the Woods: We cut to Klaus, naked in the forest, awakening after what Elijah tells him was two days. Klaus can change at will and remembers all his kills, which Elijah has been cleaning up. There's some slashfic tension going on as Elijah helps Klaus dress. They reaffirm their bargain of Klaus reuniting Elijah with their family.
At this point, I think Elijah had to be realizing that he might not have made the best decision in letting Klaus live, but he's kind of stuck with it, as Klaus reminds him that he's pretty much unkillable now. I'm curious though, about the plausibility of simply containing Klaus in someway, bricking him up somewhere perhaps.
In Which Alaric feels the pull of The Bromance: Over at the Grill, Alaric is drunkenly getting the bartender to just give him the bottle. His phone rings, and he tells Stefan "I'm sorry, you've reached someone who is currently not operating." He is clearly agitated at being locked up last week, as his response to Stefan's plea for help is met with snark. However, he quickly asks what Stefan needs when he hears that Damon is dying from a wolf bite.
I love that they gave Alaric some bitterness over being kept out of everything while Jenna died. He's got to be tired of being in the background and I hope that this shakeup with Jenna means more action for Alaric. Also, the Alaric/Damon bromance is one of my favorite things ever, so my heart just melted when Alaric totally wanted to step up to help Damon, despite how much helping these people has screwed up his life.
In Which Caroline Is Her Caroline Self: In the town square, girls are dressed as Scarlett as the Falls gears up for a showing of Gone With the Wind. Elena and Jeremy walk up, with Jer bitching about attending the movie, but Elena is having none of it, insisting that they have to just keep living their lives until doing so becomes normal again. Caroline arrives and gives Jeremy a fantastic little speech on how they've made it through the war and will persevere like Scarlett.
I love Candice Accola so much and her portrayal Caroline is just a breath of fresh air on this show. Despite all the bad stuff they just went through, including finding out her mother knows about her fangy problem, she's able to remain positive and hope that the three of them can have a normal day watching a movie. Of course, they don't know what we know, sadly.
In Which Damon's Cure is Predictable: Over at the Witchy Juju House of Burning, Stefan and Bonnie do a seance to ask Emily and the other witches about a cure for Damon's bite. Emily, because she hates Damon, refuses to answer, but Bonnie pulls a name out of the witches whispering: Klaus.
This was predictable but at least I was assured that we weren't done with the Klaus/Elijah part of the storyline for this season. At some point though, we're going to have to lose this witchy resource, though, otherwise its just going to always provide the easy resolution to the gang's problems.
In Which I Really Don't Care about Mama Lockwood: The mayor confronts the Sheriff about her lack of progress in the vampire arena and the Sheriff is noticeably defensive.
I'll be honest, I've no idea what the motivation for this scene was beyond giving the Sheriff motivation for the actions she takes later on. I mean, what "results" is the mayor referring to? Are there dead bodies in the Falls that we've not heard about? Other than the one girl that Damon killed, we've not seen any victims. I had assumed that the Sheriff hadn't told anyone about Damon, Stefan, and Caroline being vamps, so I'm just confused about where the mayor's dissatisfaction is coming from (other than the fact that she's widowed, has no boyfriend and one working arm).
In Which Stefan does the Right, Difficult Thing: Stefan pulls Elena away from the picnic to tell her what's happened with Damon. Her first thought is about how she refused him forgiveness earlier that day. Stefan tells her that he thought she should know what is happening and that she should go see Damon if she wanted. He also tells her Klaus has the cure, and that he owes Damon because its his fault that he became a vampire in the first place.
Oh, if we'd only known that this was our last scene with Lightside Stefan and Elena. It says so much about Stefan's understanding of Elena's feelings for Damon (even if he wishes they weren't there) that he would specifically send her to his brother. It couldn't have been easy for him. And I don't think it was a coincidence that Stefan's last act with Elena present was to send her to his brother. I think that will be an important part of the narrative at the beginning of next season.
In Which Reality Has begun to fade: Damon's delusions have started and he's sucked into a memory of a saucy encounter with Katherine in 1864 where she asked him to help her with her corset strings. Delusion!Elena appears to him, telling him that he could have chosen to walk away from Katherine.
We didn't really learn anything new here, but I liked the interaction between Damon and Katherine. The floozy really does want it all.
In Which We Say Goodbye for Now to The Hair: Stefan shows up at Alaric's apartment, hoping Katherine can give him some intel on how to find Klaus. There's no need, as Klaus and Elijah turn up seconds after he arrives. Stefan asks Klaus' help curing Damon's wolf bite. Klaus says his first obligation is to fulfill his bargain with Elijah, which he does by stabbing Elijah in the heart with the ash dagger. Then he turns back to Stefan, verbally wondering, as we are, what he's going to do with him. Klaus then stakes Stefan, but doesn't pierce his heart. Then Stefan says the magic words: I'll do whatever you want, just give me the cure. Klaus drags it out by teasing that Stefan is just shy of useless to him, as he is.
Elijah really should have thought more carefully about how he worded his bargain with Klaus, who technically didn't lie about reuniting Elijah with his family. Now they're *all* corpsified together with no Originals wandering around to corral their psychopath brother. I'm sad to see Elijah go (for now) but I'm certain he'll be back next season.
In Which Alaric Continues to be Awesome: Damon is still stuck in the cellar, and the favor Stefan called in from Alaric was for him to babysit Damon while Stefan pursued the cure. Alaric pushes a glass of booze through the bars in the door. Damon tries to rile Alaric up by bringing up how much Alaric should hate him for Jenna and Isobel, but Alaric doesn't bite. Damon even grabs Alaric by the throat in an attempt to get Alaric to do him in, but it doesn't work. Damon apparently falls back into imagining Elena.
Seriously, "Neither one of us is drunk enough for this conversation" was probably the best line of the night. I love the friendship that has developed between these two, even though, yes, Alaric should hate Damon for the very things Damon mentions. I think its easy to say that their relationship is based on their mutual love of the drink, but I think it sincerely goes beyond them being drinking buddies, though I love that they are that.
In Which The Sheriff Continues to Be a Complete Idiot: Elena is pulling up outside the manse to see Damon when the Sheriff and her deputies arrive on the scene and detain her, obviously gearing up to storm the castle looking for the monster. Inside, Alaric goes to get Damon some blood and the Sheriff makes the mistake of forcing her way into the cellar with Damon, despite Alaric's warning. She gets thrown against the wall for her trouble, and lets the delusional vampire escape from his cage.
I have no opinion on this scene other than that Liz is an idiot.
In Which Jeremy Grows a Pair: Night has fallen and the movie has started in the square. Alaric calls Jeremy to warn him, Care, and Bonnie that Damon is on the loose and that Elena should be watched, since that's probably who Damon will go after. No one knows where Elena is, but Jeremy insists that he's going to find and protect his sister. Bonnie tries to keep him behind like last week, but Jeremy digs in, pointing out that last time he got left out, Jenna still died.
Good for Jeremy for standing up for himself and his remaining family. He's got his ring and Elena is basically all he has left. He is totally right in insisting that he be included in protecting her.
In Which Something I Didn't Expect Occurs: Back at the Apartment Formally Known as Alaric's, Klaus begins waxing poetic about Darkside Stefan from the old days. He tells Stefan that that's the vampire he's willing to make a deal with, that he can use that vampire. Then he demonstrates the cure by biting Katherine, then feeding her his blood to cure the bite.
I have to say, I have been predicting for a few weeks that Stefan would be the Salvatore in most danger at the end of the season, and it seems I was correct. Once Damon got bit, I assumed that somehow, Stefan would wind up sacrificing himself to save him. However, it didn't even occur to me that the sacrifice would be to go back on the people juice hardcore and team up with Klaus. That's so twisted. Show, never stop surprising me, k?
In Which The Scene is so short I have no clever title: Delusional Damon wanders up to the square, still confused between the present day and 1864. Jeremy finds him, and Damon insists he needs to see Elena. Jeremy insists they need to get Damon out of the public and shoulders him off screen.
In Which I want to punch Liz in the Face: Turns out that Liz has Elena in her office, where she berates Elena for associating with the murderers. Elena tries to change her mind, but a deputy comes in and tells Liz that Damon was spotted going into the Grill. Elena insists that Damon is sick and that she should come with Liz, but the sheriff locks her up in her office. Jeremy has just gotten Damon into the Grill when Liz appears, gun drawn. Damon stealths out of the way, and Liz's shot hits Jeremy square in the chest. Bonnie and Caroline arrive on the scene, as Liz is horrified by what she's done. After Bonnie points out that the ring won't work in this scenario, Caroline tries to save Jeremy by giving him her blood, but he won't drink. Alaric comes in to see the women crying over Jeremy's body, but Bonnie seems to know what to do, telling Alaric to get Jeremy and bring him with them. The sheriff tries to stop them, but Caroline orders her to let them go.
I hope that this marks a turning point in Liz's opinions about vampires. Because she wasn't willing to listen to Alaric or Elena or her own daughter, she killed Jeremy Gilbert. I hope that Caroline's actions here also showed her that her daughter is good and powerful and not evil. Caroline didn't hesitate to try to save Jeremy.
In Which Elena is a clever girl: In the sheriff's office, Elena is pacing. She finally escapes by throwing a chair through the window. Girl, sometimes you are my favorite.
In Which Klaus Reveals that he wants Stefan as his BFF: Here's what Klaus wants: Stefan to become his wingman and go on a decade long bender with him, away from Mystic Falls. He forces Stefan to drink two blood bags then and there, under threat of pouring out the bottle of Klaus' blood that he's prepared to cure Damon. Stefan gets progressively more intense the more he drinks.
I'm so so interested in Darkside Stefan, but I'm dubious of this deal. Basically, Klaus wants Stefan to be his partner in crime in exchange for Damon's cure. I see how he's got Stefan under his thumb until Klaus hands over the cure for Damon, but what then? Does Klaus think Stefan will grow to love and care for him the same way Klaus obviously pines after Stefan? Or does he assume, and perhaps rightly so, that Stefan will continue with the deal simply out of fear of what Klaus will do if Stefan backs out? Maybe, but it seems to me that there's no way out for Stefan ever, not even 10 years down the road, when his "deal" is up unless Klaus is neutralized.
In Which The Witches Come Through Again: Bonnie and Alaric have taken Jeremy to the Witchy Juju House of Burning, where Bonnie begs the witches to help Jeremy. They don't want to, insisting there will be consequences. Alaric: "He's just a kid. Tell them to shut up." Bonnie continues to beg and then the seance is over. It appears for a minute that it wasn't successful but then Jeremy opens his eyes.
I'm really glad that Jeremy is alive, but I just feel nothing about his and Bonnie's relationship. I don't hate it, but I have no attachment to it. I much preferred the chemistry he had with Anna or even Vicki to this blandness (heh).
In Which Sweaty Damon Makes a Choice: Elena finds Damon in the square and tries to get him out of there, but he is stuck in a delusion that she is Katherine and he is chasing her through the woods in 1864. In this memory, we see that Damon drank Katherine's blood by choice. In reality, he noms on Elena's neck a little, only coming back to the present day when Elena struggles and tells him that he's hurting her. He realizes what he's done and falls to the ground in despair, but Elena is mostly okay, cradling his head to her chest and soothing him.
Was this the first time Damon has drank from Elena? Maybe its because the book series, but this felt like a very important occurrence to me and, yes, I thought it was pretty sexy. What can I say, I may be a sane Delena shipper, but I still am one. I want to see this pairing happen, even if its not endgame (I'm content with Stefan/Elena being endgame or even any other pairing).
In Which the Sheriff Gets off the Hook too Easily: At the Grill, Caroline lets Liz know that Jeremy is alive. She also tells Liz that she is tired of being afraid of her and that Liz shouldn't be afraid of her either, that's she's still her little girl. She's still Caroline. They hug and cry.
This scene was mildly touching but I feel like there's still a ways to before I personally forgive Liz for her behavior this season. I want her to truly see how much these kids go through, and that not all supernatural creatures are evil.
In Which Alaric Lightens the Mood a Bit: Jeremy apparently feels "different" now that he's back from the dead, or so he tells Bonnie while video chatting with her. He does thank her, though, for bringing him back. She tells him that he can thank her tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Then Alaric comes to Jer's doorway to see if he needs anything before Ric heads out. Jeremy says he's fine, but Alaric changes his mind and decides to crash at Gilbert Gables. Jeremy thanks him for everything. Alaric's response: "You can thank me tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that." Jeremy throws a pillow at him.
This scene felt a little out of place considering all the serious business going on, but it was still a great scene between Jeremy and Alaric. The two Gilbert kids are going to need someone to help look after them and Alaric is really the only one around. It should be interesting next season to see how this plays out.
In Which Elena ends up in Damon's Bed: Elena has somehow gotten Damon back to his bed at the mansion. He tries to get her to leave the room because he could hurt her, but she assures him he won't. She tells him she's staying with him til the end, then climbs into bed to cradle him as his pain increases. He confesses to her that he chose to love Katherine and it was the wrong choice. He wants Elena to tell Stefan he's sorry for blaming him all those years.
In Which Stefan is a Real Messy Drinker: Klaus is enjoying watching Stefan down a copious amount of blood. Stefan refuses to drink more until Klaus gives him the cure. Klaus counters that he needs a deal with Stefan first for Stefan to embrace his darkside and leave town with Klaus. When Klaus holds out another blood bag, Stefan can't refuse. Klaus then gives Kat the cure to take to Damon, finally freeing her from her confinement in Alaric's apartment. Stefan is upset that his consumption will have been for nothing, as Kat probably won't take Damon the cure now that she is free. Klaus is unmoved.
In Which The Kiss finally happens: Elena insists that there is still hope for Damon. He says that he deserves to die for the choices he's made. Elena disagrees, but Damon counters that he wouldn't change his choices, as they led him to meeting her. He apologizes for all that he's done to hurt her and she forgives him. As Damon tells her that he understands that its Stefan she loves, Elena lays next to him with her head on his shoulder. Damon tells her that he loves her, and that he wants her to know it. She assures him that she does. He tells her that she should have met him in 1864, that she would have liked him. Her response is that she likes him now, just the way he is. He conveniently turns his face towards her, and she kisses him softly. He thanks her, and she replies with "your welcome." Then Katherine walks in with the cure. She gives it to Damon, telling him that she owed him one. When Elena asks after Stefan, Katherine tells them that Stefan gave himself over to Klaus in exchange for the cure, that he sacrificed everything including Elena to save Damon. Her parting gift to Elena was "Its okay to love them both. I did."
I loved this scene so much, as a person who thinks there's so much potential in a Damon/Elena relationship. I do think this scene was something of a turning point in their relationship, though not as much of a game changer as the more rabid shippers would like. I think that Elena recognizes that Damon has real feelings for her and she is probably more aware of what her own feelings for him could be. Still, there's a long way to go to them becoming anything like a real couple. Elena still obviously loves Stefan (as well she should) and Damon needs some more time to atone. The kiss was sweet, and there was some real affection there, but ultimately I think that Elena was doing something nice for Damon (and herself) that she wouldn't have done if she knew he was going to live. It wasn't a declaration of her undying love or anything. And Katherine: perfect. Love that bitch.
In Which Stefan becomes Damon: In some sort of warehouse, Klaus is having Elijah boxed up and put with the rest of the family, as they are leaving town tonight. Stefan gets a text that Damon made it, and Klaus reveals that he knew that Kat was on vervain. Stefan counters that Klaus will never see Kat again, but Klaus hints that perhaps his and Stefan's new crime spree may involve hunting her down. Stefan demands to know what Klaus wants with him, but Klaus deflects and distracts Stefan by offering him a real live girl to snack on as one last test of Stefan's new loyalty to him. Stefan hesitates, but then kills the girl as ordered.
I don't think it was a coincidence at all that Stefan biting into the girl was reminiscent of the times we've seen Damon do the same. I just re-watched the first 7 episodes of season 1 and they even used the same shaky cam effects we saw then when Damon was being so naughty. We're definitely getting Darkside Stefan next season, and I hope it lasts a while. We need something to shake up the nice little Stefan/Elena plot and this is just the thing. I don't think that it will immediately mean Elena defects to Team Damon, but its certainly going to add an interesting dynamic as Damon will, at least temporarily, be the Salvatore she can trust.
In Which I Don't Even Know: Jeremy is awakened by something and wonders downstairs to find Alaric. Only the viewer can see Vicki as she walks behind him. When he gets downstairs, he turns when Vicki says "Jer." When he sees nothing, he turns to see Anna standing in front him, then back to see Vicki behind him.
And scene. I've no idea what this means about Jeremy, but I won't complain about having Malese Jow back. Vicki wasn't my favorite, really, but I think that she'll bring something interesting back to the show and perhaps give Matt and Tyler something to do.
Overall, this was more of a setup episode for next season, with "The Sun Also Rises" being more of a season finale. We've got a completely new dynamic between the main love triangle, and Bonnie and Jeremy now have a major storyline to tackle. Here's hoping the writers give Matt, Caroline, and Tyler something equally as juicy when hiatus is over. I certainly can't wait til its back in the fall!