Elena is uneasy and confused after Rebekah tells her why the night of the Homecoming dance is so significant. Tyler’s actions during the evening leave Matt and Caroline shaken. Things turn bizarre when Klaus decides to activate his latest plan and, while trying to outsmart him, Damon forms a risky liaison which gives rise to a horrifying unforeseen development.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8:00 on the CW.
I hate to be all meh about the “mid-season winter finale,” but this episode was hardly the most exciting of the season thus far. It revealed a couple of cool things, it recalled but didn’t surpass previous mid-season changers like “Masquerade” (where Katherine literally tore her way through half the town), and it was full of actors giving their all, if to the differing levels of their abilities.
But, dammit, these are not the plot points I was longing for! I appreciated the sub-thematic level of everyone’s humanity (even that of the monsters) being their weakest link. This group has become aware of the causes for failure in any of their previous plans (where someone, and not just the Salvatore boys and their bromance, always shucks the plan at the worst moment due to an emotional last-minute action), but did it have to lead to Elena staking Rebekah in the back, on the night of her first high-school dance in a millennia?
While I appreciate Elena’s ruthlessness (she’s developed quite a knack for staking Originals, considering that she faked out Elijah once last season, too), doesn’t anyone ever want to let Rebekah just live her life and have her say? After the emotional breakdown of last week, putting her on the dungeon floor (and face down in her pretty new dress) is just cold.
And it set off a frenzy of characters deceiving and withholding and laying in wait to misdirect other characters over who would and wouldn’t be at the homecoming event. It was pretty cool that it got mysteriously moved to Tyler’s mansion, as we slowly realized it was no longer a Mystic Falls event, but rather a Klaus event, with him even playing lead in his own rock band when all was revealed. But I’ve had about enough of Klaus and his tedious family, and big daddy Mikael has been underwhelming as well. It’s still not clear why he and Klaus hate each other so much, it just seems to be a case of father-son issues gone immortally insane.
Not that Jason Morgan doesn’t act his heart out in the confrontation scene with Mikael, vibrating with suppressed anger and incriminating, wounded stares. Mikael taunts everything from his masculinity to his wisdom to his courage to his history of failed plans and his penchant for pathetic associates. It’s pretty lacerating, and the end result is we get to see what it looks like when an Original actually, finally dies (instead of just going into hibernation with an ash tree stake). But dammit, they got the wrong one!
The best parts of the episode come from two disparate moments. Tyler explaining to Caroline how his life is better since being sired as a hybrid has a lot of potential for the rest of the season, because it almost makes sense. Of course it may be Tyler’s usual thing of being so gung-ho for situations that actually suck and entrap him worse than ever, but that’s Tyler for you.
The other is Katherine’s glee in once again impersonating Elena, and getting her own boo-yah moment of setting off some vervain grenades. Oh, and Stefan earns his freedom, but doesn’t feel worthy of Elena now, or some blah blah blah. So he takes off with Katherine, like that ever works! Like I said, so much happens, but only half of it is what I wanted, and the rest are just complications that await resolution after the break. It made me grumpy.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.