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Friday, 16 of April of 2021

The Vampire Diaries – “Bringing Out the Dead”

Someone better tell her the life expectancy of long-absent parents who return to Mystic Falls. Oh wait, isn't she already dead?

After the high of last week, an episode that climaxed with the return of the only interesting Original, Elijah, this week’s rather convoluted episode brings us a whole bunch more Originals. Thing is, what are these Originals going to add? They haven’t done enough to develop the personalities of those we already know, so how the heck are they going to find time to make us care about the new ones?

As usual, Klaus is all bark, no bite. In one of his fits of temper, he threatened to stick his hand down Damon’s throat and rip out his innerds, yet have we ever seen Klaus actualy act on his hyperbole? Damon rips out a heart every three episodes. Heck, Elijah pulled one out last week, and he was only on screen for thirty seconds. But Klaus? Mr. Bluster keeps insisting that he’s so evil, yet I think the vampire doth protest too much. Your nudity is showing, Mr. Emperor.

There was one bit with Elijah that upped the stakes in a way that will give the rest of the season genuine tension and drive—Klaus refuses to give up Elena…ever. In fact, his plan extends to his exploitation of her children. This line in the sand—there will be no deal with Klaus that will free Elena—assures that Klaus has to die. Not that there was much fear the Salvatores would want to keep Klaus alive, but to hear him state so baldly that Elena is his must have riled the hell out of our beloved Salvatores. There were other treats in the dinner scene, as when Damon had to remind Stefan that he, like Klaus, is guilty of killing a parent, but I imagine next week’s dinner party will put this one to shame.

I also really, really, really loved the scenes with Awesome Daddy. His reminder to Caroline of what it means to be human—to experience death—underscored Elena’s own terror over Ric’s life. While Elena was crying that she couldn’t handle losing another family member, Awesome Vampire Caroline was learning that only by losing a family member can you really understand the significance of life.

And once again, Elena shows us that she’s a pretty great fantasy heroine, willing to do extraordinary things and refusing to let others dictate her limitations. Somehow Elena remains fully human without becoming a pathetic victim. And she saves the life of one of my favorite characters this week, so there’s that.

In general, this episode felt rather exposition-y.  The Salvatores were basically wasting time at the dinner party so they could buy time for the Bennett witches.  But that means the audience got stuck wasting time, too.  Interestingly, that made the human parts of the story–Elena and Awesome Vampire Caroline contemplating loss–the most interesting moments of the night.  Honestly, that’s a nice  change.  I mean, Damon–with his wit, charm, and all-around sexy appeal–can’t be allowed to steal our attention in every single episode, right?

“Hell yeah,” was my first thought upon the opening moments of this week’s episode. Elijah is not only back, but he’s fierce. He attacks Klaus, and they fight, but the hybrid is stronger. When Klaus pulls an ashy dagger out of one of their brothers (Kol, I think Elijah says is his name), Klaus informs Elijah that their father is dead: “I killed him, with his own weapon.” Elijah doesn’t understand why the rest of the family isn’t freed from their coffins if the threat of the father is gone. Klaus cautiously tells Elijah there are things he needs to tell him, and he’s ready to do so, but he wants an oath of loyalty from Elijah: “Help me destroy Stefan and I promise you our family will be whole again.”

Ric is hung over and really regretting “whiskey dialing” Dr. Fell at 2 a.m. last night. Elena is amused and they chit chat until Sheriff Forbes arrives unannounced at the door. “We’re about to have an unconventional conversation,” she begins. Turns out, the stake that was used to kill the medical examiner was not only one from the Gilbert lakehouse but also had one print—Elena’s.

Elena calls Damon and his response to the news of the fingerprint is to ask if “Ric’s dirty little doctor had access to the weapons.” “You’re on speaker phone, dick,” Ric comments with offense. Elena insists the murderer isn’t Meredith: “I refuse to believe that your luck with women is that tragic,” she tells Ric. Then Elena wonders if it could be Stefan, trying to set her up. Damon is disturbed by this possibility: “makes me nostalgic for the time when Stefan was a bunny-snacking pacifist.” [Not me. Evil Stefan can stay as long as he likes.]

Damon meets up with Elijah in a field somewhere. “My favorite Original, back from the dead,” he greets him. [Me too! My favorite, too! Oh, and Elijah looks really good—he’s done a quick grooming to wash the scent of death from his hair, which is now back to its fluffy luster. Damon notices how good he looks, too: “you look nice.”] Elijah holds up a letter that Damon put in his suitcoat pocket: “Dear Elijah, let’s get together about the destruction of your brother.  XOXO Damon.”  Damon gets right to the point: “Any idea what kind of Klaus-killing weapon could be magically sealed in a mystery coffin?”

Stefan guides Bonnie and her mom to the new hiding place for the sealed coffin—the cave with the story of the Original family scrawled on its walls (the cave where vampires cannot enter—smart, that). Stefan doesn’t believe that Abby has no power, and his “encouragement” is gruff and insistent.

Elena is waiting for Stefan outside the cave. She, too, gets right to the point: “Did you kill the medical examiner?” He replies, “Why would you think I did that?” and Elena admits, “Maybe because I don’t know what you are capable of any more?” Stefan seems hurt: “did you ask Damon if he killed anybody lately?” And he walks away [this whole vaguely human Stefan thing is going to have to be resolved soon, cause it sure seems he’s not fully soulless.]

Caroline is at the hospital to see her dad, chatting with Dr. Fell about his health. Meredith confirms his full return to form by noting that he wants her medical license revoked [as he should—really, what right does she have to give him vampire blood without his permission? Reckless behavior.] Caroline learns that her dad has already been discharged, and she’s hurt. Dr. Fell comments, “that’s gotta be hard, when you dad hates the one thing you can’t change about yourself.” Caroline walks over to Elena when she hears something—her dad is nearby. She walks into a medical supply office and finds Awesome Daddy with his throat slashed and a dagger stuck in his gut. My first thought was, crap, now he’s a vampire, but Caroline is so distraught that it is Elena that has to remind her Daddy has vampire blood in his system [Thanks, Dr. Fell.]

Bonnie and her mother are trying to decide what spell to use to open the coffin. They discuss some complicated magical mumbo jumbo and decide that they need two generations to unbind the spell. [I really couldn’t follow their conversation here, which isn’t surprising since the show is always sort of vague about magic.  The details matter very little, though, as it seems the spell is all just a convenient excuse offered by the writers to get Bonnie’s mom back to town.]

Damon recommends Stefan wear black to the “old fashioned sitdown” he has arranged with Klaus: “makes you look all villain-y.” The brothers are bickering about whether Damon f’d up by undaggering Elijah and whether to go to this dinner. “The way you’ve been acting, I trust [Klaus] about as much as I trust you,” Damon muses. “Guess that goes both ways,” Stefan rejoins. Stefan is still pouting about Damon kissing Elena, so Damon reminds him, “If it wasn’t for Klaus, you wouldn’t have become such a dick and that kiss would have never happened.” To dinner, then, “to arrange a fake truce.”

Awesome Daddy proves his worth by telling Caroline he has no intention of drinking any blood: “I understand how it works, and that is what I am prepared to do. Now get me out of this hospital, I smell blood everywhere.” [Poor Caroline.]

Ric is taking weapon inventory in the kitchen, and there is much amiss. Elena shows him the knife that was used to stab Awesome Daddy, and they realize it used to be hidden in their foyer’s crawl space. Ric is even more suspicious of Meredith now, since he had just shown her his weapons last week.

Elijah opens door to Salvatore brothers, who are both looking super hot in their all black clothes. Three hot waitresses await their orders, and they men sit down to eat actual food, much to Stefan’s chagrin. Damon explains why he freed Elijah, “I knew how he felt about you, so I figured the more, the merrier.” Stefan tries to incite Klaus by asking about Rebekah, and why she is still daggered.  Klaus explains, with some pride, that he has told Elijah about their mother.  “Hey Stef, remember when you killed dad? Might want to dial down the judgment till dessert,” Damon says.

Tyler hasn’t called Caroline back, she tells Elena glumly. Awesome Vampire Caroline is trying to process the day’s events. Her parents are in the same room for first time since she was 10 [aw, poor Caroline]. “Is there any chance that Tyler did it?” she worriedly asks Elena, but Elena doesn’t think it was him. “I can’t just let my father die,” she cries. Elena tries to comfort her, “He doesn’t want to [feed], Caroline. The only thing your dad has is his choice.” Caroline notes with no small degree of irony, “I hated him so much for what he did to me. Now, all I want to do is save his life…What was the hardest part for you when you lost your dad?” Elena ponders this for a moment, then answers, “Realizing all the things he wouldn’t be there for—the things you just need your dad for.” [I presume she is talking about Uncle John, and there is some nice symmetry here since both girls loved their father almost against their will, having to overlook seriously jerky behavior.] Matt arrives and takes Caroline in his arms. [Man, Matt is winning the MVP for friendship in this most recent batch of episodes.

Klaus laughs when Elijah asks Stefan about Elena, and Stefan quickly adds “ask Damon.” [Elijah has missed a lot.] Damon helpfully suggests, “Let’s keep Elena in the ‘do not discuss’ pile,” but Klaus wants to discuss the persistent allure of the Petrova doppleganger.  Turns out the Original Petrova was named Tatia, and she was the most exquisite beauty in the New World, according to Elijah. She had a child by another man but every other man wanted her, including both Elijah ad Klaus [guess they inserted this so we would know Elena isn’t related to any of the Originals?]. Upset by their rancor, the Original mother took Tatia and fed her blood to the boys when they became vampires.  Elijah and Klaus explain that though they once came to blows over Tatia, “in the end, we recognized the sacred bond of family.” They clink glasses, toasting, “family above all.” [Not sure how I feel about this awfully convenient parallel structure. What does it add to our story to have brothers repeatedly torn apart by love of the same woman? I’ll have to wait to see if they do anything with this.]

B and her mom are doing a spell, but Bonnie can tell Abby isn’t trying. Abby complains that the spirits are angry with her, but Bonnie knows she is dissembling. She tells her mother she has to open up: “You know Dad never talked about you. Neither did Grams. I had no memories of you. I used to pretend that you were dead. It was easier to do that than to wonder why you never came back for me.” [Well that sure is going to help her relax, Bonnie.] “There’s no way that I can tell you how sorry I am,” Abby pathetically offers. “Yes there is, you can help me,” Bonnie orders. They try again, the candles ignite and the cave shakes. The coffin almost opens, so Bonnie rushes out to call Damon. Then the coffin bursts open by itself. [Uh-oh. You know, someone should warn Abby about the seriously short life expectancy of absent parents who return to Mystic Falls—see also Uncle John, Michael, and Awesome Daddy—Matt’s mom is lucky she got the heck out of town.]

Damon explains to Klaus his proposal—Klaus gets his coffin back, and in exchange, he and the Original Extended Family leave town forever…No grudges. Klaus pretty much laughs in Damon’s face. He needs the doppleganger’s blood to extend his line of hybrids: “I will never leave her behind….but let’s say I do leave her here under your protection…how long before one of you turns her into a vampire? Or worse, how long before she dies caught between your feuding. You see, each one of you truly believes that you’re the one who can protect her, and that is simply a delusion. Gentlemen, the worst thing for Elena Gilbert is the two of you.” Damon wants some air and excuses himself. [You gotta admit (and I really hate to admit this)—Klaus has a real point. How long will it be till one of them ends Elena’s life?]

Matt walks Elena home. “We’ve all lost a lot,” she acknowledges. “It’s this town,” Matt explains, “it’s messed up. None of us should have to live this way.” [Look at Matt, being a font of wisdom week after week—who knew?] Elena walks inside her house and finds the electricity is out. [Crap, uh-oh again.] Elena looks for candles but finds blood. And then bloody handprints all the way up the stairs. Ric is stabbed. [NOOOOOOO! Not my Ric!]

Ric is conscious, but he doesn’t know who did this to him. “Elena,” he groans, “you have to kill me.” Matt doesn’t understand, but Elena does: “I’m a doppleganger, that makes me supernatural” If he dies a supernatural death, the ring will bring him back to life. So Elena stabs him in the heart. [Man, has there been such a cool teen heroine since Buffy?]

Stefan accuses Klaus of trying to drive wedge between he and Damon. Klaus denies it, suggesting they are driving that wedge pretty well on their own. Damon wants a counter offer, but Klaus gives him only Elena’s future happiness. “What she needs right now is to be rid of you lot and to fall in love with a human. Maybe that nice football player….” Damon scoffs at the mention of Matt Donavan as Elena’s future husband, but Stefan sees Klaus’ point–he needs Elena to have babies, to continue the Petrova blood line. In other words, Klaus will assure her safety for the rest of her life in exchange for the perpetuation of a new doppleganger ever hundred years or so. Stefan shakes his hand but says, “Nice try, Klaus, but no deal.” Klaus breaks his arm and puts Stefan’s hand in a fire. He orders Damon to get his coffin and then comments to Elijah that he’s proving true to his word—Elijah will get his family if he is loyal to Klaus.

Awesome Daddy is tired. His daughter tries her best to be kind, “Do you want me to call, Stephen?” she asks of his former lover. “Call him when its over and the dust has settled.” Awesome Vampire Caroline doesn’t want to hear him talk about it being over: “Listen to me, I know that you think you made your choice, but you can change your mind. You know, you are strong enough to handle being a vampire.” But Daddy stops her: “my strength is all in my beliefs. Becoming a vampire is wrong. People aren’t supposed to cheat death.” This upsets Caroline, who interprets this as hatred of who she is. “I don’t hate you. I love you.  You’re strong, you’re beautiful, you’re good. Even after all that has happened to you, you are exactly who your mother and I hoped you’d grow up to be. “Then please don’t leave me, Daddy,” she begs [And for real, who is going to help Tyler stop being Klaus’ bitch if Awesome Daddy dies?]. “Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children,” he gently assures her. [Aw, the sheriff is crying, too.] “This is life. This is what it means to be human.” [Ooooh, I like that. Awesome Daddy is so smart.] Oh, and he’s gone. ☹

Klaus is bummed cause Stefan isn’t fighting back.  “Where’s the fight? Where’s the ripper?” Elijah walks back in, surprising Klaus by showing him two ashy daggers on a platter. “I’ve learned not to trust your vulgar promises, Klaus,” Elijah tells him. From behind him, we see two more Originals brothers, Kol and Finn, freed from their coffins—and they are pissed . Whoops, and there’s Rebekah [dang, she’s back, and still wearing that dumb prom dress]. Elijah tell the Salvatores to leave: “This is family business.”

Elena is waiting for Ric to come back to life, but he’s still unconscious. “Will you stay with me, until he wakes up?” she asks Matt. “I can’t lose any more family,” she says as she keep vigil over Ric.

Stefan and Damon are walking back to their mansion. Stefan is feeling magnanimous: “You were right about Elijah. Undaggering him was a smart move.” Damon demurs, but Stefan persists, “so I guess I shouldn’t thank you for saving me from Klaus?”  Damon again puts him off, “you don’t get to thank me until Ive paid you back for all those times you saved me.” Stefan really wants this heart to heart, “you could have left me there. Klaus would have killed me, and you would have had Elena all to yourself.” [Stefan doesn’t seem to get that Damon loves him, perhaps even more than he loves Elena.  Wonder if the alternative is true.] “I didn’t do it on her account,” Damon says as he ignores a call from Elena.  Stefan sighs, “I love her, Damon,” despite his humanity supposedly being off. “So do I,” adds Damon with resignation.

Sheriff Forbes talks with Elena, informing her that Meredith Fell was in surgery for  6 hours when Ric got stabbed, so she couldn’t have done it. They don’t know who it is, but Ric was the third member of the Founder’s Council to be stabbed with a stake. Suddenly, Ric wakes up! [Oh thank God.]

Bonnie is knocked out. So is Abby. And the coffin is open.

Rebekah is trashing Klaus house, while he whines. “You’re staying behind,” the brothers tell Klaus.  Rebekah gleefully informs her brother, “We’re leaving you, Nik. Right after I kill that doppleganger wench. Then you will be alone forever.” He threatens to hunt them down, but Elijah interjects:  “Then you’ll become everything you hate—our father.” Klaus is furious: “I am the hybrid. I can’t be killed.  I have nothing to fear from any of you.” A woman enters, and all the children fall silent. “Mother,” Rebekah whispers, but Mom has eyes only for one of her children. She walks towards a sputtering Klaus and says, “Look at me. Do you know why I’m here?” “To kill me,” he whimpers. “Niklaus, you are my son. And I am here to forgive you. I want us to be a family again.”

Lame.


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