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The Vampire Diaries “Masquerade” 

Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW

Okay, I’m not going to be popular, but I didn’t love this episode, mainly because at the end of the way overlong buildup, Katherine is still alive. There was plenty of momentum in trying to get her dead, in a charming Team Scooby-esque (Damon/Stefan/Alaric/Bonnie/Caroline/Jeremy) sort of way, but in the end, she was entombed, which means we aren’t done with her. Yawn.

Many other threads tonight—the whole cast except Liz is in this one.

The gang finds out from Caroline, by way of a run-in with Katherine in the ladies room at the Grill, that Katherine is attending the masquerade ball and if she doesn’t get the moonstone, it’s going to start raining blood (saucy!). Team Scooby fall into line with a plan to attend the ball, too, start weighing their weapon options (sidebar: Stefan’s wardrobe is decidedly button down with a checked shirt and cardigan—sock hop, anyone?) and Stefan and Damon fight over who’s actually going to stake her. Stefan prevails (in theory).

At the B&B, Katherine comes in with several shopping bags (Mystic Falls has a Victoria’s Secret, apparently) and is met in her room by the newly arrived Lucy (played by Natashia Williams), an indebted witch/friend she’s enlisted to help her get the moonstone that evening. As the party kicks off, Tyler is asking Carol about Mason and suggesting the party should have been cancelled and she tuts that wasn’t even a possibility because it had been the Mayor’s favorite shindig.

Katherine and Lucy arrive at the ball and take stock of the setup, and Team Scooby communicate with each other via text once they see Katherine come in. Bonnie and Jeremy set up a room upstairs, ostensibly to trap Katherine, and outside Stefan is bullied into dancing with her. They banter about the stone and when she doesn’t get the answer she wants, she snuffs Aimee (Tiya Sircar), who mistakes her for Elena, right there on the dance floor—breaking her back and then her neck so there’s a half moment where Aimee is truly terrified—to make the point that yep, Katherine is still a crafty, crazy, freaking badass who’s not to be toyed with. Jeremy and Caroline then lie to her about who has the stone to get her upstairs into the spellcast room.

At Casa Gilbert, Elena finally catches on that the Scoobies are trying to take down Katherine and she skips out from convalescent care of Jenna (whose left with Alaric, whose only task was to keep Elena away from the ball—FAIL!) and shows up at the Lockwoods demanding an explanation from Jeremy about what the hell they’re doing. Bonnie arrives to try to help him dig out an answer.

Up in the house, Katherine finds herself face to face with an armed Damon and Stefan, and they begin attacking her, but Katherine saw that coming, and every blow that lands on Katherine lands on Elena, too. Outside, Bonnie and Jeremy are freaking out because Elena has started flailing and bleeding. Bonnie knows exactly what’s happening—Katherine has linked herself to Elena via Lucy and she can’t break the spell but can take the pain away so she starts a witchy morphine drip and sends Jeremy to interrupt Damon and Stefan. Katherine is very pleased with herself when the brothers are horrified to realize they’ve hurt Elena. Jeremy hauls it back to Elena and tries to get her to take the magical undeading ring and she begs off but eventually does take it. I half expected something to be shown onscreen, but we don’t see her put it on her finger.

Bonnie goes in search of the witch, and they lock forearms and swear some sort of pledge troth and Bonnie hands over the moonstone. Lucy delivers it to Katherine, ending an overlong playing-with-your food scene with Stefan, Damon, and Katherine at detente in a room they can’t leave, and her alternately love you/hate you/you’re hot-ing the boys. Before Lucy hands over the stone, she demands that Katherine state they’re even and she’s owed nothing else, and Katherine agrees. As soon as Katherine’s hand closes on the stone, she collapses and Lucy tells her that’s punishment for getting her involved with a Bennett witch, but Katherine doesn’t dust so we know she’s not dead. When Stefan goes to see Elena he uses the word “gone” instead. Elena tells him it’s not that easy to pick back up. She has to be sure they’re all safe (anvil).

Also at the ball, events converge to get Tyler to wolf out and it ends up not being Matt who gets him there but Sarah (Maiara Walsh), the witless gal he almost killed a few weeks ago in “Kill or Be Killed” when he tossed her down the stairs. Way to turn the screw, y’all. Caroline is there when it goes down. She realizes that Katherine has been driving this via compulsion and she knocks Matt out flat but can’t get to Sarah before she stabs Tyler and he defensively slams her into the desk, breaking her neck.

Caroline lies to Carol that it was her fault, but an accident—she and Matt were fighting and Sarah got hurt. Caroline then commiserates with Tyler a bit and he’s not having it. She tells him she knows more about that he thinks she does, but we’re left to question exactly how much she tells him about herself or his own situation.

Bonnie talks to Lucy and finds out that they’re cousins. Lucy thanks her for helping her break with Katherine, and Bonnie asks how she can be free of this lifestyle. Lucy tells her she is one of the good ones and is right where she needs to be. There’s a little spark between Bonnie and Jeremy, who Bonnie can’t quite gather is old enough to be considered in that way (so the sexing up of Vicki wasn’t a clue?) and they end cute when he takes her home (leaving Elena alone?).

Next we see Damon walling up Katherine in ye olde tomb, telling her that death would’ve been too kind. Katherine howls that Elena is in danger but Damon won’t hear her out and then we see her seriously start to melt down. At the Lockwoods, Elena (again, alone after her ordeal?) walks to her car and is kidnapped by a masked guest. REALLY? Again?

So, we’re two steps forward, a few steps back, do the hokey pokey, and well, you get the idea.

Random observation: Rampant use of “dick” a whopping four times tonight—by Damon, Carol(!), Tyler, and Matt. It’s like contest each week to spot somebody using the word. Everybody looked awesome in their ball finery—especially Caroline in a smoking red dress. I am glad we finally got see both brothers throw down on Katherine, even though they didn’t succeed as planned. I’d like to see Tyler brought into the fold and maybe the moonstone will be the great war equalizer. I’d also like to know exactly what Carol knows about the Lockwoods.

Even though the hour built up like it was a hiatus lead-in, we do get a new (road trip) episode next week, so yay for that. Maybe they’ll leave Katherine out of the mix a few weeks so when she’s back, it’s refreshing and not grating, which it sort of is now. Nina is doing awesome work, I’m just over Katherine as a character. When the other folks can be dispatched so quickly and easily on this show, it’s disappointing that she still gets to puppeteer everyone around her with no consequences. I think we’ll get there, I’m just not keen to have her drive the whole season—it’s a big damn cast to let one gal keep them all spinning.

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