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The Vampire Diaries “Katerina” 

Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

“Katerina” celebrated “Take Nina Dobrev to Work Day,” as she handled about more than half of the screen time (much of it talking to herself) all on her own. First, who sat out this episode: Alaric (except in previews), Tyler, Jenna, Matt, and Liz.

The previouslies reestablish the curse: moonstone + vampire + werewolf + witch + doppelganger blood + stir = drink (?), but do not revisit the Damon declaration, which makes the opening moment of Damon greeting Elena at the Salvatores’ door a little less dramatic than it might have been. Ahead of that, we start with Katherine, when she was Katerina, back there in Bulgaria in 1490, giving birth to a girl who her dad immediately whisked away from her because she’d born her out of wedlock, leaving her to weep and weep into her mother’s arms.

Then we pick up at the Salavatores, where Elena is unhappy, but not all that surprised, to see Rose with the boys. Rose spins the tale of Klaus and the blood sacrifice and Damon and Stefan keep interjecting in an attempt to tamp down its ferocity and Elena’s response to the information is to announce she has to get to school because she’s late (priorities!). Stefan offers to come with her and she turns him down with a soft, “I know where it is,” which still seemed a bit harsh, but OK, then.

Within a matter of minutes, she’s instead hiking out to ye olde tomb with a protesting Caroline in tow (while hauling a huge-ass carpet bag that Caroline easily could have carried, instead of a backpack) Once there, Caroline can’t talk her out of it, so she removes the stone door and Katherine creepy crawls her way into the light and tells Caroline to go.

Elena unpacks the Petrova history, a lantern, a blanket (or clothes?)  and the gals then commence in earnest with the overshare, although Elena doesn’t actually confess much. She doles out blood in bits to Katherine to buy information, and Katherine obliges (out of boredom?). She tells Elena that she fled to England in 1490 when her family disowned her, changed her name to Katherine to maintain the ruse she was English, took up with Klaus (who we still don’t see) in 1492, realized what he was and that he wanted her dead, and then she enlisted Trevor (and Rose) and to help her escape. When Rose wanted to turn her over to Klaus, she stabbed herself, instigating Rose to bite her, and then hung herself to complete the transition to vampire because she wasn’t going out like that. So Rose is Katherine’s accidental sire, and she and Trevor were condemned to run for 500 years because even then, Katherine’s only concern was for herself.

While they’re chatting, Damon gets Rose to take him to see her only link to Elijah, a newbie vamp/anthropology nerd named Slater who’s used his extra time to get way overeducated. He’s silly/giddy to meet Damon, who in turn is dismissive of the way Slater has spent his time. He tells them his chain of command ended at Elijah so he can’t help them. They meet in a tempered glass/UV-protected café that is just begging for somebody to blow the windows out and we don’t have to wait too long for Elijah to oblige (with a handful of masterfully launched quarters).

That sends everybody fleeing and Rose into an apoplectic breakdown that Klaus is after her. Damon scoops her up and carries her out to the garage, and the sight of her being so genuinely freaked out melts his ice cold heart a bit. Later on at home, he’s shaken enough about it himself to be decanting scotch straight from the lead crystal and Rose eases in to apologize. She has him pour her a glass and suggests other (ahem) ways to de-stress, and he mulls that a moment before they make with the smoochies, and then we don’t see the rest (TEASE!).

On the Jeremy/Bonnie front, he’s still flirty (with a new haircut!), she’s still shy, and when he asks her to play pool at the Grill after school, she declines on the grounds of little brotherdom before she acquiesces. Then they’re interrupted by a new student, Luka, who’s also flirty. After class, at the Grill, he and his dad, Jonas, hijack Bonnie when she arrives early and she’s uneasy about them but not sure why.  The men pass her touch-detector test and she goes on to enjoys her date with Jeremy. Pretty quickly (rude!), Luka steps back in to rain on it and shows Bonnie he’s a card-carrying warlock, so they dive into that discussion and Jeremy realizes she’s actually on date #2 for the evening, so he cavalierly steps out (boo!).

At another table in the Grill, Caroline is keeping Stefan occupied and away from Elena by confessing that she told Tyler the truth and making with the small talk and he’s enchanted for a little while, humoring her. She asks him why he’s so sweet to her and he says she reminds him of his friend, Lexi (sniff!) and she’s so proud he has a friend. This is the second mention in a row; are we getting Arielle Kebbel back? Say yes! He finally calls her on the stalling and she admits what she’s been doing but says but she can’t and won’t tell him where Elena is. He’s not angry with her but he heads off to find Elena…figuring out fairly quickly that she’s in the tomb with Katherine. He thankfully arrives just as Elena is maybe, sort of, considering going into the tomb because Katherine has backed away from the door.

He and Katherine exchange duplicitous bitchisms and he tries to convince Elena that the whole thing was a lie. Katherine insists it wasn’t and says she saved the best for last—Klaus went to Bulgaria and killed her entire family after she ran from him, even though they’d abandoned her, so Elena essentially can’t outrun her birthright. Yay? She shows them the moonstone and in a weird doubletalk says it can break the curse with a witch and a vamp and Elena’s blood, but she’s safe inside the tomb because Klaus can’t come after her there, so, “See ya!” She then disappears into the tomb. I’m not clear why she protested the tomb before if it was the one place on earth she didn’t have to keep running? Mama needs Cliff Notes.

They leave Katherine with a lantern and the Petrova history, and with her impeccable two-week old party makeup intact, she tears up a bit at the drawings of her parents and sister. On the Gilbert porch, Elena and Stefan weep on each other about their doomed fate (which will go at least five seasons, I’m thinking).

Back at the Salvatores, in the afterglow in front of the fire (they skipped the actually nookie!) Rose and Damon talk about the duplicity of turning off their emotions, that it’s a fakeout, and then the phone rings and it’s Slater, very suspect, telling them what they need to know about the curse (which I thought we already knew?) and then when he hangs up, there’s Elijah behind him, compelling him to kill himself, and Jonas is in on it. No, Bonnie, NO!

Absolutely bang up job by Nina this week, holding two sides of a discussion for most of the episode as two very different characters, although I saw shades of Elena’s feistiness in pre-vamp Katherine, when she wasn’t going out without a fight. So many new threads with pairings and potential pairings. I hope Damon and Rose really are just a physical thing because I think her apoplexy means Klaus will get to her at some point, and I’m not eager to see Damon switch gears into another vendetta on behalf of a woman (he’s so easy to manipulate, that boy!) Not sure what’ll happen with Bonnie and Jeremy. I like that he’s lighter around her, so I hope it goes well, even if she has to gobsmack Luka and Jonas first.

And I love that Caroline got a Lexi comparison, because even though we only had her for one episode, Lexi had a lovely heartfelt, carefree energy with Stefan, shaking the brood out of him in a way nobody else had before or since, until Caroline. Kudos to Paul and Candice for selling it.

No episode for two weeks!!

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