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The Vampire Diaries “By the Light of the Moon” 

Image courtesy of Annette Brown/CW

I know I said this last week, but in the space of six months, I marvel at how quickly I’ve cared less about the Salvatores and Elenagate and more about Tyler and Caroline and the peripheral characters. Seriously, people. There were other people in this episode and it was a big hairy deal that we have another werewolf in Mystic Falls but, for me, it was completely about Tyler and Caroline, even though I had to mute half of their scenes because I am a weenie.

This is going to be a bit scatter shot because each of the show’s arcs was sort of doing its own thing in this episode, so bear with me. First up, the promo monkeys fooled the folks expecting a Stefan and Katherine grudge pairing—it was a big old fakeout, the result of Katherine walking around in Stefan’s subconscious, and that’s pretty much the extent of their participation in the episode—it seemed odd not get more out of the two of them being confined, but I guess we’ve already heard all there is to say between them for now.

Tyler is prepping for his first wolfing when he tries yet again to reach Mason. This time, there’s a woman in Mason’s apartment listening to the call. She’s Jules, played by Michaela McManus—who, we now realize, was way, way, way tightly wound as an ADA on SVU—here she’s cut her hair to let her wolf flag fly. She descends on Carol and announces Mason never made it home. Tyler says hello and then scoots off with chains and supplies for his maiden wolfage, so he doesn’t stick around.

Carol helps Jules file a formal missing persons report with Liz (who doesn’t appear in the episode). Once she’s outside the gates, Jules calls someone to tell him/her there’s another werewolf. She then goes to the Grill looking for Tyler (where we get a 30-second Matt appearance) because Carol assumed that’s where he was, only to run up against the ill-equipped tag team of dumb and dumberDamon and Alaric. Alaric spikes her drink with wolfsbane, which Damon is unsuccessful at getting her to taste. She finally throws down, calling Damon out for being a vampire and trying to poison her, and tells him he’s marked, which he doesn’t take well.

Rose turns up to apologize to Damon and mack on him a little more, even though she specifically wants to delineate that they are FWB and nothing more—he’s in love with Elena and she’s not touching that. They’re interrupted when a (we presume) wolfed-out Jules bursts through a window to take a bite out of Rose on the Salvatore living room rug, but it doesn’t kill her, so something else is up there. Damon apologizes to Rose for the injury because he’d riled up Jules, and we close the episode on something about the bite transforming underneath her skin.

The real heart of the episode is Tyler locking himself down in the Lockwood cellar to wolf out, with Caroline fretting and fussing alongside him until he’s completely furry and  threatening, forcing her to leave him and bolt herself on the other side of the bars and door. As soon as he unwolfs, she races back to him, cradling him while they both weep. I seriously had to mute most of it because his screaming and her crying were just brutal. We also got Mason’s agonizing video footage again—was he paid for all the reairs? For a character who was such a raging dick in the first season, I’m floored that I give a damn and a half about Tyler now, but I do. Sap, party of one…

Jenna’s back on the scene long enough to provide a segue for Elijah to turn up inside the Gilbert home—I actually jumped a bit when he just appeared behind Jenna as she closed the closet door—a completely overused staging device in television and movies, but damn effective here. Elijah calls a sidebar with Elena (who’s been locked inside the house all day by a spell from Bonnie) and presents a compromise that he will keep her safe and take down Klaus when the day comes, and she asks for something in return. I was so far removed from being invested in Stefan in this episode, that I thought Elena was going to ask Elijah to forgive Rose’s debt, so I was surprised when he showed up at the tomb to spook Katherine and free Stefan, and sort of meh when Stefan came to Elena’s bedroom and they reconciled.

Wow, I’m a fickle bitch.

As for Bonnie, she gets her witch on with Luka in a rooftop pyrotechnic display that seems to unlock the moonstone but actually doesn’t. Luka brings it back to his dad but we don’t know the who or why yet.

That’s it for six weeks. The first ten of the season are running all week on the CW if you need to catch up.

Happy holidays!

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