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The Vampire Diaries “Know Thy Enemy” 

Photo Credit: Quantrell Colbert/The CW

I love when a series eases you back in after a long hiatus. If only The Vampire Diaries was that show. As I’ve said again and again and again, this is not a show for the casual viewer. I hadn’t rewatched any of the episodes since the hiatus began, so even I was a little rusty on the who and the how and the what. Julie and Kevin aren’t f—ing around when it comes to pacing and plot, y’all.

We had double and triple crossings, kidnappings, compulsion, deaths, body takeover, spells, betrayal, possession, and Ian Somerhottie’s abs! This is going to get wordy.

First, a note to the CW: THANK YOU for the excellent online image library, but it would be niftier if you could navigate by episode so as not to spoil upcoming episodes. Pics for this episode began 51 images in, past spoilerific images for the next two episodes.

On with it! Except for Tyler, almost everybody was onboard for this episode. Jenna evacuates the Gilbert house the morning after Isobel bitchily adds “again” after “Nice to see you” in her greeting to Elena. The realization that she’d been duped not just by Alaric but also her niece knocks her to her knees and sends her racing to campus to work on her thesis (really?) and we don’t see here again for the rest of the episode.

It’s not too terribly long before Alaric also exits the majority of the episode, kidnapped off the street by a warlock working with Isobel, but she does at least come clean that she had compelled him when she last saw him, and now she needs to make amends, needs him to know she well and truly loved him and she’s sorry for whatever’s about to transpire now.

After Jenna bails, John lets Isobel in, because he’s stupid that way, and she tells Elena and Stefan that she’s there to help and she’s been keeping Elena safe from Klaus, which they mull as likely B.S. but worth evaluating. Back at the Salvatore abode, the discussion ensues about to whether tell Isobel they have Katherine, and they decide no, but that’s moot later when Katherine shows up at Isobel’s fancy foreclosure to share a bottle of blood with her old pal (and if I may digress, I completely thought we were going to find out that Katherine and Isobel were lovers because of their vibe together and that would have been off-the-charts icky given the doppelganger aspect with her daughter). The boys and Elena are also still containing what they know about the witches so that Katherine doesn’t have that info.

Damon takes Bonnie and Jeremy to Jonas’s apartment and he suggests cremating what’s left of junior and Bonnie tells him not to be disrespectful. They gather the rest of the grimoire library after Bonnie works a spell to produce the exact book they need at her feet. That sends them off to the burial ground, which is actually a dilapidated old mansion. Color me slow, but I wasn’t clear whether the witches were burned in the house or the house was built on the site afterward. I’m assuming the latter.

Once they’re inside, doors slam, and Damon is rendered immobile and his ring ceases to work. Bonnie frees him and he decides to wait outside. Bonnie is called into another room and we get a coterie of voices before the candles light themselves and she falls into a trance and begins to wail, scaring the ever-loving out Jeremy. Afterward, she’s a scoche Stepford, which made me skeptical about how much she was being truthful with Jeremy. She tells him only that the witches warned her, and that she could die, but she cuts him off at the pass when he protests, essentially telling him that with great power comes great responsibility, and she summons a nifty wind and rain storm for added effect.

While that’s going on, Katherine searches the Salvatore house for the moonstone and after rifling through the fireplace she goes to wash her hands, where she finds the moonstone in plain sight, stashed in a bowl of soap. Really, Damon? Earlier, as Jenna bailed out of the house, she tossed a plot device to Elena to be at the Lockwoods later to accept a Gilbert Foundation check because she simply can’t do that today. That sets in motion Isobel biting John and sending him down the staircase to the foyer as a distraction to call the crowd away from Elena so Katherine can step into her place while Isobel whisks Elena out of the house. Stefan catches on pretty quickly but Katherine knocks him out and sashays off. Meanwhile, Damon’s gone home and is washing up from the spell casting (sans shirt and in hip-slung jeans, thank you!) when Stefan calls about the Elena kidnapping. Damon twigs about the moonstone and searches the bowl of soap on the counter and realizes Elena + moonstone = bad.

Isobel calls Katherine from her getaway SUV and they commis as Elena rouses on the back seat. She apologizes to Katherine, and then the warlock arrives to take her down, too. Isobel drives Elena to the graveyard where her parents placed a headstone when they gave her up for dead. Her phone rings, and the warlock tells her she’s fulfilled her job and Klaus is pleased. She asks if she’s done and he says yes. And that’s where all my bells went off. She makes amends with Elena as much as she can and then she jerks her necklace from her neck, raises her arms, and starts to burn right there in front of Elena. Kara did a great piece on the scene here.

Somehow, Elena gets herself home and the boys are sympathetic that her mom is gone but grateful for Katherine being out of the picture for the moment, and they realize Bonnie is their secret weapon. In the middle of all that, the boys also deed the Salvatore abode over to her (sweet!) as her own safe haven where she controls who enters (since John had invited Isobel into the Gilbert house). John revives from his Isobel biting and also tries to make amends with Elena, telling her he had only had good intentions. She decides to hear him out, since he’s her only remaining parent (which I guess means Jenna never realized parental status for her).

On the Caroline/Matt front, things go from awkward to pretty much hopeless. She frets around town looking for him, and he turns up at the Lockwoods, railing about Vicki and vampires, which gets him a smackdown from Mama Forbes. When Caroline finally gives up and goes home, there’s Matt in her living room. He tells her that her mom left him there to cool down, and he just wants to forget everything. She pleads that it doesn’t have to be that way but he’s decided it does, so she glamours him. And then he goes outside and gets into a police cruiser parked in the dark down the street, and Liz is in the driver’s seat. Turns out he’s not glamoured because he’s full of vervain, and he confirms for Liz that Caroline is a vampire, and they grieve together and cry and cry.

Finally, Katherine wakes up on the floor of a strange room and spies the warlock working mojo on an unconscious Alaric while some sort of blood cocktail transfusion has spilled over to the floor. She speeds to the door to find it blocked by a spell and then Alaric appears behind her. She spins around to face him and he calls her Katerina in a voice that’s not his own, and Katherine eeks out, “Klaus?” And credits!

Whew. So that happened in about 44 minutes. My biggest takeaway of the episode was wondering exactly how long Isobel had been compelled by Klaus—since we met her, or just this go around? I hope we find out because I’d like to know if we ever saw her true vampire self, if you will. I’m glad we had Mia Kirshner for a few eps; would’ve enjoyed her for a longer run if they could’ve worked it.

I hope Jenna finally finds her backbone. When she had the meltdown before the credits, I was thinking this might be the episode that finally bring her into the fold, but not yet. Next, we dive into more flashbacky goodness about Klaus and Katherine, and Matt Davis gets to have way, way too much fun as Klaus rides around town in Alaric’s body. Let’s see how they explain that to Jenna.

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