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The Vampire Diaries “The Reckoning” 

Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

Apologies, y’all. They really should disclaimer this show that you simply cannot watch it if you’re even remotely fatigued, because it took this episode to make me go back and rewatch last week’s last 10 minutes. Only to find out I TOTALLY missed that it was Katherine who took Elena’s necklace back from Bonnie and heard her confession about Jeremy’s visitations and then showed up at Damon’s door. Seriously. I spent several minutes going, “Wait. Did we know that?” only to be told, “Yes, dumbass, we did. Where were you?”

On to it!

So I didn’t see Robo-Stefan coming. Good one, show! It’s a very interesting way to keep him in the picture but out of the picture, and all the more AWKWARD for both Elena and Damon, since he’s now essentially pledged his troth to her. As Tina astutely captured, yay that Matt had a plot and an arc and didn’t die. All good things!

The episode begins on senior prank night, which is essentially Christmas and birthday and graduation all rolled together with sparkly shiny rainbows for Caroline. She’s bullied everybody else into a begrudging sense of “yay” so we have Elena, Bonnie, and Tyler, and assorted nameless. faceless seniors roaming around the campus, plus Matt, who was minding his beezles in the gym until he walked into a roomful of mousetraps (yes, actual rodent killing machines). He’s shanghaied into the festivities and ends up for most of the night paired with Bonnie. We’ll get back to that.

The big news is that all this young blood in one building begets a happy coincidence for Rebekah and Klaus and not so much for Elena, who finds herself outed and captured before the credits even roll, and Stefan, upon whom Klaus is going to exact a particularly nasty revenge for the deception. Rebekah is all to happy to help because she’s still pissed, moreso when she finds a cell phone picture of a smiling Elena and Stefan, in which Elena is wearing her necklace. About that…

So Klaus hems and haws a bit with Elena after she says Katherine has the necklace and then decides the easiest recourse is to set Stefan upon her and compel him to kill her while the gymnasium scoreboard clock winds down (drama much?). Elena’s response is to cry and plead with Stefan to overcome the compulsion a.k.a. Daddy Forbes.

He’s desperate and crying and pleading, too, and it’s all terribly hand wringy until the buzzer sounds and he yells at her to run. She gets just far enough that Klaus catches up, and in front of her, turns off Stefan’s humanity (big ups to Paul Wesley for switching from heartsick horror to absolutely nothing). Klaus figures out he doesn’t have to kill Elena to activate his hybrids, just drain her blood as a hybrid elixir. Add it your power smoothie, and bam, hybrid gravy train.

He figures the blood out when he uses it to turn Tyler (BOOOOOO!). Caroline is devastated while this plays out, waiting for Tyler to awaken from Klaus’s attack and then trying to explain exactly what happened to him. Afterward, he tells Caroline that he’s all better, faster, stronger, but she’s not having it. Before that, they did have one sweet moment where she stopped kissing him to discuss Matt and he was GOOD BOYFRIEND about it.

Out in the alternaroadtrip, Damon snaps to fairly quickly and asks Katherine to fess up and she reveals an unconscious Jeremy in the hatchback. She uses his visions to have Anna tell her where Michael (hunter vampire) is. Meanwhile, Damon hightails it home to save Elena from her assignment as the designated hybrid donor at the hospital. At the gates of yet another tomb, Katherine and Jeremy find what they seek.

At the school, Matt and Bonnie chat some and he tells her he knows about the visions and in a supreme act of dumb, drops himself in the pool with weights strapped around him just after telling itty bitty Bonnie to come get him. She of course does but he’s down long enough to get a glimpse of Vickie, who’s still with him when he comes to. So there’s that.

Damon gets Elena home and makes a thousand apologies for abandoning her and promises again that he’ll never ever leave her. They have a moment and then a very Damonesqe Stefan saunters in all “Am I interrupting?” without an ounce of jealousy. This ought to be fun.

I like these episodes that are self-contained to the school—there’s something sort of charged there when the characters are actually in an environment that reflects how young they are within the context of the show, and turns the supposed safety net of the school on its ear. Every time.

No bueno that Tyler is the first successful hybrid, because he’s going to be in danger from Klaus as long as Klaus is part of the show. I’m just going to pick sides now and say I’d rather have Tyler. I’m not terribly keen on the return of Caroline’s furrowed brow when all she really, really, really wanted was to have a normal senior year.

It was an interesting dynamic, too, to watch Jeremy and Katherine and Bonnie and Matt team up. I love that there are so many characters on this show that we’re constantly surprised by the mixing and matching.

While I’m not altogether woo to the hoo about Stefan being turned off, I’m happy for Paul Wesley that he gets to return to the land of “Stefan is fun?” The flipside of that is that he’ll have to play Stefan as quite the dark bitch when it all comes crashing down.

The stage is certainly set for an interesting run to the winter break. Bring it!

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