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The Vampire Diaries “The Ties That Bind” 

Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

OK. So, most of this episode was a mighty big “meh,” but the ending? Was DELICIOUS!

We got some traction on the who and why of Dr. Fell, somebackstory on Mama Bennett, an attempted unsiring of Tyler at the hands of Papa Forbes, and a clearing of the air with Elena and Stefan about her smooch with Damon. What didn’t we get? Any teeny tiny mention of Klaus saving Caroline’s life or the sort of sweet, romantic way he did so.

Also in there, I realized, we have a bit of a conundrum that Alaric is living at Elena’s without Jeremy, which comes really close to the line since he’s still a teacher (is he still hers?) and she’s still a student. I LOVED that he stammered over the lines about it being her home, Jenna’s home, and her family’s home. Especially as a bookend to Mama Bennett’s statement, much to Bonnie’s chagrin, that her ex-BF’s son, Jamie, was her family. Alaric is family to Elena (and don’t harp on me about my OTP item–I’m talking about where we are now). All that’s my way of saying to Alaric, “don’t move out–y’all still need each other.”

On the Forbes front, Tyler, God bless him, is still trying to do right by Caroline so he brings in her daddy to break his sire bond to Klaus, not totally reading the fine print that daddy’s methods will involve him learning to wolf out on a dime, and get to the point that it’s painless. The first attempt goes sideways when daddy misgauges the strength of the chain and Wolf Tyler frees himself and mauls him.

Alaric and Dr. Fell are getting flirtier and Damon thinks she’s too good to be true and finds himself vervained and drained (sort of) for his trouble and then he trots over to tell Alaric she’s a Class-A psycho. Alaric goes to visit her and she admits, yes, she did what she did and then she shows him that she’s using blood to heal patients (including Papa Forbes). She admits no role in her ex-boyfriend’s death, though. In turn, Alaric shows her all his hunter gear and tells her about the ring and they’re just about to kiss when Elena comes in and Dr. Fell departs, leaving Alaric to have a heart to heart with Elena about where he fits in with her now.

In turn, Alaric shows her all his hunter gear and tells her about the ring and they’re just about to kiss when Elena comes in and Dr. Fell departs, leaving Alaric to have a heart to heart with Elena about where he fits in with her now. While she doesn’t tell him outright that he’s her family now (boo!), she does essentially tell him it’s his home, too, and that she’s OK with him moving on from Jenna, and then thanks him for being there for her and Jeremy. Matt Davis did really, really nice work in that scene, as did Nina Dobrev.

Bonnie keeps having coffin dreams and when one of them has her mother, Abby, she shows Elena the coffins in the basement and asks for her help in finding Abby (not clear why she needed her when Caroline could’ve helped with files but whatever. Plot Device.). Damon gets the deets faster via compulsion so Elena and Bonnie go see her but get there after a hybrid pays a visit.

Damon starts to come along but Elena shoots him down. Bonnie asks them what’s going on and Damon just blurts out that they kissed and now things are awkward. There’s a brief discussion later in the car where Bonnie asks her if it was a good kiss and Elena just smiles and says she can’t talk about it.

It turns out Abby is the one who desiccated Mikael and then stayed away from Mystic Falls and went so radio silent she didn’t know about Grams. Stefan shows up fairly quickly and Jamie loads him full of wooden buckshot in front of Elena while Abby drugs Bonnie.

Abby drives Bonnie to meet up with the hybrid, who wants to know where the coffins are, and who has compelled Jamie to suicide if he doesn’t get an answer. Abby confesses this, so Bonnie tells him after she warns Damon (and Abby has sort of faked out the hybrid by typing out on her phone for Bonnie that she needs to warn her friends). While this is going on, Klaus is facing off with Damon in the Witchy Manor basement and shouting down the witches that he can eliminate the entire Bennett line if they don’t reveal his coffins. They relent and only three appear, and Damon smiles about having the upper hand about the fourth.

Back at the Bennett house, Elena frees herself and knocks out Jamie so he can’t off himself and then plucks wooden bits out of Stefan. He acknowledges that she’s stronger now and she comes clean about Damon and he responds with silence and then walks away. I’d have been happy if that scene ended right there, but she follows him and he tells her that she’s better than he and Damon, but he makes no claim on her.

Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

Before all that, Klaus and Stefan continued their pissing match and it’s fairly obvious that Klaus is at “bored now” with him, but he has enough of a bead on how Stefan thinks that he was one step ahead on chasing down Abby. I did love that Klaus was just propped up in the Salvatore living room waiting for Stefan, swilling their scotch and listening to The Black Keys.

After the Abby debacle, Stefan goes home and Damon tells him that the plan with Klaus went 75% as it should have, that he only had time to move the locked coffin, and Stefan agrees that was the best choice. Damon asks if Elena is OK and Stefan responds by clocking him. Damon surmises that Stefan is looped now and has no desire to discuss it and then suggests they talk about the handy deading/undeading dagger he’s holding instead.

And apparently, it’s the first time I’ve ever watched this show, because I was all, “Oh, crap, he dusted somebody,” and a few moments later I was levitating on my sofa when it hit me that, no….he reanimated somebody. Two guesses? Elijah, my boo! And he makes a spectacular entrance. Klaus’s hybrid (who’s technically NOT supposed to be in town) is arranging the coffins and asks Klaus if he should open them and is told no, and as Klaus begins to espouse something or other, the hybrid drops and Elijah appears behind him clutching the poor SOB’s heart. Now it’s a party! This is why I love not being clued in on spoilers, y’all. It redeemed the entire episode.

General thoughts:

  • I’m not sure we need Abby around but I’m OK if it builds a bigger arc for Bonnie.
  • I think the reveals for Alaric and Dr. Fell happened to easy and too early. We’ll see.
  • I’d like to see what the Damon/Elena confession does for them and Stefan. I liked that Stefan was pissed but not distraught about it. I liked even more that he apologized for going too far last week. They’re working so hard to keep him redeemable, so I’m not sure where or how that will leave Damon, if they still turn Elena back to Stefan at the end of all this. I think Stefan likely never thought Elena would really move on from him, and now that it’s apparent that she can and is, he’s got to decide whether he’s willing to really lose her to take Klaus down. As for Elena’s side of things, she just seemed exhausted when she told Stefan she felt most guilty not that she’d kissed Damon but that Stefan didn’t know.
  • True confession: I fast-forwarded through the Tyler transition scenes because that went above and beyond my threshold, so I hope whatever is going to proceed with Papa Forbes involves a little more tell than show. I was surprised that Caroline bugged out and left them together, but I see that, too, as perhaps a plot device to show us that Dr. Fell resorted to vamp blood because if Caroline had been standing by, she’d have done it for her dad.

Lots going on. I felt like tonight dragged a little bit but I have no doubt things will ramp back up in a hurry for sweeps, especially with Elijah back to (deservedly) bitchslap Klaus. We have a break next week to catch our breath first.

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