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The Vampire Diaries “Bringing Out the Dead” 

Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

I’ve said before that when this show brings its A game, it does impeccable work, and this week’s episode, while not completely perfect, came pretty damn close, and it lingered with me afterward. I also realized we really just can’t ever lose Alaric.

Caroline suffered more heartbreak, Klaus found out he really needs to learn how to be alone, Bonnie worked her mojo, the Salvatores bonded, Matt continued to be the best BFF and former boyfriend in the history of EVER, there’s a serial killer working his/her way through the Council, and Stefan admitted he still loves Elena. And ALL OF THAT was in 47 minutes. We seriously need a two-hour episode.

This is going to long, and a bit scattered, but bear with me. The net net is that I really, really liked it.

So, Elijah is back and he and Damon have a secret meeting of the minds that’s actually pretty charming. Seems Damon slipped in a note requesting a meet when he removed the dagger. Elijah complies and they discuss ways to bring down Klaus. This begets a rather awkward and loaded dinner invitation to Klaus’s new house where all the brothers sort of each mark their territory until Stefan ends up in the fireplace and Elijah reveals that he has the upper hand again because he’s unstaked the entire clan, and they’re just as pissed to see Klaus as he is horrified to find them all standing in his parlor.

Before that, Elijah and he had their own separate throwdown where Elijah learned Mikael was dead. Also discovered during dinner–Elena is the third Petrova doppleganger torn between two brothers–Tatia was the first, torn between Elijah and Klaus until she was sacrificed by Mikael when he turned his children.

Caroline and Elena are at the hospital to get her dad, and she doesn’t seem to have an appropriate enough reaction (to me) that he’s there because of Tyler, so I’m going to guess a scene was cut for time. She chats with Dr. Fell, who tells her Papa Forbes was none too happy to be vamp dosed. She thanks her all the same and Dr. Fell tells her she knows she’s a vampire and how hard that must be with her dad.

When Dr. Fell tells her she discharged him, Caroline calls him and then super hears the phone ringing nearby. She and Elena find him slumped in a supply closet, stabbed through the chest. Caroline panics, begging him not to be dead, yanks the knife out, and her dad revives. They take him to a patient room where Caroline’s compelled away any nosy nurses and says they have to get him blood so he can transition. He very matter-of-factly tells her no. She points out that he will die and he very calmly says he knows that and he wants to go home because he can smell blood everywhere.

Very, very thankfully, that is only one small, sad piece of the episode but it does beget some extraordinary work (as usual) from Candice Accola, as Caroline cries with Elena and then Matt about losing her dad, and then has a quiet, sad scene with Jack Coleman that’s sort of a strange bookend to the chat Caroline had with Klaus, where he accepts that this is the end of his life. He tells Caroline it’s right, and human, and that he doesn’t hate her. She cries and cries that she doesn’t want him to leave her and Liz stands in the doorway, helpless to resolve it for either of them.

Elena refers to Alaric as her family twice during the episode–once to Caroline as it relates to Dr. Fell maybe being a threat and later to Matt when she finds Alaric stabbed in their home (because it is now theirs) and has to make the injury fatal in order to activate the magical undeading ring. Those scenes were tense for me in a way that almost deflated the Forbes death because I was busy talking myself out of the possibility that they’d kill off Papa Forbes and Alaric at the same time, even though I know it was entirely possible that they *could.*

When Alaric revived at the end, it was one of my favorite moments this season. Matt sat on the floor beside Alaric, and Elena was in the middle of a call with Liz (who had just lost the father of her child, although no condolences were expressed=FAIL) and as Alaric starts coughing, Elena hangs up on Liz and drops to the floor beside Alaric. She puts her hands on his face and turns his head toward her so he can see that she’s there with him and then she takes his hand in both of hers and she Matt share a quiet, grateful smile.

On the Bonnie front (which Damon dubs Big Witch and Little Witch. Hee!), Bonnie and her mom are in the Lockwood cave with the locked coffin and she sort of browbeats her into getting it together to properly work the coffin spell. Things finally click, the candles surge and then drop, and Bonnie goes outside to call Damon and report that they’re close. Bonnie’s mom stays behind in the cave and an odd secret look of guilt/anger passes over her just before the coffin clicks open.

Photo Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW

Damon and Stefan have it out a bit after Elijah and Damon meet, and Damon essentially tells him to buck up little camper because his annoyance about the Elena situation is squarely on his shoulders because he ran off with Klaus. When Elijah does his big reveal at dinner that the clan is reawakened and Stefan and Damon walk out of there intact, Stefan gives an attaboy to Damon for a plan that didn’t suck and Damon pushes it for a thank you about saving Stefan’s life from Klaus (again) and is told softly to shut up.

They’re heading through the woods on their way to the Lockwood cave and stop for a moment when Stefan tells Damon he does love Elena. Damon says he does, too. Stefan lets that response fall without any snark. They head into the caves and find the witches out cold and the coffin wide open.

Over at “Reunited and Klaus is Scared Sh-tless,” things get even dicier when Rebekah stabs him and tells him she’s going to finish off Elena. The siblings start to swarm a bit and refer to what’s in the locked coffin as the thing that can end him when they fall silent and THEIR MOTHER walks in. At that point, Joseph Morgan is seriously amping up the amount of fear imposed on Klaus in one evening. She stops in front of him and asks him if he knows why she’s there. He says it’s to kill him and she says no, she’s there to put her family back together.

So there’s that.

A lot to take away from one episode.

First off, Matt. I LOVE that he just showed up at Caroline’s and didn’t have to say anything before she launched herself into his arms and he just held her while she wept and he and Elena smiled sadly at each other. Then when he went home with Elena and they found Alaric, he had a moment of panic about her having to kill him but understood it was necessary, and when she asked him to stay, he did (and more cuddles ensued!). I love that he didn’t *have* to be in either one of those scenes but he was.

While I’ve been warming up to Alaric’s evolution into someone Elena can rely on, I realized in this episode that the idea of him leaving would be a supremely capital Bad Idea. Especially now that they’re using him more. I loved that Elena called him family. I loved that we’re reminded that despite the fact he’s technically a raging alcoholic, he’s functional. When they realize the Gilbert weapons are being planted on Council victims, he rounds up everything for an inventory–he doesn’t fall apart. He’s rational even in the face of death, telling Elena what she has to do.

I loved that Papa Forbes died in a calm and peace that was so opposed to the fury with which he lived. I liked that Caroline got to say goodbye to him and that she asked Elena what the hardest thing was for her about losing her own dad.

I was glad Stefan finally admitted his ambivalence toward Elena is a big fat lie. The offer on the table from Klaus was that he would leave Elena to have a happy life, which would ensure a line of future doppelgangers, but Stefan said no, so we still don’t know what Stefan’s bug is that Klaus needs to be completely out of the picture.

I liked that Elijah was as duplicitous as ever, but this time it was in favor of a better resolution.

I like that we have a new wrinkle with someone going after the Council. Why now, after all these years? I wonder if that’s something to do with Klaus’s relationship with Carol Lockwood. (I know nothing, just conjecture).

I wish we didn’t only have nine episodes left this season. The morning after this episode aired, I couldn’t sleep and I was looking at some of the TNT listings for CW shows that ran well beyond 150 episodes and thinking about how vast some of their arcs were. It’s amazing to me that the WB started 15 years ago.

When I realize we’re only at 57 episodes of TVD now, and I’m fairly certain we’re going to get at least 100, I’m a little exhausted at what we’ve ALREADY been through.  I wonder down the road if we’ll look back at all this drama in the third season and think this was easy compared to where the show is then. I think about how Katherine was initially a big bad and now she’s sort of an amusing, uneasy ally. Is that where we’ll be with Klaus and Elijah? It’s funny the way these shows evolve.

This is, thankfully, why people write guides to seasons and maintain fansites.

This week, we get everybody all fancy at a ball. Can’t wait!

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