Nobody died! (we think)
When you title an episode “Do Not Go Gentle,” that’s a little up for grabs.
This episode had a HUGE buildup and then a HUGE rug pull.Â If you were watching the clock through your tears, you pretty much knew that you were being wound way, way up for something that wasn’t actually going to happen.
The 20s dance is the setup for the evening. Rebekesther still has Antilaric in cahoots with her and they conspire against Klaus and Damon, respectively, to ensure that Klaus will be at the dance and that Damon believes Alaric is recovered and off on a walkabout (which he buys for about a minute). Separately, Caroline strong-arms Elena into asking Stefan to the dance, and he says yes, and then Tyler shows up, too. So do Bonnie and her not-quite brother, Jamie.
This is great from a “gang’s all here” perspective, but it also sets up the evening’s MacGuffin as Esther gets her body back and then locks all the vamps (and Tyler) in the school via a salt bind and lures Elena to help her help Alaric. Except that’s totally a lie. Esther has convinced Antilaric to hand over the magical undeading ring and she’s melted it down and coated the last remaining stake with it to make it indestructible. Now all she needs isÂ Elena’s blood to cast a spell that kills Antilaric and brings him back as some sort of super soldier vampire Original vampire hunter.
Before everybody realizes they’re screwed for the evening, we get dances between Tyler and Caroline and then Stefan and Elena, and then Klaus and Caroline. Tyler feigns that Klaus can compel him and then while Klaus has Caroline to himself, he tells her that some day the small town, small town boy thing won’t be enough and he’ll be waiting, and kudos to Candice Accola that’s there’s the slightest catch in her face that says Caroline knows Klaus isn’t wrong. Kudos to Joseph Morgan, too, for (again!) tearing up ever so subtly when Caroline shoots Klaus down.
While Elena’s begging an uninterested Esther for mercy for Alaric, back at the school, Bonnie works a salt-breaking spell that doesn’t work until Alaric revives from part one of Esther’s plan and stakes her, giving Bonnie a window to complete the spell. The salt wall drops and everybody heads to the cemetery, where Alaric has been caught up on his fate by a despondent Elena (who makes it all about her because she’s 17).
He declares he won’t transition, so they all honor his wishes and say goodbye. He hugs Jeremy and Elena–and call me a sap, but I wanted at least one of them to say they loved the other (not like that!). Then, there’s a curtain call of the Salvatores, Caroline, Tyler, Matt, Jeremy, Dr. Fell, and Bonnie. The only problem? There are 12 minutes left in the episode.
Jamie takes Bonnie home and stays with her. Klaus takes Esther back to a coffin and has a complete snotty meltdown all over her that she will never, ever win, which of course means “it ain’t over yet, dear boy.” Moments later, Esther appears to Bonnie in a dream and tells her that their work isn’t done. At the school, Elena cries and cries while packing up Alaric’s office and bemoans that she and Jeremy have nobody. Stefan talks her down that she has him. Matt and Jeremy toast to Alaric at the Grill and Jeremy tears up.
Out at the cemetery, Damon’s consoling himself with a bottle and Dr. Fell tells him she’s sedated Alaric and he should go sit with him in the tomb. He tells her that’s not what Alaric wants and she tells him he’s wrong. He goes inside and sits on the ground beside Alaric and they have a besties cry and goodbye. When Alaric draws his last breath, Damon caps the booze and leaves but just as he gets outside, an entranced Bonnie drops him.
Then she goes inside, stabs her hand with the stake, feeds Alaric, and he awakens and takes a proper bite out of her. Then he stands up, full fury and vamped all to hell, holding the stake (and I want the still of Matt Davis doing a version with a sh-t-eating grin).
So, if you got completely wrapped up and apoplectic that you’d been terribly misled and Matt Davis was being written out and everybody had lied to you that he could do two series if his pilot goes to series, I’m sorry and I feel ya. I had all those thoughts running through my brain, too (and that’s just with general “industry” info, no spoilers). I was sort of pissed off and relieved at the same time. I didn’t really feel that he was in jeopardy until the scene with Damon, when we were winding down on enough time that I thought they could maybe still kill him off.
My takeaway was that it was really a manipulation because if and when they ever do actually kill him off for real, will it be as weighty as his pseudo send-off was tonight? I’m happy for Davis to get to do balls-out, off-his-nut crazytown, but didn’t we just do this with Stefan? Not sure how I feel about the comedown afterward when (and if) Alaric reverts to his true personality and is horribly guilty for whatever he’s about to do.
BTW — There was a moment early on where Caroline basically tagged Matt to be or not be killed by warning him about being caught in the crossfire of his loved ones and I actually thought “that’s cheating!” I’m still not 100% that he’s in the clear.
P.S. — OMG that there are no pics of Matt Davis from this episode.
Two episodes left.
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