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The Vampire Diaries “My Brother’s Keeper” 

Photo credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW

So, I’m going to wade very carefully into this recap. My nits have nothing to do with the who, but the how, and we’ll get to that. As I’ve said before: I only ship Caroline and Tyler on this show. Everybody else is on their own.

It’s big doings in Mystic Falls as this year’s Miss Mystic Falls is crowned (spoiler: April gets it), and apparently the reigning Miss and her former co-contestants seize the day to free their knees because unlike last year when they were all rocking full-length dresses, Elena and Caroline are mini’d out for the shindig. Caroline is in hyper drive as master party planner while also keeping Defcon 1 at bay over Stefan and Elena.

Stefan is keeping busy by working out in the woods and falling back in with Klaus (sigh), who’s asked him to find suitable vampire potentials to turn so Jeremy can kill them and flesh out his tattoo. The big “uh oh” there is that he doesn’t know Jeremy’s been going around the psychological bend, having dreams about killing Elena and waking up with the tools at the ready to do so. So, Stefan turns a confessed murderer, Jeremy kills him, and then Jeremy comes gunning for Elena at the pageant.

Before Jeremy gets to that point, he’s in the happy-go-lucky pre-superhero bliss stage, showing Matt, while they’re setting up the party, that he can easily lift a keg in each hand. Matt is suitably concerned but Jeremy just thinks it’s cool. He does confide the nightmares in Matt, though, and Matt tells him that he has to tell Elena, or he will.

Also around at the festivities is Shane, who’s getting more suspicious by the day and his friendliness with Hayley doesn’t go unnoticed and turns out not to be a lost leader after all (we’ll get to this). Klaus shows up to escort/flirt with/charm Caroline while Tyler squires Hayley around. Klaus tries to be all dashing and funny and spins a tale about his one instance of envying humanity via a hummingbird. Despite herself, Caroline enjoys his company.

So, Matt has to tell Elena the truth, and it doesn’t give her much of a window before Jeremy makes a run at and wooden darts her but Stefan swoops in and she’s saved. Then Stefan has to come clean about pushing Jeremy into his bender. Elena responds by moving out of her house while Matt moves in to keep an eye on Jeremy. She then shows up at Casa Salvatore, and Stefan leaves to go see Caroline. It’s all rather musical chairs.

Earlier, at the party, Elena plainly tells Damon he is the reason she and Stefan are no longer together, and he’s not unhappy or surprised at the news (which he’d already heard from Stefan) but after the afternoon spirals, they never get back to the topic. That evening, they sit down to have the formal post-Stefan breakup talk and reminisce about how the day’s events brought back memories of the last Miss Mystic Falls when they shared the rather smoking dance while Stefan was away. Damon proposes they dance now and they do, in front of the fireplace. Fortified by the moment and a couple of belts of scotch, they finally kiss and it escalates quickly to the bedroom, where they consummate their long-brewing flirtation.

As hot as it is while it unfolds, across town, we get cold water thrown on it immediately when Caroline pieces together for Stefan that Elena is sired by Damon, hence her willingness to buy into his logic that she could only feed off of a human, change her ideas on a dime, etc. So we have that point/counterpoint to the love scene, and for me, it made it immediately something ugly and potentially not of Elena’s own free will, so I hope we get answers on that pretty quickly.

Tyler, with Matt’s help, also finally suspects Hayley may not be all she says she is, and that’s confirmed at the end of the episode when she dutifully reports to Shane that they’ve broken another hybrid. So, we go into tonight’s flashback-heavy episode (with Lexi!) with a whole lot of open questions.

I’m disappointed that after all this, and Elena supposedly making an actual choice, it looks like the triangle was actually resolved because she was somehow compelled to do so. It’s an especially icky idea now that they’ve slept together. I’m not down with that at all, so I do hope they quantify what exactly the sire bond equates in terms of free will of the person sired.

I also kind of hate that Phoebe Tonkin’s character is in fact a bad guy (or so it would seem, unless she’s doing this stuff for Shane because he’s threatened her in some way). It certainly makes it easier for Tyler and Caroline to continue on together if Hayley’s been up to something. I’m intrigued that Caroline didn’t pick up on that while she was so busy unraveling Damon’s (maybe) motives.

We’re definitely getting closer to whatever the big bad is going to be, with only two episodes left before winter break. Get ready.

The Vampire Diaries airs tonight at 8 pm/7c on the CW.

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