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The Vampire Diaries “Picture of You” 

Photo: Annette Brown/The CW
Photo Credit: Annette Brown/The CW

Full disclosure, kids: I never went to prom. So I can’t weigh in on whether this episode appropriately and correctly mirrored everything you hoped and expected prom to be and wasn’t, but “Pictures of You,” aka “the prom episode” came off as mostly “meh.” Everybody looked great but there wasn’t a lot of “there” there.

Caroline is jazzed about the event, and excited about her gown and her friend date with Bonnie and Matt and then Elena steals her dress from the shop after she leaves it to be pressed. She begs Klaus to unvault something spectacular, and with the perfect impish grin, he does. Aside from a dance with Stefan, who steals her away before she and Elena can thrown down, she finds that her impeccably planned prom is underwhelming.

Earlier in the day, Rebekah pleads her case to Elijah alongside Klaus, whose own case amounts to not wanting to go bonkers via Silas, and Elijah sides with his sister. He agrees to give her the cure if she can be human for a day. With Elena along as her sober companion of sorts, she’s miserable throughout the dance as she can’t compel her way to prom queen and Matt won’t dance with her until he finally does, and she tells him he’s beautifully human and everything she’d want to be and he tells her pretty firmly that she sucks as a person and probably would as a human, too.

She has a chance to prove him wrong when he asks her to intervene to save April after she’s bitten by Elena. She does (even though we don’t actually see it and Matt promises not to tell) but it turns out to be a lost leader when Silas comes calling on Elijah as Rebekah and snakes the cure away.

Before and during prom, Bonnie is having visions of Jeremy and she realizes pretty quickly that it’s Silas f-cking with her. And it’s a shame, really, because the episode opens with a sweet scene of her visiting Jeremy’s grave only to wake up on fire. And then Jeremy shows up at prom in a tux and they dance and for a moment it’s a lovely scene (the CW is getting good use out of Rihanna’s “Stay”) until he starts the crazy talk. She also finally has it out with Elena and realizes her friend is really dead.

The Salvatores are trying to sway Elena back to the light side, accompanying her to prom in tuxedoes and on their best-ish behavior. They each try to dent her with happier memories of her past and then Silas sticks his nose in there, too. It’s not entirely clear whether it’s Silas or Stefan wooing Elena on the dance floor while an unamused Damon looks on. The brothers catch on soon enough, though. When they realize Elena is so far gone that that she thinks taking Bonnie out to ensure the cure is a non-issue is OK, they vervain and dungeon her. So we’ll see how that works out.

Caroline retreats to the Lockwood house for the afterparty (with a whole two bags of groceries) to find Tyler waiting for her. The scene is blocked in such a way that we don’t know immediately that it’s truly him, and then we only get part of one dance–not nearly enough time with them given the amount of Caroline’s pining that we’ve witnessed (BOOOO–before Klaus arrives to spook Tyler and off he goes.

After Rebekeah is forced to be non-human and save April, Klaus appears at the prom (seemingly at the same time as he confronts Tyler) to taunt her, while we intercut to Rebekah pleading innocence to Elijah. It would seem we’re getting flash forwards but it’s actually Silas-as-Rebekah, and Elijah hands over the cure. Later, Bonnie confronts him about his shenanigans and tells him to show her his true face if he wants her help, and we get a fleeting glimpse of something monstrous as he reveals that part of his curse was that no other woman could ever love him.

Klaus goes home and finds a letter from Katherine summoning him to check out a witch in New Orleans, setting the stage for the one-off episode we’ll get next week.

And that’s kind of that. Nothing terribly forward-moving by itself, but a lot of stage setting for the last episodes of the season. Which is a shame, because I’d have expected the prom episode to have a bigger bang. It was sentimental to give us some sort of Jeremy, and a little bit of Tyler, so props for that.

The brothers and Elena thing was amusing in its own way. It was a little jarring to watch them be domestic in the opener, tossing a football back and forth to each other in their gigantic gothic living room and discussing their not-girlfriend. The much-promo’d line from the teaser of Damon admonishing Elena to not eat the prom queen turns out to be the one thing she actually does—after Bonnie is crowned and Elena’s “screw this” patience level leads her to just go ahead and try to remove Bonnie as part of the Silas problem.

The upside there is that Bonnie fights back and the boys see a glimpse of fear in Elena and they realize the trigger for her switch may not be emotion so much as a fear of actual death. So, that’s their project now that they have her locked up.

I was glad to get Matt back for an episode—still unclear there, too about whether it was him or Silas back there when he told Caroline that Tyler had given him the house, but Tyler repeated that in the episode, so it’s true, it’s just the deliverer may have been less than genuine.

I had hoped we’d get The Cure’s version of “Pictures of You,” but the cover we did get by Class Actress was pretty good, too.

You can catch the episode now on The CW website. Next week, the backdoor pilot for The Originals takes Klaus & co to New Orleans.

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