'The Vampire Diaries' recap: A night of double-crosses
Hiatuses can be difficult, but the great thing about “The Vampire Diaries” is that the show always makes it worth the wait. Tonight's episode, “Know Thy Enemy,” wasted no time getting down to business and was full of surprise twists I didn't see coming. You'd think at this point, I'd be able to telegraph a few twists, but nope. I credit the writers with creating some of TV's most shocking, thrilling hours. Let's take a look at some of tonight's biggest reveals:
John (David Anders) and Isobel (Mia Kirshner) have hearts! After giving Jenna (Sara Canning) a shock by showing up on her doorstep, Isobel (and John) had a chat with Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley), who seemed to take some pleasure in telling Damon (Ian Somerhalder) to call Alaric (Matt Davis) and “let him know that his wife showed up on his girlfriend's doorstep.” They claimed to be working to protect Elena. All those vampires that died during Founders' Day? That was to help Elena (and a nice tieback to Season 1's mythology). They couldn't risk word getting back to Klaus that Katherine (Dobrev) was alive. After the events of the hour went down, the cold, unfeeling Isobel from last season seemed to have been replaced by a woman who truly regretted not getting to know her daughter. And then, in a surprisingly touching moment, John offered to do whatever it takes to keep Elena safe, even if that means leaving town. She declined his offer because he's the only parent she has left and maybe she could learn not to hate him. (Is it just me or did Damon seem bemused by the indestructible John? I loved the way he kept tossing him around. John is the (semi-redeemed) cockroach that won't die!)
The double-crossing adventures of Isobel and Katherine. After claiming to be helping John and Elena, Isobel met up with Katherine, who had told Damon and Stefan not to let Isobel or John know she was alive. Double-cross No. 1. It turned out Isobel was working with Katherine. Double-cross No.2. Isobel was in touch with Klaus' witch friend, and they made an agreement: Katherine's freedom for the moonstone and the doppelganger. She was only using John, who's conveniently keeping her up to date on all the latest happenings. Double-cross. Katherine had told Stefan and Damon that she was on their team because she wants Klaus dead, but “they're floundering. … If I stick with them, I'm dead,” she told Isobel. Double-cross--are you still following? Isobel created a distraction at a town gathering by biting John, so Katherine could switch places with Elena and Isobel could grab Elena. Now here comes the big double-cross. Klaus actually wants the moonstone and Katherine, who Isobel has led straight to one of his minions. Once he had incapacitated her, he told Isobel she has completed the task she was compelled to do. (So Isobel met Klaus or one of his minions compelled her?) She ripped off her necklace and went up in flames right in front of Elena. That's a whole lot of shifting allegiances and twists, but the show pulled it off and delivered some genuine surprises at the same time. Even more impressively, they got me to care about Isobel a little in the short time before she died.
Losing consciousness is no big deal because you can always come back as someone else. On her making amends tour, Isobel told Alaric she really loved him. It was one of those type of confessions that you make before you're going to do something really horrible. So naturally, the minion came out and incapacitated Alaric. At the end of the episode, Katherine woke up to see Alaric undergoing some kind of ritual/blood transfusion. He stood up and greeted Katherine...as Klaus! How did I not see body possession coming? And clearly, there was more to Isobel's deal with Klaus than she let on. What a clever way to “introduce” Klaus while still building up his real introduction be an event. And this definitely makes up for Alaric not having much to do this season. The greatest apology gift you can receive has to be getting to play an incarnation of Klaus. In what little we saw, Davis was selling it. There better be a Jenna and Alaric as Klaus confrontation in the next episode. You know, just to make Jenna's life even more complicated. In all seriousness, I do feel bad for Jenna. She is the only one left who doesn't know, and that's going to be a really difficult, lonely position to be in. But I completely forgot she was a grad student. Just like these kids sometimes – OK, always – forget they have to go to high school.
Matt (Zach Roerig) and Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre) are working together? Caroline (Candice Accola) spent most of the episode looking for Matt, worried that he might tell the whole town the truth. She called him like 25 times, including once using Ford Focus' voice dialing. The car also has eyes on its trunk, apparently. The one thing that car can't do? Solve the show's Klaus problem! Matt confronted Sheriff Forbes about his sister's death. She took him home to cool down, and that's where Caroline found him and told him everything at his request. After she was done, he begged her to make him forget. It's the angriest I think we've ever seen him. “I don't want to look at you and see what I’m seeing right now,” he said. Ouch. I understand that he's feeling betrayed and alone, but it's still difficult to see the normally sweet Matt reject Caroline so harshly. She did as he asked. Then he stepped into Sheriff Forbes' car and told her he drank the vervain and got her to tell him everything. Was Sheriff Forbes suspicious that her daughter was a vampire? Or did Matt tell her the truth during their first confrontation? And what's Matt going to do know that he both knows the truth and has to play dumb? Is he trying to get leverage on Caroline? Did she tell him about everyone else too? I'm assuming so because he said all his friends were lying to him. It's an interesting position they've put him in, one far more interesting than him regressing and going back to being clueless.
Other brief thoughts:
– The scene of Elena and Katherine together at the same time looked fantastic. Bravo, special effects people!
– So Stefan and Damon's plan is to turn the Salvatore mansion into Elena's safehouse by signing over the deed. Slumber party, anyone?
– Bonnie (Katerina Graham) can control the weather! But it might kill her to harness all the power from the dead witches in order to kill Klaus. Can Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) really take the hit of losing another girlfriend? And Damon and Stefan's talk of Bonnie being their secret weapon made me wonder if maybe Katherine heard something. When has anything gone to plan for them?
– Saddest exchange of the night: Matt telling Sheriff Forbes that he felt like Caroline died, and her replying, “She did.”
– A soapdish, Damon? Really?
Showtrackers, were you surprised by all the twists? Which was your favorite? What do you think of Alaric as Klaus? Are you scared for Bonnie's life? And what do you make of John and Isobel's suddenly more warm nature?
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-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)
Photo: Isobel (Mia Kirshner) takes Elena (Nina Dobrev) to visit her grave. Credit: Quantrell Colbert / The CW.