The complicated relationship between the vampires and werewolves on The Vampire Diaries explodes this week with a battle and a devastating hostage situation. In the midst of the melee, several old faces are back, even if it's just for a moment or two. But since many of them were missing from last week's triumphant return, it really made this week feel like the show is back in full swing.
Besides the usual drama in Mystic Falls, we also get a peek at a topless Ian Somerhalder — twice! But onto important things: let's talk about the good, the bad, and the bloody when you read more.
- The gang's back together! So many characters show their faces again this week: Jenna, Bonnie, Jeremy, and John Gilbert. Jenna makes a brief appearance to have her mind blown re: Elena's parentage, while Bonnie and Jeremy have a couple moments to show they're well on their way to inevitable couplehood. John's return is more ominous, though he's been brought back by Stefan because he has info on Isobel, and Stefan thinks he can help. Jeremy and Elena don't trust him at all, though, and nor do I.
- The vampire/werewolf conflict reaches a boiling point this week. Now that Tyler knows Damon and Stefan are vampires, he's vulnerable to siding with Jules, and when Damon finds out Tyler's a werewolf, he's ready to eliminate him as a rival ("He needs to die. I'm willing to kill him. It's win-win!"). When Stefan breaks into Tyler's to try his hand at diplomacy, they learn that Caroline has been kidnapped by Jules and is being held hostage until she gets Tyler.
- Speaking of Caroline, things are rough for her this week: first, she gets sprayed in the face with vervain, then shot in the face with a wooden bullet. The situation is pretty grim; Jules's were-minion Brady repeatedly shoots her, then sadistically finds different ways of torturing her to keep her in agony. But on the bright side, I was impressed with Candice Accola in those scenes.
- Rumble in the woods! Stefan and Damon battle the werewolves to get to Caroline, but they're outnumbered. Just when they appear to be bested, Jonas comes in and puts a spell on the werewolves, upholding Elijah's deal with Elena to keep everyone safe. It's obviously not over, though: Tyler tells Brady that Mason was after the moonstone, piquing his interest (moonstones: so hot in Mystic Falls right now).
- John's not just back, he comes bearing gifts. John gives Damon a new weapon and reveals that Isobel is working on something to keep Klaus out of Mystic Falls. Then he gives Elena a piece of jewelry from the mother who raised her, Miranda. It's followed by an emotional (and dare I say sympathetic) speech from John about how he knows he's nothing to Elena, but he will still protect her and the family. And yet: he sneaks into Katherine's tomb at the end and tells her he's going to get her out.
- Damon is naked a lot this week, first in the opening shower scene, then in the bathtub with "sexy reporter girl" Andy Starr (by the way, I didn't know that bubble baths were a first date option. Fascinating). And just like last week, he uses a beautiful human woman to confess his feelings to, then sinks his teeth in. That's weird therapy, Damon, but I think I get it.
- In an episode with a lot of violence, there's a couple of very sweet moments, and they happen between Stefan and Caroline. When he first checks on her after her horrific ordeal, she tries to be strong and insists that she's "not girly little Caroline anymore." She's not, but I love that Stefan tells her that she doesn't have to pretend with him. And when he returns a little later to check on her again? I melted. And even though he brought her girlfriends over to help, I'm telling you, there's a spark there.
- I'm bummed about Tyler and Caroline, you guys. I understand why he hesitates at letting Caroline out of her cell, but I was surprised that he makes no move to help her at all when Jules has a gun to her head. After she had been so there for him during his recent transition, she deserves more than the sheepish apology he gives her at her house later. Caroline rightfully tells him off, angrily declaring that they're not friends anymore. Boo. Not friends, not lovers, nothing? Fix it, Tyler.
- I stand by my conceit last week that Jules is the worst. Let me count the ways she annoys me: she can't stop calling Caroline "your little vampire friend," her speech about being a lycanthrope and that it's her "duty and honor to help you" is weak and sounds like a lie, but her most offensive act is with her boy toy Brady. They have a gross makeout when they meet in the woods, and Jules delivers the line, "I know, baby, but I want the boy more than I want vengeance." Why is she still alive?
- Damon is into ripping hearts out lately. He gets his chance during the woods showdown, but Stefan also sees some action, spearing someone in the neck. Fun times.
- Damon's sexy time in the bath also gets a bloody honorable mention, not because it was that bad, but because it was just so very Bill and Sookie.
What did you think of the episode? Are you sad about Caroline and Matt too, and how do you think the vampire/werewolf conflict will end? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and as always, join the Hooked on Vampire Diaries group in the Buzz Community to chat with other fans!
Photos courtesy of The CW