The Vampire Diaries returns after a month-long absence, and we're plunged back into the world of vampires, moonstones, and Doppelgangers. Klaus is still the name on everyone's lips, but there's another rogue making trouble in Mystic Falls: Elena's birth mother, Isobel.
It feels great to have everyone back (especially Damon), even the villains — so before I reveal any spoilers, let's talk about the good, the bad, and the bloody when you
- We pick up with Jenna coming face to face with Isobel, and upset about being kept in the dark about everything, she angrily takes off. John invites her in, to Elena and Stefan's dismay. Isobel claims that she's been looking for Klaus to keep Elena safe, but we quickly find that that's not true. Later, we see her entering her safe house where she's surprised by Katherine — and the two share a happy embrace! Yep, Isobel is lying to John and Elena and working with Katherine. The best part about that whole thing? Their Sex and the City-like girlfriend chat over wine glasses. Katherine's such a Samantha!
- Jenna isn't the only one who's taken off: after finding out that Caroline is a vampire in the last episode, Matt has gone missing. Caroline is distraught and finding him is all she can think about. When he finally turns up, it's not Caroline he wants to talk to, but her mother. Visibly distraught, Matt demands to see Vickie's file because he wants to know how her vampire death was covered up. Uh oh. He confronts Caroline at her house, saying that her mom was called away. When Caroline comes clean about the vampire history, Matt says he wants to have his memory wiped because he feels so alone (Aww!) — but wait! He's actually in cahoots with Caroline's mother, who has been waiting for information this whole time. So now we watch Caroline's mother learning the truth all over again, except this time, Caroline doesn't know.
- New team alert! Damon, Bonnie, and Jeremy band together to fulfill the task that Jonas gave to Bonnie before she died — to kill Klaus. Bonnie needs a spell to harness the power of the dead witches, and Damon leads the group there. Unfortunately, the spirits of the witches don't exactly look kindly on a vampire trespassing on their turf, and Damon is forced to stay outside. Inside, Jeremy and Bonnie do a little flirting (and kissing!) before they hear the creepy voices of witches summoning them. Bonnie finally connects with the other side, which apparently involves a lot of screaming and tears, but it's over quickly and Jeremy is right there to comfort her.
- Isobel tracks down Ric, seemingly to make amends, but just as she's getting all mushy on him, she sics one of Klaus's henchmen on him. But then — is she a double agent? Turns out family means something to Isobel after all. When Katherine and Elena switch places, Isobel drives off with her daughter in the backseat, and leads Katherine right to the same bad guy.
- Damon takes his shirt off. Let's all take a moment to think about that scene again. If that doesn't deserve a mention, I don't know what does.
- Once Damon and Stefan realize they've been had by Isobel, they come up with a new plan to keep Elena safe: turn over the deed of their house to her, so she can keep it sealed away from evil vampires. Seems like the perfect plan, but we all know Elena's not one for lying around the house playing damsel in distress — she'd much rather be directly in harm's way playing damsel in distress.
- After receiving her new powers, Bonnie reveals to Jeremy that she's going to sacrifice herself to save Elena. Apparently she's garnered enough witchy strength to bring down an original, but it means that she'll have to die. Jeremy tries to talk her out of it, but Bonnie seems dead set on her new purpose in life. Am I the only one who wouldn't be that upset if she reaches her goal?
- Katherine wakes up in a strange room to find Klaus's henchman performing some kind of strange ritual on Ric. After a few seconds, Ric rises from the chair and immediately starts speaking to Katherine in a Russian accent. And bam! Klaus has arrived! Between the Elena/Katherine switcheroos and now Alaric being possessed, I see a lot of confusion in future episodes.
- Katherine needs the moonstone to get her freedom from Klaus, so she goes hunting for it in the Salvatore house. Damon claims it's in a safe place . . . and she finds it in the soap dish?! Really?!
- To show off her new powers to Jeremy, Bonnie closes her eyes, focuses, and creates . . .a windstorm? That's it? For a girl who can set just about anything on fire, some gusty winds aren't all that exciting.
- John and Isobel come face to face at the Lockwood mansion, while Elena's busy downstairs picking up a gift on behalf of the historical society. There's not much time for chit-chat: Isobel quickly sinks her fangs into John's neck and sends him rolling down the stairs — the perfect diversion for Katherine to forcibly switch places with Elena. Mrs. Lockwood and Katherine's mom are about to declare him dead, but Damon reveals the truth about his ring.
- Isobel takes Elena to a graveyard so she can see the tombstone that Isobel's parents have laid out of her. Just then, Klaus's henchman calls Isobel to tell her that she can let Elena go now because she's done exactly what Klaus has "compelled her to do." Isobel hangs up the phone, and seconds later, pulls of a necklace and immediately bursts into flame and rots right there on her grave. All in all, a rough episode for both of Elena's birth parents.
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Photo courtesy of The CW