The Vampire Diaries is back from its hiatus, and while we get a little fun flashback time with turn-of-the-century Damon and Stefan, this episode is a little boring for my taste (I think it's because Klaus is absent). That is, until we get to the end of the episode and get a shock that I didn't see coming at all.
We also get a sweet confession from Elena, but all the excitement is really about figuring out who the Mystic Falls serial killer is, so let's go over the good, the bad, and the bloody after the jump.
- Alaric is alive after being shot by Meredith Fell, but to add insult to literal injury, he's in jail, accused of being the serial killer. Meredith is framing him for the murders, alleging that he stabbed himself, so Elena sets out to help clear Alaric's name. She confronts Meredith in the parking lot, and Meredith reveals that Alaric had been arrested a few times before as a younger man. Elena and Matt break into Meredith's apartment, where they find folders on each of the victims: Caroline's dad, the medical examiner, and Alaric. They find that the time of death of the examiner was wrong — right when Meredith comes home. Turns out, she had already turned in the corrected document to the sheriff, clearing Alaric's name.
- Damon's upset about what happened with him and Elena, but it is making him return to his sharp-tongued ways. His one-liners include: "I saved your life last night. You're welcome," and "What? Creepy suicidal guy?"
- Damon talks to Stefan about a time when Mystic Falls was haunted by another serial killer: 1912. We flash back to the year, and see Damon and Stefan at the funeral of their relative Zachariah, who was murdered by the never-caught killer. Damon remembers someone else from that time: the vampire Sage, the woman who introduced Damon to the perks of being a vampire. We don't see much of his relationship with Sage, but it looks like we're being set up to meet her again, especially since Rebekah says she knew her too.
- With Klaus out of the picture this week, Stefan is trying to quit blood cold turkey, but Damon has taken it upon himself to teach him moderation (Damon has never really struck me as the moderation poster child, but he's being nice, so let's go with it). Unfortunately, Elena happens to be strolling by just as Stefan is feasting on the neck of some poor woman in a parking lot, so he ends up sulking later, regretful that he listened to Damon. They talk about how 1912 was the last time Damon convinced Stefan to drink human blood, and we watch in a flashback as he loses control and kills her, then freaks out and becomes "the Ripper". That year, Damon let him walk away, but this time, it's different, Damon says: he's going to pull him back from the edge from now on, because Stefan is all Damon has now. Aw, that's blood-fueled brotherly love for you.
- Finally, Elena talks about how she's in love with Damon (sort of). She admits that Damon got under her skin, and no matter what she does, she "can't shake him." Acceptance is the first step to recovery, Elena. Matt says he doesn't think that you ever shake someone you fell in love with, obviously referencing his long-ago relationship with Elena. It's kind of a sad scene for Matt, and when he calls himself "practically invisible," it sounds like foreshadowing to me. Will the only human character on this show get a supernatural fate after all?
- Twist! Stefan goes sifting through their ancestors' old records and finds that Jonathan Gilbert's granddaughter Samantha confessed to the murders 10 years later, but Damon realizes he had killed her years before her "confession." Meanwhile, Elena reads Samantha Gilbert's old journal detailing her memories of feeling like she was going crazy, and we learn that she had a ring like Alaric and Jeremy's to keep her alive. Elena puts the pieces together and is convinced that the ring may be making Alaric go crazy and kill people, which Meredith also believes. "How many times can you wear it before it changes you?" she asks, and they all seem to buy it. This is a pretty juicy, completely unexpected development, but I'm still never going to be sold that Meredith is all good.
- There's no Klaus this week. I don't think I need to tell you why that's a bad thing. At least he's safe.
- Oh, man. Sometimes I forget about the whole crow thing. You know, how Damon was a crow in the first few episodes. Well, in the flashback, the crow is back, and it's every bit as silly as it was in the beginning.
- The close-up shots of the victim's neck that Damon serves up to Stefan had me cringing. I like to think that Elena is so disgusted when she walks by not because Stefan is preying on someone, but because his face looks totally nasty. If these guys have been drinking blood for ages, can't they figure out a wet nap situation?
Were you as shocked as I was by the revelation that Alaric is (or probably is) the killer? If so, what do you think will happen to him now? Weigh in on that and how happy you are in general to have to show back below!