The midseason finale of The Vampire Diaries reminds us just how bad Klaus can be — especially if you cross him — and he kills one of the characters we've known since the beginning of the series. We also revisit the complicated dynamic of Damon and Elena's sire bond, while they and Bonnie try to break Jeremy of his latest hobby (wanting to kill Elena).
I expected a little more action from the last episode of the year, but I have to say, the body count is quite high this week, and the death scene in the final moments is satisfyingly dramatic. Let's get to all of it in the good, the bad, and the bloody after the jump.
- Damon spends the whole episode unable to set Elena free from the sire bond, and he's so conflicted that he won't even kiss her as he wrestles with it (along with lying to Stefan about that and their being together). When he summons the strength to do it at the end, Elena takes it surprisingly well, kissing him goodbye. For someone who's been freed, she sure seems to still have feelings for Damon. It makes me hopeful that though she's free of the sire bond, her feelings will lead her back to him.
- But first, the doomed couple goes on one last retreat — to the family cabin to help Bonnie and Professor Shane teach Jeremy to not want to kill Elena. It takes a little hypnotism, a little conditioning, and one awkward/sweet love confession to Bonnie, but Jeremy finally recognizes Elena as someone he wants to protect. Phew! Glad that's out of the way. (And before I forget: Jeremy's arms. That is all.)
- Since Stefan's main distraction from his heartbreak is finding the vampire cure for Elena, he makes some progress, learning that Klaus has the sword that decodes Jeremy's tattoo map. Unfortunately, Hayley and Tyler have devised a plan to get rid of of Klaus — using a body-jump spell and then burying the body in concrete until the hybrids can get away. Stefan wisely recognizes that Klaus won't be able to show him the sword if he's underground, so he and Caroline try to thwart Tyler's plan. But Tyler thwarts Stefan's thwart, and with a dozen hybrids backing him up, Tyler kidnaps Stefan and his own lovely girlfriend.
- If you were following the explanation of how the sword decodes the slayer tattoo map, then the joke's on you, because they don't need it at all. Professor Shane has the map and knows exactly how to read it, telling Damon and Elena the myth of Silas, who created the cure for immortality for his true love, but was buried with it before it could be used. Find Silas, find the cure — the site of which the Professor has been to already. How convenient.
- Tyler should have realized that Hayley was playing him when it was arranged for him to be the one whose body was buried in concrete. What part of that plan sounds smart, Tyler? It takes Caroline all of two seconds to suggest Rebekah, but since that's not in Hayley and Professor Shadypants' plan, Hayley breaks Caroline's neck. Good things she's already dead, or uh, she'd be dead. That's when we see the setup fulfilled, as Klaus massacres all the hybrids in a ritual sacrifice, and Hayley tells Tyler that it's probably best he start running now.
- The Klaus Revelation is one of my favorite parts of this week, because it's both obvious and encouraging (if you're a Klaus fan). Stefan makes the point and asks a fair question: what makes Klaus so much worse than the rest of them, particularly Stefan, the former Ripper, and Damon, who used to kill like it was an Olympic sport? Stefan, I agree . . . though Klaus's stunt this week does throw a little wrinkle into that logic.
- Wait. Stefan really has no idea that Damon and Elena slept together? Those two give off crazy sexy vibes when they're in the same room together, and yet, when he finds out from Caroline (winner of the meddling best friend award) that they're together, he's super surprised and mad enough to break stuff — ironically, as Damon sets Elena free.
- April is a hilariously unnecessary character, but I admit that it's kind of funny that Caroline tries to compel her after seeing her come back from the dead and April just says, "OK." Then, for reasons that are unbeknownst to anyone, she hides in the Lockwood cellar and opens up Rebekah's coffin. Oh, April. I look forward to your obvious upcoming death.
- Klaus has been such a kitten lately, compared to his evil past, going on dates and painting pretty pictures. That all changes with this week's sacrifice; he's ripping out hearts willy-nilly and murdering hybrids like they've never been murdered before. He's not even bothered by all the blood stains on his lovely white shirt, which he wears to go calmly greet Tyler's mother, leading to my next point . . .
- Klaus kills Tyler's mother! Mrs. Lockwood gets drowned by Klaus when he's looking for Tyler. It doesn't really makes sense to me why Klaus would kill her, aside from petty revenge, but I guess he's pretty peeved. I'm shocked by the death, but also a little morbidly mesmerized by how the scene plays out, to the tune of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Tyler certainly will not.
What did you think of The Vampire Diaries' Winter finale?