‘The Vampire Diaries’ recap: Welcome to your lake nightmare

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This week, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) decided to go play “Dawson’s Creek” and spend some alone time at her parents’ lake house. Elena stood on the dock with a blanket and Stefan wrapped around her, and I could have sworn I’d seen a Pacey and Joey scene like that. “Please tell me there’s nothing wrong,” Stefan said as Elena got a text from Caroline just before leaving. Of course there is, Stefan. Did you not see what I wrote last week that any phone call or text in Mystic Falls meas there’s an emergency? Although not as pulse pounding as last week’s episode (for me, anyways), the trip quickly turned into a nightmare for Stefan and Elena. Stefan was clueless to the trouble ahead though because Tyler (Michael Trevino) had taken Caroline’s phone and sent the message to find out where they were. He’s playing with the wolves because they told him he’d never have to turn again if they could break the Curse of the Sun and the Moon first. And for Tyler, who just had a torturous first transformation and is probably dreading the second one, that is major incentive to betray his friends.

The second sign of trouble: Elena’s “I’ve always loved it here” upon arriving at the lake house. That’s what we call foreshadowing, kids. You just know those lovely memories are going to be completely tarnished. Elena tricks Stefan into thinking only John (David Anders) can invite him into the house before playfully allowing him to enter. You could tell those two crazy kids were going to have one fun makeout weekend. Well, until the wolves come. The kind of creepy making out in Elena’s parents’ bedroom leads to the discovery of a secret room full of weapons and journals. Looks like Elena’s parents knew about vampires. Were they part of the council? And if they knew and John knew, how did Jenna (Sara Canning) manage to remain so unaware?


Back in Mystic Falls, Bonnie (Katerina Graham) was using her witchy mojo to get answers out of Luka (Bryton James). Impressively, she’s able to overpower Luka. After giving him a “witch roofie,” Bonnie taps into his brain as Caroline (Candice Accola) and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) watch. He reveals that he and his dad are helping Elijah (Daniel Gillies) kill Klaus because Klaus has his sister. Seems Klaus has given up on finding Elena. He’s been using witches for ages to discover a way to undo the curse without the doppelganger. But the only way to kill Klaus is in his vulnerable state after the sacrifice, which means “Elena has to die.” The wolves fail to mention this to Tyler. While Tyler is making sure Stefan stays down, Brady sniffs out Elena in the house. But Stefan, who’s been let go by Tyler, is able to get to her in time and stab Brady, who I will not miss one ounce. That’s what you get for attacking Caroline.

“I didn’t know what they were going to do to you,” Tyler tells Elena, referring to the sacrifice. He’s been saying that a lot lately about his werewolf friends. Maybe he should check his facts first. But all the lying didn’t stand in the way of Tyler agreeing to leave town with Jules (Michaela McManus) after she promised to be honest with him. Before they take off, Tyler also gives Matt (Zach Roerig) the truth about what’s been going on with Caroline. “I kind of fell for her,” he tells Matt. “I don’t know how anybody wouldn’t because she’s kind of incredible. But she loves you.” OK, I forgive you. A little. But I’m afraid the very sweet push has been for nothing. Matt and Caroline have lost their luster for me. I think Caroline just needs to be single this season. She’s been awesome enough on her own that a love interest isn’t really necessary.

Meanwhile, John threatens to tell Jenna the truth about Alaric’s (Matt Davis) after-school activities. “She can’t stay in the dark forever,” he says. My response? True. Please do tell her! Alaric’s is, “You’re a dick.” Also true. Elsewhere at the historical society event, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) tries to attack Elijah, who stabs him in the neck with a pencil. As fun as cocky Damon is, it’s nice to see him put in his place every once in a while and be reminded that he’s not the most powerful vampire. Damon and Stefan can’t be indestructible for there to be real stakes – no pun intended – even though we know there’s probably no show without them. After discussing how difficult it’s going to be to kill Elijah, Damon and Alaric find themselves under attack from Jules and her friends. Alaric is stabbed, but he’s wearing the ring, so he and Jenna won’t have matching scars. Damon gets the torture treatment until Elijah shows up with the much coveted moonstone. He dares the wolves to come get it and then takes them and their hearts out as they do so. Elijah mentions to Damon that this was the third time he’s saved him. Does Damon have a new mancrush? Has Alaric been replaced? Probably not after learning from Bonnie that it was always part of Elijah’s plan to sacrifice Elena. But Elena knew this when she agreed to the deal with Elijah. Stefan’s not very happy to learn she’s “being a martyr” for her friends. “That’s not heroic. That’s tragic,” he tells her. Is he right? Is it so wrong of Elena to want to protect her loved ones? Or is it just another reminder of Rose’s accusation that she’s running away and not even trying to fight back. Is she playing the victim before she even becomes one?

Other brief thoughts:
– It took a whole syringe of vervain to put down Damon. Guess the build up tolerance plan is working.
– Funniest scene: One of Jules’ werewolf buddies hiding from Elijah behind his coat collar.
– Cutest scene: Elena, Caroline and Bonnie snuggled up in one bed, and Elena falling off the crowded bed. With all the curses and vampires and werewolves, the female friendships have been lacking a little lately, so that was a nice little visual reminder of their camaraderie.
– Speaking of friendship... It was so nice to see Bonnie and Caroline being friends again, discussing the supernatural and boys in tandem like this is just the way their lives are now and they accept it. And for Bonnie, that also means accepting that she likes Jeremy and vice versa. After a much needed push from Caroline, she lets it slip to Jeremy that she thinks he’s hot and sweet. The resulting kiss was hot. I only wish Caroline had confided in Bonnie about what’s going on with Matt and Tyler.
– I wish Elena and Stefan hadn’t been so quick to close the lid on the “box that we shouldn’t open,” aka talk about the future. Every time the show brings up the topic, like when Caroline used it to manipulate Elena for Katherine, it’s brushed away quickly. It has to be on both their minds constantly. What happens when Elena graduates? Does she go to college? Does Stefan follow her? What about when people start to notice that only one person in the couple next door is aging? Are they going down the inevitable breakup road, a la Buffy and Angel? I know they’ve got their hands full dealing with the problems of the moment, but it has to be there in the back of their minds. Or has Elena accepted that she probably has no future?

Readers, when dealing with sacrifice, are you on Elena or Stefan’s side? Are you happy that Jeremy and Bonnie finally came to their senses? Do you think Caroline should stay single? And do you want Jenna and Matt to learn the truth?

-- Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

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