Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – ‘The Reckoning’

10.14.11 6 years ago


It’s not likely that this episode will end well, as we’ve been slowly inching toward Elena accepting the incontrovertible truth that Stefan is, despite his best efforts, not going to be able to ensure that love conquers all, at least in the short run (I suspect many a plot twist will ultimately bring these two crazy kids back together). Still, it isn’t going to happen soon, and certainly not before Elena grieves and possibly moves on. It’s going to be a hard lesson for Elena to learn, but it’s probably for the best. Loving an addict, I mean, a vampire is always going to be a struggle for her, and now that Stefan’s dealer, I mean Klaus, has taken over, even Stefan’s best efforts aren’t going to amount to much. I’m hoping that Katherine’s plan to off Klaus comes to fruition, as that’s looking like Stefan’s only path back to Elena. That is, if Damon doesn’t block his way. 

The episode starts out on a much lighter note than Stefan and Elena’s seemingly doomed (at least for now) romance. Caroline, Elena, Tyler and Bonnie are setting booby traps around the school as part of senior prank night. Caroline being Caroline, she wants to have fun and create memories and be a normal kid, which is both sad and encouraging at the same time. Caroline will, of course, always be the age she is right now, but it’s hard to blame her for wanting to cling to the last shred of her innocence and humanity while she can. 

Of course, that’s all over the minute Elena walks into the hallway and bumps into, yes, Klaus. Apparently we have a lot of territory to cover in his episode, because we’re skipping from the end of last week’s episode (Klaus arriving in town, curious to find out what Stefan is hiding) to Klaus definitely having worked this information out of Stefan. Elena suggests that Klaus just go ahead and kill her, but it’s never that easy with Klaus. 

Meanwhile, Katherine and Damon are still on their road trip. Katherine attempts to make out with Damon while he’s driving. It’s briefly interesting to him, but the he shoves her away. She just doesn’t do it for him anymore, although you’d think he could close his eyes and pretend she’s Elena pretty easily. But then, Damon knows full well when he’s being played. He pulls over, tosses the keys into the woods, and demands that Katherine spill her guts. Reluctantly, Katherine shows him her game plan — Jeremy, unconscious in the trunk. 

Back in town, Stefan wakes up to find himself alone with Rebekah, who merrily informs him that Klaus broke his neck over and over again until he got the information he wanted. Klaus knows about Elena, a fact that enrages Stefan. Unfortunately, Stefan tries to pick a fight with Rebekah, who has no problem driving a spike through him. And, once again, Stefan is out for the count. That’s fine with Rebekah, of course, as she has other things to do. 

Caroline and Tyler, having sympathetically discussed Matt and his loneliness, are making out in the hallway at school when Rebekah breaks up their romantic moment to knock Caroline out. Tyler isn’t as lucky. 

Klaus has taken over the school auditorium, compelling two of Elena’s fellow students (we learn their names, but they’re destined to be dead by the end of the episode so let’s not bother) with orders for one to raise a foot and the other to kill her if she drops it. Elena, of course, is appalled. Rebekah turns up with Tyler and Bonnie and Matt unluckily stumble in to make it one big, bloody party. Klaus, thrilled to have a werewolf, forces Tyler to drink his blood. Tyler is now hybridized, and it’s up to Bonnie to figure out how to make the hybridization stick — of course, if she doesn’t, Tyler dies. Klaus is nothing if not skilled at motivating people. Klaus sends Bonnie and Matt off to consult the grimoires. It seems that, despite Rebekah’s claim, Klaus didn’t get all the important information out of Stefan. 

Bonnie doesn’t mention this to Klaus, but she knows that those grimoires aren’t going to do any good. This spell predates the grimoires, plus the original witches won’t communicate with her since she brought Jeremy back to life. Her only hope to contact the witches is Jeremy, who is, as we know, unconscious in Damon’s trunk. 

Katherine has to explain why Jeremy’s in the trunk, and it’s a slightly longer story than Damon hoped. But in a nutshell, Katherine reveals that one person knew how to kill Klaus. She’s dead, and so is her daughter, who also knew. But that daughter? Anna. And Katherine is counting on Jeremy talking to Anna. Apparently, Katherine’s little pow wow with Bonnie (who thought she was lunching with Elena) was quite a bit lengthier than what we saw last week. 

Stefan wakes up, stumbles into the gym, and quickly surmises that bad things are going to go down for his one true love. Stefan, ignoring Elena, tells Klaus he pledges his loyalty. He has no feelings for Elena whatsoever. It’s a nice try, but Klaus isn’t that gullible (or at least not anymore). Klaus smacks Elena, and Stefan instinctively goes on the attack. Obviously, Elena still means something to him, and Stefan’s last hope for talking himself (and by extension, Elena) out of a bad situation is extinguished. Klaus compels Stefan to do exactly as asked. Stefan’s first order of business is to kill Elena’s disposable classmates (I told you we didn’t need names). Elena watches in horror, powerless to stop The Ripper. 

As instructed, Jeremy sees Anna, but she doesn’t want to help Damon and Katherine. So, Damon starts beating the crap out of Jeremy, which gets Anna talking in a hurry. She reveals that their only hope of killing Klaus is Mikael, the vampire who hunts vampires. The catch is that he’ll kill everyone, so they don’t want to wake him. Damon does not seem bothered by this, and neither does Katherine. So, waking Michael it is.

Rebekah hangs out with Caroline and tells her Tyler, who is flopped beside her like day-old laundry, is dead. Or, shall we say, deadish. Rebekah reveals that when Tyler wakes, he’ll be a hybrid. While Caroline tries to absorb this, Rebekah scrolls through her mobile phone and, lucky girl, sees a picture of Elena wearing her necklace. Rebekah is not happy. She goes roaring into the gym, demanding her necklace from Elena, taking a chunk out of the girl in the process. Elena is, to put it mildly, not catching any breaks this evening. 

Klaus decides that it’s time to put Stefan’s compulsion to the test. He slaps on the gymnasium timer and declares that Bonnie has twenty minutes to uncover a solution to his hybrid problem. If those twenty minutes pass without a solution, Stefan has to feed. On Elena. As we know, Stefan isn’t someone who can snack. I am hoping Bonnie is able to pull a rabbit out of a hat, but without Jeremy, it doesn’t look good. 

Matt finds his clothes everywhere — someone rifled through his gym bag. His keys are at the bottom of the pool. But this isn’t senior prank night nonsense — it’s Vicki trying to communicate with him. Matt knows he needs to hear her, but there’s only one way he can make that happen. He asks Bonnie to kill him and bring him back to life so he can talk to Vicki. So, he ties a weight around his neck and jumps into the pool. Oh, this could go so wrong in so many different ways. A noble gesture, but honestly, a dumb one. 

Bonnie hustles to the pool, dives in and unchains Matt, who is looking pretty damn dead. But while he’s dead, Vicki tells him she needs him to give Bonnie a message. And, amazingly, Matt comes to, spitting pool water and looking dazed. But does her remember the message? 

Now that Jeremy has spilled the beans (or really Anna via Jeremy), Damon thinks to ask Katherine for his phone. She’d been hiding it for a reason — he discovers he’s received a ton of texts from Bonnie stating that Klaus is in town and Elena’s in trouble. Damon quickly drops the hunt for Mikael to save Elena, which is exactly what Katherine knew he would do. Even though Katherine tries to point out he’s going to get himself killed, Damon doesn’t care. The risk is worth it for Elena. 

Elena and Stefan are alone in the gym with the timer. Elena is trying desperately to convince Stefan that he’s stronger than Klaus’ compulsion. He loves her! But Stefan tells her that when he has to feed on her, he won’t be able to stop whether he loves her or not. It’s a nice little metaphor about love and addiction, but this episode is moving so fast there’s almost no time to absorb nuances or subtext, which is a shame. 

Tyler wakes up to discover he’s either going to be a hybrid or dead. Tyler and Caroline have had a lot to absorb this evening. As have we all. 

Matt and Bonnie rush into the hallway, and Matt tells Bonnie Vicki’s message from beyond the grave — Elena’s got to die for hybrids to live. Unfortunately, Klaus hears this because he’s always in the right spot at the right time. 

Stefan tells Elena to run as he fights Klaus’ compulsion. Stefan staggers down the hall as Elena runs ahead of him, fighting his desire to eat her like a cheeseburger. Klaus is, of course, disappointed by all this silly love stuff and decides to up the ante on the compulsion. Somehow he… fixes Stefan. I don’t know what was different about this stare (and why he didn’t use it earlier), but Stefan isn’t fighting anymore. He’s finally Klaus’ obedient slave. 

Klaus leaves to gives Tyler a vial of Elena’s blood, which I guess he scooped up at some point. It doesn’t go down easy, but it apparently does the trick — and Tyler is the first successful hybrid. 

Elena is in the hospital. Huh? The nurse is very kindly informing her to relax, as she’s lost a lot of blood — and she’s going to lose more. She’s being drained of blood instead of being given a transfusion. Yes, more compulsion on Klaus’ part. All will be explained shortly, I suppose. 

Klaus and Rebekah chat about how clever he is. He knew that the original witch hated him — so he’d never follow orders exactly. Thus, if the order was to kill the doppelganger, he knew that the exact opposite must be true — that he needed her blood to feed his hybrids. Well, okay. It was a much longer spell than just the part pertaining to Elena, but good for him that he felt quite sure that was the part the witch switched on him. 

After Klaus tells Rebekah to fetch the car so he can pack up his girl and his hybrid and hit the road, Damon confronts Klaus — and tells him that Mikael is awake and knows where he is. Klaus is now, officially, on the run. The girl and the hybrid will have to wait. Damon, having sent Klaus on his way, finds Elena, picks her up from her hospital bed, and carries her out of the hospital. Damon may not want to play the hero, but he seems to slip into the role more naturally than he probably realizes. 

Back at the house, Damon offers to help Elena forget. But she doesn’t want to. She needs to remember that Stefan is, finally, gone, a sad truth but one she can no longer rationalize or ignore. Damon promises her he will never leave her again. It’s a tender, romantic moment — until Stefan shows up. Klaus has asked him to keep an eye on Elena while he’s gone. The roles of the brothers are reversed, and Stefan cavalierly wanders through the house, not caring one whit that Elena and Damon seemed so cozy on the sofa together. It seems whatever Klaus did to Stefan, it did the trick.

Katherine and Jeremy go to Mikael’s tomb. Katherine opens his crypt — and the eyes of the grey, shriveled body open. Mikael may be dangerous, but he’s the only hope Elena will likely have of getting Stefan back. I’ve enjoyed Klaus as a villain, but he may have done all the damage he can do. Mikael promises to make things interesting at least — although I have to wonder if, by the time Mikael gets to Klaus, if Elena will have switched over to Team Damon. It never seemed like a possibility — until now.

Do you think Mikael can catch Klaus? Do you think Stefan is truly lost (at least until something breaks Klaus’ compulsion)? Are you worried for Tyler?

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