‘The Vampire Diaries’ recap: Who will die at the ‘Monster’s Ball’?

It seems that the Silas-Tessa-Katherine storyline is going to be wrapped up soonish (though really, who am I kidding? There’s always time for twists!). Thus, we’re getting a healthy dose of the new Big Bad — Dr. Maxfield — in tonight’s episode. I have to say, Dr. Maxfield seems like one hell of a cold-hearted snake. I know Elena is just trying to do the right thing by snooping into the death of her roommate-for-a-minute Megan, but I can’t help but think that when Dr. Maxfield suggested she skip town, it might have been a helpful suggestion. It could save her from an awful fate like, oh, being strapped to a gurney and deprived of blood. Poor Jesse — I mean, 62547. 

Elena has survivor’s guilt After having been through so much, I would think Elena’s heart would hardened into a lump of coal or whatever it is that mashed potatoes become in the refrigerator. But no, she’s torn up about what happened to Bonnie. Even though she knows her death isn’t her fault, she feels guilty for not having figured out that she was dead. So what if Jeremy lied to her all summer? She should have sensed it, or been suspicious, or just assumed Bonnie was dead, because everyone Elena cares about dies anyway. Elena, stop it! If there’s anyone who deserves a spa treatment and a basket of “feel better” cookies, it’s this girl.

Damon tries to shake some sense into his sensitive, well-meaning girlfriend, but it’s no use. Instead, she pushes him away. This serves two purposes — she punishes herself by depriving herself of hot Damon sex (which is, truly, a punishment), and she also gives herself the opportunity to look for a more sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Though Damon truly loves Elena, he really doesn’t grasp the concept of guilt, which is just one of many little rifts these two are likely to face. You know who does grasp the concept of guilt? Aaron!

A mysterious blond guy appears Yeah, Aaron. When Elena sees him kneeling in front of Megan’s grave, he’s not rude but he’s certainly not all that friendly. While he admits he’s sure Megan didn’t kill  herself, he won’t tell Elena his name, and later at the Whitmore Historical Ball Elena has to compel it out of him. He also admits that he doesn’t want to make friends because everyone he cares about always dies. He is JUST like Elena! They really should become best buds yesterday. But alas, there’s a catch. His guardian is, ugh, Dr. Maxfield. Even if romance were to bloom between Elena and Aaron (and break the hearts of many, many Delena fans), it’s a relationship doomed to fail.  

Damon has a big idea Because Damon knows how unhappy Elena is (I’m sure her lack of interest in rolling around in bed with him is a big tip off), he wants to bring Bonnie back to life. How? By striking a deal with Silas. Silas wants to die, and Bonnie wants to live! It’s a perfect swap! Damon pitches the idea to Jeremy, who eagerly accepts on Bonnie’s behalf while she shakes her head and screams that it’s a really bad idea. 

It’s also a complicated idea. Silas accepts Damon’s deal, then tells him that he’ll need him to kill his brother — just temporarily, mind you. It sounds so dramatic when these vampires say it, when really it’s like a human saying, “I need you to ask your brother to take a few Tylenol PMs and nap for a bit.” 

Silas wants to locate the mystical anchor that keeps the spell intact, which is information only Tessa has. As luck would have it, she’ll be at that fancy costume ball, so Damon just has to drag Stefan away from the party to continuously kill him, then let Silas pretend to be Stefan to pluck information from Tessa’s brain. Easy peasy! 

This plan actually goes extremely well — for a while. It turns out that Tessa’s type hasn’t changed, so she can’t resist flirting with Stefan. It’s only when Stefan manages to stop Damon from breaking his neck (then breaks his instead) and tattles to Tessa that she’s chatting with her ex instead of him that it all goes south. Too many variables, Damon, too many!

So, Tessa reaches into Silas’ chest, twists his heart, and leaves him to turn cold and grey (though not dead, as that’s not an option) so that the world can see him in a highly unattractive state. Damon and Elena are left with a shriveled Silas and not a lot of options for bringing back Bonnie, until…

Katherine meets her daughter For someone dragging around a hostage, Nadia talks an awful lot. She informs Katherine that Silas doesn’t just need to just “sip” her blood, but actually drain her dry. She tells Katherine she became a vampire just to hunt her down, because she killed her mother in Paris in 1645. Katherine, who does not enjoy chit chat, shuts up Nadia by driving a wooden cane into her chest. This must have been a real treat for the person whose cane Katherine grabs. If he or she didn’t immediately keel over from a heart attack, they had one hell of a time making it home. 

After making her dramatic escape (and traumatizing a diner full of patrons), Katherine returns to grill Nadia about her accusation. It turns out Katherine didn’t kill her mom… exactly. She IS her mom, and she killed herself in 1492. If I had been drinking something during this scene, I guarantee I would have done a spit take. Katherine? A mom? Seriously?

Katherine has a question for Nadia — where was she in 1496, when she looked for her desperately after outrunning the people who were chasing her? Katherine has missed her, Nadia has wanted a mommy, and suddenly it’s as if the sun burst through the clouds, though that isn’t something vampires really love, daylight ring or not.

Katherine smiles, Nadia cries, and it looks like it’s going to be a big, heartwarming moment. Well, heartwarming for vampires isn’t  quite as huggy as it is for the rest of us, but still, heartwarming. It’s shocking to think of Katherine as a mom, and I love this twist. It makes me want to learn more about Katherine, and it colors a lot of what I already do know about her — she’s a scrappy survivor, but I have to wonder about the sense of loss she must have but doesn’t ever show. Maybe these things will be explored in later episodes, or maybe not. Because the next time we see Katherine…

Damon feeds Katherine to Silas When Katherine finds a big, deadish lump of Silas in Damon and Elena’s possession, she’s initially thrilled. It takes a moment for her to realize Damon intends to feed her to Silas. I’m surprised that during this violent endeavor, especially after Katherine has pleaded for her life, that Elena doesn’t raise her hand to protest. Maybe it’s an awful moment for us because we’ve just seen Katherine (marginally) humanized, but always-sensitive Elena doesn’t even squeak. She does look horrified, though, and she may have PTSD, so I can’t hold it against her. 

Initially I thought that Katherine was definitely a goner, but somehow she survives and, it seems, Silas will be back in action next week. I’m sure we’ll get a proper explanation of why Katherine, now human, was able to handle being drained. Still, it was all worth it to see Katherine’s confused expression as she groggily asks, “Am I in hell?” 

Caroline and Tyler break up We all knew Tyler’s return was a little odd. Is this his new M.O., returning for a while before galloping off to help some other random wolf pack rehab? Is he staying? Is this a booty call or is it a relationship? Tyler, after he’s enjoyed a great deal of Caroline sexy time, reveals that it was, to some extent, a booty call, or pre-break-up sex, or something else that is decidedly less romantic than I’m sure he meant it to be. He just came back to tell Caroline he needs to chase Klaus to the ends of the earth and make him suffer, so I guess he’s going to be showing up on “The Originals.” Caroline tells him that she doesn’t have an open door policy, and she needs him to pick her over a vendetta. Tyler picks vendetta. While this is an awful ending, I’m glad Caroline firmly slammed the door on this relationship. Tyler may be the love of her life, but if she’s not okay with the love of her life running all over the place trying to kill someone who can’t be killed, then she made the right decision. Caroline deserves a real boyfriend, and her Match.com profile should say “You must be willing to attend many, many social events, often in costume.” 

I suspect Elena isn’t going to listen to that bully Dr. Maxfield and drop out of school (come on, she just got back to school!), and I’m curious to see what else she has planned in her plot to solve Megan’s murder. The good news? Caroline’s available to help. But what I’m really curious about? Katherine and Nadia catching up on old times. Man, that’s a lot of time to cover.

Why do you think Katherine survived? Do you think Bonnie will be able to come back? Do you think Tyler’s gone for good?