Elena’s decision to release Elijah instantly puts Stefan and Damon at odds, and amps up the tension even more than the potential death of Bonnie had done in the previous episode. And it also provides the perfect excuse for the writers to introduce yet another set of flashbacks, which is always welcome. (Nina Dobrev in tight period clothing has always been a highlight of the series! The drunken dancing isn’t half-bad, either.)
Considering how much they’ve domesticated Damon over the course of the second season, it’s fun to see him blazing a more independent trail. This is something they should be pursuing more and more as they set up this season’s endgame and, beyond that, the third season. Not that I want Damon to be held back from character growth, but Damon’s darker side was always one of the best things about the series. His decision to spare Andy, though, makes it clear that he’ll probably never return to his early-first-season ways.
The flashbacks provide a ton of perspective on Klaus. To begin with, Klaus is Elijah’s brother, which continues to make the conflict a lot more personal. Not only that, but their family is the “Originals”, the first gang of vampires. In fact, Elijah manages, in a few short moments, to bring all the pieces of the vampire, werewolf, and witch mythology together into a fairly logical explanation.
I wasn’t sure how she could possibly get through the fight between Klaus and Stefan without putting two and two together, so the fact that she finally gets the truth is satisfying. The scene between Jenna and Elena is note-perfect, and it promises to make things a lot more complicated. Unfortunately, for fans of Jenna, it also makes her yet another potential casualty (not that she hasn’t been for a while now, anyway).
The revelation that the sun/moon curse is fake feels like a bit of a cop-out, considering that it has been behind the plot for a long, long time, but it all comes down to what they replace it with, in terms of an explanation. Making Klaus a combination of vampire and werewolf is certainly an interesting twist. The upshot is that once the moonstone plot arc is resolved, the vampires and werewolves should be relatively unaffected as a whole (barring changes to the character status quo).
As one would expect, the episode ends with Klaus fully restored and the Salvatore brothers back at odds. In the end, it’s mostly a transitional episode with a few important plot points to keep things from descending into ultra-exposition hell. Then again, this series has always managed to make the exposition-heavy episodes worth the time, so the transition was well handled.
Final Rating: 7/10