I’ve talked a lot about the velocity of this show, and this is another great example of that. The writers could have spent a lot more time on revealing how Klaus was planning to keep Stefan under his spell, or how long it would take Elena to find him, or how long Caroline would be imprisoned by her father. But all of these things are effectively addressed in this episode, along with a few other interesting moments.
I’m a sucker for stories that delve into secret histories (I’ve mentioned this a million times, I’m sure), so this was always going to be a winner in my book. Revealing that Klaus was once one of Stefan’s friends-in-ripping, and that Stefan was dallying with his sister in all the most fun ways, was a plus. Revealing that Klaus wiped Stefan’s memory of it until the time was right was ingenious, and not something I saw coming.
But it all would have been for naught, had Elena not found Stefan and Katherine not stepped out of the shadows. Elena’s showdown with Stefan not only manages to slip in the McGuffin for the start of the season arc, but it also delivers the setup for the crushing blow later in the episode. Sure enough, Stefan is doing his best to resist falling completely into ripper mode, but it doesn’t matter: Stefan is now “infected” with memories of brotherhood with Klaus and love with Rebecca.
The really interesting thing is the hint of why Klaus was going to so much trouble to become the werewolf/vampire hybrid, and the father of a new hybrid army: something much worse is coming for him, and therefore, a threat to everyone else. And the key to defeating the enemy is now resting on Elena’s bosom, which means sooner or later, Klaus and friends will come calling.
In the meantime, this is the perfect wedge to shove between Elena and Stefan, which opens the door to the far more interesting (and complicated) pairing of Elena and Damon. I don’t see Elena pacifying Damon in any substantial way, especially with Mystic Falls gearing up for more anti-vampire action, and it would make Stefan’s inevitable return all the more messy.
Caroline’s father had an interesting way of trying to condition her into being a stable and non-threatening member of human society, and in all fairness, it might have even worked on some level. But I was still happy when Tyler and her mother staged the prison break, because really, she’s ridiculously hot and one of the best things about the show.
My only real quibble was the idea that Klaus wouldn’t have detected Elena in the closet, especially when Stefan is one of the worst liars in the history of televised fiction. Klaus didn’t realize that something odd was going on? Not once? It’s a definite stretch, if not a complete plot hole, and it took a little bit away from the episode for me. But even then, this was just another great installment of this constantly-surprising show.
Final Rating: 8/10