This week on The Vampire Diaries…Esther returned, kicking her plan to rid the earth of vampires into high gear, and the 20s came roaring back at the annual Mystic Falls High ‘Decade Dance’.
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not yet watched this week’s episode, ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ and do not want to be spoiled, do not continue reading.
Following in the footsteps of the last two ‘decade dances’, this episode contained more jaw dropping moments than your regular old TVD episode. The episode started off innocently enough: with dark-side Alaric trying to brush off Damon’s phone calls, still following the lead of Esther (disguised as Rebecca). As Rebekah, Esther convinced Klaus that he should go to the Decade Dance and make a last ditch effort to get Caroline to come away with him. This is, needless to say, a trap of epic proportions. But, more on that later.
In a purely ‘Caroline’ move, Caroline convinced Elena that it was time to give Stefan a chance to woo her (after her road trip wit Damon in the previous episode). Caroline put herself on Team Stefan right then, calling him Elena’s “epic love”. I, personally, could not agree more, but I’m guessing that a lot of Delena fans are furious at Caroline’s betrayal. Still, Elena decided to follow her friend’s advice, and awkwardly asked Stefan to be her date. Damon acted all casual upon hearing the news (literally–he overheard their phone conversation), but that could have been because he was preoccupied trying to find out what was going on with Ric.
After doing some detective work, Damon found out that Alaric wasn’t hiding out, trying to control his dark-side, but, instead, he was letting his dark self take control. BIG PROBLEM. Another red flag popped up when Esther demanded Alaric’s ring, which she needed to render the last white-oak dagger impervious to the fire that would consume the original it kills.
At the dance, Matt looked super hot in his 20s attire, and, in other news, was treated to a short lecture by Caroline, warning him against getting too attached to Elena. Caroline called it like she saw it: those that fell for Elena tended to get hurt, but is this a fair statement? It seems to be true that the people who love her are at risk, but it is not because they love her. Elena’s loved ones are at risk because she loves them back. It’s those who want to hurt Elena that hurt her friends and family. Regardless, it was an interesting scene, reminding us that Elena always has other options; she can always ditch the Salvatore brothers and try to live a “normal” life.
Newly un-sired Tyler surprised Caroline by showing up at the dance, throwing caution to the wind (he has yet to reunite with Klaus). He was a man with a mission: to keep his girl from falling into Klaus’ hot, but evil, clutches. Tyler definitely wins most romantic line of the night with his gem: “I AM jealous, but I’m also competitive!” Nothing sweeps a girl off her feet like a guy comparing you to a trophy. But, we forgive Tyler because he did just exile himself to suffer through the painful transformation into a werewolf more times then I’d like to think of so that he could be free from Klaus. And he did it all in the name of love…What a big softie *sigh*
As Tyler and Caroline danced the night away, Elena and Stefan–who didn’t complain about the dancing once–also hit the dance floor. For some reason, Elena thought that a slow dance was the perfect moment to bring up her recent road trip/make-out session with Damon, but Stefan dismissed it, saying he didn’t want to know because, if they end up together, it doesn’t matter. After that, he dipped her in a moment so sexually charged it almost makes up for the fact that they haven’t kissed since…well, a while. The moment was ended abruptly by the arrival of Damon and bad news (what else?). Jeremy, observant as always, followed the threesome outside, awkwardly knocking into Bonnie and her date, Jamie, on his way out (gotta love it).
Damon breaks the news to Stefan and Elena: dark-side Alaric has gone rogue, and he suggests they take action and kill Alaric before he gets the chance to hurt Elena (vamp-sympathizer #1). Overhearing this, Jeremy storms out, followed by Elena, who promises him that nobody will be hurting Ric. This promise, paired with the fact that Alaric was now ringless made me think he was definitely going to be dead by the end of this season, if not by the end of this episode. Elena and Jeremy were interrupted when Esther showed up and demanded that Elena come with her, threatening Alaric’s safety. (Was anybody else a little bit confused as to why Elena didn’t even wait for Jeremy to return with Stefan and Damon before leaving with her?) It was only after she had gone that Stefan and Damon discovered a spell that trapped all vampires in the gym had been cast (there was boundary made of salt on the ground surrounding the school). This led Damon to interrupt Bonnie’s sexy time with her date (about time Bonnie got some real action), calling her for witch duty.
Once in the woods, Esther revealed her intentions to make Alaric the ‘ultimate hunter’ of vampires (similar to what her husband, Michael, had become). For this to work, Esther requires Elena’s doppelganger blood, and she forces Elena to bleed into a goblet for her so that Alaric can drink it. Esther also revealed the reason behind Alaric’s recent transformation: every time he had died, she had intercepted him on ‘the other side’ and trained him to embrace his dark side, the one that hates all vampires. It wasn’t the ring that caused his dark side to come out, it was Esther.
Back at the dance, Klaus turned up and insisted on a dance with Caroline. This gave Tyler a chance to put on a show and pretend to be at the mercy of Klaus’ every whim. During his slow dance with Caroline, Klaus offered her a dream life, full of travel, luxury, and romance. When she refused, he stormed out, vowing that someday, she would realize her mistake and come to him. As a big Tyler-Caroline fan, I was shocked at how excited I got when the hits of Klaus-Caroline started coming this season. Seeing the sensitive side of Klaus is really nice, and I especially like that his intentions towards Caroline appear to be completely romantic. He wants to give her everything her heart desires for all eternity; he does not want to turn her into a fellow murderer.
Klaus quickly realized he couldn’t leave, and has no choice but to band together with Bonnie, Stefan, and Damon–with a side of Jamie, Jeremy, and Matt. (Why did nobody notice the huge circle of salt upon their entrance to this dance?? Especially Klaus, who only showed up after the spell was cast). The gang cleared out the dance, in preparation for the Esther attack that was sure to come, and Bonnie went to work. Meanwhile, Tyler and Caroline were holding down the fort in the gym and declaring their love for one another after Tyler offered to sacrifice himself if it meant the death of Klaus.
Back in the woods, Alaric was taking the steps towards completing his transformation: drinking Elena’s blood, and being stabbed by Esther, when, Finally! Jenna’s fate is revealed! I have spent most of this season wondering why Jeremy never saw Jenna’s ghost, and my questions have been answered: Jenna, though she died a vampire, ‘remained pure’ and found peace in her death. Jenna’s death remains one of the saddest TVD moments for me, so this news brought me an odd sense of comfort, even if it did come from the horrible mother-original.
While Alaric was down, waiting to rise from the dead, Jeremy and Matt showed up with a gun and a crossbow to rescue Elena. This move almost got them killed when Esther tried to magically force Jeremy and Matt to shoot each other instead of her (I may have freaked out when this happened). Note: I cannot believe the evil in this woman!!! Besides the horror of forcing two of Elena’s most precious men kill each other, I was appalled at the thought of losing two TV hotties in one go, it just isn’t right! Luckily, Alaric woke up and pulled Esther’s loveless heart right out of her body (Damon style).
Esther had warned Elena that Alaric might return to his normal self before fully completing the transformation (by drinking the blood of a human), and she was right. Alaric had no idea what had happened, and what followed was so heartbreaking I almost couldn’t watch. Elena and Alaric knew that he was going to die (he couldn’t go through with the transformation and become a crazy vampire, vamp-hunter), but Jeremy had hoped that everything was okay. It was tough watching Jeremy say goodbye to his last available father-figure (what with his real dad and uncle both dead), and it broke my heart to see the whole gang standing outside of the tomb in solidarity to say goodbye to Alaric. Thank god, Jeremy has Matt, who is suddenly taking on the ‘big brother’ role, and isn’t out of male role models yet. The two went to the Grill at the end of the night and took shots in remembrance of their dear friend, which made for a lot of depressed hotness on the screen. (I can’t help it, I kind of love Steven R. McQueen, but that is neither here nor there).
Elena was dealing with her grief in a different way, frantically cleaning out Alaric’s secret closet full of vampire hunting supplies (why he kept so many stakes at school, we’ll never know). Stefan stopped her, and brought her out to the gym where he reminded her that emotions needed to be felt, even if it hurt, something she had been trying to convince him of all season. It was a touching scene, but, the most touching scene of the night has got to be the last scene between Damon and Alaric.
Drinking together in what would be Alaric’s last moments, the BFFs shared some laughs and finished the entire bottle, marking the end of their fabulous bromance. I was devastated to see this friendship come to an end. Their chemistry and scenes together have been some of my favorites of the past two seasons (2nd and 3rd), and, as a viewer, it was hard to watch them say goodbye to that. Tragic.
So, that’s how I thought the episode was going to end. Ric accepting his doomed fate, Damon crying by himself, and me sobbing in front of my television. Instead, it ended with the biggest WTF/OMFG moment of the season.
Taunted by Klaus, who dared his mother to come back from the dead and try to kill him, Esther returned to finish what she started. She bewitched Bonnie in her sleep, and made her offer her blood to Alaric so that he would complete the transformation. As soon as Bonnie walked up to the tomb, I lost it. I am so furious at Esther, not only for what she has done to Alaric, but also for her willingness to sacrifice Bonnie! We won’t know Bonnie’s fate until next week, but I’m going to go ahead and say that she’ll survive this. At this point, you can’t have The Vampire Diaries without at least one Elena, one witch, and two vampires. Furthermore, I can’t imagine how the gang could find a way to stop evil-Ric without killing him, and one death from the “good” side is enough. Whoever else dies in the last few episodes of the season (assuming Alaric does, in fact, get killed off) will hopefully be a minor character (sorry Jamie) or an evil one (sorry any original that is not Klaus or Elijah).
I think this might be my favorite episode of season 3 (the power of the Decade Dance) because it rocked my emotions to the core and gave us the biggest twist since Klaus compelled Stefan to turn off his emotions (a scene that still makes me cry) in episode 5 of this season. It’s a few hours later and I’m still having trouble processing this episode, which can only mean that it’s amazing.
In true TVD fashion, the last few episodes are going to be even crazier–starting with next week. What do you think the fall out from Alaric’s transformation will be? Do you think Elena will make a romantic decision? What do you think of Jeremy’s return?