In an overload of cute coincidences, we get a heart wrenching (literally) Valentine’s episode that happens to be numerically episode 2-14.  Could they really have planned it this way?  Who knows?  In any case, as has been consistent with the show, we get an abundance of everything and the core plotline moves with alarming speed, while simultaneously keeping an eye out for big soap opera moments. 

The WW pack is pissed off and licking its wounds.  In comes a fresh faced smart kid WW (FFWW) who seems to know all about the moonstone and the breaking of the vampire stuck-in-nighttime curse.  Essentially it’s framed as whoever controls the moonstone controls the fate of the WWs vs the vampires.  He gathers the remaining WW bunch and they decide they have no options but to go full bore and attack ALL the vampires in town.  Sure, why not?  It’s not like it’s been established that a single vampire (or witch) can render a pack of them useless in mere seconds when it’s not the full moon.  But they know this is Vampire Diaries, and everyone’s powers vary as they need to, so they are probably hoping for the best. 

Meanwhile, we get a gratuitous shot of our 3 girls in bed together after their slumber party from last ep.  Stefan calls Elena, who falls off the bed, and they decide to go off on a romantic trip all on their own, mostly so she can get away from her dad (the ever annoying Highlander).  On a side note, I hate to rant but this guy (David Anders) is so freaking annoying, and he just won’t die.  Seriously, he doesn’t die.  And even when he does die (in various shows, no less) he finds a way to come back.  Whoever his agent is deserves a big bonus.  Anyway, back to the romantic trip to the family Lake House.  Elena is hesitant at first since she hasn’t been there since her parents died, but eventually Stefan convinces her to create some new memories there (aka sex).  We get a few more cute moments and some “romance” Stefan/Elena style (yawn), which eventually leads to the real reason they are here (sex).  To find a hidden chamber which houses all sorts of Vampire Slayer (TM) equipment, as well as another journal with lots of vampire killing info.  Sweet!  What excellent timing.  All that stuff would sure be nice if I had to fight The First!

Back to the pack, Go Pack Go!  Damon and his boytoy Alaric are licking their wounds after a meaningless confrontation with Elijah, who has come to town ostensibly to promote a new book or some such nonsense.  Elijah shows Damon who’s boss as they establish that he really is an elder vampire and can kick Damon’s butt whenever he feels like.  Alaric does nothing but make some off hand comment about how Elijah has great hair.  Really?  Someone please get this guy something useful to do!  He was in Blue Crush for Pete’s sake!  Damon as usual likes to mouth off, so it’s amusing to watch as he yet again gets pwned by a stronger vampire.  But he knows he’s the breakout star of the show, so he laughs it off and gets Alaric to bring him drinks.  Earlier, Alaric had a run in with the Highlander who, in the most annoying way possible, threatened to reveal his secrets to Jenna.  So he whines about not wanting to lie anymore to her, while Damon looks bored and we are too.  It’s cute how these guys are best buds now, even though Damon killed him last season.  Luckily there’s no short supply on resurrection rings (or for that matter daywalker rings – the gear in this show is top notch), and the Highlander reminds the audience that Alaric has one (setup for later in the episode much?).   

Oh yeah, there’s a short sequence regarding the reporter (some chick I last saw in Heroes) Damon played with last week, who he has compelled into falling in love with him.  I guess she’s his diversion from Elena and it’s kind of sweet that he puts on a scarf for her to cover up the bite marks.   So anyway, Alaric is finally leaving, (I guess they just hang out all day/night, it’s not like he has to teach or grade papers or anything), Damon’s resting and whack, there’s a sound and Damon finds poor Alaric “dead” yet again, as the camera pans to his resurrection ring a few times to make sure we remember he’s not *really* dead.  Yay, the pack is here!  Damon fights but gets subdued again, overwhelmed by the numbers (plus he’s already hurt), and soon enough, FFWW is torturing him with a contraption straight out of Saw (to get the moonstone), and even cleverly references the “torture porn” genre.  Kudos to you FFWW!!  I’m thinking this is a cool new character I could like.  Damon laughs it off, again knowing he’s a bigger name than any of these losers, and continues to taunt the pack even though we don’t perceive any advantage he might have, aside from knowing Alaric is lying there and can theoretically come back to be even more useless than he was earlier.

Back in town, the Scooby Gang is back at it.   Luckily the writers have contained them into this minor subplot so we are spared too much of Bonnie.  So the witch, her drooling slave Jeremy, and Caroline (slumming it a bit this episode) have devised an awesome plot to kidnap Kid Warlock and pump him for info, Salem-witch style.  Bonnie makes some sexy eyes at him which is apparently enough to get him to lose his senses and drink a roofie, and the team grabs him and goes.  Jeremy asks Bonnie if she’s strong enough to cast her spell because he’s so sweet and sensitive, and always so concerned about her, but she tells him she’s fine as she can apparently gain all sorts of power from a few 99 cent candles they picked up at Target.  She has him fetch a bowl of water so that Caroline can gossip with her about what a hot piece of young beef Jeremy is.  After a few more giggles and acknowledgment that they are both damaged goods and should settle for whatever comes along (yes I’m sure everyone feels sorry for these girls to be stuck with Jeremy and Matt), Bonnie is ready to cast her mind control candlespell.  Warlock Boy resists and says he’ll be killed for revealing info, but Bonnie sucks it out of him regardless – the big news is in spite of keeping her protected for the interim, long term they are going to have to sacrifice Elena.  Shocker!  The Scooby Gang is not amused by this at all so they immediately call Stefan and tell him the bad news.

At the house, Stefan confronts Elena about the plot reveal, and she admits she always knew she’d probably have to sacrifice herself.  Stefan yells at her and calls her a wannabe martyr, it’s “tragic” he tells her, because she’s so young and awesome.  She’s like, yeah whatever dude, I’m so awesome I can save all you losers, so leave me alone.  Secretly I think she knows that with all the witches, resurrection rings, vampires, vampire diaries, and handbook journals lying around, she probably has a pretty good chance of coming back even after dying.  Here’s hoping she becomes a Slayer.  Anyway, Big Bad WW from last week brings Tyler to the house to get her.  He neutralizes Stefan and has Tyler watch him while he terrorizes Elena, who gets to do her “run around the house and hide” act yet again.  Is there anyone better than her at running around houses being chased by bad guys?  I think not.  She uses some clever tricks to elude BBWW, while Stefan confrotns whiny Tyler and tells him his new buddies lied to him and are planning to kill Elena.  Faster than you can say flip flop, Ty’s back to the good side and Stefan is easily able to rip BBWW’s heart out, which is apparently the optimal way to kill WWs (established when they killed Mason earlier in the season).

Speaking of which, back at Damon’s house, just as the torture is getting good, who walks in but Elijah, he of the “great hair.”  He makes short work of the WW pack, and gets the record for most beating hearts extracted in the least amount of time in any show to date (I think).  This scene is all cool, and just when I think he might spare FFWW for future fun, he rips him a new one.  Oh well.  Jules actually gets away but no one seems to care, because Elijah is more concerned with taunting Damon and reminding him how many times he’s had to save him.

Whew.  That is a ton of action and plot reveals for a single episode and I know I still missed some stuff.  We end the ep with Tyler saying a heartfelt goodbye to Matt and giving his blessing to him to take care of Caroline, before driving off with Jules.  It looks like they are writing him off for now – but given the curse stuff needs a WW to be sacrificed, I’m sure he’ll be back later.  We also get the long-awaited kiss between Jeremy and Bonnie, as she finally acknowledges she wants to “ski the slopes” with some “hot” young stuff.  So it looks like we’ve got all the couples roughly together just in time for Valentine’s, hooray!

Next week looks like some flashbacks where we get to see Dark Stefan.  Should be fun.