How shall I kill thee?  Let me count the ways….

I sat down this week prepared for a more mild episode with a lot of backstory about Stefan and how he went from Dark to Light.  Well, in true Vampire Diaries fashion, I got exactly what I thought I should from the preview – plus about a billion other exciting things.  This show week after week blows me away with the way it’s paced and written.  Every time I think there can’t be more to the episode, they come back with even more excitement.  It really is a “thrill ride” – unlike many movies that advertise themselves that way.

We start the ep with the aforementioned flashbacks, and get to watch Dark Stefan tormenting the Gilbert family.  He’s gone whacko and is killing everyone around town, and it’s Damon who is the voice of reason telling him to tone it down.  The excuse for this balst from the past?  Turns out Elena, still at the cabin from last week, is reading the Gilbert Journal aka Vampire Diary aka Slayer Guide Book.  She gives Stefan a weird look and he decides to tell her his story, a la Lestat.   I wasn’t really very interested in this, but basically it involves him killing lots of innocents, then getting found by Lexi, who takes him under her wing and explains to him that he has blocked out the side of him that feels pain, but once he unlocks it he’ll also be able to feel love.  Oh joy, corny much?  We are also reminded later that Damon unceremoniously killed Lexi in season one.  It almost seems like the writers are regretting that decision, but oh well.  The main point of this is Stefan wants Elena to not give up on life/love/Stefan.  But girlfriend is dead set on being a martyr, so what can ya do?

In the mean time Bonnie is basking in the afterglow of her hot kiss with Jeremy.  Or is she?  When he comes up to her all she wants to talk about is witchcraft so he is suitably dismayed.  He asks her if she wants to “hang” and do some witch stuff and eat at his place so she says yes.  Boy Warlock briefly appears to confront her but they basically ignore his sorry ass.  So she comes to the house, and Jeremy has gone all out with takeout food and candles, hoping he can finally get some.  Bonnie is surprised, because she is apparently an idiot, and realizes “oh it’s a date…”  Duh, bitch!  Horny teen on the prowl who you just tongue meshed last night.  In order to not scare her away, he downplays the 10 hours he spent prepping to get laid and the 20 pack of condoms he bought, and tells her instead they can just practice spells, after awkwardly confirming that she did indeed at least enjoy the kiss.  She agrees and they settle down to do some casting, amazing us by stealing flame from a candle and putting it in her hands.  Uhhh, OK, I thought she could do that a long time ago.  Whatever, they babble about draining power, so Jeremy askes her to drain his fluids, I mean his life force, and just as they are about to get into some serious draining, Daddy Warlock appears, throws Jeremy on the wall and bitch slaps her down.    He then proceeds to threaten her and steal her powers.  Ouch.  Now as much as I am not a big Bonnie fan, I was really hoping she’d go Dark Willow on his ass and take him down a notch.  But alas, it looks like we are going to be saddled with a couple weeks of Jeremy comforting Bonnie about losing her powers.  Yawn.

Now on to the main plot.  There’s some intro with Jenna hanging with Elijah (cute couple!) to visit the old family areas, and he’s searching for some old graveyard.  I honestly wasn’t paying much attention.  Alaric drops by and is jealous, plus Jenna has been giving him the cold shoulder ever since Uncle John infected her with his annoying doubts about Isabel.  The scene goes nowhere but somehow they all end up at the bar and Heroes galpal suggests they all have a fun dinner party at Damon’s.  Woot!  Man I wish I could have gone to this party.  Elijah is delighted, and shows up later at the house.  He tells Damon, who by the way is planning to kill him with the magic dagger and voodoo ash (given to Damon by John who is apparently very trustworthy), that if he tries anything less than friendly, he’ll kill everyone in the house and steal Elena to boot.  Damon’s like, no way bro, I just wanna hang with you!  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that just before this, Damon goes to visit Katherine, who’s all decrepit waiting for blood.  I guess he wasn’t 100% stupid as he wanted to make sure John wasn’t lying, so he goes to confirm the dagger’s powers with someone even more trustworthy: the chick who’s lied, broke his heart and betrayed and kicked his ass a dozen times.  Yeah, that’s where I’d go for my critical life and death info too.  He also apparently had time to stop by Forever 21 and pick her up some nice new dresses, cuz that’s just how he rolls.  She ends up begging him to not kill Elijah (promising to help him save Elena and fight Klaus), because then she’ll be stuck in the cave forever (since Elijah was the one who compelled her there).  Damon just taunts her some more and tells her she’s revealed everything to him, muhahaha!

So they have a fun dinner with Alaric, Jenna, Uncle John (who shows up uninvited), Heroes chick, Elijah and Damon.   Why can’t we all just get along because I would watch a show just about these guys having dinner parties and givign each other weird looks every week.  Damon eventually lures Elijah into the study where he’s got the dagger stashed, and is planning to make his move.  But at the same time, Elena at the lake house is busy reading the Handbook and confronts Stefan about the dagger.  But then she reads -wait for it- the dagger if used by another vampire will kill the vampire too!  Damn those witches for making so many funky rules with their artifacts.  It’s like a RPG item with too many modifiers.  Dagger of Elder Vampire Slaying: requires white oak ash to activate, +100% damage to Elder Vampires, not usable by vampires, must also be…. (oops not yet).  Stefan calls Damon but his iPhone isn’t on him, what’s up with that?  So he calls Alaric instead, and just in time Alaric interrupts what might have been a big disaster.  They head back to the dinner table for dessert, and as Jenna goes to the kitchen to bake her pie, Elijah again threatens everyone for good measure, but just as he talking BAM he’s stabbed through the heart and he dies.  Surprise!  Alaric has used the dagger and totally caught me off guard.  He’s human, so it’s OK!!!  Hooray!  Elijah is dead.  Again!  So let’s hurry up and chop him to pieces and then burn all the parts…  or not.  It’s probably better to just leave him untouched like we did last time, because nothing bad happened, right?

Next scene we see the bromance boys (Alaric and Damon) throwing Elijah’s body in some dungeon room.  I guess Damon had time to grab the dagger and he makes some bitchy remarks to Alaric, who tells him he’s his only friend so he better be nice.  These two need to get a room and be done with it.  Seriously, though, am I the only one who remembers Damon killing Alaric?  Oh well, I guess it’s all relative if you have a resurrection ring.  On a side note, it’s kind of cool how there are no repercussions to dying and coming back to life if you have one of those rings.  Pretty sweet. 

Back in the lake house, Elena is still reading ever so slowly from the Handbook.  Apparently there’s some empty pages or page breaks because it takes her a while to find out that you can kill the elder with the dagger and he will only stay dead as long as you leave the dagger in the body.  Yes I LOL’d here and almost threw my remote at the TV.  So Stefan calls Damon to tell him about this little glitch, but when he goes to check, surprise!  The body is gone and we know Elijah is gonna be all kinds of pissed.  Why he didn’t slaughter everyone in the house first, I don’t know, but he decides to go straight for Elena at the lake house.

The ongoing subplot with Alaric and Jenna gets some brief screen time, as she confronts him about Isabel and he just stares into space, so she starts crying and whining about not being able to trust him.  Annoying Uncle John promises to help him but he wants his resurrection ring back first.  So Alaric hands it over, but taunts him by reminding him he and Damon are best buds, and Damon will be pissed that John tried to trick him.  Clearly the whole point of this scene was to make sure the audience knows exactly who has the resurrection ring.  It’s John, aka The Highlander, aka The Horrible Actor who Dies but Keeps Coming Back.  Yes, we get it writers, you love him and will continue to resurrect him to punish me.

So now we move on, and Elijah is at the lake house, and he’s ready to kick some ass.  He grabs some pebbles and uses his patented “quarters” move to blow down the door.  He tells Elena he can’t come in but he can wait her out.  Stefan cowers behind a wall and tells Elena to go deal with this mess (OK that didn’t really happen but whatever).  Elena’s like, don’t worry, I can handle this Elder Smelder Vampire, you go get prettied up for me.  So she comes out Full-On Elena style and bitches at Elijah yet again to make a deal.  He tells her no more bargains, he’s gonna kill everyone.  She tells him she still has one more card to play, the martyr card!  And all the fans know she can’t wait to play it.  With her dead, there is no more doppleganger to lure Klaus out.  Elijah says there’s no way Stefan will let her die, and she says F- that, he’ll turn me into a vampire just like Katherine and yuor plan will still be foiled.  Elijah, being wise after thousands of years, calls her bluff, but clearly he has underestimated just how wackily suicidal this girl is.  She’s been itching to kill herself for many episodes now so she takes delight in stabbing herself with a dagger.  Elijah is like, damn this girl is really f-ed up, and immediately concedes, promising her everything she demands (again) – man she is really good at manipulating centuries-old vampires.  He yells at her to let him heal her, and she jumps into his arms, pulls out the dagger… and STABS him to death!  I’ll be honest, I jumped out of the seat her and yelped in delight.  I totally did not see that coming, and I have to give it to the writers and Elena for keeping me on my toes the whole way.  We then see Damon come out and reveal he brought the dagger, brilliant!!!   She stares down the worthless vampire brothers and tells them – all right you little bitches, stop hiding things from me, from now on we do it MY WAY, we gonna throw down Elena-style!  Now I’m a bit bugged they still don’t bother dismantling Elijah’s body, but choose instead to just leave the dagger in place.  This irritates me because it means any time someone can just pull it out and he’s back again, again.  Oh well.

So after a big sigh of relief and thinking the episode is over, I smile as there is still one more scene!  Damon comes home and sees his hot chick showering, so he’s ready to have some fun.  But wait, that ain’t the Heroes chick, it’s…. BAM!!!  Katherine!!!!!  She stands there naked and asks for a towel as he stares and drools.  She tells him she’s played him yet again – killing Elijah actually freed her, it was always part of her plan.  But…. she’s here to help take Klaus out.  Exit, stage right.

Whew, that was a doozy of an episode.  I love being caught off guard, even though I feel like a tool for getting tricked, TWICE, and also I don’t see why these tools don’t take better precautions with their elder vampires.  But I forgive them for giving me such delight, and can’t wait to see what’s coming next.