The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 21 recap

Some shows have a philosophy about second-last episodes. That they are for fire and brimstone and the next week, the finale, is for tears and emotions.  Others don't go in for that level of sentiment. It's the last of the year? Blow everything up - physical and metaphorical.

Let's see here. Well, we're beginning with a snarky Katherine V.O. about Elena, so there's that, but then we get straight into how many times Tyler has turned and the deals with Alaric turning vs. not turning into a vampire.  In case you were asleep for the last week, he turned.  Via Bonnie. AND NOW HE'S IN CLASS.  Well, this is gonna be creepy.  Carline would know that, except she's busy hearing from Tyler about how he's not sired by Klaus anymore.

Anyway, Caroline and Rebekah (maybe?) bitch at one another over who's there from the cleanup crew. The way Rebekah talks, it treacly does seem to be her in there.  And then as she heads off to the gym, Alaric grabs her, and then, Caroline and Rebekah stake him together with the ring-covered stake.  Oh, okay then.  So it's going to be this kind of episode.  Caroline runs to her car. Alaric is behind her.  Snaps her neck.  In the teaser.  Oh, but it's daylight, so his skin is boiling and festering. Rebekah just watches him.

And that's your teaser.

Gilberts.  Elena and Jeremy paint Alaric's room, and Stefan comes to wonder if they're going a bit fast.  Elena, thankfully feeling dark, points out they gotta move or they'll think, which is not desired. Jeremy, the master of subtlety, wants to know if they're back together, and then when they say no, says the least Stefan could do is give them a single day without vampires.  Then he leaves, and I'm forced to wonder how Elena's painting in a cropped jean jacket.  You can't get any arm extension in that!  Anyway, doorbell.  It's Damon, plus bleeding-neck Bonnie.

Then cut to Klaus', where Rebekah points out Alaric just tried to kill her.  A bit of back and forth about how he's supposed to be dead, and begs “Nic” to understand, and once again I love that he has about six names.  Anyway, he's ready to grab Elena and book, and she tells him he doesn't need her for any more stupid hybrids.  She's leaving now, and if he doesn't come, he's on his own.  Guess what? He's on his own.  Except, of course, for Tyler.

"Don't blame me, blame Bonnie the blood bank!"  Hee, Damon time.  Stefan and Damon find out what's up with Bonnie, who explains it's all the witches' fault.  Anyway, he's mad at her but not so mad he didn't feed her his blood to save her.  Aww.  Anyway, Bonnie points out that witches have loopholes, and she doesn't know what this one is.  

Elena gets a call from Alaric.  Her jean jacket is a cardigan, my apologies.  Anyway, he has Caroline pinned to a desk in the school.  Literally pinned, via pencils through her hands.  Elena needs to show up solo, or else.

Ding dong - Klaus at the door.  Jeremy gets off one snarky comment and then Stefan sends him to his room.  Damon joins.  Klaus spends a lot of time muttering before he gets to the point - he's there for Elena.  They slam the door in his face, but not hard enough I guess. He muses outside, looking at the paper.  Stefan runs around looking for Elena, and Bonnie and Damon catch up that she's gone.  And then he hurls a newspaper through a window.  Neat!

Alaric clutches his bloody stake.  Elena wanders through the school, following the sounds of Caroline's sobs. Classroom.  Elena demands he let her go, then gets permission to do it herself.   And we're treated to the gruesomeness of Elena pulling a pencil out of her hand as gently as possible - and then Alaric rips it out, with a delightful "How many times do I have to tell you, Elena? Stop trusting vampires!"  

Klaus is outside the Gilbert house, wondering how a newspaper turned to concrete.  Then, when there's no response, he muses around the neighbourhood.  Knocks the door in via a soccer ball, then throws white picket fence-parts at them through the now open doorway. Hee hee.  Never say Klaus doesn't get originality points.  Stefan thinks it's prudent to answer a call from Alaric - which means he doesn't notice Klaus light a paper on fire with propane.  But soon enough he's outside to rationalize with him, explaining that Alaric has Elena, and will kill everyone.  MORE conversations about odds of who sired who and who would be killed by whose death. We get it, it's a crapshoot.  Anyway, Stefan more or less promises Klaus his life.   

As they strategize, Damon hints at Klaus' thing for Alaric and then Bonnie emerges - and she apparently took this time to straighten her hair and clean off her makeup, so I'm glad her priorities are shipshape - saying she can use an immobilization spell her mother used on Michael. She'll need “a lot of vampire muscle” including Klaus.  He says they have to do this all before sundown.

Which would be good, because at school, Alaric's dipping a gag in vervain, I guess? Elena tries to stop him, but she is tiny and ineffectual, as you may know. He clarifies for us that the vervain gag is “like inhaling razor blades with every breath”.  Then he tells Elena she can kill Caroline and put her out of her misery. This is what all her training was about.  He holds the unbreakable stake out, all tempting.

Salvatore's.  Damon and Straight-Hair Bonnie.  Sorry, that's going to annoy me. Did she borrow Elena's clothes?  Anyway, the twee, ridiculous doorbell goes off and it's Bonnie's mom.  They have a little awkward mother-abandoned daughter repartee, and they say “Jamie” enough times that I'm pretty sure he's not in this episode.  At school, Klaus and Stefan discuss, and then Klaus points out that he'll still take Elena if they take Alaric down.  Stefan's all “no prob, I'll come”.   Klaus tries to twist the knife via “yeah, Damon's a bad guy” but Stefan rises above.  Then Klaus says he'll leave it to Elena to decide, Stefan shrugs, and brotherly love really does seem to be lost on him. Obviously.

Abby at the mansion. Damon offers some blood in Waterford crystal to Abby while Bonnie winces.  Some shenanigans about how the house was once Elena's, but then she died.  So they explain the deal with the whole unkillable vampire, and need Abby's help on the desiccation spell.  Abby thinks it's too dangerous, and I think we've covered that most of what's going on these days is not child's play. Anyway, Bonnie discerns that she has to stop a human heart.  Fine.

But then, then we cut to Jeremy brooding and Bonnie explaining she has a tracker app on her phone that shows where Caroline and Elena are.  Seriously?  We really need this, after over 60 episodes? Now we need to know how they find each other?  Damon's with me, all “why do we need you then?” Then he wrestles Jeremy's ring away from him, but Jeremy protests, all, "Elena's My Sister".  For whatever reason, that goes over.  They all drink Bonnie's blood, so that when she stops Jeremy's heart - oooh! - he'll have the power to stop Alaric's.  I mean, some things on this show are ridiculous, but the calmness with which they approach each mission is right at the top.  Nobody has a nervous stomach?  Bonnie explains they need to get at a vein or artery, then Klaus points out that he's responsible for all their bloodlines, and they'll all be dead if he gets killed.

Okay.  Inside school, Alaric is doing twisted creepy “older man” logic to tell Elena he needs to help her learn right from wrong, and that Caroline said she liked killing someone, so he's standing up for morals.  Reminds Elena her parents were on the council, then wonders sarcastically if her parents would be proud of how she sided with the vampires.  Then says Elena has to kill Caroline, or he will. And then!  Okay.  He drags her in front of Caro, all “kill her”.   Elena swings back the stake to grab him, he smarms that he taught her better, at which point she swings the beaker of vervain up into his face.  Nice work, E.  She yanks the pencils out of Caroline's hands, tells her to run, and in a nice move, Caro's face is better by the time she gets into the hallway.  Alaric stops Elena, though.

Caroline is grabbed by Klaus who whispers all “it's okay, you're safe” and damned if he doesn't sound sexy and comforting.   He unleashes his “you and me save Elena” bit and tells her to stay inside.  She, of course, is so grateful to him.  He vamooses.

Alaric throws Elena up against lockers and tells her what a bad person she is.  He says he should kill her, and truly she has enough f*ck you in her by now to just go “great. Do it”.  And she has full voice while he strangles her, too.   He releases her, because everyone knows Elena is real truth and then Stefan and Damon come to tag team Alaric, both get their necks or backs snapped, and Klaus seems to just...dig his fingers into Ric's chest.   

Cut to Bonnie over Jeremy in the forest, doing her spell.  The wind is whipping, so it looks like it might work.   But then, in dark, dark school, the following: Alaric wrenches Klaus' hand out of his chest, Bonnie says the connection broke, Alaric throws Klaus around and tries to stake him, then Elena says to stop or she'll kill herself.  And then our girl does a whole lot of math for us. Esther didn't want him to be truly immortal: she used Elena so that when she dies, Alaric dies.   What has she got up by her neck, some vervain shards? I don't know.  She's kind of proud for figuring it out and so am I, frankly.  And then, when Alaric calls her bluff, she slices a line across her throat.  DUDE! Klaus throws Alaric off, jumps up, grabs Elena, and disappears.

Elena, lethargic.  She comes to and then yelps, and we've crossed the axis so her arm that we pan down to seemed really, disturbingly male, but it was the wrong angle.  Panic stations down.   Except that Klaus is draining Elena of all her blood, via a nurse I assume is compelled. Tyler enters - have I mentioned he's a literal box boy this episode? - and is shocked to see her. She asks him to help, and he tries, but Klaus says he has to get blood bags.  And this is all about Tyler still being under Klaus' power, or looking to be.  He keeps staring at Elena as if hoping to convince her he knows what he's doing.  Klaus whispers to Elena that it'll be completely painless, he's just going to drain every solitary drop.

School.  Damon's phone wakes him, but before he can answer, Alaric's over his body and Stefan's, demanding they get up.  Angrily.  He points out that Klaus is going to kill Elena, but when Stefan disagrees, Alaric catches them up on what Elena figured out.  So they don't have long to save her.   

Elena mutters to Klaus about how he'll need her blood to start his hybrids, but Klaus has changed his mind.  He doesn't need hybrids, he has his family.  But then Elena mutters that his real family will never trust him again. Then Klaus twists the knife, all “speaking of brother against brother, remember you made them hate each other?”  He says she won't choose because she'll destroy their bond forever, and says he's doing her a favour by killing her so she doesn't wreck the brother bond.  But because he's a gossip at heart, he still wants to know who she would have picked.  I'm sure we do too, but she tells him to rot in hell instead.  I would have loved a little more fanfare for when Elena got her backbone - like a metaphorical period - but I'll take what I can get.

She's still in a chair, but now in the “let me buck against my restraints” phase.  The blood bag is half full. Tyler runs in, and quickly unties her bonds.  She's trying to tell him no - and he tells her to hush, but not hushed enough, because Klaus is behind him.  And he knows! Tyler's not under his thrall anymore! He's broken the sire bond!  Klaus wants to know how he did it, and Tyler explains the “breaking every bone in my body 100 times” method.   Klaus says it's not possible, Tyler says Klaus didn't care about him, and once again we're back to the lengths a megalomaniac will go to if he's very, very lonely.  It's sad.  Tyler grabs Elena, Klaus throws her and her head smacks a table, he and Klaus fight, and suddenly Damon and Stefan are there and Stefan grabs Klaus' heart.  Okay, neat.   

Bonnie and Jeremy, chanting.  Jeremy's semi-conscious and then goes out.  She's doing that thing where she smiles a bit, and then spells or spirits go up her face.  All we hear are heartbeats, and the shock of Klaus' face.  His heart is slowing.  Elena awakes. Tyler's right there in case Stefan's hand gets tired.  Now the desiccation marks climb up Klaus' face and back down Bonnie's.  And now she needs Jeremy's heart to come back, so she goes “animus”, but that's not working, and she's freaking out and screeching for Jeremy - and then he wakes up - and they breathe hard -

- and Klaus is slowly desiccating but still kind of awake, and he lies down, and if he's actually gone I hope that last blink was an editing error.  Stefan says they should get rid of him before the sun sets. When Alaric is free.

But apparently it's still daylight.  Elena smirks that Stefan and Damon are walking her to her door, and they exposit that A) she lost a lot of blood, but is fine (how?) B) Alaric can't kill her, C) He won't be able to find them when he comes looking for them.  Also, the Gilbert house's front door has been neatly reattached.  She knows it's selfish to string them both along, but doesn't know what she's supposed to do.  If she chooses one, she loses the other.  She can't lose one of them. There are looks between the three of them, and if you thought this was going to go “threesome”, well, you weren't alone.  They say they'll call her from the road, after they dump Klaus' body.  She really looks beautiful as she watches them go.

...But inside her kitchen, it's a party! Whaaa...?  Seriously, Caroline (fine, btw), Bonnie, Jeremy and oh, hi, Matt, they're all here, it's a victory party since they got rid of Klaus.  Oh, Tyler's here too.  Caroline's pouring shots.  And because I love her and she's the best, she points out that Elena will have to choose between the brothers, but she does it with booze.  Tyler salts her hand for her.  This is all a bit much, no?  Elena hears me, and shot in hand, tells Jeremy she doesn't condone the shot in his.  They're all giddy-giddy-giggles over a Klaus-free life, Elena calls them her family, and we cut to a wide wide shot so that the CW doesn't actually show kids how to do tequila shots.

Mayor Lockwood's house.   Sheriff Liz wants to know why she called a meeting so late, but of course, Carol says she didn't. “He did.”  Oh, it's Alaric, telling the whole entire council about how the mayor and the sheriff have vampire and werewolf children.  This is kind of fun.  Alaric is super, super crazy.  She turns to go, but he tells her to sit; they're just getting started.

Stefan and Damon's road trip. Music and leather jackets and good moods and “how many desiccated hybrids does it take to screw in a lightbulb"?  This almost feels like Stefan and Damon, the college years, which I would happily endorse. Damon makes Stefan say that they won, and it's happy, and they make a pretty good team. If the pit of your stomach started to hurt, that would be correct.  Because Stefan wants to know what happens when Elena chooses.  Mr. Pragmatic Salvatore says she'll make a list and dump both of their asses....then turns into Mr. Romantic Salvatore and says she will pick one of them. Stefan says he'll leave town if she chooses Damon, to let her be happy; Damon faux-shrugs that he can come back in 60 years, which is cool, but...

(Sidebar: So either Elena's going to die at 78 - congratulations to whomever had that number in the pool - or that's how long Damon thinks their love will last.  But if Elena ages at a normal human rate, I'm sorry to be shallow, but have either of these dudes considered what she's gonna look like at almost-80?  I'm not maligning the Gilbert genes or anything but...let's just take a look at that.  Katherine might start to look better after all?)

Anyway, if she chooses Stefan, same deal applies.  He'll leave. They agree that she's a special girl.

Gilberts.  Jeremy has gone back to painting.  Don't know why.  He says he hates the room and Elena agrees.  Then she muses that all the vampires should die.  Then lists all the people she would lose.  So is she a bad guy? She's sorry.  But Jeremy is here to remind her that he will lose her if Alaric dies, and that they're not dealing with the most rational part of Saltzman anyway.   She nods. Jeremy heads to bed, and Elena paints the trim instead of the walls.  Finish the walls first!  But then she winces in pain - I thought it was her head, but she seems to be holding her neck - and then she drops, blood dripping from her nose.  

Okay, so they split the difference.  Less feeling, more action.   But if someone unjustified doesn't die next week - especially since we got cheated out of Alaric's death - how will I cry my pathos tears? Anyone?