The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 16 

It should be categorically impossible to miss fictional people as much as I do, but I’ve decided to neglect the part of me that feels like maybe this level of empathy for fictional people and the ways their families mess them up is a little overstated.     

Okay, so previously, Stefan loved …you know, that girl; Rebecca wants to kill a white oak tree (standby on clarity for that); Ric was dating a “dirty Doctor” and got shot for his troubles when he found her bags,  and Elena barely made the preview.

So we begin, and this is where VD is at its best.  Throw the information at you as fast as they can and mix the backstory

In 1912, “Mr Salvatore” and “Sherriff Forbes” discuss each others’ relative safety when leaving the town hall.  I mean, those are in fact their names, they just don’t look like anyone we know.  Salvatore gets about three steps away and takes a knife to the gut.    

And then we fade into present day, and hey! Adult scene!  Mrs.  Lockwood and Sherrif Forbes have some nattering at one another to do, about whether or not there’s a suspect for the recent murders.

And then Alaric wakes up, bloody, in a cell.

Damon is mad that Forbes is detaining Ric because of what Dr. Fell said – that he came at her with a knife.  All his protests that he found it in her stuff seem not to matter, and Forbes is all “I’m a corporate shill, and I’m going to stick to the letter of the law”.  I’d say she looks like she’s being played by a different actress but the overacting is the same.

Elena’s running, Matt’s too tired.  He gets her to stop by telling her Bonnie’s with her mom, who’s gonna become a vampire.  Caroline’s going to help, and Elena is just alarmed at how much this is her fault, and how much she can’t do.  Elena gets a call from Forbes, and takes off for the courthouse/jail/town hall.

Damon’s here, and is distracted by Elena’s giant sweatshirt, but tells her the only option is either to kill the mean doctor, or…not.  He’s cruel when she says he could show compassion for Bonnie’s mom, but as he points out “I’m mean, you hate me.  The world is back on its axis”.  Point, Damon.

Stefan’s doing his impression of a tortured writer, and Damon arrives to make fun of him, and talks about the “Wondertwin Powers” they can use.  I love him, in case you didn’t know.  Anyway, Damon’s looking for information about when “Zachariah” was killed, and Stefan knows it was 1912.  Damon points out the serial killer then is like the serial killer now …

Stefan’s diary flashback, and lots of pretty sepia shots at a funeral!   “Marianna Lockwood” and “Samantha Gilbert” tell Stefan they’re sorry about the death of his uncle.   Stefan digs for death details, and the girls debate whether founding family privileges  mean he should know that he was murdered or not.  And then there’s crow imagery!

Damon arrives IN A BOWLER, and the two haven’t seen each other in 50 years.   They’re fighting, again, some more.  Damon’s pouty that he’s a vampire, and Stefan looks like he miiiight be sorry about that.  So they go to get a drink.  All of this is happening in front of “Myrtle Hornblatt”’s gravestone, in case you wondered.

And in the present day, the guys discuss getting a drink.  Stefan refers to Alaric as Damon’s “best friend”, and I squee.  Damon wants to solve the murder.

The only restaurant in town.  Rebekah is meeting with Mayor Lockwood.  She’s trying to find the tree she wants, and the Mayor thinks it was cut down.  Damon and Stefan come in, and Damon gives her the look of “we both know that I know what I know”, as the Mayor tells her the Salvatores used to own all the logging mills.

Damon starts to be all Veronica Mars about the crimes but starts to be concerned at Stefan’s booze consumption/lack of blood consumption.  Stefan defends himself by proving he’s listening.  Everyone who’s killed is on the Founders’ Council.  Rebekah smarms up.

Alaric is trying to defend himself against the allegations that he was with/near Meredith Fell during all the various killings.  He screeches that he was in a drunk haze for most of the season, so he can’t remember/be blamed.  But there ain’t no alibi…

The Grill.  Rebekah finds out that Zachariah was their “nephew” inasmuch as their dad got a maid pregnant so…then she moves on to wondering about the logging mills.  Damon accuses her of just wanting more sex.  She denies, which means it’s only a matter of time.  Then Stefan gets annoyed, but not before Damon accuses him of maybe being the murderer.  It’s all a bit foggy, which set of murders they’re talking about.  So then they talk about “Sag”’, prompting Damon to say “speaking of good sex…” Just so you know, this show aired at 7 PM in Canada last year.

So old-timey Damon and Stefan go into a speakeasy-style tent where a lady is knocking dudes out in a ring, and Stefan offers to teach Damon to survive without human blood, but Damon is all righteous (except for the lusting over Sage).  For those who find his hair concerning, it’s all flopping over his forehead.

Damon and Sage flirt; he’s like “I’m not a gambler”.  

Current day.  Stefan wonders whether Sage was the murderer, and Rebekah calls her a whore.  Stefan points out nobody would have thought of a woman murderer…

Which is why we cut to Elena accusing Meredith of being evil.  Meredith quickly tells Elena she knows nothing about Alaric, and that he was arrested for fighting, that his wife filed a restraining order against him, and that Elena is stupid for not looking into the “borderline-alcoholic vampire” before living with him.   Then Meredith says Elena dates vampires – note the plural! – so this shouldn’t be a surprise to her.   Elena = speechless.

Moooooore drinking.  Rebekah’s digging further into the ol’ Salvatore family tree, but Damon cuts her off, taking Stefan and a bottle away.

Elena and Matt break into Meredith’s.  There we go!  Matt thinks she handed over all the evidence, and Elena knows that Meredith is a liar AND a member of the founding families.  And somehow this means it’s her walk-in closet that will hold the answers.     I love you, Elena.  She finds a secret closet and lets her henchman break in to grab a filebox.

It contains files on Ryan Walters, Bill Forbes, and Alaric.

Bar, STILL.   Rebekah interrupts their darts game to opine that women could easily kill men, which could be about herself, Meredith, or Sage.  I believe this point has been made, THANKS.  Anyway, Damon says Stefan is grumpy because he’s on “The Master Cleanse”.   Heh.   Then he reads from Stefan’s old diary: “Damon has lost his way, but I haven’t”.  Rebekah gets in on this too.  This might be flirty, but it seems siblingy.   

Olde-time Damon eats, and Sage tells him he’s doing it wrong, that a woman is for pleasure.  Damon doesn’t need pleasure because he’s spoken for.  Sage thinks that’s stupid, that all a vamp has is pleasure to cut through the direness.

Back to the tent of beating-each-other-to-a-pulp.  She points out how he wants the buttoned-up women who can’t tear their eyes away, and essentially endorses that he seduce-slash-rape them.  Anyway, Damon and his heartbeat focus in on the women he met earlier at the funeral.

Then, present-day, Rebekah says her opinion of Sage as tramp comes from her being obsessed with brother Fynn back in the day.  Anyway, then Stefan heads out, because he’s freaking out for some blood.  Damon makes him say it, just to be self-righteous.  Brotherhood!

Anwyay, Elena and Matt are still reading/snooping, Elena finds a Gilbert Journal, and even as Matt asks why it’s here, because he likes exposition, he points out that the county coroner’s office says the time of death is off.  And then they hear footsteps and hide in the closet, and there are any number of jokes to be made here.

Meredith DRINKS COFFEE.  She TOSSES HER KEYS on the table.  She wears a LEATHER JACKET!  And then as the music swells; she goes out again.  Oh wait, no she doesn’t, because Elena and Matt open the door and she’s RIGHT THERE.

Forbes’ office.   Elena and Matt are in trouble for having broken the law.  Anyway, they’re like “we have an alibi for Ric” and if you thought Forbes’ acting would have come down a notch,  you are wrong.  So they both have the same letter clearing Alaric,  which will spring him as soon as it’s “authenticated”.  Honestly, she could have slapped these two a little harder, or maybe, under the circumstances, an escorted ride home?  No?   

Damon and Rebekah do that brisk nighttime walk where if you don’t get to your next location you might just sleep on the street.  They talk about Stefan, whom they’re following, and how he’s all “one extreme or the other”.  Damon sees a blonde appear, drinks from her, Stefan watches, and stops him; Damon begs him to eat some of the girl to break his tweakage, and save the girl’s life.  If he doesn’t eat from her, Rebekah will kill her.  Damon’s trying to show Stefan how to fight his blood addiction.   What I like about this is how little of it is played in vampire fast-forward.   Stefan thinks about it, anticipates, gets quivery – and then finally eats.  As he settles in, Damon tells Rebekah to get lost, and calls him an “arsey” or some muttered insult like that that’s barely not a swear.   And then Damon turns the girl into a vampire...

…and then the unescorted Matt and Elena come upon the two of them, and Elena isn’t sure who she’s more disgusted by.  Damon tells her to relax, and the only thing I don’t like about these two is how condescending he is to her.  Stefan is, of course, heartbroken that Elena saw him falling from grace.

Gilbert house.  Matt gives Elena a mug, and how many times have we seen this scene?  He doesn’t get her …”thing” (for them, one assumes).  She couches it in “Stefan used to feel safe”, but I mean, it’s not just him.  We know this.  She says she knew he would never stop loving her, never die. Like her parents.  Everyone clear?

As for Damon, she says Damon snuck up on her.  She can’t shake him.  Isn’t that the more interesting dilemma?  Matt says once you fall in love with someone, you can never shake him, and we vaguely remember that he loves her, probably forever.  I know I’ve talked about how I find him superfluous, but this is a nice continuum, that he will always love her.  Anyway, he stole the Gilbert Journal from Meredith’s.  

Alaric arrives, he and Elena hug, and this hug was described as not-totally-platonic on the Twitter.  Exec. Producer Julie Plec jokingly blamed Matthew Davis’ porny fan fics, but I think it’s how the camera lingers on the hand that lingers at her waist.   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dobrev has chemistry with everyone, for better or worse.

Emo Stefan in front of a fire makes Damon somewhat Emo-ey as he points out Ric was released.  Damon points out that Stefan “did really well tonight” and wants him to be the “King of Moderation”.  He also outlaws “No-humanity Stefan”.  This rehabby business is fun.  Anyway, Stefan says it’s stupid that Damon is trying to get Elena to hate him, and that he doesn’t need Damon’s help.  

So then we’re back in 1912, and Damon is encouraging Stefan to drink a human’s blood as Sage beats the pulp out of yet another dude.  1912 Damon says 1912 Sage reminded him that it’s worth it, and then points him toward 1912 Marianna Lockwood.   And then they talk about “having a drink” together and it gets a little clearer.  In 1912, as in the present day, Stefan gets greedy and tries to drink the woman dry – and when Damon tries to stop him, he…breaks her neck?  It’s dark and therefore unclear.  Stefan is horrified, and goes into an “I’m so sorry” panic.  Damon wants to help, but Stefan won’t let him, and thus began “the ripper of Monterey”.   Damon feels terrible that he watched him go over the edge and didn’t stop him.  He admits he didn’t want to.  But now he does.  Damon’s redemption is going to be pulling Stefan back from going too far “every second, every day, until you don’t need me”.  They are kissing-close as Damon says he has to, he’s all he, Damon, has, and did you guys see what Plec, Dobrev, and Somerhalder gave Kevin Williamson for his birthday?  The Entertainment Weekly cover that was, um, minus Elena.  So I’m just saying.

Speaking of, she’s on the couch reading the journal.  Alaric comes down to make coffee, but she’s going to bed.  He says the sherriff told her what she did, and he doesn’t want her to get into any more trouble for him.  He says he’s supposed to look after her, and she offers that they look after each other.  IT’S TOO MUCH IT’S TOO INTIMATE.  Did I mention there’s a fire burning behind her?  Anyway, the journal belonged to Samantha Gilbert.   

Damon, mournful at the piano.  Stefan dug into the family archives.  They pout at one another, until Stefan points out that they got a confession for the Founders’ Murders 10 years later.  Apparently Samantha Gilbert confessed to the crimes 10 years later.     Damon’s all “That’s weird, I killed her before that”.  

Knock knock – it’s Meredith for Alaric.  He yells at her a whole lot, and then she says she forged the coroner’s note to clear him.  She’s all “I need you to trust me, if you let me in” and then I know she’s a vampire doctor?  Something?

Elena’s reading, in her bedroom, and the diary gets crazier and illegible-er.   Samantha is ‘losing herself’, “running out of time”, etc.

Back at the Salvatores, Stefan wonders if Samantha Gilbert is still killing people?   Damon says if she was a vampire, they’d know.  Stefan wonders about a magic ring?  Damon said it wouldn’t protect her from old age.  There are two Gilbert rings: Jeremy’s and Alaric’s.  This is fun!

Alaric doesn’t really understand why all the victims were killed by Alaric’s weapons, including himself.   Meredith’s all “have you blacked out?  Would you know if you were killing people? How many times can you die before the ring changes you?”  Anyway, she thinks he’s sick and she wants to help him.  She says this happened 100 years ago.  Elena is listening, and then says she thinks  Meredith is right – as she clutches the diary.    

And then we’re back to when ol’ Zachariah got killed, and indeed, it seems it was Samantha.  Wearing a Gilbert ring.

I mean, would we accept this from any other show?  Rebekah just abandons her mission halfway through the episode because Damon says so, and we’re flip-flopping on Meredith twice between each commercial break.  

But it’s so much fun, does it matter?