It may just be me, but this episode was a little slow getting up and running. However, the last 20 minutes or so were packed with twists and excitement [and don’t even get me started on next week’s preview!]. Last week introduced the idea of a vampire cure, which led Klaus away from Mystic Falls to fetch one of the many tools needed to locate this cure. Now, at one point, Klaus being out of town would mean temporary relief from the danger so common to the MF gang, but with all of these new people hanging about – like Connor, the vampire hunter – such was not to be the case this time.
As we glimpsed in the cliffhanger last episode, Shane sent Connor to Mystic Falls. What we learned this week was the reason [sort of]: Shane needs Connor to kill the many vampires there so that his tattoo will grow. What wasn’t revealed was what he needs from Connor – and apparently Bonnie, who Shane spent the day distracting out at the university to keep her out of the melee that was the Mystic Falls Great Kidnapping of 2012. The kidnapping victims? Jeremy Gilbert, Matt Donovan, and April Young.
Before we get to all the kidnapping excitement, let’s cover the minor storylines from this week’s episode: Bonnie and Shane, and the Tyler, Hayley, Caroline, Klaus love square. Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Shane might have made some progress towards getting Bonnie’s powers back. That said, because this show makes us inherently suspicious of everything, I’m not sure whether Bonnie‘s new magic skills demonstration was actually her – or if Professor Shane is hiding some powers of his own – the whole process just seemed a bit too easy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if it really was Bonnie‘s magic coming back, or if the mysterious new professor was behind it.
Caroline (Candice Accola) finally found out about the accusations Klaus made about Tyler and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin). When the they ended up in an argument with one of the hybrids – who was ordered by Klaus to go subdue Connor, but without using any force or being allowed to kill him – the hybrid challenged Tyler to stand up to Klaus. Tyler took that challenge, but when Tyler got him on the phone, Klaus brought up the cheating theory again, which shut Tyler right up.
Caroline, having super vampire hearing, got the gist of the conversation and confronted Tyler about it – angry with him for not confessing it to her himself. Tyler (Michael Trevino) pretty much just told her that it wasn’t true but that he wanted Klaus to believe that so he wouldn’t figure out what was really going on: Hayley and Tyler were working together to break the other hybrids of their sire bond to Klaus. [I believe him, but it could just be a misleading lie.]
Now, moving onto the primary storyline, Connor (Todd Williams) had been busy in the few hours since he beheaded a hybrid and escaped Klaus’ hold. He took a trip to the university to visit Professor Shane (David Alpay), and apparently had some time to develop some new hybrid-killing weapons, like this really cool gun that leaves a nice, heart-sized hole in their body. As we’ve learned, Connor is nothing if not innovative.
He corralled the three kidnappees in the Mystic Grill, then sent a mass text to Damon, Stefan, and Tyler, telling them he was going to kill the three if no one came to save them. Then, Connor set to work creating some bombs – made up of the usual: nails, glass, and werewolf venom. Placing them at each entrance, he hid the detonators under some floor mats, then he sat back and waited for the vampires to walk into the trap.
Stefan, still trying to help Klaus keep Connor alive long enough to learn the location of the cure, is placed in an awkward position as Klaus (Joseph Morgan) swore him to secrecy about said cure. This causes him to resort to some pretty un-Stefan-like acts, such as teaming up with Klaus’ hybrids, not being completely honest with Elena (Nina Dobrev), arguing with Klaus over the phone, and vervaining Damon and stealing his daylight ring [okay, so those last two are totally Stefan-like, but you get the idea]. Naturally, this raises some suspicions, making everyone curious as to whether or not Klaus has compelled Stefan again.
Stefan manages to convince Elena to trust him, promising her that he will get Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) out of there safely, before running off to try and make good on that promise. Meanwhile, Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) is learning to be pretty resourceful – though I guess you have to be living in Mystic Falls [well, resourceful or oblivious – there really is no middle around there]. Not content to sit around and wait to be rescued, he takes matters into his own hands – chipping away at the newly bricked-over entrance to the Mystic Falls underground tunnel system. Fortunately, this is also the location that Stefan – thanks to Damon‘s knowledge of Alaric’s stock of historic Underground Railroad maps – intends to use for breaking into the Grill and rescuing the gang.
As Matt and April (Grace Phipps) were already waiting by the entrance, their escape was simple and quick. Jeremy was not so lucky, as he was busy learning more about the band of hunters, Connor‘s life history, and the tricks to growing your own tattoo. Stefan tried to keep his promise to Elena and keep Jeremy safe, but things got complicated when Jeremy was placed on top of one of the werewolf venom bomb detonators.
One thing this episode did teach us is that you do not want to mess with Jeremy anymore. Elena Gilbert is not up for playing games when it comes to her brother’s safety – and now that she’s a vampire, she can take care of anyone who gets between her and her brother. Unfortunately for Connor, he was the one to test that theory – and now he’s no longer alive to find out about his own history.
Tired of waiting around for word about what’s going down at the Mystic Grill, Elena takes off to join the fight after getting some simple advice from Damon: kill Connor. She gets there in time to help save both Stefan and Jeremy, though gets distracted when the bomb goes off and Jeremy is shot. Stefan makes off with Connor while Elena sticks around to heal Jeremy – at which point the two siblings share a very sweet moment, where Jeremy assures Elena she doesn’t have to hide her vampire traits from him, that he knows she’ll never hurt him. [Did anyone else see this as a dangerous “be careful what you say” foreshadowing moment?]
Anyway, Stefan takes Connor down to the underground tunnels, where they run into a very angry and vengeful Damon. Impatient with his brother, Damon takes matters into his own hands – while Connor runs away, on Stefan’s orders – jerking on Stefan’s heartstrings [literally] until he confesses about the cure. Of course, just as Stefan‘s confessing and recruiting Damon to his side, Elena stumbles upon the hunter down in the tunnels – where she proceeds to kill him herself. Though I’m sad to see the hunter dead [he brought so much excitement to Mystic Falls], I was really excited that Elena was the one to kill him.
Of course, quickly spiraling into the classic new vampire guilt shame – she takes him up to the surface to bury him. This is the point where Stefan and Damon find her, and wisely decide not to tell her that she just killed her chance to becoming a human again. Elena sort of tells the Brothers Salvatore that she doesn’t trust either one, as Stefan didn’t really keep Jeremy safe [it’s possible he would have died had Elena not shown up, I guess] and Damon was the one that convinced her to kill a human.
She goes home and showers, then starts having some hallucinations involving massive amounts of blood and creepy wall-writing, with one simple message: Killer. Meanwhile, Jeremy received some new ink – courtesy of his hunter lineage. Presumably, now that Connor’s dead, the tattoo has made an appearance on Jeremy’s hand – setting off Jeremy’s own quest to grow a tattoo. With that, the episode ends.