This season, The Vampire Diaries has been spoon-feeding us storylines that, for a season where everything is different, feel remarkably easy to chew. Elena’s new lifestyle forces her to ask great, uncomfortable questions and those questions lead her to consider which Salvatore is really right for her. It’s not entirely unlike the first season of the series when Elena was gradually being introduced to the fact that vampires existed and she had to come to terms with the fact that her boyfriend drank blood could fly/run (or whatever that speedy mode of transport is called). This time, she’s asking the questions about herself, so the emotional component is a little heightened, but from the over-explanatory “previously on” reel to the over wrought expository devices, it’s like the show thinks it’s got a brand new audience this year. That’s why getting to the story of the Backstreet Boys of ancient times, the Five (which really sounds like the name of a band who could rival One Direction and The Wanted right about now), is such a welcome development. It’s about time we got this show on the road.
Of course, there are two very selfish reasons I found the reveal of the Five so wonderful. One: five built, shirtless men playing with fire and getting tattoos in the forest is some nice imagery. Two: these flashback scenes give us a dose of Elijah who’s been missing from the show for far too long. The other, more important, element of this woodland reveal is that a witch is the one who creates the five (just like a witch is the one who created vampires and the one who created werewolves). Everything stems from witches. Isn’t it funny then, that Bonnie is invited on a college tour by the (hot) professor who took over Bonnie’s grandmother’s college course on witchcraft and that the class she, Damon, and Elena sit in on is the introductory course which explains that all other magical beings were born out of witches’ ingenuity. Curious, indeed.
It gets curiouser when Professor Hottie gets all sentimental with Bonnie at a frat party which appears to be at the house where his office is located? And since when do professors attend frat parties? Even the hot ones? It could be sloppy episode composition, but we’ll take it as further proof that this guy is up to no good. Of course, it’s confirmed when Klaus’ “red room of pain” (how long have you been waiting to reference Fifty Shades of Grey, TVD?) fails to keep Buffy (who had now earned the real name Connor) locked up and he beheads one of Klaus’ hybrids with a chain before rendezvousing with Professor Hottie. All we learn this episode is that Professor Hottie is in charge of Connor’s “missions” and that he’s very interested in whether or not Bonnie practices witchcraft. Between Jeremy’s ability to see the hunter tattoo and Bonnie’s crush on this sinister professor, we’re going to have quite a few Elena groupies looking to get in on the wrong side this season. (Then again, Bonnie always ends up falling for the bad guy.)
But speaking of Jeremy, his vision proves useful this episode. Klaus, who’s since pulled Stefan in on his mission to find the Five’s buried treasure weapon, forces Jeremy to question Connor about his tattoo, and surprisingly Connor gives up some serious detail: He met a guy when they were stationed in Iraq. Said guy had the same tattoo, Connor could see it and was therefore a potential (like Jeremy). When the guy died, the tattoo appeared on Connor and now, every time he kills a vampire, the tattoo grows. We learn from Klaus that the tattoo is growing to reveal a map that leads to the ultimate weapon: the cure for vampirism.
Now, the only problem with this story is that the way we know the weapon is a “cure” is that Rebekah, way back in ancient times, was in love with one of the hunters and he told her the weapon was a cure. This guy also stabbed her with a dagger and then did the same to her whole family, so perhaps we shouldn’t be trusting his word. Let us also remember that secret societies love to expand the definitions of words, so the cure to vampirism could just mean death to all vampires. Let’s not rule that out. Still, everyone seems to trust that there is a cure (likely because they want to believe it’s true). Klaus wants the cure for Elena so he can keep making hybrids, but I imagine if that works its going to be like putting a leftover hamburger in the microwave (you’re still full after eating it, but man was that bun rubbery, those veggies were slimy, and the middle of the patty was ice cold). Stefan wants the cure for romantic reasons: Elena’s not cut out to be a vampire and he would relish the thought of being able to have kids with her and die together in a bed like that couple at the end of The Notebook.