‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: The New Deal

Vampire Diaries Damon and Elena KissS3E10: Now this is how you bring a primetime soap back from midseason break. The Vampire Diaries did a bit of tidying up, progressed the story without putting our main characters in too much peril just yet, complicated the seemingly cut and dry love triangle, and finally delivered what we’ve been waiting two years for: a real Elena/Damon kiss.

Of course, while we all sit around replaying that glorious episode-ending moment in our heads, we should keep in mind that there’s that pesky little problem: Klaus is still alive and will kill anyone and everyone in order to get his daggered family back from Stefan. This is where things get complicated – and it’s also why getting rid of Jeremy and his tangential storylines was a very welcome move on the part of the writers, if you ask me.

“Whenever Klaus wants something, someone winds up dead. You should think about that the next time you blindly do whatever he says.” –Jeremy

Jeremy is back to his old ways this week. He is fired from his job, copies his term paper from the internet, and gets drunk and shoots Alaric’s crossbow in the woods with Tyler, who’s back to being the bad guy on account of being sired to Klaus. While I loved seeing Caroline melt his heart, Tyler’s really better suited for conflicted evil-doing, so I’m kind of enjoying this.

Alaric and Elena set up an intervention dinner for Jeremy, but he brings Tyler. When they tell him Tyler is dangerous, Jeremy stupidly invites the half-vampire in for dinner, meaning he can now come and go as he pleases. Elena and Alaric take this chance to grill Tyler about his loyalty to Klaus. He spews circuitous psycho-babble about whether he is or he isn’t feeling forced to do Klaus’ bidding. We do see later that he questions Klaus’ violent tasks, but Klaus does his best to make him forget that pesky humanity. And as much as he’s walking on the dark side, when Jeremy confronts Tyler later, he does tell Jeremy to save himself before Klaus comes after him. We like our VD characters to tread that thin line between good and evil, so this works for me.

Klaus and Damon share a drink at Damon’s house where the original vampire tells Damon why he needs Stefan: he’s got Klaus’ brothers and sisters. To demonstrate the severity of the situation, Klaus makes a call, the result of which is Jeremy being compelled to remove his imortality ring, stand in the street and wait to be run down by Klaus’ henchmen. Luckily, Alaric catches up in time to push Jeremy out of the way and since he’s still wearing his imortality ring, Alaric dies and comes back to life as usual. There’s just one problem: while it brings him back to life, it doesn’t heal him this time.

And since this is a melodrama we’re dealing with, then Elena calls an ambulance, Klaus’ latest problem-solver compells them to leave and offers to heal Alaric if Elena invites him in. Luckily, Jeremy is so angry about the constantly agitated, dangerous state of Mystic Falls that he decides to take matters into his own hands: he stakes the hybrid before slicing his head off with a cleaver. Whenever you think this show is staying in the safe, angsty realm, one character gets blood splattered all over his face. Granted, this violence is more implied than in-your-face, but it was a startling scene nonetheless.

They take Alaric to the hospital where he quickly recovers (thanks to Damon’s blood donation) and meets his first love interest since Aunt Jenna: Dr. Fell (played by Paul Wesley’s real life wife). She doesn’t seem to be alarmed by his Indiana Jones on vampire steroids recovery, but instead it seems he’s piqued her interest with his superhuman abilities. We can bet her interests aren’t purely about attraction, though there seems to be a bit of that as well.

“He’s going to kill Jeremy.” –Elena

“Not really my problem.” –Stefan

“Then you can go to hell.” –Elena

Meanwhile, Stefan is hiding out in the haunted witch-infested house with Klaus’ coffins. Bonnie goes there after dreaming about it and Stefan asks her to harness the power of the witches in order to hide the coffins from Klaus. She’s resistant to helping him, but he plays on her hate for Klaus and the potential this ransom could have in facilitating the original hybrid’s undoing.

Damon finally tells Elena that Stefan has the coffins, so she calls Bonnie for help and she gives up Stefan’s location. Elena finds him and pleads with Stefan to help because her family is in danger, but refuses calously. This earns him a well-deserved and cathardic slap from Elena (I think we’ve all wanted her to do that for some time now), but is it just me or did it seem like there was a little conflict and regret written on his furrowed brow? Plus, he’s working so hard to keep Elena out of his dangerous plan: could it be he still cares?

Damon listens to the conversation and decides to do something about it. He braves the cursed witches’ house – in which rays of sunlight are cursed to actually burn his skin – in order to get to the bottom of the Stefan issue. They fight and Damon wrests some answers out his brother; Stefan reluctantly admits that he saved Klaus to save Damon and that the coffins are hidden in the basement of the haunted house. But what’s Stefan’s master plan? He doesn’t really have a plan, so much as a hunch and some hope: he believes there’s another way to kill Klaus other than with the no-longer-an-option white oak dagger. He makes Damon promise to keep Elena out of it. This could be because he knows she’ll screw it up, or the option I like better: he still cares. By the end of the episode, we learn that the fourth coffin Bonnie dreamed about seeing a dead Klaus in is sealed shut with a spell; I think we found our plan B, if they can get it open.

While Damon plots with Stefan, Elena offers up Rebekah as long as Klaus keeps Jeremy safe, but when she returns the original vampire to him, Klaus threatens everyone else, even Damon. As a final pin in his side, Elena tells Klaus that Rebekah knows he killed their mother and that she wants him dead. In the end, Klaus ends up redaggering Rebekah to save his own skin. Poor girl. She just wanted to go to Homecoming.

“I thought for one second that I wouldn’t have to feel guilty anymore.” –Damon

“Guilty for what?” –Elena

“For wanting what I want.” –Damon

Elena is distraught over the dead hybrid on her porch and Jeremy’s violent turn. Damon once again comforts her, just like he has all season, before compelling Jeremy – at Elena’s request – to move away to live with family friends. While you’ve got to feel for Elena, from a storyline point of view, removing Jeremy was necessary housekeeping. All season, he’s just complicated things and his whole ghost-loving plotline throughout the Fall was a real dampening presence in the series.

But Damon’s favor leads to the most anticipated scene, probably of this whole series thus far: the kiss. After we get double the usual number of sexual-tention-filled scenes between Damon and Elena, we finally get our moment. Damon admits that Stefan hasn’t completely lost his humanity, and that Stefan’s betrayal saved his life. This throws Elena into a bit of a tailspin because she had just decided she was over Stefan, but if he’s still got his human side she wonders what it could mean about his feelings for her. Damon realizes this too and thinks he’s an idiot for thinking he has a shot with Elena, but luckily he continues to be an idiot and finally, after two years of hoping and waiting, gives Elena (the real one this time) a passionate kiss. I held out for an exorbinatly long time for team Stefan, but even I can admit this tiny little scene was wildly gratifying. And I can only hope that Stefan does still want Elena after all is said and done, because the dueling brothers aspect is an enticing and entertaining prospect that the series has only really danced around in the past. Let’s throw it into full effect; wouldn’t that be some good, messy fun?

Was the final scene everything you hoped for? Or were left wanting more? (I’m going to bet most of us are on this side of the fence.) Do you want to see the brotherly rivalry escalate? Share your thoughts in the comments or get at me on Twitter (@KelseaStahler).