‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: Ties That Bind

Vampire Diaries Ties That Bind Bonnie and ElenaS3E12: It’s all happening! Okay, it’s probably just a tad dramatic to use that beloved Almost Famous quote, but I’m pretty happy about the outcome of (most of) this episode. Bonnie meets her mother, Elena comes clean, Tyler commits to trying to break his sire bond and Alaric gets a little cozy with his doctor friend. Oh, and of course Klaus gets diabolical again. The Vampire Diaries keeps the hits coming, just how we like it. 

“We kissed, now it’s weird.” –Damon 
Here’s the pitch: Bonnie’s still having dreams and her latest one tells her she need to find her mom in order to open the fourth, spell-sealed coffin. She defies Stefan and shows Elena where the coffins are because she needs her help (of course, she didn’t really have to show her where they were, but okay). 
As Stefan sulks about Bonnie’s betrayal, Elena and Bonnie search for Abbie Bennett (the missing mama). Damon uses his vampy talents to get the file they’re seeking and they head out, but not before Damon spills the beans about their kiss. Bonnie could be all worried about her mother, but she’s 17 so of course all she can think about is asking Elena if Damon was a good kisser. Elena is no fun and says it doesn’t matter and changes the subject. Just then, Stefan calls and demands to know where they are – Klaus is getting antsy and they’re running out of time (plus Stefan’s stupid idea of getting Klaus to leave town for a few years to earn them back was extremely weak). Elena lies and says she’s at the lake house, but he’s got Abbie’s file in his hands so guess where he shows up. 
“How badly do you want your freedom?” –Bill Forbes 
Tyler hasn’t given up on getting Caroline back, even after his sire bond made him bite her. He insists the bite was involuntary, in fact, he brings Caroline’s dad back to town so Bill can use his knowledge of resisting compulsion to teach Tyler how to break the sire bond. Bill’s plan is to have Tyler turn on his own command so he can own his pain and not owe Klaus anything since Tyler is grateful to Klaus for removing his moon curse. Tyler doesn’t want to do it because of how painful it is, but when Tyler tries to give up, they make Caroline leave. Bill then threatens Tyler with an axe, saying if he doesn’t turn, he’ll kill Tyler because he’s a danger to his daughter. 
Eventually Tyler turns and attacks Bill in his werewolf rage. Bill lives and when Tyler visits him in the hospital, he tells him they’re doing the same thing again the next day. Tyler seems surprised, but come on, he can’t be that stupid. He has to know this is a conditioning thing. He has to continue to transform until the pain doesn’t face him anymore. 
“Why do you care?” –Dr. Fell 
“Because Rick likes you and if you’re a psychopath that would really suck for him.” –Damon 
And how does Bill Forbes make his miraculous recovery? Why don’t we consult with his physician: Dr. Meredith Fell. Alaric is completely smitten, but in light of her ex’s murder, Damon is convinced she’s hiding something. He investigates the matter by blatantly asking her if she staked her ex in the heart. His big piece of evidence: she signed the guy’s death certificate. Great plan, Damon. Instead of answering the question, she says she’s suspicious as to how Alaric could get in a car accident and then walk out of the hospital without a scratch only a few hours later. Before Damon can think of a response, she knocks him out with vervain and takes a blood sample. 
Damon runs over to Alaric’s place to alert him about his new lady, and knowing where his loyalty lies, Alaric questions Meredith. She’s indignant, but shows him her big secret: she uses vampire blood to heal patients who can’t be helped by modern medicine, which is how Bill Forbes is still living. In return for not trusting her, Alaric shows Meredith his vampire-hunting kit, his immortality ring, and his kissing ability. He’s finally moving on from Jenna (and even Elena thinks it’s about time). However, I still don’t know if I trust Meredith. She seemed awful grabby with that ring of his. 
“He is my family, Bonnie. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about helping you.” –Abbie 
When Elena and Bonnie get to Abbie’s, they meet her ex’s son, Jamie, who Abbie took in when her ex turned out to be a deadbeat. Abbie shows up and begins telling them about her reasons for leaving Mystic Falls. She was best friends with Elena’s mom and Michael had come looking for the doppelganger (i.e. Elena) so she lured him away from the town and sealed him in crypt outside of Charlotte. It took most of her power, so she had to lay low. She liked being normal so she never went back and now her powers are all but gone. 
Obviously, this combined with Abbie’s treatment of Jamie infuriates Bonnie. Abbie’s sure she did the right thing because she says Grams is “way better at that stuff.” She didn’t know that Grams is dead, so Bonnie has to tell her about they spell they did that killed her grandmother. Bonnie says she’s useless without magic, but she begs Bonnie to let her help – right before she drugs her while Jamie detains Elena and Stefan with wooden shotgun shells and rope. She takes Bonnie out on the highway where one of Klaus’ hybrids makes her give up the location of the coffins with the threat that Jamie is compelled to kill himself if she doesn’t. And as much as it pains her, she sides with humanity and gives up the location of the coffins. Of course, she manages to tell Damon just in time for him to remove the fourth coffin before Klaus gets there – and judging from Klaus’ reaction he’s not the family man he’s been pretending to be. There’s something else in that fourth coffin. Something BIG. 
Before we leave Bonnie and her mother, Abbie asks if she can make it up to her. She thinks that if she spends time with Bonnie, it will bring back her magic. Abbie says she doesn’t want her powers, but if Bonnie needs her help, she’ll do everything she can. Let’s just hope the double-crossing stops here – we can’t have Bonnie enduring anymore familial heartache. 
“Crazy Stefan. How’s that working out for you? Any friends left?” –Klaus 
While Bonnie and Abbie talk, Stefan and Elena are fighting outside. He’s angry that Elena is involved in any of this – but he’s taking a more protective tone than we’ve seen for the past few months. Jamie comes out to defend Elena and Stefan grabs his neck and compels him to leave them alone, but Jamie resists the compulsion and comes back with a shotgun and shoots Stefan in the chest and ties Elena up. He stays with Stefan and Elena while Abbie takes Bonnie, and Elena is desperate to help Stefan. Jamie says a man gave him a gun and told him to shoot anyone who got in his way, but that he isn’t supposed to hurt Elena. She says the ropes are hurting her, so he takes them off and she knocks him out so she can remove the wooden shards of the shotgun shell from Stefan’s chest because they’re scraping his heart. 
And then the Stefan we used to know makes his first appearance in months. He looks at Elena the way he used to, telling her how much he admires how strong she’s become. It’s a tender little moment, but Elena interrupts by telling the pesky truth. As she pulls out the last piece of wood, she says she has something to tell him, not because she feels guilty for doing it, but because she feels guilty that he doesn’t know: she kissed Damon. This stops Stefan in his tracks. He’s speechless and walks away. This means I was right about his feelings for Elena and his jealousy of her feelings for Damon; it just seems that he wasn’t ready to actually accept it because this hits him hard. 
 Naturally, Elena won’t let it rest so she chases after him. Before she can say anything, he apologizes for kidnapping her. She responds by saying she didn’t mean to kiss Damon and that she’s sorry for lying to him, but she did it for Bonnie. It seems Stefan is really back because he understands and as he gives her that longing look one more time, he says she’s better than Damon, and better than both of them. And then comes the really juicy part that I’ve been hoping for since Damon kissed Elena. Stefan comes home angry and as soon as Damon asks how Elena is Stefan decks him. He’s furious, he knew Elena had feelings for Damon, but Damon acting on it was clearly a betrayal. Obviously, Stefan is going to be angry, but he hasn’t really given either of them much choice since he went all super-villain. 
But Damon did something good: he unstaked one of the originals right after he hid the locked coffin. Klaus says he wants to keep the coffins closed so he can finish up some business, but the unstaked original is awake. Elijah makes his grand entrance by ripping the heart out of Klaus’ hybrid. BOOM. I always liked Elijah, and he’s angry so this is going to be fantastic. The Vampire Diaries hits it out of the park once again, and as usual, we can’t wait until the next episode – which is two whole weeks away. Feb. 2 can’t come soon enough. 
Are you loving the super-charged love triangle? Do you think Tyler can really break the sire bond? Do you have any idea what’s in that fourth coffin? Let us know in the comments or find me on Twitter! @KelseaStahler