1) I am somehow unsurprised that Portland is crawling with werewolves. --oh, man, hipster werewolves. Now my head hurts. I bet they all have silver piercings. "Wolfsbane's really rare, you've probably never heard of it."

2) So tonight's vampire-killing cabal consists of Stefan, Damon, Elena, Rebekah, and Mikael. No bets as to whether or not they will be successful.

3) Elena temporarily stakes Mikael! Keep that in mind, it will be important in like ten minutes.

4) SO: A stake made from the white oak tree can kill Klaus. Frankly, I'm just glad something can; I've never been all that fond of people without any weakness whatsoever.

5) Damon! No! I mean yeah, have a backup plan, but oh my God this will not end well. I have seen plans in this town before; they always end with piles of corpses. At best.

6) I do not like or trust Mikael worth a damn, but I really do believe he loves Rebekah. I wouldn't be all that surprised to see he loves all his kids. Just, y'know, not Klaus. Because, y'know, not his kid. (Also, he's racist against werewolves.)

7) I appreciate the way Bonnie is handling the Jeremy thing. She would love to talk to Elena, but she's right: Elena will always be his big sister first, and big sister overrules best friend. Which is why I was never all for breaking Girl Code and dating him anyway, Bonnie, but never mind. The point is: Caroline! Go tell Caroline!

8) "If this thing blows up in our faces, only one of us heals quickly." What the fuck are you making with wolfsbane that it's flammable--oh, right, grenades. So probably added alcohol and put in a fuse, I wasn't really paying attention to construction.

9) "I need to borrow a tie." I don't know, I just like the line read on that.

10) Tyler is reaaaaaally into hunting, isn't he? That's...that's not worrying at all.

11) Oh, man, Matt's taking Rebekah. An Original vampire and the guy who would love nothing more than to not know anything about any of this. This is sort of genius. "In my day--" "LA LA LA LA LA."

12) Seriously, Tyler is acting a lot like Stefan when he's in the early stages of being coked-up on human blood. Nope! Not at all worrying! This should end great!

13) Watching Rebekah get ready for the dance is actually really, really nice. She wasn't that much older than Elena and Co. when she was changed. She's never been to a high school dance before. She wants to have fun, and not worry about her father or her brother. She just wants to be normal. It's sweet, in a way this show usually isn't.

14) So of course, that's when Elena Gilbert, Best Final Girl ever, STAKES REBEKAH IN THE BACK OH SHIT.

15) Okay! People! Stop saying "humanity" like it's bad! Having humanity keeps everyone from murdering each other every goddamn day! It's not like herpes, okay? Jesus. I get that half of you are vampires, but seriously, it's customary when you're among a different group to act according to their social mores--especially as people, which you are, and not, say, bonobo monkeys.

16) Homecoming gets flooded out, so logically we're having it at...Tyler's house. Seriously, you couldn't get a local business or something? Just get the Grille, you all constantly drink there anyway. Eliminates driving.

17) "This isn't a party, man. It's a wake." And again, that's just a really creepy line read.

18) So wait: this is an outdoor high school dance, in public, in Mystic Falls. That--why not give them all masks and tap a keg? That's like a hat trick for murder parties! WHAT.

19) Alaric Saltzman: skipping the homecoming dance to translate ancient Viking hieroglyphs, thus making him the smartest man in town once again.

20) I love that a) Klaus threw homecoming, and b) he just called up My Morning Jacket and got them to play a high school dance. I bet he didn't even have to whammy them. He just knows people.

21) See, just the happiness in Klaus' face when he says he just wants his family back now that Mikael's dead, I can't--goddammit, show, I cannot entirely hate him. Like, 9/10ths, but not entirely.

22) Aaaaand the grand plan to get Stefan out of the way: have Mikael bite him. "You could have just snapped his neck." "I could have, yeah."

23) SO, to sum up: Klaus made a shitload of hybrids as insurance against an attempt on his life. If anything happened to him, they had instructions to kill everyone at the dance--and Damon, who Klaus may or may not have known was coming. Katherine, who'd gone to the dance in Elena's place, found out from Klaus (who thought she was Elena) and went and got Stefan, who stopped Damon from killing Klaus just in time to let Klaus kill Mikael and free Stefan from his compulsion. ALL OF THAT HAPPENS IN BASICALLY TEN MINUTES. JESUS CHRIST, SHOW.

24) So...yeah, Katherine's back. That happened. Also, her Elena mannerisms are seriously improved, because right up until Mikael stabbed her, I thought it was actually Elena.

25) Not to knock Damon's plan--because, as Katherine says, it actually was good for once--but everyone seems to forget that Klaus is a thousand years old and doesn't trust anyone, including his own sister. (I would say "siblings", but, you know. Caskets.) Aaaaand then I temporarily forgot Katherine is like Klaus if he was a beautiful woman who was like four times faster to hamstring you before she pounces.

26) Oh, Tyler. Oh, puppy. I get why you did it? But WE DO NOT VERVAIN CAROLINE ANYMORE, OH MY GOD. Seriously, I call like a two-season moratorium on that.

27) "I'm not nervous. I just don't like you." Elena, Katherine, whatever: it's funny because it's true.

28) I will say that Tyler asking Matt to take Caroline and peace out is...what passes for a gentleman's behavior among hybrids. I guess.

29) "Here's my RSVP." [rips out heart] So we can guess that Damon's favorite finishers are the neck snap and the heart rip. Careful! That's how you develop a signature! Granted, it's no "dismembering a body and reassembling it out of guilt", but really, what is?

30) Damon vs. Tyler is one of the meanest fights I've seen on this show that doesn't involve Salvatores trying to kill each other. I like that the longer the show's on, the meaner the fights get. They don't do them all that often, but that's okay: they make up for it.

31) AND THEN BONNIE HANDS OUT MIGRAINES, OH SHIT. Damon and Bonnie working together and bitching at each other is honestly one of my ten favorite things about this show, in terms of nuance.

32) "Also, I'm the only one invited in." Well, that's not--oh shit, no, it might be. So does this mean the part of the house where we have all the stupid Founders' Day BS is different from the home? And is that covered under the VRA (Vampire Rental Agreement)? I can tell you right now, I never thought I'd be this worried about architecture when I started watching this show.

33) Why are we trying to bluff Mikael? He's like Klaus, if he was less emotional and thus occasionally bat-shit crazy.

34) That--that was a busy two minutes, I'll tell you what.

35) I do think that Klaus being eternally alone--all his siblings are staked, his parents are dead, I'm reasonably certain he doesn't give a shit about the hybrids--is going to be what gets him, in the end. This is a show that, at its heart, is about families, found and otherwise, and Klaus just keeps pushing his away. Being alone keeps you safe, on this show, but it also keeps you alone.

36) Again, not to back Tyler up--and way to be cavalier, bro--but Caroline wouldn't have left everyone alone to deal with Klaus; that's not who she is. Maybe the old Caroline, a little, but not anymore.

37) "I can't be fixed." Oh my GOD, everyone stop saying that. You might be a jackass, Tyler, but you're still not broken.

I think it's about adapting. Tyler's one of you, at least in some fashion. Yeah, he's sired to Klaus, and you can't entirely trust him. So you don't. You treat him like you would Matt: there's things you can't, and won't, tell him, and you go from there. You at least try. He's not better, he's just different. Everyone is. No one is the same as when they started. That's the whole point.

Also, seriously: do you want to see a coked-up lonely Tyler Lockwood loose in that town? No. No you don't.

38) And yeah, Caroline and Tyler breaking up breaks my heart, but I am unsurprised. This is Mystic Falls, where everyone's darlings get killed eventually.

39) Damon! Stop throwing perfectly good liquor in the fireplace!

40) "We'll survive this. We always survive." --maybe don't say that to Vicki or Jenna, but I get what Elena's saying with this. And again, say it with me: PHONE TREE.

41) "We'll have to let him go." Of course you do. He's not in the part of the shame spiral where he puts on the hair shirt; that's a ways off. You just--you have to let him go 'til he comes back. And then you go from there. Until then, there's shit you need to do. Like school! Do any of you remember school? Started like three days ago?

42) And yes, I love that when everything else failed, even self-interest, that's how Katherine got Stefan: do this to save your brother's life. Show about family, y'all. Furious and insane and dysfunctional as they are, I would say that there are not a lot of families more loyal than the Salvatores.


43) "I like the old you better." And when Katherine says that, that's something.

44) And then OH SHIT Stefan pulls a Katherine--possibly literally--and HIJACKS THE ORIGINAL SIBLINGS. Hiiiiiiiii, back half of S3. Now just pull the stake out of Elijah and LET'S DO THIS.

Next week: --is actually Beneath the Blue, P. Wes's dolphin movie, for those interested; we won't be back here with new eps 'til Jan. 5. Klaus, sans siblings, is pissed; Jeremy is an immoveable object; and Mrs. Paul Wesley (Torrey DeVito) might just make me stop yelling something in all-caps I've been yelling for THREE GODDAMNED YEARS. "The New Deal": Thurs., Jan. 5, 2012.


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