Tonight is back-to-school night on The Vampire Diaries. Only, not in the way most of us return to class.
“The Reckoning” opens in Mystic Falls High. It’s well after dark and everyone has gone home — except for Matt, who is in the weight room working out alone (which is never a good idea in this town). Suddenly, Matt hears something. What is that? Glistening with sweat, he creeps out into the hall. As he looks around, a shadow passes right behind him. [Cue the eerie “ah-ah-ah” music]. Matt turns a corner and sees nothing. Then he enters a pitch-black classroom and… snap!
Dozens of mousetraps spring shut. No, it’s not a monster rat. It’s Senior Prank night and Elena, Caroline, and Co. are pulling off every practical joke in the Senior Prank book (gluing desks, saran wrapping toilets, etc.).
To punish them, perhaps, for being so cliché, Klaus ghosts into the school and kidnaps Elena. “You are supposed to be dead,” he says. “What can I do about that?”
To beat or not to beat
Klaus drags our girl into the gym, where another group of seniors is busy taping hundreds of paper cups to the floor. The O.V. lets most of the teens go. But, just for kicks, he keeps a boy and a girl. He compels the girl to raise her foot. Next he compels her friend to beat her to death if her shoe touches the floor. Talk about a sick sense of humor. Needless to say, the joke is wasted on Elena.
While E contemplates her fate, Tyler tries to push up on Caroline while she honeys a doorknob, and Bonnie and Matt are busy toilet-papering the pool, while reminiscing about dead Vicki. Stefan’s outside in the parking lot waking from the dead. “What happened?” he asks when he comes to in a truck full of coffins. “You took a beating,” Rebekah replies. “My brother’s been breaking your neck all afternoon. Quite the temper.”
Stefan’s a bit pissed too. When ‘Bekah tells him Klaus brought them back to Mystic Falls to kill Elena (who she calls a cow), Angry Stefan goes for her jugular. They fast-forward fight in that way that vampires do until Rebekah stabs Stefan in the gut with a crowbar. “You really do love her, don’t you?” she says. “Consider me jealous.”
Consider us confused
While all Klaus is breaking lose in Mystic Falls, Damon is road tripping with Katherine who, it seems, has them intentionally riding around in circles. Fed up, Damon pulls over and forces her to spill — which she does. She tells him how she stole Elena’s necklace and plans to use it to kill Klaus. Then she opens the truck to reveal another trinket she’s picked up: a knocked out Jeremy.
Back in Mystic Falls. After Rebecca kicks Stefan’s butt, she heads inside to school Caroline and to take Tyler to the gym. They arrive right after Bonnie and Matt but just in time for Klaus to force Bon-Bon’s hand. To ensure that the witch fixes his hybrid problem, Klaus slits a wrist, force-feeds Tyler, then breaks the teen wolf’s neck. “Go on then. Go on and fetch your Grimoires and what not,” Klaus tells Bonnie. She and Matt rush out.
Once they’re out of sight, Bonnie let’s Matt in on a scary secret: Her Grimoire spells don’t go back far enough to break Klaus’s century-old curse and she can no longer talk to the dead. But wait: “Jeremy can,” she says. Too bad she doesn’t know that he’s goodness-knows-where with Kat and Damon.
Bonnie also doesn’t know that, on the other side of the school, Stefan’s pulling a crowbar out of his stomach. He stomps into the gym and tells Klaus “Elena means nothing to me anymore.” But the O.V. calls his bluff. “Let’s drink on it. Kill them,” he says, meaning the trembling couple that has now seen more than any school shrink can help them forget. Elena steps in to speak for her boyfriend. Klaus slaps the smart out of her. Before her body can hit the floor Stefan attacks. But the senior vamp easily takes him down.
Now more than thoroughly annoyed, Klaus compels Stefan to kill the couple, which the younger Salvatore does.
Out on the road, Damon and Kat figure any enemy of Klaus is a friend they need. So they ask Jeremy to consult dead Anna for the deets on the dude who was chasing Klaus back in the 1920s. Jer does. But Anna won’t talk. So Damon slaps Jer around a bit until Anna spills. The dude’s name is Michael and he’s a vampire who’s also a hunter and Anna knows where he’s sleeping.
Back at MF High, Rebekah sits in the hallway, thumbing through Caroline’s phone while Tyler — ahem — rests. For a woman who hasn’t seen a cordless phone let alone a tiny cell, ‘Bekah sure catches on to the touch screen fast. She spots a picture of Stefan and Elena and zooms in on the charm around Elena’s neck. “Why is that doppelganger bitch wearing my necklace?” she asks. She storms back into the gym and bites Elena. Klaus pulls her off our girl. Then, to keep things interesting, the O.V. puts 20 minutes on the scoreboard. If Bonnie’s not back with a cure by the time the clock runs out, Stefan has to eat Elena. Oh, the pressure!
Before Matt can go looking for Jeremy he needs to find his car keys, which he lost. Or did his dead sister take them? The latter. Not only did Vicki move the keys, the sis who’s been trying to contact Matt all night long used his gym clothes to leave a trail to their hiding spot. Fortunately Matt packed a week’s worth of workout wear. So Vicki was able to leave a clothesline from the weight room to the pool where she dropped the keys.
Vicky tries again to talk to Matt. But he still can’t hear her. So she kicks his shoe into the pool and texts him instead. Message received. Matt has an aha moment: If he dies, he can talk to his sister and find a way to save Ty. Then all Bonnie needs to do is resurrect him. “You don’t need magic,” he tells Bonnie. “You just have to be better than I was at CPR.” He chains a heavy weight to his body then jumps into the pool. Talk about a leap of faith!
Former lifeguard Bonnie rushes back to the school, dives in, and pulls him out. He has no pulse. She immediately starts CPR. While Bon-bon resuscitates the stupidest boy in Mystic Falls, Matt chats with Vicki, who has a message from the original witch.
Back in the gym, Stefan has five minutes, 39 seconds left on the clock. Once again, we’ve gotta give it to our girl: Elena never stops assuring Stefan that the goodness still exists within him and that he can get over being compelled by Klaus. Stefan, however, is not so sure. “The more blood I get the more I want and if I get so much as near yours you are dead,” he tells E. But she apparently only hears “tell me once again how I’m strong enough not to drink you to death.”
But her words are not enough. When the clock ticks down, Stefan warns Elena to run. She won’t. To keep from pouncing he hits the floor. He’s on all fours growling and sweating, while Elena keeps taunting him with “I love yous.” Unable to stop himself, Stefan lunges at her. But at the last minute he swerves to miss her.
Now our girl is scared. Elena runs. Stefan comes after her, fighting the urge by throwing himself into lockers along the way. He eventually stakes himself with a broken broom.
Klaus is impressed. “I’ve never seen this before,” he says. “The only thing stronger than your craving for blood is your love for this one girl.” The elder vamp compels Stefan to flip off his humanity switch. Stef tries to fight it. Mindovermatter mindovermatter. Mindover — ah, heck. When Klaus offers him a drink of E, Stefan caves. His eyes go all veiny. He vamps over. She screams. He bites her. We. Can’t. Watch.
Fortunately we don’t have to. Before Stef can end her, Klaus stops him. He’s got other plans for her blood.
Cut to the pool. Matt tells Bonnie that the original witch said Klaus was right. For the hybrid curse to work Elena must die. Klaus overhears this. But he doesn’t trust the original witch’s message so he takes some of Elena’s blood and feeds it to Tyler.
This “experiment,” as Klaus calls it, apparently hurts like a mother. After one drop Tyler writhes on the floor. Just when we expect Ty’s back to break, he grabs his head and looks up, snarling with werewolf eyes and vampire teeth. A hybrid is born.
“All I want is to take my girl and take my hybrid and get the hell out of this one pony town,” Klaus later tells Rebekah. Just as they’re about to leave town, Damon arrives. Klaus moves to kill him but, quick-witted, Damon claims he and Kat found Michael and told Mike where Klaus is. “Consider it our leverage,” Damon says.
Klaus considers it to be time to get out of dodge. Crazy afraid of Michael, he zooms away so fast that we’re pretty sure he breaks vampire records.
Meanwhile, Damon heads into the hospital, where a bedridden Elena has been making an involuntary blood donation. D disconnects her I.V., holds up the tube, and contemplates taking a sip. But then he doesn’t. Instead he carries Elena out of the hospital, where apparently there are no night nurses on duty.
At home, Damon offers to compel Elena into forgetting that Stefan tried to kill her. But she refuses. “I need to remember all of it,” she says.
To soothe her, Damon pulls out the necklace he stole back from Katherine. He gives it to her, putting his hand on her knee. ”I promise you I will never leave you again,” he says.
“Well isn’t that cozy?” evil Stefan replies as he waltzes into the room. Turns out Klaus left Stefan behind to keep an eye on Elena. He also left Tyler, who is liking his newfound hybrid strength more than a good boy should.
Speaking of good boys, Jeremy still isn’t home. In fact, Damon left him out in godsknowswhere with Katherine. The last scene of the episode shows them entering Michael’s a crypt. Somebody’s getting a wake-up call…
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