The Mystic Falls High school dances kill us every time. Tonight’s Decade Dance is no different. In fact, it’s worse. The emotions in this episode ran so high that we ran out of tissue we cried so hard.
“Do Not Go Gentle” opens with Esther using her daughter Rebekah’s (Claire Holt) body to hand Klaus (Joseph Morgan) a fake copy of the last remaining white oak stake. The Original tosses it into the fire then tells his lil’ sis to pack because they’re leaving Mystic Falls. Playing the part to a T, Esther/Rebekah says she doesn’t want to leave town because she wants to go to the Decade Dance. When Klaus doesn’t see the point of the shindig, Rebesther purrs, “Caroline will be there.” And, with that, Klaus is definitely in.
Meanwhile Alaric (Matt Davis) is out. He calls Damon (Ian Somerhalder) to tell him that he’s going away for a while to clear his serial-killing head. Then the camera pulls back to reveal that he’s standing with Rebesther in the coffin room of Casa Klaus.
Esther’s new plan is to use one mother of a spell to fortify the white oak dagger then weaponize Alaric — literally. She leads the history teacher into the woods to the most powerful location for her spell. This place is, she says, where “my son tore my heart from my chest.” Of course the spot happens to lie beneath the Salvatore’s family crypt in the cemetery.
Once there, Esther asks Alaric to give her his Live Forever ring. She needs it to make the stake indestructible. Alaric doesn’t trust her. But he hands it to her anyway. She immediately melts it and uses the metal to coat the white oak stake, which she gives to him, saying, “The ultimate weapon for the ultimate hunter.”
Back in town at MF High, Caroline (Candice Accola) begrudgingly picks up the dance decorating slack for Rebekah. Just like old times, the whole gang pitches in. While they work, Blondie tells Elena (Nina Dobrev) that their original plan to party as a hot girl trio is kaput because she’s attending the dance with Tyler (Michael Trevino) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) plans to bring Abby’s hot adopted son Jamie. She suggests Elena invite Stefan (Paul Wesley). But E thinks that would be weird. “I can’t ask Stefan on a date. I just made out with his brother,” she says. Good point. Caroline counters with a bit of Bachelor logic, saying, “It is Stefan’s turn.” Elena immediately calls the Nice Guy Salvatore to ask him to be her date.
Stefan is dressed to the dapper nines when he arrives to pick Elena up. She looks stunning in a white flapper dress. Much to Caroline’s dismay, Rebekah’s Roaring ‘20s idea is a hit. It looks like the entire school body is doing the Charleston in the school gym, including MF High dropout, Tyler. The former quarterback shows up because he’s jealous of Klaus and wants to claim his territory with Caroline. She protests, chastising him for pulling such a dangerous move. But we all suspect that secretly she loves the thought of having two hybrid hotties fight over her.
Speaking of love, Elena hits the dance floor with Stefan. While they slow dance she tries to tell him about what happened on the trip to Denver. But he doesn’t want to hear it, saying, “After everything I put you through I’m just honored to be your date tonight.” It’s a sweet moment that is immediately ruined by Damon.
The elder Salvatore barges in and leads the couple off the floor to tell them that not only is Alaric off his herbal meds, he’s living on the dark side. Damon suspects ‘Ric will go after “vampire and vampire sympathizers” starting with his ward, Elena. “So what are you suggesting we do?” Elena asks. “I’m suggesting we put him out of his misery,” Damon replies.
Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) steps into the hallway just in time to overhear this. “No way in hell!” He yells. Then he storms off. When Elena follows, her lil’ bro lectures her about having Alaric’s back. While they’re talking Esther walks up and announces that if they want to help Alaric, Elena needs to come with her. Elena sends Jer to get the Salvatore cavalry then she reluctantly starts to follow Esther. As she walks away the vampire brothers run out of the school and right into the invisible wall of a boundary spell. Turns out, Original Witch Esther has locked the bloodsuckers on campus with a supernatural salt circle.
Klaus, apparently, does not notice the salt when he vamps into the dance to “cut in” on Caroline and Tyler. But later when Caroline isn’t moved by his prediction that “one day, maybe in a year or even in a century, you’ll turn up at my door and allow me to show you what the world has to offer,” he decides to leave and he hits the invisible salt wall.
Back inside, Jamie and Bon-Bon work on a boundary of their own. After a flirty exchange about Bonnie’s weird vampire/werewolf/magical ring-wearing friends, they kiss. Just as things start to get passionate, Damon “Mr. Killjoy” Salvatore rushes in. “Sorry to spoil your seven minutes in heaven,” he says. “We’ve got a problem.”
The boundary spell problem is compounded by an angry Klaus, who races back inside, grabs Jamie by the neck, and threatens to kill him if Bonnie doesn’t figure out a way to break the spell. Stefan points out that Bonnie would be way less likely to help if the Original actually hurt people she cared about. Poor Bon-Bon. Yet another date: ruined.
Speaking of ruined dates, out in the crypt Elena tries to talk Evil ‘Ric out of sacrificing himself to kill Klaus. But he’s dead set on doing it to avenge the death of all the people that vampires have killed and that he has harmed. People like Jenna, he tells Elena. But E’s not having it. She refuses to let Esther use her “potent” blood for the spell. “You’ll have to kill me,” she says. It’s a feeble protest. All Esther has to do to get the blood is hold out her hand and concentrate. Seconds later a large drop leeches through Elena’s skin. Esther takes the blood and pours it into the bowl. Alaric drinks the concoction. Then Esther stabs him.
Back at the high school, the dance is over. Miraculously no innocent coeds have died. Yet. Bonnie reluctantly uses Jeremy’s blood to do a locator spell. But it doesn’t work because Esther’s channeling the energy of her death spot. When Klaus hears this he knows instantly where they are and sends Jeremy and Matt (Zach Roerig) to stop his mother. Little does he know, Elena’s already trying to do just that. But for a different reason. She takes the knife out of ‘Ric’s body. “You said you want to undo the evil you created but this is just as evil,” E tells Esther.
Elena goes on to accuse Esther of being no better than her rotten son. But Esther smartly points out that she’s just trying to rid the world of vampires and keep more humans from dying like Aunt Jenna did. Next the Original Witch tries to woo Elena by telling her that Aunt Jenna remained pure hearted even after she turned and is thus at peace in heaven.
Before Elena can think to use the knife on Esther, Jeremy and Matt arrive armed with a cross bow and a shotgun to kill the witch. More powerful than usual, Esther magically forces Matt to turn on Jeremy. Just as Elena screams “Esther stop it,” Alaric — the nice history teacher Alaric — steps up and stabs Esther thought the back. Where’s my ring?” he asks. “And what happened?” Oh, ‘Ric, you don’t really want to know.
The second Bonnie breaks the boundary spell Klaus vamps off to the crypt and takes Esther’s body. Meanwhile Elena and Co. give ‘Ric the details about the dirty deal his alter ego cut with Esther. Without hesitation, Alaric tells Jer that he’s going to die rather than live as a vampire. He tells Elena and Jeremy to leave. Jeremy gets mad and Elena starts crying. “This is all my fault,” she says. But for once it’s not.
‘Ric follows Elena out of the crypt to find the whole gang, including Meredith, standing in the cemetery trying not to cry. Ric looks at them, smiles a little, then turns and walks back into the crypt to die.
Jamie walks Bonnie home. He thanks her for protecting him. Then, since her dad (who we’ve never seen) is out of town (again!) he stays with her. They curl up in bed together. And we thank the powers that be for this moment of sweetness. While Bonnie and Jamie sleep in spoon position, Esther comes to Bonnie in her dream and says, “Your sisters need you to finish what I started Bonnie.”
Matt and Jeremy head back to the grill where they raid the liquor and drink shots to Alaric. Poor Jeremy stares off into space and cries.
Elena heads to the high school to clean out Alaric’s locker in a weepy rage. Stefan suggests she do it later. But she keeps shoving weapons from Alaric’s impressive stash into a knapsack. “I’d rather get it over with now before some janitor comes to clean out Alaric’s stuff and realizes the history teacher was a vampire slayer,” she sobs. “I can’t think about the fact that Jeremy and I don’t have anyone to take care of us anymore,” she says. “Or that we’ve lost another friend. I just can’t think about any of it.”
Stefan takes Elena’s hand and leads her into the empty gym to the foul line where Klaus compelled him to stop caring. He tells Elena that it was in that moment — and not during his Ripper days — that he hit rock bottom. He reminds her that she saved him by reminding him “it was okay to feel no matter how much it hurt.” Then he pulls her close, hoping to return the favor. Elena holds him tight and sobs.
Out at the cemetery, Damon tries to drink away his sorrow. He binges on whiskey as Meredith tells him that she gave Alaric a sedative so he’ll peacefully enter the eternal sleep. When she suggests he keep ‘Ric company in his final moments, Damon heads inside. “Sorry I killed you. Twice,” he says. “So I have to actually die to get a real apology out of you?” ‘Ric jokes.
Sitting side-by-side on the crypt floor, the vampire slayer and the vampire drink like old friends. Alaric sheds a few tears. Damon sits quietly until Alaric exhales one last sigh. Then he closes his eyes. As he does, Bonnie walks up, barefoot. She’s got a strange look in her eye. When Damon asks if she’s “sleep-walking or something” she gives him an aneurysm. Before he can hit the ground, she strolls into the crypt, calmly slits her palm, and force-feeds her blood to ‘Ric. He wakes, grabs her wrist, and drinks hungrily. A second later he pulls her to him and sinks his newly formed fangs into her neck. Alaric drinks greedily then drops Bonnie on the floor and rises, holding the white oak stake.
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