Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2011 The CW Network LLC Photo: Klaus and Elijah in Season 3, Episode 13:” Bringing Out the Dead”

Tonight’s episode opens with Elijah greeting Klaus and immediately realizing that his big brother was the one who staked him in the first place. Talk about awkward. Naturally, they fight. But as they rumble, destroying property that Klaus just renovated, the O.V. manages to not only calm his bro down but he also talks Elijah into helping him destroy Stefan. Boy that Klaus is a smooth operator!

Across town, Sheriff Forbes visits Elena to let her know that she’s sort of a suspect in the murder of the medical examiner. Liz doesn’t in any way think Elena had anything to do with it. But she’s obligated to make the visit because the dagger used to kill the M.E. came from the Gilbert family’s custom stash and it bears Elena’s fingerprints.

This news puts Alaric on edge. After all, the M.E. turned up dead after he showed Meredith his vampire-slaying arsenal. Could he possibly have fallen for another psycho? The history teacher gets all nervous and immediately starts inventorying all his weapons and “investigating” his new girl. Elena tries to calm him down. “It’s not Meredith,” she says. “I refuse to believe that your luck with women is that tragic.”

Everybody’s Shoulder to Cry On

After consoling Caroline, Matt walks Elena home. They find a darkened Gilbert house. For some reason the power’s out. When they go for flashlights, they spot a pool of blood on the floor, then a trail of bloody hand and footprints leading upstairs. They follow them and find Alaric, lying on the floor, stabbed in the gut, just like Bill Forbes.

But unlike Bill, Alaric is still alive. Barely. “You have to kill me,” he tells Elena. This blows Matt’s mind. “Elena, no! This is messed up!” he says. But Elena explains that if Alaric dies a mortal death he’ll be, well, dead-dead. But if she of supernatural lineage kills him, his ring will kick in and bring him back to life. Our girl does the gross thing: She pulls the blade out of Alaric’s gut and shoves it into his heart. Then she lays him down on the floor and waits. “Will you stay with me until he wakes?” she asks Matt. He does.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2011 The CW Network LLC Photo: Klaus in Season 3, Episode 13:” Bringing Out the Dead”

It’s a Family Affair

Back at Casa Klaus, Elijah does not do what Klaus asks of him. Instead he returns to the dining room with two white ash daggers on a tray. Seconds later his newly-undaggered brothers Cole and Finn enter and proceed to stick it to Klaus. Literally. Before the O.V. can get his butt-kicking hybrid on, Rebecca walks in and stabs him with the knife he’d shoved into her chest. Damon and Stefan watch in awe until Elijah dismisses them. “You’re free to go,” he says. “This is family business.”

While the O.V.s battle, the Salvatores try to work through some family biz of their own. As they walk through the woods to the cave, Stefan and Damon bond over their feelings for Elena. “I love her, Damon,” Stefan says. Damon replies, “So do I.” It’s awkward. But somehow, good to have it all out.

After they arrive at the cave the brothers find both witches, Bonnie and her mother Abby. They’re unconscious but still breathing. The coffin, however, sits open and empty. It’s resident, it turns out, is already on her way to Casa Klaus. She arrives just as Klaus stands up to the four siblings he’d wronged, yelling. “I’m the hybrid. I can’t be killed! I have nothing to fear from you.”

“You will when we have that coffin!” Elijah replies.

A beat later their mother walks in. That’s right, the very mother that Klaus killed. She immediately walks over to Klaus and tells him, surprisingly, that she forgives him. She wants them to be a family again. That’s the O.V.s — just one big happy family!

 

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Uh-oh, It’s Magic

Speaking of tragic women, Bonnie and her mother head out to the cave where Damon hid the fourth coffin for a little mother-daughter spell-breaking time. They light dozens of candles, hold hands, and chant the witch’s greatest hits. But nothing works. An hour passes and Bon-bon stops, frustrated. She accuses Abby of not really wanting her powers to come back. Then when Abby tries to blame the spirits and claim they didn’t want to hook her up, Bonnie’s emotional floodgates open. She tells Abby that, as a girl, she pretended her mother had died because it was easier than dealing with the fact that she’d been abandoned.

It hurts Abby to hear this. And she looks ashamed. We might have been moved to tears if we hadn’t been thinking about how coinky-dinky it was that Damon stored the coffin in the same cave the original vampire family used back in the day to hide out from their werewolf neighbors. So, D hid something from Klaus in his family’s favorite hiding place. (Isn’t that ironic?)

Back to Bonnie and Abby’s heart-to-heart: After their talk, Abby gives 110 percent to the chanting because she wants to help Bonnie and make up for all the years lost. This time it seems to work. Something weird happens and a pulse of energy washes over the cave. Bonnie gets excited. She leaves to text Damon. But right after she disappears down the tunnel, the lock on the coffin lid clicks open.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2011 The CW Network LLC Photo: Elena, Carolina, and Bill Forbes in Season 3, Episode 13:” Bringing Out the Dead”

Humans Check In, Vampires Check Out

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline goes to visit her father at the hospital, only to find that he’s already checked out. Sadly, we mean that literally. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. When Blondie arrives, Dr. Meredith tells her that her ungrateful father, Bill, who was beyond pissed that vamp blood had been heal him, left in a huff the night before.

Even though her father tried to torture the vampirism out of her a few weeks ago, Caroline still thinks its odd that he didn’t call to let her know he was okay. She tells Elena this, then dials up dear old dad. Before the call can go to voice mail, however, her supernatural ears hear his cell phone ringing in a dark room down the hall. She and Elena follow the sound and find Bill sitting on the floor, dead — with a knife in his gut and what look like claw marks around his neck. Just as Caroline’s bloodsucking heart breaks, Elena immediately points out that her father died with vampire blood in his system.

Now, if you think Daddy Forbes spit fire after Doc Meredith told him she’d used vampire blood to save him, then you can imagine how he feels after he wakes up two steps closer to being a vampire himself. But Bill keeps his head — and his morals about him. He doesn’t attack Elena (a.k.a. the nearest human) when he wakes. In fact, he speaks calmly to his daughter. Later, when the thirst kicks in and the sunlight burns him, he refuses to drink any of the blood Caroline offers. Instead, he tells Caroline to “get me out of this hospital. I smell blood everywhere.”

A good vampire daughter, Caroline takes her father home. Then, while Bill has a reconciliation session with the wife he left for some guy named Steve, Caroline sits outside and cries to Elena. “I hate him so much for what he did to me,” she says. “So much! And now all I want to do is save his life.” Elena advises Caroline against forcing her father to feed. She counsels her friend to accept his decision to die rather become a vampire. And, after talking to her father, and making sure he didn’t hate her, Caroline finally does accept his decision. Bill spends the next few hours reminiscing at the Forbes family home before finally slipping away. Poor Caroline.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2011 The CW Network LLC Photo: Klaus and Stefan Shake On It in Season 3, Episode 13:” Bringing Out the Dead”

A Table for Four

While Elena and Co. deal with mortal issues, Stefan and Damon are busy accepting an invitation to Casa Klaus. Minutes after they arrive, the O.V.  and Elijah invite the Salvatores to stay for dinner. “We can sit and eat or I can reach down your throats and pull out your insides,” Klaus says. “The choice is yours.” With an invite like that, who could say no? The Salvatores certainly don’t.

As they dine on what we can only imagine is a five-course meal that includes blood pudding, Stefan and Damon get down to business. They want to broker a deal that starts with them returning the fourth coffin to Klaus and ends with Klaus and Elijah leaving Mystic Falls forever. Klaus refuses this deal because he needs easy access to Elena (and her blood) to make new hybrids.

But Klaus doesn’t want to be flat-out rude to his guests. So, after turning down their offer, he forces Elijah to tell the story of Tatiya, a.k.a. the originator of the Petrova line. Turns out Klaus and Elijah both loved the woman who started the doppelganger line in the same way that the Salvatores love Elena. Only the O.V.s love triangle had a dark twist. Their mother used Tatiya’s blood to turn them (and their siblings) into vampires. Yikes!

Klaus hopes this story will strike a chord with the Salvatore bros. When it doesn’t, he tells them, “Gentlemen, the worst thing for Elena Gilbert is the two of you.” Then he offers his own deal “for Elena’s future happiness.” In exchange for the fourth coffin, Klaus promises to protect Elena for the rest of her natural life.

Damon gives Klaus an “Are you crazy?” look. But then Stefan steps forward. The younger Salvatore starts to shake on it, then he refuses the deal. Not one to take no for an answer, Klaus twists Stefan’s arm and shoves his hand into the fire. Then he makes Damon a non-negotiable offer: Bring the coffin or I’ll burn your brother to death. Damon doesn’t hesitate to leave. (He’s only got one brother after all.) As he does, Klaus sends Elijah with him — you know, just in case he tries some funny stuff.