Credit: Bob Mahoney and Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2012 The CW Network Photo: Caroline, Matt, Elena, and Stefan in Season 3, Episode 18: “The Murder of One”

But not wise enough. Working a new O.V.-killing Plan B, Matt slips Vervain into Sage and Finn’s drinks — which they notice right away. Before they can attack him, Stefan lures them outside. While Sage easily kicks Stef’s butt, Elena steps out of the Grill’s kitchen and shoots Finn with the cross bow. Before he falls, Matt runs over and daggers him. Then they both duck back inside.  Finn stiffens, then bursts into flames while Sage cries over his body.

While Elena, Matt, and Stefan go after Finn, Bonnie is busy working the unbinding spell. She mixes all the siblings’ blood in a goblet then pours the blend on the table in the middle of a requisite circle of candles. Next she recites an incantation that causes the bloodlines to separate. They part just as Finn gets stabbed. So Finn doesn’t take the rest of the Original family down with him.

Because the spell seems to have worked, Klaus lets Bonnie go. As she passes the living room she sees Rebekah torturing Damon. Klaus offers to let Bonnie save “the man who killed your father.” But Bon-bon leaves instead.

Remorse hits Bonnie before she clears the circle driveway. So she calls Elena and tells him what Klaus made her do and that he has Damon. As she speaks, the rest of it — her mother’s abandonment, the Jeremy predicament, and the mess that her life has become — hits her and she crumbles in the driveway, bawling. She’s had a hard year.

Stefan gets the rage when he hears Klaus has Damon. Before Elena can calm him down, Sage bursts in. She’s got the rage too. She knocks Stefan down and pimp-slaps Caroline across the room. “I’m not here for you. I’m here for him,” she says. Then she kicks Stefan. Elena tries to run out. But Troy blocks the door.

It looks like E’s going to have to watch Sage box the vampirism out of Stefan. But then something strange happens. Her nose starts to bleed. She throws a punch at Stefan. But he easily blocks it. She falls to one knee, coughs, and spits blood. She goes ashen and calls for help. But the same symptoms hit Troy. Next thing you know they’re both laying on the floor, dead.

It’s obvious to us. But it takes Caroline, Stefan, and Elena a bit to figure things out. “Wait. So when an Original dies, every vampire turned from their blood line dies along with them?” Caroline asks. “That would mean...” Yeah, we know. Kill one and you kill them all, including the sexy Salvatores.

This revelation changes everything. Stefan marches over to Casa Klaus. He drops a bag filled with eight of the remaining daggers on the floor, tells them Finn is dead and offers to trade the weapons for Damon.

Credit: Bob Mahoney and Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2012 The CW Network Photo: Sage in Season 3, Episode 18: “The Murder of One”

If every vampire is a descendant of the Originals, what happens when you kill an O.V.? Elena and Co. discover the answer in “The Murder of One.”

The episode opens with our girl knocking on Alaric’s door bright and early. Elena has come to his loft with muffins in hand to check on him — you know, make sure he didn’t kill another person overnight.

Damon meets Elena at the door and refuses to let her in. He assures her that the history teacher is okay. She suspects he is up to something but eventually takes his word. After she leaves, we learn that ‘Ric is more than okay. He, Stefan, and Damon have spent the night turning the old Wickerly Bridge sign into O.V.-offing white oak daggers.

While they worked, Stefan and Damon came up with a plan to end Klaus and his kin. They text their Scooby gang and tell them to meet in the woods to get the deets. On the way to the rendezvous point, Elena tells Caroline that Alaric killed her father Bill. Surprisingly, Blondie takes the news in stride.

When Elena and Caroline reach the rendezvous point, Stefan hands out the 12 stakes he and the boys made. The plan, he says, is for Caroline to distract Klaus so that they can go after Rebekah. The way he explains it, she is clearly the weakest link and the plan sounds like it might work.

While Elena and Co. plot to kill the Family Klaus, Mr. Nikolaus himself goes off to find Finn. As Finn walks down some street in a mystery city, Klaus approaches and asks him to help undo the binding spell that ties their fates. “I have no wish to help you,” Finn says. “Only to see you dead.”

Never one to accept ‘no’ for an answer, Klaus threatens to re-dagger Finn again if he won’t come home. Rather than continue to argue, Finn vamps off up an alley. But Rebekah stops him. Klaus knocks him out. And the sibs take their brother home by force. But it’s not all bad news for Finn. His girlfriend Sage is waiting for him in Casa Klaus.

Credit: Bob Mahoney and Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2012 The CW Network Photo: Elena and Stefan in Season 3, Episode 18: “The Murder of One”

It sounds too easy. So Klaus compels a nearly drained Damon to go home. Before D amputates his own hands in an attempt to free himself from the chains, Klaus tells Damon to stop. Then he compels the eldest Salvatore to tell him how many stakes really exist. “Eleven,” D says without hesitation.

This prompts Klaus to make a big old speech about how he gave Stefan’s life purpose by giving him something to hate. He’s so full of himself that Stefan can’t help but try to kill him. Klaus easily squashes his attempt. Then Rebekah frees Damon and tells Stefan that if he turns in the remaining three stakes she and Klaus will let them live. Klaus looks at her incredulously.

Back at the Salvatore manse Elena and Caroline try to reconstruct the brother’s family tree so that they know which Original not to kill. The Salvatores were sired by Katherine, who was sired by Rose. But who sired Rose? Good question.

Stefan does not know the answer. He returns home a bit defeated. He tells Elena that she spent too much time hating and plotting against Klaus. He regrets pushing her away and blames himself for the feelings she has developed for Damon. Actually Stef uses the word “love,” which Elena immediately denies.

“I will always love you,” Stefan tells Elena. “I just want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you don’t’ feel something for him.” Sad thing? Elena can’t do that. “I don’t know what I feel,” she says.

Rebekah, however, is not so ambivalent about her feelings. Alone with Klaus, she realizes that her brother doesn’t care for them as much as the Salvatores care for each other. “At least they know what family means,” she says. “You destroyed us.”

Klaus responds by telling Beks that he plans to take Elena and leave Mystic Falls “to create a new family of hybrids.” When Beks suggests that she will stay, he says, “Then you’re just as pathetic as Finn.”

Eager to be free of Klaus, Damon goes over to Alaric’s to get the last stake. But Alaric can’t find it. It’s been moved from the hiding place behind the bookshelf. After snarking ‘Ric for hiding it in such a clichéd place, Damon asks, “Are you telling me that your vampire-hating alter ego has a stake that can kill an entire line of vampires. Possibly mine?” Alaric responds with some of the scariest words D has ever heard. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.”

 

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Credit: Bob Mahoney and Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW ©2012 The CW Network Photo: Rebekah and Damon Get a Visitor in Season 3, Episode 18: “The Murder of One”

While Sage and Finn catch up, Rebekah unveils some plans of her own. Apparently she’s more than a bit miffed at Damon for sexing her up then using Sage to read her mind. So she sneaks into the Salvatore house and knocks Alaric out. Before Damon can figure out what’s happening, Bekah’s within kissing distance. “Hello Lover,” she growls. Then she stabs Damon in the gut.

Across town, Elena is starting to worry about her witch BFF. “Is it weird that Bonnie’s not returning my calls?” she asks Matt and Caroline. Matt looks up and spots Finn and Sage taking their reunion stroll. “It’ weird that Klaus’ brother is here in the middle of town square,” he replies. Elena immediately calls Stefan to tell him about the sighting.

Back at Casa Klaus, Beks strings Damon up like a side of beef. Her plan, she so graciously tells him, is to bleed all the Vervain out of his body then compel him to kill Elena or Stefan. To show him that she means business she slices his chest then his throat.

But Damon isn’t the only captive in the house. Bonnie’s there too. Klaus has out-and-out kidnapped her and he’s forcing her to undo the binding spell. If she refuses, he’ll kill Jeremy. To prove he’s got a hybrid in place to do the job, Klaus shows her streaming real-time video of Jeremy on his phone.

While Klaus forces Bonnie’s hand, Caroline’s busy babysitting Alaric — a.k.a. the man who killed her father. It’s a sketchy situation. But just when we start think Blondie might take it to the dark side, Alaric apologizes, and Caroline tells him, “I have blood on my hands too. We all do.”

Bleeding like a stuck pig, Damon dreams that Elena has come to save him. When he wakes, he realizes that Rebekah planted the thought. Disappointed that it wasn’t real and angry that Beks so easily pushed his buttons, he calls her a desperate b-word then says “If Klaus bossed me around for a thousand years, I’d be a little desperate for attention too.” Snarking his captor is not a wise move. Rebekah promptly cuts him some more.

In town at The Grill, Sage introduces Finn to tequila while Stefan, unnoticed by the duo, sits on the other side of the room, listening. As the couple drinks, one of Sage’s sires, Troy, passes by, and we discover that she has brought him back up to town. Wise woman.