'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Intolerable indiscretions and the unkillable undead

tvd-katherine-tomb.jpgThursday's (Nov. 11) episode of "The Vampire Diaries," called "Katerina," was a little more conversation, a little less action.

Not that that's a bad thing.

We've had a lot of questions since Katherine ( Nina Dobrev) showed up in Mystic Falls, and tonight, we finally got our answers -- thanks to Elena's refusal to sit around and wait anymore.

It's nice to see Elena take action without consulting Stefan ( Paul Wesley) or Damon ( Ian Somerhalder). She's got a good head on her shoulders and she's got too much to lose right now to be reckless, so why should she need anyone's permission?

Are you ready to meet Katerina? (For the sake of this recap, I'm going to keep calling her Katherine. Even though Katerina sounds more glamorous... I've got a thing for consistency.)

8:01 p.m. -
I'm so thrilled that the writers decided to place Katherine in Bulgaria, because Dobrev's mastery of the language lends an authenticity to the opening scene. You know what else lends an authenticity to the scene? Dobrev's general amazingness. I don't know why Wesley and Somerhalder get so much of the credit, here - Dobrev is the foundation of this show. The men are decoration. Pretty, pretty decoration. With tears.

Okay, but seriously -- this scene is perhaps most startling because of how completely human Katherine is. This is a broken young girl, but in the last moment where her mother is holding her, you can almost watch her go a little bit cold. She's just been devastated, and she doesn't want to feel it.

8:03 - Wouldn't you just kill for a day to explore the Salvatore house? I want to wander around and touch everything and rifle through all the papers and open all the drawers. What a phenomenal set. I don't know why Elena seems so icy toward Damon when he answers the door -- even though she doesn't remember what he said in her bedroom, they did seem to have a sweet moment when he and Stefan saved her.

Speaking of Stefan, he's awfully clingy and possessive of Elena for a guy who she just dumped. Twice, technically.

So, Klaus is the first-ever vampire. How does one become the first vampire, anyway? Isn't that a bit like the first chicken appearing out of thin air, sans egg?

8:04 - I've already talked about this a bit, but wow. Bonnie sucks at subtlety. The new kid comes along and she looks about ready to rip her clothes off in the high school parking lot and beg him to take her now. Poor Jeremy.

8:05 - How great is it that Caroline holds The Girlfriend Code as the highest law, like, ever?

Oh, starved Katherine is so creepy. She looks like the girl from "The Ring." The fact that Dobrev, who is basically flawless, manages to make herself look like something out of a nightmare blows me away. It's a shame that this show is on The CW. If it were on HBO we'd see an easy Emmy nomination. (And a lot more Salvatore skin.)

8:11 - Even starved and rotting, Katherine finds the energy to show Caroline an appropriate amount of disdain.

When I saw the previews for this episode, I couldn't help thinking that Elena was an idiot for going down into that tomb alone. But she really seems prepared, and she's taking every precaution. She's learned a lot.

And she brought blood! But no salt or lime? How inconsiderate.

8:13 - "My indiscretions were not tolerated at that time. I had a baby out of wedlock. The shame," Katherine tells Elena. The way she says it is perfection.  

Dobrev is fantastic with accents, as she demonstrates here. It's so interesting that once upon a time, she was the human who fell for the vampire. What's confusing is why Klaus didn't compel her from day one not to "run like hell." Was he "taken" with her, too?

8:15 - "Alright Rosebud, I need some answers." Somehow, Somerhalder makes the most casual lines sound pithy and deliberate.

"Don't get on my bad side," he says.

"Then show me your good side."

There's a distinct weakness in Rose, which is largely the result of Trevor's death, I'm sure, but it's not sitting right with me. Lauren Cohan was fantastic when she went toe-to-toe with Jensen Ackles on "Supernatural" - Dean was completely unsettled by her. In contrast, Damon just seems to sort of pity her and let her hang around because he's got no reason to make her leave.

8:16 - The curse was bound by the sacrifice of Petrova blood, so it must be broken with the sacrifice of Petrova blood. "The doppelganger was created as a way to undo the spell," Katherine says. "Once the doppelganger reappeared, the curse can be broken."

What if the bloodline had ended with Katherine? Would that have been it, forever?

8:18 - Rose looks much better without that Alice Cullen hair. Is this old lady her version of Katherine's Mrs. Flowers?

So, Katherine has been in possession of that moonstone for 500 years? I find it hard to believe that she'd ever let that thing out of her sight. The moonstone was this important and she just gave it up to the Lockwoods in exchange for faking her death? It seems like a careless move.

8:19 - The little power-play between Rose and Damon in the parking lot makes some strides toward them feeling like a more believable match. I'm not necessarily talking about a romantic match, either, but when two people have this much screen time together, you want them to feel like equals, like they can give and take the same amount.  Rose displaying her physical strength and the fact that she's not scared of Damon does help, but she still feels a little bit weak. Even little Anna was tougher.

Wow, a cozy vampire hangout! It's like a Peach Pit for bloodsuckers.

8:21 - Trevor loves Katherine, just like EVERYBODY loves Katherine. It must be nice to go through life having random hot guys sacrifice their entire lives (and the lives of their loved ones) because they think you're pretty. "We shall run until we die."

Oh. My. God. This whole time, I've been wondering if Klaus or Trevor turned Katherine... but no. Katherine turned Katherine. We haven't seen that from anyone before. It wasn't a curse, or an unfortunate coincidence. She wasn't a victim of circumstance or a target. She did it herself. Possibly the most brilliant turn of events in a series full of brilliance.

8:26 - It's truly sad that for trusting Katherine, Trevor was doomed to 500 years of running and a gruesome beheading. Perhaps more sad is the fact that Rose probably could've gotten herself off the hook if she turned on Trevor and told Klaus how to find him.

8:28 - I love Stefan and Caroline together so much. Again, I don't necessarily mean as a romantic pair - they just play off of each other brilliantly in these scenes. Stefan just seems so amused by her, and it's nice to see him interact with someone when he's not immediately fearful for their life.

"I guess you remind me of someone... my best friend Lexi." "You have a friend?"

Ha! I actually cracked up during that line. Candice Accola's delivery was great. It also pleases me every time they bring Lexi up. So many shows introduce a one-off character just to never mention her again. Lexi came in and has had lasting impact on Stefan's life.

8:30 - Hello, Luka's dad, Dr. Jonas Martin. I do not trust you. (It's not his fault. Newbies in Mystic Falls are untrustworthy 99% of the time.) tvd-jer-bonnie.png

It's kind of bizarre that this morning, Bonnie couldn't even form words around Luka, and now, a few hours later, she's already at the meet-the-parents stage. She's very clever with her not-so-subtle touches, but if Luka and his dad are witches, they'll have her number pretty quickly.

8:31 - "You're sure Elijah's dead?" "Beyond dead." So dumb.

Slater is a really fantastic character. I love the idea that he was turned when he was sort of a kooky, existential college kid, and now he's eternally that way. I don't really love the idea of vampire Craigslist, though. How unromantic.

8:32 - Elijah is so, so creepy. I am disturbed by his entire existence. It's so believable that he's as old as he is.

8:36 - Back to Stefan and Caroline's friend-date at The Grill! I believe this may be the first time Stefan has shown any kind of insecurity when it comes to Damon and Elena's relationship: "She's with Damon, isn't she?"

Caroline's reaction? "Ew, no."

8:38 - Oh, wow -- this definitely raises the stakes. Elena isn't the only ingredient needed to break the vampire curse. She also needs to be joined by a werewolf, a witch, a vampire. (It's pretty convenient that they're all currently in her phys ed class, huh?)

Katherine has been collecting all the players. Bonnie's her witch, Tyler is her werewolf... and as for a vampire. "It could've been anyone, I suppose, but I like the poetry of Caroline," she says.

Once again, Katherine looks out for number one. "Better you die than I," she says again.

8:39 - Interesting. If the vampire curse is broken, then the werewolf curse can't be. I don't understand why the Originals are so passionate about breaking this curse if they already have the ability to walk in the sun, and there are so few werewolves in the world to threaten them. I doubt the Originals are worried about making life easier for all the other vampires... that doesn't seem like their style.

That coin-flicking thing was genius. Between this and taking off Trevor's head with a backhand... we get it. The dude is really, scary strong.

8:45 - Damon helps Rose get out of the cafe oven, but once she's in the car, he's not particularly good at comforting her. I also have to mention - the special effects on Rose as her burns heal are just great. The special effects on this show are always on point, actually - what they manage to do on a CW budget is pretty impressive. (Thanks, Ford Focus!)

8:46 - Bonnie and Jeremy are so cute, but I'm annoyed on his behalf that she's spending their entire sort-of-date watching him from afar and giggling in all the right places.

So Luka is a witch-well-we-prefer-the-term-warlock... which is pretty much the least surprising reveal ever.  Snooze. Next.

8:47 - Back in the tomb, Stefan bursts in to save the day... completely unnecessarily. I wish he'd look around and give Elena a little credit for taking all the right precautions before he starts telling her what an idiot she is for not running her plan by him first. It's not like he fills her in on everything he does -- hello, Masquerade? -- so why is full disclosures expected of her?

8:48 - Here's where we see why Katherine is the way that Katherine is. She returns to Bulgaria two years after she was banished. She's now a vampire, she's supposed to be able to turn off her emotions -- but when she finds her entire family massacred, she is human again. Now, everything she loves has been taken from her. Now the road is paved for her to become the woman we know now.

8:50 - Katherine makes an interesting point, that she's safe in the tomb. She may be desiccating and starving, but when Klaus comes to bring the rain on Mystic Falls, he won't be able to touch her. "I'll be the safest psychotic bitch in town," she quips.

If only she could get someone to bring her blood and maybe the occasional sudoku puzzle and an "Arrested Development" box set. Life could be worse.

8:53 - Oh, hey. Damon is drinking, Rose walks in with a slinky lacy camisole... wonder how this is going to end? Hey, if he's walked away from any possibility Elena may offer, he's got to get his kicks somewhere.

8:55 - In the midst of all of the vampire sacrifice hoopla, it's easy to overlook the way Jeremy looks up, expecting Bonnie to be watching him proudly, to find her bent toward Luka. It's such a human, teenage moment. Everyone can relate.

8:56 - For a long time, every time I heard Stefan's "I had to know her" speech in the previouslies, I couldn't help but feel like a lot of this was his fault - of course, completely inadvertently. It's nice to have him cleared of that. As always, this is about Elena, and it was about Elena long before Stefan and Damon were even born.

8:57 - You know that emotional off-switch that Damon likes to "It's a lie, you know," says Rose, after their little fire-lit sex sesh. "There's no switch you can turn off. Sure, when you're a newbie, but after a couple hundred years you just have to pretend."

8:58 - So Originals can compel other vampires... scary. Oh, no. We'll miss you, Slater! Perhaps you can go play young Jimmy Novak in a Castiel flashback on "Supernatural."

8:59 - Uh oh. Dr. Jonas Martin is in cahoots with Elijah. Which begs the question... why did Elijah specifically have Slater mention Bonnie to Rose? Hmm.

I don't even need to say who the MVP is tonight. Nina Dobrev is single-handedly raising the standard for performances on The CW. Had a lesser actress been cast, this entire season of "The Vampire Diaries" would have failed spectacularly. There are so many roles that anyone with decent timing and more than six facial expressions could play. This is not one of them.

We've got two weeks to marinate on this one, kids! I know, I know... but we'll make it through some way or another. I've got Harry Potter tickets next Thursday night. As for the Thursday after that... I'll probably turn to a life of crime.

Check out this tease for the next episode, then let me know your thoughts on the episode in the comments section below. I can't wait to chat about this one with you all!



Follow Zap2it and @cadlymack  on Twitter and Zap2it on Facebook for the latest TV, movie and celebrity news.

Photo credits: CW