'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Matt and Caroline in the eye of the storm

tvd-matt-caroline-kiss.jpg"The House Guest" is the last "Vampire Diaries" episode before a long, long hiatus, and it's going to include singing, and after chatting with Candice Accola and Zach Roerig about the episode, my hopes were extremely high. Let's just say my expectations were exceeded, and I almost waited until tomorrow to write this recap because I just wanted to sit on the couch and revel in it all.

Previously on "The Vampire Diaries" - Klaus was scary, Elena was not unique like a snowflake, and Elijah died twice in a row.

8:01 - "It's school. Remember that thing that we keep forgetting about?" I think this is Elena, but I don't know! The fact that it's the most typical Stefan/Elena morning-after-great-sex scene ever makes me think that there's about to be some kind of a twist here.

Oh my god. I'm so confused! Is Damon choking Elena or Katherine?

Is Stefan choking Elena or Katherine? This is madness!! Wow. Katherine fooled everyone who matters: Damon, Stefan, and me. Stefan, check who you're choking next time!

8:03 - Elena's having a Very Teenage Moment. "I don't want you here. Get her out of here!" She's kind of whining. It's not cute. Girl, she might be a little evil, but she's known those boys way longer than you. Shh.

I do, however, always love when Elena and Katherine are in the same room. Nina Dobrev is a genius and it disgusts me that she didn't get nominated for a Saturn Award this week.

8:04 - Wait... Mystic Falls High School still exists?

MATT! Apparently, the Grill is in trouble. It's because Alaric took that night off from sitting at the bar to attend the big dinner party of murder, isn't it? If the Grill goes under, where will everyone in town eat, drink, and make diabolical plans? This is a catastrophe. Save the Grill!

Now we get the Tyler discussion I was hoping for last week. Matt says Tyler stopped by to "say goodbye without really saying goodbye, and I just didn't know it," but he fails to mention that Tyler basically handed him the keys to his Caroline. It's so like Matt to feel like he should've known there was something else happening.

"Since when am I the one that can express himself and you're the one at a lost for words? You know how I feel, so it's your move. Just make a decision, or leave me alone."

Matt is my favorite. That is all.

8:05 - Elena doesn't even have bruises on her neck after vamp-strength Stefan choked her? He's not eating his Wheaties.

It's time for another girls' night! I'm so excited. "Maybe Katherine can join us," Elena says. I love her when she's snarky.

8:05 - "Ooh, burning flesh." Speaking of snarky. I wonder if they built a fake dead Elijah head? That must have been an interesting day at work for Daniel Gillies. "We're just gonna make a quick plaster mold of your face so we can light your head on fire for a few days!"

It's almost endearing that Damon wants to know if Katherine knew he'd die if he killed Elijah. She wanted out of that tomb no matter what, and she'd have sacrificed anyone. I like the moments when we remember that this guy spent a century and a half living only for the idea that one day he'd see her again. It makes him a little more human.

8:07 - Blah, blah, locker talk about Luka and Dr. Manwitch, blah blah. Jeremy and Bonnie adorableness! Honestly, I think Steven R. McQueen brings out the best in Katerina Graham. Her work feels more genuine when she's acting opposite him.

8:08 - Confession: I only like Alaric when he's around Damon. Question: Are they putting extra eyeliner on Matt Davis these days?

Here's the thing. I understand that Alaric is going to have a connection with these kids that goes beyond the student-teacher thing. But here, in the classroom environment, it's brutally obvious that he's still overstepping the boundaries that should still be there. If I was Jenna and I found out my boyfriend was talking to my teenage niece about our relationship issues in school, I'd be annoyed as hell.

The fact is, he's disrespecting Jenna by not telling her the truth. Matt's ignorance has, up until this point, kept him safe. He's left out of all the vampire drama simply because he doesn't know.

Jenna's a different story. Her ignorance became dangerous a really long time ago and the fact that Alaric believes Elena and Jeremy can "handle" this, but Jenna can't, says a lot about his opinion of the woman he loves.

8:08 - Meanwhile, at the Grill, Bonnie tells Luka she's really sorry about the witch-brain-rape. There's no hotline for that.

8:10 - Honestly, why is Katherine still wearing Elena's clothes? I imagine her feet are like Barbie feet. You just can't fit them into flat Skipper shoes.

According to Katherine, when a witch dies violently they release a "mystical energy." The assumption is that the witch massacre site will provide the energy needed to kill Klaus.

Side note: Could Damon and Katherine possibly be any hotter together? I love their sexual-tension-slash-violence. I'm not sure what that says about me. I should probably talk to someone, I know.

Another side note: Damon didn't even need to look up to be able to tell that Stefan was in the room, yet he can't tell the difference between Katherine and Elena? I find that odd.

8:10 - More ManWitches. "Hey dad, I'm nervous. We're not the main characters of this show, so there's basically no chance that we're going be the ones to kill Klaus. How many more episodes will we spend killing time until the finale?"

Note -- Luka's sister's name is Greta. I have a feeling we'll be meeting her soon.

Ruh-roh. ManWitches want to wake up Elijah. Honestly, I miss his hair flipping desperately, but there are only so many times you can play the "Dead! JK LOL Alive!" card in two episodes.

8:15 - Of course Caroline's favorite movie would be "The Notebook." Matt is totally her Noah. Of course, there was no Tyler equivalent in "The Notebook," so I'm not sure I have faith that Matt and Caroline will end up senile and dead together in the same nursing home.

"That's not his call to make," Jenna says about Alaric. "I deserve the truth." Thank you. Sorry to keep harping on this. It's just been irritating me that Alaric thinks he's somehow more capable of "handling" this than Jenna is. It's condescending. How many vampires does she have to invite into the house before he clues her in?

8:17 - Okay, so this is cool. Dr. ManWitch sends Luka on a psychic trip to the Salvatore house, where he can see what's going on, but Katherine and Damon can't see him. Of course, he thinks it's Elena and Damon.

Is Katherine the most annoying house guest ever, or what? I wonder if a scene was cut where Damon swiped her necklace, because she hasn't been wearing it for this entire episode. It would make sense for him to take it to keep her from roaming Mystic Falls High and preying on unsuspecting Grill busboys, but it doesn't make sense for her to take it off for no reason when she's been wearing it for god knows how long.

Emily Bennet died on the site of the massacre. I've heard some rumors that there's a plan to bring Bianca Lawson back as Emily before the end of this season, but I haven't gotten any official confirmation.

Now Katherine's hungry, and she heads down to the basement to raid the blood supply... which Luka doesn't seem to find odd at all.

8:20 - "Find anything?" "Nope." The Salvatores are letting Katherine dig through the journals, but they're still keeping things from her when they can. It's probably smart. I sat down with Paul Wesley recently and he told me that Katherine is absolutely still a threat -- so it's probably good that they're keeping her on a bit of a leash without filling her in on all the gory details.

Wow. Luka came pretty close to killing our girl. I'm not too worried though -- there's no way Katherine is going to die at the hand of a random. If and when they do kill her off (which, hopefully they won't, because life is more fun when she's around) it's going to be at the hand of Elena or Damon. Her death needs to be epic, not stuck in the middle of an episode.

8:25 - Yep, she's still alive. Honestly, if you're a witch or a werewolf or a vampire or anyone who associates with any of the above, you should probably familiarize yourself with where a person's heart is. It's that thing that beats inside your ribcage. Apparently, it's easy to miss.

In other news... wow. Dr. ManWitch is the worst dad ever. He should've pulled Luka out of there as soon as Katherine showed up, and then he should've snuck in himself. Damon and Katherine have to leave the house sometime.

8:27 - Ouch. I didn't care for Luka, but seriously... he looks like the inside of a burger. This is not a nice way to die. Even as his father tries to save him, the music gives it away that he's not coming back. This is total dead teenager music.

8:28 - Meanwhile, at The Bait Shop The Mystic Grill, Rooney Save Our Stereo is playing! Soundtrack junkie moment: Save Our Stereo is an unsigned band out of North Carolina. Check them out on Facebook..

I love the moments when the girls get together for some good old fashioned bonding - and we've had a lot of that in the second half of this season. We probably won't see many more girls' nights, though, according to Candice Accola.

"There's a lot of story that needs to be told with the sacrifice, so sometimes it's hard to keep that easygoing camaraderie with the women on the show relevant when we're ending the second season pretty soon," she tells me. "I hope we can find places for it, because it keeps the show grounded. It sets a wonderful example for girls watching the show, as opposed to other shows where young women are constantly catty and evil and manipulative to each other. Strong friendship between women is one of the things that I think TV is really lacking right now for this generation. These girls are literally trying to keep each other alive, and not just emotionally, but physically. It raises the stakes for the kind of friendship they have."

MATT! "Things just got real awkward," Bonnie says. I'll drink to that.

8:28 - "Last year I was a grad student who smoked a lot of pot and couldn't keep a goldfish alive and now I'm a parent." I can't wait until Sara Canning gets the credit she deserves. The subtle differences between Aunt Jenna and Canning herself sometimes blow my mind. She's a wonderful actress and she hasn't yet had her moment to shine on this show, but I think she will soon.

8:30 - There's nothing I love more than a grand romantic gesture. Amy parking a Ferris Wheel outside Ephram's building. Pacey writing "Ask me to stay" on Joey's wall. Seth, standing on a coffee cart in front of all of Harbor to declare his love for Summer. These are the things I live for.

So basically, I was falling out of my chair during this entire scene. I love that Jenna needed to take a shot beforehand. I love that Matt still looked like a lost puppy while Caroline was awkwardly rambling. I love that she compelled the lead singer of Save Our Stereo. "You are going to let me live out my rockstar fantasies, and you are going to be my backup."

"Eternal Flame"! There are so many reasons this song is perfect. Caroline is immortal! So her flame really is eternal! And there's that whole "I watch you when you are sleeping" line! That's what vampires do right? It's like... their thing!

Candice is so talented. I downloaded her debut album this week - you can snag it from iTunes - and it's really fun. tvd-matt-kiss-2.jpg

Jenna and Alaric, stop giving each other longing looks. This is not your moment! Stop appropriating moments!

I do, however, appreciate the look that passes between Matt and Elena. The great unexplored relationship of the show. Their friendship is a pretty incredible thing - she was his first love, even if he wasn't hers. They show up for each other in the dire times -- remember, it was Elena who comforted him after Vicki died, and Matt was there to help Jenna home from the hospital. I love that when he needs a little reassurance, he looks for her in the crowd. They've been friends forever. History counts in this town.

Oh my god. The kiss! The smile! The dip! Carina can't come to the phone right now, she's gone catatonic.

I don't even have words for how perfectly delightful that was. It was such a CW moment, and in the midst of all the psychological supernatural warfare going on, it was beyond necessary. I feel like it was just the eye of the storm, but still, I'm floating. I sent off a "THANK YOU" text to one of the producers tonight. 

8:36 - Gross. Lukaburger.

Oh, hey, there's the photo Elena used to have on her dresser of herself alone in her cheerleading uniform, because that's not weird and narcissistic.

"He's dead and I have no one, and now you're about to find out exactly what that feels like." Well, thanks for that anvil. Poor Stefan. Damon couldn't have accompanied him on that mission?

8:36 - No. Damon had to be home to pour salt into Katherine's wounds. "That's for not telling me the dagger would kill me," he hisses. God, I love them together. I wish I had more intelligent, insightful commentary for you guys and didn't have to resort to the obvious "they've got chemistry!" thing, but they do.

The best thing about it is that it's such a different chemistry than Damon and Elena have. With both couples, I want to scream "Just make out already!" at the screen. But with Damon and Elena, there are so many complications - Stefan, Katherine, his immortality, her moral compass, etc. With Damon and Katherine... they could totally just bone. Sure, he'd probably drink about it later, but how is that different from any other Thursday?

Oh, right, there's some plot happening here, not just eye-sex. Katherine explains that Uncle John and Isobel want to get the Salvatores away from Elena. "He offered me a deal," Katherine says. "He knew that killing Elijah would get me out of the tomb so he gave me a choice. Either I stay and help with Klaus, or he kills Stefan."

"But he still tried to have me killed," Damon says. Oh, my heart.

"You didn't really think I'd leave for All-Star 'Road Rules' and still be dating you? Oh, you did? That's so sweet," Katherine replies.

Sorry, that was something else. Katherine says that she picked Stefan to live. Poor Damon. I mean... I think if it came down to him or Stefan, he'd let his little brother, live, too. I don't have much evidence to back that up, and it's possible that I've been watching too much "Supernatural," but still, I think Damon would like to hear that one person would choose him over Stefan. Even if it was a lie.

8:38 - MATT! I can't even comment on this making out in the bathroom when he's supposed to be working thing. It's too much.

"Would it freak you out if I started dating your brother?" Wow, Bonnie. Way to drop that news in a crowded place with no smooth segue whatsoever. It's sweet that Elena gives her approval. Still, I love her "I am not entirely sure I mean what I'm saying to you right now" face.

8:40 - Uh, oh. Dr. ManWitch is on a mission. What is he doing? He's in public! Matt is busy making out in a bathroom and ManWitch is going to ruin it! NOT NOW, DANA. This is completely unforgivable behavior. I hope he dies.

Honestly, Matt, stay in that bathroom. I know that the Grill is your truest love of all, but dealing with ManWitch is way above your pay grade. I'm so scared that he's going to be the hero here, save Bonnie, and burn up in the Grill after his one and only moment of happiness in like, a year. FML.

Are you kidding me? I can't handle this. First of all, Accola cries and screams better than anyone else on earth. Second of all, Matt can not die.

(For the record, I spent this entire commercial break trying to remember whether or not Roerig said he was on set the last time I talked to him. If Matt dies, I'm quitting my job and moving to Nova Scotia.)

8:47 - The mark the bottle made on Matt's neck looks a lot like a vampire bite. After all she's been through, Caroline still has to psych herself up to chow down on her own wrist, which is kind of sweet. The look in his eyes when she makes him drink her blood is completely priceless. This should be good.

8:49 - Katherine is having ManWitch for dinner! That was a great bait and switch... but really, after everything that happened tonight, Bonnie's questioning whether that guy needed to be dead? Bonnie is just too precious for this world.

Yikes! Sloppy kill, Katherine. Stefan had to step in with a neck-snap to get the job done.

8:53 - It's interesting that both Elena and Damon think it's bad that Katherine wanted to help them. They went along with her plan because they had no other choice, but they still don't trust her.

"You're going to have to get her out of here before Jenna gets home," Elena says. I absolutely adore the fact that even after that, she doesn't address Katherine directly. It's like Katherine is so far beneath her she's not worth an acknowledgment.

8:53 - "Isobel is dead, and there are things about her death that I can't tell you." Wow. Alaric is getting shockingly good at telling the truth while lying. Luckily, Jenna is still mad, because Jenna is awesome.

8:56 - Okay, so Bonnie has her powers back, courtesy of ManWitch, and she's got a blueprint for how to kill Klaus. And I have a theory. This is "The Vampire Diaries," and we're closing in on the Season 2 finale. I think that a beloved character on this show has to die.

So. My guess is that Bonnie is going to kill Klaus, but she'll probably max herself out as well, and she'll die saving the rest of her friends while her brains bleed out of her nose.

The only part of that that seems iffy to me is that I'm not sure the writers will kill off another one of Jeremy's girlfriends. Three in a row is scarred-for-life material. He'll probably start painting his nails again. It's possible that he'll throw himself under the bus in order to save Bonnie -- that'd be such a Jeremy move -- and then he'd be the martyr.

Regardless, my bet is that one of these two is dead by the end of the season. Hopefully they have sex first.

8:57 - Oh, praise Kevin Williamson, Katherine finally looks like Katherine again. Curly hair, lingerie, and all. She's even wearing her necklace! Insert more repetitive babble about how hot she and Damon are together here. Then again, Katherine is hot with Stefan and Matt, too. She's hot with a brick wall. It's just not right.

So Katherine threw Emily under the bus. Good to know. We've seen Emily "come back" and sort of possess Bonnie. Could she possibly come back again for vengeance on Katherine?

Oh... by the way, where is Andie Starr, Action News? I thought she and Damon were practically painting their white picket fence. She and Uncle Johnny have been gone for the entire episode. Which, granted, only took place over the course of a day, but still. Those two are stage-five clingers.

8:58 - "Hi." Caroline sure knows how to start an important conversation. This is my favorite scene in the entire episode. It just makes perfect sense that Caroline would really believe that after her big declaration, she could just be honest with Matt and things would be peachy.

And it's easy for viewers to forget, in the happy teen-drama moment, that Matt is a pretty tragic character. He does his best to get through it but there's always a sense of all he's lost. I'm so glad that Vicki was the first thing that came to his mind when he heard the word "vampire." The pilot was so long ago, but it's a clear memory for him.

I'm not even sure if Caroline knows what happened to Vicki or the Salvatores' involvement. It was long before her vampire days. She discovered the body, but the official consensus was that Vicki overdosed.

Matt's total freak-out here is more than justified, and I can't wait to see what happens next with him. Is Caroline going to have to compel him to calm down? Is she going to be able to explain? Tyler is gone, so Matt doesn't have anyone to confide in but Caroline -- and maybe, maybe Elena, but that's sketchy.

Given Tyler's reaction to Mason's death, I had to ask Roerig about whether Matt would skip town now that he knows how Vicki died. "Mostly, I think Matt is going to feel a lot of guilt," he says. "He kind of carries the world on his shoulders, and he'll feel like he should've known that something was going on. This whole time he believed she overdosed, so he's going to feel guilty about that. That's his sister."

tvd-isobel-returns.jpg 8:59 - Isobel is back! Like five minutes after Alaric swore she was dead! I can't wait to see her and Katherine together... in six weeks, when the show comes back from hiatus. Sorry. Did that harsh your buzz?

Obviously, obviously Zach Roerig gets MVP tonight! Dobrev was captivating as ever and I actually think Ian Somerhalder's subtler-than-usual performance tonight deserves some recognition, but Roerig was phenomenal. (I'm trying not to say I told you so, but... I freaking told you so.)

He played the crushworthy high school first love thing brilliantly tonight, but the best performance was in the last scene in Caroline's house. When he broke down crying, it was so believable. This poor kid already "carries the world on his shoulders," and now suddenly he's under the impression that the girl he just kissed on a stage in front of his entire town is responsible for his big sister's untimely death. It's a horrific thought, and he played it beautifully. He's still got some "Friday Night Lights" in him, just saying.

As for Accola's kick-ass performance, that can't go unmentioned! Music supervisor Chris Mollere confirms that a full-length version of the song will be featured on the next "Vampire Diaries" soundtrack compilation, so get ready to rock out to that one in your car.

"The Vampire Diaries" is taking some time off, but keep Zap2it bookmarked, because I'll still have plenty of "TVD" fun for you over the next few weeks. Hopefully it'll be enough to ease some of those nasty withdrawal symptoms.

Your turn. Did the Matt/Caroline stuff have you as swoony as it did me, or were you hoping Tyler would burst in, speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace style? Do you trust that Katherine wants to keep Elena safe, or is she lulling the Salvatores into a false sense of security? Are you going to miss Lukaburger and ManWitch? Tell me in the comments below or tweet me your thoughts @cadlymack.
Photo/Video credit: CW