'Vampire Diaries' recap: Rebekah, The Evil Blood Slut

tvd-recap-1110.jpg"Homecoming" is a strong episode, maybe the strongest yet, for "The Vampire Diaries" this season. It doesn't hurt that it features both Katherine and Rebekah, and focuses heavily on the themes of humanity and family, nor does it hurt that in it, we are freed from compelled Stefan. Just sayin', Show. The CW touts "Homecoming" as a mid-season finale, because winter hiatus is upon us. "Homecoming" is big, brash and eventful, like any sort of finale should be, but every episode of this show could serve as a finale, right? However, since this is the last new episode for nearly two months (TWO MONTHS), I'm jumping right in.

It's Homecoming, in all the senses you expected it would be, when you first heard "Homecoming" was this episode's title. The Fellowship of the Falls connives with MtVVS to set up Klaus. Elena daggers MtVVS with MtVVS's permission, so that Stefan can truthfully tell Klaus that MtVVS is dead...ish.

Rebekah is teary over her family, and nervous for her first high school dance. Elena bonds with her and then daggers her, too, to make sure the Beckster doesn't swing back over to Team Klaus and screw up the Fellowship's Operation Kill Klaus. She feels really bad about it, though (Elena that is, although I'm sure Rebekah wouldn't be thrilled, were she still conscious). Somewhere in there, Elena de-daggers MtVVS, so he'll be ready to kill the "son" he abused for years and then turned into a monster in the first place.

Klaus returns to Mystic Falls with a small army of new hybrids. How much of Elena's blood did he collect, anyhow? He somehow manages to break a water main or whatever, and the high school is flooded. This gives sire-whipped Tyler an excuse to move the party to the Mayoral Mansion, where there's already a live band playing -- My Morning Jacket. I was going to link to their website, but I couldn't find any mention of their appearance on The Vampire Diaries on it, so they're not getting any page hits off of me, because I'm petty when I'm tired.

Anyhow, the venue change is all part of Klaus's plan, and Caroline (whom the Fellowship is keeping in the dark, this week) can't understand how there are already so many people at the Lockwood's, when she and Tyler just got there, themselves. After a threatening pep-talk from Klaus, Tyler, who knows his place is crawling with hybrids, slips Caroline a vervain mickey to keep her safely out of the action. Matt takes her home. Damon and Tyler come to blows at some point, and once Tyler goes to bite Damon, Damon is ready to kill him, but Bonnie magically defuses the situation, and knocks Tyler out.

Stefan tries to get Klaus to go to Mossy Manse to see the supposedly still dagger-ed MtVVS. Klaus is too smart for that, so he insists Stefan bring MtVVS to him. Stefan agrees, but extracts a promise from Klaus: once MtVVS is dead and his weapon (a stake from the long gone white oak) is destroyed, Stefan will be free of Klaus's compulsion. When Stefan returns to Mossy Manse to tell Damon and MtVVS about the kink in Operation Kill Klaus, MtVVS drains his blood, which leaves Stefan incapacitated for the nonce.

MtVVS arrives at the party and tries to get Klaus to come outside (because MtVVS hasn't been invited inside the Lockwood home, and so can't enter). He also dishes out a heaping helping of emotional abuse, because MtVVS is no good guy. Klaus signals for his hybrids to surround MtVVS. MtVVS points out that as they're part-vampire, MtVVS can compel them. And compel them, he has. MtVVS has one of the compelled hybrids bring Elena to him, and threatens to kill her if Klaus won't come out. Klaus claims doesn't care about the doppelganger anymore. He just wants MtVVS dead. MtVVS calls his bluff and stabs Elena, who falls to the ground.

Damon, who has been invited inside the Lockwood's place, Stealth-Salvatores up on Klaus and stakes him with MtVVS's special Original killing stake. Elena gets undead because she's not Elena, she's KATHERINE (which I suspected all along, but still -- YAY)! She detonates wolfsbane grenades, and the hybrids scatter. Since Klaus is taking his sweet time dying, Damon pulls the stake out and prepares to stab him again, but then Stefan swoops in, pulls Damon off Klaus and pounces on Damon, which knocks the stake free. Klaus gets it and stakes MtVVS. The stake and MtVVS go up in flames. So wait -- is there now no way to kill Satan Klaus? [ Shoddy Gypsy craftsmanship. --Angelus] Damon eye-things at Stefan. "What the hell did you do?" Klaus says, "He's earned his freedom," and sets Stefan free from compulsion. Later, back home at Mossy Manse, Damon rants to Elena about how their foolproof plan wasn't Stefan-proof. Elena tries to calm Damon, reminds him they always survive, and tells him to trust her. When he says they're never getting Stefan back, Elena says, "Then we'll let him go, okay? We'll have to let him go." It feels like they're just about to kiss when KATHERINE (who is driving off into the night) calls to tell him it was a good plan, even if it didn't work. Swell timing, Kiki! After she hangs up, she says aloud that Damon doesn't know where it all went wrong. STEFAN, who is seated right next to her, says, 'He doesn't have to."

We flash back to Stefan lying on the floor of Mossy Manse, after MtVVS drained his blood. Katherine brings him a blood bag to perk him up. We flash further back to the party, where Klaus tells Katherine-as-Elena, that he's already ensured that if he (Klaus) dies, Damon will die too, because the hybrids have been ordered to kill Damon, and their sire-bond ensures they'll fulfill his last request. We cut back to the Stefan/Katherine Mossy Manse flashback. Kiki tells Stef it's time to care enough to save Damon's life. Apparently, that's all it takes.

Night, Present: In the car, Stef exposits that Kiki has wanted Klaus dead for 500 years, and asks why she screwed up the plan to kill him, just to save Damon's life. She says that wasn't her only reason. She did it to save Stefan's humanity, too. "Just say I liked the old you, better." I don't know, Keeks. While Ripper-syndrome has been hit or miss, and the compulsion mythology has been somewhat weakened during this whole Stefan story, I do enjoy cocky, cruel Stefan.

Stefan says Katherine never cares about anyone but herself. She tells him they both know that's not true. "I loved you. I loved Damon, too. Humanity is a vampire's greatest weakness. No matter how easy it is to turn it off, it keeps trying to fight its way back in. Sometimes I let it." Stefan says he doesn't want to let all of his back in, not after everything he's done. Katherine understands he doesn't want to, but says, "If you don't let yourself feel, you won't be able to do what I need you to do next." Stefan: "What's that?" Katherine: "Get mad."

The next day, Klaus calls Rebekah, who can't come to the phone right now, because she is still en-daggered in the dungeon at Mossy Manse. He leaves her a voice mail telling her daddy's dead and it's time for a family reunion. He's outside his truck full of fallen family members when he gets a call from Stefan. "I'm just calling to thank you for my freedom. [...] The thing is, it came at too high of a price. You took everything from me, Klaus." Klaus tells him to let bygones be bygones, because resentment gets old. Stefan: "You know what never gets old?" Klaus pushes up the door on the back of his truck to find all his coffins are GONE! Stefan answers his own question. "Revenge." Klaus: "No!" Stefan: "What's the matter, Klaus, missing something?"

The camera pulls back to reveal Stefan in an abandoned house, surrounded by coffins. Klaus says, "What are you doing?" Stefan: "Just enjoying my freedom." Klaus: "I will kill you and everyone you've ever met." Stefan: "You do that, and you will never see your family again." A beat. "I'm wondering, Klaus, as someone who's been a step ahead for a thousand years, were you prepared for this?" Grr Argh. Title card. And now, we have to wait until January 5, 2012 for the next new episode. Are you prepared for that?