My first reaction when this episode ended, right after I wiped the smile off my face, was how much I love the writers for letting their characters put all their cards on the table. I think it’s necessary to keep some things close to the vest in order to keep the story moving along, but I am really happy the show didn’t make its characters’ intentions ambiguous. Let us have a look at everything that went down when The Vampire Diaries returned after a two month hiatus in ‘The New Deal’.
In this episode we learn just how strong Klaus’ influence over Tyler is. At first when Elena got angry at Jeremy for hanging out with him and inviting him in I was leaning more towards Jeremy’s side. While Tyler definitely has gone through changes that warrant caution, I still think he’s fundamentally a good person, and more importantly their friend. Tyler telling Elena it was like a belief system put it into a much more real and scary perspective for me, and seeing what happened after the talk made Elena’s point more valid for me. Despite the near death of Jeremy, I still believe that Tyler is seeing some sense. He seems to be the only one of Klaus’ hybrids who manages to think past blind faith, and I liked that he was questioning Klaus’ intentions, as well as warning Jeremy that something more would be happening.
Speaking of Jeremy, this episode was a rather important one for him. It’s not the first time he is portrayed as the slacker little brother of Elena, who is used as a pawn by the current bad guy in order to get Elena on their side. Honestly I think that’s getting old, and as far as I’ve been able to tell, this season Jeremy is not that person anymore. What changed this episode was the way he dealt with it, and I really liked that. It was nice to see him adapt to the situations he was dealt and fight back. I think his speech about getting the hell out of Mystic Falls was a much needed one, stating the obvious, as was his confrontation with Tyler. I get why Elena wanted him to get away from it all, but it bothers me that they do that just as the character is starting to get interesting. Seeing as this is Vampire Diaries, I’m sure this is not a permanent change, and I can see him coming back before the season ends. My theory is that he is either brought back by some bad guy, or it turns out the compulsion didn’t work but he pretended it did, like with Matt last season.
Moving on to the main events of this episode, we see Klaus enlisting Elena and Damon’s help in order to get his family back from Stefan. Damon, who has lost all faith in his brother, refuses to help at first, as does Elena. However, after the aforementioned near death of both Jeremy and Alaric, they seek Bonnie’s help to locate Stefan in order to talk to him. Bonnie, who has been contacted by Stefan already, reveals that he is staying in the witch’s house in town. The confrontations that take place when they reunite with Stefan makes it clear that Stefan might still be set on protecting Damon, but he surely doesn’t care much for Elena any longer. After Elena slaps him and leaves, Damon gets to talk with Stefan and much to my delighted surprise Stefan tells him he betrayed them in order to save Damon. Stefan is still hell-bent on getting his revenge, the result being that he and Damon decide to team up to get Klaus, but to keep Elena out of it. Stefan then shows Damon that the coffins are in the witch house, hidden by their powers.
In the meantime, Elena contacts Klaus who is busy building his new ‘fortress’, and hands him back Rebecca in hopes that he will take that as a peace-offering and leave town. I think this was both a good and bad move. It was about time that Elena got to be a strong person, but at the same time I don’t think handing Klaus a sibling will make things easier for Damon and Stefan. In the end her comment about Rebecca knowing that Klaus killed their mother ended up helping her, for as we saw, Klaus was not ready to let Rebecca back after learning that.
In the final scenes of the episode we see Damon compelling Jeremy to leave town and don’t look back. I mentioned this before, but I thought I’d add that I thought this was a very sad moment. This is followed by Damon and Elena talking on the porch, where Damon tells Elena that Stefan did what he did in order to save Damon. I was sure this would be dragged out in order to make Elena feel guilty in the future, so I was thrilled to see it revealed before the progression of Damon and Elena’s relationship. Damon continues by revealing that he doesn’t like knowing that because it means he has to feel guilty for feeling the things he does. When he started to leave I was under the impression that Elena would go after him, so I was a little surprised when he turned around and went to kiss her. Because of so many close calls over the past season I was not expecting it to happen, but I really liked how they did it. It was nice to see them focus on the romantic side of Damon, and to see that it only went as far as a kiss before he turned around and left.
I really like how the end of this episode parallels the season one finale. Both had Damon talking about compulsion with Jeremy, and both had Damon confronting Elena on the porch, although it turned out to be Katherine in season 1. It was where he though he kissed her the first time, and it was where he did kiss her for the first time (I’m not counting the death-bed kiss). The parallels are so obvious that I should have known it would happen there, but I’m glad that I didn’t. It was a sweet moment, and in the history of Damon and Elena moments, a rather understated build-up for a really sweet scene. I don’t know what this will lead to in the future, but I believe they are both feeling the connection and that Stefan, for the time being at least, has taken a step back from the love triangle. The reveal of Stefan and Damon’s new deal is sure to put a wrench in the works, but I trust the show to handle that well.