Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 3, Episode 11 of The CW's The Vampire Diaries, entitled, "Our Town."
Everyone in Mystic Falls is stuck in a rut. Caroline is forever stuck at 17, Tyler is stuck under Klaus' control, Damon is stuck on Elena, Elena is stuck on last year, and Stefan is... well, Stefan is just plain crazy.
In an effort to prove a point to Klaus, Stefan makes it his mission to try to kill all of Klaus' hybrids, one by one, until he makes them leave town. You see, in order to win this psycho chess match, "you have to be the better villain."
So Stefan does the unthinkable: he kidnaps Elena, forces her to drink his blood, and threatens to drive her off Wickery Bridge, the same bringe where Elena and Jeremy's parents died. After all, if Elena is a vampire, Klaus can't make any more hybrids. In the end, Klaus caves, agreeing to send his hybrids away from Mystic Falls, and while Stefan may have gotten what he wanted, at what price?
Elena is heartbroken and furious with Stefan, and this may be one of Nina Dobrev's finest scenes in the entire series. It looks like she really earned her People's Choice Award in tonight's episode.
Even though Stefan tries to tell Elena that he had no intention of driving off the bridge, he still risked her life, and for what? To beat Klaus at his own game. Of course, Elena doesn't appreciate Stefan's new priorities, especially when he uses her as a pawn. "Destroying Klaus is all I have left," he tells her.
"You had me!" Elena screams. Honestly, as much as I love Stefan when he's bad, for a second, I started to miss Saint Stefan. Sure, he was a little boring, but he was much easier to read. Now that Stefan has lost his humanity, I'm never sure whether he's really that much of a prick or if he's just trying to protect Elena by making her hate him.
If that's the case, then he's doing a fine job at that. Thankfully, Damon is there to pick Elena up from the bridge, after Stefan drives off in anger. Unfortunately, there isn't another Delena kiss, and to be honest, it wouldn't have felt right if they did kiss. Elena is still hurt, and she's still chasing after her ghost. But her ghost isn't Stefan; it's her -- or at least who she used to be.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the most perfect kiss ever, Damon takes a nice, steamy shower. Elena, however, takes her sexual frustration out on the punching bag. Confused by Elena's strange behavior, Alaric knows something is up with her. He just doesn't know that it has to do with Damon... or does he?
But Alaric's got his own drama to deal with, especially now that we know Doctor Fell is a Founder, with a somewhat sketchy past. Call me crazy, but I kind of believed her ex when he told Alaric that she was a little crazy. Let's just hope Alaric sees it before he ends up like that guy in the woods.
Back at school, Elena finally tells Bonnie that she made Damon compel Jeremy to leave Mystic Falls, for good. Unfortunately for Bonnie, there's some unfinished business between her and Jeremy, so she's not sure how to feel about the news.
However, Bonnie and Elena aren't the only ones with boy drama. Caroline finally confronts Tyler after he tried to kill Jeremy. In the end, Tyler tells her that she's better off without him, and that he doesn't feel safe being with her, while being sired by Klaus. At least he leaves her with a birthday present. No wonder Caroline hates her birthday.
Little does Tyler know that Klaus will ask the unthinkable of him: to kill Caroline. In Klaus' eyes, it's an eye for an eye. Stefan killed his hybrid. He kills Stefan's friend.
Naturally, Tyler isn't too happy with Klaus' request, and he stands up to his hybrid boss, ultimately causing Klaus to turn to Plan B.
Meanwhile, in an effort to cheer up Caroline, Elena, Matt, and Bonnie throw their vampy friend a mini surprise party. However, Caroline's not exactly in the mood to celebrate. She's eternally stuck at 17, practically the worst "filler year" of them all. So, sensing that their friend needs a pick-me-up, they... take her to a graveyard! You see, Caroline isn't celebrating her 18th birthday, she's celebrating her funeral.
Bonnie confronts Elena about Jeremy, but as we all know, these types of conversations are best to have without alcohol. (Note: Candice Accola did warn me about Caroline's tequila-heavy birthday.)
Tyler crashes Caroline's funeral in order to tell her how much he loves her. When it comes to Caroline, it looks like Tyler is free of Klaus' control... that is, until he unknowingly bites her, sending her into shock and slowly killing her.
Here's why I love Caroline: even when she's seething in pain, she still takes the time to tell Tyler off.
Matt finds Caroline and immediately takes her home. Meanwhile, Tyler runs off to Klaus to tell him what he's done, and Klaus ends up at the Forbes' front door, offering his blood to save Caroline. He also treats her to a super-inspiring speech about how great it is to be a vampire and see the world and its beauty... followed by some of his blood, and a pretty necklace.
While I'm glad Caroline is going to live to see another day -- and celebrate another funeral -- I can't help but feel that Klaus has a nasty little plan up his sleeve. After all, he can't be too happy after Stefan won their little game.
Side note: If the 'TVD' writers are hinting at a potential Klaus/Caroline storyline, I'm all for it. Caroline likes to fix people, Klaus wants a companion and they both have series daddy issues. Also, who better to show Caroline the positive side of being a vampire than Klaus? Feel free to totally trash this idea in the comments, but I'm intrigued to see where this leads.
But in the end, the only one who isn't stuck is Jeremy, who finally leaves Mystic Falls, but not before Bonnie arrives to tell him goodbye. Was I the only one kind of hoping that she would go rogue and use her magic to un-compel Jeremy? I can only hope that Jeremy doesn't stay gone for long. I may not have been Jeremy's number-one fan during Season 1, but he's really grown on me.
Unfortunately, we still don't know who's in the fourth coffin, which is going to drive me crazy until next week.
Damon, after ripping out the heart of a hybrid: "These hybrids, they're really bringing the neighborhood down."
Klaus, to Stefan: "Maybe I'd be willing to lose one brother if it meant killing yours." Game on.
Caroline: "And the only point of turning 17 is to get to 18. It's a filler year, so I'm stuck in a filler year."
Daniel, to Klaus: "What do you want me to do with her head?"
Caroline's birthday toast (Elena, Matt and Bonnie): "Here lies Caroline Forbes, cheerleader, Miss Mystic Falls, third-grade hopscotch champion, friend, daughter, overachiever, mean girl -- no offense. She was 17, and she had a really good life, so rest in peace, so that you can move forward. It's what we all really need. Amen... or cheers or whatever."
Klaus: "Oh, come on, mate. Give peace a chance." I think this was the statement that made me officially #TeamKlaus.
Tyler, to Caroline: "Klaus can't control me. Not when it comes to you. I won't let him."
Stefan, to Elena: "You lost me the second I left town with him. You just haven't let yourself admit that yet." I mean, he went too far, right?
Stefan: "I don't really care what you think about me anymore, Elena." Okay, he really went too far.
Klaus, to Caroline: "I love birthdays. You have to adjust your perception of time when you become a vampire, Caroline. Accept that you're no longer bound to trivial human conventions. You're free."
Damon, to Elena: "It's right, just not right now."