This episode also tore me up like no other. Please forgive my tardiness with the recap. I honestly couldn’t handle trying to write about it for a few days past watching.
Let’s also establish this at the outset. I love Caroline. I adore the changes in her character this season. BUT, I think the Matt/Tyler/Caroline stuff brought the intensity of the episode to a halt (even DH shared this opinion). I appreciate that it apparently sets up a lot of what happens in the finale, but this ep is better without this secondary subplot.
SO....Matt shot Tyler. Matt can’t accept Caroline. Caroline knows her mom knows about her. Caroline cuddled with Tyler (who was naked under that blanket) on the couch. Let’s move on.
145 Years and No Last Goodbye - There’s no scene that has more clearly established the changes in Damon along with his lack of feelings for Katherine than this scene. He doesn’t think she’s worthy of a goodbye. She says that she had to make the call to lure out Jenna. He stresses that yes, she had the choice, and she owed it to him to protect Jenna. But she’s still Katherine - looking out for herself. When Damon says that he hopes she enjoys an eternity alone, I honestly think that she may have had a moment where he got through to her. I sense this may mean bad things for one of the characters I’ve developed a strange fondness for this season.
The second I walked out of the house, someone grabbed me - Poor confused Jenna. Obviously, Elena knows exactly what’s going on, but she has to help Jenna clue in to the fact she’s now a vamp. I wonder what would have happened if Elena had really quickly said not to drink the blood... Of course, Jenna’s alternative would just have been to be dead then too, but she couldn’t have been the sacrifice.
Title Card and my stomach was already churning. This is going to be one of THOSE episodes.
And now we have multiple handy visits from the Exposition Fairy. We now know that Jeremy and Bonnie have been seeking out a “changed our mind, don’t want to be a vampire” spell and Elijah’s making sure Stefan’s clear on the concept of what all’s about to happen.
Of course, we have our obligatory “Bonnie’s going to be okay” moment. Is it alright that she’s honestly last in my line of “characters I’m worried about” tonight. Let Bonnie die killing Klaus...he’s killed a ton of people. Y’all need to make sure he’s dead as in REALLY dead. If that takes losing Bonnie, then we’ll all deal. No, Elena wouldn’t want that, but I don’t think she was ready for Jenna to go either. (I think everyone was assuming it would be Katherine.)
Now, I’ve seen a lot of comments asking why Damon was at the boardinghouse drinking in this next section of the scene. Well, they hadn’t done the locator spell yet. No one knew where he was supposed to go to stop the sacrifice. (That, and Damon probably needed a stiff drink to get him through the rest of the night.)
Damon has to tell Stefan about Jenna. Suddenly the stakes have been raised exponentially.
I Feel Like Myself, Only Not - Can I say poor Jenna again? Not only is she transitioning into a vampire, she’s doing it knowing that she’s going to be sacrificed in a matter of hours. Elena tries to pull a “witchy honor” speech with Greta. Sadly, I think Greta really was doing all this of her own free will... the excitement of the whole “new order” reminds me a bit of Hitler Youth.
You Do Not Want To Mess With Me Right Now - Damon’s really already feeling the results of the wolf bite. He does an amazingly good job of hiding what’s going on from everyone else. He’s come to terms with his death sentence, now it’s time to keep Elena and Jenna from being sacrificed. Interesting here that we see that John really was counting on Damon protecting Elena. I think hearing that Damon was willing to take vervain (despite the pain it caused) to protect Elena showed John how much Elena really meant to Damon. He’d trusted Damon with his daughter’s life...and Damon knows he failed. He tries to make light of it, but he’s done everything he can up until this point to keep his impulsive act from impacting Elena’s eternity.
I’ve Got The Moonstone - Yep, here’s where it starts to get freaky and really sad. I hadn’t realized that Jules and Elena had never met. Too bad they did so under the circumstances. Sara Canning really “sold” Jenna’s fear in this whole scene. I think one of the reasons I was so impacted by Jules’ death (perhaps the only character who’s below Bonnie on my “characters I could live without” scale) was the look of utter horror on Jenna’s face.
Ooooh, Interesting Spells - Bonnie and Jeremy continue their spell research. I think this “bring back to life” spell that wasn’t clearly explained will be important in the finale. Someone arrives. Alaric comes downstairs to talk to Jeremy. Interesting that it isn’t Stefan. He’s there. I’ve always said that I felt a “fatherly vibe” between Alaric and Elena. Knowing she’s his wife’s daughter is the closest thing to a child he has, but I think that also impacts his relationship with Jeremy.
One of my main points - Stefan explains that Klaus took Jenna as retaliation for Damon rescuing Caroline. I don’t think that’s right, though. Klaus had Katherine “do something for him” immediately after she stood in the sunlight. Klaus took Jenna after he thought Elena had left. Jenna was ALWAYS the vampire Klaus intended to use - that’s why she was with Greta, the witch performing the spell. Caroline was the backup.
A little fuzzy here - Why is Stefan so convinced that Klaus wants Stefan more? Does he think Klaus would be impressed by the Romeo and Juliet quality of lovers as sacrifices or is it something else? I’m still convinced that Stefan has somehow encountered Klaus in the past.
Isn’t There Someone Else Who Can Do This? - Let’s all take a deep breath. It’s about to get very sad very quickly. As soon as Jenna went all reflective, I knew she was truly a goner. Jenna believes she’s totally failed Elena and Jeremy, but Elena says it’s her fault. At this point, it’s far too late to assign blame. They’ve already watched Jules die. As much as Elena tries to reassure Jenna (and then begs her to run when she has the chance), Jenna knows that she just has a few minutes left.
Insert appropriate eye-welling here.
You’re Very Honorable - This scene inserted the doubt I’d been feeling all season. Seriously, someone should have listened to Damon. (I’ll get back to this in a bit.) Stefan and Elijah have a heart to heart. While Elijah is impressed that Stefan intends to take Jenna’s place, Stefan questions Elijah once again. Stefan’s tried to kill his brother - more than once. He’s never been able to. If Stefan’s about to offer himself in Jenna’s stead, then he wants to make certain his death means something. He needs to know that Elijah has truly prepared himself for the implications of killing his brother. Elijah says that he owes it to the rest of his family. He doesn’t just hate his brother; he’s seeking revenge.
I Did Everything You Asked - Elena doesn’t seem to grasp just how unhinged Klaus is. She says she did everything he asked (honestly, I’ve apparently blocked something out along the way. I don’t remember her ever making a deal with Klaus - just Elijah. Please, if you remember when she worked out a deal with Klaus, remind me of that scene in the comments so I don’t drive myself insane) and she doesn’t understand why Jenna’s still on the list of tonight’s victims. In the midst of her pleas, something unexpected turned up.
You Weren’t On the Guest List - Once again, I get the feeling here that Stefan and Klaus have met in the past...even if Stefan didn’t know who Klaus was at the time. Stefan wants to talk.
A Parent’s Love - We learn more about one of the spells (still not sure if it’s the resuscitation spell mentioned earlier) where a mother bound her life force to that of her child. For the moment, we see a level of respect between John and Damon that I haven’t seen before. Neither may fully trust the other’s tactics, but they’re both doing all they can do to save the most important person in their world.
Three Goddesses on Nature’s Altar - Stefan explains to Klaus that he wants to trade places with Jenna. Klaus isn’t buying. He likes the idea of three women dying for him. (Which is one reason I think Tyler/Caroline were the backup vamp and werewolf.)
Locked In - After Bonnie does the binding spell with John, she kisses Jeremy (and knocks him out). Damon, Elijah, and Bonnie have work to do. Alaric thinks he’s going to help, but Damon (I think) has made the call to keep his friend locked in the house. The sacrifice has been going on long enough that I think Damon was aware that by the time they got there, no one was going to be able to help Jenna (or Stefan if he was successful at taking Jenna’s place). Personally, I believe Damon completely understood what would happen to John if the spell was successful. He needed to ensure that someone would be left to take care of Elena. They couldn’t take the risk of letting Alaric go with them.
Who’s It Going to Be? - Elena has the choice between an awful decision and a horrible decision. Her boyfriend or her aunt? Thankfully, Klaus takes the choice away as soon as he makes it. Stefan’s not on the list tonight. Klaus drives a stake through his spinal cord, leaving him unconscious on the ground. He makes some sort of vague “I have other plans for him” comment which really makes me cringe. Klaus is one twisted dude. You don’t want to be on the list of people he finds interesting.
I Know What I Have to Do - Like I said, if Jenna and Damon had been working together, I don’t know if this sacrifice would have ever gone down. Jenna knows what she has to do, and despite Elena’s wishes (Bonnie, are you listening here?), it will come at the cost of her own life. Rather than running away as Elena wanted, Jenna has come to the correct realization that if she can kill Greta, Klaus won’t be able to hurt her niece. She felt as if she’d failed Elena and Jeremy in her job of raising them this past 6 months or so. She’s not going to do that again. Like any parent, she gives her own life to try to protect Elena. Of course, Klaus steps in and stakes Jenna first in the side. Rather than ending her life quickly and neatly, he wants to see the terror in Jenna’s eyes as he kills her.
Just so you know, on my first viewing, this is where my son decided to come in and start talking to me. Apparently, my sobbing had made him curious.
Elena’s cries for Jenna to turn off her emotions so she wouldn’t be scared totally left me in a puddle. Nina is likely the most realistic crier on television. Filming this episode must have been beyond exhausting for her. Elena’s pain is so very, very real.
Shh! - Stefan wakes just as Jenna is truly dead. Something has changed in Elena’s eyes. While tears stream down her cheeks, she shushes Stefan as he tries to comfort her. She just wants to know one thing....are they ready to kill Klaus? When he answers yes, she changes into a very dark Elena. Klaus offers his hand and she looks totally frightening as she marches to her impending death. I think at this moment she’s welcoming death since it will be the first step in taking Klaus out. Interesting ... she has no “I love yous” or tearful goodbyes to Stefan. This isn’t the Elena we’ve known for two seasons. Watching her aunt die was the final straw. I’m going to be interested in seeing Season 3 Elena. Klaus steps up and wraps his arms around Elena. Klaus is a distinctly different vampire in way of biting. We’ve seen Damon’s enjoyment of biting, but Klaus takes it to a whole new level. There is an intimacy here that really creeps me out. He cradles her to his chest (while his hands get more than a little personal). There’s not a hint of regret in Elena’s face as he quickly drains her until she’s lying dead on the ground.
You Were Dead - Lightning, wind, chanting in Latin...Bonnie arrives and is more than a little scary. Damon finishes the job Jenna started and kills Greta before she even knew what hit her. After sweeping the mostly-dead Elena into his arms, he carries her to Stefan’s side where he removes the stake from Stefan’s spinal cord. Stefan doesn’t want Damon in the battle...he wants Damon to get Elena to safety. Interesting. The book fan in me really loved this battle - if only Elijah had lived up to his end of the agreement. In Elijah’s defense, though, he was only doing this so that he could get revenge on Klaus for his family members’ deaths. Elijah would never have forgiven himself if he’d killed Klaus while dooming his family members for eternity. Of course, they should have just listened to Damon and never trusted Elijah in the first place.
Elijah and Klaus get away making Jenna’s death totally meaningless.
Did You Read All of This? - John’s writing a letter. Yeah, he’s totally about to die. He hands the letter and his ring to Jeremy with instructions to take care of his sister. He nods to Alaric, echoing his wishes. (I totally think Alaric is the most likely candidate for guardian next season.) There’s a noise upstairs. They all look at each other. Who’s coming “home?” Obviously they’d be deluded to believe that everyone made it out of the night’s events. I can’t imagine their fear at going up the stairs to see just who came back.
I’ll Stake You Myself - Damon carries Elena into the house in what I think is the second most beautiful scenes in the episode. He looks at her with such tenderness - mixed with such regret. He couldn’t bear for her to die, but he also doesn’t want her angry with him for the rest of eternity. For now, though, it only matters to him that she’s hopefully about to be breathing again. Damon senses the other men in the room. He looks at Alaric and shakes his head. He doesn’t need words. Jeremy does, though. I do think Damon really is sorry here. He wanted to take Jenna’s place just as much as Stefan did. No one wanted Jenna to be a victim. John takes one last look at his daughter and steps outside. Elena gasps as John drops. I firmly believe that the house could fall down around them right now and Damon wouldn’t have looked away from Elena’s face. She says she feels fine, and all is right with Damon’s world.
Pass the Tissues - No, no one really says that (unlike the rest of my little headers this time...hope you liked those transitions), but someone should. Seriously, Kleenex tissues could have been the product placement for this episode since I know I went through about a box in watching, rewatching, and writing this recap (the things I do for y’all....)
Only Dumbledore’s death in HP has hit me as hard as this scene. From the moment in Elena’s room to the cemetery, Nina Dobrev had me in a puddle of grief. (And, I have to say that she looked AMAZING in this segment of the episode).
Watching the little band of survivors walk through the graveyard where Damon has compelled gravediggers to give Jenna and John a swift burial was so intensely gut-wrenching.
Stefan attempted to place a comforting hand around Elena, but she shrugged out of it and stepped to Jenna’s grave alone. While John’s heartfelt last letter is heard in the background, Elena sobs as she places roses on the graves of all the parental figures (save Isobel) she’s lost in just a matter of a few months. The camera focus on everyone else as they take their turn in mourning (mainly) Jenna’s loss. Finally we see Damon. He’s stepped away from everyone else. He’s aware how much he’s angered Elena. but when she’s at her most overwhelmed by her grief, she looks up and locks eyes with Damon. There’s no anger or bitterness there.
I have to say I wonder if anyone’s told Elena Klaus is still alive at this point. Would that push her completely over the edge?
Damon stays apart from the group as the memorial service comes to an end. Stefan steps to his brothers side saying Elena needs all of them now. Damon needs to know his brother’s plan for tracking down Klaus. Stefan looks confused for a moment until Damon reveals that he’s not going to be around to help. He reveals the wolf bite and Stefan is beyond shocked. While reassuring Damon they’d fix this, Damon only has one request - Elena can’t find out about Damon’s injury. She’s already mourning enough people.
With one of the most visually striking scenes in the episode (if not the series), Damon nods his goodbye to his brother (entrusting Elena to him) and walks through the graveyard in a silent farewell.
(Honestly, I think this should have been the finale. That last scene was agonizingly beautiful.)