Previously on The Vampire Diaries: They tried to see how many times they could mention Klaus in under a minute. Record holds at 32.
Now, on to this week’s recap of TVD 3.09, “Homecoming”
We open with a dialtone. People seriously love their cell phones in Mystic Falls, don’t they? Stefan’s dialing someone...and it turns out it’s Klaus, who’s been hanging out in Portland. He complains a bit about how granola it is up there, when Stefan cuts him short and says “Your father’s dead.” Cut to Mikael on the floor with a blade in his chest. Klaus demands to know how that happened.
Flashback! One hour earlier, the captioning tells us, Elena and both Salvatore brothers are plotting a cover story for how they’re gonna lure Klaus back to town so they can kill him. Elena says he’ll come back because he wants proof that Mikael’s dead. In a lovely accent, Mikael helpfully exposits that he’ll go along with it, so that he can kill him. He tells them he’s got a special stake made from a special tree, but he won’t show him his toy just yet. It’s his insurance policy. Then he hands Elena a twisty looking knife and reminds us all that vamps can’t stab Originals without dying. (Aw, remember Elijah? Time passes like dog years on this show.) So, he gives the knife to Elena and says she’ll have to do it. “You want me to actually dagger you?” she asks incredulously. So that’s what the kids are calling it these days. Elena thought that was gonna be just a little lip service for the cover story, but she’s more than happy to get stabby with it.
Back to real time, doubting Klaus is like “No way, dude.” Stefan’s all “Way.” Klaus demands proof—he wants to talk to Rebekah. Luckily, she’s in on the plan too and takes the phone to essentially say, “Way, dude.” (Then there was a slightly creepy, possibly pseudo-incestual little “I miss you” exchange.) They hang up and Elena pulls the knife out.
Rebekah’s keeping busy painting her toenails while dad lies there dead. Then he wakes up and she immediately starts giving him sass. Teenagers—even after 1000 years they’re still obnoxious. He’s wishing he didn’t wake up. R is mad about what he did to “Nick.” Dad says her brother “blinded her and killed her mother,” but Rebekah blames dear old dad for turning them all into vamps in the first place. Bet he wishes he could ground her.
At Elena’s, Bonnie mopes about not having a date for the dance. Elena pretends she gives a shit about this petty bullshit and is mad at Jeremy on her behalf. Bonnie’s all, “Quit fronting. He’s your bro, you can’t hate him, but I can’t really sit here and dish about what an asshole he is with you, either.” Elena must agree because a minute later she’s hanging out with the Salvatores again in their sumptous master bathroom. (Seriously, the place is bigger than my first apartment.)
Apparently inspired by Bonnie’s comments, Elena goes to Damon’s and spouts off about brotherly love and how they can’t trust Rebekah. As they make a bunch of homegrown weapons (Wolfbane grenades, really?), Stefan comes in to borrow a tie. He bitches about going to a homecoming dance at 162 years old, and sasses Elena about her track record at school dances, warning her not to get killed by the homecoming queen. (God, how awesome would it be if they played Julie Brown’s “Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun” at the dance? Hmm, on second thought, that song wasn’t as troubling in the ’90s. ) Kat’s all, ’maybe you should stay home, Stefan.’ But he’s going to protect her. Then they bicker a bit about who will screw up the plan. Heh.
Tyler’s back! And he’s wielding a glitter gun like the badass that he is. (Ha.) He and Caroline are decorating (of course!) a Partridge family-looking VW van. (Does Homecoming have a hippie theme? Who knows? But if so, I want to see some tie-dye fashions!) He wants to go out and get a bite. Caro helpfully pipes up that she’s got a thermos, but he wants a REAL bite....on some fangbangers Rebekah knows. Caro’s not too happy to hear about Rebekah the “blood slut” and gets even crankier when she hears he got Matt to take Rebekah. She accuses him of letting this siring business go to his head. Tyler placates her by saying he’s hanging streamers and covered in glitter, so if he’s kowtowing to anyone, sired or not, it’s Caroline. She is not so convinced.
Wearing the red dress Elena picked out (at fang-point) last week, Rebekah’s fidgeting in front of the mirror, all nervous about her first dance. Elena twigs that it’s a lot more than that, asking if she’s okay. Rebekah confesses she’s worried about having to kill her brother. She starts to get verklempt thinking aobut it, but insists on changing the subject as she doesn’t want to ruin her makeup. She asks how she looks and Elena smiles and says she just needs one more thing: her mother’s necklace. (Hope she took the vervain out of there first!) Then, as the music swells on this touching moment, Elena suddenly viciously stabs Rebekah in the back with the dagger. She doesn’t trust her and she’s not taking any chances. Gotta say, that was a pretty bitchin’ move, worthy of Katherine. Who is still missing in action...
Damon comes in and throws a sheet over the only mostly dead Rebekah. And reads my mind, saying that was very Katherine of her. Elena’s hackles rise, and insists they couldn’t trust her. It’s a compliment, he says. Elena complains she’s the weak link in the plan because she cares too much. She asks him if he trusts Mikael, and Damon says no. Then she asks him if he trusts Stefan? Nope, not while he’s under Klaus’s control. Elena frets they need a better plan, but Damon insists he knows what to do, but Elena won’t like it. Because he doesn’t want her to have any part of it. He asks, “Do you trust me?” There’s not a second of hesitation on Elena’s part, she immediately says “Yes,” and Damon smiles and says “Then you have nothing to worry about.”
Meanwhile at the school, there’s sirens and lights. Tyler breaks the bad news to Caro that the gym’s flooded and the dance is cancelled. She’s apopleptic, as you’d expect. But no worries he says, they’re moving it to the Lockwood mansion. Caroline calls Elena to tell her and she gets a well-placed dig in about it being like yet another kegger at Tyler’s. Then Matt shows up to pick up Rebekah. Slight problem, seeing as how she’s currently closer to dead than undead on the spectre spectrum. He gets Elena as a backup date.
At the Lockwood manion, there’s already a massive party going on, including a band, which I know from the twitterverse is some kind of a biggish deal called My Morning Jacket playing. If you blink, you might miss them. The decorative soap balls got more screen time. Still, all this prompts Caroline to whine in amazement, “How’d he plan a better party than me so fast?!” Ha. Perks of being a hybrid apparently. So where is Tyler? He’s off being the hostess with the mostest. Stefan comes up to him to say nice party. Tyler modestly says he was just following orders, and this isn’t a party. “It’s a wake.” Way to bring the mood down, Ty. Stefan glowers at Klaus who takes the stage right on cue to greet his adoring future dinners.
Elena and Matt arrive at the party and Caroline rushes over to drop the bomb about Klaus having shown up. Elena hisses that she doesn’t know anything, so act normal, to Matt. As if Matt has any other default setting? Anyway, they’re not too surprised by Caroline’s news, and she’s a bit disappointed. I love that even though she’s a powerful vampire and they’re talking about some heavy stuff, Caroline still gets peeved when her gossip isn’t met with the proper excitement.
Klaus exposits about him reuniting his family to Stefan. Where’s my sis?, he asks. Stefan says he doesn’t know, offers to take him to see dear old dad instead. Klaus insists Stefan brings Mikael to him. Stefan asks if he can have freedom from compulsion in return. (Uh, why would Klaus grant him this?) Klaus says after he gets his father and his dagger back, he’ll do it.
Mikael wakes up at Damon’s and they banter a bit, as Mikael pulls out his special toy, the stake that can kill the originals. He’s vaguely thretening Damon about liking to feed on predators rather than innocents, when Stefan rushes in to say Klaus is at the Lockwoods. He asks if Mikael has a plan. He does. Apparently the plan is chowing down on Sefan’s neck until he passes out. Damon is slightly troubled, and asks “Couldn’t you have just snapped his neck?” Heh. But his concern is fleeting, because hey, party, gotta motor.
Klaus and Tyler are jabbering about all the people there, and Klaus helpfully points out that it’s not all Tyler’s friends. He points to a group of his own “friends” he’s invited. They’re all hybrids. He warns Tyler that his friends are bigger bad asses than Tyler’s (so nyah-nyah-nyah!) and that they’re ready to attack should anyone make a move against him.
Tyler runs to Caroline and parrots the fact that Klaus is “two steps ahead” of whatever they’re planning. They argue, Tyler insisting Caro is lying that she doesn’t know the plan, and Caro saying she can’t trust him anymore because he’s sired to Team Klaus now. (I hope they have T-shirts!) She goes to leave, he stabs her in the neck with a hypodermic....kinda proving her point. Oh Tyler, you lose major boyfriend points for that, even though I suspect you have good intentions.
Klaus runs into Elena outside (whose hair is looking rather amazing, all long and wavy and pulled back) and notes that she seems nervous. He warns her that he’s the smartest smartypants of all time, and that throughout the ages, when people have tried to bring him down, he’s outwitted them, and that she won’t succeed with whatever she’s planning.
My favorite throwaway bit from the episode is next. One of Klaus’s new friends tries to stop Damon from entering party. He sniffs “Consider this my RSVP” and rips out his heart, then sneers “Hybrid.” Hee.
Matt is checking out a passed-out Caroline’s pulse. He’s apalled and suspicious, but Tyler insists he only shot her with vervain for her protection. When whatever shiznit they’re planning goes down, all the hybrids, including him, will be bound to protect Klaus and they won’t be able to fight it no matter who gets in their way. This is the only way to keep her safe, he’s convinced. Awww, I knew his intentions were good. He tasks Matt with getting her and everyone else out safe. Matt? Is that such a great idea? He couldn’t even kill himself correctly.
A minute later, Damon manhandles Tyler into the study, and they start fighting immediately because Damon’s a bit sick of all these hybrids everywhere. Tyler’s new and he’s no match for Damon, who’s about to stab him with the ORIGINAL STAKE, when Bonnie comes in and blasts them with a spell. It hurts Tyler’s head and knocks him out, but it also effectively stops Damon. He sasses her that it wasn’t supposed to affect him, but she protests that he wasn’t supposed to try to kill Tyler. Then she spies the stake he’s tucking away in his jacket and flips out, almost blurting out that it’s the ORIGINAL STAKE!! OH MY! When he shushes her, motioning that everyone’s watching. She asks why he has it and he says it’s because he could get into the house.
Klaus is busy playing beer pong, when he gets the news that Daddy’s arrived. They face off. Klaus threatens to get his hybrids after Daddy. Dad calls his bluff and says he can compel them all if he wants. Then he grabs a handful of Elena. Klaus is like, what do I care? Kill her. But if she dies, he can’t make no more hybrids, Mikael points out. Klaus says he doesn’t need them. Daddy says no one loves him and he won’t have any friends if Mikael kills the hybrids and Elena. Klaus is stone cold, calls his bluff, hissing “Kill her,” but then we see a single woobie tear trickling down his cheek.
We barely have time to feel bad for him though before things start rapidly hapepening. First, Daddy does it! He stabs Elena in the side with a dagger and she crumples to the ground! OH NOES! Even Klaus is shocked, all jaw droppy. Damon takes advantage of his surprise and jumps Klaus, stabbing him with the ORIGINAL STAKE! But then Elena jumps up suddenly and grins, Mikael looks at her in surprised horror and breathes “Katherine!” She grins cheekily and throws some of those homemade grenades at the approaching crowd of hybrids. She’s back, folks! In retrospect, the wavy hair should really have tipped us off.
Anyway, Stefan suddenly zooms in and jumps on Damon, knocking him off Klaus, giving Klaus the opportunity to grab the stake and kill his dad. Damon hisses “What are you doing?” to Stefan. And Klaus answers “earning his freedom.” He sticks to his word and uncompels Stefan, telling him he’s free.
Carolyn wakes up in Tyler’s bed (alone) rolling her eyes. Tyler shows up promptly and she’s full of piss and vinegar that he used caveman tactics to protect her. They fight—she wants to know how she can deal with him when he’s sired to Klaus. He tells her it’s who he is now and there’s no going back. She has to accept that. And he likes it better—he never has to go through the pain of turning ever again. Caro insists it’s bad because he doesn’t have true control over himself, but Tyler points out that he didn’t before—the moon controlled him. He urgently reminds Caroline that they’ve been through so much and she’s always been there for him, pleading “Don’t turn your back on me now.” Caroline hesitates. She can’t give him the assurance he’s looking for. Tyler’s heartbroken. He runs. Awwwww. (Just as a side note, I gotta give huge kudos to the show’s writers on how they’re handling the Forwood ship. Tyler could easily have been written as a totally arrogant asshole because of the siring, but I think at every turn they’ve taken great pains to balance it, and show that even with the compulsion of Klaus, Tyler is adamant about his relationship with Caroline being the most important to him. So it’s gutting to see Caroline’s faith really falter finally, even though it’s entirely understandable why it does. No one’s a villain here, and it makes it all the more heartbreaking because you feel for them both. Sigh.)
Damon is back at the mansion with the real Elena, and he’s shouting and pouting, telling Elena how the plan went wrong. She doesn’t understand why Stefan would have attacked Damon when he wanted Klaus dead more than anyone. Where’s Katherine? she asks. She took off for the hills, as per usual, Damon cries, moping some more. Elena grabs his face to calm him down, and tells him they’ll survive this, urging him to trust her. Oh boy, this is it! Elena’s eyes keep flickering to Damon’s mouth, like she can’t tear them away, and it looks like they are finally going in for the kiss that kills! Damon angstily murmurs that they they’re never getting Stefan back, she knows that, right?And wonder of wonders, Elena says they’ll have to let him go then. There is eye contact and the slightest of leaning and...and...just when you think they’re finally gonna kiss, the telephone rings. Ka-block!
It’s Katherine. She’s just calling to say goodbye. She commiserates that he had a good plan but says she’s gotta go. He tells her to take care of herself. She hangs up and sighs, “He doesn’t know where it all went wrong.” Clearly she is talking to someone, not just herself, and the camera pans over to the passenger side to reveal...Stefan! Who insists his brother doesn’t need to know.
And here’s the big reveal! We flash back to Stefan waking up after Mikael nommed on his neck. Katherine tells him to pep up, she only has a minute before they notice she’s gone from the party. Then it’s a flashback within a flashback! As they show us the end of her conversation with Klaus, who threatened that even if they somehow succeded in their plan to take him down, his hybrids still had orders to kill Damon that they’d execute.
In the car, Stefan asks Katherine, “But how did you know I’d stop Damon?” She admits she didn’t know, but she hoped he would want to. We go back to the mansion flashback where she told him Damon would die if they killed Klaus, and that she knows he turned off his humanity, but she needs him to care now, for his brother’s sake. Because she’s going back to that party and she’s intending to kill Klaus, so they’ll be free....but Damon will die unless he cares enough to do something about it.
Back in the car, Stefan wonders why she’d sabotage her own desire to kill Klaus, just to warn him to save Damon’s life. She explains she wasn’t trying to just save Damon, but him too—his humanity. Which....honestly? Might just be a little out of character for Katherine to give two shits about. Since when does she care if he’s good/human? When she’s always about him giving in to her bad influence? Hmm.
Stefan rightfully calls her on that point, and how she doesn’t care for anyone but herself. She says that’s not true, she loved him once. And his brother. But that humanity is a vampire’s greatest weakness and even when they turn it off, it tries to fight it’s way back in. And sometimes she lets it. Stefan protests that he doesn’t want to feel things, after all he’s done and Katherine tells him she needs him to care, to feel things again, so that he can do what she needs him to do next—get mad. (The music gets very angsty here, so we know she’s very serious business about this!)
We cut to Rebekah, who’s looking rough, all withered up on the floor still. Her phone’s ringing (man, I hope they all have unlimited minutes in Mystic Falls, these people are in love with their cell phones!) and Klaus is trying to contact her, crowing aloud to himself about Daddy being dead and it being time for a family reunion. He’s outside, walking down the street as he’s saying this, and Stefan buzzes in, calling to thank him for his freedom. But really, he’s calling to serve up a nice cold dish of revenge. Klaus reaches the moving truck in which he delivered Stefan back to town two episodes ago and opens the back where he had the family coffins stacked up. They’re all gone. Stefan’s all “take that bitch” and asks him , despite his repeated insistences all episode about being “one step ahead” of everyone for 1000 years, was Klaus prepared for this? Ooh burn. Klaus is livid.
And that’s all we get till next January, folks! When vengeance will be the order of the day. No doubt there’ll be glitter pens involved.
Tara Gelsomino is a reader, writer, pop culture junkie, and internet addict. You can tweet her at @taragel.