Oct 14 2011 10:07am

The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 5: Night of 1,000 Lame Pranks

Damon carries Elena in The Vampire DiairesWhen we left off last week, Klaus thought he’d killed the doppelganger (aka Elena) and didn’t know why he couldn’t make vampire-werewolf hybrids. We discovered Elena’s necklace was tied to the Original witch, and that Katherine had snatched it. And, after Rebecca felt snubbed by Stefan’s love for another, she got Klaus to question his loyalty and bring everyone back to Mystic Falls. (Need to catch up? Visit our TVD recap index for links to past episode recaps.)

If you’re ready, it’s Senior Prank Week in Mystic Falls, which really is just an excuse for everyone to be at the school at night and do incredibly stupid things. Just so you know, there were two totally hot kisses in this episode. One from a surprising pair. Spoilers lay beyond.

Matt Donovan in The Vampire Diaries*******SPOILERS*******

For possibly the first time ever, The Vampire Diaries opens an episode with Matt. He’s more prominent this time out, as the show blatantly reminds us he’s the only “normal” one of the bunch. He’s alone working out at the school after hours, which, really, doesn’t seem that normal to me. Now, it should be noted TVD generally gives us sweaty guys shirtless. Not this time. As Matt prowls the hallways chasing shadows, he’s clad in standard, bulky workout gear.

Elena and Bonnie in TVDHe enters a classroom and sets off a sea of mousetraps. When the lights flick on we see Caroline, Tyler, Elena and Bonnie setting up for Senior Prank Week. Caroline is a bit irritated that Matt completely forgot about it. It’s nice to see glimpses of the Caroline who loves to plan school functions. This time out, we get a heavy stereotypical yearbook girl vibe from her has she opines on the importance of making memories.

The group disperses to set up other pranks, and Elena turns a corner only to run directly into the solid chest of Klaus. (Really, if he weren’t out to kill her and the like, I could back some shirtless Klaus time.) He clearly came to find her, yet he makes a point of stating the obvious: “You are supposed to be dead.” The question is: What will he do about it?

Damon’s on the road again, this time with Katherine in the passenger seat. Unlike recent trips with Elena, Katherine isn’t sulking, but playfully suggesting they stop for food—be that a truck stop or a trucker. Damon tells her to quit being cute and she offers the playful response of  “that’s impossible.” I may enjoy her, even as I know it’s a bad idea. She tells Damon they’re going “far enough away that you can’t go running back.” This proves to be a bit foreshadowing, more on that later.

When Damon admits he and Elena disagree on how he should behave, Katherine goes all “her loss” and takes some handsy liberties with Mr. Salvatore. Then, the two go for a super steamy kiss. Making out while driving, hm. The warning sticker plastered on the moment fades as one (that is to say, me) revels in one incredibly hot kiss. Damon cuts it off, throwing her back into her seat. When questioned as to why he stopped, his response is perfect: “Thought I’d give it a shot. Truth is you just don’t do it for me anymore.”

That moment shows just how much Damon has grown. Plus, I rather enjoy seeing Katherine not get her way.

Stefan finally awakes in the back of moving truck. Rebecca informs him Klaus spent the day breaking Stefan’s neck repeatedly, but more revealing was her jealousy-tinged admission that she knew he was hiding the doppelganger from Klaus. When she makes it clear she’ll enjoy when Klaus kills Elena, Stefan attacks. It’s a short-lived victory as she uses a pipe to stake him. You’d think after being on the road with an Original for so long, Stefan would know he’s not really a physical match for any of them. Yet he just keeps charging ahead.

Back at Mystic Falls High School, Klaus drags Elena into the gym, where the seniors are setting up a bunch of cups. Really. I swear, this school has come up with the lamest pranks. Klaus tells the room of teenagers they’ve been busted and they all need to head home. He does snag one human couple and compels them into a situation where one will likely have to murder the other just to remind us, and Elena, he likes to be cruel for no reason.

We cut back to Damon and Katherine on the side of the road. He chucks the car keys into the woods and demands Katherine spill it. Much too easily, she reveals the necklace she pilfered from Bonnie and that Klaus wants it. She doesn’t tell him why Klaus is after the necklace, but instead opens the trunk and shows off an unconscious Jeremy.

Tyler and Caroline in The Vampire DiariesTyler and Caroline hadn’t been in the gym during Klaus’s reveal, so we meet them in a hallway. Caroline interrupts Tyler’s playful kissing (boo!) to talk about how Matt is doing. Tyler found her timing just as crappy as I did, but still offers insight that Matt doesn’t have many people to talk to these days. Caroline, appeased that Tyler is still thinking about his friend, drops it. Then there is up-against-the-wall kissing, which is interrupted too soon by Rebecca. Klaus’ sister knows how both Caroline and Tyler are, and attacks Caroline.

We then jump to Matt and Bonnie continuing the night of 1,000 lame pranks by toilet papering the natatorium. Bonnie is having fun; Matt isn’t, because he’s now Captain Complain A Lot. He asks about where Jeremy is tonight—which makes little sense as he’s younger than them and it’s a seniors-only event—but Bonnie admits she hasn’t talked to him all day. Then they jump to the elephant in the room: Jeremy can see Matt’s sister Vicki’s ghost. Matt wishes he could see her himself and say goodbye. He then laments how much things have changed in the last year. His problems are so much bigger now. I know we’re supposed to be invested in Matt as he’s the only non-supernatural human, but I’m just not. His moping just dragged down the speed of the episode for me.

Back in the gym, Elena inquires about Stefan. Klaus is less than forthcoming, offering only “he’s on a time out.” Enter Bonnie. Klaus was expecting her, and determined it was her witchy interference that kept Elena alive and ruined his plans for hybrids. As such, he expects her to fix it. At least we can’t accuse the guy of ageism. He expects a 17-year-old to do the same magic centuries-old witches can do.

As everyone is gaping over Klaus’ little proclamation, Rebecca drags Tyler into the room. It’s time for added incentive. Looking at Bonnie, Klaus explains how his previous attempts to change werewolves into hybrids have ended in agonizing deaths. He then forces Tyler to drink his blood.

“Save my hybrids, Bonnie, and for Tyler’s sake”—a snap of Tyler’s neck—“you better hurry.”

Bonnie and MattBonnie and Matt immediately bail to go find answers, while Klaus keeps his precious doppelganger at his side. Rebecca’s jealously flares once more upon meeting the girl who stole Stefan’s heart. Bonnie, on the other hand, is focused on trying to find her boyfriend as he can talk to the dead to get answers about the curse.

Unfortunately, Jeremy is still unconscious, and in the middle of nowhere with Damon and Katherine. She divulges a bit more information to Damon about her plans for Jeremy. Turns out her old friend Pearl knew a way to kill Klaus. And not “dagger dead” but ended for good dead. While Pearl is dead, she did tell one person how to end Klaus: her daughter Anna. Jeremy’s ex-girlfriend Anna, who just happens to be in ghostly form.

When Jeremy wakes, he doesn’t think Katherine’s plan to chat up Anna is going to work. This may have something to do with him forcing Anna away the other week. Maybe he’s feeling a bit guilty there? Anna does appear to him, however, and warns him Katherine isn’t a friend. Her choice not to help doesn’t go over well with the vampire, and Damon has to injure Jeremy a few times to encourage Anna to give up the details. It works. They need to seek out Michael, a vampire who hunts vampires.

Stefan finally joins the posse at the gym, immediately re-pledging his loyalty to Klaus and in front of Elena and Rebecca claims Elena means nothing to him. As a test, Klaus backhands Elena. Guess what? Stefan was lying. He rushes Klaus, to lose quickly. (Again, he’s tried fighting Originals how many times?) I was with Klaus when he pointed out how tiring and obvious Stefan’s lies have become. As such, Klaus compels Stefan into subservience and immediately orders him to kill the human couple in the room while Elena watches, horrified.

As cruel a bastard as the Original is, I think he hated doing this. He wanted his friend, the Ripper version of Stefan, back and having to strong-arm him into it takes away some of the fun.

In the hallway outside the gym, Rebecca is supposed to be keeping an eye on the “dead-ish” Tyler and Caroline. Instead she’s playing with Caroline’s cell phone camera. As Caroline is curled over Tyler’s body, Rebecca comes across a photo of Stefan and Elena together. Disgusted, she taps the screen only to zoom in and see Elena wearing what was once her necklace.

She storms the gym wanting to know what the “doppelganger bitch” did with her necklace. When Elena says she doesn’t have it, Rebecca pounces, sinking in fangs. Klaus intervenes, and Elena admits Katherine stole the necklace.

Klaus maintains cool composure, but immediately determines Bonnie has an arbitrary 20 minutes to fix things. If she doesn’t have an answer by then, he’ll compel Stefan to feed on Elena.

Flipping back to The whiny Matt Show, he goes to grab his gym bag before meeting up with Bonnie. (His friend may die, and the guy needs to pick up his clothes before doing research?) Only his clothes have been strewn in a trail, breadcrumb-style, leading him to the pool. He finds his keys at the bottom. Vicki is trying to get his attention, and when a text from her appears on his phone, he calls Bonnie suggesting he knows how to get answers from Vicki. Because he’s an idiot, his solution is to drown himself and have Bonnie save him via CPR. That way he’ll have come back from the dead and be able to talk to Vicki’s ghost.

And, yes, he completely follows through. The dumbass is lucky Bonnie got there in time to save his ass.

Back in the country, Damon discovers Katherine has taken his phone. Once it is returned to him, he sees Bonnie has been texting about Klaus. Damon immediately decides to go back. So much for Katherine’s plan to get him far enough away to not be able to return. She tries to convince him to stay, suggesting the Damon she knew wouldn’t be that stupid. And, Damon’s response warmed my heart—maybe even the highlight of the episode: “I wouldn’t have done it for you.”

The minutes are ticking away in the gym and Elena tries to convince Stefan to fight the compulsion. She’s so sure that when time’s up he’ll be able to fight it because he loves her. He calls bullshit. It’s not that she hasn’t been a source of strength for him, but the more blood he gets, the more he wants. He warns her once he gets a taste of hers, she will be dead.

Upon returning from the dead, Matt has a message from Vicki. He says hybrids will always die as long as Elena lives. Klaus overhears all this, calculating his plans to save his hybrids.

Time runs out. Stefan resists the compulsion long enough to tell Elena to run. She makes a break for it, but is caught by Klaus. Stefan stakes himself with a broom, but Klaus won’t allow him an easy out. He urges Stefan to turn off his humanity. When he refuses, Klaus compels him to turn it off then baits him to drink from Elena. And he does.

Tyler has woken and is in transition. He needs to drink blood to survive, but as we know from earlier episodes that usually just quickens hybrids’ deaths. Klaus arrives and hands over a vial of Elena’s blood. Rebecca has to hold Caroline back as Tyler writhes and screams, transforming into a hybrid. It works!

Elena isn’t dead! They may have played like she could be, but I don’t think anyone really thought we’d lose the main character. She awakes in a hospital bed. She’s incredibly weak because of blood loss, but instead of giving her transfusions, the hospital is bagging up blood from her at Klaus’s behest.

It turns out Elena’s blood is the solution to creating hybrids. Klaus knew he couldn’t trust the original witch’s word because she hated him so much. His answer was to do the opposite. Additionally, with a bit of prying from his sister, we learn his motivations for making hybrids may have more to do with loneliness than domination. That’s something I hope to see explored further.

Klaus was just planning to pack up Elena and Tyler and leave town, when Damon arrives outside the hospital. As Klaus moves to kill him, Damon plays the Michael card. Klaus immediately stops. Damon says he and Katherine found Michael and he’s now their leverage. Klaus disappears near instantaneously. I’m sure it’s not the last we’ve seen of him, but I still wanted to cheer for Damon.

Damon comes for Elena in TVDHe rushes to Elena’s bedside, unhooks the blood-gathering IVs and carries her out of the hospital. We keep seeing this romantic gesture on TVD this season. First Tyler carrying a weakened Caroline to safety; now we get to see Damon in that same role. And, yes, I love it.

Back at the Salvatore house, Damon offers to take Elena’s memories, but she says she needs to remember it all. He extends the necklace to her, but instead of taking it she says, “He’s really gone this time. I watched it happen.”

She’s resigned that Stefan is gone. And I’m a bit impressed. I thought she’d take the compulsion element as another reason to save him. Instead, her focus now is why Damon wasn’t there. Instead of answering, he vows to never leave her again.

And then Stefan shows up and spoils the moment. This is no humanity Stefan, and he’s back because Klaus asked him to keep an eye on Elena. She’s under his “protection” now. When asked how he got it, he points out it’s his house. But it’s actually Elena’s (remember the legal switcheroo?), which begs the question, will she just rescind his invite?

Closing out this episode is Jeremy and Katherine discovering Michael’s tomb. They bust in, find he’d been chained, but he wakes upon arrival. Next week is sure to be good with the liberation of a vampire who’s also a hunter.


  • Two hot kisses—though the edge on that one goes to Damon and Katherine. It was so wrong and so hot.
  • Damon spurning Katherine, rushing to save Elena.
  • Stefan’s appearance at the house at the very end. If that didn’t up the complication factor for potential Damon/Elena action, I don’t know what will.


Seriously, Mystic Falls? Where did you come up with those pranks? Shameful.

  • Matt. I get it. He’s human. It sucks knowing about all the paranormal stuff. Life is weird. Sucky. Quit pulling me down, man.
  • Complete lack of shirtless goodness. There were a couple plausible cases for it with Matt, but nope. No man candy this episode.

So, readers, what did you love about this episode, “The Reckoning”? Hate? Did the horrible pranks rile you? Did you love seeing Damon truly over Katherine? Gush in the comments.

(Damon/Elena image courtesy of tariq-omar via Tumblr; Damon image courtesy of mellystumbir via Tumblr)


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. She may also have a crush on Ian Somerhalder. He’s her off-season Alexander Skarsgard.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Before this episode I'd felt the shift from Stefan/Elena to Damon/Elena was happening too quickly and not naturally enough. But Damon carrying her out of the hospital...*sigh* That was lovely. And now Damon and Stefan's roles have been almost (note the almost) COMPLETELY reversed as of that last scene, and wow. That was fascinating. Anticipating watching this play out.

But. Back to that "almost." Just last week Damon killed Alaric on a whim! Is he really ready for a relationship with Elena? I'd be fine with Damon always being faster to kill than Stefan was in defense of the people he loves. He's always seen things in a more black and white way than Stefan. You're on his side or you're not. You're loyal or you're not. Etc. But the Damon who kills people because he feels like it is not the Damon I'm hoping to see end up with Elena.

I understand that Matt feels left out, I really do, but dude. There are worse things. Get over yourself! At least you don't go through an insanely painful transformation into a wolf and have to chain yourself up every month. Tyler is CURSED, not gifted.

Which brings me to... Tyler's a hybrid! OMG! I'm glad he's immortal and that he won't be as easily pushed around by the others now, but I kinda really liked the vampire/wolf dynamic between him and Caroline. And they were more equal like that, I thought. But I'm going down with that 'ship, so I guess I'll just have to see how this all plays out...
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
Oh, I adore Damon's black-and-whiteness. I do worry, from your descrips, that TVD will go off the rails True Blood-style. Please stay sane, showrunners. Thank you.
3. ChelseaMueller
@redline_ - Do you think that Tyler and Caroline will end up sharing bags of blood now, since he's part vampire? I'm a bit spooked by his comment that he feels "better" as a hybrid.

Curious to see how Damon's black-and-white outlook will play into Stefan staying around Elena now -- as the bad guy.
Heather Waters
4. HeatherWaters
@ChelseaMueller -- I do not know! Yeah, I don't like Tyler's new attitude. It's not him at all. And I worry about the fact that he can turn off his emotions now. We know Tyler has it in him to be, as TVD would say, a dick. What I'd *like* to see come from this is Caroline helping him through the early days of vampirism like she did for him as a baby wolf and as Stefan did for her. Maybe they'll get even closer. That'd be ideal because my favorite part about them is their BFFness. But I have a feeling it's gonna get rocky.

@MFrampton -- I dunno, I'm not too worried about that. True Blood has gotten way, way too looney for me but part of that is because I don't like the characters. Stuff with Jason, for instance, just gets crazier and crazier because the writers enjoy playing up how dumb he is, and that gets old. The writers do some insane stuff on TVD, but you can tell they actually like their characters and, well, so do I.
Shannon Bastian
5. shannonB.
I think Damon is starting to grow up a little bit. He took off with Katherine b/c he was pissed and look what happened. Damon says he turns off his emotions, but I think everything he does (esp. the bad things) is an emotional reaction. Alaric tells him to leave Elena alone and he snaps his neck. Elena tells him she'll always love Stefan so to retaliate he snaps Jeremy's neck. He gets nasty with Elena so she'll think he doesn't care. He may not deal with his emotions well, but they aren't turned off. The 'new' Stefan...that's emotions turned off. When he saw her in the hospital I think (hopefully) he realized what happens when he throws a tantrum.

Would they please just kill Matt already...or make him something else b/c his whining bullshit is just driving me insane.

P.S. I think we just saw the beginning of the end of Tyler/Caroline.
6. ChelseaMueller
Would they please just kill Matt already...or make him something else b/c his whining bullshit is just driving me insane.
*high five to @shannonB.*
Clare 2e
7. clare2e
Okay- know I'm alone on this one, but I felt like the focus on Matt and Prank Night at the high school gym was to maintain the small-town scale and the overall premise that human life is something worth living. If we all think that the super-life is best, there's no stake in losing one's humanity, and we should all hope for Klaus to win and turn us all. I think Matt's on the brink of a character shift, too, and the lead-up to catharsis a little self-pitying, I know. You have to admit he's been boned pretty hard by the last year, and not in the satisfying way that Caro and Tyler seem to be enjoying. I hope his defense/recovery will be to become an interesting human, but every so often, I accept that they just have to redraw the frame around the story: High-schoolers in small town meet Vampires and Werewolves! not just Battle of the Supernatural Titans of Varying Megapowers and Ancientness.

Related nitpick 1: Since Vicki TEXTED Matt at the poolside, why couldn't she have communicated that way what she wanted to tell Bonnie without him drowning himself?! Wallbanger plot logic.

Related nitpick 2: Matt and Bonnie were having pretty relaxed conversations for people who were supposed to be in a "hurry" to save Tyler. They kept coming to a complete stop as they gradually spooled out their sharing time, making Tyler's peril seem pretty survivable. (We know it is, but at least TRY!)

I like that Tyler seems uncomfortably fine and great. If the hybrids survive physically now, it doesn't mean that the transformation is clean. Heck, becoming a werewolf made him have to run off and adapt for a while. I think the mental side effects are yet to be seen, and they'll be bad. Also, because we've all come to love Tyler's tortuous transformations (at least I have), I'm not ruling out more physical trouble causing him more thrashing and screaming scenes of semi-nakedness.

I thought Damon's carrying Elena out of the hospital was way sweeter, more sighworthy and telling than when he promised never to leave, which was somewhat flat to me by comparison.

LOVE new cold Stefan, now that he's not just faking it. Unlike vs. Originals, he and Damon are evenly matched to keep duking it out for dominance. Beyond Elena, will it be his real bromance with Damon, as opposed to the chosen friendship with Klaus, that eventually triumphs? I'm willing to see them battle a while before finding out.

Totally agree with @ChelseaMueller about the legal status of "Elena's" house. Wha?

The implication that Rebecca's a kind of evil, infallible mindreader is interesting, and I, who was not overly thrilled with the Klaus casting, think his careless cruelty here was pretty good and found his distress at the break-up of his bromance convincing.

Game-changer? I think it'll have to be proven to me next week : )
Heather Waters
8. HeatherWaters
@clare2e -- I thought about this episode a lot this weekend...

No, I completely agree with you that one of the goals of the ep was to bring us back to the reality (heh) that these are high school kids and this is really all a metaphor for growing up, etc. Which is awesome, I loved that. Having said that, Matt still annoyed me. Really, dude, you think your life is so hard? How about feeling LUCKY that you're still *alive* when almost none of your friends are?

I do NOT get the texting. That made no sense. Why didn't she text him sooner rather than trying all those other tricks? But some people have been speculating that the ghosts are getting stronger as the season progresses.

Re: Matt and Bonnie. Yeah, no comment. They were not urgent enough for my taste. I think Show was perhaps setting up for some future Matt/Bonnie? (Poor Jeremy.)

Agreed 110% about how Damon carrying Elena out of the hospital was way sweeter than the "Where were you?"/"I'll never leave you again" exchange, which I HATED. Elena for asking and Damon for his answer. Hate.

As Tara pointed out, the last scene with Stefan and Damon was almost a complete reversal of their scenes in the pilot episode. Interesting!

Rebecca/Rebekah (how should we be spelling this chick's name?) is on my shit list for attacking Caro and Tyler, but at the same time I think it's awesome that she's so FIERCE. If only she were on the side I wanted her to be on (namely, Team Tyler/Caroline, tee hee).

Saved the Tyler stuff for last (saw someone dub him Prius!Tyler over the weekend, which made me laugh, so I'm gonna adopt that for talking about his new hybrid status). The pro is that he's immortal. Yay. The cons, though...I fear there are many. Prius!Tyler is stronger than Caroline, which I do not like. Also, this means he's a bigger target. I fear all the talk I've heard about him being on "borrowed time." Though I will say I thought the same was true of Caroline after she was turned, and she's still here and better than ever. But mostly I fear for C/T. He was acting WEIRD in that last scene, and I'm really worried he'll go dark and/or revert to his old asshat ways. I LOVE Tyler right now. As many have pointed out, he's totally the girl in the C/T relationship, and I don't want that to change.
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