Leave it to The Vampire Diaries to deliver a terrific episode already filled with tension, emotion and intrigue, then kick it into another gear right before the credits roll.
It's almost as if the episode doesn't begin until around the 8:58 mark.
A week ago, Klaus manifested himself for the first time, possessing in the body of Alaric in the closing moments. Tonight, Elena ended "The Last Dance" with the requisite game-changer.
Theme of the week: How far would you go for someone you love?
Bonnie, apparently, will go the whole way and not think twice about it. While her "death" didn't stick this week, Ms. Bennett has no qualms about sacrificing herself.
The amazing thing is that the reverse is also true. Her desperate resurrection of Elijah shows that she'd rather put herself at greater risk than let Bonnie die killing Klaus.
While last week's episode, "Know Thy Enemy," threw so many new twists at us that it required considerable effort to make sense of it all, this one was more of a slow-builder.
For a half hour, we knew what was coming. Bonnie, Damon and Stefan were on the lookout, while Klaus, disguised as a lowly history teacher, was coming for Elena.
The only question was how, and whether the spell by his large witch friend Maddox would allow him to withstand Bonnie's powers and eliminate her as an obstacle.
This was his endgame this week, not torturing Katherine or revealing himself for Elena (although he did both). It was all about getting rid of Bonnie for Klalaric.
He accomplished that goal, too ... or so we thought.Ultimately, and somewhat surprisingly, after a dramatic, spark-filled confrontation, she and Damon pulled a fast one on the oldest vampire in the history of time.
Klaus seemed to fall for this a little too easily, but I'll chalk that up to the limitations posed by taking over a human body and the desire not to push his luck.
[SIDE NOTE: Matt Davis was so awesome tonight. Nina Dobrev consistently does a great job portraying two characters, and it was fun seeing Matt try this out.]
Don't get me wrong, I almost bought that Bonnie kicked it, too. The battle wasn't quite epic enough for a girl with the power of 100 witches to go down in, though.
Plus, it's TVD. The rules change as we go, right?
It's somewhat unclear how Bonnie faking her death fits into the Salvatores master plan. Will she be more effective against him with the element of surprise later?
With Elijah now poised to rise again, will he join the team's bid to Kill Klaus? Or did Elena just allow a total wild card back into the mix when she removed the dagger?
We certainly know where one vampire's allegiances lie. The reveal of Damon's plot to dupe Klaus dovetailed with an emphatic, profound declaration to Elena.
Even his plan saved Bonnie this time, make no mistake, he said: "If it comes down to you and the witch again I will gladly let Bonnie die. I will always choose you."
Wow. His jealousy toward Stefan is always just beneath the surface, but these words - and those eyes - show his attraction to Elena is more palpable than ever.
How will it play out? Will Stelena remain intact throughout this season and beyond? Even amid all the mythology revealed in recent weeks, the romantic subplot lingers.
Overall, it was a strong episode with an eerie suspense surrounding Klaus and plenty of emotion as the characters reacted to forces influencing them and to each other.
A few other questions, thoughts and points worth mentioning:
- Where did Klaus go? Pretty convenient for the death-staging plot that he peaced out so fast. Perhaps Kat's self-mutilation needed some supervision?
- We've been promised deaths of three strong characters this spring. We've seen two in as many weeks now, but it's debatable if either counts!
- The Mystic Falls mascot is the Timberwolf? Did we know that before? Speaking of athletic canines, when do you suppose Tyler will return?
- While popularized much later by Tiffany and Pearl Jam, respectively, "I Think We're Alone Now" and "Last Kiss" were originally '60s hits.
- Matt and Caroline: Not much to report in terms of plot, but great attire!
- Damon has such great dance moves, doesn't he?
- Nice AT&T plug, guys. Totally natural.
What did you think of tonight's episode of The Vampire Diaries? Discuss!