It’s time for another Mystic Falls Decade Dance! Which means, of course, that lots of people will die. That’s just what happens at these dances. Who dies and how? Find out in this recap of “Do Not Go Gentle.”
Deception and Party-Planning
Esther is still hanging out in Rebekah’s body. Alaric is still being secretly evil. Understandably, they don’t share this information with Klaus (who just wants to get out of town) and Damon (who just wants to hang), respectively.
The anti-vampire schemers meet in the coffin room, where we learn that Esther/Rebekah gave Klaus a fake stake and hid the real one. She’ll get it to Alaric (for the killing and all) as soon as she’s back in her Esther-body and therefore not vulnerable to white-oak stakes.
Fortunately for plot movement, all this body transfer requires is an ash-dipped stabbing from Alaric.
As soon as Rebekah drops, Esther hops out of her coffin and takes Alaric out to one of those wooded tombs we see so often. Since this was where Klaus ripped out Esther’s heart back in the day, there is a lot of magic. Esther uses the magic to fuse Alaric’s ring to the white-oak stake. Now, instead of burning up with one Original killing, the stake will endure indefinitely.
Meanwhile, there’s this ’20s dance. Since Rebekah has been possessed and/or dead throughout the setup period, Caroline is in charge. In between freak-outs about hanging decorations, Caroline makes it clear that she remains a fan of Stefan over Damon. Elena objects that she did, after all, just kiss Damon. Thus, dating Stefan might be awkward.
This doesn’t matter, because Caroline is a fan of The Bachelor and just sees this as taking turns. Ah, reality TV, what have you done to the young people of today?
But Caroline’s reality-TV advice works: Elena calls Stefan to awkwardly ask him to the dance. Stefan accepts, even though this means enduring Damon’s sarcasm.
At least Damon has other problems to occupy himself. It turns out that Alaric didn’t actually fool Damon — the vampire found Alaric’s uneaten herbs and pays a visit to Meredith at the hospital to figure out the next step.
Dances Are Bad!!!
Dapper Stefan arrives to pick up flapper Elena for the dance. They exchange many romantic and longing looks as Stefan pins her corsage. The loving moment is only a little spoiled by Stefan pointing out that people have a tendency to die at these dances.
But not this time, right? Right?
At the dance, all of the modern teenagers inexplicably know how to dance the Charleston. Caroline is busy warning Matt that Elena is poison to everyone around her. Matt doesn’t seem too concerned, but it doesn’t matter because Tyler shows up to distract Caroline with dangerous dancing.
Stefan and Elena begin to dance too, just in time for a convenient change to a slow song. Dancing and heartfelt I-don’t-need-to-know-because-I-was-such-a-jerk conversation ensues. The moment is interrupted, as it so often is, by the appearance of Damon. All is not well. Of course.
They leave the gym, followed by Jeremy (who bumps into Bonnie and her date, Jamie, en route for some awkward ex stuff). Damon explains to them all that Alaric has gone full-on evil and might have to be killed (mostly to save Elena, but also because Alaric wouldn’t like being evil). Jeremy objects to the killing of his guardian, and Elena has to follow him outside to discuss matters.
That’s when Esther shows up. She wants Elena. Again. But nobody else — nobody vampire, anyway — can follow, thanks to a magical salt ring around the school. Uh oh…
But there’s still this happy, fun dance, right? Not so much. Bonnie and Jamie have a brief moment of joyful lust making out in an empty classroom, but they’re interrupted by Damon. Caroline and Tyler are enjoying the dance, but they’re interrupted by Klaus. And then Caroline and Klaus are interrupted by Stefan.
The fun is over for tonight.
Fighting Evil with Evil
Esther leads Elena to the tomb in the woods, where Alaric is waiting. At first, Elena thinks that Esther is trying to kill Alaric, but that’s not the case. Not exactly. Esther wants to turn Alaric into an unstoppable, vampire-killing machine along the lines of Original Daddy Mikael.
Although Elena objects, Alaric is cool with the transformation. That’s because, as it turns out, the progressive evil-ization of Alaric was Esther’s fault: Every time he died, she was there to feed his anger and hatred.
The ritual needs Elena’s doppelganger blood, as all good rituals do. Elena tries to refuse, but Esther easily magics it out of the girl and offers Alaric a bowlful. We briefly think that’s all, but nope, Esther has to kill him. It’s vampire (or whatever) time!
Back at the School
Magic is happening at the high school as well. Her fun with Jamie totally ruined for the night, Bonnie tries to chant away the barrier spell around the school. Despite the presence of dozens of candles (which came from where exactly?) and despite Klaus threatening to kill Jamie, Bonnie can’t do it.
Fortunately, the group does have a couple of enthusiastic (and dumb) humans available, so Jeremy and Matt agree to go look for Elena. But where exactly? Using Jeremy’s blood, Bonnie attempts a locator spell. Esther’s power blocks the attempt, but the strength of that power tells Alaric that his mother is at the mystically strong location where she died.
Meanwhile, back in the gym, Caroline and Tyler talk about death and then make out.
The Best-Laid Plans…
In a move that makes little difference at this point, Elena de-stakes Alaric. Esther says that Alaric will wake up himself so that there can be farewells. This really doesn’t console Elena. She and Esther have a heated discussion about whether killing all vampires — the good and the bad — is better or worse than letting the vampires exist and kill. While the debate is not resolved, Esther does kindly (?) tell Elena that at least Aunt Jenna died “pure” and therefore found peace in the afterlife.
Esther tries to leave at this point but is stopped by Jeremy, Matt and some weapons. The witch mocks this show of force and begins to turn the weapons on the boys. That’s when Alaric kills her.
Never turn your back on an undead killer. Never.
Guilt and Blame
Klaus blames Stefan for releasing his mother. Stefan tries to say they’ll fix it. Klaus gets nostalgic about when he and Stefan used to be like brothers. Damon objects. Bonnie says the barrier spell is broken — Esther being dead and all — but won’t accept Damon’s thanks. Apparently Bonnie hasn’t gotten over Damon killing Abby or something.
Back in the tomb, Alaric announces that he won’t complete the transition to become a Super Vampire. Jeremy is not OK with this and does the sullen teenager thing. Alaric counters this with a manly hug before Jeremy flees for the woods. This leaves Elena to realize that — yet again — it’s all her fault. Alaric tells her not to worry though, since being her guardian was the closest he came to actual happiness in life.
That helps a bit.
Emotions Can Be Kind of Creepy on The Vampire Diaries
Elena and Alaric go out of the tomb to find most of the cast standing in a line with candles. Elena joins them, and everyone stares at Alaric until he goes back into the tomb to die.
Klaus goes home alone to de-dagger Rebekah and to taunt his dead mother. Surprisingly, this does not make Esther rise up from the dead to smack Klaus. Not yet anyway.
Jamie takes Bonnie home, where she’s all sad and he’s all stoic. Because Bonnie’s never-seen father is away, Jamie offers to stay with her. Yes, she wants that very much.
Matt and Jeremy break into the Grille and engage in underage drinking in Alaric’s honor. This is a surprisingly fitting tribute to Mystic Falls’ favorite alcoholic.
Elena has gone back to the school to clean out Alaric’s weapon stash before a janitor raises awkward questions. Stefan distracts Elena from borderline hysteria by taking her to the gym and reminding her that feelings are OK, just like she told him earlier this year. Elena doesn’t find this terribly great advice at the moment, but at least it gives her leave to cry in Stefan’s arms.
On Meredith’s advice, Damon goes to send off Alaric with bourbon. The two frenemies banter and drink a little before Alaric passes out. He does seem to be dead at this point.
Because There Has to Be One More Twist
It would all be over now if this weren’t the mess-with-your-head twistiness that is The Vampire Diaries. But because it is, we go back to Bonnie, now sleeping peacefully in Jamie’s boring but strong arms. Whispers wake the witch abruptly to see Esther standing next to the bed. She wants Bonnie to finish the job.
Then Bonnie wakes up. It was all a dream…
A rather drunk Damon stumbles away from Alaric and into the woods. Surprisingly, he meets Bonnie. She is being very weird. And then she is being very violent — using the vampire-brain-twist spell, Bonnie incapacitates Damon and heads into the tomb.
Standing over the remains of Alaric, Bonnie stabs herself and feeds him the blood. Guess he wasn’t quite dead yet! Alaric enjoys his taste and ravages Bonnie’s neck for more. Bonnie falls to the ground as a violent Alaric leaps to his feet, indestructible stake in hand.
Looks like there’s a new vampire in town…
Did you expect Alaric to turn? Will Esther keep controlling Bonnie? Why does anybody bother with dances in Mystic Falls? Share your thoughts below!
(Image courtesy of The CW)