A murderous mother who thinks it’s her duty to annihilate her offspring… Some troublesome Originals… A pretty doppelganger that everyone wants to keep alive… There is no way that “All My Children” could have a happy ending.

The Cold Light of Day
It’s the morning after the ball, and everyone is sad. You can tell by the music and the dramatic lighting.

Elena calls first one Salvatore, then the other. Stefan, busy writing in that long-absent diary, ignores the call, but Damon picks up. Of course, Damon is still lying naked next to Rebekah, so this isn’t the nicest thing he could have done.

Elena then goes over to the Salvatore house and meets the semi-naked Rebekah and Damon at the door. Awkward… Oddly, Elena gets past her jealousy (temporarily) in order to explain Esther’s murder plans to Damon. Damon is cool with the massacre of Klaus and family, but Elena has a guilty conscience about hurting Elijah after he saved her.

Over at the Original Hybrid House, Elijah finds Esther’s burned sage and realizes that something is up. Not that the other Originals care. Finn is off giving new definition to the term “momma’s boy,” Klaus is drawing and Kol is just being bored and irritating. Fortunately for all, Kol convinces Klaus to go out to the bar with him. This leaves Elijah to be suspicious with Rebekah. She isn’t willing to accept that their mother wants to hurt them, but Elijah remains unconvinced.

As he should be.

Unnatural Orders
Elena rants to Bonnie about Damon, while the witch fails to make that burning-sage spell work. When Elena pauses for breath, Bonnie explains that Esther only has power by channeling the Bennett line’s cumulative power. Not only that, but Esther has enlisted Bonnie and Abby to perform the Original-killing spell that very night to coincide with the full Moon.
Elena’s guilt grows with the arrival of Elijah at her door. He takes her for a drive through the woods (how he gets a large SUV through the trees is a true mystery) and indulges in a trip down memory lane. Of course, while recounting the wonders of 1000 years ago, he totally lies by talking about wild horses. No horses in North America before Spanish colonization, you silly vampire!

Anyway. Elijah also talks about the extensive network of caves and how, by hiding from the werewolves in them, they had evidence of the balance of nature. Continuing this balance, Elijah notes that Elena is unbalanced when lying, as she did about his mother. After about five seconds of protest, Elena admits everything.

And then Elijah stomps the pair into a cave.

Leaving Rebekah under orders to kill Elena if he calls (interestingly, Rebekah has cell service in the cave while Elena does not), Elijah heads to the Salvatores’ house to enlist their support in stopping the curse. Damon and Stefan are told they must break the Bennett bloodline, aka kill a Bennett, by 9:06pm (before the full Moon at 9:07pm).

While Elijah is still there, the boys seem to agree, but of course they have qualms. Stefan refrains from drinking bagged blood, while Damon points out that they can just dagger one of the Originals. They’re all linked now, so daggering one will effectively dagger them all. A vampire can’t do the deed though, so this part of the scheme will need to be outsourced.

Fun Times at the Mystic Grill
Alaric and Meredith are trying really hard to be irresponsible and drunk — and discussing how Alaric’s attacker was probably a vampire — except that those same vampires keep getting in their way. First Damon calls to be worried about Elena. And then Kol and Klaus show up for their fun times.

Caroline arrives at the bar as well and not-flirts with Klaus to lure the lovesick hybrid outside. He follows her across the street, being totally charming and utterly irresistible in a way that is really, really disturbing. Caroline, however, resists just fine. Which is exactly why Klaus adores her.

Kol isn’t doing as well inside. He tries to flirt with Meredith over pool, but she’;s not interested. Alaric steps in, being all manly, but Kol ignores him. This is good, because Alaric is only there to dagger the poor boy.

Immediately, we see Finn and Rebekah fall down, virtually daggered. Alas for the plan, Klaus only feels a bunch of dagger-like pain. He leaves Caroline on her curb and rushes behind the Grill to find Damon, Stefan and Alaric moving Kol’s body. In seconds, Kol is revived and Alaric is knocked out again.

Klaus would have kept up the destruction, had Elijah not shown up right then. He points out that the Salvatores are still necessary in order to stop Mommy from killing the whole family. This kindness toward the Salvatores is somewhat mitigated by Elijah then insisting that Damon and Stefan kill a Bennett even sooner than the 9:06 deadline.

Witchery and Bitchery
Meanwhile, Esther has summoned the Bennetts to the Witch House for some Original-killing fun. Bonnie and Abby look understandably perturbed by all this, but Esther insists that she’s just using the Bennett bloodline to quiet the spirits.

The spell turns out to be quite complicated. Esther has to first turn all of her children into humans — rendering them nice and killable. And then she’ll kill Finn, causing the others to die via the link. The Bennetts are a little shocked that Finn would sacrifice himself, but the old vampire sees it as a blessing to escape the shame of his curse.

Rebekah, down in the caves, does not share her brother’s death wish. She wants to live long enough to torment Elena continuously. The torment is made a little more difficult by Elena escaping to the “No Vampires” cavern to avoid the bitchy Original. No matter — Rebekah just fetches some gasoline and matches.

Poor Elena very nearly is burnt to death before she has an epiphany. Of course Rebekah isn’t going to just kill her! They have a lovely heart-to-heart that ends with Rebekah ripping off the necklace (will Elena get it back now?) and confirming that her feelings were super-hurt by Elena’s backstabbing.

Stefan and Damon drive up to the Witch House and waste a few precious minutes sitting in the car and chatting. They come to the realization — finally! — that all of this is about saving Elena. If they just let her die, everything would end simply.

But they can’t just let her die.

To up the drama of this moment, Stefan has actually been reverting to his old, nice-guy ways for awhile now. He hasn’t even had a sip of human blood since the night he almost drove Elena off the bridge! Damon points out that only one brother has to be a Bennett killer. The boys flip for that dishonor, but we don’t see the result.

The three Original brothers converge on the magic circle where Esther and Finn have lots of fire going. Esther keeps them at a distance physically — with her circle as a barrier — and emotionally — by telling them she’s been aching to kill them all for 1000 years.

This is a crappy family reunion.

Abby and Bonnie are missing it though, having run into the Witch House at the Originals’ approach. Mother and daughter get separated, and Bonnie meets Stefan in the basement. She’s scared by Stefan’s explanation of things, but it’s going much worse for Abby. Damon pops up behind Mama Bennett and snaps her neck.

Presumably, Damon has also managed to feed some vampire blood to Abby, because she is now set to be a vampire.

Damon’s violent act has an immediate effect outside. Esther’s flaming circle flares up like crazy as she screams. And then the flames are gone. As are Esther and Finn.

The Originals are saved!

How the Endings Still Suck for Almost Everyone
Elena, having been released by Rebekah when Esther’s curse failed, tries to visit Bonnie. But Bonnie isn’t interested. The young witch stays in her room, crying over her undead mother, while Caroline guards the door. It kind of breaks Elena’s heart to just leave, but she has to.

It sucks sometimes to be the one who’s always saved.

When she goes home, there’s a letter from Elijah that positively drips with guilt. He has realized that Mother Esther was right — he’s a monster who would put Elena in danger to save his family.

It sucks sometimes to be the only super-moral Original vampire.

Things are also sucking at the Salvatore house, where Damon washes up from the killing in silent sadness. Stefan lets him know that Elena is safe. At Damon’s minimal response, the younger Salvatore points out that he had lost the coin toss and it should have been Stefan who killed Abby. Damon just says that Stefan had to be good, because he still loved Elena. Damon loves her too, of course, but he decides to be the hero — by reverting to the role of bad guy.

It sucks sometimes to be the brother who has to lose in order to be good.

At the Hybrid House, Klaus burns some of his Caroline drawings and is surprised by the arrival of Rebekah. It turns out that Rebekah is just as co-dependent as Klaus and doesn’t want to leave him.

But she only gives their bittersweet unity a moment before dropping a bomb on her brother. Down in the caves, Rebekah looked more closely at those ancient paintings. One of them depicted a white oak tree — the only thing that could truly kill an Original — 300 years after the last one was supposedly destroyed. Somewhere in the woods, there’s a tree that could spell the family’s doom.

It sucks sometimes to be an Original.

Alaric wakes up at Meredith’s house, where she took him after Klaus’ attack. While Meredith sleeps nearby, Alaric gingerly heads to the kitchen to find aspirin for his cracked ribs. He sees some medical records on the table and randomly decides to snoop through them. The records aren’t so interesting, but something else is buried in the pile: a dagger. A shiny, deadly-looking dagger.

Before Alaric can figure out what this means, he hears a click behind him. Meredith has a gun, pointed at Alaric’s head. “You weren’t supposed to see that,” the psycho doctor explains.

It sucks sometimes to be Alaric.

(Image courtesy of The CW)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.