Brace yourselves: Caroline kicks ass. Yes, this once most-detested and useless character is actually getting kind of...awesome. Amazing what dying can do for a person.
"Kill or Be Killed" starts off with a flashback, setting the scene in Florida a year ago. Mason is attacked outside a bar by his drunk and seriously angry friend Jimmy, who believes that Mason is messing around with his girlfriend. Mason tries to talk sense into his buddy, but Jimmy is having none of it, going right into murderous rage mode. During the course of the fight Mason accidentally kills Jimmy, triggering the werewolf curse (if the curse was triggered during a full moon, would the person immediately turn into a wolf? Just wondering). Back in the present, Mason finishes telling the story to Ty and then immediately asks Ty to fulfill his end of the deal by telling Mason where the moonstone is. Ty leads him to his dad's hidden safe, but of course the stone isn't inside. Mason's out of luck.
Elsewhere Elena fills Jeremy in on the Lockwood curse situation, but she doesn't want him to get involved. As soon as Jeremy leaves Stefan suddenly appears. He and Elena are still pretending to be broken up (see last episode), so they go over their strategy for the day. They agree that when Stefan says "I can't do this anymore, Elena" it means he loves her, and when she says "Fine, Stefan, whatever" it means she loves him too. You'd think it would be cheesy but it's actually kind of sweet. I don't know what's happening to me.
Meanwhile, Caroline is chagrined to find out she has to spend a day with her mom--who has actually taken time off work for once to participate together in the Mystic Falls Historical Society Volunteer Day. Not only is Caroline going to be in close proximity to a charter member of the anti-vampire Council, but mom can tell something's up with her, even if Caroline refuses to talk. Nothing like a little mother-daughter friction to make a tense situation worse.
At the event, Stefan approaches Mason to apologize for Damon's "impulsive" behaviour. Mason's not interested. Stefan tries reasoning with him, pointing out that neither of them want innocent people getting hurt. Mason decides to be a complete idiot and say that Damon should watch his back. Stefan then gets his menace on (love it when he does that) and points out that Mason's only really strong during the full moon and, oh yeah, there are two of them and only one of him, so he's the one who should watch his back. Grudgingly Mason shakes hands with Stefan, agreeing to a truce. Mason then runs like a bitch to Liz, where he outs the Salvatores. At first Liz refuses to believe that her friend Damon could possibly be a vampire, but Mason says he can prove it and the doubt starts growing.
At The Grill (what--is he too good to volunteer?) Jeremy approaches Ty to see how he's doing since his dad's funeral. Ty ends up inviting Jeremy and a couple of girls (Aimee and Sarah) back to his house since his mom is out all day and the bar is fully stocked. As they're hanging out Sarah, who has a crush on Jeremy, notices his sketchbook and asks to see his drawings. At first Jeremy refuses but when the others chime in he relents. It turns out his sketchbook is full of pictures of werewolves. I just want to take a moment to point out what a good job has been done with Jeremy's artwork--it actually looks like a talented teen--not a trained artist--produced it. I have a pet peeve about artistic characters being shown putting the final touches on a perfectly executed drawing or painting. Jeremy's work is not perfect, which is exactly as it should be. Well done.
Anyway, Ty reacts to Jeremy's drawings and invites Jeremy to see a project he's been working on. Taking him into his dad's office, Ty pushes Jeremy against the wall, nearly choking him as he demands to know what the pictures are about. Finally Jeremy manages to gasp that he knows what Ty is.
Back at Volunteer Day Damon and Mason have a brief "friendly" encounter. When Stefan shows up to make sure Damon is behaving (is it just me or has Stefan taken on the protective, 'big brother' role now?) Damon asks him what's up with all the fake fighting between him and Elena. That's another reason I love Damon: he's smart as well as pretty. Stefan just tells him to drop it, which Damon does gladly and turns to accept a glass of lemonade from one of the girls serving it. The next thing we know Damon is choking as Liz watches. The lemonade is full of vervain. Crap.
As Elena and Caroline sit near the falls, talking about the breakdown of Elena and Stefan's relationship, Caroline suddenly notices her mom acting agitated. In fact, Liz is calling for backup, but all she tells Caroline is that she's sorry to ditch her for work but it's really important. Sensing that something is wrong, Caroline and Elena move to higher ground where Caroline can better hear what's going on.
Recovered from the tainted lemonade, Damon is infuriated and ready to kill Mason. Stefan holds him back, although he agrees they have to deal with him. They notice Mason heading into the woods and figure this is their opportunity. It would be pretty terrifying to be surrounded by two vampires you know are intent on the kill, and Mason looks suitably afraid. But then he ducks and Damon and Stefan are repeatedly shot. The wooden bullets paralyze them long enough for Liz to inject them with vervain. Then they're carried to the old Lockwood slave quarters/cellar. Liz orders Mason to leave since killing vampires is Council business. Reluctantly, he does.
Outside again, Mason runs into Elena and Caroline. Elena asks if he's seen Stefan and he responds that he's seen both brothers. Then he smugly offers to tell Liz what Caroline is. Before Caroline can get to him, he's grabbed Elena and threatens to snap her neck. This is where Caroline starts kicking ass. Betting she can take him, she wipes the smug right off his face without getting a scratch on Elena. And hence begins my newfound appreciation for Caroline. She and Elena continue tracking the brothers.
By now Damon has woken up and Liz is torturing him with wooden bullets to try to get him to talk--about how many other vampires there are and how they've managed to walk in the sun. She promises to make it drawn out and painful if he doesn't talk. Damon is sincerely confused about why she's doing this--she's his friend. Liz responds that their friendship was based on lies (I guess since her husband left her for another man she'd be sensitive about that sort of thing). Meanwhile Stefan isn't moving at all, not even when Liz shoots him too (apparently just for the hell of it). Realizing that Damon isn't going to talk, Liz decides to raise the stakes. (Get it? She's going to kill them.)
Luckily Caroline hears this and tells Elena, although she's too afraid to do anything, worried that her mom will find out what she is. So Elena takes off alone. But a moment later Caroline is in the cellar zipping around faster than can be seen. Blonde hair flying, she grabs one of the deputies and bites him, then uses him as a shield when the other deputy stupidly decides to empty his gun into her (when will TV cops learn?) The shooter is rewarded with a broken neck. Then Caroline steps into the light and with a thoroughly bloodstained mouth says "hi, mom." Classic.
The next scene is one I'm sure Sheriff Liz never thought she'd be part of: Damon feeds on a dead deputy while Elena comforts Stefan, and Caroline, mouth still bloodstained, watches. Caroline asks her mother if she'll tell anyone. When Liz doesn't answer, Caroline begs her not to tell anyone--not only because she's Liz's daughter but if she doesn't promise to keep quiet Damon will kill her. Liz then urges Damon to kill her because she can't take this anymore. It sure looks like Damon is about to finish Liz, looming over her and reminding her that she was going to make it drawn-out and painful. He grabs Liz and everyone panics, pleading with him not to kill her. But he's perfectly calm, and tells them no one's going to be killed--"She's my friend." Then he points out that they have to clean up the mess (i.e., dead bodies) in the cellar.
Back at Lockwood central Jeremy tells Ty he read about werewolves and the Lockwoods in Johnathon Gilbert's journals, and Ty ends up telling Jeremy everything he knows about the family curse, even showing him the moonstone. Unfortunately, the girls choose that moment to rejoin the guys and decide to play keep-away with the pretty rock. Sarah grabs it and runs up the stairs, hoping Jeremy will follow. Instead Ty goes after the stone. Can you see where this is headed? Sarah, drunk, loses her footing and falls head over heels down the stairs. The other three look on, horrified, and freak out over Sarah's prone figure. Just when I was looking for Ty's eyes to go wolfy, Sarah opens her eyes and laughs at the others. I have to hand it to The Vampire Diaries--whenever it seems they're taking the obvious route, they end up surprising you. As long as it doesn't get out of hand (the worst storylines come from shows that try too hard to keep their viewers guessing--you know who you are...)
Back at the Salvatores' the gang is dealing with the aftermath of the day. Damon is keeping Liz in the basement until the vervain clears out of her system, at which point he can compel her to forget. When she tells him to keep Caroline away from her because she's not her daughter anymore, Damon speaks up for Caroline, telling Liz she's so wrong.
Meanwhile Stefan is contemplating drinking human blood. He thinks if he takes it in small enough amounts he'll build a tolerance to it, thus becoming stronger while not going insane with blood lust. Elena does not approve. Walking out in a huff, she offers Caroline a ride home and is surprised when Caroline says she's afraid to go home. Caroline finally admits that Katherine's been forcing her to spy on Elena and Stefan, and tells Elena she's terrified of Katherine. Her fear is justified at the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's Caroline who ultimately defeats Katherine. For a newbie, she's already got some mad skills.
As Elena is leaving, Damon lets her know that Stefan didn't end up drinking the "people blood"--but he needs to, and deep down she knows it. After a talk with Stefan, Elena decides Damon was right. But if Stefan's going to start drinking human blood again, she wants to be there with him. She cuts her hand and offers it to Stefan. He drinks and the vampire emerges, but as Elena kisses him it recedes again. Who says those crazy kids can't make it work?
The episode ends with Ty deciding, after nearly killing Sarah, that he wants absolutely nothing to do with werewolves or the family curse (quitter). He hands the moonstone over to Mason, which seems anti-climactic--as well as disappointing--to me. Then again, maybe Ty is crafty enough to have switched the stone (probably not, though). Later Mason joins someone in a darkened car. Turns out it's Katherine. We return to the flashback of a year ago and discover that, after Mason kills Jimmy, Katherine is there to comfort him. However would Jimmy have gotten the idea that Mason was fooling around with his girl? Poor Jimmy. And Mason too, who is clearly still being manipulated by Katherine. At first she's annoyed that he's distracting himself from looking for the moonstone by going after the Salvatores. But that frown gets turned upside-down when Mason hands over the stone. They celebrate with a little tonsil hockey. Cue ominous music and cut to credits.
Who thought Katherine was behind Mason's search for the moonstone? Not me. The girl's up to something and I think it's a little too elaborate a plan to simply be about getting Stefan back. So far so good this season. I can hardly wait for the next episode.
Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark eyes and facial veins and prominent fangs.
Strengths: Enhanced hearing. Super strength and speed. Ability to compel humans.
Weaknesses: Vervain, stakes, wooden bullets (paralyze), sunlight (for those without "daywalking" rings). Blood lust.
Mythology: Vampires who drink human blood are stronger than those who only feed on animals.
Liz: I know you think I don't notice these things but I do. What's going on with you?
Caroline: You know, there's pretending to be a mother and then there's reality. Let's not push our luck, okay?
Damon: What are you doing?
Stefan: Negotiating peace on your behalf.
Damon: [whiny] But I don't want peace.
Stefan: Well, consider it opposite day.
Damon: Please tell me you don't seriously think a handshake will solve our problem.
Stefan: No, actually I think that the first chance Mason Lockwood gets he's gonna drive a stake through your heart, and then through mine. All because you took it upon yourself to try to kill him. So thank you--because we don't have enough problems.
Damon: I heard you talked to Stefan.
Mason: Nice guy.
Damon: Yeah. A lot nicer than me.
Mason: Nice is overrated.
Damon: That's what I think.
The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 5 "Kill or Be Killed." Written by Mike Daniels. Directed by Jeff Woolnough. From The CW.