29 October 2010

The Vampire Diaries S2 E7 "Masquerade"

Step aside, ladies--the men are scheming.

Spoilers Ahead

Elena is Katherine's doppelganger! Or is it the other way around? Maybe it's something else altogether. There's so much going on in "Masquerade" you almost miss it. But it's a damn fine episode and certainly a turning-point in the season.

We start off with Damon handing Caroline a drink to calm her nerves. The poor girl is freaked after seeing Katherine at The Grill and being ordered to deliver a message to the Salvatores: hand over the moonstone at the masquerade ball or she'll tear the town apart until it rains blood. You know, some people just say please.

One of the things I like about Damon is his intelligence and insight. That comes in handy now as he recognizes that Katherine is acting out of desperation and fear. Realizing this is their opportunity he resolves to kill her at the ball. But apparently he'll have to get in line because Stefan decides he wants to do the honours. And Jeremy, who shows up still in a vengeful mood after Jenna's self-skewering, also wants in on the action. Add Alaric (with all his nifty staking weapons) and a slightly reluctant witch (Bonnie) and you've got a well-oiled Katherine-killing machine. She doesn't stand a chance.

Except she does. It turns out she's got a witch of her own on retainer, and said witch (aka Lucy) gets to be Katherine's plus-one at the masquerade. It seems Katherine doesn't entirely trust the Salvatores. Hey, you don't live hundreds of years by being trusting. She's also planning on attending the ball in the guise of her "dull-as-dishwater doppelganger," Elena (who is too busy staying out of Katherine's way and nursing a recuperating Jenna to attend). May I also just say how amusing I found it that Katherine feels the need to straighten her hair in order to impersonate Elena. Because, you know, if anyone saw Elena with curly hair the first thing they would think is "evil double!" And it's not like it's a costume party or anything. Silliness.

Besides, she shouldn't have even bothered with her hair--the masks worn at the ball are not flattering, particularly to longer tresses. Now we know why masquerades went out of fashion. But Katherine's got more important things on her mind--like confirming with a compelled Matt that he's going to get Ty drunk, pick a fight, and not let up until Ty kills him. Matt dutifully gets the whiskey flowing with Ty, as well as the two girls Ty was hanging out with a couple of episodes ago: Amy (who has a crush on Matt) and Sarah (who likes Ty even though he accidentally knocked her down the stairs).

Meanwhile, our intrepid hunters have also arrived and are setting their plan in motion. Jeremy and Bonnie head upstairs; Caroline wanders off on her own; Alaric is staying at Elena's to keep an eye on her in case Katherine shows up there; and Damon and Stefan strengthen their resolve before splitting up.

Bonnie's got a lot of angst over being a witch ("it never ends well" for people like her). She's also got some major issues with continually being drawn into vampire activities. But as she tells Jeremy, she can't stay out of it because she doesn't want anyone else getting hurt. Talk about putting the world's problems on yourself. I see many years of therapy in Bonnie's future. But I digress. As she and Jeremy head through the crowded room, she suddenly senses something (a presence she has not felt in many years?) Approaching Lucy, Bonnie asks if she knows her. Of course Lucy says no and walks away, but now the witches are on to each other.

Elsewhere, Katherine forces Stefan into dancing with her ('if you don't, I'll hurt someone.') To be honest, I was paying so much attention to the song used in this scene (a great cover by Cruel Black Dove of the Psychedelic Furs' song "Love My Way") that I almost missed what was going on in the scene. But basically Katherine tells Stefan that if he hands over the moonstone no one will get hurt. Stefan insists that they have to go together to retrieve it. Just then Amy comes by looking for Matt and compliments "Elena" on her outfit. Katherine offers to fix Amy's necklace, which she claims has become twisted. The next thing we know she's broken Amy's back. Then she breaks Amy's neck. Kudos to the writers--once again, I didn't see it coming. I love it when I can't predict what's going to happen, and this show never disappoints. Anyway, Katherine hands Amy's body to Stefan and tells him to bring her the moonstone if he doesn't want more blood on his hands.

As all this is happening the real Elena has figured out that something's up--and she wants to know what. Pretending to be going to bed she sneaks out and heads over to the ball.

At the party Stefan thinks they should forget about killing Katherine in light of Amy's murder, but pragmatic Damon calls it collateral damage and insists they still go through with their plan. He texts Jeremy a single word: Now. Jeremy approaches Katherine and tells her to meet Stefan and Damon by the lake. As he prepares to text the next person, Elena arrives, demanding to know what's going on.

As Caroline gazes at Matt from afar (it's not creepy--it's romantic!), she gets a text telling her it's her turn. She starts heading outside and lo and behold, here comes Katherine. Amid many protests and tears, Caroline finally admits that Bonnie has the moonstone, and that she's upstairs in a certain room. As Katherine enters said room Caroline's tears turn to laughter. Turns out her role was to lure Katherine to the room where she is now magically trapped. Enter Stefan with a stake. As Katherine scoffs at him, Damon appears through a doorway behind her and, using a nifty gun that shoots stakes, sends one into her back.

Outside, Elena suddenly screams and lurches forward. A patch of blood appears on her back in the exact spot Katherine was just staked. Interesting. In the room, Stefan stakes Katherine in the arm of all places (to her credit, she's putting up a good fight). Outside, Elena screams again and her arm starts bleeding. Bonnie realizes what's happening and sends Jeremy upstairs to stop Stefan and Damon while she tries to ease Elena's pain.

There's a pretty decent fight going upstairs, with both guys trying to end the much older and stronger Katherine. She manages to turn Damon's hand toward himself and is about to make him stake himself when Stefan lunges at her and pins her down while Damon gets ready to finally stake the bitch. I really wanted him to too, never mind Elena (don't want to know what that says about me) but Jeremy stops him just in time. It turns out Lucy wove a connection spell between Katherine and Elena, so that anything done to Katherine would also happen to Elena (Katherine claims that Elena feels everything she feels--does that include emotions, as well?) To drive the point home, Katherine starts hurting herself just to make Elena suffer. Damon (not Stefan, interestingly) stops her. She demands the moonstone.

Outside again, Bonnie runs off to find Lucy while Jeremy stays with Elena. He offers her his immortality ring, seeing as how she needs it at the moment so much more than he does. We don't see whether she actually takes it, though, so it's just something to keep in mind for now.

In our other major storyline, Matt, Ty, and Sarah are still hanging out and drinking in Ty's dad's office. Suddenly Matt starts antagonizing Ty, insulting his dead father, pouring alcohol over a family photo. At first Ty shows a lot of restraint, but a guy can only take so much. Just as it's about to come to blows, Caroline shows up and separates them. When it becomes clear Matt isn't backing down she neatly knocks him out with an elbow to the face. Preoccupied, neither she nor Ty notices Sarah. Approaching Ty slowly, Sarah says something about Matt failing--and if Matt fails she can't. Katherine is truly thorough. Before he realizes what's happening, Sarah stabs Ty in the shoulder and he reacts by pushing her away hard. Her head hits the desk, also hard. A little too hard. Werewolf curse: activated! Ty should have known: If you could avoid it that easily, it wouldn't be a curse.

Back upstairs, Katherine is still waiting for the moonstone while the guys sit by helplessly. Stefan finally figures out that Katherine originally gave the moonstone to George Lockwood in exchange for him helping her fake her death and escaping. And it only took him 136 years to catch on! But then he starts asking why Katherine faked her death and who is she running from.

My SO mentioned that this scene bothers him because Katherine just sits quietly with the guys, reminiscing and waiting for the moonstone to be delivered, rather than making them suffer, knowing they can't hurt her back for fear of hurting Elena. Good point. One could argue that the Salvatores could just leave the room (unlike Katherine) if they needed to, but you'd think she'd at least try to get a little revenge torment in. At least on Damon if not the supposed love of her life, Stefan. Seems like a wasted opportunity for a so-called big bad. Did she miss that chapter in Supervillainy for Dummies?

Anyway, Bonnie finally finds Lucy and confronts her about the connection spell. Lucy doesn't want to fight. She'll break the spell if they give Katherine the moonstone, but otherwise she's not willing to help out. When Bonnie won't let her walk away she admits that she owes Katherine; otherwise, she'd have nothing to do with her. This time Bonnie grabs her to keep her from leaving the room and then suddenly Bonnie gets a goofy look on her face as Lucy tells her she can trust her and she should hand over the moonstone. A moment later Lucy arrives upstairs with the stone, which she promptly hands over to Katherine.

As Katherine takes hold of the stone she starts choking, soon collapsing. Lucy assures Damon and Stefan that Elena is fine--the connection spell has been broken. She then tells Katherine off for pitting her against a Bennett witch. Apologizing to the guys for her involvement, she turns and leaves. Which leaves us wondering if Katherine's suffering is real or if this is another attempt at faking her own death. I thought Stefan and Damon should have staked her just to be sure.

Before Lucy can get too far, Bonnie catches up with her and asks her what happened. It turns out Lucy is another Bennett--a distant cousin or something (she explained it but all I heard was my mother's aunt twice-removed was your father's sister's brother's grandma...) That's why Bonnie knew she could trust Lucy. Seems a little lame to me--plenty of people can't trust their relatives, let alone ones they've never met before, but maybe there's a Bennett witch code of honour or something. Bonnie doesn't want Lucy to leave, but Lucy claims she needs to get away from all things vampire. Now Bonnie, on the other hand, is apparently good people and needs to be in the middle of the vampires. But not to worry, Lucy lets her know we'll be seeing more of her. I could have done without the whole long-lost relative subplot. As well as the apparent romance that seems to be developing between Jeremy and Bonnie. Meh.

Back to Caroline et al., Caroline's stowed Matt away in her car and is telling Mrs. Lockwood an abridged version of what happened to Sarah. The sheriff is on the way and the adults already believe Sarah's death was simply a tragic accident (well, I guess technically it was, but you know what I mean). Ty is upset and confused. He tries to tell Caroline she doesn't really know what's going on, but Caroline lets him know that yeah, she really does. Whether she comes out of the coffin remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Stefan's happiness at vanquishing the evil ex evaporates pretty quickly when he realizes Elena still doesn't want to get back together with him. She claims she does, but not until she knows that she and the people she loves are safe. I guess that's sensible or something. Just how love should (not) be.

And what has happened to Katherine, you ask? Unfortunately, the guys didn't stake her. Instead, she wakes up in the tomb and quickly discovers she's trapped there, as she was in the room. Damon arrives and lets her know she's where she should have been all along. As he starts sealing her in, she gets frantic, claiming that Elena is her doppelganger and needs to be protected. Damon's response is that he'll protect her. Katherine panics in earnest now, and as she desperately screams "you need me" he finishes sealing her in. Then he walks away. I think I might have said it before but hell hath no fury like a vampire scorned.

I don't know if everyone else is too busy or self-absorbed or what, but for whatever reason no one sees fit to escort the healing-but-still-hurting Elena home. So just as she finishes telling Jeremy she's feeling better and heading home, a masked figure comes out of the shadows. A moment later, Elena's been kidnapped.

Like I said earlier: is Elena really a doppelganger? If she is, what does that mean exactly? If she isn't, what the hell is she? Why would anyone go after her and what would that do to Katherine? And who is Katherine running from, anyway? And why? Oh, Vampire Diaries--how completely you have sucked me in.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human, until the vampire emerges, then dark eyes and facial veins, and prominent fangs.

Strengths: Super speed, strength, hearing. Quick healing. Ability to compel humans. Above average skills in tormenting.

Weaknesses: Stakes, witchcraft, overconfidence.

Mythology: One of them may or may not have (or be) a doppelganger.

Sound Bites

Damon: [urging Caroline to relate Katherine's message] Skip the teen drama--get to it.

Katherine: Does Elena enjoy having both of you worship at her altar?

Katherine: You should have killed me.
Damon: Death would have been too kind.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 7 "Masquerade." Written by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Directed by Charles Beeson. From The CW.

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