11 November 2010

The Vampire Diaries S2 E9 "Katerina"

Spoilers Ahead

Katherine fans, hold on--we get to find out her back story this week. Also, Damon loses his shirt. You know, in case anyone wants to know.

"Katerina," as you can imagine, is mostly about Katherine. It starts with her in Bulgaria in 1490, giving birth to a daughter. Because the child is out of wedlock, Katerina has brought disgrace upon her family. The infant is taken away by Katerina's father before she can even look at her and is given away. Katerina is devastated.

Back in the present day, Stefan and Damon re-introduce Elena to Rose (see last episode) and tell her about Klaus. Rose is terrified of Klaus and utterly convinced of the threat he poses, while Stefan and Damon aren't completely sold. But if the guys are cautious, Elena seems completely unconcerned as she leaves the house.

It turns out, however, that she's very concerned indeed. Eliciting Caroline's assistance (and a promise of secrecy), Elena decides to talk to Katherine and, hopefully, find out more about Klaus.

After Caroline opens the tomb for Elena, she leaves the two lookalikes on their own to chat (although Katherine isn't looking much like Elena these days, hollow-eyed and shuffling along like a zombie. As Emilio Estevez said about Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club: I've seen her dehydrate, sir. It's pretty gross.) Elena bribes Katherine with a few comforts, her family bible (which lists Katherine as the last of her line), and shot glasses of blood in exchange for information.

Katherine tells quite the tale of woe. After giving her baby away, Katerina's family disowned her and banished her to England (some banishment--you'd think that would be an improvement--not to mention that it never would have happened. We're talking the 15th century here, people--banishing her to a couple of towns over would have been far enough away; they at least would have stayed within the Ottoman Empire). It was in England that Katerina met Klaus. He charmed her at first, but once she realized what he was and what he wanted from her, she ran. It turns out the big vampire/sun curse was bound with Petrova blood and the witch involved created the Petrova doppelganger to break the curse. Anyone wanting to do so would just have to wait until a Petrova doppelganger showed up to be sacrificed. I admit--I don't have patience for convoluted storylines like this--anything that makes me question it too much clearly isn't well conceived. Anyway, with Trevor's help, Katerina makes it to a cottage where Rose is hiding out with the compelled human who lives there.

Rose is less than impressed that Trevor (a) helped Katerina, and (b) sent her to the cottage. Rose is even less thrilled when she finds out that Katerina stole the moonstone from Klaus. She plans on waiting until nightfall and taking Katerina and the stone back to Klaus and begging for mercy. When Rose goes to retrieve Katerina, however, she's found that the girl has wounded herself in an effort to kill herself (Katerina claims she'd rather die than return to Klaus). But Rose is having none of that; she forces her own blood into Katerina's mouth. Just then Trevor arrives and he and Rose get into an argument with Rose coming down on the side of survival and Trevor claiming he loves Katerina and is willing to run until they die if they have to. Of course, Katerina takes this time to kill herself. As she explains to Elena, Klaus needs a human doppelganger, so as a vampire she became useless to him (not that that stopped him from hunting her down for the sake of vengeance).

As Rose and Trevor come to the realization that Katerina used them for her own survival without any care whatsoever about what would happen to them, Rose tries to stake Katerina. But, displaying her ruthlessness, Katerina moves the mortal owner of the cottage in front of her so that the old woman is staked instead. Then Katerina bites and drinks before disappearing out the door. Rose and Trevor then spend the next 500 years on the run, and we know how that turned out.

Katherine admits to Elena that she needed her--as another Petrova doppelganger--to use as a bargaining chip to strike a deal with Klaus. She also needed the moonstone, a werewolf (Ty), a witch (Bonnie), and another vampire (Caroline). This last part somewhat contradicts Katherine's statement that she was useless to Klaus as a vampire. If he needs one anyway, why not get the one you're extremely pissed at? Elena's more concerned with expressing her disgust that Katherine was going to sacrifice them all for her own personal gain; Katherine echoes the words she said before abandoning Rose and Trevor: "Better you die than I."

While Elena is busy with Katherine, Stefan is occupied at school, which leaves Rose and Damon to their own devices. After trading barbs, Damon asks how he can find Klaus. Rose finally admits she has a contact in Richmond named Slater who might be able to help. Damon decides to head to Richmond to talk to Slater and Rose follows along.

Once they get to Richmond, Rose and Damon share another moment of threatening one-upmanship before meeting with Slater in a cafe fitted with UV-blocking windows. Handy. Then after being introduced, Slater asks Damon if he's sure Elijah is dead. Of course he's sure. (No comment.) As they're sitting at a table inside and talking...dramatic pause...Elijah is watching and listening from across the street, playing with a handful of change.

During the course of their conversation, one of my big questions is answered, albeit unsatisfyingly. If the Originals can walk in the sun (which they've proven they can) why break the curse and release the werewolves from it? Back to the land of convoluted plot where apparently this curse can be selectively broken; if a vampire breaks it, only vampires are freed; if a were breaks it, only weres are freed. Makes perfect sense. Too bad my next question remains unanswered--since all the vampires seem to believe that werewolves are extinct (including Damon and Stefan until very recently) why would they even worry about the weres breaking the curse first? That's like worrying about being gored by a unicorn. Someone should really have taken more care thinking all of this through.

As Damon is offering to get Slater a daywalker ring if he helps them find a way to keep the curse from being broken at all, Elijah suddenly throws the coins he's been holding at the window. A moment later the glass shatters into a million pieces and Rose and Slater are screaming as the sunlight burns them. As Damon looks around there's a glimpse of Elijah, but when he looks again no one is there. He covers Rose and helps her get back to the car. Slater's gone missing, although Rose is positive he had nothing to do with this. In any case, she's too busy panicking because Klaus will kill them all.

In a minor sub-plot that turns out to be not so minor, things seem to be promising for Jeremy and Bonnie--until new hottie Luka (Bryton James, The Young and the Restless) shows up. Bonnie turns a bit cold after meeting Luka's dad, who immediately asks if she has any relatives from Salem, but she warms up again when Luka admits his dad is just worried about fitting in. Apparently it's not easy being witches (or, as he and his dad prefer to be called, warlocks). Bonnie and Luka then have a fine time bonding over their magical abilities. I do have to ask, though--is there some rule somewhere that says all witches have to be black? Did I miss that memo? Not to mention that every black character on this show ends up being a witch or getting killed (or both). Definitely not loving that. Anyway, Jeremy sees Bonnie and Luka deep in conversation and with an awkward smile walks away.

The last part of Katerina's story is of her return to Bulgaria, where she finds that Klaus has slaughtered her entire family, including her beloved mother, simply to get revenge against her. So...in order to break the sun curse--which Klaus is desperate to do--he needs a Petrova doppelganger--which could show up in any generation. So why would he kill off the last remaining Petrovas and end the family line, thus ruining forever his chances of breaking the damn curse? (I'm pretty sure Katerina wouldn't have mentioned her bastard child to him.) Can we just go back to Damon being in love with Elena?

Finally figuring out where Elena has been, Stefan shows up at the tomb. He insists to Elena that Katherine is nothing but a liar and not worth listening to. Katherine then claims that Elena is doomed--unless she were to have the moonstone (conveniently trapped in the tomb with Katherine). Stefan is disgusted, snapping that Katherine spun the entire story simply to get to a place where she could bargain for her freedom. But Katherine has a surprising answer to that. She says she doesn't want her freedom. When Klaus and his flunkies show up and destroy everyone else, Katherine will be safe in her tomb where no other vampire will want to go for fear of being trapped inside. Stefan looks stunned as she walks back into the darkness. (Psst--threaten to send Ty into the tomb in werewolf form, where he can kill her with a bite and retrieve the stone for them when he's back in human form. Or would that not be complicated enough?)

Back in Mystic Falls again, Damon is lost in thought and Rose is still terrified. She says she wishes they could save Elena and he says he will. She talks about the necessity of not caring about anyone in order to survive and suggests he turn off his emotions. He says he will if she will. This must be the vampire equivalent of 'I'll show you mine if you show me yours,' not to mention a bizarre form of foreplay, because then next thing we know they're kissing in a serious way. It's not really surprising--they were way too snippy with each other all episode. There was more than one moment that was reminiscent of Damon and Elena.

Afterward (and this is the shirtless part I mentioned), Rose tells Damon that it's a lie--there is no off switch for their emotions. She claims it's possible as a newbie vampire, but as you get older all you can do is fake it. Interesting (and I wonder why that would be). Just then Slater calls, apologizing for freaking out and running off. He claims he found out that the curse can be destroyed--without breaking it--with the moonstone and a witch (the witch can figure the rest out). When he hangs up we discover that not only is Elijah there, but he's actually compelled Slater. Must be nice to be an Original. He then compels Slater into staking himself. And here's where the minor subplot becomes major: Elijah's witch is Luka's father. They settle in to wait.

I'm not really loving where this storyline is going (I think I covered all the reasons why). The whole witch/black characters issue is annoying me as well. But the dynamics among the Salvatores and Elena--and maybe even Caroline and Rose too--is still compelling enough to keep the show going (and me along with it). I just hope it doesn't end up getting too bogged down in superfluous detail.

Fang Files

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

Strengths: Super speed, strength, hearing. Ability to compel humans (Original vampires can also compel other vampires).

Weaknesses: Stakes, sunlight (unless they wear a "daywalker" ring or are an Original vampire), being compelled.

Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence. To be turned, a mortal needs to die with vampire blood in their system. The oldest vampires are known as "Originals" and Klaus is the oldest of all. It isn't determined whether emotions a strength or a weakness.

Sound Bites

Rose: If you're not afraid of Klaus, you're an idiot.
Damon: All right, we're shaking--you made your point.

Damon: [to Rose] Just one thing. If you are setting me up in any way, I will rip your heart out and shove it down your throat. Something I'm very good at.

Stefan: [re: Elena] She's with...Damon, isn't she?
Caroline: Ew, no!

Caroline: I'm a terrible liar. I'm even worse at duplicity!

The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 9 "Katerina." Written by Andrew Chambliss. Directed by J. Miller Tobin. From The CW.

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