Did you see it coming? Because I sure as hell didn't, and neither did most of the characters. It's another episode of surprises and I'm loving it.
"The Dinner Party" starts off with Elena, still at the lake house, reading the previously lost and found Johnathon Gilbert journals. Funny enough we're taken via flashback to a post-vampire-massacre dinner party attended by Johnathon, his friend Thomas, and Thomas's wife Honoria (whose name, I was informed by someone more knowledgeable than I, was mangled by the actor playing Johnathon. It should be "hon-OR-yia, not hon-or-EE-a. Honest--M.A.S.H. apparently did a whole episode about it). As the three chat the sound of someone creeping about outside grabs their attention. Thomas and Johnathon head out to investigate. At first it seems nothing is amiss, but then a vampire begins wreaking havoc. Just before he doesn't quite kill Johnathon, we discover that the murderous vamp is...Stefan.
Back to present-day Stefan skipping stones on the lake. When he decides to take a break from broodily staring off into the distance and comes back inside, Elena asks if he's still upset with her for wanting to sacrifice herself (he is). She also hands him the journal, where he soon discovers he's the subject matter. He admits that he and Damon wanted revenge on the town founders for what they did to Katherine, and also that he never realized he didn't actually finish Johnathon Gilbert off (I wonder if we'll be seeing Johnathon sometime in the future, perhaps with a pair of fangs. People seem to have trouble staying permanently dead in Mystic Falls...) Via another flashback we see Stefan revelling in his monsterhood while Damon is overcome with disgust. Interesting how they ended up switching roles. In any case, flashback Damon decides to leave Stefan and leave town, believing little brother will get them both killed if he stays.
Stefan's salvation ended up arriving in the form of Lexi, whom he stalks and attacks not realizing she's also a vampire. Needing a safe place to stay in Mystic Falls, Lexi decides to show Stefan how to regain his humanity. She also tries to help Damon as he's leaving, warning him that his hatred will consume him. I really wish Damon hadn't killed her, as does Stefan--and even Damon. When Stefan later mentions Lexi, Damon looks stricken, almost tearful. No wonder vampires are so tormented--imagine all the regrets they amass over the years.
Back in Mystic Falls Jenna and Elijah are surveying the town's old property lines. He claims the real town founders were witches from Salem. That would explain a lot. Jenna seems pretty taken with the uber vamp, and since she and Alaric are already experiencing relationship issues, this doesn't bode well.
The tension doesn't ease when Andie later suggests that she and Damon host a dinner party that night for Jenna, Alaric, and Elijah. Sounds like a fun time, doesn't it? Then again, Alaric seems to be the only one not enthused. Damon, meanwhile, can't wait, thinking the party will give him a chance to finally off Elijah. But first he stops to visit Katherine, trying to get her to tell him whether the dagger and ashes will actually kill an Original. I hate how Damon is still Katherine's bitch. She's clearly manipulating him as she "accidentally" confirms the dagger's ability and then begs him not to kill Elijah (arguing that if he dies while she's still compelled she'll be trapped in the tomb forever). Damon thinks he got one over on her (his overconfidence will be his downfall) and claims he'll be killing Elijah that night.
The dinner party doesn't start off well. Damon has to lie to Alaric about there being no plans for violence that evening. Jenna admits to Andie that she doesn't trust Alaric. Elijah threatens to kill everyone there if Damon makes a move against him. And worst of all--John crashes the party.
Over dinner Damon picks up on Elijah's interest in the burial ground of the Salem witches (who ended up massacred in Mystic Falls). He even admits to Damon that he wants to find it, although he won't say why. But Damon can't be bothered waiting to find out--he's too focused on killing Elijah as soon as possible. While this is going on Elena is back to reading the journals, where she discovers that Johnathon had been studying the Originals. She also finds out that the dagger will kill an Original--as well as any demon that tries to use it. This is interesting because I believe it's the first time vampires are referred to as demons on the show (a hint to their origins?) It's also interesting because (a) John was attempting to screw over Damon when he gave him the dagger, and (b) Damon is in imminent danger of destroying himself.
When Stefan desperately calls Damon in order to warn him, he gets no answer. Luckily Alaric, who's just had to put up with John smirkingly informing him that he's been messing with Jenna's mind in an apparently successful attempt to turn her against him, answers his phone. A moment later he bursts into the study where Damon is about to make his move and announces that they forgot about dessert. Elijah moves along but Damon is less than impressed. What follows is a silent exchange between Alaric and Damon in which Alaric lets Damon know about the dagger's fine print. When they return to the table Damon's hatred for John is written all over his face. He then makes a point of letting Elijah know that Elena hates John so there's no reason to keep him on the "endangered species" list. I would have loved to see Elijah take out John, but he instead informs them that if either of them become a liability he'll take Elena with him and they'll never see her again. Killjoy.
A few minutes later as Andie is talking to Elijah he suddenly lets out a tortured scream and then turns grey and veiny. It turns out Alaric stabbed him from behind in what has to be the awesomest moment of the show. I know I was caught completely off guard, and the looks on John and Damon's faces are priceless. Damon's reaction when Alaric orders him to get the body out of there is also brilliant.
Unfortunately, the whole awesome scene is negated when Elena reads that the dagger needs to stay in the Original's heart in order for them to stay dead "for all intents and purposes." Of course Alaric removed the dagger after "killing" Elijah. Sigh. Stefan gets on his phone again and a moment later we see Damon running to the cellar room where they took the body. Surprise (not really): the room is empty. Next scene is Elijah telling Luka's dad to find Elena.
Among the younger set, Luka confronts Bonnie about what she did to him but she claims she's unaware that anything happened. She also puts her relationship with Jeremy on hold until she can get Elena's blessing. Um. Okay. Has anyone ever met a teenager that would actually do this? What--is she afraid that Elena will think she's corrupting Jeremy or something? This isn't the episode's shining moment. And Jeremy's plans for a romantic evening turn into a night of witch practice. This could have had some promise when Jeremy suggests Bonnie "channel" his energy, but, alas, Luka's dad shows up in a really bad mood. He magically pins Jeremy against the wall and orders Bonnie to tell him what Luka told her while under her spell. She shows how weak she really is in this scene--just a little girl playing with a bit of power. And a moment later she doesn't have even that power anymore because the more powerful witch drained it all out of her. I should probably feel sorry for Bonnie but I think she really needed a comeuppance like this. Let's see how she copes with being an average human.
Up at the lake, Elijah arrives to collect Elena. He can't come inside the house but he can wait her out. So Elena threatens to do what she maybe should have done in the first place: she wants to renegotiate their deal or else she'll stab herself. But before she dies Stefan will turn her, making her useless to Klaus and, thus, Elijah. She wants Elijah to promise not to hurt anyone she loves even if they've hurt him. No deal: he decides to call her bluff instead.
My respect for Elena really shoots up when she actually does stab herself--in the stomach, no less. The girl's definitely got intestinal fortitude (pun more or less intended). Elijah panics when he sees she's in real danger and he begs her to let him heal her. He even gives his word not to hurt anyone she cares about. Once Elena is satisfied he'll play nice she stumbles over to him. And then she stabs him with the magic dagger. It seems Damon got there well before Elijah ever showed up, giving them time to come up with a decent, if painful, plan. Well played, gang. Then again, they store Elijah's body rather than, oh, I don't know--BURNING it, so we know that's going to come back to bite them (pun definitely intended). When will they learn?
Back at casa Salvatore, Jenna and Alaric are cleaning up after the disappearance of most of the dinner guests. He's trying to make things right with her but she's being cold, demanding to know what happened to Isobel. Alaric won't answer, and rightly so! What business is it of Jenna's anyway? But his lack of response somehow proves she can't trust him. Whatever--I think he can do better. Of course John chooses this moment to continue being an ass to Alaric. I thought Ric might kick his ass but instead he gives John back "his" immortality ring and tells him that after what he did to Damon, he'll need it more. Watching Damon get back at John should be quite entertaining.
Speaking of Damon, the episode ends with him heading into his room and finding Katherine in his shower. She tells him that she knew if she begged him not to do something he would go right out and do just that. But she also claims that she could have left town and didn't, and that she wants to help protect Elena. Yeah, not too sure about that but Damon doesn't seem to have much of an opinion either way (probably a little distracted by her nudity as she chats with him). And the plot thickens...
The show can go in any number of directions from this point, but it's probably safe to say that Elijah won't stay dead for long and Katherine will cause all sorts of mayhem. Then again, you never know with The Vampire Diaries. (I vote they find a way to bring Lexi back.)
Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins, and long, curved fangs. Dead vampires look extra veiny and grey.
Strengths: Super speed, strength, efficiency. Ability to move silently. Highly developed lurking abilities. Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires).
Weaknesses: Starvation (ultimately turns a vampire into a living cadaver). Mystical daggers.
Mythology: Vampires need an invitation to enter a private residence. The only thing that will kill an Original vampire is a particular dagger dipped in the ashes of a particular tree and plunged into the vampire's heart. But the dagger can only be wielded by humans as any demon that attempts to use it will be destroyed along with the Original. Emotions are intensified for vampires; when they hurt, they really hurt and when they love...
Stefan: Wow, Damon--don't tell me you're actually going to be careful for once.
Damon: Yes, Stefan--I've become you. How tragic for both of us.
Elena: It sounds like you were Damon.
Stefan: I was worse.
Stefan: [re: after he was turned] Hunt, prey, kill. That was all I knew.
Lexi: [seeing the dead girls left by Stefan] My god, you're a ripper.
Damon: There's no such thing as a bad idea...just poorly executed awesome ones.
Alaric: You said there wasn't going to be any violence.
Damon: Says the guy who did all the killing.
The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 15 "The Dinner Party." Written by Andrew Chambliss. Directed by Marcos Siega. From The CW.