"The Sun Also Rises" should have been the season 2 finale. Not only did it end on a better cliffhanger than the actual finale but the episode wasn't riddled with plot holes through which you could drive a semi. But I'll save my criticisms of that episode for the next review. For now we have death, despair, and Damon (that should be my new motto).
The episode starts us off back in the old Lockwood cellar, with werewolf Ty attacking a trapped Caroline and Matt. Panicking as he sees the door weakening, Matt decides to shoot Ty. Luckily this only wounds the were, but it also puts him out of commission long enough for Caroline to grab Matt and run.
Damon, meanwhile, is frustrated. He's frustrated that Katherine didn't use the vervain he gave her to resist Klaus and save Jenna from being caught and turned into a vampire. Frustrated that he can't offer himself as the vampire sacrifice in Jenna's place because of his werewolf-bite-tainted blood. And frustrated that everything's falling apart--some of it due to his actions--and there's nothing he can do about it. Damon is not having a good day.
Actually, the only person not having a bad day is Klaus (and I guess Greta) who has already started the ritual. Greta feeds Jenna blood to complete the transition to vamphood, drags in Jules (whose transformation to wolf has been slowed), and traps all three women inside rings of fire. All they need now is a psychotic were-vamp to come along and sacrifice them...oh wait, that's why Klaus is there.
Not that the gang has given up hope. Jeremy and Bonnie search for a spell that will bring Elena back from the dead but not as a vampire. Stefan and Elijah recap the plan (Bonnie will bring Klaus to the brink of death when he's at his weakest during the ritual and then Elijah will finish him off so Bonnie doesn't overdose on power and die). And somehow things manage to get even more complicated when Damon calls Stefan and tells him about Jenna. So Stefan decides to go to Klaus and offer himself as the vampire sacrifice instead of Jenna. I've never seen so many people willing to sacrifice themselves--and I'm not even sure for what.
After a whole lot of chanting and potiony type stuff, Klaus gets to the heart of the ritual--by ripping out Jules's with his bare hands (see what I did there?) This leaves Elena and Jenna, who spend their time showcasing Jenna's uselessness, bonding, and concocting futile escape plans.
At his place again Damon is starting to suffer the effects of the werewolf bite. To make matters worse, John Gilbert shows up. But hearing that Elena's about to die and come back as a vampire John volunteers for the resuscitation spell Jeremy and Bonnie have conveniently discovered. When Elena dies, John's life force will be channelled into her thus returning her to the land of the living. They're still not sure whether she'll be human or vamp but it's worth a try (Damon is angry when he hears about this, snapping that they're putting their faith in mystical mumbo jumbo. Which is somewhat ironic coming from a vampire who is intimately acquainted with the power of magic). He's even angrier when he finds out that Stefan has gone to trade himself for Jenna.
Before Stefan leaves to find Klaus, he and Elijah discuss Elijah's commitment to killing his brother. Elijah claims that Klaus hunted down their entire family one by one and scattered them "across the seas" where their bodies can't be found. He wants revenge. Satisfied Stefan leaves. Luckily he shows up at the ritual just before Klaus gets to Jenna. Klaus has a bit of fun, asking Elena to choose between Stefan and Jenna, which she refuses to do. But that's okay because she never really had a choice. Klaus breaks a stake off in Stefan's back to put him out of commission (he claims to have plans for Stefan) and turns back to Jenna. She at least makes an effort to do something useful by going after Greta. But Klaus gets to Jenna before she can do any real damage. A moment later Klaus stakes Jenna and we're done with one of the most pointless characters ever to crowd a TV screen. Sorry, Jenna fans.
After securing the non-supernatural people (John, Jeremy, Alaric) inside the house, Bonnie and Damon head out to save the day. Meanwhile, it's Elena's turn to die. She walks over to Klaus like she's going to have a chat with him about the weather; if this girl isn't suicidal I don't know who is. You'd think she'd at least put up some kind of fight after he just screwed her over by killing her aunt. (And by the way, if Damon's blood is tainted because of the werewolf bite, is the doppelganger's blood not tainted with vampire blood?) Anyway, a moment later Elena's dead and Klaus is beginning to transform.
And the cavalry arrives! Bonnie comes in working her magics while Damon breaks Greta's neck (backlit by lightning as he does it--very nice). I have to take a second to point out that the whole convoluted Luka/Martin/Greta subplot seems to have really gone nowhere; I think everything they brought to the show could have been dealt with more simply and with better results. But I digress. As Klaus writhes and screams in pain, Damon picks up Elena and takes her to Stefan, where he proceeds to remove the stake from Stefan's back. Strangely, Stefan then tells Damon to get Elena out of there because he's not leaving until he knows Klaus is dead. You'd think he'd want to be there when his girlfriend returns from the dead (couldn't Damon stay to supervise?) Looks like Elena and Stefan's big love is on the wane.
As Damon leaves with Elena, Elijah shows up. He plunges his hand into Klaus's chest, ready to pull out his heart but, of course, Klaus stops him by saying their family is still alive--he never threw them into the sea. He gives his word that he'll take Elijah to them if he spares him. With an apology to Bonnie and Stefan, Elijah grabs Klaus and takes off. Well, that's just great.
Back at the house, John is writing what turns out to be a letter to Elena. Jeremy is reading more about the resuscitation spell and discovers that when his life force channels into Elena, John will die. John knew that already, though (more with the martyrdom, although this at least seems like a sincere sacrifice). John gives Jeremy the letter for Elena, as well as his immortality ring. Just then Damon returns, laying Elena down and watching over her anxiously. Damon's love for Elena is really apparent in this scene; makes you wonder why she ever chose Stefan. While Damon gives his condolences to Alaric and Jeremy about Jenna, John walks outside. A second later Elena comes back to life (human) and John collapses. Unlike Jenna's death, I actually found John's moving. Maybe because he acted like an adult and a parent, while Jenna was just whiny and wouldn't have chosen to be there. John finally redeems himself, which is a good way to bow out, I think.
Back to Caroline and Matt--they decide to take refuge at the Lockwood mansion. I'm not sure why as Caroline can easily outrun a werewolf (even carrying Matt) and if were-Ty would go anywhere it would be to his own house, but no one said onscreen teenagers are logical. Once inside Matt admits to Caroline that he's on vervain and that her mom knows everything. Surprise, honey! Before we know it, it's morning (while it's still the middle of the night in the scenes with the other characters--the timeline is really off this episode) and Ty has returned in naked human form. Caroline immediately tends to him while Matt looks perpetually confused. Matt finally tells Caroline that he can't and doesn't want to deal with her new supernatural reality. Nice of him to leave her just when she needs him most (after ratting her out to her mom, no less). But, hey, she's still got Ty and he's definitely seeming like the better option.
The episode ends with Jenna and John's funeral, held at the Gilbert family plot (with the help of a couple of compelled gravediggers). I have to ask: did no one think to use Elijah's elixir or maybe find some spell to bring either Jenna or John back? You'd think it would have been at least worth a shot. Anyway, after the improvised service Damon walks away from the crowd. Stefan follows to give a lecture about how Elena needs them right now, at which point Damon finally tells Stefan about the werewolf bite. Stefan swears he'll find a cure but Damon just asks him not to tell Elena. Then he walks away.
See why this would have been a perfect finale? Unfortunately with the high character mortality rate this episode and what's coming in the next one, I have a bad feeling the show has decided to go in a new (and weak) direction. Unfortunately a lot of bad things can happen to a show over the summer. But for now we can worry about simpler things, like that werewolf bite, and how they're going to kill the unkillable Klaus, and whether Alaric is going to be stuck with a permanent roommate (Katherine can't leave until Klaus is dead or he releases her).
Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins and prominent sharp fangs.
Strengths: Super speed, strength. Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires). Enhanced hearing. Can shut off their emotions.
Weaknesses: Werewolf bites. Human emotion. Vervain (although some vampires have built up an immunity to the pain caused by vervain and use it to, among other things, prevent being compelled by Originals). Stakes. Fire. Magic.
Mythology: Klaus and Elijah are half brothers, part of the family that comprises the Original vampires. Klaus's father was a werewolf, however, and if he breaks the curse placed on him, he'll then release his werewolf side so that he can be a true (unstoppable) hybrid.
Damon: Somehow you're the only one that wins. How'd that happen?
Katherine: I didn't let love get in the way.
Damon: Enjoy an eternity alone, Katherine.
Elijah: You're very honourable.
Stefan: Are you? Because this whole plan is contingent on your honour, Elijah.
Elijah: I won't fail you.
Klaus: Thank you, Elena.
Elena: Go to hell.
Damon: [to the still-dead Elena] Come back as a vampire I'll stake you myself. So don't. Because I can't stand the thought of you hating me forever.
Stefan: I'm not going to let Elena lose anybody else.
Damon: I wouldn't make any promises, Brother.
The Vampire Diaries, Season 2 Episode 21 "The Sun Also Rises." Written by Caroline Dries and Mike Daniels. Directed by Paul M. Sommers. From The CW.