Happy Salvaturkey day, everyone! (And for all the vegetarians, Salvatofu.) Let's dig into this recap like we would our Thanksgiving meal, shall we?
IN THE FUTURE
Alaric and Damon race to get to Caroline before the mysterious "stabbypants" does. (Speaking of, who wants to place a bet on her identity? Is it Valerie? Bonnie? Lily? Katherine? Just kidding. I'm not delusional, but a girl can hope.)
"You saw the X carved in Stefan's chest. She's not playing tic-tac-toe." Again with the X scar! Obviously the marking delineates someone she wants to kill, but what gives? Is she compelled to kill them if they have the mark? Is it a V for Vendetta type of thing? Is she seeking vengeance?
After insisting that Alaric wait outside in case Stefan heroically shows up to rescue Caroline — insert girly sigh here — Damon runs inside the studio to see what's up. We hear Caroline call for Stefan, and Damon responds, "You're going to have to settle for the other one, blondie." Then, he gets shot with a bunch of mini-stakes.
The Burn of Memory
In our main event of the evening, Stefan bakes cornbread. Okay, there was more than that, but I do love when that man cooks. The cornbread — a.k.a. the "Martha Stewart Strategy" — is just a red herring for what Stefan really wants: an ally in Lily, who he hopes will help kill Julian.
"I cleared my entire schedule so we could make the guy count worms," Damon says, not a fan of the long game. Frankly, I'm with him. The sooner Julian is gone, the better. But Stefan reasons that if he can bring Lily to their side by telling her the truth about Julian and Valerie, then their chances of slipping a plan past Julian's keen eye will increase tenfold.
So, you know how vampire bodies essentially function the way normal ones do? I don't think Lily's does. If Damon were to try a heart-snatch on her, he'd find cobwebs. She doesn't believe Stefan's story about his and Valerie's baby, calls the woman a liar (victim-shaming, because she's literally Satan's eye crust), and tells Stefan to pay her no mind. Thankfully, Stefan does exactly what I want to do to her — he pours burning vervain down her throat.
With their mom tied up, it's time for the usual: Torture her with memories until she realizes the truth — having a thing for bad boys is not the same as having a thing for sociopaths. "Is this Hamlet community theater?" Damon quips, and when I saw what happened next, I definitely thought Shakespeare wrote the script to the Salvatore family drama.
Giuseppe makes baby Damon kill his pet turkey. Even worse, he makes Damon eat it. And as if that weren't torture enough, Giuseppe goes full Sopranos on his two little kids, lighting a cigar and demanding to know which one of them stole his money, as if they were in the mob. When Damon confesses — obviously to protect Stefan — Giuseppe burns him. It was clear that Lily took the money; I was glad she did it. The best thing she's done all season is prove, even in the past, that she was willing to risk everything to save her sons from their father. But this time, she gets caught. Giuseppe hits her, so that's the end of Lily's bravery.
After all of that, I feel for her. A woman in that era didn't have many ways to escape an abusive husband. But still, she shouldn't have left her kids! Let's remember: Their father does wind up killing them. Lily seems to know she was wrong: "I traded one monster for another," she tells the boys at the end of the episode. She escaped Giuseppe, only to let Julian manipulate and abuse her in other ways — even by magically linking their lives. What kind of person would ask that of someone he loves and trusts?
My hope is that Lily will redeem herself by helping her sons kill Julian — and most importantly, by helping Stefan avenge his unborn child. If that means I end up liking her by the end of the season, that's okay. But Julian? He's got to go.
The Heart of the Matter
Bonnie and Enzo are on a mission to find the thing Julian left in Oscar's car. Bonnie busts Enzo's chops over his infatuation with Lily, to which he glibly responds: "Sounds like someone who has never been fought over."
Bonnie, badass queen of ladies, gives him her best are-you-kidding-me face before retorting: "It's not the turn-on you think it is. Try flowers, candlelight, dinner."
She's mostly right. When Elena was actively being fought over by the brothers, it was pretty miserable for everyone involved. (Except us, since we're sadists and that's why television exists.) Also, Bonnie's too strong to let a couple of guys muscle it out for affections. She'd just peace out, see a movie, and bring them Advil after the fight.
While I'm wondering whether this counts as Benzo's first date, they find a metal sword in Oscar's car. My first thought is that this seems a lot like another sword we recently heard about — the one that wasn't supposed to kill Florence, since she was a vampire. Did Julian kill all the vampire souls in the Phoenix Stone with this mystery sword?
Bonnie heads off to do research, while Enzo does exactly what she told him wasn't sexy: He confronts Julian with the sword. Their fight scene, however, is a turn-on. Enzo was so squarely in lame-o territory last season that his story line now does wonders for me — as does pitting him against Julian, even if it is for Lily's heart. Fight that guy, Enzo! Look hot doing it! (Okay, 10 points.)
My sword hunch wasn't that far off: Bonnie's research in Ye Old Magic Textbook revealed that the sword and the stone (yes, I giggled) are supposed to be united. Alone, the sword is just a sword. So, unfortunately, Enzo's plan to fight Julian fails. Lily's heart is left with the psychopath, cobwebs and all.
Speaking of psychopaths, I am afraid that Matt is turning into one. Every time we see him, he's mad that he has to deal with these vampires, even the ones he calls his friends. (Also: Is he the official town sheriff now? That other dude died. I'm calling him Sheriff from now on, because sexy.) This time, he's angry because Bonnie went missing in action. Or rather, she's "hanging" with Enzo instead of dealing with the compelled people problem. Sheriff calls his bros, Tyler and Jeremy, who might have a solution — at last glance, it seems like he's heading off to see them. Could a Jeremy cameo be our holiday present in the next episode?
Back to Benzo: "You deserve better than her," Bonnie tells him. Lily is the lowest common denominator. Ironically, he deserves the kind of person he described earlier in the episode: Someone who will fight for him, who won't string him along until she chooses the other guy! Bonnie, I hereby give you permission to fight for Enzo. Wouldn't that be a nice change?
Blessing in Disguise
Even though it seems impossible, Caroline is pregnant. Being the scholar that he is, Alaric figures out how it happened: As a vampire, Caroline's body basically functions like normal. (Aside from the whole "immortality" and "drinks blood" thing.) Her body is the ideal place to save the babies, Alaric says, because she can't die. An explanation that didn't make my brain explode! Kudos, writers.
But then, the test comes up negative. Surprise, surprise! I didn't think a vampire would respond to a pregnancy test. And so, everyone decides Caroline is somehow not pregnant despite all of the magical evidence to the contrary. (For the record, I did not believe this at all. That girl is preggers.)
When Matt finds a bunch of compelled people at the Grill, Caroline heads over to help. At first, she thinks they're being used as human-blood bags, but he uses his sheriff skills to figure out that the bodies aren't feeding vampires. They are being fed, "like fattening pigs for slaughter."
Caroline throws up. The pig thing was gross, but that's not why she puked; she's definitely, totally pregnant. They call Valerie to siphon off the compulsion so these people can escape. In a very interesting combo of "Wanna Be Startin' Something" and genuine concern, she reveals Caroline's pregnancy to Matt. (I'm really enjoying Elizabeth Blackmore's performance as Valerie! I'd give points, but … you know.)
When Beau shows up to check on the human farm, I knew things were about to go sideways. His rationale for defending Julian baffles me. Does Julian have something he wants? I'm just speculating here, but maybe a soul in that stone belongs to someone he loves? That seems like a good enough reason to become the Big Bad's personal bodyguard, right? In any case, Valerie helps Caroline escape by staking Beau through the ribs, which puts her squarely in the good-guy camp in my book.
Caroline is more confused than ever, though. Why is Valerie helping her? Why is she so concerned about her seemingly nonexistent pregnancy? Valerie confesses the truth, but lets Caroline put the rest together herself. After she realizes the baby was Stefan's, Car softens towards her boyfriend's ex. She's had enough loss in her life to understand what that can do to a person.
I'll now make two predictions: Valerie and Caroline will be BFF's, and Valerie will stop at nothing to protect Caroline's babies because she lost her own.
Which brings us to the final proof that yes, Caroline is pregnant. After Valerie removes a cloaking spell, they see what a pregnancy test never could have revealed: the twins, safe and sound. What comes next for Caroline and Stefan — or Caroline and Alaric, for that matter — I don't know, but I can bet that impending motherhood will come between her and Stefan, who was denied his chance of being a father.
Ah, irony, the destroyer of ships everywhere.
The Vampire Diaries returns on December 3. I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, plus cornbread. I am thankful for you, dear readers, and so thankful for this show, which is kicking butt this season! As always, I'll be on Twitter @Talkativetara thinking about Beau.