by Dianna Berrian
So a starving vampire walks into a bar… No, wait. There’s a punch line. A starving vampire walks into a bar and sizes up the unsuspecting bartender. By the way, the vampire is Stefan, back from his underwater vacation. So he goes ahead and takes a bite out of the bartender but, just to keep things casual, he then compels her to run away. As he walks out in an attempt to leave, his corroding skin alerts him to the fact that his daylight ring is gone and he starts to go up in flames and burn and die and then – Elena wakes up. See? Punch line. Elena’s quick to tell Damon about her dream of his brother, which…is not exactly the kind of good morning a guy wants to get, but hey. Dreams are just dreams. That is, until Katherine reveals she had the same dream. Doppleganger powers activate!
With a bunch of snarky bickering between the doppelgangers, it’s begrudgingly decided by Damon that Katherine is joining the road trip to follow the dream lead to the bar they both saw. Just Katherine, Damon and “America’s most boring self-righteous vampire” – one big happy family. Meanwhile Silas talks business with his new Traveler friend, masquerading as Nadia. He has his doubts about her allegiances so he appoints her the task of finding Matt to make sure he dies for real this time, no Gilbert ring to bring him back, so that the traveler inhabiting his body dies along with him.
Out somewhere yonder, Stefan wakes up to a dark beauty who apparently knows more than anyone in a creepy log cabin in the woods should know – that he’s a vampire and doppleganger. She’s the one who pulled him from the quarry, and she knows about Silas too. We get a brief flashback to Ancient Greece 2000 years ago, in which the only benefit to reap is seeing Paul Wesley in a toga. But apparently this same woman was there too, making her insanely immortal. As it turns out, Silas and his one true love were Travelers, engaged to be married. But he wanted their love to exceed death so he sought out a witch to make them immortal. We get a refresher course in the story of Qetsiyah and Silas here, but what we already know seems to be wrong. In order to get the immortality spell, Silas had convinced Qetsiyah he loved her, but when she realized he was lying she damned him in the tomb with the cure, hoping he’d take it so she could trap him in supernatural limbo known as The Other Side. As we can tell, her plan didn’t work. And now, Silas wants to destroy The Other Side so he can take the cure, become mortal and die. Oh. One more thing. This mystery girl? She’s Qetsiyah. She was dead on the Other Side for 2000 years. But she came back, just especially for Stefan.
Going a little stir crazy in the back seat, Katherine decides to stir a little trouble in paradise to entertain herself. She plays on Damon’s insecurities and starts bringing up the dreams Elena had all summer of Stefan. Were they dreams, or visions he sent her, or her doubts of choosing the wrong brother setting in? Either way, it’s just making this obnoxious love triangle – or square, I guess, if you include Katherine’s role – even more tiresome. Matt on the other hand, is caught up in his own romantic drama. He’s approached by Nadia outside the Grill where she calls forth the Traveler stored inside him. It happens to be Gregor – the Traveler she killed in front of Silas last week – who also happens to be her true love. Surprise, surprise. And suddenly, Matt goes all growly and angry. So, uh, Zach Roerig. Hi. How ya doing? Since he wants his body want, she uses the location of his corpse as leverage to make Matt call Elena and find out where Katherine is.
Qetsiyah – who now wants to be called Tessa because it just flows better, like on keychains or something – continues with her story of her 2000 year long grudge. She tells Stefan how she went ahead and made the spell, even created the garden for their wedding. They were supposed to drink the immortality elixir when they were wed but it was gone before the ceremony. Silas had taken the elixir and left her at the altar. She found him with the woman he really loved. But the real sting was that she was someone close to her – her hand maiden, Elena. No. Wait. Katherine. Or is that Tatia? Ah, her name is Amora. Yes, folks. It’s another Nina Dobrev clone. When they took the immortality spell, they violated the natural law that all living things must die. So nature found a balance by creating mortal shadow selves known as dopplegangers.
The trio on the road reach the bar from the shared dream. Damon and Elena leave Katherine asleep in the back and decide to check it out. First order of business, compel the bartender to say what happened to her neck. Basically, she explains what happened in the dream sequence. Until some woman – Qetsiyah – came and grabbed him and took him away in a truck. She then cordially offers him a shot of tequila but it’s laced with vervain. The culprit? Traveler Nadia who is now armed and dangerous and looking for Katherine. Perfect moment for the target in question to walk into the scene. Luckily, Damon and Elena stop the Traveler long enough to let Katherine run. And on her quest to survive, she just happens to run into Elena. She finally voices her concerns, wondering why Elena didn’t kill her when she gave her the cure. Isn’t that a no brainer by now, girl? Elena values her humanity. And in a weird turn of events, Katherine actually thanks her for it/ But just before they can finish their sweet, sugary moment of bonding, Elena’s neck is snapped by Nadia.
Back at the cabin, the story of Silas and Qetsiyah continues with another flashback. Silas stumbles upon her in the woods outside his camp, and she shows Silas the cure. He doesn’t believe her but she had already used it on Amora and killed her. Rather violently. She said she could tell by the beating of Amora’s heart that she knew she was going to die. And to emphasize her point, shows him the ripped out heart of his beloved. Yeah, she’s one sick bitch. She told him to take the cure so they could live their human lives out together, but obviously we know what happened. Back in the present, we see her hard exterior start to crack and she starts listing all of her bad qualities – trust issues; controlling; paranoid; and a little crazy. This makes me think either her life is going to be short lived, or the writing staff is just trying too hard. I mean, shouldn’t a character’s flaws be brought to light as they develop, rather than being told outright?
Anyway, Damon stumbles upon the cabin and finds Stefan in Qetsiyah’s little herbs and spice S&M set up. Okay, fine. He’s tied to a chair with spelled vines. I liked my version better. But the point of his captivity is that she’s going to link Stefan to Silas to neutralize his mental capabilities. And watch out for the zinger – she planted the dreams in Katherine and Elena so that Damon would bring Katherine to her. Too bad Nadia was quicker. In a moment of defense, Damon bravely tries challenging her. And fails. Stefan, the weaker but wiser, tells her just to get it over with.
So while she does the spell, Silas and Nadia cross paths and he starts compelling her to let go of Katherine. Next, to take out her gun and aim it at her own heart. Just before he can get her to pull the trigger, the spell kicks in and cuts off his abilities and Nadia gets away with Katherine. Both Stefan and Silas are knocked out, bleeding bloody tears of sorry. Or pain. Or not tears at all. Either way, that supposedly signifies that the spell worked. I have to say, it’s a little annoying and repetitive to see every single character introduced as an even bigger bad than the villain before be taken down with as little as a pin prick. Sure, Silas isn’t down for the count yet, but…writers, why are you making this so easy?
Soon, Qetsiyah joins the ranks in trying to make Damon insecure about his relationship. She’s bitter, having had to watch the dozens of Stefans and Elenas find each other and fall in love from her front row seat on The Other Side. She tells him destiny has been trying to get the dopplegangers together forever and the universe working against him. She and Damon are the same – the obstacle between two fates. The conflict that makes it interesting. Silas had his love, and Stefan has Elena, and as long as Stefan is in the way, he will never be with Elena. I mean, I’m not the biggest Delena shipper, but give the guy a break!
And just when we thought it couldn’t get worse for him, Elena runs into the cabin a worried, flustered mess when she sees Stefan out of it and silently crying bloody tears. (Okay, fine I’ll stop with the dramatics!) Some would argue you could hear the love in her voice as she starts to take care of him, trying to get him to wake up. And all the while, Damon is watching, seeing Qetsiyah’s harsh words become a reality. Thems the breaks, buddy. Hey, here’s a concept that could be totally wicked. Damon joining forces with Qetsiyah so he could have his happily ever after with Elena in Qetsiyah’s name. No? Well. It’d be different…
Truer than ever to her form, Katherine goes a’snooping through Nadia’s stuff, in the hotel room she’s being held hostage in, to find out who she is so she can get an inkling of what she wants. When she returns, she gets a phone call from Silas, telling her to keep Katherine alive. His mental abilities being cut off tells him that Qetsiyah is back. And they both want the cure. But what does that have to do with Katherine? The cure exists in her blood, making her blood the cure. Wait, wait. Who called this two reviews ago? Who did? Oh, right, I did. Ahem. I TOLD YOU SO! Kind of makes you think back to how Elena’s blood was the key to making Klaus’ hybrids. Recycled ideas are how you know a show is going downhill.
Just inside the doorway of the Lockwood mansion, Matt lies facedown, looking like a passed out drunk. His cell phone wakes him up so that Elena can tell him they found Stefan and lost Katherine. But mostly the point being made here is to show that Matt has no idea what’s going on, due to brain fuzziness from the Traveler inside him. And just to make it a little more wild and out there, bloody footprints are leading up to where he was lying and he just so happens to have a knife on him. Who wants to wager that the first thing the Scooby Gang will guess is that his Gilbert ring is malfunctioning, just like with Alaric’s? Super sigh.
Finally safe and sound at the Salvatore boarding house, Elena looks over the still knocked out Stefan and puts the daylight ring back on his hand, caressing it a little too much. Cue Damon, suspiciously quiet. He rehashes to Elena what Qetsiyah told him about dopplegangers being destined to fall for each other. Elena tries to reassure him, but we all know this triangle, hell, this crazy octagon or whatever shape it is by now is far from over. It’s the premise of the show. Duh.
One more thing, just to liven things up. Stefan wakes up with amnesia. Welcome to “The Vampire Diaries”, primetime’s newest soap opera.