TVD's never been a series to waste the audiences time, so Klaus found Elena by teaser's end. The Mystic Falls High School seniors were gathered in the school to partake in the traditional senior class prank. Klaus quickly disrupted the prank and scattered the group of extras so that the terror and horror could begin. Klaus and Rebekah worked together to turn Tyler into a hybrid, which forced Bonnie to brainstorm a way to save her friends' life before the transition took his life. Klaus put Stefan and Elena in the gym, set a countdown, and compelled Stefan to drain Elena's blood. Matt killed himself to communicate with his dead sister because he believed she had valuable advice for the current and dire situation within the school (Bonnie saved his life). Damon, Katherine, and Jeremy were on a road trip to find the vampire-hunter-who-is-also-a-vampire because he's the only one capable of murdering Klaus.
Obviously, the episode was extremely busy. The action never stopped nor the tension nor jaw-dropping moments, but there was a ton of character stuff throughout "The Reckoning." In fact, the episode dealt exclusively with the theme of loss. Elena lost Stefan to Klaus' compulsion. Caroline lost Tyler to his newfound hybrid-ness, though he claimed he felt spectacular. The worried expression on Caroline's face conveyed all she felt about the change. Matt sacrificed his life just so he could see Vicki again. TVD essentially returned to its roots by using this theme as the series began with death and loss--the Gilbert parents, specifically. Elena's loss in the beginning of the series led her and her friends to this supernatural world, so where will these various losses lead?
Klaus removed Stefan's humanity when he fought against the compulsion to drain the blood from Elena's body. Elena and Stefan had twenty minutes to talk with one another before the chaos began. Neither declared their unwavering love for the other or acted differently. Elena encouraged Stefan to resist his nature and urged him to fight the compulsion because he's done it before. Her love for him and his love for her was actually enough. Stefan wouldn't apologize for his urges, though, because his nature's to feed on blood. Of course, Elena wasn't interested in apologies, just his ability to fight and resist. Once upon a time, Stefan saved her life, and when she was awash in grief, he came into her life and rescued from it. Elena repaid him during "Blood Brothers" when he briefly returned to his Ripper self. She led him from that darkness. The relationship was built on love and trust. Elena trusted Stefan enough to allow her into his life. Stefan trusted her enough to let her rescue him from his baser instincts. This is a long-winded way of writing about how much it sucks for Elena to lose Stefan. She watched Klaus remove his humanity and felt his brutal bite as he drains her blood.
Elena awoke in the hospital, alone and wounded , to news that she was donating blood to Klaus. Klaus experimented on Tyler, as the werewolf struggled to survive. The sun and moon curse is complicated, and not actually real. The final twist of the hybrid nonsense was revealed, and that is, the doppelganger's blood is the key for hybrids. The original witch tried to screw Klaus all those years ago by swearing the doppelganger needed to die for the curse to take effect; however, he just needed blood. The witch meant for Klaus to walk the earth alone as the lone hybrid. The twist is very cool. It solved a huge issue in a sensible manner, unlike what happened when the sun and moon curse was revealed to be fake. Though Elena's death isn't sought, she's a huge target because of the special blood pumping through her body.
Klaus and Rebekah fled Mystic Falls once Damon threatened them with Michael, the vampire hunter. Klaus left his loyal servant Stefan behind to watch Elena and Damon closely because the hybrids will have need of her before too long. Evil Stefan's a character with potential now that the tortured and reluctant Stefan's going to the sidelines for the time being. The change in his behavior was exemplified when he interrupted Damon and Elena's heart-to-heart. He dismissed them as people not worth his time unless they pose a dangerous threat to his vampire overlord. The heart-to-heart between Damon and Elena should've made their shippers swoon because they're closer than ever to a romantic relationship. It's worth exploring but I prefer Stefan and Elena because they've been an interesting couple throughout the series.
Matt's temporary death resulted in his ability to communicate with his sister from beyond the grave. Bonnie couldn't use magic to restore his life, so she used simple CPR to bring him back. Matt's been a maligned character because he's the normal one amongst characters with supernatural abilities. Also, Williamson, Plec, and company didn't know how to naturally integrate him into the action. Well, over the summer, they figured out the integration problem. Caroline and Tyler discussed Matt in Act I. Caroline felt bad for her ex-boyfriend because he's a lost soul without a family, and barely any friends, to lean on. Matt felt sad because Jeremy could see his sister. I felt sad watching Vicki's attempts to reach her brother. Ditto Matt's attempts to hear his sisters. Death gave him access, though. Bonnie tried to persuade him to let go of the idea he needs to be like everyone else. Matt asked for time to say goodbye to his sister because he knew she was present. Of course, Vicki didn't plan on saying goodbye at all--she wanted to say hello.
Speaking of ghosts, Ghost Anna led Katherine and Jeremy to Michael's tomb. The purpose of the ghosts isn't clear. For one episode, they were sources of exposition for the characters. Anna's mother happened to know about Michael. Vicki happened to know the doppelganger needed to be dead to create hybrids (because the original watch told her). I still don't know why the ghosts need help. This episode suggested the ghosts aren't evil spirits, though. I hope there are more consequences for Jeremy and Matt for defying the laws of life and death. Likewise, I hope Tyler deals with hybrid consequences. Three characters returned from dire circumstances in the last six episodes. Something should happen to one to avoid the ol' 'illusion of danger and death' that plagues many TV series'.
-I do love Nina Dobrev as Katherine. Katherine's tremendously fun and sexy. Dobrev looks amazing as Katherine--curled hair, pursed lips, suggestive dialogue, and sexy wardrobe.
-I complimented The Secret Circle's use of the high school setting two weeks ago. TVD deserves the same praise because the action never left the school. I am a fan of supernatural teenage dramas set during characters' high school years.
-Michael Narducci wrote the episode. John Behring directed it.
-"The Reckoning" is the best episode of the season and, quite possibly, the series.
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