Katherine returns to break up Stefan and Elena

Season 2, Episode 4 (“Memory Lane”)
Nina Dobrev (Image: The CW)

I’m consistently impressed by Nina Dobrev’s ability to play both Katherine and Elena. They are such different characters, but she is able to distinguish them even with their mannerisms. Just the way she stands and holds herself as Katherine is very different from Elena, you don’t even need the curly/straight hair to tell which one she is playing. After turning Caroline and telling the Salvatores “game on”, we didn’t see Katherine again until the end of the last episode when she showed up in Caroline’s room saying they were going to have fun together. In this episode we see her using Caroline to come between Stefan and Elena as we learn her side of the story with the Salvatores as well as George Lockwood, another werewolf in the Lockwood family from 1864.

Katherine always seems to have schemes within schemes. Her plans are ever evolving and the only true goal she ever has is self preservation. In this episode she is trying to convince Stefan that he was in love with her once and she is still in love with him. Through flashbacks and her own telling of 1864 events, she contradicts Stefan’s narrative from the beginning of the series that he his love for her was never real, she compelled him. She claims that she only started compelling him after he found out what she was and was afraid of her. Now Katherine isn’t the most reliable narrator, but I think that Stefan on some level knows that what she is saying is true. He doesn’t want to admit even to himself that it is because it has been easier to rationalize his relationship with her in the way he has for the past 145 years. It doesn’t change much now, he is clearly in love with Elena and has been over Katherine for some time, but Katherine is clearly not over him. Her love for him was real, she never loved Damon.

However, this is Katherine Pierce. She says she is in town to win Stefan back, but there is always more to the story. In the 1864 flashbacks, she also fills in the gaps about how she escaped the tomb. She actually orchestrated the burning of the vampires in the church in order to fake her own death and used George Lockwood to help her. She faked her own death and left Stefan and Damon in the dark for 145 years. Even if she loved Stefan, her need to survive was more important. She doesn’t really explain why she wanted to fake her own death, only that she had a past that needed to stay hidden and this was the best way to do that. In return for helping her she gave George Lockwood the mysterious moonstone that Mason has been looking for. Coincidence? Probably not.

Damon is trying to get closer to Mason so that he can kill him. After learning that a werewolf bite is fatal to a vampire, he also is concerned with self preservation and wants to rid the town of any threats. Mason however already knows that Damon is a vampire and doesn’t really care. He doesn’t believe in the feud between the species and is willing to just put it aside. Damon however doesn’t exactly like to let things go, so he tries to kill Mason anyway. Now he has started a fight with Mason, a werewolf that could kill him with a single bite. Damon is impulsive and violence tends to be his knee jerk reaction. His acting on impulse and emotion instead of thinking things through is likely his fatal flaw. We saw him do this when he “killed” Jeremy, and we will see him do it many more times throughout the series.

This was a decent episode, it mostly served as a set up episode for the mysteries and conflicts that will dominate the first half of season 2. Set up episodes are never the greatest episodes, but they are necessary to move plot along. I think this is the first time we really get Katherine’s side of the story from 1864 and that was interesting since previously we had only heard the brothers sides who put their own spin on things. Stefan was always adamant that there was nothing real between him and Katherine (there was) and Damon insisted that their love was real (it wasn’t for her). For now we can’t be for sure if she really came back to Mystic Falls just to break up Stefan and Elena and win him back. But as I said, for Katherine self-preservation always comes first and if she has a past she is trying to escape, this is more likely just a scheme within the larger scheme.

Episode Grade: B

Other Thoughts:

  • Tyler finally learns how the werewolf curse is triggered, you have to kill someone. Mason thought it was better that he didn’t know this, but shouldn’t he be warning Tyler to be careful?
  • Return of the detox cellar! This time Katherine is the one being tortured in it, and by Stefan.
  • Mason/Damon: “I’ve heard great things about you” “Really? That’s weird, cause I’m a dick”
  • Mason just sticks his hand in the pie. Uncalled for.
  • Damon is making a lot of wolf puns, he finds himself very amusing.
  • Product placement: Ford! Caroline promotes these a lot
  • Damon on dying “at least this time it’ll be worth it”
  • Elena and Stefan are only pretending to fight, but having a real fight would be much more interesting.
  • Body Count: None! Despite Damon’s murder plotting for most of the episode.

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