Isobel returns to cause some chaos one last time

Season 2, Episode 17 (“Know Thy Enemy”)
Mia Kirshner, Nina Dobrev (Image: The CW)

We have been hearing about Klaus since episode 8 of this season (“Rose”), but this is the first episode where his existence is truly felt. Up until know he has only been talked about, looming over many of the characters lives, but most haven’t actually met him. However, in this episode he is pulling the strings for most of it before he officially arrives at the end, albeit in Alaric’s body.

Katherine wants Klaus dead probably more than most. She has been running from him for 500 years, so his death means her freedom. She is willing to take the side of whoever she feels has the greatest chance of success. In this case that is Isobel. Katherine’s motivations have always been clear, Isobel’s on the other hand got difficult to track in this episode. She tells John that she was helping him to protect Elena, but then she tells Katherine that she is just using John for information. Then she is compelled by Klaus to betray Katherine, had her over to Klaus, and let Elena go (for now). In the end John believes that Isobel was on Katherine’s side but was she just telling Katherine that as part of the compulsion? To get her to trust her? Or did the compulsion happen after she started working with Katherine? I am not sure if it is intentionally unclear or if this plot line just got unnecessarily convoluted. She seems happy to be finished with what Klaus asked her to do, and maybe even remorseful that Elena never got to know her human side. But whose side was she really on?

Isobel is also compelled to give Alaric over to Klaus so that he can possess his body. Once Klaus is done with her, she is compelled to kill herself just as she did to those people in season 1. Therefore it is a fitting ending for her, and I am not really sad to see her go. She was just never an interesting enough character for me and I could never buy into her whole persona. Her entire backstory is that she wanted to become a vampire because she was bored with her normal life. And that was enough to turn her back on everything. Most of the villains/bad vampires in this show have something in their history that makes you feel for them or understand why they are the way they are. Katherine is manipulative and selfish but a lot of that comes from having to be on the run for 500 years and losing her entire family at a young age. Damon makes many questionable decisions and can be villainous as well, but we have at least seen what led him there. Isobel on the other hand was a flat character and is probably best just killed off at this point. It is tragic for Elena to lose yet another parental figure, even it she was never really in her life. But it is not a tragic loss for the show.

In the previous episode, Alaric and Caroline were trying to decide whether or not to tell Jenna and Matt the truth, and in this episode they both deal with the consequences of them finding out in the wrong way. Caroline was forced to reveal herself to Matt in order to heal him. She could have compelled him to forget but she wants to be honest. He doesn’t handle it well though and goes to the Sheriff, also outing Caroline to her mom. For now they are both pretending not to know, Caroline thinks she compelled Matt to forget everything. Liz is clearly heartbroken about her daughter but doesn’t seem as against her as she was the last time she found out. Jenna also finds out that Isobel is still alive and that Elena, Alaric, and John all knew and didn’t tell her. Now Jenna’s relationship with all of them is strained. She only learned a little bit of the truth and it sent her running. How would she handle knowing everything?

The end of this episode sets up some of the crazy plot developments that will dominate the last few episodes. Bonnie not only has her powers back but is channeling hundreds of dead witches so that she can potentially take on Klaus, even if it kills her. Klaus has officially arrived in Mystic Falls, but in Alaric’s body so that we still don’t know who he really is. This last part made me audibly gasp the first time I watched it.

This episode was perfectly fine but definitely not one of my favorites of the season. I am happy to see Isobel gone and some important plot developments are made. Matt and Liz are beginning to be brought in on everyone’s secrets, even if no one knows. How will both of these characters deal with this new information? We have already seen Liz find out about Caroline once and she learned to deal with it eventually. Matt on the other hand has just learned that his sister’s death was covered up and that his girlfriend and many of his friends knew about it. The reveal of Klaus via Alaric at the end of the episode is a great plot twist, but it will still be a few episodes before we find out his real identity.

Episode Grade: B

Other Thoughts:

  • Product Placement: Caroline’s car, a Ford Fiesta. She promotes this car several times in the show. In this one she is showing off its ability to call people via bluetooth. Being that this show is 10 years old it is funny to see these product placements for technology that was probably cool at the time but is very common now.
  • Apparently John invited Isobel in to the house. Can he do that? Does he own the house? Exactly who can invite people into houses is often unclear.
  • Katherine and Isobel drink the blood of a vintner out of a wine bottle as if it is wine, I honestly kind of love that.
  • Damon: “Don’t mistake the fact that we haven’t set you on fire in your sleep for trust”
  • Damon: “Emily was just my key to getting Katherine back, before I knew what a nasty little bitch Katherine was”
  • Damon is being very sassy towards Katherine in these past few episodes and I am here for it. Jeremy seems amused as well.
  • Katherine finds the moonstone in Damon’s soap dish. One, why does Damon have so much soap? Two, that is a terrible hiding place and Damon should no longer be allowed to hide things.
  • Event of the Episode: Some historical society thing that Elena is accepting a donation from to her parents scholarship fun. It’s been a few episodes since we have had an event, and this one barely counts.
  • Poor Matt, he tells Caroline that he is all alone. All of his friends lied to him and his family is either dead or just doesn’t care.
  • The Salvatores literally just give Elena their house.
  • Body Count: 1, Isobel – she killed herself but technically Klaus compelled her to so I am going to put this one on him.

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