Klaus and Stefan return to Mystic Falls

Season 3, Episode 5 (“The Reckoning”)
Paul Wesley (Image: The CW)

“The Reckoning” is an exciting, plot filled episode that is one of the more horror film style episodes that the show delves into from time to time. Almost everything takes place at the high school, at night, with a race against a literal clock to stop the villain from killing someone. What starts out as a fun senior prank night turns into a sitting on the edge of your seat for an hour episode. I would expect no less from The Vampire Diaries. There is a very convenient plot twist as well as few big developments that will change some of the characters and their relationships going forward.

I’ll start with the very convenient plot twist that Elena’s blood is actually the key to making a hybrid’s transition successful. Klaus has been trying to kill Elena since the last season because she was the key to breaking the curse. And since he did technically kill her (she just came back to life), the curse was broken. However, to actually make more hybrids he needed her blood, so if he had permanently killed her, he would never have been able to make them. So it is actually a good thing for Klaus that she is still alive. This is convenient because it allows the show to end the constant fight with Klaus to kill the doppelgänger which was the entire plot of the previous season. Klaus will now want Elena alive more than anything, though since he wants her blood as well, she isn’t exactly safe.

The next big plot twist is that Tyler becomes Klaus’s first successful hybrid. This will certainly change things for him. He has had a miserable time as a werewolf, but being a hybrid means that he won’t have to turn on a full moon which will make his life much better. On the other hand, he is now a vampire. We have seen how this changes other characters so how will it affect him? Being a vampire amplifies certain character traits and since Tyler’s aggression has often been a defining characteristic for him, will that get worse? Though since he has been around Caroline that has simmered down quite a bit. At the end of the episode he seemed the happiest we have seen him in a long time. We will just have to wait and see where this takes him.

After discovering that Elena is still alive, Klaus realizes that the reason that Stefan has not been completely loyal to him is that he is still holding onto his love for Elena. Klaus was hoping that Stefan would be loyal on his own but he is not above forcing loyalty. He compels Stefan to turn his humanity off, officially turning him to Evil Stefan. Since he has been with Klaus, his humanity has kept him from going full-on ripper. The thought of Elena was enough to keep him in check, but without his humanity he will not care about her anymore and thus will have no reason to control himself. This is the first time we have really seen a character completely turn off their humanity. At the beginning of the series Damon pretends to not have humanity but is really more just on low humanity. And since Evil Stefan is sticking around Mystic Falls to keep an eye on Elena, the new challenge won’t be getting him back from Klaus but saving him from himself. Getting a vampire to turn their humanity back on is no small feat, will Elena and Damon be up to the task?

Matt plays a role in saving the day when he volunteers to “die” temporarily so that he can contact Vicki and find out from the Original Witch how to sire a hybrid. Ever since he found out about all of the supernatural elements in town, Matt has tried to stay out of it. He wants to lead a normal life but it is growing increasingly difficult for him to just sit back while his friends are in danger. Bonnie points out that he is the only one who really has a choice to be a part of it or not. But does he really? He doesn’t have any family anymore or anyone else in his life besides his friends who are now all caught up in it. It seems that this might be the only chance he has at a life.

This was a great episode and provides a lot of plot momentum for moving forward. Tyler is a hybrid, Stefan has turned off his humanity and has become Evil Stefan, Elena is not sure he can be saved anymore, and Michael the vampire hunter that Klaus and Rebekah have been running from, has been found. Damon, Katherine, and Jeremy find out where he has been entombed and their plan is to wake him up in order to destroy Klaus. The first few episodes of the season were doing a lot of set up with filling in back story for Klaus, Rebekah, and Stefan and exploring how Stefan’s absences affects the other characters. All of which is necessary in order to have episodes like this.

Episode Grade: A

Other Thoughts:

  • Matt is working out at the high school at night, is he still on the football team? I feel like that was dropped since he seems to always be a the Grill.
  • Event of the Episode: Senior Prank Night!
  • How long were Katherine and Damon driving around with Jeremy passed out in the trunk? I don’t think it is ever addressed if Elena finds out about this but I am sure she would be really pissed.
  • Caroline and Tyler seem to be the only members of the squad truly into senior prank night. Everyone else is too preoccupied with how shitty their lives have gotten over the past year.
  • Damon tells Katherine “I wouldn’t have done it for you” when referring to putting himself in danger to save Elena, but he definitely would have. He spent 145 years trying to get her out of a tomb she was never in.
  • There is a lot of phone product placement but I never really caught which specific phone, except that Matt has an HTC. I think I also had an HTC in 2011.
  • Sexual Tension: despite spending the majority of the episode in different places, the show still manages to get a sexual tension filled scene between Elena and Damon. “I will never leave you again”.
  • In the same scene, Damon tries to give Elena the necklace back but she doesn’t take it.
  • Body Count: 2, Stefan kills the two students (Dana and Chad?) though Klaus did compel him to do it.

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