Season 3, Episode 12 (“The Ties That Bind”)
In the first half of the season, Klaus was a great villain. He was inflicting pain on everyone and was just fun to watch. I can understand why they wanted to keep him around, but at this point, he is a very ineffective villain. He has allowed himself to be stifled by Stefan stealing his coffins. Even writing that sentence sounds ridiculous. Stefan won’t give them back and he can’t really do much about it. It just seems that the show is biding its time trying to figure out what to do with him, and the plot, next. At least in this episode he finally finds them so that we can move on to the next more exciting stage of him dealing with the consequences of locking his siblings away for so many years.
Much of the episode is about Bonnie reuniting with her mom, Abby, who she believes will be able to help her open the locked coffin. She hasn’t seen her mom since she left them 15 years ago, and is hurt to find that she is leading a pretty normal life. She even raised another kid who is about Bonnie’s age. She lost her powers after she took down Mikael and wanted to lead a life outside of the world of witches and vampires. Though it is understandable to want to get out of that life, it is not a great excuse for abandoning your child. However she does seem to want to change things around now and believes that a connection to Bonnie could help bring her powers back, and she wants to help.
Klaus seizes the opportunity of Bonnie going to find her mom and uses one of his hybrids to compel Abby and Jamie so that Bonnie will have to tell him where the coffins are. Bonnie is able to warn Damon that Klaus will be coming for them and he gets the one locked one out in time, but Klaus gets his three siblings back. However, Damon removed their daggers before Klaus got there. This is exactly what I thought Stefan should have done instead of hiding them. Klaus wanted his siblings close to him, but to not actually face them. What better punishment than to make him deal with them? Also watching Klaus have to deal with his siblings, that he has kept locked away for various periods of time, is much more entertaining than watching Stefan and Klaus at their stalemate.
This episode is a bit of a turning point for Stefan. Ever since he got his freedom from Klaus, he has been slowly letting his humanity back in. He started with anger towards Klaus and thus sought revenge. It has taken him a little longer to care again about his old life, but we see the first glimpse of him caring about Elena again. He apologizes for kidnapping her and driving her across the bridge, realizing that it went too far. When Elena tells him that she kissed Damon it seems to be a wake up call for him. He could really lose her and he cares about that. He even punches Damon over it.
Meanwhile, Tyler recruits Bill Forbes to teach him how to break the sire bond. Biting Caroline made him realize how not in control of himself he was, he didn’t want to do it but it happened anyway. He thinks he can use a similar form of mind control that Bill uses to resist compulsion to break the sire bond. Bill thinks that if he forces himself to turn enough times that it becomes painless, he will no longer feel grateful to Klaus and thus the sire bond will be no more. As much as I hate Bill this does actually make sense. Much more than his attempts to make Caroline use mind control to not crave blood.
The mystery of who killed the medical examiner continues to simmer in the background of this episode as well. Alaric is getting closer to Meredith, but Damon is very suspicious of her. He goes to the hospital to interrogate her, and ends up getting vervained and “bloodjacked” as Damon puts it. She tells Alaric that she uses vampire blood to heal people who are beyond medical help. Is she really a good doctor who just wants to help people? Or is there something more going on? Alaric reveals his vampire hunter side to her as well (though he hasn’t actually killed any vampires in quite some time and is actually best friends with one).
This was another one of the episodes that feels like the writers don’t really have a plan for where this is all going. Thankfully the coffin drama is mostly played out and the return of Elijah and Rebekah should provide some fun, as well as two new Original siblings. There is still the matter of the locked coffin but at least we don’t have to watch Stefan and Klaus fight over them anymore. It was nice to get a more Bonnie centric episode since so much of her character is usually just supporting schemes as the witch in the group. However it did seem plopped out of nowhere, I am not sure that we have ever heard her mention where her mom was before. Unfortunately a lot of this second half of season 3 will continue to feel this way, but there are some highlights and good episodes ahead so stay strong!
Episode Grade: B-
- Elena: “Bonnie hasn’t seen her mom in over 15 years, we don’t need your snarky commentary narrating the experience”
- Damon: “We kissed, now it’s weird”
- Klaus is sitting alone in the Salvatore house blasting The Black Keys song “Lonely Boy”, a very appropriate song for him.
- I appreciated that Elena told Stefan that she kissed Damon and not that he kissed her, even if it is technically true. Also that she doesn’t feel guilty for it, because she shouldn’t. She doesn’t shy away from what happened and try to make it sound like she wasn’t into it.
- Damon: “I take it you two had a heart to heart”
- Elijah returning by ripping the heart out of the hybrid’s chest was brilliant. He always know how to make an entrance.
- Body Count: 1, Elijah kills the hybrid.