You have to admire the moxie of Vampire Diaries. So much of the show's mythology has been based around the idea that Stefan was an evil murderous vampire, until he got clean with the help of a nice vampire named Lexi. Now, all of a sudden, we're meeting a whole new vampire mentor, Sage, who taught Damon a very different lesson.
And suddenly, everything is turned on its head — and Damon is going to be Stefan's teacher. WTF? Spoilers ahead...
Last night's Vampire Diaries was an especially bro-tastic outing, and this show continues its recent trend of treating the relationship between the two Salvatore brothers as central to everything. (Basically, this season's motto turns out to be "bros before hos.") We get a series of flashbacks to an encounter between the brothers in 1912, which we think is going to be mostly about the ongoing "serial killer" story arc — but turns out to be much more about how Sage taught Damon a lesson, which he tried to pass on to Stefan.
Turns out that 1912-era Damon and Stefan are both wet blankets — Damon is still moping over being cursed to eternal vampire-dom, and he's killing indiscriminately but joylessly, while pining for Katherine. Meanwhile, Stefan is already trying his no-humans diet, and being kind of sanctimonious about it. Sage teaches Damon that he can enjoy seducing and feeding on human women, in a sequence that's not at all Anne Rice-inspired. And then Damon tries to show Stefan that he, too, can enjoy feeding on humans without killing them — only to send Stefan off the wagon. Stefan then goes off and spends a decade or two decapitating women, because falling off the wagon does that to him.
So in present-day Mystic Falls, Stefan is once again going cold turkey on human blood, and is starting to "freak out" about it, doing this annoying thing of tapping his magic ring against any nearby hard surface. So instead of giving him space and letting him work through it, Damon decides to do a repeat performance of his 1912 stunt — except this time he's going to make darn sure that Stefan doesn't lose his shit and actually kill the victim in question. With the help of Rebekah (who's been nosing around the brothers trying to figure out what the Salvatores' logging companies did with the new White Ash tree that can kill Originals) he presents Stefan with a neck-biting Kobayashi Maru situation — bite a poor innocent woman, or Rebekah will. And Rebekah won't leave her alive.
Sadly for Stefan, Elena walks in on him just as he's gulping down the woman's blood — and Elena never even knew that Stefan was on the wagon again. Another nail in the coffin (so to speak) of Elena dating either of the Salvatores. Speaking of which, Elena has some really fantastic scenes with Matt this week, which underscore the notion that she actually did have a kind of Stockholm syndrome that made her think dating vampires was cool. I wonder if this show is really going to have Elena and Matt get back together? That would actually be pretty awesome. It's what Klaus wants, and Klaus is Always Right.
Oh, and meanwhile, the "serial killer" thing takes about 20 random turns in one episode, and we think Alaric's being falsely accused — except then we realize Alaric really was guilty, but he was framed so he could be falsely exonerated. But it's not him, it's his magic ring. Oh, whatever. Alaric looks really hot and tormented, and meanwhile the two Salvatore brothers are practically making out. Let's focus on the fundamentals here.