Behold: a totally insane sequence where HRG whacks a mostly naked, chained Tyler with an axe and yells at him to wolf out, or die. It's hard to believe that this wasn't automatically the most awesome or insane moment of last night's Vampire Diaries. And yet.

This was another one of those episodes where the plot twists came fast and furious, but so did the illuminating character moments. And there was sort of a loose theme of sacrifice, and remorseful parents. Spoilers ahead...


Honestly, I hate recapping this show sometimes, because you could be here all night just recounting everything that happened. But we'll try and cover the major themes here... In particular, there was a lot of sacrificing for love, and families of choice.

Tyler is obviously making a major sacrifice for love in the above video — he's willing to go through horrible agony for the love of Caroline, the werewolf transformation he's grown to hate. And it all goes horribly wrong and Tyler nearly kills HRG — who calmly says that they'll do it again tomorrow. HRG, as we've noted before, is basically Gay Batman on this show, who has amazing mental discipline that allows him to withstand compulsion, and so he's pitching in and teaching Tyler how to be a master of mental control as well, by whacking him a lot.

The last time we saw HRG, he was trying to do a similar regimen to train his daughter Caroline out of craving human blood, and it wasn't working out that great. Now, it appears that HRG has repented his mistreatment of his daughter, and his general anti-vampire bigotry (it's amazing how nobody ever stays anti-vampire on this show for long), and that's why he's so eager to help out with the un-siring of Tyler.

HRG's guilty conscience over chaining up his daughter and burning her over and over again sort of leads to the episode's other theme: parents who feel guilty for their crappy parenting. We finally meet Bonnie's mom, and she's kind of pathetic. Her big story about why she abandoned her daughter boils down to "I used up my magic powers putting Mikael in a temporary tomb, and then instead of returning to Mystic Falls and recharging my mojo I decided to bail because I was tired of all that magic stuff."


Sadly, I was realizing while watching this episode that Bonnie has become the most one-note character on this show. She used to be more fun than this — but literally every Bonnie scene lately has involved her frowning and looking hurt and disappointed in people's wackness. Bonnie is just so put upon.

The good thing about the Bonnie storyline in this episode is that we see that family can be whoever you want it to be. Bonnie's mom is way more attached to her adopted son than she is to her own biological daughter, and there's not much question whose safety comes first. Meanwhile, Elena goes out of her way, in her dysfunctional Elena manner, to be there for Bonnie in her time of trauma because Bonnie and Elena are like totally sisters.


Meanwhile, Stefan's stalking of Elena sort of comes in handy this episode, but not really — Stefan mostly just gets himself shot with wooden bullets. Stefan, meanwhile, admits that almost driving Elena off the bridge where her parents died, and threatening to turn her into a vampire, was a smidge over the line. And Stefan has an unexpected jealousy flare-up when he finds out that Damon kissed Elena — although she's careful to say that she kissed him, which is so not true.

But meanwhile, Damon is also providing an object lesson in the sacrifices people make for love — it's pretty clear by now that he and Alaric are a couple, if it wasn't already. And when Damon finds out that Alaric has a new girlfriend, who might or might not be a psycho, Damon drops everything to go stalk Alaric's new friend. After Damon accuses her of killing her ex, it doesn't turn out that well for him — but at least, Damon's screw-up indirectly saves the life of HRG.


And Alaric may not get any nookie with his new hot doctor girlfriend, but he does have a heart-warming conversation with Elena, where she reassures him that the Gilbert house is his house now, and he's there because they asked him to stay. In an episode full of deadbeat parents, he's like the ultimate non-deadbeat.

Oh, and Klaus finally gets his coffins back, except that Damon pulls a sneaky move on him. A couple of sneaky moves, actually — Damon hides the one coffin that Klaus really wants. And he un-daggers Elijah, who one can only hope will cause some angst for Klaus next week. Because when it comes to making your life miserable, there really is nobody like family.