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Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – ‘The Last Dance’

If tonight’s episode gives you a creeping sense of déjà vu, for once it’s not just another pesky “Twilight” flashback. As we now know, Klaus is inhabiting Alaric’s body. For those keeping score from home, that means we have Elena and Katherine (same actress) and Klaus/Alaric (same actor). Is “Vampire Diaries” low on funds or just ideas? Oddly enough, Klaus/Alaric’s vaguely European accent pretty much disappears after the first scene for no particular reason. But he still calls Katherine “Katarina,” so I guess that passes for an accent on the CW.
Anyway, Klaus/Alaric is holding Katherine (not Elena, but really, who can keep track anymore?) hostage. Katherine begs Klaus/Alaric to kill her, but he informs her that, as he’s been searching for her for 500 years, he plans to make her death last half that long. Which doesn’t sound like much of a death to me, but whatever. He hands Katherine (or should we say Katarina?) a knife and orders her to stab herself repeatedly while he checks on Elena. If I were Katherine (Katarina) I’d just skip this part, as she heals instantly and it’s not like he’s going to be stopping in to check on  her, but Katherine just stabs away and makes a mess of the rug.
Meanwhile, Elena is signing the papers that give her ownership of the Salvatore mansion so that she can have her very own super gothic safe house. Which she promptly leaves to go to school with Bonnie. She won’t be a prisoner! And Bonnie will kick Klaus ass, so she’s totally safe. Stefan and Damon look at her like she’s stupid, but they let her go. Because if they didn’t, we’d be watching Stefan and Elena stare soulfully into one another’s eyes for forty-odd minutes, and that really taxes your gag reflex.
The sheriff begs Matt to take her daughter Caroline to the dance. But she’s a vampire! He can’t deal! But the sheriff needs time to sort out what to do about all these vampires! One of whom is Caroline! It’s so confusing.  
Klaus/Alaric goes to school to teach Alaric’s history class, which includes Elena. They’ve been learning about the 60s because there’s a 60s dance that evening and most lesson plans revolve around what’s scheduled in the gymnasium that week. Unfortunately, Klaus doesn’t really remember the 60s except for the Beatles, which you’d think would tip off Elena that maybe her history teacher isn’t really her history teacher, but maybe public schools are just that bad these days.
Everyone’s really excited about the dance! Because this is a TV show and we never see the stoners or the social outcasts at this school entirely filled with poised, gorgeous teenagers who look closer to 25 than 17. A girl approaches Elena in the cafeteria and tells her a hot guy wants her to save the last dance for him. Oh, and the hot guy’s name is Klaus. It’s a message! And it’s probably not really about dancing! Elena bats her big doe eyes and worries.
Elena, Damon, Stefan and Bonnie powwow to determine how to deal with Klaus. And, of course, Klaus/Alaric drops in. So, what does Bonnie do? She reveals that she can kill Klaus! He has no idea that she has super witchy powers! Except now he does! Zoinks!
Klaus/Alaric goes back to Alaric’s pad to find Katherine all bloody and the rug probably ruined and his houseboy/witch/disposable plot device Maddox hanging out. He also finds Alaric’s secret stash of vampire hunting weapons. How convenient! Klaus/Alaric asks Maddox to kill Bonnie at the dance, but Maddox points out that Bonnie will see him coming a mile away since witches are like that. Poor Klaus/Alaric has to do his own dirty work. Darn it! But Maddox will give him a spell to protect him. So, while Bonnie uses up all her powers trying to kill him, she’ll actually kill herself. Um, okay, I didn’t realize that’s how witchy power worked, but good luck with that.
Caroline is so ready for the dance! Her mother looks at her knowingly, but Caroline is so super excited about getting dressed up like Jackie O. that she doesn’t see the knowing thing or just doesn’t care, seeing that she’s a self-absorbed teenager and everything. The poignancy! The solipsism! I am both touched and slightly annoyed!
Elena is getting ready for the dance. But she’s stressed! Because Klaus wants to kill her! Stefan comforts her. They’re going to kill that Original once and for all. They kiss. Please, someone interrupt because they have a dance to get to and we don’t have time to a slow but suggestive fade out focused on the bed.
Jeremy tries to give Bonnie his supernatural protector decoder ring, but she can’t take it as it won’t help her. But he has to do something! He has bad luck with girlfriends! Bonnie tells him she won’t die. Maybe!
Klaus dedicates a song to Elena at the dance. How sweet! Elena pouts. Klaus is there and she can’t see him. Whatever will she do? Damon and Stefan case the joint like a pair of very sexy, stressed-out burglars.
Elena spots Caroline. It’s necessary to get Caroline up to speed even though she’s not really part of this plotline! Stefan talks to Caroline about the Klaus situation to give Damon a chance to make suggestive comments to Elena and Bonnie and generally act all sexy-like.
Jeremey tells Stefan that Bonnie will die killing Klaus. What should he do? Stefan knows what he’s going to do, which is screw everything up by telling Elena. She must find Bonnie! She can’t let Bonnie die saving her because that would make Bonnie a totally better friend than her!
Bonnie and Elena argue about who wants to die more! Elena is so pissed someone is trying to outmartyr her! They must find another way!
Meanwhile, a bunch of bullies beat up Jeremy. Stefan and Damon come to the rescue and the high school bullies produce cross bows and wooden stakes. As most bullies just like punching, this suggests Klaus/Alaric are involved. It’s a distraction! Stefan handles it and sends Damon to save Elena and Bonnie. Stefan trusts his brother too much sometimes, but whatever.
Not that it matters anyway, because Klaus/Alaric has already dragged Bonnie and Elena off into an abandoned hallway. They are confused! Where’s Jeremy? Klaus/Alaric tells them he hated the 60s. They know something is wrong, but what? Is he being compelled? No. Klaus/Alaric gives them a hint. He’s not Alaric. Elena and Bonnie blink at him.  Finally, just as Klaus/Alaric is thinking he’s just going to have to spell it out for these nitwits, Elena figures it out. He’s Klaus! I’d love to see her SAT scores.
Bonnie tries to kill Klaus/Alaric but bumps into that infernal protection spell. So, she and Elena run away. Um, that was easy.
Conveniently, they run right into Damon. He sends Elena to find Stefan and tells Bonnie to go kill her a Klaus. You’d think Elena would realize she’s being sent on a fool’s errand, but then again, she almost needed a diagram and a cheat sheet to figure out the Klaus thing, so never mind.
Stefan and Elena go running back to help Bonnie, but Bonnie locks them out of the room where she’s trying to kill Klaus/Alaric. They can only watch as Bonnie breaks all the lights in the vending machines and dies. Wha? Really? Damon says he’ll take care of the body. This is anticlimactic, which probably means we’ll have a reversal shortly.
Elena goes home and Stefan makes her drink something in a cup, tea or Nyquil, who knows. Damon comes home and Elena tosses off her blanket to confront him. Did he know Bonnie would die? Well, duh. Elena slaps him, so Damon explains that yes, Bonnie died but not really, because she put a spell on herself. So, he just lit a bunch of candles and she came back. But she’s in a cave with Jeremy. Why does everyone on this show end up stuck in crypts or caves or darkened rooms? Is there not enough of a budget for set design and lighting?
Jeremy sets up a video conference for Elena and Bonnie so they can cry and apologize and bond and talk about who had the prettier dress at the dance. Afterwards, Elena tells Damon she’s sorry about the slapping and he tells her he will always choose her over Bonnie or whoever. Which is nice, I guess, but she’s not his girlfriend so that just seems like a big, noble waste of time. Anyway, the upshot of all this is that Bonnie’s in a cave, Klaus is on the lose and somewhere Katherine is stabbing herself in the leg. Good times!
Did you think Bonnie was going to die? Really? Come on. Do you think Elena’s a great big martyr? And most importantly, what did you think of Caroline’s Jackie O. costume?
By Liane Bonin



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