No, seriously, what does the moonstone do? While its purpose is yet to be revealed, Kill or Be Killed served up a good dose of classic Mystic Falls twists, turns, heartbreaks, and near neck snaps. I’m not even going to guess what that pretty little rock of secrets does — after all, I’ve been going on and on about what a stand-up good guy Mason Lockwood seems to be.
The episode opened with the threat of an alpha male showdown but it turned out that the women of The Vampire Diaries were the ones kicking ass and taking names.
Liz Forbes nearly killed our beloved Stefan and Damon; Caroline took Mason down in a display of utter awesomeness; and Katherine is controlling more forces in Mystic Falls than we knew.
Meet Mason’s Girlfriend: Mason’s flashback to how his curse was triggered — a guy irrationally attacking him in a parking lot and just not letting up — was a giant clue to the final twist. Just a few episodes ago in Brave New World, we saw Damon pull this trick of compelling a guy to inspire a wolf attack, so it should have been no surprise that a vampire was behind Jimmy’s determined assault. And the most obvious candidate is Katherine. Yet somehow — and maybe I was alone in my cluelessness — I didn’t see the Mason/Katherine liplock coming, even after that opening scene.
With Katherine behind Mason’s return to Mystic Falls, we now know how he’s so informed about the Salvatore brothers and we know why he’s been dodging Tyler’s question about the moonstone. He can’t tell Tyler why he wants it — because it’s Katherine who wants it. Does Mason even know what power(s) the moonstone holds? Like Uncle John before him, who got most of his insider information from Katherine (via Isobel), Mason likely only knows as much as Katherine wants him to. And guessing from him saying Katherine would be happy if the Salvatore brothers were killed, that information may not include her past dalliances with Damon and Stefan.
While Katherine’s connection to our resident wolf answers a lot of questions about Mason, it raises even more about Katherine: from where (or from whom) did she get the moonstone in 1864? Why does she want it back now after a century and a half? Was her motivation behind forcing Mason’s transformation to have a werewolf at her beck and call? A werewolf is a powerful minion to have and a great weapon against other vampires once a month, but Katherine puts herself at risk too, should Mason ever turn on her. And the question that had me reeling as the episode ended: does Nina Dobrev really get to kiss another one of these impossibly handsome men?
Consider It Opposite Day: Last season, Tyler and Jeremy were always at each other’s throats; now they’re sharing a moment over Tyler’s supernatural secret. Afraid of becoming a “scary demon wolf thing,” Tyler is fighting against his natural instincts to be a dick: he reaches out to Jeremy at the Grill, he confides in him (you know, after he chokes him a little bit) about the Lockwood Curse, and (in perhaps what will turn out to be a very dangerous move) he hands over the moonstone to Mason, no longer interested in using it as leverage for information about the curse. The darkness inside Tyler has always frightened and confused him, but his momentarily wish that Sarah would die (so the werewolf gene would be activated) scared Tyler in a different way. And while Jeremy is the one who keeps initiating a friendship of sorts with Tyler, he also keeps secrets from him. He fibs when Tyler asks how he knew about the Lockwood Curse, not revealing that Elena told him or that vampires also exist.
Niceness Is Overrated: Though Stefan initially attempts to negotiate peace with Mason, he realizes that their handshake and truce are empty — especially after the old vervain-in-the-lemonade trick. Damon’s reaction to Stefan agreeing that Mason needs to be “put down” was classic; somewhat surprisingly to Damon (and to me), Stefan sees their werewolf problem as a “kill or be killed” situation. He doesn’t try to find a peaceful solution — like Damon does later in the episode with Liz. Damon sees a third option (the one he rejected with Mason): an enforced peace. He won’t kill her because she’s his friend (even though she says their friendship is a lie) so he finds a solution that spares her life. He’ll erase her memory after the vervain leaves her system. (What lies he replaces the truth with remain to be seen.)
What I particularly enjoyed in this episode was how it took a supporting character who’s never been front and center, and placed her in the thick of the action and at the heart of the story. We’ve watched Sheriff Forbes struggle to keep her town safe over the past year, we’ve seen her develop a friendship with and dependence on Damon, and we’ve seen her clash with her daughter. In Kill or Be Killed, we see how unenviable her position is: she tries to be a good parent by protecting her daughter as the town’s sheriff but alienates Caroline by seeming to choose her work over being a mother. She’s unwittingly befriended a sometimes-murderous vampire in her alliance with Damon. And it turns out her own daughter is her sworn enemy — a vampire who feeds on her own deputy in front of her. Everything about this situation is heartbreaking: Liz betrayed and humiliated by Damon’s deception; Damon hurt by Liz’s resolve to torture him for information and then kill him; Liz realizing that her daughter is a vampire; and perhaps most awfully, Caroline hearing her own mother ask to die rather than keep her secret and later reject her.
In the look that Damon gives Caroline as she stands outside the cell door, and in him telling Liz how wrong she is about her daughter being “gone,” Damon finds a kinship with and connection to Caroline. Damon’s own father rejected him for being a vampire sympathizer and in the end killed him for it; he knows what it’s like to be at total odds with a parent who thinks they’re protecting their children and their town by hunting vampires.
Damon’s kindness in sparing Liz is not selfishly motivated but because he can’t kill someone he considers a friend and his choice doesn’t go unnoticed by Elena. And this Damon Who Was Her Friend makes another appearance: instead of trying to take advantage of the fight between Stefan and Elena, Damon helps her resolve it.
Don’t Do it Alone: In the wise words of Damon Salvatore, “Relationships are about communication” and Elena and Caroline’s is repaired when Caroline admits that she’s been spying for Katherine. Always admirably empathetic, Elena understands why Caroline has betrayed her and Stefan. (Ain’t nothing scarier than Katherine Pierce.) Her threats must be taken seriously — and Elena admits to herself that that also means Stefan needs to be less vulnerable.
There’s nothing more boring to watch than a couple blissfully in love, and the writers have masterfully kept Stefan and Elena’s relationship from becoming stale with uninterrupted sweetness while at the same time not forcing conflict just for the sake of some drama. Their struggle to stay together in spite of Katherine trying to tear them apart feels real and honest. From their coded “I love yous” in their faux fight to their real fight over Stefan’s decision to drink human blood again, their dynamic remains such an importance keystone of the show.
Though The Vampire Diaries isn’t shy about killing off characters, there’s a certain amount of confidence we all have in our main three surviving — but seeing Stefan shot, vervained, and still as death was more than a little unsettling. His bunny-blood diet has been his downfall time and again — and, this season and last, every vampire knows to take advantage of it. He and Damon are right: Stefan needs to be stronger in order to fight Katherine and to protect himself, Elena, and the rest of the town.
Which leads us to Elena’s decision to be a part of Stefan developing control of drinking people blood. Bringing in an integral part of Stefan and Elena’s relationship from the book series, Elena offers Stefan her own blood. It’s a smart move on Elena’s part: by being his blood supply, she knows he’ll be as careful as possible when he feeds, terrified of killing her. Both symbolically and literally, she becomes the source of Stefan’s power and strength. (And if Stefan ever were to drink from Damon’s blood bag stash or from someone else, it would feel like cheating, wouldn’t it?) Some fans have been asking for more racy action between Stefan and Elena, and I have to say this bloodsucking scene fit that bill. The way he vamps out drinking her blood but returns to his human face as he kisses her brought to mind their first night together in The Turning Point — but here their connection feels even stronger and more intimate.
Compelling Moment: “It’s you and me, Stefan — always.”
The Rules: Mason explains that their werewolf curse is triggered by any death at a Lockwood man’s hands: accidental or intentional, it doesn’t matter. On a full moon, without restraints and sedatives, a werewolf will kill anything in its path.
- Sarah survived that tumble down the stairs without any injury. Hmmm.
- Was anyone else screaming at their television for Caroline to ditch Elena and run at vamp speed to save the Salvatore brothers?
- It seems like a convenient oversight that the deputies Sheriff Forbes called in weren’t injesting vervain — so Caroline could take a bite without being poisoned.
- How did Katherine know about Mason setting up the Salvatore brothers? The two deputies are dead, Liz is in the dungeon, and Caroline’s curled up on the couch. Does Katherine have more minions in town than Mason and Caroline, or did Mason tell her in an earlier (and unseen) conversation?
Other Thoughts and Questions before we move onto Plan B (EP206):
- Forget the moonstone: what secret files are on those floppy disks in Mayor Lockwood’s safe??
- Enough with the cheap scares! Elena needs to take the door off her bedroom closet.
- We haven’t seen Matt since Bad Moon Rising, but Jeremy mentions that Caroline’s attack on him has been blamed on a wolf.
- R.I.P. Nameless V5 Deputy (Kevin Nichols), who’s been kicking around Mystic Falls since Lost Girls. You served your town well.
- Can a vampire compel a werewolf? Did Mason get involved with Katherine willingly? Would love to see a flashback to her explaining how she’s a vampire, who the Salvatore brothers are, and how she has a doppelganger.
- Will Katherine realize Caroline confessed to Elena?
- With Caroline estranged from her mother, will we finally meet her dad?
- What the heck does that moonstone do?
On a personal note, thank you for your patience with me taking an extra week in getting this post to you; my rascally day job took me away from the TVDverse. And I must say it’s overwhelming (in a good way) to read all your thoughtful comments each week and the positive feedback on these posts. The Vampire Diaries fandom is truly like no other.
Crissy Calhoun is the author of Love You to Death: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries. When not obsessively re-watching CW shows, she works as managing editor at ECW Press in Toronto. She blogs on TVD, Gossip Girl, and other random things she falls in love with at crissycalhoun.com and tweets @crissycalhoun.
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