So much to tell you! Just give me a second to pull on my Fosse gear, ‘cause we’re going to Chicago! Yes! It’s a flashback episode all about 1920s Chicago and seems to be largely based on the musical of the same name. Not that I mind. I don’t. I love The Vampire Diaries flashbacks. I love that all the guys get to keep their ultra-modern 2011 hairdos no matter what time period they happen to be in. This was especially fun when Stefan dared to introduce the Robert Pattinson pompadour to the antebellum South. To their credit, they do acknowledge this at one point, when new character Rebecca introduces Stefan to Klaus and Klaus comments on his hair.
Wait, did I just say that Stefan met Klaus in 1920s Chicago! Hold on to your jazz hands and bowler hats, because we have a lot to cover. First of all, Katherine returns! Yay! She must have a better agent than Bonnie, since she’s still missing and we’re already on episode three. If Katherine is around, that means she’s planning something or wants something. Oh my god, she’s like me. Anyway, she calls Damon and gives him a clue: Stefan is in Chicago. Thanks to her clue, Damon figures out that Stefan is in Chicago.
Back in Mystic Falls, we find poor Caroline still tied to a chair. I don’t like crying, begging Caroline. That’s so Season 1. She made such strides in being a badass in Season 2. I really wish she had been tough as nails with Daddy Queerest and really proved how strong she is, even when faced with death. I guess she’s not there yet. Maybe this will help her evolve. Meanwhile, vervain has turned into the catch-all, multipurpose Kryptonite on this show, like meteor rocks on Smallville. Vervain is plentiful and comes in gas, liquid and solid forms. But it can only do so much. Daddy decides to up his interrogation techniques and try a little solar therapy on Caroline. Ouch. He is so not getting a tie for father’s day this year. Plus, telling your gay dad who’s torturing you, “Daddy! You can’t change who I am!” is f***king heartbreaking. And kind of brilliant.
Back to Stefan and Klaus. Honestly, I liked Klaus better when he was a mysterious figure off somewhere in Europe. Not just some arrogant, rich punk who used to hang out with Stefan in Chicago. He’s losing some of his gravitas. The mystery deepens when Stefan finds a picture of him and Klaus behind the bar at their old Chicago hangout. That’s what people did before Facebook, by the way. They posted their pictures in bars and on dorm bulletin boards. Not very efficient, but it lasted 90 years, so what do I know?
Damon and Elena arrive in Chicago. and Damon convinces her to read Stefan’s diary and hang out in his perfectly preserved apartment from the 20s. Wait, what? Stefan’s apartment from the 20s is just as he left it? No one’s rented it or opened it? Has he been paying for it all this time? Where’s the landlord? And how much is the rent for a perfectly preserved pre-war apartment in Chicago?
Via beautifully-lit flashbacks, we learn that Rebecca is Klaus’s sister and an original vampire! She’s also the original owner of Elena’s necklace. (Yup. Stefan gave his ex-girlfriend’s necklace to his new girlfriend. That’s not going to go over well.) And that’s just the kind of plotting that I love about The Vampire Diaries. Everything is important! Pay attention.
Klaus tells Stefan they used to be the best of buds in the old days, but he compelled him to forget. Instead of compelling him to remember, Klaus decides to take him back to his apartment for a little memory refresher. Uh-oh. That’s where Elena is! Thankfully, Stefan has a hidden room for storing booze and recording the names of his victims. I bet he was relieved when Microsoft came along and released Excel. Klaus and Stefan look around, while Elena hides and speculates how much a perfectly preserved pre-war apartment with a secret room goes for in Chicago nowadays.
Then…then, dear diary, I was reminded why I love this show, even though I make fun of it a lot. Stefan opens the door to the secret pantry and sees Elena. Then there’s this seriously long, completely silent look between the two of them. I had to rewind and watch it again. There is so much going on in those long, silent seconds. She’s holding his diary, standing in front of his list of victims. His will is no longer his own, and he’s learning about a past he completely forgot. (I guess he never went back and read any of his old diary entries.) But he still loves her. Loves that she’s there, but conflicted that her love for him will get her killed. Such a great scene. And, of course, Stefan saves the day and gets Klaus the heck out of there.
One snarky question, though. If Klaus is a werewolf and a vampire, why does he have such bad senses? He never hears, smells or feels the presence of anyone. Or maybe he does, and he’s just biding his time. We’ll see.
More flashbacks explain what I’d already started to piece together. The Stefan and Klaus bromance does indeed go back a century, and supervillain Klaus is on the run from someone higher up. It’s just like Qui-Gon said: “There’s always a bigger fish.” Or did he say, “d**k.” “There’s always a bigger d**k.” I can’t remember. I’ll have to watch The Phantom Menace again and let you know.
Damon lures Stefan outside, then tries to offer himself to Klaus as a replacement. Ugh, Damon. No one wants you, only Stefan. And if you haven’t figured out why, ask Qui-Gon. Proving he’s an old and wise vampire, Stefan reaches back to the wisdom of 1980s blockbuster Harry and the Hendersons to try to get Elena to go back to the woods and leave him alone. Your pretty mouth may be saying “no,” Stefan, but your eyes and your hair and saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline’s gun-toting mom and werefriend Tyler come to her rescue, making me like Tyler even more. I’m so glad he’s not the douchebag from Season 1 and 2 anymore. Still, Caroline and her dad are going to need some serious counseling to get over the whole torture chamber incident, or else Thanksgiving is going to be super awkward.
Klaus seems to have a problem with people leaving him. He’d rather kill them than let them leave. We’ve all been there, am I right? No? It makes me feel sort of, kind of sorry for him. Those vamps and their emotions. I feel like they could all benefit from an appearance on Oprah. There are in Chicago, after all. Too bad Oprah retired. And I don’t think appearing on Rosie’s new show would be the same.
Klaus finally gives Stefan his memories back, and he gets to meet Rebecca again (she’s been in a casket in a warehouse for 90 years). To figure out what went wrong with his hybrid spell, Klaus needs the first witch. To summon the first witch, Klaus needs…wait for it…Rebecca’s necklace! D’oh!
Finally, proving she’s even older than Stefan, Katherine uses a pay phone to call Damon again. I’m just going to pretend that she had some Clorox wipes with her and gave it a good antibacterial rinse before she touched anything. I pretend vampires perform the same ritual before they bite anyone, too.
That’s Chicago, kid!
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