Who’s ready for PERIOD COSTUMES?!?!

Rebekah's past

Alaric takes Elena down the Lockwood tunnels.  That is not a euphemism.  The cave drawings he found there are runes that reveal three ancient Viking names: Elijah, Niklaus, and Rebekah.  When Elena suggests that they are fakes planted by Elijah, Alaric shows her the fourth name: Mikael.  And that, my friends, is what I love: epic storytelling that goes back ages and ages and keeps winding back on itself.  Everything’s connected and everything’s a clue!

Alaric believes the runes will tell how to kill Klaus. Now that they know that the cave names are the original family, it follows that Mikael is in fact the siblings’ father.  In a flashback, we see that Klaus feared Mikael, who thought his son was reckless and impulsive (well, he’s right about that).  Elena asks Rebekah about Mikael, but intially gets nowhere.  Damon has his own plans for helping Stefan and releases him from his chains.  Bonnie brings the vervain necklace to Alaric, who has become consumed with the cave paintings.  One of the repeated cave symbols matches the necklace.

According to Rebekah, plague drove their family to the New World.  With them was their mother Esther’s witch friend Ayana, who had heard of a race of people with speed and strength who didn’t get sick – the werewolves.  For 20 years the family and the werewolves lived as peacable neighbors.  However, one full moon the youngest brother Henrik was slain by the werewolves, and that was the end of the truce.

Damon takes Stefan out to the bar and compels a waitress into letting Stefan feed from her.  They steadily get drunk together.  While she snoops through Stefan’s room, Rebekah continues her story.  Esther and Mikael beg Ayana to find a way to protect their family from the werewolves.  Mikael wanted to be able to fight them as well.  When she refuses to turn them into vampires, the duty falls to Esther – who is revealed to be the original witch.

A witch is a servant of nature, but a vampire is an abomination.  No one can ever be both, so Esther chose not to turn with the rest of her family.  Using the sun and a white oak as part of the ritual, she gave the others wine laced with blood.  Then Mikael stabbed each child through the heart and forced them to drink blood.  Because the white oak could kill them, they burned it down.

[Spoilers ahead!]

As Damon convinces Stefan to help him kill Klaus, Mikael appears with a plan to do so.  We know that Esther had an affair with one of the werewolves; that’s how Klaus became a hybrid.  When Mikael found out, he killed half the village and ripped out Esther’s heart.  He ran off, but Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah vowed to stick together always.  Rebekah explains that as vampires, their emotions are heightened: Mikael was proud, Rebekah was stubborn, Elijah moral, and Klaus “has no tolerance for those who disappoint him.”  In a sad moment, Rebekah confesses that she sticks with Klaus so that she doesn’t have to be alone.

Klaus and Rebekah and their heightened emotions

Mikael quizzes Stefan, who is unable to reveal anything about Klaus due to the compulsion.  When Mikael threatens Damon’s life, however (by grabbing hold of his heart in an Indiana Jones twist), Stefan offers to lure Klaus back to town.  Mikael makes it clear that he intends to stake Klaus, and if Stefan fails to bring him back, Mikael will kill him instead.

While studying the cave drawings, Elena discovers that Klaus lied to Rebekah – Mikael didn’t kill Esther, Klaus did.  Elena tells this to Rebekah, who breaks down.  Damon feels responsible for saving Stefan because it’s his fault that Stefan went with Klaus and ended up in this mess.  Elena tells Damon that underneath it all, Rebekah is just a girl who lost her mother too early and loves blindly, even if it consumes her.  Rebekah and Elena are ultimately very similar characters – girls who have been betrayed by the men they love.  Perhaps they will become bosom buddies?

The show ends with Elena falling asleep in her bed with Damon, who looks on her with his dreamy bedroom eyes.  It’s no secret that I’m rooting for Damon, and Stefan’s sad-sack attitude lately has done nothing to pull me to his side.  Is Stefan going to fight his way back to humanity just to find his brother has stolen his girl?  I’m sort of hoping so!

An original family, original witches, vampires and werewolves…is an original vampire hunter in the works?  Someone alert Buffy!

If you missed last episode, be sure to read ‘The Vampire Diaries: Ghost World’ recap to catch up.