The Vampire Diaries Episode 308
Story By: Nick Wauters
Teleplay By: Caroline Dries & Julie Plec
Directed By: J. Miller Tobin
Original Airdate: 3 November 2011
In This Episode...
Gather around friends. I would like to tell you a story (technically, this is Rebecca's story, as told to Elena). A story about the original vampires. Where they came from, how they can be killed, and who Michael is.
Michael is the patriarch of the clan, a humorless authoritarian who had no patience for Klaus. He and wife Esther left Europe over a thousand years ago (as humans) for fear of a plague. A witch, Ayana, told Esther about "The New World," which was filled with people of incredible strength and power. That's because they were all werewolves. But it meant that a plague couldn't survive. And for a while, they lived in harmony with the werewolves. Rebecca remembers them not as the big bad wolf, but as neighbors. Once a month, they would hide in their cellar, listening to the werewolves transform. By morning, everything would be back to normal.
One night, Henrik, the youngest of the family, snuck out to watch the wolves transform. As you can imagine, this didn't end well, and so a feud was born. Terrified for the rest of their children, Michael and Esther beg Ayana for a spell to protect the family. She refuses, so it is up to Esther - the original witch - to protect her spawn. A concoction of white oak, sun, and blood mixed with wine was given to the kids - then Michael killed each and every one of them. They were reborn as vampires. As Rebecca explains, witches were nature's servants, and vampires were nature's abomination, so Esther could not be both. As Ayana predicted, nature fought back. For every strength, vampires had a weakness: sunlight, invitations, and the hunger. Vervane grew from the base of the white oak tree. That which helped create them could also destroy them, so the family burned the tree to the ground.
So that is the story of the first vampire family. When Klaus made his first kill as a vampire, the werewolf gene was triggered, so his mother cast the hybrid curse to keep him at bay. She turned her back on him, evidence of her infidelity and an abomination of nature. Soon after, Michael killed Esther in front of Klaus, and the family scattered. Klaus, Rebecca, and Elijah stay behind to bury Esther and vow to stay together. No matter how much of an asshole Klaus is, Rebecca sees no point in holding a grudge when they will live for eternity. But things change when Ric finally pieces together the story that is carved in the tunnel wall. The story he shares with Elena is what Rebecca already told her, except for the ending. According to the wall, it was Klaus who ripped his mother's heart out, not Michael. The hybrid killed the original witch, and Klaus made up the lie so that he wouldn't lose Rebecca.
Dig It or Bury It?
I love good backstory. I think I would have preferred for the episode to take place almost entirely in the past, with the story paced out a little better, and no B-story with Damon and Stefan (more on that below). I felt like the timeline for Rebecca's story was a little uneven. For example, Michael and Esther left Europe because they were afraid their kids would get sick. But I thought that Klaus was the second-oldest child, and he clearly could not have been conceived until they came to the new world (of course, I may be mixing up fictional birth order with Game of Thrones). Rebecca also said she was born in the new world. Weren't there like eight or nine kids in the family - what is going on with them? I feel like there was more to the parents as well. In general, I just feel like the origin story could have benefitted from a little more fleshing out - even just five minutes or so.
Damon decides that Lexie's form of detox isn't working - so he lets Stefan out of the cell and takes him for a drink. Much later on, as the pair are leaving, Stefan is now down to kill Klaus so he can be free of the compulsion and leave town. He is annoyed that everyone is trying to save him. Damon feels like since Stefan saved his life, he owes it to him. The two start brawling, but the bartender Stefan spent all night feeding on did not strengthen him enough, and Damon "won."
Michael shows up at the bar, offering to help the Salvatores kill Klaus (the working theory seems to be that Michael saved a piece of the white oak tree before it was burned). But he needs to know where Klaus is. Stefan can't or won't tell him, so he shoves his hand into Damon's chest, holding his heart in his hand, and threatening to rip it out if he doesn't share. At the very, very last possible second - just as Michael starts to twist - Stefan finally says that he can get Klaus here.
At the end of the episode, Damon is laying on Elena's bed, waiting for her (as he is wont to do). She is just tired and wants to go to sleep, while Damon is kind of rambling on in that Damon way. He is being semi-heartfelt about his concern for Stefan, and Elena is standing on the opposite side of the bed, tugging uselessly on the blankets. Finally she gives up and crawls under whatever blanket she can get.
For a good one-liner, I liked Damon's response to Stefan, who questioned why his brother came down into the cell he is trapped in: "It's visiting day at vampire rehab."
Klaus returns to town just in time for the Homecoming dance - an event that is very, very important to Rebecca.