The Vampire Diaries Episode 316
Written By: Julie Plec & Elisabeth R. Finch
Directed By: John Behring
Original Airdate: 15 March 2012
In This Episode...
Alaric isn't dead - he is in jail. Meredith healed him with some vampire blood, but he is still a suspect in what I have dubbed the Founders Murders. Matt and Elena break into Meredith's apartment, looking for evidence that would exonerate Alaric. They find a letter from the coroner, updating the medical examiner's time of death, which is a time that Alaric has an iron-clad alibi for. Meredith catches them, and turns them into the sheriff, who lets them off with a warning. Matt has a surprise for Elena: he stole the Gilbert journal he found in Meredith's box.
Damon is Stefan's "sober coach." Stefan is trying to go cold turkey off the blood, which Damon thinks is a bad idea. He tries to get his brother involved in solving the Founders Murders. Naturally, this involves a lot of flashbacks. In 1912, the Salvatore brothers return to Mystic Falls for the funeral of their "uncle" Zachariah (Zachariah is actually their nephew, and he had been murdered). Damon and Stefan have not seen each other in 50 years, Damon still mad at his brother for turning him. While in town, Damon meets an enchanting young vampire/boxer named Sage, who teaches Damon the joys of feeding; that a woman is not just for food, but for pleasure. Damon is still pining for Katherine at this point, but he learns to embrace his vampire side. He shares Sage's wisdom with Stefan, who feeds from a young woman so voraciously that he tears her head clean off. Horrified by what he is done, he reassembles her body, apologizing the whole time, and runs off into the night. This was the start of Stefan's "ripper" years.
One of the ways Damon is trying to help is forcing by Stefan to feed on a young woman. Damon stops him before he kills her, and heals her up. Unfortunately, Elena and Matt have been released from the sheriff's station around this time, and Elena is shocked to see a bloody, vamped-out Stefan. Back at home, Stefan feels guilty. Damon admits to his brother that he felt guilty for not pulling him back from the edge, and is trying to make up for it now. He vows to be there for his brother until he can control himself.
Alaric returns home, but is soon visited by Meredith. He is not happy to see her, but she is insistent that he let her in. She has been reading the Gilbert journal; so has Elena. And Stefan has been doing some digging as well. Between the three P.O.V.s, we get the story. The journal does not belong to Jonathan Gilbert, but his granddaughter, Samantha. The original spate of Founders Murders in 1912 never led to a conviction, but ten years later, Samantha confessed to the crimes, and she was institutionalized. Damon is "pretty sure" she was dead when he killed her in 1912. The boys realize that Jonathan only made two of the special, protective rings - Samantha had been wearing it. It would appear that dying and resurrecting repeatedly would cause a person to go mad (who'd have thunk it?) Meredith's theory is that the same thing is happening to Alaric: he has been blacking out and losing time. She thinks he is mentally unstable and has been behind the latest rash of Founders Murders - even turning the knife on himself.
Dig It or Bury It?
I saw the second half of this episode at last week's Paley Fest, and while I was a little confused on a couple of key issues, it did have me questioning. Seeing the whole thing, I think I like my theory better than the one presented here. The show is suggesting that Samantha survived Damon's initial attack because of the ring, but coming back to life caused her to go crazy and start killing. The theory is then that Alaric is going down the same path - losing his mind and killing founders. But how about this theory: Samantha actually did become a vampire (Stefan and Damon can't know every vampire ever made), and is still alive and killing to this day. She went crazy because it was a genetic thing; it had nothing to do with the ring. So Alaric isn't actually killing people. Of course, Matt Davis, who plays Alaric, just landed the lead in another CW pilot so if that goes to series he can only appear on TVD as a guest star, not a regular. And, at the aforementioned Paley Fest, Davis did tell me that Alaric was going to "face repercussions" for dying so many times. So maybe the missing time isn't due to his alcoholism, but it is a side effect of the ring. I still don't think that Alaric is the Founders Killer.
Now that Damon has slipped back to his evil side, he is just full of wackiness. A couple favorites:
In mocking Stefan, who is writing in his journal: "‘Dear diary. A chipmunk asked my name today. I told him it was Joe. That lie is eating me up.'"
To Stefan: "There is a road to recovery, and we are on it."
Other than a couple of run-of-the-mill vamp kills (and Stefan's less-than-run-of-the-mill beheading and subsequent nervous breakdown) the best bit of violence was a hypothetical from Damon. Elena wants him to "get involved" in proving that Alaric is innocent and Meredith is behind it all. He offers to "tear her tongue out, chew it up, and feed it to squirrels." He then makes a nice "fava beans"-type noise which annoys Elena.
Sage returns and teams with Damon to disrupt Rebekah's plans, and Elena reaches out to Stefan.