Bonnie gets possessed this week on “The Vampire Diaries,” but it’s only the centerpiece around which juicy other happenings sizzle beneath the surface. A hot new teacher? Check. Paul Wesley crying AND shirtless? Give us more. Damon’s secret unveiled? You betcha. But with all of the nods to “New Moon,” is “The Vampire Diaries” piggybacking on this month’s “Twilight” movie? 

[Full recap of Thursday (Nov.12) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]   

Bonnie’s having trouble concentrating in class. Maybe it’s the boring science lesson. Or maybe it’s the shadowy figure she sees flitting around the halls dressed in a corset and bonnet! Bonnie follows her great- great- whatever grandwitch outside and finds herself in the woods. Emily leads her to an old burned down building – “Where it started, and where it has to end.”  

Emily pleads with Bonnie to help her, but she starts to get really creepy so Bonnie wakes up, back in her classroom. Phew! It was all a dream. The camera moves to reveal Emily sitting right next to her. Boo! Bonnie wakes up for real in the woods. It was a dream within a dream! Well played, “Vampire Diaries.”  

A new hot teacher walks into class and writes his name on the chalkboard, which is rather convenient for those of us recapping at home. His name is Alaric Saltzman. He tells his students that his family immigrated to Texas in 1755 from Germany, but that he’s from Boston. He also explains, or rather over-explains, that his great grandfather was also named Alaric Saltzman. Where have I heard this routine before? He pronounces it “A-lar-ic” but tells the kids to call him “Rick.”  

Shirtless shot! Either Stefan has a tattoo on his right shoulder or Paul Wesley does. This will require further research. Damon greets Stefan in the morning trying to make nice for killing Stefan’s oldest, bestest friend in the last episode. It was for the greater good, he explains to no avail. And to make up for it, Damon will go vegetarian for a week! Stefan isn’t amused, and to emphasize the point, he puts a shirt on. Boo! Why punish ALL of us? The bros exchange catty remarks about each other (Damon makes fun of Stefan for moping over Elena, Stefan thinks Damon’s sole purpose is to ruin his life) before Stefan asks Damon why he even came back to Mystic Falls.  

Meanwhile, Bonnie explains her weird dream to Elena. She thinks she’s being haunted by Emily, and it might have something to do with Emily’s powerful talisman (Damon’s magic crystal) that Bonnie now wears around her neck night and day.  

Jeremy is called into Mr. Saltzman’s room. His name was on a list of troublemakers that Mr. Tanner left behind. But Rick – Alaric – Saltzman – whatever -- is one of those obnoxiously “cool” teachers, and he does things his own way! He offers Jeremy extra credit to make up for the failing grades he’s cultivated during weeks of drug use and his Vicki addiction: write a paper on local history. Without using Wikipedia, even! (That’s not extra credit, that’s impossible. What does Alaric want Jeremy to do - go to the library? This town doesn’t even have a library. It only has houses, a high school, a cemetery, and a Mystic Grill.) Jeremy notices a big chunky ring that Alaric wears; Alaric explains that it was his father’s. It looks an awful lot like a vampire ring, but who are we to presume? 

Matt passes Caroline for the second time without throwing more than a glance in her direction, which any girl well knows is an invitation to a smack down. Caroline is upset that after spending the entire night holding her sorry drunken ass without even trying anything fresh, nice guy Matt just left without saying goodbye. Matt is bewildered, because, of course, he is a nice boy. He calls Caroline out on reading more into his behavior than there is. Ouch.  

Stefan finds Elena in the school yard to tell her that he won’t be coming to school anymore. Actually, he won’t be coming around anywhere that she is anymore, for her own safety. Typical! It’s the classic boy vampire break-up excuse. Elena’s just hurt and angry. He’s fine with that. This is just like when Edward broke up with Bella, only instead of leaving her alone in the woods to collapse into a heap, Stefan at least is nice enough to do it to Elena in a crowded yard in front of the entire school.  

In the third school yard confrontation in a row (bad things come in threes!) Damon demands his necklace back from Bonnie, who is slowly becoming more and more unraveled. He knows that Emily is haunting Bonnie from inside the crystal and that she won’t stop. He gives Bonnie a message for Emily: “A deal’s a deal.”  

Bonnie tells Elena about Damon’s threat as they drive home. They agree that he’s bad news. Bonnie pulls the car over and chucks the crystal out into an open field, which makes her feel better.  

Elena summons Stefan to her house, where Bonnie’s hiding out, and tells him how Damon threatened Bonnie over the necklace. Stefan explains to Elena that Emily was Katherine’s handmaid – aha! He figures out that Bonnie’s heirloom crystal once belonged to Katherine, because Emily gave it to Katherine, and that means something… that only Damon knows. Stefan promises to find out.  

Aunt Jenna and Jeremy are at the Mystic Grill, where Jenna’s terrible parenting skills lead her hormonal eyes over to the hot teacher even though Logan the News Guy has only been gone a short while. Aunt Jenna reminds Jeremy that their entire family history is kept in the attic, which he can use for his paper. But before she has a chance to get too helpful, Alaric strolls over and introduces himself. Jenna straddles him with her eyes, and within seconds it’s, “Logan the News Guy who?” 

Over at the bar, Stefan surprises Damon by being friendly. They banter. It’s nice when they banter. Playful, even. Stefan notices that Damon’s drinking a lot, and Damon explains that it’s because he’s not “eating” his usual diet, still atoning for killing Lexi. 

Elena has invited Caroline over for dinner and fingernail painting to force her and Bonnie to make up. Caroline apologizes for trying to snatch Bonnie’s necklace, but gets annoyed when Bonnie tells her she just threw it away. Or did she? Caroline finds the crystal necklace hiding in Bonnie’s purse. It’s following her! Bonnie is such a liar! 

Bonnie is just as surprised to see the crystal and wonders why Emily won’t leave her alone. Caroline feels out of the loop with all this witch talk and puts Bonnie and Elena on blast for always leaving her out of their conversations. Bonnie tells Caroline that they do it because Caroline is a bad listener and she tells Caroline point blank that she’s a witch. Of course, Caroline really is a bad listener and she mocks Bonnie, who leaves in disgust. And that, my friends, is how you write a scene that is at once about witches and also about the intricate layers of secrecy and trust among girl friends.  

Back at the Grill, Jenna finds herself conveniently alone to sidle up to Alaric at the bar. They exchange tragic relationship stories. Alaric tells her that he married young before his wife died, and implies that she was murdered and that the case is still unsolved. He came to Mystic Falls because of the scenery and the rich history. Right.  

Playing darts, Stefan and Damon are acting like real brothers! They’re both using reverse psychology on each other, under the pretense of having a good time with one another. Neither can figure the other out.  

Caroline makes amends with Bonnie. Believing in supernatural stuff isn’t her deal, but if Bonnie believes, she’ll be a good friend and listen. She gives Bonnie her crystal necklace back. The three girls decide to have a séance. It’s just like “The Craft!”  

During the séance, Bonnie calls on Emily to deliver her message. The candles flare, a breeze blows in, and Emily shows herself by blasting open a window, which freaks all three girls out. The candles go out and Bonnie throws the crystal off in panic, but when the lights come back on, it’s gone! 

Meanwhile, Stefan and Damon continue their man-date on the darkened football field, where they play vampire football – in which Damon throws a pass to himself, and Stefan tackles him using his vampy super speed. As they wheeze together on the ground, Damon finally asks Stefan why he’s courting his good favor. Stefan brings up Katherine and argues that neither of them really loved her – it was just her vampire mojo tricking them into thinking so. Damon doesn’t want to talk about it and begins to walk away. 

Stefan asks him why he wants Katherine’s crystal, but Damon dodges the question by asking Stefan how he knew it belonged to Katherine. Emily gave it to her the night she died, and it was Damon who went home with her. Stefan reveals to a shocked Damon that he saw Katherine last when they hooked up after her date with Damon. Yuck. Sloppy seconds on top of sloppy seconds! The revelation jerks Damon back into adversary mode and he sulks off before revealing his big secret: he’s going to bring Katherine back.  

Back at the séance, Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie still can’t figure out where the crystal went. Elena sees a figure cross the hallway and thinks it’s her brother, but we’d recognize that shadow flit anywhere – it’s the shadow flit of the undead! Suddenly we switch to handheld camera mode, and “The Vampire Diaries” turns into “Hot Girls In a Haunted House.” Bonnie is lured into the bathroom, which locks behind her, trapping her inside. The lights flash on and off and she screams before the house returns to normal… but Bonnie is acting weird. In the mirror, Bonnie’s reflection shows that she’s really Emily! 

Stefan demands to know how and why Damon wants to bring Katherine back from the dead. Damon explains that back in the olden days, when the townsfolk started hunting vampires, he begged Emily to protect Katherine with magic. When the church went up in flames, and Katherine supposedly with it, she was really safely hidden in a tomb beneath the ground sealed by Emily’s witchy magic. How convenient!  

More magical mumbo jumbo: In order to summon the power she needed to use the crystal on Katherine, Emily harnessed the power of a passing comet. The crystal regained the same power over a hundred years later – or, in “Vampire Diaries” terms, a few weeks ago – when it passed over Mystic Falls again. Ok. Also, in exchange for protecting Katherine, Emily demanded that Damon protect her family, and so he saved her children. He’d kill Bonnie in an instant if not for their deal.  

Bonnie, who is obviously possessed by Emily even though stupid Caroline still doesn’t believe her witch stories, takes leave of Elena’s warm hospitality while talking in stilted prose. Elena realizes what’s going on and calls out to Emily, who replies that she “won’t let him have it” before running out the door. Caroline bounces with the quickness, so Elena calls the only person she can: her ex-boyfriend but still-true love undead paramour, Stefan. Elena tells Stefan that Emily was headed toward Fell’s Church, the place she took Bonnie in her dream – the place where Katherine and 26 other people died. By the time Stefan hangs up, Damon’s already gone.  

In the woods by Fell’s Church, Damon intercepts Emily-Bonnie, who has power-walked all the way from Elena’s house. Emily-Bonnie tells Damon that she can’t keep her end of the bargain because things have changed, and now she needs to protect her family. Damon, who ironically has been keeping his promises so far in this episode, lunges to attack Emily-Bonnie but she uses her invisible witch powers to impale him on a tree. Double ouch! 

Back at the Gilbert house, Jeremy is going through the boxes from the attic when Aunt Jenna whores herself home with Alaric on her arm. Because of their delightful banter, she doesn’t notice that he’s waiting on the doorstep to be invited in. Shockingly, she doesn’t invite him in because Jeremy’s there. He is so a vampire.  

Jeremy finds a bound journal belonging to Johnathan Gilbert, dated 1864. It’s in excellent condition, considering that it hasn’t been preserved for 145 years.  

At Fell’s Church, Stefan finds the injured Damon and helps him down. Emily-Bonnie is doing something with a giant stick. She greets Stefan and tells him that the people of Mystic Falls don’t deserve to know such evil, revealing that Damon wanted to unleash more than just Katherine out into the world of 2009. When Emily saved Katherine from the vampire hunters in 1864, she had to save all of the vampires corralled in the church – and if Damon brings back Katherine, they’ll all come back to life. Damon’s desire is twofold; he wants to bring back his beloved and get revenge on the people of Mystic Falls for hunting down his kind over a century ago.  

Emily-Bonnie refuses to allow the old-timey vampires to come back, and burns the ground in a pentagram shape. Damon pleads with Emily, who throws Katherine’s crystal into the air where it explodes into a ball of fire that rains down pretty sparkles. Damon is pissed. As soon as the fire dies and Emily leaves Bonnie’s body, he attacks Bonnie. Can you blame him? Stefan saves Bonnie by feeding her his blood, which heals the wound on her neck in no time.  

Matt pays Caroline a visit by sneaking in through her bedroom window. In “Twilight,” this sort of thing is considered romantic. Here, it’s appropriately creepy. Matt tells Caroline that he got freaked the night that he spent with her because he doesn’t like her, but it comforted him. He reminds us all that he’s all alone in the world, just like her.  

Damon sits disconsolate in the woods, his only shot at bringing Katherine back now gone. He tells Stefan that Katherine never compelled him with her vampire mojo; he went into their whole affair knowing everything about her. His love was real. He tells Stefan that he’ll leave Mystic Falls. Let’s hope he changes his mind.  

Elena comforts a disoriented Bonnie, who doesn’t understand what just happened. Stefan reassures Elena that Bonnie won’t turn into a vampire as long as she doesn’t die with his blood in her system. Elena decides to tell Bonnie the truth about everything; she can trust her, can’t she? I mean, Bonnie’s a witch. She should understand.  

But Elena is the one who’s going to need a shoulder to cry on. She’s finally decided that she can handle all of this vampire business after all, and she wants to be with Stefan. But now it’s Stefan’s turn to throw a wrench into their budding romance. He tells her he has to leave Forks – I mean, Mystic Falls – because too many people have died since he’s come to town. Stefan breaks up with Elena and walks off into the woods. (Coincidentally, “New Moon” comes out next week. Draw your own conclusions.)  

We catch up with our favorite Mystic Fallsians at the end of the night with, of course, a closing montage! Aunt Jenna picks up a photograph of herself and Logan the News Guy and folds it in half, ostensibly done with him now that she’s got a new hunk to drool over. Matt and Caroline have reached an understanding: they’re going to eat junk food in bed and stay up all night talking! Damon’s still sitting alone in the woods, moping over Katherine. But Stefan… Stefan’s up in his room, revisiting his old journal. Remember when he used to write in it and read it out loud to us in voice-overs? I miss those days. So does he. Stefan cries, and rather deliciously. Paul Wesley crying is by far the hottest thing this episode has given us.  

Less hot is the sight of Elena spilling EVERYTHING to Bonnie while both of them blubber. And then, Aunt Jenna’s doorbell rings. On her doorstep, asking to be invited in…is a sorta pale-looking Logan the News Guy! O.M.G. What is going on?  

 

Next week: Logan the Vampire is running amok, and things get STEAMY in Mystic Falls!