Sacrifices. So overrated. Except when trying to sacrifice yourself for the ones you love leads to some very interesting new pairings, which is what happens in this week's episode of “The Vampire Diaries”…

 

The Sacrifice” unfolds in fine “TVD” fashion, with dualities galore, new fun facts about witchcraft, new pairings, surprise bad guy revelations, a much-needed undercurrent of sex and just a touch of awesome, bad-ass gore. More importantly, every single love triangle cooking in Mystic Falls heats up, leading to a handful of tantalizing near-smooches as tension builds for all of our beloved characters. With the way things get shaken up this week, next week’s 2010 capper could go in a number of different directions… and we can’t wait to see who ends up with who, what happens during Tyler’s first full moon, and whether or not Klaus will finally show up. 

 

[Full recap of “The Sacrifice” after the break…]

Elena is awoken by a strange sound in the middle of the night. Oh, it’s just Aunt Jenna and a half-naked Alaric, enjoying some post-coital ice cream! Yuck. Except it’s really that strange newcomer to town, Dr. Martin, who’s snuck into the Gilbert house to steal himself some hair. (Or if you prefer: He’s climbing in yo’ windows, snatchin’ yo hairbrushes up.) Because remember? He’s a man-witch.

Stefan and Damon trek down to the tomb to pay Katherine a visit and demand the moonstone. She’d give it up just to be free of the tomb, on account of how boring and hungry imprisonment makes her. Later at Elena’s, the bros plot a way to release the moonstone from its supernatural curse to prevent Elena from being sacrificed, but she vetoes their poorly conceived plan on account of how dead it’ll probably make them and everyone else she loves in Mystic Falls.

Over at Mystic Falls High, Bonnie’s palling around with her new warlock friend, Luka. Compared to him, she’s still a newbie at witchcraft. He tells her the nosebleeds are a result of overworking her magickry, and what she needs is a little witchy help with those big, hard to reach spells. Luka proposes they channel their energy together; they switch items of jewelry as personal talismans and bump psychic uglies, which creates a lovely swirl of wind around them and leaves Bonnie breathless. When Jeremy walks up to them, Bonnie hardly notices that Luka’s forgotten to give her bracelet back, and she’s still got his fashionable dog tag necklace.

Elena shows up at the Salvatore mansion to speak with Rose, only to discover her coming out of Damon’s room wearing very little, because she’s just totally done it with Damon. Elena’s a TMI magnet this week. Rose puts on some clothes and they talk; Elena wants to find out more about the moonstone from Rose’s friend Slater, and offers Rose a deal: If she helps Elena, Elena will have Bonnie make Rose a daywalker with her magic.

Cue a cover version of Garbage’s “I’m Only Happy When It Rains.” Tyler’s out on the basketball court missing every shot, which can only mean one thing – he’s metaphorically off-balance because of his huge fight with BFF Matt the other week! Matt approaches to apologize because he’s super sorry he picked said fight, then heads to class on the verge of tears, he feels so bad. Caroline shows up to offer her organizational assistance with Tyler’s impending full moon transformation, and our third (Fourth? Fifth?) budding love triangle continues along its course.

Back at the Salvatore mansion, the gang plots their moonstone heist. Bonnie thinks she can lift the tomb she spell long enough to allow Stefan and Damon in to steal the gem from a weakened Katherine; what the fellas don’t know is that she plans using her new friend Luka for the necessary power boost. (BUT LUKA IS THE SON OF MAYBE-EVIL DR. MARTIN!)

Rose takes Elena to Slater’s sweet pad, but nobody answers. Because Slater is dead. His sweet pad has a sweet six-monitor computer set-up, but Elena can’t get past the security password. Not a hacker, that girl. Rose and Elena hear a noise and discover Slater’s gal pal Alice, hiding in the closet.

Back at the heist planning meeting, Stefan hands over his photograph of Katherine for Bonnie to use in a spell. Bonnie sets the photo on fire in a bowl to turn it into a temporary incapacitating ash that’ll help keep Katherine subdued, then promptly has a nosebleed. Bonnie needs help! Magic isn’t safe!

Tyler takes Caroline to the old Lockwood cellar where Mason chained himself up on full moons, and where Tyler plans on locking himself up during his own first transformation. Caroline finds a hidden journal depicting a first person chronicle of Mason’s full moon experiences with a mysterious USB stick hidden in the pages.

As Bonnie prepares her magical anti-Katherine ash for the attack, Jeremy is concerned about her health. Bonnie insists that she’ll be fine; she’s doing it all to save Elena, so she really has no choice. The two share a lovely little almost-almost-kiss moment, but when Bonnie’s not looking Jeremy scoops some of the magical ash into his wallet.

Elena consoles Slater’s Kat Von D-esque girlfriend Alice, a human of the goth persuasion and a total vampire groupie who was only dating Slater in the hopes that he’d make her a vampire. Elena convinces Alice to help them access Slater’s files by insinuating that Rose will turn her in exchange.

Aaaaand just like that, Alice gets to helping! Someone’s wiped the hard drive of Slater’s computer, but thankfully he has everything backed up. (Mental note to self: Remember to back up computer.) Cue joke about how Slater’s password is “Kristen Stewart.” With Alice’s help, Elena sends a message to one of Klaus’s minions: “The doppelganger is alive – and she’s ready to surrender.” Rose realizes that Elena’s been planning to turn herself in all along, sacrificing herself for the safety of everyone she loves. The fact that Klaus’s minion Cody is en route to collect Elena makes it all the sadder that it’s everyone else who’s been having sex all week instead of her.

Also making grand gestures of bravado and sacrifice is Jeremy Gilbert, who secretly shows up at the tomb to take the moonstone from Katherine all by himself. He gets the drop on Katherine with a sudden flying stake to the gut, hurls his handful of magic dust in her face, and steps over her to search for the stone. Of course, just as he finds the thing Katherine wakes up and pounces on his sweet little human neck. Jeremy manages to toss the moonstone outside the tomb before becoming Katherine’s chew toy.

Stefan and Bonnie arrive minutes later to find Jeremy being held hostage by Katherine; Rose calls Damon to come to Slater’s place in Richmond right away. Elsewhere, Doc Martin has all of this week’s theft victims’ stolen talismans laid out and ready for use. He uses Elijah’s vampire blood to find Elena, who sees a vision of Elijah staring at her in the window of Slater’s apartment. Elijah now knows exactly where she is; it looks like everyone’s heading to Slater’s!

Luka comes home from school as Bonnie begins magically unlocking the tomb; since she’s still tapped into his warlock power, Luka starts to feel his energy drain. He valiantly attempts to do his homework and keep quiet, but parents tend to notice when you’re convulsing in heart-attack-like palpitations. Luka admits that he let Bonnie channel with him because of his father’s instructions to bond with her, and then both he and Bonnie begin nosebleeding from the force of her spell. Dr. Daddy Man-Witch administers emergency witchcraft and both Luka and Bonnie fall unconscious.

Over at Caroline’s house, Tyler and Caroline pop in Mason’s USB drive and find a video he made of his first full moon transformation. They watch as Mason chains himself to the garage floor, drinks wolfsbane to weaken himself, and proceeds to endure hours and hours of torturous pain. Tyler freaks out in fear at the idea of going through the same terrible transformation.

Damon arrives at Slater’s sweet pad and orders Elena out, but she refuses, committed to sacrificing herself for the greater good. They have an intense stare-off; Elena tries to punch Damon, but he easily catches her fist, leading to the second almost-almost kiss of the episode! Only this one is sort of angry, which makes it a different kind of hot. Rrawr.

Having fallen out of her tomb unlocking spell without actually having unlocked the spell, Bonnie starts whimpering about not being strong enough even with help, and the witch feminist movement takes one giant leap backwards. Katherine seizes upon the chance to keep torturing Jeremy, prompting Stefan to rush into the tomb to fling poor Jeremy out to safety… only with the tomb spell still intact, he’s now stuck inside with Katherine. D’oh!

Elsewhere, more veiled sexy talk ensues as Caroline attempts to help Tyler deal with the unimaginable pain he’s about to experience. You know, all those bodily urges that’ll come as he experiences his first time. Tyler wonders why Caroline cares at all when they were never really friends before, and she admits that she was alone when she turned and had nobody to coach her through her lustful urges, and she wouldn’t wish it upon him. Just then, in a stroke of brilliant timing, Caroline’s doorbell rings. It’s MATT! He misses her and wants to spend time together again. Matt sees Tyler inside. Awkward!

Rose, Elena, Damon, and the groupie chick are all still at Slater’s sweet pad when Klaus’s minion Cody arrives to take Elena, two vampire thugs in tow. Damon steps between him and Elena, flashing his pretty warning glare, when a surprise guest arrives. It’s Elijah! Cody immediately defers and suggests taking “the doppelganger” to Klaus. But Elijah has other plans, leading to the baddest image of the episode, and possibly of the entire season to date* as Elijah plunges his fists into the chests of Cody and his thug and rips out their hearts. Someone’s been watching “Temple of Doom!” Damon squares off, prepared to fight Elijah, but Elijah turns and speed-walks away…

… all the way back to Doc Martin’s house, where the two cohorts confer over the day’s events. Elijah explains that he spared Damon’s life because Damon – and Stefan – will both die to protect Elena. Shocking revelation of the night: THAT’S WHAT ELIJAH’S DOING, TOO! At least, he needs Elena to be safe for now.

Bonnie escorts Jeremy home in order to keep an eye on him. The two not-yet-lovers bicker over whose fault it is that Stefan’s stuck in the tomb. (We say it’s both of your faults! Now kiss already!!) Jeremy tells her that he only flew solo in order to spare Bonnie from killing herself with a spell she wasn’t powerful enough to pull off, then looks at her with delicious googly eyes. Bonnie warns Jeremy off of having feelings for her, but he knows she feels the same way about him. Just as they almost-almost kiss YET AGAIN, Bonnie pulls away and leaves.

Meanwhile, Damon escorts Elena home and the two argue over Elena’s attempted sacrifice. They’re interrupted by Jeremy, who breaks the news about Stefan’s new digs. Elena runs to the tomb, but Damon follows and prevents her from rushing headlong in after Stefan. After Elena leaves, Stefan asks Damon to promise he’ll protect Elena and keep her away from the tomb, no matter what.

Next week: OMG, are Katherine and Stefan getting it on inside the tomb???

 *Elijah’s double-fisted heart attack runs a close second to my favorite grisly moment of the series, the sight of newborn Caroline with blood streaming down her chin like berry juice.

Things we learn this week:

*** Witches can “channel” their power -- and when they do it looks super dirty.

*** Witches are kleptomaniacs who like to steal other people’s things.

*** Elijah isn’t planning on turning Elena over to Klaus after all – and he and Doc Martin are (for now) all about protecting her.

*** Still, Doc Martin ordered his son to buddy up to Bonnie for an unknown reason.  

*** Aunt Jenna and Alaric like to nibble on Chunky Monkey, the naughtiest-sounding flavor of all of the Ben & Jerry’s ice creams, after sex.

*** Elena now knows the above, and that’s totally gross.

What'd you think of "The Sacrifice"?