So, last week we learned a lot about our Originals, and I suspect we're going to learn a lot more, as tonight is the midseason finale and we won't be getting any new blood until January 5. As last week set up a battle royale between Klaus and Mikael, this could be one hell of a showdown. Or it could be an epic fail, not for the show, but for Elena, Mikael and Damon. Whatever plan they've put into place, you can be sure Klaus won't stumble easily into any trap they set. Part of me honestly hopes he doesn't, really. Klaus has been a great foil for the Salvatores and a villain with a dark and twisted humanity that renders him both sympathetic (Daddy-who-wasn't-his-Daddy never loved him) and terrifying (betray him and you're dead -- even if you're dear old Mom). Of course, the fact that Elena is surrounded by allies who could flip flop at any moment makes me think tonight will have more than a few twists and turns.

 We kick things off by Stefan putting Operation Kill Klaus into motion. He calls Klaus up to tell him Mikael is dead, or at least daggered. Stefan, who doesn't care, just wants to know what to do with the body. A body which is, oddly enough, there (I'm sure all will be explained momentarily). Klaus is cautiously optimistic. Obviously, Stefan can't lie to him, but that doesn't mean there's not a trap. And of course, there is. 
 
An hour earlier, Stefan, Damon and Elena had worked on their Klaus-bait story. But how to convince Klaus that Mikael is really dead? Mikael helpfully suggests they actually kill him. How nice of him! It seems that Mikael has an insurance policy that his new friends won't leave him for dead, and that is in the form of a a stake fashioned from the wood of the ancient white oak tree -- the one thing that will kill Klaus. Not that Mikael is revealing where it is (that's the insurance part). And, since no vampire can kill an Original without dying, Elena has to stake Mikael. Poor Elena. With each passing week she looks more and more shattered, like a war veteran with post traumatic stress disorder. 
 
As expected, Klaus expects to see a body when he comes back, and before he commits to that plan he wants to talk to Rebekah. Since Rebekah is on Team Mikael, she convinces her brother that all Stefan says is true (and really, it is, as Damon and Elena have made sure Stefan doesn't have to lie -- Mikael is dead and lying in the living room, as promised). Satisfied, Klaus makes plans to return home. 
 
Of course, once Stefan has made the phone call Mikael can be destaked and, many hours later, wakes up. Unfortunately for him, the only person who seems interested in this development is Rebekah. And Rebekah is mad. She isn't interested in any huggy family crap he might want to say, because she blames him for the mess they're all in. Yes, Klaus killed her mother and she will take him down for that, but Klaus wasn't born bad -- Mikael, by turning the family into vampires (and I'd argue by treating Klaus like a miserable failure for reasons that had nothing to do with him and everything to do with his wife's infidelity) ruined them all. Mikael really has no response to that. 
 
In her bedroom, Elena complains to Bonnie that she has nothing to wear to homecoming. It's always a little jarring with our heroine has these real teenage moments, as I'm surprised she even cares about clothing when she's been busy staking and plotting and trying not to die for the last few weeks. I'm not surprised her wardrobe sucks, no pun intended. When does she have time to shop? And aren't most of her clothes covered in blood spatter? But she has to go to homecoming because Caroline will KILL her and Bonnie if they don't show! Honestly, I think Caroline would be a pretty lousy friend if she didn't give them a pass on this, but I appreciate their loyalty. 
 
Elena tells Bonnie she can talk to her about Jeremy. She's also mad at him for cheating on Bonnie with his dead ex-girlfriend! I'm actually a little surprised Elena cares, much less remembers she has a brother given all that's going on with her, but it doesn't matter anyway. Bonnie doesn't want to talk to her about Jeremy. Because Jeremy is Elena's little brother, she can't be mad at him the way Bonnie's mad at him, and she shouldn't be. Bonnie should really consider a psychotherapy major, because she's very good at this stuff. 
 
Soon it's back to Operation Kill Klaus for Elena. While she and Damon make wolfsbane bombs, Damon tells her he has a contingency plan -- and it's going to have nothing to do with her. Elena is none too thrilled about this, but she's even less thrilled that Stefan is going to homecoming to keep an eye on her. I think if Elena has to spend much more time around Stefan and his crappy attitude and general snarkiness she might not care too much about lifting a finger to help him, but I guess she probably figures she's come this far. Can't let that wolfsbane go to waste.
 
While working on the homecoming decorations, Tyler and Caroline fight about Rebekah. Caroline calls Rebekah an evil blood slut and Tyler can't understand why she doesn't like her. I have some ideas.
 
Back at the Salvatores, Rebekah can't wait for her very first high school dance. I love it when we see this side of Rebekah, and these vulnerable, almost innocent moments are what make her and Klaus such intriguing villains. Rebekah warns Elena not to trust Mikael, and her eyes begin to water just thinking that she's playing a part in driving a stake through Klaus' heart. Elena gives her the magical necklace to brighten up her outfit. Is that a good idea? Oh, no big deal, because Elena stakes her. it's the right decision, but it is a surprise, and I wonder at what point Elena is going to curl up in a ball, humming and rocking back and forth until medical professionals come to collect her.
 
Damon's impressed with Elena's staking of Rebekah, but of course Elena feels terrible. She's afraid she'll let her humanity get in the way of Operation Kill Klaus. Damon tells her not to worry. He has a plan! 
 
And that plan better not include the homecoming dance, because the gym is flooded and the dance is canceled. Tyler is moving homecoming to his house. What? I guess when you're a hybrid you can compel your mother not to care that a bunch of teenagers are puking on her living room rug.
 
Matt shows up to collect Rebekah, his date for the dance, but unless he likes to lug around deadish, limp dates, that isn't happening. Elena helpfully volunteers to take her place. Which shouldn't be awkward at all.
 
Caroline can't believe Tyler's party is so polished and organized! And he's hired a band! And strung outside lights! It turns out Tyler isn't throwing a homecoming dance, though, as Klaus ordered him to prep a wake for Mikael. Still, I'm wondering if one of the benefits of hybridization is enhanced party planning skills.
 
At the party, Klaus tells Stefan he plans to revive his family. Sure, he staked them and has been carting them around in a truck for years and years, but he's willing to forgive their little transgressions. Klaus says the cutest things. 
 
Back at the house, Damon asks Mikael why he feeds on vampires. He prefers to feed on the predator and not the innocent. And to illustrate that point, Mikael turns around and attacks Stefan, who just walked into the room. As this doesn't seem to bother Damon, we can safely assume it's part of the plan.
 
But Klaus isn't going to be so easy to kill. He tells Tyler the guests at the party aren't high school students -- they're hybrids. Mikael isn't the only one with an insurance policy, and if anyone tries to hurt him his hybrids are programmed to attack. Time for Tyler to warn his friends! The only friend Tyler cares about, of course is Caroline. And when she doesn't confess to a plan (she doesn't have one), he just gives her a shot of vervain, as it's easier to get her out of the party unconscious than risk her running around stupidly and getting herself killed. That's a good boyfriend! I think! 
 
Damon stops in at the party and almost stakes Tyler with Mikael's magic Klaus-killing gizmo, but Bonnie stops him. Eye on the prize, Damon! As Mikael can't enter the house, it will be Damon's job to do the Klaus killing. It seems like Damon's thought of every possibility, which probably means he hasn't. 
 
Finally, it's go time. Mikael confronts Klaus. Klaus threatens to sic his hybrids on him. Mikael tells him, as they're part vampire, he can compel them. Touche!  Mikael grabs Elena and threatens to kill Elena. No Elena, no more hybrids. Klaus says go ahead. Mikael tells him he has no friends -- he has to make them and they wouldn't even play with him if he didn't force him to! Klaus yells and cries. And then, Mikael stabs Elena, who I'm thinking is not Elena. And then, Damon steps in to stab Klaus. Everything's going perfectly! Except it's not! Stefan suddenly attacks Damon, the Klaus-killing stake goes flying, Klaus grabs it and stakes Mikael, who bursts into flames. WHAT? That was one hell of a reversal!
 
Stefan, who has clearly been a good slave, asks Klaus for his freedom, and it is granted. 
 
Caroline wakes up in bed. She's so mad at Tyler! How can she be with him when he's sired to Klaus? Tyler tells her she needs to accept him for who he is! He's okay with this whole hybrid thing! Tyler never has to turn again if he doesn't want to, and avoiding that pain is worth anything, including being sired to Klaus. He asks her to accept him as he is. Caroline can't. And just like that, they're over. And they were such a cute couple. I see Caroline's point, but every guy has some baggage. So he has to take orders from this evil hybrid guy and not her, big deal. He could have dated a stripper or something. 
 
Damon and Elena try to comfort one another. Elena tells Damon that she knows they've lost Stefan -- but they just need to let him go. They're sad. They're also very close to kissing. They're probably saving that for the next episode. In JANUARY. 
 
Next, we see Katherine and Stefan in a car, as Katherine tries to get as far away from Klaus as she can (yes, she was Elena's stand in). Through conversation and flashbacks, we learned that Katherine stepped in to help, then discovered that Klaus had orders that, should anything happen to him, his hybrids would kill Damon. Thus, she begged Stefan to stop Operation Kill Klaus. But why? Because she still loves Damon and she still loves Stefan. And she wants Stefan to get his humanity back. I'm not sure I completely buy this, but I like the idea that Katherine occasionally has attacks of conscience even if it all feels a little deus ex machina as it plays out here. But she also wants Stefan to take revenge on Klaus (okay, this is very deus ex machina). Stefan sighs and says he'll get back some of his humanity, but not all of it. Katherine can get to him but Elena can't? 
 
Next we see Stefan calling Klaus to inform him that he's stolen his family.  Klaus is enraged, as he was all fired up to bring them back to life and he's been lugging those stupid coffins around for AGES. It seems Klaus and Stefan have some more business to handle, and I'm wondering exactly how Katherine plays into it (I can't believe she saved the day/ruined Operation Kill Klaus out of the goodness of her heart) but again, just have to wait for those answers. Until 2012. 
 
Do you believe Katherine's motivation? Do you think Stefan will regain his humanity? Do you think Elena and Damon are going to get together?