This week we'll be treated to Klaus and Rebekah's origin story, and as you might expect, there are flashbacks, not-always-successful hair extensions, plot twists and plenty of helpful hints as to how our intrepid Salvatore brothers and Elena might ultimately bring down these fearsome originals. This has the air of inevitability, though I will hate to see Rebekah and Klaus leave the show, if only for a little while (I'm guessing there has to be some loophole a hybrid like Klaus can slip through, and these two are immortal, after all). They're compelling villains and we've only just scraped the surface of who they were before they became selfish, ruthless baddies. But maybe what we learn tonight and in next week's midseason "finale" will provide all the Rebekah and Klaus we'd ever want. 

Ric and Elena explore the ancient Lockwood tunnels with Damon (well, to the extent that Damon can join them, as the Lockwoods were wise enough to put a vampire block in their cave long, long ago). Ric and Elena ponder the hieroglyphics. There's also Viking script -- and Niklaus and Rebekah's names. 

We flashback to Niklaus and Rebekah carving the hieroglyphics themselves. They banter like a typical brother and sister, and when we Rebekah hands Niklaus the carving blade face down, we see that at this point, he's still human. We learn that they're both frightened of their father, though Klaus is apparently a tattletale to Daddy. And who is Daddy? Back in the cave, Ric points out a little extra Viking script that reveals Klaus and Rebekah's last name -- Mikael. As in, Mikael the vampire hunter is their dad. While this is an interesting twist, it also serves the purpose of making us think about family -- what it means, what can sever those basic blood ties, and how it binds us together. 

Armed with this handy knowledge, Elena decides to confront Rebekah about Mikael. She wants to know why she shouldn't wake him up, but Rebekah isn't saying. Still, Rebekah makes it abundantly clear that Mikael is not to be woken under any circumstances. I wish Elena hadn't played her hand so readily, but I suspect it won't matter since Mikael is, unbeknownst to these two, already on the loose. 

We skip backward to another flashback which establishes Mikael as, if not the worst father since Michael Lohan, at least not the huggy-feely type. Ooh, there's Elijah with long hair! Mikael seems to dish out his harshest treatment for Klaus, and even while the family is still human, he seems to have Issues with the kid. Klaus seems befuddled and hurt by this as well as afraid -- though we know he's gotten over the first two emotions in the last thousand years.

Though Elena got nowhere with Rebekah the first time, our girl is not so easily dissuaded. She assures Damon that she sees a glimmer of Rebekah's true nature in her decision to be on the cheerleading team. I'm glad Elena sees it, because I haven't really seen all that much vulnerable humanity oozing out of Rebekah, but that's fine, since she's not going to snack on the doppelganger anyway. 

Meanwhile, Damon decides to drop in on Stefan in his dungeon -- then, after toying with his brother for a bit, frees him and invites him out for a drink. Elena, who was following Lexie's starve a vampire, feed his humanity diet is going to be pissed.

Elena drops in on Rebekah again -- and this time, after Rebekah makes a show of telling Elena she's not the boss of her, starts talking. It turns out that Mikael moved his family to Mystic Falls (which was not Mystic Falls at that time) from Europe after he and his wife Esther lost a child to the plague. They chose the location thanks to a tip from another witch, Ayana, who said the people who lived there were fast, strong and healthy. The catch? They were werewolves. 

Still, it seemed to work well for Mikael and his growing brood for twenty years -- they simply hid themselves away during the full moon, and all was well. Then, Klaus and younger brother Henrik decide to sneak out to see the wolves change -- and Henrik is killed. Esther and Mikael are torn apart. They beg Anaya to save Henrik -- which she can't (or won't) do. So, Esther and Mikael come up with a plan. They want their family to be safe from the werewolves. They want to be stronger, faster and simply better. Anaya is appalled, saying such a spell would come at a considerable cost. She won't do it -- but that's just fine. It turns out Esther is a witch. The original witch. 

Back in the real world, Damon and Stefan are hanging out at a bar, drinking up (literally) a hot, blonde bartender. Stefan isn't quite sure what Damon's up to, and I'm not quite sure, either. But I'm sure he has a plan. 

So, back to our flashback. Mikael goes about the bloody business of turning their kids into vampires. He gives them wine laced with blood, stabs them through the heart, then forces them to drink a local girl's blood. For Rebekah, blood is a rush. 

Of course, as Anaya promised, there are complications. They burn in sunlight (though Esther fixes that). Plants grown at the base of the ancient white oak tree used in her spell burn them (and weapons made from it can kill them), so they burn down the tree. But what Esther can't fix is her kids' lust for blood. 

Back at the bar, Damon tries to goad Stefan into standing up to Klaus. Stefan says there's no point. He can't -- which is the perfect time for Mikael to pop up (which he does). 

We return to the flashback, and Rebekah explains how Daddy became a vampire killer. It turns out that Klaus' first taste of human blood triggered his werewolf gene -- yes, werewolf gene. Mikael is not his father -- Esther had an affair. Esther tries to make things right by putting the hybrid curse on Klaus and turning her back on him, but it's not enough for Mikael. In a rage, he kills half the village - and then kills Esther. This bonds Elijah, Rebekah and Klaus together -- they will support one another always and forever. 

Elena doesn't get it. Klaus killed (sort of) Rebekah -- and she's still faithful to him? Rebekah explains he's her brother and, having grown tired of girl talk, she warns Elena that she'll rip her apart if she awakens Mikael. 

Speaking of Mikael, back at the bar he sticks his fist into Damon and tells Stefan he'll kill him if he doesn't give up Klaus' location. Stefan can't do it -- but he can offer to lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls. 

But wait! Time for another twist. While Ric and Bonnie have deciphered most of the hieroglyphics (and Ric has given Bonnie a little pep talk about Jeremy in the process), there's one part they can't figure out. But Elena pops in and gets it instantly. Mikael didn't kill his wife -- Klaus did. 

Elena rushes to tell Rebekah that her bond to Klaus is based on a lie. Initially Rebekah can't hear it (and almost eats Elena). But eventually it sinks in. She lost her mom too young -- to the brother she thought was her loyal supporter. 

As Rebekah questions her family bonds, Stefan and Damon are trying to sort out theirs. Stefan tries to convince Damon he told Mikael he'd lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls not to save Damon, but to save himself. He wants to get away from all the people -- Elena, Damon, etc. -- who think he's a good guy trapped in a vampire body. Damon isn't buying it. Stefan accuses Damon of loving him so much he's trying to save him. They beat the crap out of one another, because neither one wants to cop to being too human. 

Later, Damon sneaks into Elena's bed, waiting to be smacked down for releasing Stefan. Elena is too tired to care. But she does let him know that, while Stefan is turning on Klaus, so is Rebekah. And another thing she mentions before drifting off -- Stefan won't go straight out of love for her, but he will go straight out of love for Damon, his brother. And thus we're brought back to the theme of family. It will be interesting to see if next week Rebekah falls into Stefan's camp (brotherly love) or decides that a thousand years of lies is too much to take from a half brother who killed her mom. But I suspect the real hybrid slayer Klaus has to worry about is the one who isn't related to him at all - Mikael. 

Were there any surprises for you in the origin story? Do you think Mikael will kill Klaus to avenge Esther's death? And what do think is going to happen?