Wow, didn’t see that coming. Oh yes, “The End of The Affair” is an enjoyable hour of television, but it follows a drastically different formula that what we’ve gotten in the first two episodes of the season. You had to stick with it, wait for the slow unfolding story to deliver the payoff. When all was revealed, it was the equivalent of getting whacked in the melon with a two by four.
I have to admit, it took me a while to process this one. Good process of course. It’s another flashback episode, something that’s very ripe for a 164 year old vampire given the years of unknown backstory. This setting is quite different though than the stately visions of 1864 Virginia. It’s 1920’s Chicago, a time known for decadence and living loose. Stefan is a free wheeling vampire of stature who has adopted the finer tastes in nightlife. He hangs out in a speakeasy where tuxedoes are required and never ending champagne fountains are the norm, as well as the top notch entertainment from sultry singers named Gloria. It’s also a perfect place to shop for victims and Stefan fed pretty well in those days, earning the name of “The Ripper.” In modern day terms, he was a real douchebag.
What’s bizarre right off the bat though is that it’s Klaus that fondly remembers these times from the 20’s as they arrive in modern day Chicago, not Stefan. He doesn’t remember much about it. How would Klaus know about these vampire glory days? That’s what we spend the hour finding out, and it’s awesome. With his pretty boy face and cocky attitude, Stefan caught the eye of a sassy young female vampire. She’s enamored by his bloodlust right off the bat but does her best to play hard to get at first. The lady is Rebecca and she’s…wait for it…Klaus’ sister. And guess who’s with her?
Cut to modern day Chicago, where the tavern still exists and is now named Gloria’s. No, that isn’t Gloria’s daughter or granddaughter, it’s her. She’s older but is aging pretty damned fine. The perks of being a powerful witch. The whole purpose of Klaus’ visit is to get Gloria’s help in finding out why he can’t turn werewolves into hybrids. She thinks she can help, but she needs to contact the original witch that cast the spell and what do you know, she needs Rebecca. So Klaus has to open up one of the coffins in the family collection.
During this whole little adventure Stefan gets stories here and there from Klaus about what happened in those days, but it’s finding a picture at Gloria’s of him and Klaus in the 20’s that really riles him up. He can’t believe he doesn’t remember Klaus, who in those days was called Nicky. Klaus admits to being a fan, considering Stefan was positively ruthless in his tactics, like forcing a man to drink his own wife’s blood before he killed him. Stefan was a fan of Klaus’ because he was an original. Klaus thought he was an abomination, but Stefan thought he was a king. No wonder Klaus found this brash vampire interesting!
In the middle of all this naturally is Damon and Elena. Damon gets a tip from none other than nosy Katherine that Klaus and Stefan are in Chicago. Turns out, Damon knows all about The Ripper. He was there too, just on a separate side of the city from his brother. It couldn’t have been that separate, for Gloria knew him. She actually likes him better. Could it be Damon was keeping tabs on Stefan even back then? She tells him that Klaus and Stefan will be in her bar that evening, so Damon comes up with the stupidest plan imaginable. He’ll distract Klaus for five minutes while Elena talks with Stefan in a cute dress. This so has disaster written all over it.
During all this though, Damon takes Elena to Stefan’s apartment from the 20’s, which he apparently Stefan still owns but hasn’t been to since then. While that’s a headscratcher to me, I imagine it’s been used by several vampires and/or squatters through the years. Anyway, there’s a dark secret that lies behind the pantry, and it’s not just the hidden booze from the 20’s. It’s the names of all of Stefan’s victims starting with his dad, and it takes up a whole wall. Oh yeah, the only thing missing in this creepy scenario is the hearts of his victims in jars. Seems he did this so he could look at the names and relive the deaths of his victims over and over again. I guess that reveal was to prove that at one time, Stefan was one screwed up mofo.
Elena sees the wall, reads Stefan’s diary (something Damon conveniently took) and finds out that Lexi was the one that dragged him from these dark days into the light. It only took many years. So she clings onto hope he can be redeemed again. Poor delusional girl. Of course she doesn’t know that Stefan’s undead ex-girlfriend is being revived by her brother. She especially believes Stefan cares when he sees her in the pantry o’death and doesn’t tell Klaus that she’s there.
So, Damon goes through with his plan. Klaus almost kills him, but Gloria with her finger of shooting fire stops that. She does like him best! It’s all for not though because Stefan rejects Elena in the parking lot, knowing that the witch is about to figure out that the reason Klaus can’t turn hybrids is because she’s still alive. He wants her to go home where it’s safe, and he isn’t coming back. Part of him is doing that out of protection, but he does raise a good point. Last time it took him 30 years to turn around from his killing ways. That’s nothing to a vampire but to a human like Elena, that’s an eternity.
Now the big reveal. Back in the 20‘s the bar was attacked by a vampire hunter looking for Klaus and Rebecca, and Klaus made Stefan forget that they even existed before he and Rebecca fled. Part of that was likely so cover their trail, but I do also wonder if part of that was to protect Stefan from whoever was hunting them. Rebecca lost her necklace though in flee, and eventually Stefan picked it up. The necklace, why Elena’s of course. That’s the way the writers like to roll. To make matters more complicated, Rebecca wouldn’t go with Klaus. She chose to stay with Stefan. So Klaus gave her the dagger through the heart and put her in her own pine box with the other family members. I suspect he did that out of protection, but perhaps lack of loyalty to? You can never tell with Klaus. He’s such a loose cannon.
Klaus had warned Damon earlier that when he was done with Stefan he would never want to come back, and once he told Stefan to remember, he had a damned good case. “We used to be friends,” Stefan said with a smile after the memories rushed back. “We are friends,” answered Klaus with his own smile. How sweet. Then Stefan turns back to Rebecca. Oh yeah, he remembers her now. Before they can enjoy each other’s company, Klaus needs Rebecca to help contact the original witch. She can only do that with her necklace which…Uh oh.
In the meantime, Elena and Damon return to Mystic Falls and Elena, clutching her necklace, is heartbroken. So let me get this straight, they need Elena’s necklace to find out that Elena is alive? Isn’t finding one going to give them the instant answer about the other? Oh man, I laugh at the twisted plotting.
Thinking it all through
So what does it all mean? For one, I’m suddenly loving the Klaus and Stefan as friends bit. It makes so much sense! Being in love with Klaus’ sister and rekindling that romance, even better! What a cool threesome. It all adds a new dimension to Stefan’s character. He’s less wimpy, less do-goody. Now Klaus has a bud too. He’s obviously been very lonely and isolated all these years. Maybe Stefan will pull him from the darkness? Nah…
Ever since “As I Lay Dying” last season, I’ve been on the Elena/Damon train. Somehow I know, their pairing would be turbulent, but as Damon so accurately pointed out to Klaus, “I’m more fun.” I don’t know what it is about these two, but they are more fun. Less drippy, less dewey-eyed, more antagonistic yet playful; push-pull with some drooling sexual tension. However, when has that “will they/won’t they” actually worked out when the couple got together? (Don’t say Chuck even though you are right). It’s killed the chemistry of a lot of shows, but it’s not like Elena will just jump into Damon’s arms now, will she? She’s not a rebound kind of girl. However, they need each other right now. They’re both smarting from Stefan’s loss and they’ve been able to rely on each other so far. I trust that Julie Plec and company will twist and turn their saga in all sorts of directions for episodes to come.
In between all this, Caroline was rescued from the vampire torture chamber by her mother and Tyler. Yes, her father had good intentions but that’s some really messed up “tough love.” I’m still loving Caroline and Tyler as a couple though, and I’m glad it was in his arms that she cried over the fact that her daddy hates her. You know Klaus, the way Caroline and Tyler are going, they might be able to add to your hybrid army. I can only imagine their little pretty babies.
But enough of me fangirling. In all seriousness, “The End of The Affair” may have finally explained to us Klaus’ strange interest in Stefan, but it left a lot more questions. Welcome to The Vampire Diaries Sebastian Roche! I’m curious, if he was a vampire hunter back in the 20’s and is hunting Klaus and Rebecca, is he alive now? He’d have to be since Klaus is still running it seems. So what is this cop? The plot thickens. Did we expect anything less? And what does Katherine have to do with this?
More coming next week. In the meantime, another great one for season three. TPTB are on a roll. I’m hoping that with Bonnie’s return next week, Jeremy’s story can get moving a bit. We’ll see!