TV REVIEW: The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12 – The Ties That Bind

After a somewhat tame episode last week, TVD returned to form with “The Ties That Bind.”

Still baffled by dreams of Klaus, Bonnie finally figures out who might be able to help her figure out how to open the spelled coffin. While she and Elena set off on a road trip, Damon stays behind to make sure that Alaric isn’t falling in love with a beautiful psycho killer.  And not to be outdone in the romance department, Tyler comes up with an idea to break his sire bond with Klaus so that he can be with Caroline.  Caution: Spoilers After the Cut.

Bonnie’s dreams about Klaus are getting more intense.  Her latest dream, however, reveals a clue – she dreams about her mother.  She and Elena decide to take a road trip to visit Abby Bennett, played by Persia White, who abandoned Bonnie when she was young.  They are in for a few surprises when the arrive: first, Abby has taken in a young man and helped to raise him, and second, one of Klaus’s hybrids has beaten them to the punch.  Jamie, the young man living with Abby, has been compelled to kill himself if Bonnie does not reveal the location of Klaus’s coffins. Thankfully, Abby lets Bonnie warn Damon that she’s going to give up the location, and he is able to remove the spelled coffin from the witch house.

Damon discovers that Alaric is chatting up the mysterious Dr. Fell, whose ex-boyfriend called her a psycho and then conveniently wound up dead shortly thereafter.  Concerned for his friend, Damon goes to the hospital to confront Dr. Fell, in true Damon fashion.  She’s a step ahead of him, though – she injects him with vervain and then takes some of his blood.  When confronted by Alaric, she reveals that she’s a doctor that likes to cheat.  She doesn’t like watching people die, so she uses vampire blood to heal them when possible.

Tyler finally realizes that maybe his sire bond to Klaus is stronger than he thought, so he enlists the help of Caroline’s crazy father to help him break it.  Bill tells Tyler that the only way to break his feeling of loyalty to Klaus is to force himself to turn, once again experiencing the pain of the ordeal.  Tyler eventually does, but he loses control and attacks Bill.  He survives, though, when Dr. Fell injects him with Damon’s blood.  Oh, the irony.

Stefan and Elena have a heart to heart where she reveals that she kissed Damon.  When Stefan sees Damon again in Mystic Falls, they have – words – and then Damon reveals that he is in possession of a white oak dagger.  It turns out that the spelled coffin wasn’t the only thing Damon removed from the witch house – he also removed Elijah’s dagger.

The show really came back strong after a not-so-stellar showing with episode 11 (bear in mind, though, that not-so-stellar for TVD is still pretty good).  Episode 12 had a bit of everything that makes this show so good – character back story, Stefan and Elena, Damon’s brand of concern for those he cares about, and one heck of an ending.

It was nice to see more screen time for Bonnie, who felt bit absent in the first half of the season – she didn’t even appear until a few episodes in.  The writers did a great job using her past to move the plot along, forcing her to confront the mother that abandoned her when she was young.  Kat Graham does a lovely job with the reunion scene, toeing the line between happiness and betrayal very well.  Most impressive, though, is Bonnie’s conviction that killing Klaus is above all of their personal drama.  Again, really strong episode for Kat Graham.

While I’ve been enjoying evil Stefan, I’ve never been convinced that his humanity was turned off.  It really came through in this episode, when Elena revealed that she and Damon kissed.  There was a great healing moment for them when Stefan apologized for kidnapping her; hopefully, it will be the first of many.

This week’s “oh sh*t!” moment belongs to Daniel Gillies, who returns as Elijah, Klaus’s brother.  The relationship between Klaus and Elijah has always been interesting – somewhere between real brotherly affection and hatred.  In a lot of ways it’s like the relationship between Stefan and Damon: they may not like each other very much most of the time, but they’re still family and would do anything for each other.  The fallout from Klaus’s betrayal should be epic.

Episode Rating: 4/5
GS Reporter:

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