The Vampire Diaries: Memory Lane (Review)

Previously…Damon’s suspicions of Mason Lockwood being a werewolf are confirmed. Elena shows a manipulative side as she plays Damon to gain more information on Katherine. Stefan continues to help Caroline adjust to her new life as a vampire.

True to its “Memory Lane” namesake, this episode begins by delving a bit more into Katherine (Nina Dobrev) and her past relationship with the Salvatores. Stefan (Paul Wesley) dreams of a party where he is Katherine’s escort as Damon (Ian Somerhalder) watches in envy. The dream quickly changes and he is transported into his worst possible future; losing Elena to Damon. It’s a nightmare in which he wakes up from only to find Katherine in his room, influencing his dreams. She tells him that she is in Mystic Falls for him, an admission he does not buy for a minute.

Not believing her story, Stefan asks Katherine about werewolves. She briefly cooperates, giving him information on the Lockwoods’, the werewolf curse, and (later in the episode) just where she fits into it all. When her turn comes, she asks Stefan why he returned to Mystic Falls. She tells him that he’s still in love with her, and using the moment to his advantage, Stefan plays along before quite literally stabbing her in the back. The stake, laced with vervane, incapacitates Katherine long enough for Stefan to chain her up in the mansion’s prison cell. Stefan begins his interrogation by sliding a fern of vervane across her cheek, burning her flesh. He threatens her with more torture, continually denying that he was ever truly in love with her, no more than a victim of her vampiric abilities. Despite his protests, however, another flashback disputes this claim as Stefan freely admits his love for Katherine well before she ever compelled him. Even more of a surprise, however, may be Katherine’s reaction to Stefan’s confession. She is visibly shaken and her dismissal of Damon from her room is further admission of her own feelings for Stefan.

Vampire Diaries Stefan and KatherineOff balance from his realization of the truth, Stefan is further surprised when Katherine admits to her role in the imprisonment of her vampire brethren. Finally regaining his composure, he continues to pepper Katherine with questions on her intentions for returning to Mystic Falls. Only when she threatens Elena does Stefan lose control of the situation. That control, though, was an illusion as Katherine breaks her chains and hurling Stefan into the wall. After 150 years of purposeful exposure, she is now immune to the town’s vampire bane. She leaves when Elena enters the mansion and though their interaction is brief, it is hint of just what is to come between Katherine and Elena.

This episode also plays out Damon’s attempts to confirm Mason Lockwood’s (Taylor Kinney) identity as a werewolf, one that he eventually confirms during a private conversation with Mason. He asks Damon not to base their relationship on a history that does not pertain to them but, in his usual way, Damon scoffs at the idea and tries to kill Mason with a silver blade. He is more than a little surprised when it has no effect on the less than pleased werewolf. Not only is Damon any closer to finding out how to kill a werewolf, he has now made a dangerous enemy as well.

In Caroline (Candice Accola), we see Katherine’s expert manipulations continue. At Katherine’s behest, Caroline does her best to scare Elena away from Stefan. It plays in line with Katherine’s threat and demand that Stefan no longer see her doppelganger descendent. In order to appease Katherine (or prevent her from taking drastic measures) Stefan and Elena act out in public, generating a breakup fight that Caroline (as well as Damon) overhears. They meet up back at her house and agree to keep the truth of their duplicity between each other, leaving Damon out of the loop as well.

The final scene takes us back to the past and the brothers’ deaths during their attempted rescue of Katherine. As she is led to safety by George Lockwood (Simon Miller), she returns briefly to Stefan’s body, kissing him on the lips before whispering to him of a day when they would be together forever. It is a very poignant scene, as we are shown a Katherine glimpsed during Stefan’s confession of love, a very human Katherine, a Katherine that can indeed love. Yet, despite this revelation, make no mistake that Katherine has an ulterior motive that has something to do with the Lockwood moonstone, the same moonstone she gave George Lockwood upon her escape from Mystic Falls 150 years ago.

The Katherine/Stefan dynamic was the primary focus of this episode and will no doubt be the driving force behind this season. Nina Dobrev’s portrayal of the manipulative Katherine gets better with every episode as she is forced to traverse many ranges of emotional output that her character of Elena only shows during the always entertaining scenes between her and the ever mercurial Damon.

On the topic of everyone’s favorite vampire and the show’s most dynamic character, it looks as if he’s finally starting to get past his obsession with Katherine. Their brief conversation ends with Damon walking away from her, something that she doesn’t like but as it does not pertain to her ultimate plan, she does not try to stop him. It will be a very interesting to see the continued development of the renewed vampire/werewolf feud; though Damon was the one to restart it, how will Stefan play into it? Furthermore, will this be something Mason will try to deal with himself? Based on next week’s preview, it looks as if he will be calling in the reinforcements by way of Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre), who just happens to be the mother of Mystic Falls newest vampire, Caroline Forbes.

There is no doubt that we have yet to see the best of Katherine, though there is no doubt that all hell breaking loose when she finds out about Stefan and Elena’s deception. She will find out sooner than later because you can only fool a master manipulator for so long, especially one with centuries of experience.

Rating: B+

– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)