The Vampire Diaries: “The Reckoning” – Compelling Transformations


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This week’s episode, “The Reckoning,” was absolutely amazing! All the plot lines The Vampire Diaries has been weaving finally started to come together. Before beginning my review, included below courtesy of the CW Network via Hulu is the full episode. Enjoy!

The Reckoning:

Each intense action scene ratcheted up the drama and left me guessing at every twist and turn! There were a lot of “game-changer” type moments during “The Reckoning.” This episode was unpredictable in the best way possible.

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Promo Pic Group Shot - 3rd Set

“The Reckoning” started out in the weight room of Mystic Falls High, where Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) was getting in a workout late at night, after-hours. Right as he finished up, he heard a strange noise from out in the hallway and went to check it out. As he walked through the dark, abandoned hallways of the school; just out of the corner of his eye, Matt started seeing people darting around in the shadows. It was an eerie, ominous scene being set. When Matt followed the direction of one of the shadows to a darkened classroom, I was sure that something was about to pop out of the shadows and take a bite out of him.

Matt approached the door, opening it slowly as he clicked on the lights and tentatively stepped into the classroom. Right as he set foot into the room; Matt heard loud “popping” sounds, followed by a series of loud yelps. As the lights in the room clicked on, Matt saw then that the yelps were coming from his friends: Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola), Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino), Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), and Bonnie Bennet (Kat Graham), who were there at Caroline’s insistence to participate in the annual senior prank day. The popping sounds came from hundreds of mousetraps that the gang had set up around the room with the intent being for the teacher to walk in the next day and set them off.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Group Shot Senior Prank

I really liked this scene, because it had done a good job of highlighting how the main characters on The Vampire Diaries were really struggling to maintain any sort of “normal” lives amidst all of the supernatural drama that took place around them. Caroline mentioned to her friends that she just wanted them all to have a nice, normal year at school despite all of the craziness that they were going through. It was something that the show has touched on occasionally before and with all of the high-drama that they have all experienced as late, I thought that it was a due time as well.

The scene ended with Elena going off to prank another classroom, when all of a sudden she was grabbed out of nowhere by Klaus (Joseph Morgan). Klaus had been lurking in the hallway of the school. It was now apparent Stefan’s best efforts to protect her had failed.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Klaus grabs Elena

Then in this episode of “The Reckoning,” it shifted to Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) and Katherine Petrova (also portrayed by Nina Dobrev) as they drove away from Mystic Falls to an unknown destination. The two had a snippy conversation as Katherine refused to tell Damon where, exactly, she was directing him to go. The conversation ended with Damon telling Katherine once and for all that he had no desire for her anymore. Aside from the usual witty banter typical of Damon and Katherine, this scene was great because it really highlighted how much Damon had changed and has grown since Season 1.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Katherine and Damon scheme

Meanwhile; Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), who was being held captive by Klaus since the end of last week’s episode, attempted to get information from Rebekah (Claire Holt) as to why Klaus wanted to bring him back to Mystic Falls. Rebekah confirmed his worst fear: Klaus now knew that Elena was alive and that Stefan had been lying to him the entire time. Stefan attacked Rebekah and tried to get her to tell him where Klaus was holding Elena. Rebekah was much stronger being she had centuries of vampire age to her advantage and fought Stefan off. She stabbed Stefan in the stomach with a large wooden shaft.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Rebekah stabs Stefan

On the other side of Robert E. Lee High; Klaus was taking Elena to the school’s gym, where all of the other seniors in the school had gathered to work on the senior prank. Klaus cleared every one out of the room, save for two students, whom he compelled to stay put. At this point in the episode, my heart was really pounding! I could not imagine what terrible type of torture Klaus was going to do to Elena and the innocent students now that he knew the doppelganger was alive and well!

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Klaus takes Elena to gym

In a different part of the school, Tyler and Caroline were discussing how distressed Matt was and how he was dealing with the supernatural events that have been occurring in Mystic Falls. However; the couple was then quickly interrupted by Rebekah, who had followed Stefan into the same building. Rebekah approached a confused and surprised Caroline. Caroline had yet to have met Rebekah and was quickly attacked by her. It was really fun to see Rebekah finally having interactions with others of the the main cast besides just Stefan. This was the beginning of many great lines and scenes from Rebekah. Her sassy attitude started to show during this episode of “The Reckoning” and us viewers started to get a feel of her personality a bit more.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Rebekah attacks Caroline

Elsewhere in the school, Bonnie confessed to Matt that she was aware Jeremy had been seeing the ghost of Matt’s sister, Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ewell). This prompted a discussion between the two of them about how insanely different their lives had become since two summers ago. Matt ended the conversation and headed into the boys’ bathroom for some toilet paper for a senior prank. As he exited the restroom, one of the stall doors slammed open by itself which surprised Matt. He looked at the door and read the words “RIP Vicki” someone had written on it. As he walked back out into the hallway, Vicki’s ghost appeared, but Matt could not see her. Vicki pleaded to her brother to see her, saying that she could help him.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Ghost Vicki tries to talk to Matt

Later, Bonnie and Matt walked back into the school’s gym. They were unaware that Klaus was inside and was holding Elena captive. The two of them were freaked out to have seen Klaus and became even more shocked when Rebekah walked in as she dragged Tyler and Caroline along with as well. Once everyone was present, Klaus re-explained the Sun and Moon Curse. Since Elena survived the curse’s sacrifice ritual, it had made it impossible for Klaus to successfully been able to create hybrids.

In a dark twist, Klaus then grabbed Tyler and forced him to drink his blood. Without a second thought; Klaus snapped Tyler’s neck, which ensured that the werewolf would start the transition into becoming a vampire as well. This officially began the hybrid making process. Considering Klaus’ failure in the past with his hybrid experiments, Tyler was doomed to die. Klaus was using Tyler’s life as leverage against Bonnie to have her figure out how to break the curse. If Bonnie succeeded, Klaus could ensure Tyler would be alive as a hybrid. Bonnie was given a time limit of 3 hours as that would be the time Tyler will have had died from complications from a failed hybrid creation attempt.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Tyler drinks blood

This pivotal scene in “The Reckoning” was the point when I realized the writers were not pulling any punches when it concerned the “Klaus hybrid creation” storyline. When Tyler was turned into a hybrid, it was not plainly a temporary crisis to heighten the drama. No, because even if the crisis was averted and Tyler was saved, he would still be a vampire/werewolf hybrid. The implications resulted of Klaus’ selfish actions was something that would have an enormous effect on the future direction of the character, Tyler.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Bonnie rushes to break the curseAcross ways in the town of Mystic Falls, Stefan finally came to from when Rebekah had stabbed him. Stefan realized that Elena was still at the high school and quickly rushed off in an attempt to help her. Over at the school, Rebekah was leading Tyler and Caroline away where they would be held captive until Bonnie could figure out a way to break the curse once and for all. I was pretty stunned by some of the huge story developments that were surfacing. For one, Klaus discovering Stefan was lying about Elena could have been dragged on for a few more episodes. It has been nice that The Vampire Diaries has led the fans straight to the point on matters, which only could foreshadow more events to soon come. The fact that these type things have happened already in the show’s fifth episode has me really excited for what will come down the road in this season.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Tyler gets dragged away

At this point in the episode it shifted back to Damon and Katherine. They were parked at a rest stop somewhere along the highway. Damon was refusing to drive anywhere else until Katherine filled him in on exactly what they were doing. Frustrated, Katherine relented and then revealed she wanted Damon’s help to find the legendary vampire who had dedicated his life to hunting down other vampires and was rumored to be able to kill an Original – a.k.a. Michael (Sebastian Roche). This was the same vampire hunter that was previously mentioned that Klaus and Rebekah had been running away from for centuries. Then, Katherine opened up the trunk of the car which revealed an unconscious Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen)!

Katherine claimed Jeremy could help them find this mysterious vampire hunter. At first Damon scoffed at her, unsure what a teenage human like Jeremy could possibly do to help them. Katherine explained that it was Pearl (portrayed by Kelly Hu), the deceased vampire mother of Jeremy’s now-ghostly girlfriend, Anna (Malese Jow), that had told her a tale of the infamous vampire hunter. Katherine suspected that Pearl may have told Anna where to find him. With Jeremy having been able to communicate with Anna again, Katherine was convinced that Jeremy would be able to ask for this information. Just as Katherine was sharing her scheme to Damon, Jeremy awoke from his state of unconsciousness. Jeremy stated that he could indeed ask Anna for details about the vampire hunter.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Katherine, Damon, and Jeremy road trip

Viewers were then taken back to the high school in Mystic Falls. Stefan had arrived to beg Klaus for forgiveness for having lied to him about Elena. Klaus first told Stefan that the only way to get back in his good graces was to kill the two students that he had earlier compelled for amusement. If Stefan did not kill the students, then Klaus would have Stefan have to hurt Elena. Of course, Stefan instantly refused. Instead of having Stefan have to pick between the two evil tasks, an annoyed Klaus compelled him to be completely under his control. Stefan would now have to do whatever Klaus ordered; without question, without hesitation, and without stopping. Newly compelled, Stefan was now without his own free will and forcibly obeyed Klaus’ previous demand as he ripped the two students to shreds. Elena was terrified and helpless as she watched Stefan complete this deathly deed.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Stefan rips the students to shreds

Returning back once again, it is shown that Katherine and Damon were trying to convince Jeremy to contact Anna from “the beyond.” Jeremy eventually gave in and admitted that he could see Anna right at that moment actually, but that she had no desire to help Katherine. Damon then realized that Anna would need a little incentive to help them out and grabbed Jeremy. In a ploy of bargaining; Damon slammed Jeremy on to a picnic table as he shouted out a threat to the general acknowledgement of the invisible ghost, Anna. If Anna would not share the information Damon and Katherine wanted, then Jeremy would ultimately suffer. Anna conceded to the vamps and confirmed to a weak and battered Jeremy that the vampire hunter was in fact named Michael. Michael was insanely dangerous and had been put into a deep sleep. Anna warned them all not to wake him, because he would kill every last one of them given the chance.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Anna tells Jeremy about Michael

Meanwhile back inside the school, Rebekah was taunting Caroline about Tyler’s transformation into a hybrid and his impending death. Out of boredom with “guard duty,” Rebekah decided to play with Caroline’s phone for entertainment and began browsing through pictures on the gadget. It just so happened that Rebekah caught glimpse of a photo of Elena. Rebekah immediately spotted that Elena was wearing her necklace – the very one being searched for and was given to her by the Original Witch.

Rebekah was livid that Elena had her necklace and stormed into the gym and showed Klaus the picture. Rebekah attacked Elena and demanded she return her necklace. When Elena told them that Katherine had stolen it, Klaus became infuriated. Klaus quipped that without the necklace, it will be hard to break the curse. With his temper now short, Klaus announced that he would allow Bonnie only 20 more minutes to get the curse broken, otherwise he would command for Stefan to feed on Elena. This was a great scene for Paul Wesley. He really showed some great acting skills as he portrayed the conflict that raged within Stefan when he tried to deny Klaus’ compulsion versus his love for Elena.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Countdown to break the curse

Elsewhere; Bonnie and Matt were rushing around the school panic-stricken, because neither one of them could find Jeremy. They were clueless that Jeremy had been kidnapped by Katherine. Their plan was to have Jeremy talk to one of his ghostly ex-girlfriends to see whether one of them could contact the Original Witch of how to break the Sun and Moon Curse. They parted ways when Bonnie left as she attempted to locate Jeremy. Matt was wandering the school halls alone which eventually brought him down to the gym’s pool. He was perplexed to find his car keys laying at the bottom of the pool and the clothes from his gym bag strewn about the pool deck. Matt removed his shoes so he could jump into the pool and fetch his keys, but before he could, his shoe went flying into the air and also fell in the pool. Then he received a mysterious text from an unknown number on his phone that read, “I can hear you Mattie.” He realized that it must be his sister behind the text and his things in the pool.

Matt came to the conclusion that time was running out and he would have to be the one to contact his sister. He devised a plan to kill himself by way of drowning and then have Bonnie resuscitate him. The idea behind his plan was that dying and coming back to life would allow him to see ghosts in the same way Jeremy could communicate with them. Bonnie attempted to talk him out of it when Matt called her with his idea, but he did not listen. In a martyr-like move, Matt chained a weight to himself and jumped into the pool. Frantically, Bonnie rushed back to the school, hoping to get there before it was too late. By the time she arrived and dragged him out of the pool however, Matt had already stopped breathing. This left a panicked Bonnie to do CPR on him, in hopes that she could revive him.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Matt kills himself

Back to the rest stop, Damon has arrived with the decision to return to Mystic Falls after he received a text from Bonnie. The texts filled Damon in on the situation that had unfolded at the high school. This would leave Katherine and Jeremy behind to find Michael, the vampire hunter, on their own. It was a cathartic moment for Damon as he revealed Katherine had no hold over his heart. Ian Somerhalder was fantastic showing the bad-boy vampire’s decision as he finally allowed himself to let go of Katherine and dedicated himself completely to Elena. It was definitely a moment that Team Delena fans (fans who want to see Elena with Damon instead of Stefan) must have thrilled!

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Damon leaves Katherine

Back at school, Bonnie finally managed to revive Matt back to life. Upon waking from the dead, Matt told Bonnie that he briefly saw his sister while on the “other side” and that she gave him a message from the Original Witch. As this happened, Elena unsuccessfully tried to convince Stefan that he could be able to resist Klaus’ compulsion if he focused on his love for her. While at the same time in another part of the the school, Tyler has came back to life which officially began his transition into a hybrid. Tyler was told by a smug Rebekah that he would not survive unless Bonnie figured out out to break the curse. Back at the pool deck, Matt informed Bonnie just exactly what the “message from the other side” was: that the only way Klaus would be able to make new hybrids, would be if he killed Elena. The two were quickly interrupted by Klaus, who had sneaked up behind them and told them that he would do whatever he had to do to create his hybrid army. This statement intimated that he would have no qualms about killing Elena.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Klaus sneaks up on Bonnie and Matt

Klaus brought Bonnie and Matt back the the gym where he found Stefan was still struggling against his compulsion to obey his every command. Klaus realized that Stefan’s love for Elena was beginning to overpower his compulsion and he would have to strike deeper at Stefan’s core. Klaus compelled Stefan to not only obey his every move, but to also shut out his emotions completely. Stefan resisted at first, but could not help it and submitted to Klaus. He closed off his emotions and his love for Elena, which was demonstrated when he obeyed Klaus’ command to attack her and drink from her neck. This was another amazing scene for Paul Wesley, as he really sold Stefan’s transformation from a goodhearted vampire into the monstrous Ripper.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Stefan is the Ripper

After being satisfied that Stefan would no longer be a problem, Klaus ventured to the classroom where Rebekah was holding Tyler and Caroline. Klaus held out a vial of Elena’s blood, which he explained to a confused Rebekah was the true key to siring hybrids. Klaus told a sickly and dying Tyler that if he drank this blood he would turn into a hybrid and that his only other option was death. Desperate, Tyler downed the vial of blood. At first when he had ingested the blood it seemed to cause him a great deal of pain, however within seconds, Tyler’s eyes glowed an eerie yellow and sharp vampire fangs had burst from his gums. Tyler was now a vampire and a werewolf, officially a hybrid. This was a very ominous scene and it really made me wonder just what the writers have in store for Tyler in future episodes now that he is a hybrid.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Tyler is a hybrid

Elena then awoke after being attacked by Stefan to find herself in a hospital, where a nurse has been compelled by Klaus to draw her blood for the use of creating hybrids. As this is happening, Rebekah and Klaus were in the parking lot of Robert E. Lee High School and were discussing the nature of the Original Witches message. Klaus said that he realized that the Original Witch’s message was a lie and she had purposely done so since she hated him. The Original Witch would have done anything to prevent Klaus from creating an army.

Right at that moment, Damon arrived on the scene and confronted Klaus. Damon demanded to know where Elena was located. Rather than giving up any information, Klaus attacked Damon with the intent to kill. Before Stefan could land the killing blow however, Damon had let slip that he knew all about Michael, the vampire vampire hunter. Klaus completely lost his cool with the mention of the hunter’s name and demanded to know what Damon knew about Michael. Damon just smiled and stating that Michael had been awoken and would come for Klaus. At that point what little composure Klaus had maintained at the mention of the hunters name was lost, he quickly fled from the school along with his sister.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Klaus is scared of Michael

After his confrontation with Klaus, Damon went to search after Elena and found her at the hospital. Elena was very weak when Damon scooped her out of the hospital bed and into his arms, and finally seemed endeared by the gesture. This was another “Team Delena” moment and a strong one at that! Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder have amazing on-screen chemistry and it has been a big reason why the show’s love triangle has always worked so well.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Damon rescues Elena

As the group regrouped at the school, everyone shared their relief that Klaus and Rebekah had fled which allowed them some resemblance of peace. Tyler and Caroline were walking through the halls as they discussed how Tyler felt about being a hybrid. Any fear and apprehension he felt while in transition was gone and Tyler said that his new state of mind made “everything [feel] better.” While the two laughed and shared a hug after this comment, Caroline stole away a look of worry as Tyler held her close. This odd reaction from Caroline really made me curious as to what exactly she was so worried about!

Catching up on the rest of the crew, Bonnie was expressing her concerns to Matt about what he had done to himself that night as she told him that she thinks he should take a step back from the paranormal. Matt agreed, but after Bonnie walked away, Matt was once again confronted by the ghost of his sister. Matt could see Vicki as plain as day which leaves viewers to have assumed his brief connection to “the other side” gave him the same ghost-seeing ability as Jeremy. It was a happy moment between the siblings, but I could not help to wonder if this moment foreshadowed some type of “darkness” was controlling Vicki. Perhaps, something was attempting to take hold of Matt. Just speculating, but maybe even a showdown between Jeremy and Anna and Matt and “The Darkness” could take place? I cannot wait for this to unfold.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Matt can see Vicki

Ending at the Salvatore Mansion; Damon and Elena were discussing the events of the night, notably Stefan’s monstrous transformation into “The Ripper.” Damon offered to compel Elena to forget about the events of the night, but she refused. Elena said that she needed to remember the pain of watching Stefan as he descended into his evil personality, so that she would remember that he was “really gone now.” Then, Elena uncharacteristically turned the focus onto Damon. “Where were you?” she asked him pleadingly, as she knew he could have helped drive off Klaus sooner. “I’ll never leave you again,” Damon responded. It was another powerful moment between the two characters and I was really feeling the connection between the two and could sense that their relationship was growing stronger.

The moment was interrupted however, when Stefan burst into the house. In his full arrogant “Ripper” mode; Stefan said that Klaus had instructed him to keep watch over Elena until he returned to Mystic Falls, presumably to make sure she stayed alive for use of her blood to sire more hybrids.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Return of the Ripper

As “The Reckoning” came to a close, Katherine and Jeremy had located the tomb where Michael had been trapped by a witch over a decade earlier. They walked into the mausoleum and opened Michael’s coffin. They saw that his now-decayed body had been wrapped in chains. The final scene in the episode was a close-up of Michael’s decayed face, as his eyes shot open. As the screen quickly-cut to black, I could not help but to remember Anna’s words of warning about Michael: that he would “kill them all,” if he was awoken. I cannot help, but to think that Katherine may have bit off more than she can chew for once.

The Vampire Diaries 3x05 Michael is awake

In all, “The Reckoning” was a fantastic episode that was filled with twists, turns, and some major plot developments. A lot of the big aspects of the show’s mythology have started to become clear and the writers have really raised the stakes! One thing that really shocked me was Tyler’s transformation into a hybrid. Besides having now made Tyler into one of the most powerful characters on the show other than Klaus, this also could lead to him being at odds with his friends in future episodes. Now that he has become a hybrid, Klaus may expect Tyler to join his army and fight for him! I also really loved the moments between Damon and Elena in this episode, as they really highlighted just how much Damon has developed deeper as a character. It was also interesting to see Ripper Stefan and Damon play off each other. It reminded me a lot of how the two interacted in the first season, only now the tables are turned: Damon is the one restraining himself trying to be a better man and Stefan is now the one who has given into his dark side. It should make for some very interesting episodes and I cannot wait to find out what will happen next Thursday!

It definitely seemed as if “transformation” was the theme of this episode. Tyler transformed into a hybrid, Stefan transformed into the ripper, Damon transformed into a more responsible man, and Matt may have accidentally transformed himself into the pawn of an unseen “darkness” from “the other side.” All of these developments are going to make for some very interesting scenes in the future.

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-Aaron, @aLouisS


One thought on “The Vampire Diaries: “The Reckoning” – Compelling Transformations

  1. Hi Aaron,

    Great review of “The Reckoning”! Absolutely wonderful image selection and analysis of the action heating up on the series!

    Best Regards,


Comments are closed.

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