Klaus is in Portland, looking for werewolves to turn into hybrids, when Stefan calls to report that Mikael is dead. Well, daggered. Dead enough. Stefan asks what Klaus wants him to do with the body. Klaus wants an explanation first.
One hour earlier: Stefan, Damon, and Elena work out a plan to lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls. They’ll tell Klaus that Mikael kidnapped Elena, so Stefan and Damon vervained him. They discovered that he was carrying a dagger, which he’d planned to use on Rebekah, so they daggered him instead. Elena asks what Stefan will do if Klaus asks to see Mikael’s body. After all, Stefan has been compelled to do what Klaus wants, which probably doesn’t include lying to him. Plus, Klaus is smart enough to ask for proof.
Mikael volunteers to (temporarily) die for real, and even stay dead until Klaus comes back. Stefan asks how he’ll kill Klaus one they’re face to face. Mikael has the only stake left made from the white oak tree that can kill Originals. He’s the only one who knows where it is, so he has some insurance in case the gang leaves him daggered. He gives Elena his dagger, since she’s the only person there who can use it on him without dying.
In the present, Klaus does, in fact, want to see Mikael’s body. Stefan says he’s free to come by Vamp Villa whenever he wants. Klaus reminds Stefan of his compulsion, then asks if Stefan’s telling the truth. After a quick flashback of Elena daggering Mikael, Stefan says he saw the death with his own eyes. Klaus asks to talk to Rebekah, who at some point joined the scheme and confirms that Mikael’s out of their lives for good. She tells her brother she misses him, just to make it sound even more realistic that she’s still on his side. Instead of leaving Mikael dead until Klaus comes back, Elena undaggers him.
Rebekah’s with him the next morning when he revives. She’s not in the mood for a father/daughter reunion. She tells him Elena kept the dagger, so Mikael won’t be able to use it on Rebekah. He says he didn’t intend to do so. She says that if Mikael was after Klaus, he was also after her. Mikael argues that Klaus fooled Rebekah. He also killed Esther. Rebekah knows, and she accepts that Klaus will pay by dying, but Mikael is the one responsible for who his children are. He’s the one who turned them into vampires. He destroyed their family, not Klaus.
Elena looks through her closet for something to wear for Homecoming, but nothing excites her. Bonnie suggests that they skip it and study the cave drawings instead. Elena knows Caroline will freak out of they don’t go. Bonnie’s still down because she and Jeremy are over, and Elena invites her to talk about it. But Bonnie knows Elena can’t (and shouldn’t) fully be on her side over the breakup. It would be hard for Bonnie to vent to her.
Elena goes back to Vamp Villa to get the gang’s weapons ready for their showdown with Klaus. She tells Damon they can’t trust Rebekah not to turn on them and side with Klaus. She’s worried that one of the many things that could possibly go wrong with their plan will ruin everything. Damon says he’s working on a secret contingency plan. He won’t talk about it in case Stefan overhears.
Stefan wants to borrow a tie for Homecoming, since his are all 162 years old. And yes, he has to go, Elena, because he has to protect her. Her track record at high school dances is bad, so Stefan can’t risk her going alone and getting killed by the Homecoming queen.
Damon and Elena are putting together wolfsbane grenades, but he criticizes her technique. Stefan hopes they have something planned beyond grenades, since his freedom from Klaus depends on whatever Damon and Elena are going to do. Elena says Stefan’s the one they should worry about. Klaus could ask him a question that gets him to spill something he shouldn’t. Stefan acknowledges that Elena has reason to worry, but in the past, the gang’s plans have usually failed because someone’s humanity got in the way. They don’t need to worry about that with Stefan.
Caroline and Tyler are decorating at school, and he wants to take a break to get something to eat. Well, someONE to eat. Rebekah knows some people who like being fed on. They don’t even have to be compelled to stay quiet about it afterward. Caroline declines to “get caught in some weird vampire threesome” that will most likely earn Carol’s wrath. Also, she hates Rebekah and doesn’t like that Tyler likes hanging out with her. Tyler asks her to keep the peace at the dance.
Caroline asks who Rebekah’s going with, and Tyler names Matt. Caroline objects, even though Matt drinks vervain and Rebekah won’t be able to compel him. Tyler thinks that a single guy going out with a hot woman, vampire or not, makes sense, so Caroline should chill. She asks if this has something to do with his sire bond to Klaus. Tyler notes that he’s covered in glitter and decorating for a dance, so if anyone has him under their control, it’s Caroline. That’s actually a good point.
Rebekah is getting ready for the dance early, since, as she tells Elena, this is her first school dance. She spent 1,000 years on the run and never got a chance to attend one before. Elena confirms that everyone’s ready to deploy their plan to kill Klaus. Rebekah is trying not to think about it, and Elena can sympathize. She thanks Rebekah for helping them get Klaus back in town.
Rebekah warns that Mikael can’t be trusted, like everyone else in the family. She’s spent her whole life both loving and hating Klaus. She never thought she would help anyone kill him. Elena gives her the vervain necklace to complete her outfit for the dance. But Rebekah’s not going to make it there. Elena literally stabs her in the back, daggering her so she can’t interfere with the plan.
Later, Damon tells Elena that this was a “very Katherine” move. (He means that as a compliment, sort of.) Elena knows Stefan’s right and the plan will be ruined by someone’s humanity. It’ll probably be hers. Damon is sure she’ll be fine, since she just used a dagger on someone, which shows she can do whatever it takes. But Elena knows her tendency to care too much is a liability. She’s the weak link in the plan.
She asks Damon if he trusts Mikael or Stefan. Damon says no to both, so Elena tells him they need a new plan. Damon already has one, but he doubts Elena will like it because it involves her not being anywhere near what happens. He asks if she trusts him, and she immediately says she does. He tells her she has nothing to worry about.
The dance is off to a bad start – there was a flood in the school gym, so the teens can’t use it. Tyler volunteers to move the party to his place. Matt arrives at Vamp Villa to pick up Rebekah, and Elena tells him there’s been a change in plans.
Tyler’s version of Homecoming is even better than what Caroline had planned, partly because he managed to get a live band (My Morning Jacket). She’s surprised by the number of people in the backyard of Lockwood Landing. Stefan’s one of them, and when he compliments Tyler on the party, Tyler says he’s just doing what Klaus wants. It’s not a party – it’s a wake. Klaus joins the band on stage and tells the crowd they’re there to celebrate something that’s been a long time coming.
Elena and Matt arrive, and she tells him to act normal because Caroline doesn’t know what they’re up to. Caroline tells them Klaus is there, and she’s confused that they’re not surprised. Both of them find excuses to ditch her.
Stefan asks Klaus if he plans to stop running now that Mikael’s out of the picture. Klaus wants to reunite his family. He thinks his brothers will forgive him for daggering them. He notes that the Homecoming queen made it to the party, which must mean that Rebekah isn’t there. Stefan is able to truthfully say he doesn’t know where she is. He offers to take Klaus to Mikael’s body, but Klaus wants the body brought to him instead. Stefan asks for his freedom from Klaus’ compulsion in exchange. Klaus agrees, but only after he’s destroyed the white oak stake.
At Vamp Villa, Damon tells Mikael that Rebekah went to the dance. Mikael shows Damon the stake he’s going to use to kill Klaus, but he makes Damon look with his eyes, not his hands, since Mikael doesn’t want to let it out of his possession. Damon asks why Mikael feeds on vampires instead of humans. Mikael says he didn’t intend to turn his children into creatures who crave blood when he made them vampires. He decided to feed on other predators rather than innocent people.
Stefan comes home and tells them that Klaus is back and wants Mikael’s body. Mikael doesn’t want to cooperate, and Damon has something different in mind. Mikael bites Stefan, drinking enough of his blood to make him black out so he’ll be out of commission while the rest of the gang proceeds.
Back at the party, Tyler tells Klaus that Carol would freak out if she saw the number of people there. Klaus says he compelled her to go to church and pray for the gang. Tyler’s confused. Klaus points out that a bunch of the party’s attendees aren’t the gang’s classmates – they’re Klaus’ new friends. Well, minions. Well, hybrids. Like Tyler, they all have a sire bond to Klaus, so if anyone makes a move against him, they’ll fight back. Klaus brightly tells Tyler he’s free to warn the gang.
Tyler pulls Caroline away from the party to tell her that Klaus is on to the gang, so they need to call off whatever they have planned. Caroline isn’t in on the plan, though, and even if she was, she wouldn’t tell Tyler anything because of his connection to Klaus. She tries to go back to the party, but Tyler injects her with vervain.
Back outside, Klaus tries to strike up a conversation with Elena about Mikael. He’s impressed that she was able to dagger an Original. Elena says it wasn’t the first time. She’s nervous, but when Klaus comments on it, she says she just doesn’t like him. He tells her people have been chasing him for 1,000 years, and he’s always a step ahead. The gang can try whatever they want to take him down, but they’ll fail.
Damon arrives at Lockwood Landing and kills a hybrid who tries to play bouncer. Upstairs, Tyler tells Matt to get Caroline out of the house before the gang puts anything in motion. He and all the hybrids will fight to protect Klaus, whether or not they want to. It’s impossible to fight the urge. Matt’s upset that Tyler vervained Caroline, but Tyler says he’s protecting her. He tells Matt to get everyone out.
Damon pulls Tyler away from the party, I assume wanting to put him out of commission as well so he can’t stop the gang. Damon even has the white oak stake, but before he can use it on Tyler, Bonnie debilitates both of them with psychic migraines. Tyler blacks out, and Bonnie backs off once she’s ensured that the guys won’t kill each other. (Giving Tyler a migraine was planned; giving Damon one wasn’t.) Bonnie asks about the stake, and Damon says he has it because Mikael wasn’t able to get it into the house.
Klaus is playing beer pong when a hybrid tells him Mikael is outside. He instructs his hybrids to move the whole party outside, then tells a hybrid named Tony to do what they’ve already discussed. Tony gathers some hybrids to surround Mikael, who’s stuck outside without an invitation while Klaus is safe inside. Klaus tells Mikael that at his signal, the hybrids will kill him.
Mikael mockingly calls Klaus a “big, bad wolf” and says he’s hiding behind his “playthings” like a coward, just like he did as a child. Mikael is a step ahead, and he’s already compelled the hybrids to do what he wants. One of them brings him Elena, and Mikael tells Klaus that if he doesn’t come outside, Elena’s dead. Klaus thinks Mikael’s bluffing, and he insists that he’s willing to let Elena die anyway, taking away his ability to make hybrids, as long as he’s rid of Mikael. Mikael notes that Klaus will spend eternity alone; no one cares about him anymore. The only people loyal to him have been forced to be loyal.
Klaus holds back his anger as he tells Mikael to go ahead and kill Elena. Mikael tries again to get Klaus to step outside. Klaus says Mikael has underestimated him for his whole life. If Mikael kills Elena, his leverage is gone, which puts Klaus ahead. Mikael laughs at how angry Klaus is, and how his impulses have always kept him from being great. Mikael stabs Elena in the back and drops her to the ground.
Damon zooms in from the back of the house and jams the white oak stake into Klaus, but not into his heart. On the porch, Mikael is stunned to see Elena pop up, totally fine. That’s because she’s really Katherine. She joyfully detonates a couple of wolfsbane grenades to take care of the hybrids.
Inside, Damon pulls out the stake and is about to plunge it into Klaus’ heart when Stefan zooms in and tackles him. This gives Klaus the chance to grab the stake and fly at Mikael. He stakes Mikael through the heart, and both Mikael and the stake go up in flames. Damon asks Stefan what he just did. Klaus joins them and says he’s earned his freedom. He thanks Stefan for her service and says he no longer has to do Klaus’ bidding.
Caroline wakes up in her bed and realizes what Tyler did to her. He apologizes for taking her out, but he knows she wouldn’t have left on her own. Caroline asks how she’s supposed to be with Tyler when he’s sired to Klaus. Maybe he’s one of the bad guys now. Tyler says this is who he is now. He can’t do anything about it, since Klaus can’t be killed and Tyler can’t be fixed. He’s okay with it.
Caroline doesn’t understand how he can be. He says it’s better this way. Being a hybrid means he only has to turn when he wants to. He gets to avoid a lot of pain. If being sired to Klaus is the down side, Tyler will take it. Caroline points out that that means he doesn’t have any control. He replies that he never did before; the full moon controlled when he turned. Tyler hopes Caroline won’t turn her back on him now, after everything they’ve been through. But she can’t bring herself to accept the new difficulties in their relationship.
Damon goes home and fills Elena in on what happened. He thought they’d covered every possible thing that could ruin their plan, but Stefan proved to be their downfall. Katherine has already fled, and Damon can’t blame her, since Klaus would have killed her the second he had the chance. He’s frustrated that he was so close to killing Klaus and ending all their problems. Elena tries to calm him down, assuring him that they’ll survive this. They always do. Damon tells her they’ll never get Stefan back. She replies that if that’s true, they’ll let him go.
Katherine calls from her car to tell Damon that his plan was good; she doesn’t know what to say about it not working out. When she hangs up, she tells her traveling companion that Damon doesn’t know where the plan went wrong. She’s with Stefan, who says he doesn’t need to know.
We rewind to the party, when Katherine slipped away for a few minutes to go back to Vamp Villa to warn Stefan that Klaus was on to the gang. Then we rewind again, to Klaus’ conversation with her at the party. It continues with Klaus telling Katherine that if he dies tonight, the hybrids will kill Damon.
In the present, Stefan asks Katherine how she knew he would stop Damon. She didn’t – she just hoped he would want to.
Rewind: Katherine fills Stefan in, but she doesn’t think it’s a good idea to call off the plan, since Mikael will kill them all. She tells him to care enough to save Damon, even with his humanity off. If the original plan works, Stefan will be free, but Damon will be dead.
Present: Stefan asks Katherine why she was willing to interrupt the plot to get what she’s been wanting for 500 years. She says she wanted to save both Damon and Stefan. She prefers Stefan with his humanity. Stefan doesn’t think Katherine cares about anyone but herself, but she insists that she loved both Salvatores. Humanity is their greatest weakness as vampires, even though it’s easy to turn off. It fights to come back in, and sometimes Katherine lets it. Stefan doesn’t want to let all of his back in, after all he’s done, but Katherine needs him to feel something so he’ll do what she needs him to do next: get mad.
The next morning, Klaus calls Rebekah, who’s still daggered. He leaves her a message telling her he’s going to get their brothers’ bodies. Stefan calls to thank him for his freedom, though it came at too high a price. Now he wants revenge. Klaus opens the truck holding his brothers’ coffins, but it’s empty. Stefan has stolen them and stashed them in what looks like a foreclosed house. Klaus vows to kill Stefan and everyone he knows, but Stefan says if he does, he’ll never see his family again. Stefan taunts that Klaus has been a step ahead for 1,000 years, but did he see this coming?
Etc.: I’m sorry, the only way Matt would agree to go to the dance with Rebekah is if he didn’t know who she was.
In a way, Elena did Rebekah a favor by daggering her. It saved her from feeling guilty about not stopping the plot to kill Klaus, and might have spared her some of his wrath.
I love Nina Dobrev’s delivery of “I’m not nervous. I just don’t like you.”
The Elena/Katherine swap is not only a great plan, but it holds up if you rewatch it knowing about the switch.