Finally! The long-awaited transformation episode! The action starts at the Lockwood mansion, but this is no joyous affair. Instead, Tyler's watching Mason's transformation video (glutton for punishment?) while packing his "supplies." He calls Mason's house phone for advice—no answer, of course—but we see a pretty blond woman in Mason’s apartment listening to Tyler’s voicemail.
As Ty’s heading for the woods, the woman shows up at the mansion (got there quick from Florida, huh?). Her name's Jules, and she tells a shocked Tyler and Mrs. Lockwood that Mason never came home. When she leaves, she calls someone (we never find out who) and tells him/her that Mason is missing, but that there’s another werewolf: Tyler.
Bonnie wants to de-spell the moonstone, but Elena’s focused on getting Stefan out of the tomb. She tries to sneak the stone out of the house only to find that Bonnie’s cast a "tomb spell" on Elena! Yup, Elena’s under house arrest.
Damon visits Stefan, then finds out from Alaric that Sheriff Forbes has declared Mason a missing person. They meet up at the Mystic Grille, where Jenna’s telling Alaric about a guy she met who’s writing a book. Alaric isn’t paying attention, though, because Jules walks in the door and asks about Tyler.
Damon and Alaric put Jules to the wolfsbane test—if she's a werewolf, they’ll know. They successfully spike her drink, but no matter how much Damon flirts, he can’t convince her to take a sip. When Jules mentions Mason, Damon initially pretends that he doesn’t know the Lockwood uncle is missing, but she calls him on his bull; she knows he’s a vamp. "Tonight is not the night to pick a fight with me," she warns. "You’ve been marked." She gets away before Damon and Alaric can follow her, so they head home.
When Damon walks in the door, he senses something is off. Walking tentatively through the house, he finally finds the disturbance: Rose! She apologizes profusely for going behind his back with Elena, and just as he brushes it off, a window breaks. Jules, in wolf form, tears in and BITES ROSE!!! Somehow, though, the wound instantly heals. So is the legend about fatal wolf bites all a lie?
Bonnie shows up at Luka’s to apologize about the channeling. He forgives her and invites her in. Despite his ulterior motives, he seems to genuinely like her, making for an interesting parallel to the Caroline-Tyler story line. Anyway, she asks Luka how to break the bond between a talisman and its spell. He agrees to help her, so that evening, they light candles on the rooftop and start reciting incantations. Bonnie holds out the stone, and it rises above their heads and bursts into beautiful sparks!
She leaves ecstatic, but it turns out Luka tricked her! Uh-oh! Luka hands over the perfectly-in-tact moonstone to his dad, but at least he seems annoyed, more evidence that he’s developing genuine feelings for our fave witch. Before Luka can go to bed, his dad tells him there’s one more thing Elijah needs them to do before they lose the full moon. Hmm…
So remember how Jenna told Alaric she’s helping a guy who’s writing a book? Well, Elena is horrified to find out that guy is ELIJAH! He convinces Elena that he just wants to chat in private. It turns out that his goal is not to break the curse or hurt Elena, but to kill Klaus. Understandably, Klaus doesn’t trust many people, so Elijah wants to use Elena to draw him out of hiding and then kill him rather than turn the doppelganger over. After explaining himself, he offers Elena a deal: Stay put and stop fighting, and when the time comes, go with Elijah so he can kill Klaus. In return, he promises to keep everyone safe with the help of Bonnie and his "friends with similar gifts." In return, she bargains one condition: get Stefan out of the tomb.
Ahh, the tomb. Katherine taunts Stefan by striping and pouncing on him. Damn, Nina Dobrev is completely flawless in her sexy black lingerie. If that’s what hot yoga can do then sign me up! Anyway, that promo of them hooking up? Yup, it’s an illusion she plants in his mind. However, she does proclaim her love for Stefan once again, then offers up a tidbit: Look at Isobel’s research to find hints about Klaus. Suddenly there’s a loud bang and Elijah appears. Dude is everywhere tonight! He’s come to get Stefan, which we’re assuming was why he needed warlock assistance. Elijah tells Stefan to go to Elena, who will explain everything, then compels Katherine to stay in the tomb. They leave her screaming, begging to be set free. Goodbye Katherine?
Caroline accompanies Tyler into the woods to help him prepare for the full moon. She found wolfsbane for him, which should weaken him. In the cave, he takes his shirt off (YOWZA!!) and chains himself in. He tries to drink a wolfsbane/water concoction but can't stomach it. Over the next few hours, he convulses, collapses, screams and writhes, but Caroline refuses to leave his side, opting instead to cradle and soothe him. In fact, despite the fact that he can kill her with one bite (or can he?), she doesn’t back away until the last possible moment when he’s completely transformed. He lunges at her, yanking the chains and trying with all his might to break down the door, but a sobbing Caroline holds it firmly in place until he backs down.
After waiting alone in the woods for hours, Caroline heads back into the cellar and calls Tyler’s name. He’s human again, so she immediately runs in and they collapse on the floor crying in each other’s arms. It’s really intense and sets up the stage for a deep bond, platonic and possibly more, between these two.
Stefan returns to Elena, and they immediately kiss and get horizontal. Guess that whole break-up thingy is over! And good thing, too, because if there’s one thing hotter than Katherine and Stefan making out, it’s Elena and Stefan getting hot and heavy.
Now ready for the lamest cliffhanger ever? Rose tells Damon that they can be just friends, but then clarifies that they can be "special friends." As they start to kiss, he notices the spot on her shoulder where the wolf bit her. It looks like Natalie Portman’s back in "Black Swan": scabby, red and rippling.
And… that’s it. Considering how action-packed this season has been, I found this episode relatively tame. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super-excited for new episodes in 2011, but there weren’t enough OMG moments to make me think once about "TVD" over the holidays.
Do you think the ending was as cray-cray as usual? Which couples will sizzle and which will fizzle when "TVD" returns? Will Elijah hold up his end of the deal with Elena? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!