Honestly, how great is an episode when sex in the Lockwood cellar isn't the highlight? As you can guess from the title of this recap (why pretend that's not how we'll be referring to this episode for seasons to come?), the motel is where I'm gonna start. Truly, I'm concerned that I somehow took over the body of the director while they were filming Elena ogling Damon. Not because I'm a Delena fan. (I'm admittedly fickle, supporting whoever is closest to having a steamy scene with Elena at any given moment.) But because it took... its... time. You want a full body scan, starting at his feet and heading north? Enjoy. No need to pause, that camera will linger right where you want it to. (Informal poll: Damon is somehow sexier with his shirt hanging open than when he's totally shirtless?) It was purposely gratuitous, and therefore, you didn't have to feel guilty. You could just be giddy, like you were seeing a movie you watched incessantly as a teen -- cough, The Pirate Movie with Christopher Atkins -- but suddenly, you were able to control the camera and call the shots. A little to the left. Now stop. Hold. And so on. That's what made the scene so perfect: Elena is a teen, giving herself permission to look at him for the first time. She would want an eyeful. Let's dig in.
Okay, first, let's watch this again.
I'll back up so as to not mortify myself further until Page 2. Alaric began the hour locked in the Salvatore house cellar. Elena brought him the basics: toothbrush, clothes, boring books to help him sleep, and hopefully another shirt that shows just a hint of chest hair in his heavage but not a razor. The stubble looks great in HD. Elena told Alaric she was going to Denver with Damon to check on Jeremy because Stefan encouraged her to use the trip to explore her unresolved feelings for Damon. Meanwhile, Stefan would stay home and try to get Evilaric to come out and play and reveal where he hid the missing stake. Damon had his doubts that Good Stefan was up to the challenge. But I guess it had to be Damon to go to Denver with Elena because he has the connection to Rose, and that was their real mission: Get Jeremy to contact Rose and find out from which Original's bloodline she, and therefore Katherine and the Salvatore brothers, stem.
Sticking with these story lines, Alaric couldn't fall asleep reading Moby Dick, so Stefan brought down a bottle of booze since they're on a time crunch. Klaus would only wait so long for Stefan to deliver the final two stakes. Alaric didn't get sleepy. The boys just got chatty. Stefan explained why he wants Elena to explore her feelings for Damon: Even if Stefan fights his blood lust and regains control of his life to win Elena back, it means nothing if she has feelings for someone else.
In Denver, Damon and Elena found Jeremy at the batting cages. ("Next time we compel him, remind me to make him better at baseball," Damon quipped.) The friend Jeremy was meeting turned out to be Kol, who broke a wooden bat by hitting a home run on Damon’s head. When Kol went to switch to an aluminum bat, Damon took the resulting stake (convenient!) and stabbed him. It gave them time to get away... to a motel on the corner of somewhere and nowhere that has a green-screen view of the Rocky Mountains.
Jeremy brings out the best in Damon's dialogue. Jeremy had no idea Kol was a vampire, let alone an Original. "Didn’t you find it weird that you made a friend so fast? Have you met you?" Damon asked. Inside their room, Jeremy got comfortable, taking off his hoodie so we could admire his biceps. It's good to have
them him back. "Come on, Rose, you’re not gonna actually make us wait, are ya? I know you’re obsessed with me," Damon offered, trying to summon her. Jeremy needed Damon to tell him about her -- and not what she could do with her tongue. He told Jeremy and Elena that Rose had spent her last day with him in paradise, soaking up the sun and reminiscing about what it means to be human. When death came, she didn’t fear it. Elena said she was there for the end of Rose's life, and it wasn’t paradise. It was in the dream Damon gave Rose, Jeremy said. Rose was there. AHHH.
NEXT: Series-wide epicness