Last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries featured the perfect balance of family, friendship, and major plot twists. Here’s your Friday dose of an episode recap — Caroline Forbes Style.

the caroline forbes focus

Previously on The Vampire Diaries, Caroline temporarily devoted her life to Bonnie’s mother, who was having a difficult time as she adjusted to her newfound vampirism. It was wonderful to see Bonnie and Caroline spend time together again, as always, because their friendship as been a core theme of the show from the get-go. Unsurprisingly, Candice Accola swooped in at the end of an otherwise mundane episode with her delivery of Caroline’s impactful “don’t go” speech. Despite that many of us were unimpressed with the focus on Bonnie’s suddenly-no-longer-absentee mom, Caroline gave purpose to the subplot and made us care.

This week, we first see Caroline and Elena walking through the all too familiar woods of Mystic Falls. Caroline is now in the know about Alaric’s murdering spree, which leads her to understanding that her high school History teacher was the cause of her dad’s death. Elena is trying to reassure Caroline that steps are being taken to deal with Alaric’s situation, but Caroline is understandably shaken up about the news. When Elena lists off various people who have been unwillingly subjected to supernatural hardships, Caroline finishes her thought by including herself. Heartbreaking. “None of you asked for this, but who would I be if I just turned my back on any of you?” Elena says. And then Caroline: “Oh, Elena Gilbert. Savior of the cursed and the damned.” I just love them so much!

Seconds later, Matt (!!!) pops up out of nowhere and questions the girls about a cryptic, secret-meeting text message that he received. He isn’t even wearing his work clothes! It must be his day off!! YAY, MATT! And then, oh my god, then Stefan and Damon also pop up out of nowhere! Halt. Stefan and Caroline are in a scene together? AM I DREAMING?! Not only are they in a scene together and making eye contact and all that jazz, but they and the rest of the group are going to band together to kill Klaus. This is the best episode of Season 3. It’s official.

As Stefan explains the plan, Damon sets up different scenarios and each person is assigned an Original to pre-occupy when the time comes. Caroline is practically giddy as she takes everything in. She’s not excited to learn that she’ll be “Klaus bait” yet again, but she later confirms that she’s far from pitying Klaus; she’s just interested in doing whatever it takes to break his sire bond to Tyler. (Insert eye roll here. That’s all I’m saying about the wolf.)

I have a ton of appreciation for the interaction between Caroline and Damon in this scene. And, no, I don’t mean that in an “I ship it” way. If you’ve read any of my previous recaps, you know that I’m SUPER protective when it comes to Caroline even breathing the same air as Damon, let alone coming into physical contact with him. I’ll probably be forever bitter about how he treated her in Season 1. Anyway, Caroline’s snarky comments that followed Damon’s remarks, combined with her elbowing him and giving him a glare after he manhandled her, equaled pure perfection and hilarity. I love you, Caroline! Queen of Mystic Falls!

candice accola

Later on, Matt, Caroline and Elena are hanging out downtown. Matt and Caroline are talking about the crazy Alaric revelation, and Elena rudely interrupts their conversation by- Okay, no, I’m kidding. I love that Matt and Caroline are chatting casually, though! More, please. Elena interrupts Matt and Caroline for a legitimate reason: she’s wondering if it’s weird that Bonnie isn’t returning any of her phone calls. Matt then asks if it’s weird that Klaus’ brother is in the middle of the town square. Oh, Matt! Why haven’t you been in the know about the supernatural all along? Caroline immediately puts her perfectly styled hair behind her ear and listens in on the conversation that Finn and Sage are having across the way. Caroline is so on the ball, per usual. Fabulous.

The next scene between Alaric and Caroline had my emotions running wild. First off, I’m going to quote the entire scene below.

candice accola

Caroline: “Hey. I hear you had a run-in with Buffy the Vampire…”
Alaric: “Yeah, I’ll live. What are you doing here?”
Caroline: “Checking up on you… in case you’re not you.”
Alaric: “I’m me.”
Caroline: “I guess not you would say that, too. Which is why Elena said you have to drink this. I hope it tastes better than it smells.”
Alaric: “It doesn’t. That’s disgusting.”
Caroline: “It’s either that or… kill people. So. Elena told me everything.”
Alaric: “Caroline. I am so sorry. I don’t even know what else I can say.”
Caroline: “Right after I turned into a vampire, I killed someone. A stranger. I just… killed him. And what’s worse is… I liked it. I have blood on my hands, too. We all do.”
Alaric: “Yeah, but the blood on my hands is your father’s.”
Caroline: “Yeah, it is. And maybe the guy I killed was someone’s father, too. Look, all I know is: I’m no better than you. So I’m going to take a page from the Elena Gilbert Handbook and choose to believe that you can be saved. Okay?”
Alaric: “Okay.”

Alaric has been a father figure to most of the Mystic Falls kids, in retrospect, since becoming part of the gang. He’s been there for them and he’s been involved and he knows what they’ve all been put through. With Caroline, though, she always had a father of her own – or at least the idea of one up until we met him earlier this season – so I feel like she and Alaric never had that “family” connection.

So here, we see Alaric clearly beside himself when he’s forced to face the daughter of one of his unintentional victims. There’s now another teenager with one less parent, and he’s to blame. What’s incredible, and admittedly not a big surprise, is how Caroline handles everything. Of course she’s upset that her father was killed by someone she and her friends have grown to trust, but she knows that the Alaric they know isn’t the one who should be beating himself up about what happened. Caroline is a victim of the supernatural, and knows firsthand how it can dictate a person’s life. I really enjoy how Caroline is able to tie her own experiences into accepting other people’s flaws and encourage others even when she isn’t expected to or shouldn’t have to. And I like how she isn’t afraid to bring up the demons of her past, but instead use her mistakes as something to learn and grow from.

After her heart-to-heart with Alaric, Caroline is sort of in the background when Sage and her vampire friend bust into the Salvatore house. They’re targeting Stefan, but they don’t get much accomplished before they both fall to the ground and end up dying mysteriously. Stefan, Elena, and Caroline are thinking aloud about what might have caused the random deaths when Stefan figures it out: bloodline is key. When an Original vampire dies, it’s only a matter of time before the vampires he or she turned die as well. And so it goes… if the all of the Original vampires die, as does the entire vampire species. This is not okay!

“Vampire disposal? Not my strong suit.” You say that like it’s a bad thing, Caroline. No, no.

Elena says that Stefan is off trading the White Oak stakes for Damon’s freedom, but not all of them. They’ll still have enough stakes to kill three out of the four Originals, so now it’s just a matter of deciding which vampires in their social circle deserve saving. Elena goes through the bloodlines of Stefan and Damon, and there are some definite holes. Caroline suddenly panics when she – and eventually Elena, too – realizes that killing Klaus would also signal the death of Tyler. And the plot thickens…

I’ve been quite disappointed with recent episodes of The Vampire Diaries, but this week I was left feeling impressed and satisfied. While I personally am not looking forward to Tyler’s return, I’m still anxious to see how the rest of the season plays out and what’s in store for Caroline.

Written by Maddie Coe. Visit her Candice Accola Fansite for the latest details about the phenomenal actress.