In the midst of the ’20s flashbacks with Team Rippah, last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries featured some achingly heart wrenching scenes involving a now estranged father and daughter. Here’s your Friday dose of an episode recap – Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola) style.
Previously on The Vampire Diaries, we didn’t see much of Caroline. When she finally showed up at the very end of the episode, she was chained up in what looked to like some type of underground torture chamber. We also briefly met Caroline’s dad (Jack Coleman) for the first time, who actually turned out to be the mystery man Carol Lockwood (Susan Walters) had called to deal with Caroline, who she had unexpectedly shot with vervain needles at the end of the Season 3 premiere.
This week, when we first see Caroline Forbes, she is in the same state that she was in at the end of the last episode. She tries to pull the contraptions loose, but even her vampire strength can’t make them budge. She calls out to her dad, “Daddy, are you there? Why won’t you talk to me?” but he doesn’t show up. Instead, we see smoke or mist coming out of the dungeon vents. Well, it looked like smoke or mist, but Caroline instantly begins to cough and choke, so there must be something else to it.
Then Caroline’s dad walks in, lifts her chin up so that they’re face to face, and says he’s sorry that this happened to her. I’m guessing he’s referring to her vampirism, but notice how he doesn’t say anything about how he’s sorry for what he is doing to her.
Bill Forbes: “I just need an answer. How do you walk in the sunlight?”
Caroline: “Just let me go…”
Bill: “Sweetheart, please. Just answer me? Then we’ll get on with it.”
Caroline: “Is that all you wanna know?”
Bill: “That’s all I wanna know.”
Caroline should probably know by now that she shouldn’t trust anyone else with secrets regarding her vampirism – especially not anyone else in her family – but she is barely conscious and her dad has just called her “sweetheart” and she’s probably feeling a bit claustrophobic right now, so we can’t blame her for looking down at her ring. But, oh, how she regrets it two seconds later because at that moment, her dad decides to slip the ring off her finger and toss it on the ground next to her. He then explains that her ancestors put this torture chamber together themselves, complete with a vervain ventilation system, a reinforced steel containment chair, and… a window? This can’t end well.
Before we find out what the purpose of the window is (even though most of us probably have a good idea), Caroline’s dad whips out a blood bag and holds it in front of her, taunting her and anticipating what her reaction will be. He knows that she’s a vampire and he’s her dad, so why is he further inflicting misery on her? Caroline has been locked up for a good while and therefore is malnourished, so of course her vampire urges kick in at the sight – or rather, smell – of blood. Her dad seems uncomfortable at what he’s seeing, but his reaction leads me to believe that he’s seen other vampires in his time. I don’t think we necessarily know exactly when Caroline’s parents split up, but my guess is that he was involved in keeping the secrets of Mystic Falls under wraps for a good part of Caroline’s life.
“Blood controls you sweetheart. This is how I’m gonna fix you.”
This is the last we hear from Caroline’s dad before he pulls a chain that opens the aforementioned window. The sunlight that’s beaming in is frying poor Caroline and all she can do is yell out in pain. Between the shrieking, the bright sunlight in the background, and the contraption that Caroline is in, this looks like something you would see in a horror film.
Later on in the episode, we see Liz Forbes (Marguerite Maclntyre) leaving a voicemail for Caroline about lunch plans. She has no idea of the state Caroline is in because she’s been at work. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to see Liz appear on screen. The fact that they are on good enough terms to randomly go out to lunch together makes me happy. Just as Liz hangs up the phone, we see Tyler (Michael Trevino) knocking on their front door. These two HAVE to figure out how to save Caroline, right? And soon, I hope!
Caroline is screaming “please stop!” over and over again, and we can see her skin burning in the sunlight. How her own father can watch and listen to this happen is beyond me. I don’t care if he’s anti-vampire; that is NO excuse. When Liz was on that side, we never saw her torture or try to “fix” Caroline. Also, what is the success rate for this mechanism? Has it actually “fixed” a vampire in the past? Or is Caroline’s dad the first to try it out with his own daughter? I do not approve.
“I don’t hurt anyone, I swear. Dad, I swear. I can handle the urges. I can.” – Caroline
This is awful. Caroline is forced to justify who she is and why she isn’t a monster to yet another person. And yet another person is refusing to consider what she’s saying, immediately rejecting even the possibility of understanding. Caroline’s dad says that he’s conditioning her to associate vampirism with pain — as if she hasn’t endured enough physical and emotional pain in the last few months.
“In time, the thought of human blood will make you repress your vampire instincts completely.”
He sounds like he’s reading from a textbook! Caroline says that he can’t change who she is, but he insists, so he turns to the sunlight trick again.
Later on, we see where the steel contraptions have cut into Caroline’s skin and where her burns haven’t yet healed. She looks defeated. Caroline’s dad has taken a break from torturing her with sunlight to talk about how he handled Carol Lockwood’s phone call about his vampire daughter.
“Dad, I’m okay. I’ve learned to adapt. I don’t need to be fixed… I can’t be fixed…”
Caroline has had some of the most heartbreaking scenes on this show, and this one can be added to that list. She has been put through hell, but she still tries to reason with her dad because he’s her dad. He’s supposed to accept her for who she is. It’s understood that Caroline has had a much better relationship with her dad in the past (even though this is our first time seeing them interact), so we see even more strength in her character than usual when she continues to try to find a middle ground with him, even after he has gone to such lengths to reject her vampirism. Unfortunately, he is not changing his mind. “I need you to try your best now,” he says and holds the blood bag in front of her again.
Bill: “There. See? You’re doing it.”
Caroline: “I can’t.”
Bill: “Yes you can. Fight the urge.”
Caroline: “Daddy, I’m starving.”
Bill: “I know you are, Care. Try.”
Caroline: “Why? You know that this isn’t going to work.”
Bill: “It has to work. It’s the only option.”
Caroline: “Why are you trying to fix me?”
Bill: “So I don’t have to kill you!”
Liz and Tyler need to rescue Caroline as soon as possible. A mention of death, no matter how brief or nonthreatening, is NEVER good.
Many things made the end of this exchange a tear-inducing one; the desperation in Caroline’s voice when she said, “Daddy, I’m starving,” Caroline’s dad calling her “Care” and how her dad patted her head before he left — all of which are so very human-like, and more subtle reminders that these two are father and daughter.
Caroline’s dad locks Caroline up for the night and is greeted by Liz and her gun. (YAY! Mom to the rescue!) Caroline overhears their conversation, including her mom coming to her defense. “Let me do this, Liz,” Caroline’s dad says, “not because she’s a monster, but because we love her.” Liz doesn’t comply and calls for Tyler instead. She shoots a threatening bullet at Bill when he tries to block the entrance to the torture chamber and gives Tyler the O.K. to rescue Caroline.
Tyler breaks the locks on the door and the steel contraptions around Caroline’s arms and legs. She mentions her ring, so he grabs it and places it back on her finger. His stance (i.e. it looks like he’s proposing to her) is super cheesy, but I kind of love how Caroline is able to smirk about it even after what she’s just been through. That’s so Caroline. Finally, Tyler picks her up and carries her to safety.
Back at the Forbes residence, Caroline is finishing up a much needed blood bag. She’s sitting on her bed under the covers and her mom is sitting at her feet. She hands the blood bag to Liz, thanks her, and lays down. I am loving how comfortable Liz is with this entire situation! I guess they’ve had a few months for all of this to become the norm, but it’s great. It’s something Caroline needed.
Liz: “Honey, your dad – all our families – we have beliefs that have been passed on through generations, and we were taught never to stray from them.”
Caroline: “You did.”
Liz: “You taught me to look at things in a different way.”
Caroline: “I just thought that… he was the one who got me.”
Liz: “He did. He will again.”
!!!!!!!! Favorite scene. I loved this. All of it. I feel like it would have worked really well if a similar flashback scene had been shown at the beginning of the episode. Caroline looks so innocent here. Her hair is straight and pulled back in a messy bun, she doesn’t have makeup on, she’s wearing pajamas instead of her fancy kick ass vampire attire, and she isn’t her usual perky self. The way she says “you did” is even sweetly childlike. She’s vulnerable. Her mom is reassuring her, saying that her dad will come around. It’s nice to see someone comforting Caroline like this, and it’s nice to see that Caroline is allowing someone be that person for her. And most of all, it’s nice to see that that person is her mom.
Tyler appears in the doorway to Caroline’s bedroom, so Caroline’s mom gets up and goes to leave. Before she does, Caroline says, “Hey mom? Thanks for believing in me.” I love them.
After Liz is gone, Tyler jokes about giving Caroline a hard time for sneaking out on him. Caroline laughs but it turns into crying. This is not a time for jokes or sarcasm, sir.
She makes room for him and he climbs into bed next to her. This is all very reminiscent of “162 Candles” when Caroline asks Matt to stay with her for the night after he has brought her intoxicated self home from the Mystic Grill. In case you forgot about that scene, I have included screencaps of both scenes below. Oh, the parallels!
“He hates me… My dad hates me…” Caroline says tearfully and Tyler does his best to comfort her as the scene fades out. Poor Caroline. All the sad faces in the world couldn’t express how much the show’s fans feel for you.
One last thing: I think we can all agree that Candice Accola deserves many words of praise for her performance in this episode of The Vampire Diaries. If we thought she blew us away in Season 2, I think we’re in for a pleasant surprise and some great t.v. moments as Season 3 continues to unfold.