On the eve of Senior Prank Day, Klaus has finally returned to Mystic Falls and with no other Originals willing stop him, there is nothing standing in his way to create an army of hybrids.
After some of the gang are setting up some pranks for the freshmen, Elena steps away for a minute to get some more gag supplies when she walks straight into Klaus. Damon is on his way out of Mystic Falls with Katherine but the passenger isn't quite turning out to be the distraction he was hoping for but she not only has Elena's necklace but also knows what the invincible Klaus is afraid of. After Stefan wakes up after having is neck broken countless times by Klaus, Rebecca confronts him about his lies. To give Bonnie and Matt some incentive to come up with a way to fix his hybrid problem, Klaus turns Tyler into a hybrid but knows that they will either break his curse or let their friend die. Stefan later wakes up again after being staked by Rebecca, he charges into the gym to beg for Klaus's forgiveness but it comes with a price: he must kill Elena to prove his loyalty. When Stefan refuses to kill the one person he truly loves Klaus compels him to do so when the timer in the gymnasium runs out. Elena tries to convince Stefan to fight the compulsion but either way, Stefan won't be the same man by the end of the night.
While good, The Reckoning wasn't quite the episode I was hoping for when Klaus and the gang made their way back to Mystic Falls at the end last week's Disturbing Behaviour. I was hoping that by bringing Stefan and Klaus back from their extended road trip the story would feel a lot tighter and not so loosely woven together by everyone's connection to Stefan. What interests me the most is the prospect of seeing the vampire that hunts vampires, Michael. Stefan and Damon can't match Klaus on a physical level and so whenever they confront him the result is rhetorical and lacks any suspense; the prospect of a character that can shake things up is quite exciting.
Although the effort was there to include so many characters it was also surprising the writers did not find a way to include the one high school teacher, Alaric. It seemed like last week he was going to step up to the plate for his turn at bat but he was completely on the bench this week. Matt's willingness to kill himself to see Vicky also seemed out of character considering he told Jeremy that Vicky was best remembered for who she was. In removing any hesitation to the act itself it took away my emotional connection to the scene. Also, considering The Vampire Diaries has always shown transitions (Vicky and Caroline becoming vampires, Tyler and Mason becoming werewolves) to be especially painful, Matt died a very quick death. I wouldn't imagine that drowning would be such a quick event but again, the entire scene could have been incredibly powerful had it been executed with more thought and emotion.
Overall The Reckoning was not exciting but has me excited for what's to come in The Vampire Diaries. As long as Michael is actually a fully fledged badass, Stefan becomes a psychopathic killer and Tyler as a hybrid does not equal that blue thing from the movie Underworld (sorry Scott Speedman but I call it like I see it!). If that's the case then next week's Smells Like Teen Spirit could be a very different and very cool episode of The Vampire Diaries.