Several players laid their cards on the table
"In its purest form, a union becomes part of our very essence," Emily voiced as a young Amanda prepared for her pretend wedding to Jack. "When that bond is broken, our essence if forever changed."
Emily's memory of happier times was interrupted when Nolan swished into the room. After he babbled about all the last minute wedding tasks he was handling for Jack and Amanda, Emily swore she was happy for the couple. Amanda and Jack deserved happiness. Nolan worried they wouldn't find it now that Conrad owned half The Stowaway. Emily was horrified by the news. She thrust a check at Amanda and demanded she and Jack buy out Conrad. The Graysons always have a hidden agenda.
Conrad's agenda currently involved working with Nate to turn the waterfront into the next Atlantic City. All the zoning issues would disappear once Conrad announced his candidacy for Governor of New York, but Nate was also ready to break some bones, if necessary. Ashley sniffed that Nate should leave the negotiations to them.
Over at Grayson manse, Daniel was on the phone with Helen. She wanted him to move money from the European markets to the Algiers, Bahrain and Tunisia. He worried those areas were too volatile, but she convinced him to take the risk and "facilitate reform."
Luckily, Victoria was eavesdropping. The conversation reminded her of a call she'd gotten from David Clarke after he'd been arrested. He'd insisted someone had set him up, somehow making it look like he'd handled the money that was used to blow up the infamous Flight 197. He'd been desperate, but Victoria had told him to never call her again. The memory left her shaking. Conrad was the one who'd moved the money all those years ago. Worried Daniel was falling into the same trap, she barged into Conrad's office demanding proof.
Aiden had gone MIA in the wake of his sister's murder. He resurfaced at NolCorp, confident there were clues in the video of Colleen's death. He was right. Nolan noted the file was created 6 years ago, which meant she wasn't murdered recently, as The Initiative had feigned. It also meant Emily wasn't to blame. Still, Aiden slammed the table at the mere suggestion of calling Em. He ordered Nolan to follow up on a lead and left.
By the time Emily arrived, Nolan had determined the video was shot in an abandoned Jersey City apartment. Nolan wondered why The Initiative had been interested in killing a teenager. Emily explained they'd used Colleen to manipulate her father into loading the bomb onto flight 197. Nolan wondered if Padma was being manipulated in the same way. Emily didn't care. Aiden was her priority. She tasked Nolan with searching missing persons cases in Jersey City from six years ago.
Emily had just tracked Aiden to the abandoned apartment when Nolan called with bad news. Colleen was indeed dead. The couple even saw the coroner's file on her. Aiden had nothing left to fight for. Em' argued that he could still honor his sister. They needed to be level-headed about things. He scoffed, saying he couldn't turn off his feelings like she could. She was crushed by the slight. It was her deep pain that kept her fighting and she'd believed it was the same for him. "Don't leave me alone in this," she begged, but he walked away.
Nolan promised to play it cool with Initiative spy Padma. Instead, he called Padma out, pointedly asking why she hadn't talked to her father in a month. "Not here," she wrote on a sticky note. Once free of prying ears, Padma revealed The Initiative was holding her father. To keep him safe, she'd gotten closed to Nolan and then found his code for Carrion. She swore her feeling for him were real. She hoped he would help her.
A freshly shaven Jack surprised Amanda by planning a mini-honeymoon. Amanda loved the idea of sailing to Nantucket, but ruined the moment by showing Jack the check from Emily. Ultimately, she convinced him it was better to be in debt to friends than enemies. Unfortunately, Conrad refused to sell back The Stowaway. When he showed Jack the hot new plans for the waterfront, Jack balked. He would never sell! But Conrad didn't need him to sell. He already had the bank reassessing Jack's viability as a mortgage holder. The bar would soon be his. Jack showed some serious backbone, promising to fight Conrad in court and with all the might of his blue-collar buddies. Conrad smiled and promised to show "principled" Jack" "what a man of means is truly capable of."
Jack felt outplayed. When his fiance overheard him venting to Declan, she sprang to action. Amanda broke into Emily's computer and walked it over to Conrad, showing him she had video proof that he'd set up her "father" David. She let Conrad believe she'd been the one messing with the Graysons of late and said she was just getting started.
A cowed Conrad took Jack's payment and signed over the bar. Nate did not take the news well. The brute offered to "remove" the problem.
Amanda and Jack got married in the very spot in which Emily had married him as a child. After flashing back to her own happy day, Emily handed Amanda the "ring." It was the pipe cleaner from their childhood wedding. Jack was touched. He remembered loving Amanda before he'd even known what that meant. Emily seemed distraught. She had to look away. When she did, she spotted Aiden watching from above! He'd come back to her.
After the emotional ceremony ended, the newlyweds set sail for their honeymoon.
Armed with Conrad's old papers, Victoria told Daniel that Helen was with The Initiative. If he fell in with her by moving the money, he'd put himself and everyone else in danger. She'd only kept quiet because they'd threatened his life. Daniel worried that Helen would be suspicious if he didn't move the money. Victoria had incriminating evidence that would protect them, but she needed more time.
Helen and The Initiative watched the whole conversation via their clock cam. The monster went straight to the manse and let Victoria know. She warned that if Victoria didn't hand over the evidence, Daniel would be gone by morning. Victoria took a swig of her drink and walked Helen to the pool house. As Helen opened the safe, Victoria leveled a gun on her. Helen didn't believe Victoria had it in her. She was wrong! Victoria shot her in the chest. Then she called Daniel, instructing him to pretend she was Helen calling to cancel their meeting. When he got home. he couldn't believe Helen was dead on his floor. Conrad was pretty shocked by the sight, as well.
Aiden found Emily on the beach and apologized for walking away. He was ready to make The Initiative pay and promised she'd never be alone in this. She sighed that she'd lost Daniel. Aiden wasn’t worried. Little did they know, Daniel had brushed her off to protect her from The Initiative.
"From the moment we're born, we're drawn to form a union with others," Emily voiced. "An abiding drive to connect, to love, to belong. In a perfect union, we find the strength we cannot find in ourselves.,, But the strength of the union cannot be known until it is tested."
Declan had a question for Jack and Amanda and tried to call the newlyweds on the boat, but someone turned off the boat's radio. Nate was on board!
"Revenge" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
Hannah flies solo into affair with dreamy doctor
Sunday's episode, titled “One Man’s Trash,” was a first for playing Hannah (Lena Dunham) not against her girlfriends to see what she learns, or doesn't learn, but one-on-one against a fantasy she had always imagined would make her feel complete.
A neighbor (Patrick Wilson) enters Grumpy’s, the cafe where Hannah works for Ray (Alex Karpovsky), and reports that someone has been dumping trash from the cafe into his garbage can. Ray denies it, since Grumpy’s has a dumpster out back. Ray is rude to the guy and Hannah storms out.
Hannah walks to the neighbor’s brownstone and admits to the illegal dumping. She lost her dumpster key and was afraid to tell Ray. Oh yeah, and the neighbor is a hunk who owns the whole brownstone. So Hannah kisses him and she apologizes. They do it on his kitchen island before she asks his name (Joshua) or age (42).
Afterward, Hannah assures Joshua that she never does that. “I always have sex with people I know,” she says. “I might know that they’re bad, but I know them.”
More facts drip out slowly. Joshua is a doctor. He’s married but separated. (He worked too much and didn’t notice how she was feeling.) He doesn't appreciate being called Josh.
After spending the day together, Hannah prepares to leave to give Joshua space. He asks her to stay. She doesn’t believe him. She requires him to beg. He pledges to kill himself if she ever leaves. He says she’s beautiful. When asked if she agrees, Hannah says she does but that “it’s just not always the feedback I’ve been given.” They do it on his bed.
The next day, at Joshua’s insistence, they both call in sick. They do it on his Ping Pong table. She doesn't understand his high-tech shower and it nearly steams her to death. While recovering from her high-tech shower attack, Hannah breaks down and has a series of rambling emotional revelations. She wants to be happy, even though she didn’t think she did. She wants material possessions, even though she knows she's not supposed to. And she wants someone else to want to be there after she’s dead.
Oh, and also, at three years old, Hannah told her mom that her babysitter touched her vagina in the bath. “My mom thought I was lying, obviously, and probably I was,” Hannah says. “But whether I was lying or whether I was telling the truth, something’s broken inside of me.”
An understandably overwhelmed Joshua announces that he’s retiring to his own bedroom because he has to wake up early for work. Hannah feels hurt. This is the man who pledged suicide a few hours ago and he's already withdrawing. Their first fight climaxes when, for the fourth time, Joshua won’t permit Hannah to shorten his name to Josh. “It’s the same name,” she insists, “with an extra sound stuck on the end.”
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But something deeper is off. Hannah has poured her heart out to Joshua. Yet he has revealed only the barest minimum about himself. (Asked about his divorce, for instance, he responded only with the bit about him working too much and not noticing how she felt.)
Is it just that Joshua isn't emotionally available? Or can it be that the dreamy doctor is dreamy in a literal way? Maybe he doesn't even represent a real person, but a tool that Lena employs -- and perhaps that even Hannah imagines -- to better understand who the woman at the center of all this creative angst really is.
Joshua asks Hannah to stay again, but she doesn’t ask him to beg this time. It's over, apparently, as suddenly as it began. The next morning, Hannah wakes up alone in the brownstone, takes the garbage out to that familiar can and heads home.
"Girls" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Tom and Edith accept new jobs, Thomas has a near miss
The episode opened with Bates' release from prison at dawn. He and Anna had a tearful, romantic reunion outside the prison gates before they drove back to the abbey. Everyone was overjoyed to see him at Downton – except for Thomas, a.k.a. Mr. Barrow, Lord Grantham's current valet.
Robert and Matthew met with Mr. Jarvis, the estate agent at Downton. Matthew put his foot down and insisted that the estate become self-supporting. He decided to invite Mr. Murray, the family lawyer who helped free Bates from prison, to consult with the three of them. However, Jarvis resigned in highly melodramatic fashion as the meeting began: "I am the old broom, Mr. Crawley, and you are the new," he said to Matthew. And to Robert, "I wish you luck with your sweeping, my lord."
Lady Violet went to see Isobel Crawley to persuade her to send Ethel away. The dowager countess – rather sensibly – suggested that Ethel might be better off living somewhere else than where she worked as a prostitute, and that she shouldn't be used as a tool for Isobel's crusade against the old ways of the village. Isobel started to see Lady Violet's point after Ethel reported that a village shopwoman refused to serve her. Unfortunately, Lady Violet took it upon herself to place an ad for employment on Ethel's behalf, which angered Isobel. She was persuaded to see it Lady Violet's way by Edith and Mrs. Hughes, who agreed that a fresh start somewhere else would be the best thing for Ethel.
Edith decided to pay a visit to the London editor who had offered her a column. Matthew was supportive, whereas Edith's father was firmly set against the idea. When the issue came up again at dinner Isobel championed the idea – and so did Lady Violet. Unfortunately she made it clear that she thought that Edith might as well have a career since she was an old spinster.
Edith met with the editor, Michael Gregson, at his offices in London. He asked only that she make up her own mind about the column, not follow her father's advice, and invited her to lunch for the following day to hear her answer to his offer. He was a slightly awkward older dude, totally the Sir Anthony type. Lunch quickly got flirty, though Edith might not have wanted to lead with the fact that she had just been jilted at the altar.
Tom arranged for his daughter to be baptized at a Catholic church near Downton, and asked Mary if she would be Sybil's godmother. Mary agreed, and insisted that Tom's brother Kieran, who would be Sybil's godfather, stay at the abbey rather than in the village. Kieran immediately made it clear that he was more comfortable belowstairs than with the gentry. Tom, however, insisted that he join the formal dinner upstairs. Kieran's rough manners and revolutionary spirit did not impress the family, but Tom's heartfelt plea for them to all attend the christening did. By the time of the christening Cora and Lady Violet had convinced Robert to make Tom Downton's new estate agent to keep him and Sybbie at Downton.
Life was looking up for the Bateses and the Crawleys, but there was quite a bit of drama for some of the servants. Poor Alfred spilled what looked like lobster tails onto Lady Violet's lap at dinner, ruining his chance to impress the family. Later that night, he and Ivy went to a Lillian Gish movie along with some other servants from the village. Alfred got flirtatious with Ivy, who pulled back. Unfortunately his next move was to tell her that James wasn't interested in her. Ivy wasn't having it – "I'd have to hear it from his lips."
O'Brien took her plot against Thomas to the next level by pulling him aside and suggesting that Jimmy was into him. "You make a cozy couple, I must say," said the crafty broad. "Alfred says he's always going on about you, silly, sloppy stuff." Her smile after Thomas walked away was chilling.
Later that night Jimmy came into the kitchen and chatted with Thomas. After he went to his room O'Brien once again tried to convince Thomas that Jimmy was hot for him. A plan that evil has to work – Thomas sneaked into Jimmy's room, where he was asleep. Just as he bent down to kiss him Alfred came home, and the scene turned farcical, with all three men yelling. Jimmy threw Thomas out of the room, but not before Mr. Carson arrived on the scene.
Tensions were running high at the staff breakfast the next morning, and by dinnertime O'Brien had convinced Alfred that he needed to tell Carson what had happened. Carson, to his credit, told Alfred that what he had seen was no big deal and that he needed to grow up a bit. Thomas apologized for his mistake, and insisted to Carson that Jimmy had nothing to do with what happened. Of course, Carson still had to fire Thomas, both because he had caused a bit of a scandal and because Bates was ready to resume his duties as valet.
Thomas took the quietly, though he did explain to Carson that his homosexuality was not "foul." Not content with getting Thomas fired, O'Brien suggested to Jimmy that he go to the police about Thomas' overture. He tried Carson first, asking to read Thomas' letter of reference. Carson refused, but realized he would have to bend to James' will if he wanted to keep the police out of things. Carson warned Thomas of Jimmy's intentions, and agreed to let him stay on at the abbey for a few days until he could figure out what to do next.
Thomas found an unlikely ally in Mrs. Hughes, who was in no way disgusted by his homosexuality. She went to Mr. Carson and suggested that Jimmy's behavior wasn't the greatest and that Thomas shouldn't be held responsible for what happened.
Anna and Bates finally got a cottage of their own. It will need fixing up, but for the first time since their marriage they will be able to live together. A pale, tearful Thomas came to see Bates at the cottage, talking about how he envied him because he was home and everyone was so pleased for him. Bates suggested that Thomas try being nicer, and Thomas wryly observed that it was being nice that got him into trouble. When Bates pushes him to explain further he leaves. Bates may not like Thomas, but he sure likes justice. While he and Anna were painting their new cottage Bates pressed her for information on the whole affair. Anna wasn't as helpful as Mrs. Hughes, who spilled everything.
Bates spoke to Lord Grantham about the matter, even telling his boss that O'Brien was behind the whole thing. He also spoke to Thomas again – trying to get him to stand up for himself – but Thomas didn't rally. Bates never gives up. He invited O'Brien to tea at the cottage with him and Anna and insisted that she tell James to back down. He whispered something in her ear – we didn't hear what – and O'Brien caved. She told James to back down and he reluctantly agreed. Thomas will remain "Mr. Barrow," since he stayed on at Downton as an under-butler.
The Crawleys were gearing up for the house vs. village cricket match. Tom confessed to Robert that he didn't know how to play, while Mr. Mosley talked up his cricket skills to the staff. Lady Violet's great-niece Rose came to the village for the match and quickly revealed herself to be a troublemaker.
Rose tagged along to London with Edith, who was meeting her editor to go over her column. Edith's piece on unemployed soldiers impressed Michael Gregson. He asked her out to dinner, but she declined, since she had already promised to have dinner with Lady Rosamund. By the time Edith got back to Rosamund's it was clear that Rose had run off. A cab driver was able to tell the family that Rose went first to Warwick Square to pick up a friend – for two hours! – and then on to a jazz club. Matthew, Edith, and Rosamund went to the club, which Matthew compared to "the outer circle of Dante's inferno." They come upon Rose making out with her date, who is clearly a married man. Matthew pulled Rose onto the dance floor and offerd to intervene on Rose's behalf with Rosalind if she gave up on the guy.
Mary went to London overnight to see a doctor, making Ethel promise to keep Matthew in town until after her return. Of course, Matthew does what he wants and ended up at a fertility specialist, where he promptly ran into Mary. Mary told him that their fertility issues had originated with her, and that she'd had "a small operation." She had gone to London to see that all was well, and it was. It was clearly a relief for Mary to come clean to Matthew.
Upon everyone's return to Downton, Edith told Rose that she "had obviously read too many novels about young women admired for their feistiness." Unfortunately, Lady Violet overheard the two of them talking. She called Rose's mother and convinced her to send the girl to Scotland. Lecture to Rose aside, Edith must have been feeling a bit rebellious after hitting that jazz club. She called up a London exchange to inquire about the personal life of Michael Gregson!
Edith then went back to London to address the issue head on. She asked Michael if he had been flirting with her, and then told him she knew he was married. Michael told Edith that his wife was in an asylum and that he was unable to divorce her due to her mental instability. (Isn't this supposed to be 1920, not 1820?)
Isobel Crawley spoke to Ethel about leaving the village to take a new position. Unfortunately, none of the answers to Lady Violet's advertisement suited Ethel – there was one that sounded nice, but it was too near the village where her son was living – and so she decided to stay after all. Lady Violet was sympathetic when she heard from Isobel that none of the positions were quite right. She invited Ethel and Mrs. Hughes to tea, and Mrs. Bryant, Charlie's grandmother, was also a guest. Mrs. Bryant told Ethel that she would be happy to have her nearby, that she had never felt right about separating a mother from her son.
Matthew and Tom continued to try to pull Lord Grantham into the twentieth century. Matthew wants Downton to be self-sufficient, whereas Robert would just as soon keep investing the capital of the estate and hope it pays off. Things got heated, though the fact that Robert mentioned Charles Ponzi as a brilliant American investor did not help his case. Matthew lost his temper and accused Robert of ruining the family through his investments. Tom then pointed out that his and Matthew's plan was in the best interest of the farmers. Cora ended up settling the matter: she told Robert that Matthew was right, that the estate needed to make a profit on its own. Robert took it hard, saying that even his wife clearly thought it was time for him to take a back seat at Downton.
Tom tried to play peacemaker between Robert and Matthew, suggesting that Robert's part to play was in sharing what he knows about the tenants on the estate. Robert agreed to think about it on the condition that Tom take part in the cricket match. Matthew taught Tom how to bat, and Mosley turned out to be terrible at cricket. Unfortunately, the police arrived at the cricket match just as it was getting good. It turns out that Alfred had tipped them off about Thomas. Robert talked to him, pointing out that homosexuality wasn't Thomas' choice, and convinced Alfred to tell the police that what he saw was rough-housing.
Tom came to realize how much the Crawleys love his daughter and told Cora he'd like to stay at Downton until Sybbie is older. As Robert and Matthew walked onto the cricket field, Robert finally agreed to support Tom and Matthew's plan for a leaner, more modern Downton.
Downton Abbey airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on local PBS affiliates.
Boys' club initiations produce some strong contenders
Somebody that we used to know: Charlie Askew previously was more notable for his social awkwardness than his star quality, but his heartfelt spoken intro and vocal on Gotye's big hit may have propelled him to the 'Idol' front ranks.
There's one sure-fire way I can tell a good "American Idol" episode from a bad one. The bad ones, like Wednesday's, crawl by like a morning commute – it seemed like four hours – while the good ones, like Thursday's, zip along like a NASCAR race. Of course, also like a NASCAR race, there were a lot of crashes and often everybody seemed to be going around in circles, but that goes with the "Idol" territory.
It was Solo Day for the guys, and it moved along briskly … perhaps a bit too briskly, as we were shortchanged in seeing the performances. But, with just an hour available, no way were we going to see 43 performances. We got 15 (a few partial-length, but they were all pretty short anyway, or edited that way).
Let's get the rest of the numbers out of the way: 28 of the 43 guys who survived the group ordeal also made it past this round, which consisted of a band-accompanied song from a likely-too-short list, with the option of playing an instrument (taken by two of the singers shown). After the 28 were chosen, they were rather sadistically informed that eight more would be cut next Thursday after the girls go through the same three-round Hollywood gauntlet.
Paul Jolley was first on-screen, blubbering out of sheer nervousness. He immediately changed my irritation to fandom by choosing Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away," one of 2012's two or three best country hits, singing it with power if little nuance. Nicki Minaj lectured him on professionalism, one of a number of incisive critiques that solidified my impression that she'll probably turn out to be the sharpest judge the show has ever had. (And Keith is not far behind – excellent hires, both.)
Lazaro Arbos delivered a polished "Edge of Glory" (Lady Gaga), then Curtis Finch Jr. was the first of, apparently, several to pick Christina Perri's "Bowl of Kidneys" (sorry, "Jar of Hearts"). He was even more polished, with a nimble falsetto that he overused, much to the delight of Mariah Carey (not surprisingly showing herself to be a big fan of oversinging).
Singers were evaluated in groups of eight, and there was not much doubt about Lazaro and Curtis going through. Paul also made it, dissolving into more tears, while five unshown others were rejected.
The quality of song choices continued to deteriorate with Devin Velez, who sang Louis Armstrong's prime retirement candidate, the sentimental flowerpot "What a Wonderful World." He was accomplished, but with this choice combined with the Andrea Bocelli song he sang in the previous, a cappella solo round (mercifully not shown), he has the potential to become extremely irritating.
Gurpreet Singh Sarin added some guitar strumming to an ineffectively jazzy version of overexposed standard "Georgia on My Mind," followed by Cortez Shaw unearthing Bobby Hebb's creaky "Sunny." (Where did they get this roster of songs, from an old set list recovered from the wreckage of Ruby's Supper Club & Lounge on the turnpike?) Cortez was perfectly solid.
Not so Matheus Fernandes, who sang a neatly sensitized verse of Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" and then bellowed a disjointed, bombastic chorus. It cost him – he was the first singer shown to be rejected; Devin, Gurpreet (who's fortunate to have survived the group round) and Cortez, along with the unshown Adam Sanders, made it through.
Nicholas Mathis emoted a lot about how hard he's worked and how important this competition is for him (thus unforgettably distinguishing him from the other 80-odd contestants), then sang a pleasant but increasingly wobbly version of Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven." Jimmy Smith was next with a soulful take on Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," while Papa Peachez chose Lady Gaga's worst song, "You and I," and sang it half-heartedly. Nicki, showing innate good taste, immediately bristled at the song choice and blasted Peachez for it and his general attitude. He and Nicholas were canned; Jimmy and five others (including Johnny Keyser and Vincent Powell) were voted through.
Two of the night's best performances followed. Nick Boddington, accompanying himself on keyboards, sang Grace Potter's "Stars" rather exquisitely, rivaling Amanda Brown's "Voice" cover. And Charlie Askew displayed the good taste to pick 2012's best pop hit, Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," powering up for the chorus and displaying enough personality to overshadow a few shaky moments. They both made it, along with six unshown singers including JDA and Mathenee Treco.
A montage of two "Jar of Hearts" covers (why isn't that song the theme for "Bones" or some other medical series?), smoothly executed by Burnell Taylor and Marvin Calderon, ended in "yes" votes for both. But the judging went haywire on the final performance, Micah Johnson's version of Randy Travis' "I Told You So." He sounded better than any of the other gospel guys, because he didn't overdo the runs, instead singing the song straightforwardly and skillfully. But Mariah wanted more trills and frills, and the panel rejected him, making up for the bad decision somewhat by also eliminating (off-screen) rock bellower Gabe Brown.
Dressed for success: Charlie Askew spiffed up his wardrobe and his personality and sang his way to the forefront.
Novel due for remaindering: Gurpreet Singh Sarin seemed more like a curiosity than a contender this week.
Next week, it starts all over again for the girls of "Idol."
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.
On the hunt for the cure, Elena and the gang take a walk on the wild side
Last week on “The Vampire Diaries,” Elena put into action her plan to have her kid brother-turned-vampire-hunter Jeremy kill the Original Kol, therefore eliminating Kol’s entire bloodline and insta-mapping Jeremy’s body, which would then lead them straight to the grave of one long-buried Silas – and the cure.
Two catches: the plan’s success meant that Elena and her merry crew had just brought down upon themselves the wrath of a really, really mad Klaus, who’d had his own plans for his now-really-dead little brother. And the tentative alliance that was struck between Stefan and Rebekah (and, let’s face it, built on sex) could come crumbling down in the wake of the fact that he’d gone forth with the plan without telling his new sidekick. Oh well.
This week began with an unknown figure on the run through some rugged terrain until he came to a cave. A dread-headed man seemed to be chasing him, but the guy lost him as he jumped into the depths of darkness. He shone his flashlight onto some markings in the cave – in English. And then we realized he wasn’t alone.
Cut to Shane not in the cave, but rather on the shore – and Elena, the Brothers Salvatore and all the others close behind. “Couldn’t they have hidden this cure in Hawaii?” Damon asked.
Nope. They were 200 miles of the Nova Scotia mainland – on what was apparently the most desolate island on Earth. Hope it’s a big island, because things between Elena and Stefan’s new gal pal were uber-tense. When Elena attacked with the white oak stake, Rebekah bit back: “Go ahead, try and kill me, but then you’d have to face your real problems,” Rebekah said. “Like the fact that Stefan invited me here himself. I guess he likes me again.”
Damon reminded Elena that Stefan was just using Rebekah to mess with their heads. They had to focus on the end game: the cure. Elena asked him if he would take it.
Bonnie, meanwhile, was having a grand old time tracing the map that marked Jeremy’s hot bod, looking for the hidden spell. She couldn’t keep her hands off him! And who could blame her. Oh, but she was also saying something about the whole Silas story. What was it again? Some smitten witch named Katsia whom Silas had asked to make an immortality spell. She did it, then found out Silas planned to use it on another woman. So she buried him alive for eternity instead. A really long time ago.
So what did all that have to do with Jeremy? An impatient Shane explained: Katsia had buried the cure with Silas, hoping he’d take it and die. But he never did. So she’d created the Hunters to find Silas, cure him, and kill him.
The ragtag crew started off on their hike, Shane leading the way. Lucky they were mostly supernatural, it was an intensive hike and they were all getting cranky. Shane entertained them with legends about a magic well in the caves, one that would let the miners see their lost loved ones. He told them his wife and his child had died within months of each other – and that sent him looking for magic himself.
Flashback to that first shot in the cave again: Shane slicing open his hand, dribbling blood down into the depths of the cave. And the female voice, calling his name, beckoning him down. On his climbing ropes, he descended, nearly killing himself on the way down. But there, he said, “I saw my wife. My blood let me see her again.”
Back in Mystic Falls, Klaus was stuck in the Gilbert house – still trapped in Bonnie’s little force field. And he was pissed. He promised Tyler he’d kill him – and all of them, really – as soon as he was free. But Tyler told him his pals would be back with the cure by then. Tyler couldn’t wait to shove the cure right down Klaus’s throat. His theory: as soon as Klaus was cured, his sire line would cease to exist. And he’d be free. “I could kill your ass and no one else has to die,” Klaus said. “Although I am still debating just how to do it.”
Klaus told him he should try drowning. “But let me tell you,” he taunted, “your mother was a fighter!”
Back on the trek, Jeremy was tired. “A magic well, seriously?” he said to Elena. “I don’t know. “We’ve all lost someone. I’d take the chance to see them again.” Just then, he was nearly shot by the native’s arrow. But instead, someone got the guy with a knife. Maybe the dread-headed man?
Then Shane led them to an abandoned cabin – where apparently a group of college campers had all been found dead, completely drained of blood. “Tragic for them, brilliant for us,” Rebekah said. Damon suggested they press on, especially given the random man with a hatchet, but Shane said it was unsafe to keep hiking through the night. Besides, didn’t Damon have the most to lose if they didn’t find the cure, Shane said pointedly.
Want more "Vampire Diaries"? Check out our episode guide.
Elena, of course, overheard. “Do your really think I’m going to take this cure, break the sire bond and fall out of love with you?” she asked a mopey Damon. But Damon said they couldn’t be sure. “This cure is going to change so many things: Jeremy’s not going to want to kill me anymore,” Elena said. “We’ll finally be rid of Klaus. Bonnie’s mom isn’t going to be a vampire, and anyone who wants to take the cure is going to have that option: Caroline. Stefan. You. If you want it.” Yep, Damon agreed, “all unicorns and rainbows.”
But Elena said it wouldn’t change everything: “Not my feelings for you.”
Caroline showed up at the Gilbert house, annoyed with Tyler for mocking Klaus. “Don’t stoop to his level.” So she said if Tyler was going to stay, he’d help her clean up. Starting with Kol’s corpse.
Klaus tried negotiating. Said they were even. “How delusional are you? I will never, ever help you,” Caroline said. “You are not even worth the calories I burn talking to you.”
So, irritated, Klaus grabbed Caroline and took a bite. “Now that was definitely worth the calories.” Ouch. Caroline was bleeding, afraid to die. “The only thing that can heel me is his blood,” she told Jeremy. So Tyler tried negotiating. “Beg me to save her life,” Klaus said. “Fine,” Tyler said, “you win. I’m nothing. Please save her life.” But Klaus wasn’t letting it go that easy. “I’ll be your slave again,” Tyler said. “I’ll do whatever you want. Just help her.” But Klaus refused. So Caroline asked Tyler to take her away.
Stefan and Rebekah sat cozy around the fire, with her jumping every time they heard a noise. “You do realize you’re an Original vampire, right?” he said. “Which is precisely why you should stop teasing me,” she responded. “I’m very powerful.” Then she asked him what he’d do when they found the cure. Go running back to Elena? He turned the question back on her. “Isn’t it obvious?” she said. “It’s all an act, Stefan. I’d give anything to be human, normal.” Stefan said that if he took it, it wouldn’t be for Elena. Not anymore.
Bonnie told Shane she couldn’t figure out the spell. Shane said he would help her through it – the expression. Then he said that his wife had gone a bit crazy with it once their son died. Wait, Bonnie said. “You taught me the same magic that killed your wife?” Damon was beyond annoyed. “You’ve turned her into a bomb that only you can dismantle.” But Shane pointed out that Bonnie had to keep him alive, so he could keep her alive.
Jeremy awoke from his slumber, roused by a shadow. The dread-headed man. When morning came, the others realized that he was MIA. Damon walked in to see Shane on the phone – the one that had apparently cut out. Shane told him more about his wife and the cave – and Silas. “If you set him free, you’ll help those who have helped him,” his wife had said. “She explained everything I had to do.” And he mentioned that the kin of Katsia had to do the spell. To which Damon replied: “Bonnie Bennett’s related to this crazy ass witch?” And given the fact that Bonnie was pretty much setting the whole woods on fire, I’d say yeah. The fire was cutting a path through the forest – leading her straight to the cave.
The troubled trio of Elena, Stefan and Rebekah were hunting for Jeremy – and bickering. But when Elena nearly got impaled by the branches of a tree that seemed to attack out of nowhere, it was Rebekah who saved her.
Damon continued to interrogate Shane. And Shane revealed more and more of the story – about all the sacrifices of 12, that they’d die and be resurrected. He had told his wife he couldn’t do that, but she’d made him believe. She told him he just had to convince others – and they’d do it for him. That’s when Damon realized: “You brought all of us out here to complete massacre number three.” Instead, Shane turned things on Damon again – by broaching the whole Elena scenario. “Have a modicum of self-respect. Don’t stay here and watch Elena walk away from you.” Damon knew Shane was playing him. So he reminded Shane of one thing: “I don’t give a crap about Bonnie Bennett.” But before he could kill Shane, Elena to the rescue.
Elena ran back out after Elena, and he told her didn’t want her to be cured. “Say you become human and you still love me, then what?” he said. But Elena said she wouldn’t let him push her away. “Take the cure with me. That’s how much I know this is real. That’s how certain I am that I’m going to love you even after this is over. Be human with me. We can grow old together and this doesn’t have to be hard anymore.” But Damon said: “That’s not me, Elena, that’s Stefan. I used to miss being human. But now I can’t think of anything more miserable on Earth.”
Caroline was suffering, the bite getting worse. Tyler asked if she trusted him. Then he brought her back to the Gilbert house. “You want to be in control, Klaus,” he said, laying her down in front of the man, “then you get to be in control. You watch her die.” Then he stormed out. To Caroline, Klaus said, “If I cure you, that means victory for him. Don’t worry. It won’t be long now. You’ll die. And Tyler will have learned his lesson the hard way.” When Caroline asked why, he said, “I’m 1000-years-old, call it boredom. Or maybe I’m pure evil.” But Caroline had a theory: “You’re hurt. Which means there’s a part of you that’s human. I’ve seen it. Because I’ve caught myself wishing I could forget all the horrible things you’ve done. I know that you’re in love with me. And anybody capable of love, is capable of being saved.” But she said she’d never know. And as she took her last breaths, Klaus fed her his blood, and healed her again.
Stefan and Rebekah marched on, and he saved her from another tree. They nearly kissed, and she confronted him about Elena. “Why do you all assume I hate Elena so much? You all seem to forget that Elena’s death was the only way for me to save my family. I did the same thing that any one of you would have done to save the people you love. And before you cast me as the bad guy, maybe you should remember that Elena’s helped to kill not one but two of my brothers. Maybe we’re not as different as everyone’s making us out to be.”
When Rebekah and Stefan got back, Elena was on the hunt for Bonnie, who was long gone. So was Shane. And the tombstone. Rebekah turned on Elena, blaming her, thinking it was all a ploy again – that Stefan was in on. But he told her he wouldn’t do that. He’d spent the last 150 years lamenting his life as a vampire. “This cure ends that. It ends the guilt. It ends the suffering. You think I would jeopardize that.” Elena offered her the White Oak Stake – a peace offering. “Us three, right here, this is all we’ve got,” Elena said. “So we’re either in this together, or it’s over. For all of us.”
Dread-head had Jeremy, and led him to Shane. Then Bonnie appeared, confused about how she’d gotten here. “So,” Shane said. “The gang’s all here. Silas awaits.”
Damon, alone in the woods, was attacked by a blond man – one with marking not unlike Jeremy’s. “You’re one of the five,” Damon managed to say, just before the dude broke his neck.
“The Vampire Diaries” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.
Skip joins a protest on the White House lawn and Xander runs for class president
"Frosting/Nixon" kicks off with the Gilchrist’s having breakfast plus Skip having a revelation that the protestors out front holding signs that say they hate the President actually mean it. "But, you’re awesome," he sputters in that Josh Gad way. Skip promptly marches out there to set them straight. Instead, he joins in the fray.
Dale’s younger son, Xander (a spot-on Benjamin Stockham), has problems of his own. He is running for class president at Darby Prep and is getting trounced by his competition, a girl named Jessica who Marigold is in awe of due to the fact that her hair smells like frosting. Everyone likes Jessica, in fact, including both her and Xander’s teacher, who is actively supporting her run. So, minutes after Skip is setting out to set the protestors straight, Emily is setting out to set the teacher straight. Once she is told, apropos of nothing, that said teacher did not vote for Dale and, furthermore, donated a lot of money to his opponent’s campaign, it becomes clear what Emily must do: run Xander’s campaign. Move # 1: Talk to some actual classmates for the first time.
Skip defends his father for half a minute before crumbling. One protestor tells Skip his dad is in bed with the auto industry, which Skip vehemently (and genuinely) denies, clarifying, "He’s in bed with my hot Step-mom." By the time Marshall, the press secretary so stressed he can’t grow a goatee anymore, gets out there to lure Skip back inside it’s too late; Skip has a list of demands for dear ol’ dad.
Throughout all of this, Becca is struggling simply to find one friend on the telephone whose life isn’t, simply put, awesome. Misery, as we all know, loves its company. But the pregnant First Daughter cannot find one, lamenting, "I should have made more loser friends."
Skip represents the protestors for half a minute before crumbling. His father responds to his concerns about mass transit with a suggestion that Skip think about the roadways themselves and the fact that we cannot let them fall apart. The list of demands is tossed; "Mind blown," Skip declares. However, this is Skip we’re talking about; he has an acoustic guitar in hand out front in no time, promising the protestors he will get them inside the White House first thing, shouting, "Tomorrow we rise!"
Emily, meantime, has completely turned Xander’s campaign around. A panic-stricken Jessica cozies up to Marigold – who she has never spoken to before – seeking out Xander’s next move. She gives Marigold one whiff of her hair and Xander’s sister gives up the location of Xander’s speech. In bed that night, Emily, enthusiastic about the quality time she spent with Xander, asks Dale how his day was. His answer is priceless: "Oh, you know. America."
By morning Skip has every protestor inside the White House. Dale is pliable, though; accessible. In no time they have call calmed down thanks to some soothing hot chocolate and the protestors feel good that they have at least been heard. Xander, too, is preparing to be heard, but when Jessica delivers his speech to the student body he and Emily are literally and figuratively speechless. She suggests simply ratting the speech-stealer out, but Xander, galvanized by his father’s fortitude, plows ahead, declaring he will think of something. What follows is what "1600 Penn" did so well in the episode where Becca spent the afternoon in the pool with Skip after it leaked she’s pregnant: this volleying of poignancy and punch-lines. Xander wings it (sounding more than a little like Linus from "Peanuts"), unintentionally promises the students gathered a soda machine, and wins the thing. In a very sweet moment he calls Emily "Mom" for the first time. He punctuates his campaign-winning speech with this battle-cry: "Today, we rise!" Apples and trees, folks; apples and trees.
"1600 Penn" airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
'You shouldn't have to work so hard to make someone love you.'
Screaming fans greeted Rayna and Juliette in Chicago. As the divas smiled and signed autographs, Juliette tried to get Rayna to admit she was pissed about Deacon joining the tour. Ranya wouldn't bite, but was definitely reeling. When she found herself alone on the elevator with Deacon, neither one of them said a word. Then she called Teddy to explain that Juliette had hired Deacon without her knowledge. She insisted she didn't want him there. Teddy wasn't appeased, especially after Rayna admitted she'd seen Deacon since firing him.
On the upside, Rayna was loving her new chick bandleader, AJ, and Deacon agreed to teach his replacement a lick he used to play during their shows. Rayna admitted having him on the tour felt awkward, so Deacon said he'd stay out her way. Too bad they were staying at the same hotel. The exes again found themselves together in an empty elevator. Rayna was excited about her new label, which was officially a go as long as she could bring in a few acts. She tried to ask Deacon about his talented niece, but he ignored her completely. Fed up, she asked Whitey to set her up with Scarlett and Gunnar so she could sign them. Whitey noted that the newfound distance between Deacon and Rayna felt like a good thing.
Deacon teased Juliette, saying he was overwhelmed by "all the glitter" of touring with her. She suddenly worried she was traveling with too big an entourage. After the show, she grumbled that the glitter, back up dancers, smoke and wind machine made her feel like an act instead of an artist. She wanted to grow up. Her manager Glenn reminded her that fans were fickle and urged her to stick with her brand. "One wrong step, you're struggling like Rayna James." Those words were ringing in her ear as she and Deacon worked on a soulful new ballad, which definitely wasn't her brand. She shared her frustration with Deacon, who recalled having the same convo with Rayna. When pushed, he admitted Rayna would stay true to herself. Juliette worried no one would follow her. "Wouldn't it be worse to lose yourself?" Deacon asked.
At the second Chicago show, Juliette took the stage in a button down white shirt and jeans. She promised her fans she'd get to the stuff they came to see and then sat on a stool and performed that ballad with Deacon. Even Rayna was impressed, but a Tribune reviewer live-tweeted the song and slammed Juliette. Highlights included calling her a "manufactured pop tart" and using the hashtags #FailJuliette #WantMyMoneyBack. Juliette was crushed and kicked everyone out, but her assistant snuck back in to tell her that she loved the performance. Juliette was still staring at the twitter feed, so her assistant showed her the YouTube video of the performance. It had 100,000 views in less than two hours. Juliette's tears turned to joy. She told Glenn she wanted to add "Consider Me" and "Undermine" to her new album. After recent fiascos like the nail polish, the marriage and her mother's addiction making the news, she was through playing bubblegum queen. She believed her audience would grow with her. Glenn warned her against it, but she wasn't hearing him.
Glenn tracked down Deacon and blamed him. He said the performance felt like "a Rayna/Deacon special" and told him to back off. Deacon stormed off and got on the elevator. And there was Rayna, once again. She demanded to know what he was doing on her tour - So he kissed her! "I'm done talking," he growled. When the door opened, he pulled out of the kiss and left her stunned. After ringing her hands for a while, she texted Deacon to come to her Penthouse room. He didn't hesitate.
Back in Nashville, Teddy ran into newly single Peggy. They had a warm, supportive catch up session. "You shouldn't have to work so hard to make someone love you," Peggy concluded - so he slept with her!
Scarlett and Gunnar were both having housing issues. His was still living with his former bandmates and they were giving him trouble for leaving them for Scarlett; while Scarlett was having trouble making rent, because Avery owed her money. She hoped to make rent at their next gig, but only banked $22.
Avery's manager Marilyn seemed to be delivering. She'd even lined up an episode of "Star Towns," a TV show that followed stars around their towns. When she caught Avery Googling Scarlett, she told him to get over it, but during the Nashville tour, Avery took the camera crew to his old hood. Scarlett saw him out front and came out to see what was going on. She refused to be on camera and asked him for the money he owed her. He refused to pay up. She told him he was pathetic and then asked Gunnar to be her new roommate.
Of course, Avery showed up to "make peace" while Gunnar was moving in. Avery apologized, gave Scarlett the money and admitted he'd wanted her to see the TV crew. The niceties ended as soon as Gunnar came out of his room. Avery assumed they were sleeping together. "You just remember who had her first," he sniffed at Gunnar. Gunnar told Avery that feeling like trash for taking up with Marilyn didn't give him the right to disrespect Scarlett. Avery threw a punch. Gunnar took Avery down with three of his own and sneered that they weren't sleeping together. After Scarlett kicked Avery out, she tended to Gunnar's lip. He admitted he wasn't always a good guy. She didn't seem to mind.
Avery stormed back to Marilyn's, packed his bags and demanded they keep their relationship professional from now on.
Rayna opened her door expecting to see Deacon, but Teddy was standing there. Deacon looked crushed as he watched Teddy go into her room. Inside, Teddy told Rayna he'd had a moment of clarity - of course, he didn't mention he'd had it while in bed with Peggy! Instead, he recounted their recent problems and admitted he'd been hoping for a magical moment where it went back to the way it was. Tired of waiting, he asked for a divorce.
Get the 411 on the music in this episode on the Nashville website.
"Nashville" airs on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
The guys make a ragged debut as the Hollywood Rounds kick off
B-Side themselves: Impromptu group B-Side performed a truly disturbing version of 'Payphone' during the torture ritual known as 'American Idol' Group Day, but got a greatly undeserved pass from the inconsistent judges.
It's always a relief to make it past the manipulative back stories and pointless stunts of the "American Idol" auditions. But Hollywood week, with its under-rehearsed, sloppy performances of stale songs and painfully contrived melodrama, isn't the ideal replacement. At best you can hope for the emergence of a few standouts that the producers want to spoonfeed us … and we did get some of those, at the expense of too many casually dismissed losers (and winners).
Contestants were separated along gender lines this season, with the guys kicking things off. Round one was sudden-death solo a cappella (or "auditions, part 2"), and about 15 were fairly quickly run through, mostly positive. Micah Johnson of the botched tonsillectomy was first up and first through, followed by Nate Tao, burly rocker and inexplicable producers' favorite Gabe Brown, and turbaned Gurpreet Singh Sarin, also winners.
Blue-eyed soulster Carl Skinner was the first casualty, although his "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" wasn't too bad to approve. Dustin Watts and Dr. Calvin Peters were also dispatched, while Cortez Shaw's deafening "I Will Always Love You" nearly cost him his shot, an appalled Nicki failing to carry the day against the approving Mariah – who looked, on the first day at least, alarmingly like Mae West.
Then it was a quick succession of successes: Curtis Finch (whose reported arrest for stealing a laptop hasn't had any "Idol" repercussions to date), street singer Frankie Ford, stutterer Lazaro Arbos, and (even more quickly depicted) soldier Trevor Blakney, Bryant Tadeo and Charles Allen. Tadeo was cruelly faked out by Nicki after he admitted he was tired; she told him there would be plenty of time to rest now that he's been sent home, before confessing he'd been voted through. Mariah shook her head (rightfully) at this hoary bit of typical judges' wit. Finally, Brian Rittenberry, whose wife had miraculously survived cancer, was rejected and the stage was set for the horror that is Group Day.
Getting through Hollywood's group round is really a matter of luck – and it was tougher this year because instead of contestants lining up their own teammates, the groups were assembled by the producers, in some cases to emphasize obvious incompatibilities. Choosing the right song (from a ludicrously limited list of 20 – at least no one chose the Neon Trees number, but there were a lot of overexposed or just plain lousy songs) is also a key, as is the performance of your fellow group members and the whims of the judges – which were exceptionally whimsical in certain instances.
The first group featured Gabe Brown, diminutive Matheus Fernandes, plus Mathenee Treco and Nick Boddington singing Queen's hideous "Somebody to Love" quite skillfully, and all four made it. Returning contestant Johnny Keyser chose the Four Tops' "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" for his quartet, and proceeded to botch the words completely, helping to throw off teammate Kareem Clark. Yet it was Clark who was booted, while Keyser got a mercy pass.
Socially awkward Charlie Askew was thrown into a trio with gospel belters Curtis Finch and Charles Mathis, and compounded his difficulties by getting sick the morning of their performance. But all three handled Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" admirably and advanced. So did Micah Johnson and compatriots Vincent Powell, Marvin Calderon and David Willis on a rousing "Hold On, I'm Coming."
Singing the Soul Brothers Six's "Some Kind of Wonderful" (some may know it better by Grand Funk; many more may not know it at all), Zach Birnbaum, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw and Elijah Liu also aced it. But only two of the next, generally atrocious group, Paul Jolly and Will White, survived. Possibly even worse were Gurpreet Singh Sarin and his three bandmates, who forgot lyrics, keys, melodies and everything this side of their room numbers on Maroon 5's "Payphone." You would not have been out of line to expect a unanimous dismissal, but the judges drastically lowered their standards to slide all four through.
Too much of that sort of leniency would have been disastrous, so they followed by turfing Jason Jones, Dan Wood, Jessie Lawrence and their unnamed fourth member (the producers being a little lax with identifying chyrons) for massacring One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."
Ryan Conner-Smith convinced his group (Devan Jones, Devin Velez and Adrien Madison) to sing "Payphone" without the band. They weren't bad, but in a devastating turn of fate, Conner-Smith was the only one sent home. In another split decision, Bernell Taylor and Tony Foster Jr. got yesses for their part in another "Some Kind of Wonderful," while Darien Moses and Mario Jose (who sounded good to me) were rejected.
The splits continued, as Josh Stephens, Scott Fleenor and Christian Lopez prevailed upon Lazaro Arbos to sing the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (by far the most interesting, and possibly most challenging, song of the night) despite his complete unfamiliarity with song and group. Two got through: Lopez and … Arbos.
Then in a victory of sorts for gay power, Joel Wayman and the singer known as "Jda" got the nod while their teammates, country types Trevor Blakney and Lee Prtichard, departed. Their excruciating version of Extreme's excruciating "More Than Words" could easily have dispatched the lot of them. A foursome of teenage performers, returnee David Leathers Jr., cystic fibrosis sufferer Kaylen Stephenson, plus Sanni M'mairura and Kevin Quinn also earned no better than a split on an uneven performance of Billy Joel's "The Longest Time." Leathers and M'mairura moved onward; somewhat surprisingly, Stephenson joined Quinn on the outward-bound plane.
Griffin Peterson and Clifton Duffin were quickly disposed of without any airtime to speak of, setting up the grand finale, a melodrama featuring Frankie Ford's tearful breakdown just before his group (Adam Sanders, Charles Allen and Papa Peachez) ventured onstage to sing, for reasons unexplained, Estelle's "American Boy." Ford hadn't meshed with his groupmates, and forgot the words in a classic flame-out; the others overcame that obstacle to go through, although the peachy one was admonished for complacency. A seeming eternity of Ford sobbing that he'd be back next year brought the painful proceedings to an appropriate end.
Sleeper: Elijah Liu hasn't gotten any solo airtime, but usually there's at least one contender who seemingly comes out of nowhere.
Snoozers: The herd of gospel belters, including Charles Allen, Curtis Finch, Micah Johnson and Charles Mathis, is bound to thin out soon. They're all good, but too stylistically similar.
The guys are narrowed to 20 Thursday, then next week the girls take over.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.