|“||Then let me say it. I've been so selfish because I love you so much and I know how much you love me. But it's over. Stefan, it has to be. [...] It doesn't matter, Damon. She won. Katherine won.||”|
— Elena to Stefan and then to Damon
KATHERINE CHOOSES A NEW VICTIM — Despite Elena's efforts to keep Jeremy safe, he offers to help Damon and Alaric deal with Katherine. Sheriff Forbes and Caroline share a few rare moments of quality mother/daughter time. Bonnie accidentally discovers new information about Mason and shares it with Stefan, leading Damon to take matters into his own hands.
|Katherine reassures Mason that she is in love with him and he promises her that he will give her the moonstone when he gets it. Stefan continues to feed on Elena's blood every day. Jeremy goes to Damon and tells him about the moonstone, offering to get it back for him. Alaric comes in with Isobel's research on Aztec legends. They discover that the moonstone can break the werewolf curse.
Mason runs into Stefan at the Lockwood house. Bonnie bumps into Mason and gets a vision of him and Elena (really Katherine) together. Stefan is confused and tries to figure out what that means. Damon tells Jeremy about his discovery about the moonstone. Stefan and Elena continue pretending they are in a fight. Jeremy eventually finds out that Tyler has given the moonstone to Mason. Damon enlists Bonnie's help. He wants Bonnie to go into Mason's mind and retrieve information about the moonstone. She agrees and they end up capturing Mason. They keep him tied up at the Salvatore's. Bonnie reads Mason's mind and finds out that the moonstone is hidden in a well at the Lockwood's.
Bonnie leaves the Salvatore's and runs into Caroline, who is still emotional over what happened in the cave. Bonnie decides to trust her again. They go meet up with Stefan and Elena. Damon stays back and tortures Mason with wolfsbane, the werewolf version of vervain. He tries to get more information on Katherine. Mason says that he needs the moonstone so he and Katherine can be together. Damon tells him that Katherine doesn't love him and then rips out Mason's heart.Stefan and Elena head over to the well and Stefan jumps in, only to find out the well is full of vervain water. Luckily, Caroline arrives and belays Elena down the well to get Stefan. Just as they get him out, Elena finds the moonstone, and then snakes start to attack her. Caroline pulls her out the well safely, with the moonstone in hand. Caroline visits her mother again who offers to keep everything a secret instead of getting her memory erased. It breaks Caroline's heart, but she has to wipe her mother's memory clean. Stefan goes back home with the moonstone. He and Damon text Mrs. Lockwood from Mason's phone so she will think he left town again. Damon calls the last number dialed on his phone, and it turns out to be Katherine. She is upset about Mason's death and tells them that she has a plan B.
Elena goes home and gets a phone call from Katherine. She taunts Elena and tells her to watch out. All of sudden, Jenna stabs herself in the stomach with her kitchen knife. Katherine had compelled her to kill herself. Luckily, she was rushed to the hospital in time to be saved. Elena is very shaken up by this and ends things with Stefan. It is revealed that Katherine needs a werewolf for her plot to be successful. Since Mason's gone, she asks Matt to go after Tyler, not stopping until Tyler ends up killing him, which will activate the curse.
- Antagonist: Katherine Pierce.
- This is the first episode this season to feature all the main characters in it.
- This episode marks the death of Mason, whose story-arc was wrapped up in six episodes, much like Vicki from last season, who also appeared in the first seven episodes, only to wind up dead as well. The difference is that Vicki was a main character, whereas Mason was a recurring character.
- This is the third episode this season to end on a cliffhanger that features Katherine using a character for her future plans: Caroline (Bad Moon Rising), Mason (Kill or Be Killed) and Matt.
- Though Matt is under Katherine's control she doesn't have sex with him as revealed in Gone Girl.
- Katherine tells Matt in Gone Girl that he's the best night she never had unless this was said for her daughter Nadia's benefit who may have been watching from the Other Side.
- This episode includes a reference to the novels with the well and Mrs. Flowers.
- This episode marks the temporary end of Stefan and Elena's romance, as Elena breaks up with Stefan after Katherine nearly kills Jenna in retaliation, not wanting anyone else to get hurt because she wanted to stay with him.
- Mason meets Bonnie in this episode.
- Damon tortures and kills Mason. Mason's death marks the first werewolf to be killed by a vampire.
- This also marks the second time heart extraction has been used as a method to kill supernatural species. The first time this was used was in Season One's Bloodlines, when Damon ripped out Bree's heart for betraying him.
- The manner of Mason's death will later be referenced in Season Three's Ghost World, when a spell gone wrong allows ghosts with unfinished business to gain a physical foothold in the living world from the Other Side. Mason then tortures Damon by binding him to a chair with chains and running a fireplace poker through his chest, similar to how Damon killed Mason in this episode.
- Only two promotional pictures were released for this episode.
- When Caroline compels Liz to forget about vampires, she only mentions herself, not Damon and Stefan.
- However, it can be assumed that Caroline included the necessary details off-screen, as Liz did not appear to know about Caroline, Damon, or Stefan's true identities as vampires again until the episode Know Thy Enemy, when Matt admitted to Liz that he had learned Caroline was a vampire.
- Bonnie and Matt were last seen in Bad Moon Rising.
- Liz is compelled by Caroline to forget that Stefan, Damon, and herself are vampires. This compulsion will held until Know Thy Enemy, when Matt learns that Caroline is a vampire and tells Liz before he can be compelled as well.
- Indiana Jones: is a fictional professor, archaeologist and adventurer. He was first seen in the 1981 movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Kill or be Killed is a common catch phrase in many genre movies and series, including Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.
- The common usage today is often credited to Jack London's The Call of the Wild: “He had learned well the law of club and fang, and he never forewent an advantage or drew back from a foe he had started on the way to Death. He had lessoned from Spitz, and from the chief fighting dogs of the police and mail, and knew there was no middle course. He must master or be mastered; while to show mercy was a weakness. Mercy did not exist in the primordial life. It was misunderstood for fear, and such misunderstandings made for death. Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, was the law; and this mandate, down out of the depths of Time, he obeyed.”
Behind the Scenes
- This episode had about 3.58 million viewers in the USA, which was 0.08 million more than the previous episode.
- Damon: "Mason? Oh, he's right next to me, if you want us to send him over... Except his heart's on the other side of the room."
- Katherine: (furiously) "You shouldn't have."
- Jeremy: "It's gonna be okay."
- Elena: "No, it's not."
- Jeremy: "She's gonna pay, Elena. I don't know how, but she's gonna pay."
- Jeremy: "Damon..."
- Damon: "You wanted to be a part of this? Well, here it is. Kill or be killed. The guy’s a werewolf. He’d kill me the first chance he got! So you suck it up, or leave. He wants me to kill him, anyway. Don’t you, Mason? It really is a curse, isn’t it? You know, I look at you and I see myself. A less dashing, less intelligent version."
- Mason: "I love her."
- Damon: "Oh, I know! I’ve been where you are. But Katherine will only rip your heart out. Let me do it for her."
- Damon: (to Jeremy) "Kill or be killed. You either suck it up, or leave."