If you doubted that the Originals could carry an entire show by themselves, this was the episode you needed to watch. Kol gets a personality for the first time in the entire show—and it turns out he’s played by a capable actor. Klaus is less straight-up evil and instead, is conflicted like Damon. And Rebekah, as my friend Laney said, is the most human of all the vampires. (Next to Caroline.)  We learned and saw all that in more in “A View to a Kill.”

This episode takes place the morning after the last episode ended. Stefan looks like he has buyer's remorse when he wakes up next to Rebekah—especially when he opens the door while trying to sneak away and runs into Klaus who wants to talk about Kol, who has run off with the daggers that can kill Originals.

When Rebekah walks away disgusted, Klaus tries to reignite his alliance with Stefan by promising a dead Kol means an un-compelled Damon and a soon-to-be human Elena.

Elena shares her plan for Jeremy to kill Kol with Bonnie until Elena burns herself on the water in the sink. Bonnie quickly learns the water has been tainted with verveine by her father, the new Mayor, and is almost killed by Kol, but he's no match for Bonnie's increasingly strong, aggressive powers.

Stefan visits Damon in is cell and offers his brother a vial of blood, along with some water. (Not knowing there's verveine in it.) Damon quickly sees he has another visitor: Klaus.

Klaus has no problems eliciting brother rivalry by telling Damon that Stefan slept with Rebekah. Stefan promises Klaus that he'll get the one Original-killing dagger that Rebekah has and leaves Damon and Klaus to talk.

Elena calls Stefan on his way out and shares the killing Kol plan. She then calls Kol feigning interest in a truce, hoping to arrange to meet him somewhere where they can kill him. Kol has other plans, however, and shows up at their house, unannounced.

Jeremy has to invite Kol in – since he's the only still alive member of the Gilbert family – but then leaves so Elena and Kol can have their truce talk.

Back in Damon's cell, Klaus and Damon bicker over the way to get Jeremy's tattoo to finish. Except Klaus also wants to know why Elena loves Damon for everything he's done, because he's worried Caroline will never love him after he murdered Tyler's mother.

"If you're going to be bad, be bad with purpose," Damon tells Klaus. "Otherwise you're not worth forgiving."

Over at the Gilbert house, Kol brings up New Orleans while talking with Elena. (Our first full-on spin-off allusion in the series.) Elena tells Kol she'll stop looking for the human cure if Kol leaves her brother alone. Jeremy, meanwhile, is trying to find Bonnie since she's needed to overpower Kol so Jeremy can kill him.

Elena asks Kol what everyone has been wondering: why he's so afraid of Silas. Kol likes Earth and is pretty afraid that Silas will destroy it. "Is there any chance you could be wrong about Silas," Elena asks Kol later. He tells her that some things are better left unburied.

Jeremy arrives at Bonnie's house to find her fighting with her father—until Bonnie's mother arrives, called their by her husband to get Bonnie to stop helping Elena. Jeremy, compelled by his hunter's instincts, tries to kill Abby and is only stopped by Bonnie.

Stefan and Rebekah then arrive at the school dance, that was canceled by Bonnie's father and have a moment of mutual compassion for each other. They then dance among the balloons on the ground while everyone else, you know, is in danger.

Jeremy returns back to his home, ready with a stake shotgun, to find Elena alone. But Kol returns quickly and says he doesn't want to do the truce. Elena and Jeremy hide in the house while Kol calls Klaus for help, to express anger or a combination of both. Damon is able to withstand Klaus' compulsion to tell him about the plan to kill Kol—only because he was drinking the tainted water.

Bonnie and Abby are arguing across town about the use of magic. Once Bonnie brings up the cure for vampirism, Abby starts to back down until she helps her husband knock her daughter unconscious.

Back at the dance, Stefan learns Rebekah has her dagger on her (Matt was looking for it in her apartment), while Jeremy and Elena try (unsuccessfully) to fend off attacks in their home from Kol.

Rebekah knows Stefan is just trying to give her a good time, but she winds up giving him the dagger anyway—mostly because she wants someone to pull a Say Anything with her. She wants the cure... probably more than anybody. (Matt witnesses that whole scene and you have to wonder if it makes him start to realize maybe he does have feelings for Rebekah after all.)

Turns out they don't need the dagger since Jeremy grabs Kol's and kills him with it when they're fighting in the kitchen. Kol lights on fire and then dies, just as Klaus arrives to see it all happen—with tears in his eyes.

The tears don't last long, however, as Klaus threatens to burn the house down and kill everyone. He even tries to bust his way through the house protection spell that is active until vampires are invited in. Bonnie arrives and even tells Jeremy to let him in—just so they can trap him inside the house with Bonnie's magic.

(Side note: since when is Bonnie way more powerful than Klaus?)

With Klaus trapped in the house, Bonnie, Jeremy and Elena make their way out through the entrance.

Rebekah, like Klaus, is also extremely upset over Klaus' death. Stefan offers to continue to find the cure with her, however, so she can be human again.

With Kol gone, that also puts Damon back in play and gets him out of his cell. Bonnie, Damon, Stefan and Elena await at the Salvatore house to watch Jeremy's tattoo grow, where Elena grows concernerd when Stefan says Rebekah is on their side now.

Damon then of course throws it out there that Stefan slept with her—which Elena is none too pleased about. He and Stefan are about to get into a fist fit when Jeremy starts screaming as the tattoo grows.

And this time, everyone can actually see it besides Jeremy.

This episode was full of so many two person scenes of just talking and sharing emotions. More importantly, they were full of combinations we don't see often like Elena and Kol, Damon and Klaus, Rebekah and Stefan, and more. It was an episode full of strong performances anchored by very good writing. It was easily one of the best of the season.

Other quick thoughts/questions:

- Liked Elena's quick thinking of using the chalkboard to communicate with everyone in the house while Kol was outside.

- What video game were Jeremy and Kol playing through the course of the episode? Couldn't see enough of it to tell…

- Did Stefan reference other movies besides The Breakfast Club in his attempt to give Rebekah a good time at the dance?

- And I guess no Kol on the spin-off--unless it's in flashback form.