Damon: Not possible. If she'd been vamped we'd know about it, right?
Recapper: Sure, from the Mystic Falls Vampire Registration program.
Stefan: She must have had a Gilbert protect-o ring.
Damon: She'd be dead of natural causes, by now.
Stefan: Johnathan (sic) Gilbert made two rings. Jeremy has one. The other is...
Damon: Oh noes! Alaric? Not my BFF and life partner!
At Gilbert Gables, Meredith goes over the evidence with Ric. The victims were killed with his weapons. Alaric reminds her that he too was attacked. Mere says he was attacked with his own knife, so that could have been self-inflicted.
Ric: I'd know if I were killing people.
Meredith: Have you had any blackouts or instances of lost time? You wear a ring that lets you cheat death. How many times can you die before it changes you?
Ric: Fucking Damon.
Meredith: I think you're sick and I want to help you. This has happened before -- almost a hundred years ago.
Elena (entering the room): Ric, I think she's right.
We flash back to 1912. Zachariah Gilbert is walking down the street. He's stabbed. The hand holding the knife bears a big Gilbert protect-o ring. The camera pans to reveal Miss Samantha Gilbert. Title card.
Okay, the episode improved slightly for me after re-watching. But I still have a big problem with the tree thing obviously, because... what? All right, enough about that. I also have a problem with Meredith. Now she and Alaric are not that heavily involved. I mean when he slept over, he slept on her couch. They've mostly gone out for drinks, maybe dinner here and there. Why would she want to protect him? And if she did want to protect him, why didn't she tell him her suspicions instead of shooting him? He did NOT come at her with that knife.
This is what the show is saying -- she read the journal, figured out what was going on with Alaric, had him sleep in her place, left the knife and files out where it was all too likely he would find them even though she has a Founding Family secret compartment in her closet. He picked up the knife. She shot him. She lied to Liz that he came at her. She then told Liz all sorts of nasty things about him and now I guess we're meant to accept that they're true. But then she forged a coroner's report to clear him of suspicion. Now maybe if Liz hadn't blathered about waiting for it to be authenticated I'd be a little less annoyed, but this plot is sloppy and I can't see Meredith's motivation for any of this. I'm not saying Alaric isn't the serial killer -- it sure looks like it right now. But what a mess it took to get him here. Seriously, go back to that Meredith/Elena scene in which I stuck a pin. Up to and through that point, she was convinced that Alaric was the killer -- and I guess he is, but... what a convoluted way to achieve this. That said, I think Matt Davis is going to knock the heck out of this story.