Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘I Alone’
The cold open this week had all the right elements for The Vampire Diaries. It was cutesy with quick banter, it was dramatically suspenseful, and there were victims of supernatural evils. The only thing missing was an actual vampire…
Jo calls Alaric to tell him two patients were just admitted to the hospital so she’s going to be late for dinner. There’s brief talk about whether or not Ric is now her boyfriend and she’s all smiles. As soon as she hangs up the phone Jo is in full doctor mode dishing out orders and trying to save lives. Something is suspicious about the female patient’s wounds and Jo tries to get the real story out of her. Just then a male nurse faints and Kai arises from the bed next to him. He walks his sadistic self over to Jo and stabs her in the neck with a needle.
Tyler made that deal with the devil and is trying to get Liv and Luke on board. The plan is to keep Kai alive and help him with a locator spell to find the knife where Jo’s magic is hidden. This will allow Kai to merge with Jo saving the lives of Liv and Luke in the process. Looks like I was way off with my prediction from last week! Even though once Kai is all-powerful he will likely reign down terror on everyone, especially his coven members, the wonder twins agree to the plan.
Meanwhile Damon, Ric, and Elena are discussing what to do about Kai, knowing he must have Jo given that she’s been missing since the night before. Ric and Elena are worried, realizing that if Kai gets Jo’s magic knife she will be in serious danger. Damon is less concerned and he seems to have it all figured out. He’s about to reassure Ric & Elena that the knife is safe and sound until, well, it’s not.
Kai has taken the wonder twins and Jo to Elena’s former drug den in the cemetery. He stabs Jo a couple of times with her magic possessed knife but her magic isn’t restored. Jo explains that since the magic was placed in the knife by choice, it must be taken back in the same way. She tricks Kai into thinking that the stab wound will cause her to bleed out before they could even perform a merge ceremony so he takes off to find some bandages. Um, didn’t anyone consider using magic to heal the wound?
Liv is trying to persuade Jo to take her magic back by saying that she might actually be strong enough to beat Kai in the merge. I honestly couldn’t tell if Liv was pumping Jo up just to save her own ass or if she truly cares for her and believes she could save the entire coven. Too late, Kai is back and he’s done with waiting. Just as he’s about to kill Liv Jo takes the knife, starts chanting, and gains her magic back.
Thanks to the tip from Luke, who was last seen getting the hell out of town, Damon and Ric have arrived at the cemetery. Ric is about to shoot Kai when Jo tells him to stop. She’s been convinced by sisterly love that she can beat Kai in the merge she just needs some time to get back in the swing of magical things. Ric settles for knocking him unconscious and they chain him to a tree.
Ric and Jo have their second cutesy moment of the episode where they bond over the fact that both of them knowing about supernatural phenomena makes them closer than possible if they hadn’t. Please, PLEASE let these two stay together, alive!
Kai and Damon chitchat about the spell surrounding Mystic Falls and this gives Kai an idea. He digs his hands into the border and starts chanting. It becomes apparent that he is siphoning all the magic from The Travellers’ spell into himself. This was the best part of the episode for me, it’s nice to have Mystic Falls back! It was cool how this caused all the technology in and surrounding Mystic Falls to go haywire and I love that they showed how it was affecting the various characters. The chains holding Kai to the tree have melted and he’s been set free.
In the final moments, the Salvatore brothers finally make it back home with Stefan arriving in Damon’s fully restored car. Elena is on her way over to have dinner with Damon and tell him something important but when she shows up, Damon can’t see her and closes the door in her face. That was kind of hilarious, no? Elena, confused, comes face to face with Kai who admits to covering them with a cloaking spell and then hits her over the head and knocks her out cold!
There’s No Plan For This
Mama Forbes is bringing Christmas to Caroline since her daughter is unable to go back home for the holidays. She’s also enlisted Stefan’s help, obviously in an attempt to get the two back on speaking terms. Caroline reluctantly goes along with it until she’s had enough of Stefan’s shit and sends him packing. Mama Forbes, who had gone on a coffee run, returns to the dorm only to – seemingly out of the blue – drop the coffee and faint. Stefan runs back just in time to catch her as she falls.
Elena joins Caroline and Stefan at the hospital and a few interesting conversations take place. First, while talking about the search for the Ascendant, Caroline admits to Elena that Damon really is always there for her when it matters the most. I was as surprised by this as Elena but happy for the Damon love! Later, Stefan tells Elena that he overheard the doctors talking about mama Forbes having a brain tumor. Elena compels a doctor for more information; Liz has known about the tumor since her last visit to the hospital after Tripp’s guys took her hostage, and it’s spreading too fast to operate.
Stefan shares a poignant thought with Elena: they deal with impending doom all the time but there’s always a plan, with mama Forbes there is no plan. Stefan feels that he should be the one to tell Caroline and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I understand that he wants the chance to be there for Caroline and make some amends for the way he’s been treating her but it seems like the wrong place and wrong time. It’s almost as if he’s capitalizing on this situation to get back into Caroline’s good graces. Elena should have been the one to tell her because they’ve been best friends their entire lives. This feels like a weak attempt at getting Caroline and Stefan back on track towards a relationship.
At first Caroline is unfazed by the news of her mother’s illness and she moves right into action thinking about surgeries and chemotherapy, her mother is tough and she’ll make it. Stefan informs her that neither of these options is viable but Caroline keeps on trucking, she’ll use her blood to heal her mother. Stefan bursts that bubble too and we as an audience learn the limitations of vampire blood’s healing abilities. I guess I’m ok with that, cancer is a pretty serious illness and the rescues we’ve seen happen because of vampire blood on this show do sort of pale in comparison. It’s pretty devastating though, I’ve always liked mama Forbes, especially when her and Damon were buddies. It will be sad if we lose her.
Us vs. Them
Matt lures Enzo back to Tripp’s vampire prison shack under the guise of having information about the real Sarah Salvatore. Enzo is suspicious of why Matt would want to help him but Matt’s reasoning – that he wants Enzo to leave the Mystic Falls area – is pretty convincing. That is until Enzo opens the file that Matt gave him only to find empty pages: it was a trap!
Jeremy shoots Enzo from behind but he was expecting it and catches the arrow in mid-air. He thinks he’s dodged the attack when Matt stabs him in the neck and then Jeremy shoots him again. It’s not a kill shot; Matt wants Enzo to suffer. Jeremy finally starts making some sense when he asks Matt why they don’t just kill him now. How far will the human versus vampire agenda take Matt? Jeremy questions him with the same logic that I had last week: will you kill Elena and Caroline as well? Unfortunately we don’t get an answer.
Matt, having acquired Tripp’s vamp van, is taking Enzo for a quick visit to the Mystic Falls border. Unbeknownst to him, Kai has already removed the magic from The Traveller’s spell and Matt is thrown off guard when he finds a very alive, very angry Enzo. Once he has Matt tied up, Enzo admits that he is jealous of Stefan and that the two of them are going to work together to make Stefan’s life miserable. After which he may or may not let Matt live.
Flashbacks and Retro Realm
Throughout the episode we see a number of flashbacks to the tree lighting ceremonies in Mystic Falls between 2007-2009. They are interspersed with scenes of Bonnie lighting her own Christmas tree in the parking lot of the high school. Warm weather and eclipse be damned, Bonnie will have her traditions! Most of what we see from Bonnie this week is in the past, having fun with Elena and Caroline, talking about how they’ve always been together for Christmas. It was sweet when Jeremy, in present day, expressed how much everyone misses Bonnie just as she’s doing the same in Retro Realm. Then she sets fire to her tree; it’s sad and I’m so ready for Bonnie to come home!
I wasn’t a huge fan of these flashbacks. It was a nice way to bring some levity to the otherwise dark “Christmas episode” but I was bored by the second time around. If nothing else, we got to see Bonnie hit Elena with a snowball and make the most adorable face afterwards!
Vampire activity has taken a bit of a backseat lately and the writers have made it work fairly decently. Even though we haven’t seen as much vampy action as in the past, the secret identities of the gang are always there in the background. For example, the dialogue between Elena and Caroline about needing to feed is just enough to remind us that they haven’t forgotten about who they are. Since they have settled into these identities the writers have the ability to evolve and focus on other stories aside from the trials and tribulations of being a vampire. However, while I’ve loved the mystery of Retro Realm and the witchy plotline, I do hope we get to see more of TVD’s roots in the second half of the season.
I wish the episode had ended before Elena sees Kai; the cliffhanger would have been much more shocking. Why the hell can’t Damon see Elena, versus, Kai has Elena hostage, has a clear winner in my mind. I don’t think anything fatal will happen to Elena, she is the main character, so her being taken by Kai doesn’t worry me. Nor does it make me long for January.
Has anyone else had enough of Liv? I was looking forward to her, Luke, and Jo working together and possibly getting some redemption out of her character but she stayed her annoying self. She served Jo up on a platter for Kai and yet Jo was still willing to defend her. Even Luke came to his senses. #TeamJo
I appreciate the way that the Elena and Damon plot is intertwined with saving Bonnie. I was so nervous that Damon would come back to find Elena brainwashed and it would make him crazy again, leading to a season full of drunk and sulky Damon laying in front of cars and killing innocent people. I’m glad to see this growth in his character. Even though deep down he is hoping Elena will love him again, his quest for Bonnie is genuinely selfless, something we haven’t see a lot of from him.