The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 9: "The Cell" Recap/Review

Man, this episode was painful to watch (in a good way), don't you think? Between Damon's story about his time in Augustine, Elena finding out her dad was an Augustine doctor, Aaron finding out about vampires and his family's history, it was pretty heartbreaking!

As usual, I have some complaints with a few parts, but for the most part, this episode is a fascinating peek into Damon's past, that explains a TON about how he acted in the 70s and at the beginning of Season 1 when he first showed up. So, I'm going to stop summarizing it and just get to it, yeah?

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: Stefan has been having terrible PTSD-related panic attacks as a result of being locked in a safe at the bottom of Stephen's Quarry all summer, ever since his memories were returned by Tessa. Once Katherine was force-fed the cure, and then force-fed to Silas in order to cure HIM with her blood, Katherine has been aging at an increasingly rapid rate. Distressed by the fact that she's dying, she took matters into her own hands and nearly committed suicide by jumping off a clock tower. Thankfully, Stefan stopped caught her before she could get hurt/killed. Wes turned Jesse into a vampire in order to experiment on him, and taught him to crave vampire blood instead of human blood. He almost killed Damon, so Elena ultimately staked him and killed him to protect her boyfriend, which pissed Caroline right off. Oh, and we found out that Damon used to be an Augustine vampire, right before Wes vervained the fuck out of him and locked him in the same cell in which he was held in the 1950s! Moving on!

We start off this episode with a flashback. It's 1953, and we're in the Salvatore Boarding House, where a maid is cleaning up the parlor. The evening news is playing on the radio when Damon, clad as always in a black leather jacket, swaggers into the room and asks the maid if Joseph Salvatore is there. Joseph enters the room at the sound of his name and introduces himself. "Love what you've done with the place," Damon snarks. "If this whole boarding house thing doesn't pan out, you can always turn it into a high-class brothel!" Joseph takes the comment in stride, though, and admits that he's glad Damon got his telegram. Apparently, he also invited Stefan to come for a little family reunion, but Stefan hadn't sent a reply yet. He asks Damon when he last spoke to his baby brother, so Damon briefly explains that he last saw Stefan before he deployed to Egypt during World War 2, and admits that neither of them really keep in touch anymore. Joseph pours a drink at the bar and replies, "Well, there's always time to be a better man." Damon just laughs at that remark, because we all know he doesn't see himself as a good man whatsoever.

Unfortunately, he has stupidly let his guard down around this perfect stranger, and when he reaches over to snatch the drink that Joseph just poured, he gets stabbed in the wrist with a syringe full of vervain by the guy. OUCH. Damon staggers dizzily as his great-grand-nephew (or something) smugs, "Sorry about the vervain, Damon. The money was too good to pass up." OH SHIT. Damon is fading fast, but he manages to muster up the strength to break the tumbler and jam it into Joseph's carotid artery. As he falls to the floor and dies from exsanguination, a sharply-dressed man walks into the room. "Well, now I won't have to pay him!" The completely calm demeanor of the man coupled by this comment really weirded me out, since Augustine is all ~vampires are monsters!~, but he still isn't the least bit bothered about the fact that a human dude just got murdered in front of him. Weirdo priorities, dude. Damon groans a bit as the vervain continues to take effect, and asks the man who the fuck he is. The man (who is Dr. Whitmore, just to get that out of the way right away) refills the syringe with more vervain, and informs Damon that he's his new doctor now. He stabs Damon in the neck with the syringe, and it takes no time at all for him to fall onto the floor. "Ughhh, what are you doing to me?" Dr. Whitmore: "Just a little vervain."

Back in the present day, Damon is in his cell when he wakes up. When he opens his eyes, he finds Wes injecting him with more vervain, which he claims will keep Damon calm. More like make him weak and unable to fight back, dude. Damon is understandably confused as to why he's there, so Wes explains that since Damon inadvertently lost Augustine a test subject, he's decided that Damon is going to replace him. OH GOD. TITLE CARD!

After the credits, we return to Casa Salvatore, where Katherine is curled up on the couch and writing in her very own diary, with the most hilarious voiceover EVER. "Dear Diary, so here I am, alive. Stefan saved me from killing myself. Now, he's got me on suicide watch. He says it would be therapeutic for me to write down my feelings about the fact that I'm dying, and there's nothing I can do about it. Deep thoughts, mortal coil, blah, blah, blah. My hand's tired." BAHAHA. She sighs and rips the page from the diary, crushes it in her hand, and throws it behind her. This whole time, Stefan has been pacing back and forth in front of her. Katherine whines about how annoyingly sentimental it is for someone to write down all of their feelings. "Is this what the prophecy meant when it said that the doppelgängers were drawn together like magnets? Because if it is, I want my money back." Okay, stop it, Katherine! There was no doppelgänger prophecy! Silas and Tessa were both completely delusional when they said that, they are hardly reliable sources. Plus, none of the relationships we've seen between the Petrovas and the Salvatores (for lack of better names for each of the doppelgänger bloodlines) have actually worked out, so I don't know why they keep harping on this.

ANYWAY, Stefan claims that he's just trying to make sure she doesn't try to kill herself again. I KNEW that Stefan would end up projecting all of his issues onto Katherine to avoid thinking about it. Oh, Stefan. So predictable. Katherine hilariously points out that her "neurotic granny vibe" is not really helping the whole wanting-to-die thing, and adds that Stefan must not have much of a life if he's willingly spending all of his time on Katherine-Watch. Stefan repeats that he's just trying to make sure she doesn't try to commit suicide again, so she totally calls him out. "And how are you going to do that? You know, since you're still having your little panic attacks?" Stefan insists that he's fine, but Katherine is no dummy, and snarks that he's the picture of mental health after all the shit he went through over the summer.

He claims he's dealing with it just fine. "I know. I mean, I heard you 'dealing with it' earlier today in the library," Katherine retorts. "It sounded like you freaked out and broke a chair, maybe even two. How are you supposed to help me stay alive if you can't even help yourself?" Stefan replies that her comment seems to indicate that she does, in fact, want to live, but Katherine maintains that she refuses to work with anyone who aren't fully in the game. They both hear a knock at the door, and when Stefan gives Katherine a look, she cutely confesses that she called in for backup. When he opens the door, he finds a super-chipper Caroline standing on the doorstep. He asks her why the fuck she's in Mystic Falls, she chirps, "I'm your sober sponsor, and I heard that you needed help." Stefan is shocked at this for some reason, so Caroline reveals her plan by stepping aside to show him that she brought the Pierce & Franklin safe that Stefan called home all summer, which her mom apparently kept hold of, for whatever reason? Stefan stares at it in fear, and Caroline adds. "Don't worry! I sanitized it." Her bright smile after she said that is absolutely hilarious to me. Oh Caroline, what are you doing?

Over at Whitmore College, Aaron is at his apartment when he hears a knock on the door. He opens the door to find Elena, who greets him by name. He assumes that her appearance at his place means that she heard the news. She's confused for a moment, so he explains, "Jesse's dead. He killed himself last night. Campus Security came by to tell me." Elena gets the guiltiest looking look on her face--for good reason, considering that she killed him-- and she immediately starts apologizing for his loss. He steps back to allow her into the apartment. "What's up with this college? It's supposed to be different. I came here to start fresh, get away from all the crap in my past." Elena can definitely sympathize with him, and assures him that he's absolutely right to want that for himself. He asks her how she managed to hit her reset button, which surprises her. "Me? I--I haven't reset anything. All my problems, they've followed me here. Come to think of it, I'm probably not the right person to be getting advice from."

Aaron realizes that she's not here to console him about Jesse, so he asks why she came in the first place. She feels bad for him, though, and says she doesn't want to bother him with her problems, but Aaron insists that it can't get any worse, and asks her what's up. She brings up how he told her that Wes was his legal guardian, and Aaron confirms it. "Yeah, since this past summer, after my aunt Sarah died. You see what I'm talking about? Everyone around me ends up dead, and my sunny disposition makes me so many friends." He realizes that he's in full-on rant mode, and apologizes before urging her to continue. Elena hesitates for a moment, but then just gets right to the point. "Um, the thing is, my boyfriend Damon went to talk to Wes last night, and no one's really seen or heard from him since, and that kind of worries me, you know? So, I--I know how bad the timing is, but I just--I was hoping maybe you could help me find Wes." Aaron thinks about it for a brief moment before he stands up, and tells her that he thinks he knows where Wes probably is.

Over at Damon's cell, he continues to lay on the floor while Wes watches him and occasionally takes down notes. Damon's voice is a mix of scared, annoyed, and really, really tired. "Just so you know, it didn't end well for the last Augustines. You're inviting bad karma by holding me here." Wes just smirks, and asks if that's what he told Dr. Whitmore, which leads us back into Damon's flashback-memories. It's still 1953, right after Damon was first brought to Whitmore. He's strapped to a table when Dr. Whitmore comes in. In voiceover, Damon explains that Dr. Whitmore wasn't a very talkative guy. We watch as he examines Damon's eyes with a penlight, and then moves on to palpate his abdomen. Damon sarcastically explains that he's not in much need of a checkup, and tries to compel him into setting him free, but no dice--he's wearing a watch with vervain in it. He does praise Damon for his efforts, though. Damon is annoyed now, and groans, "You know, most people would buy me dinner first."

Dr. Whitmore states that his interest in Damon is purely for science, and all that, but Damon doesn't understand what he's talking about. "You're a vampire. Your blood heals others, your body heals itself." He picks up a scalpel as he continues. "You'll regenerate parts of internal organs after I remove them." Damon just can't help himself, and continues to snark. "Listen, how I got this amazing body has nothing to do with science, so ruining--" Dr. Whitmore cuts him off by stabbing him in the eyeball with the scalpel, and Damon roars in pain. The bad doctor then unstraps him from the table and flips him over the edge and onto the floor. "You talk too much." Back in the present, Damon cringes as he asks Wes if "you Augustine freaks" are still cutting out peoples eyes and internal organs, but Wes claims he's onto something even better--he trained Jesse to crave vampire blood instead of human blood, and now he believes that he's ready to go even farther with his research. OH SHIT I DO NOT LIKE THIS ONE BIT.

Aaron and Elena are walking through campus, where Aaron admits that he doesn't understand why Jesse would kill himself. Elena is trying really hard to get information without tipping him off, so she tries to subtly ask him if he actually believes what he was told by Campus Security. He not as dumb as he seems, though, and asks her if she knows something he doesn't. She points out that it seems weird that both of his friends committed suicide after only a few weeks into fall semester. "Of course I think it's weird," Aaron explains. "Jesse loved it here, he had a huge crush on your friend. Megan had all these plans for her life." Elena stops even trying to hide her suspicions, and insists that none of this makes sense. She admits that she was the one who found Megan's body on the night that she died, and tells him she knows that Megan was murdered, and knows that Wes forged her death certificate. Aaron is understandably confused as to how she could know that last part, so she quickly adds, "I did some digging. Wes is part of something much bigger than anyone even realizes." Aaron is visibly confused, but wants to find Wes before they make any accusations, because he wants to hear his side. He continues to walk, and Elena follows after him.

The two end up at the Whitmore House, which makes Elena noticeably anxious, for obvious reasons. "Oh, um..." she begins, as Aaron walks through the front door. "You know, when you said that Wes was probably doing research, I didn't realize it would be here." She continues to stand at the threshold, and stares down at her feet. Aaron explains that Whitmore House is a second home to him, and when he sees Elena hovering on the doorstep, exclaims, "What are you waiting for? Come in!" She hesitantly steps forward, and is surprised to find that she can actually enter the house, so she asks who owns it. "Not to sound like a douche, but technically, I do." She looks at him, confused, so he continues. "Yeah, it's part of the trust that I inherited when my parents died. [beat] Yeah, don't hold that against me. Usually, when people find out my name's Aaron Whitmore--" Elena about chokes, and is all, "So, you, like, own this school?"

Aaron jokes that it's what most people think, but Elena is distracted by a framed photo on the mantle. The plaque on the bottom reads, "Whitmore House--50th Anniversary Commemoration," and among the sea of people, she notices her dad in one of the rows. When she points out that her dad is in the photo, Wes comes up behind her and smugs, "Grayson Gilbert was one of the best doctors the Augustines ever had!" Elena stupidly turns away from Wes to look at the picture again, which gives him more than enough opportunity to jab her with another of his endless vervain syringes. Aaron yelps, "What the hell?!", but Wes just cracks that he's glad Grayson didn't live to see Elena like this. OH NO YOU DON'T. NO ONE TOUCHES MY CUPCAKE PRINCESS, DICKFIELD.

Somehow, Caroline and Stefan have managed to lug that huge-ass safe into the library of Casa Salvatore, where Stefan is ranting at Caroline for what he believes to be a terrible idea. "I spent three months drowning in this thing, what the hell were you thinking?" Caroline insists that it's time for him to deal with what is obviously the source of his PTSD. Stefan, the expert projector that he is, retorts that he thinks Caroline is just "sublimating" her feelings about what happened to Jesse the previous night. How does he know about that? Did she tell him off-screen or something? Also, I wish I had a dollar for every time Stefan said the word "sublimate," I'd be so fucking rich, it'd be nuts. Caroline claims that she has no feelings regarding her bestie and the guy she liked, and surprisingly, Stefan actually has Elena's back on this one.

"He was out of control, and Elena did what she had to do." Caroline is so not in agreement, though, and snits, "No, Elena did what she THOUGHT she had to do, just like she ALSO though that Damon was boyfriend-material. Now, you see where I'm going with this?" You guys already know how I feel about this whole situation, so I'm not going to beat a dead horse, but I'm pretty disheartened by the fact that Caroline keeps talking shit about Elena. Elena would NEVER do that to Caroline, and it seems like Caroline has more bad things to say than good things about who she calls her best friend. It's uncool, and out of character. Speaking of best friends, where the hell is Bonnie? Stefan changes the subject to Caroline's qualifications. "Anyway, aren't you a drama major? What do you know about PTSD?" She just smiles, and points out that Stefan's method of dealing with his fear and anxiety clearly didn't work, so now it's time to try it her way. She opens the safe and gestures toward it. Stefan just stares at it before turning his glare to her.

Meanwhile, Aaron is freaking the fuck out on Wes about how he just assaulted Elena. "You know this is kidnapping, right?" Wes corrects him, and says that it was just a tranquilizer, or at least the vampire-equivilant. Aaron demands that Wes tell him what's going on, so Wes decides to be honest, for once, and tell him what's up. He explains that he needed to make sure that Megan's death didn't negatively impact his work. Aaron reminds him that he studies infectious disease transmittal, but apparently, that was just his cover (although I suppose it's a little accurate)--he studies vampires. Aaron totally doesn't believe him, because who would actually believe someone who said that vampires were a real thing? I desperately want the supernatural to be real, but I would probably just laugh if someone tried to tell me otherwise.

Wes insists that vampires exist, and informs him that Elena is one of them. Way to go, Katherine, for totally outing her! He gives Aaron some brief background on vervain and what it does, and opens a safe that is hidden in a closet. The safe is filled with stakes, wooden bullets, and all kinds of vampire-hunting gear, as well as a large file of papers. Aaron can't believe that all this gear has been in Whitmore House the entire time, so Wes gives him the whole story; this has been the Whitmore family's super-secret work for generations. Apparently, Aaron's dad is the one who taught Wes about it, and his family's trust is still funding his research. Holy shit, that has to be a pretty large sum of money going to vampire torture, wouldn't you think? Aaron is more than a little pissed that he was never told about his so-called legacy this whole time, but Wes claims that since he never needed to know, he just didn't think he should. "I meant to tell you this on your birthday." He hands over the folder, and adds. "This is what your family fought for and believed in." Eeeek.

Downstairs, Damon seems to have just woken up again, because he's found Elena in the cell next to him. He's muttering, "Come on, Elena, wake up," when Elena finally opens her eyes. She groans and rolls around until she notices Damon, which causes her to immediately get up and reach over for her boyfriend. She asks if he's hurt, but he assures her that he's fine. "Wes injected me with vervain. Maybe when it wears off, we'll be able to..." He trails off as he tries to shake the bars to his cell, but they don't budge. "UGH--break through these." Elena starts to panic, and asks him what's going on. "Why are you here? Why am I here?" Damon bitterly spits, "Wes is carrying out the grand Augustine tradition--getting his kicks off vampire torture." Elena is shocked to hear that Wes told him that, so Damon is forced to confess that he knows this because this isn't the first time he's been here. She looks at him with concern as we zoop into the next flashback...

Damon's voice-over: "Someone in my family sold me out to the Augustines in 1953. Every day, this nutjob, Dr. Whitmore, tortured us, cut into us, took pieces of our eyes out, pushed us to every limit he could imagine. And, he had QUITE the imagination." As he speaks, we watch as Dr. Whitmore performs surgery on Damon, removing pieces of his eyeballs as blood drips down his face. It's super gross, and I'm speaking as a nurse who has observed tons of surgeries, childbirth, you name it. Gore doesn't usually phase me, but it did this episode, hoooooly crap. We return from the flashback to the present day, where Damon points out the irony in the fact that he's even been returned to his former cell. Elena asked him how long he was here, so Damon informs her that it was more or less five whole years. When she asks how he managed to go through that for five long years without losing his mind, he admits that he actually made a friend.

Back to the flashback: Dr. Whitmore throws Damon back into his cell, and a man who is sitting in the cell Elena is currently occupying greets him. "Welcome! Dr. Whitmore never gets tired of watching us vampires heal, but he gives us one glass of blood per day, enough to keep us alive. [beat] Pick yourself up, soldier." He reaches his hand between the bars in the wall between their cells, and introduces himself as Enzo. In the present day, Damon explains that Enzo was an Italian soldier stationed elsewhere in Europe during World War II. Apparently, Dr. Whitmore was a doctor in a battlefield hospital when he ran into Enzo, realized he was a vampire, and decided to use him in his research. He drugged him with vervain and sent him back to the USA in a coffin. According to Damon, Enzo had been an Augustine prisoner for a decade before Damon got there.

Flashback. Enzo watches Damon desperately chug his glass of blood to heal himself, but Enzo scoffs and informs him that he's not playing it smart. "You're living for the moment. You need to live for the future." I don't know how long Damon had been in there at that point, but it was long enough to guess that he definitely didn't have a future anymore. Enzo knows it's not helpful to think that way, though, and tries to help a brother out. "The [future] where you get your revenge. [beat] For instance, in my future, my revenge will start with killing Whitmore's dog and mailing it to his house, postage due." He urges Damon to picture his revenge, and to use his imagination. Damon drops his little glass to the floor, and uses a rock to carve his initials into the wall, which we saw when he was initially captured in the previous episode.

Present day. Elena starts to freak out again, because she's just remembered that Wes said that he knew her dad. "He said that my dad was an Augustine, too. I knew that my dad was a vampire hunter, but he was also the town doctor. He was kind, and gentle, and loving. He wouldn't be part of a place that would cut your eyes out." Damon knows better, though, and reminds her that people can often surprise you with their true natures. Elena is still devastated by this news nonetheless, and buries her head in her arms. Damon immediately feels terrible, and reaches over between the bars and puts his hand on her arm to comfort her. He apologizes profusely for getting her caught, and promises that he will find a way to get her out. They hold hands, and Elena gives him a small, trusting smile.

Time to check in with Stefan at Casa Salvatore! Somehow, Caroline ALSO managed to convince Stefan into the safe, and has locked him in. Stefan's already starting to get nervous, so he shouts, "Caroline! Do you even know what you're doing?" Caroline insists that she does, and then after a moment, amends her comment that PTSD is in her textbook. She starts flipping through it, trying to find the passage she wants, which seems like something you would want to look up BEFORE you start, right? Come on, Caroline, you're smarter than this! This does give Katherine an opening to ask good old Caro if she and Stefan have ever knocked boots, with all kinds of tongue-clicking and eyebrow waggling and elbowing. She's vague enough about what she's asking that Caroline doesn't understand what she's even asking at first. When it finally dawns on her, Caroline screeches, "Oh, my God! Katherine, seriously?" Kat gleefully points out that she didn't confirm or deny that she had slept with Stefan, so Caroline states for the record that they are just friends. For now, anyway! Katherine shrugs. "Your loss! He's great in bed."
Caroline checks out of this conversation and goes back to her textbook to find whatever it is that she's looking for. "Here! Okay, Stefan: 'Prolonged Exposure Therapy.' 'En vivo exposure gradually introduces elements of a prior trauma, eg. physical objects comma certain aspects of duress comma--" I can't believe Caroline is the type to verbalize punctuation. I'm a big Caroline fan, but ugh, that is a little grating. She's cut off from her lecture by the sounds of Stefan slowly but surely slipping into a panic attack. Katherine walks over and slams the book shut as she informs Caroline that they get the picture. From inside the safe, Stefan can hear Katherine whine, "Stop. Talking. The words that are coming out of your mouth are giving me a headache." Hee!

Stefan pounds on the safe door and calls for Caroline, but Caroline ignores him in favor of explaining to Katherine that she's trying to help Stefan understand what they're doing. Kat argues that lecturing him to death isn't going to help him feel better, and honestly, I agree with her. I'm all for learning about stuff, it's probably my favorite thing to do, but that isn't exactly a helpful way to deal with anxiety and PTSD. Stefan continues to pound on the door of the safe, much like when he was trapped in it over the summer, and screams that he can't breathe. Still, Caroline and Katherine ignore him and continue to argue until Stefan eventually passes out from hypoxia. Way to pay attention to your patient, girls. Brilliant plan.

Katherine is still brainstorming. "You are right about one thing. He needs to get over the root of his problem, 'cause right now, the score is Safe, 1; Stefan, 0. So, how do you help the guy that always comes to the rescure?" She points out that Stefan needs to be the hero, and she claims that he can't always help himself, but he can come through for everyone else. Ummm, are we watching the same show, Katherine? Because I'm pretty sure every single plan Stefan has ever had has been a complete failure. Like, he and Derek Hale have about the same batting average when it comes to plans. Kitty Kat gets an idea, and she grins at Caroline mischievously. YESSSS.

In the basement of Whitmore House, Damon is still having flashbacks while he explains to Elena what happened to him while he was held captive. "Enzo's friendship kept me alive. He gave me a reason to hang on to my humanity...even when I thought I'd be a prisoner forever." Flashback-Damon is curled up in the fetal position on the floor of his cell, having just returned from his daily round of torture and experimentation. Enzo decides to try to distract him by asking him questions; does he like sports? Fine wines? Travels? Cars? He sees that Damon is still in too much pain to talk, so he starts describing his interests in an effort to take his mind off of it. "I'm partial to Jaguars, myself. Convertibles, the kind you take on a Sunday drive to impress a pretty girl. Ever done that?" After hesitating for a moment, Damon admits that he has on a couple occasions. Enzo is shocked to hear he hasn't taken a girl on a Sunday drive more often, but Damon replies that the girl of his affection was more of a "horse-and-carriage-type girl." When he asks why it's just the one girl, Damon adds that he never met another one like Katherine.

Damon rolls over on the floor of the cell and asks Enzo about the pretty girl of his past, but Enzo claims that there were too many to count. After thinking about it a moment, he amends his answer to add that there was a girl he really liked, named Maggie. He met her here, she was an assistant to Dr. Whitmore. She didn't know about all the experimentation, though--she just sat and took notes as she observed him. He recalls how kind she was to him, although he does admit that she was also "stunningly beautiful." He was so fond of her and appreciative of her company that he didn't have the heart to tell her what was really happening, but somehow, she worked it out for herself. She didn't have it in her to stay, but she did apologize to him before she left. Damon points out that since she was a human, it never would have worked out anyway, but Enzo retorts that he needs to think more positively. Their banter is cut off by Dr. Whitmore, who asks them which one wants to go next. The vampires both just glare at him, so Dr. Whitmore proclaims Damon to have more energy, and goes to let him out of his cell.

Enzo, feeling bad for Damon, rattles the bars of his cell and shouts, "I take that as an insult! I have far more energy than my neighbor, here!" Dr. Whitmore pauses and frowns, but ultimately walks over to Enzo's cell instead. Enzo can't help but add, "I can't believe you didn't notice!" God, this just makes my heart hurt so bad. Dr. Whitmore pulls Enzo out of his cell and drags him back to the torture-room. After a moment, Damon cringes as Enzo's screams of pain reverberate around the room. He paces around for a bit, but after a while, he can't take it anymore, and collapses onto the floor in anger and guilt. After some time had passed, Dr. Whitmore returned with Enzo and threw him into his cell quickly before locking the door behind him. Damon explodes with rage, and shouts, "Why are you doing this to us?!" Dr. Whitmore just stops and stares at Damon for a moment before emotionlessly stating, "Because, 21051, I'm seeking out the smallest indivisible unit of your genetic makeup. And, once I can understand you from a cellular level, I can put you to use."

OKAY, seriously though, this has been bugging me ever since this Augustine story line started--how on earth didn't the vampires try to break free? Even if they're weak from lack of feeding/being vervained all the time, why didn't they try to attack Dr. Whitmore when they were on their way to the lab? I doubt they had the same kind of atomized-vervain system that Wes built into the modern lab back in 1953, and it seemed like Whitmore just wore vervain in a watch, which could easily be ripped off by a vampire. Why not feed on him, if he wasn't ingesting vervain too? Or, why not snap his neck and make their escape, if they couldn't feed on him for strength? It seems like there are endless ways for them to have figured out how to get free. I mean, Damon was about 90 years old in vampire years, which isn't much compared to other vampires, but it's still a LOT compared to a human, you know? I just don't understand it. On a more positive note, these Augustine doctors are TERRIFYING. It's almost like cultish, the way that they torture people in the name of science. Dr. Whitmore is downright COLD, it's creeping me out.

ANYWAY, so we return to the present, where Elena is horrified by the details she's learned about Damon's past. "Oh, my God, Damon! Okay. Stefan is gonna figure this out. When you don't come home, and no one hears from me, he will--he will find us." Damon applauds her for being optimistic, but confesses that Stefan has no idea that this place even exists. Elena can't believe that's true, considering that Damon was held here against his will for five years, but as we all remember, they weren't exactly close after the New Orleans debacle. "Yeah, and in the first year, I thought he'd rescue me. He didn't. Once I escaped, there was no point in giving him more to feel guilty about, so I never told him what happened here. I never told anyone." Elena points out that he said that he DID escape, though, and asks how he did it, which leads us into another flashback to 1957.

"They let us out of the basement once a year," Damon voiceovers, as we pan over a fancy New Year's Eve party full of well-dressed attendees. "Every New Year's Eve, the Augustine people had a little cocktail party with a vampire buffet on the side. We were weak from vervain injections, half-starved from living on a glass of blood a day, chained up like animals." Both vampire test subjects are standing together in a small cage in the middle of the room, each with shackles around their wrists. Dr. Whitmore pulls Enzo out of the cage and slices his wrist, allowing the blood to drip in a cocktail glass. Damon explains how Whitmore's NYE party was the doctor's chance to show people what he had learned during his research. He puts Enzo back into the cage and starts his little show.

"Mrs. Fell has generously offered her hand for the purpose of this demonstration." I've always wondered if the citizens of whatever city Whitmore is in has ties to Mystic Falls. It seems like a lot of Mystic Falls residents went to Whitmore College, and it doesn't really seem like it could be a coincidence that they both have very well-established vampire-related groups. It seems like I was right! Anyway, Dr. Whitmore cuts Mrs. Fell's palm with his knife, and then hands her the glass of Enzo's blood to drink. She hesitantly takes a couple sips, and the cut on her palm instantly heals as Damon's voiceover explains how Dr. Whitmore let his guests drink from them to tout the benefits of vampire blood. "The dermal layer is completely healed, no nerve damage, no muscular damage," Dr. Whitmore explains, and the party-goers clap in amazement.

Damon explains that it was this party that caused Enzo to come up with their idea to escape. We flashback to the cells after the party, where Enzo holds up his glass of blood. "Well, the thing about our daily ration of blood is that it's barely enough for one vampire to survive on, but if one vampire were to drink TWO rations of blood every day for the next year, he'd be able to build up his strength so that by the time New Year's Eve comes 'round again, that one vampire will be ready to fight." Damon is skeptical that the plan could actually work, but Enzo points out that they'll never know unless they try. Unfortunately, it's just the two of them, at least in that little alcove, so both of them would have to agree on the plan to work, and they have to choose between them.

Enzo stares at him for a moment, but Damon eventually nods in agreement and sets his untouched glass of blood onto the floor. Enzo decides that they'll play "scissor, paper, stone" (LOL, Europeans!) to choose the person who will drink the extra blood ration. They both count to three, and set out their hands; Damon chose paper, Enzo chose rock, so Damon gets to drink the extra blood. You can tell Enzo is a little disappointed, but he trusts Damon, so he gives Damon his ration and reminds him that they have 364 days to prepare for the party. In the present day, Elena asks Damon if their plan worked. Damon, lost in thought, states, "More or less." She asks him how he got out, but Damon clearly doesn't want to talk about it. All he will say is that he got strong and managed to get out. "It wasn't pretty. All you need to know." He pushes himself off the floor and walks to the back of his cell, while Elena worriedly leans against the wall of her cell.

Upstairs, Aaron is poring over all of the notes in the file that Wes gave him. Wes returns to the room with a small box, which he gives to Aaron. "Here, another birthday present." Aaron opens the box to find the watch that Dr. Whitmore wore in Damon's flashbacks, which Wes claims is a "safety precaution for use in vampire research." Aaron's attention is diverted from the watch when he sees a newspaper from the file. After skimming the article, Aaron points out that it's about Anna Ruby Campground, where his parents died. Under the newspaper, there are pictures of his parents from when they were found, and he looks absolutely horrified at the sight of their injuries. He glares at Wes and asks him if they weren't really killed by animals, which Wes confirms. "It was them, Aaron. I found you next to their bodies. As soon as I saw them, I knew vampires had attacked them."

Aaron continues to look at the files and photos, and becomes increasingly distressed and disgusted by what he's learning. Wes decides to take advantage of his vulnerable mental state for some good old manipulation. "That's why I continued your father's work. So this could never happen again. I hope you'll join me." Aaron is still visibly tense, but after a moment of staring at the pictures, he turns around and slugs Wes right in his stupid face. YEAH! He doesn't even give Wes a second thought as he walks over to the safe and grabs some weapons. He stops by the table and grabs Dr. Whitmore's watch, and then strides right out the door.

Casa Salvatore. Stefan is starting to regain consciousness in the safe when Katherine, who took advantage of his unconsciousness in order to lock herself into the safe with him, whispers, "So, try not to be mad at me..." Stefan finally opens his eyes, and groans in confusion when he sees the door of the safe above him. Katherine continues to explain that she got in while he was passed out, and informs him that Caroline has locked them inside. "It was the only way!" Stefan finally realizes what the fuck is happening, and immediately starts pounding on the door of the safe as he shouts at Caroline to let him out. Caroline admits that it's a little extreme, but claims that his "baby steps" method wasn't helping, so they had to up their game. Unfortunately, Katherine's personality isn't really helping.

"See? That's why I need you NOT to get mad at me, because when you get mad, you get anxious, and violent, and you rip people's heads off. BUT, I'm gonna help you fix that." Stefan completely ignores her and continues to freak out as he looks around the small space inside the safe. He yells at Caroline to let him out before he goes all Ripper on Kat, but she points out that his anxiety and panic is why they need to do this. "You need to get over your PTSD triggers, okay? Or else you WILL kill me." Stefan stupidly points out that she's risking her life, but Katherine reminds him that, hello, she's already dying. "You're the one who wants to keep me alive. It's my turn to help you, now." Stefan starts hyperventilating and whimpers that he can't be in this safe, and begs her to get him out, but our Katerina won't be swayed. She just shimmies a little closer to him and smirks, "You're Stefan Salvatore! Suck it up." She flips back on her back next to him, and Stefan continues to pant and whisper, "No, no, no" in a haze of anxiety.

Elena and Damon are sitting back to back, with only the cell wall separating them. Elena is getting a little frustrated and concerned about Wes coming down and turning them into his new experiments. She begs him to tell her how he got out, so they can try to do the same, but Damon maintains that she doesn't want to know. Elena doesn't understand. "Why? You think I'm going to judge you?" Damon stays silent and stares at the floor, so Elena continues to reassure him. "Damon, I love you. I love you, and these people tortured you for five years! Whatever you had to do, I don't care." Damon sighs, but after a moment, Damon softly replies. "Alright. Alright. The Augustine's next party was in 1958..."

We flashback to the party, which is almost exactly the same as the 1957 party that we just saw. Enzo and Damon are both locked in a cage, but Damon seems much more lively than last time, while Enzo looks pretty miserable. Apparently, Damon managed to get strong, even after giving Enzo sips every once and a while so he wouldn't desiccate and alert Dr. Whitmore to their plan. Damon looks back at Enzo as Dr. Whitmore walks toward their cage, and Enzo smiles at him in anticipation. Whitmore announces to the crowd, "Ladies and gentleman as it is almost midnight, I think it fitting that we toast the New Year with a glass of vampire blood, wouldn't you agree?" Uh, if they dislike vampires so much, why would they put themselves at risk of getting turned? I mean, I know that none of them end up drinking any of it, but still, who's to say that they don't get into a car accident or get stabbed in a mugging or something on their way home?

Dr. Whitmore opens the cage and pulls Damon out. As he locks the cage so Enzo can't escape, Damon breaks his hand in order to pull the handcuffs off, and since he had extra blood, his bones reset and heal within seconds. Dr. Whitmore doesn't even notice until he goes to take Damon's wrist and slice it. Damon glares at him and deadpans, "Now you see it--" just before he zoops over and jams his thumbs into Dr. Whitmore's eyeballs. YIKES!! Dr. Whitmore screams in pain, as expected, so Damon shuts him up by chomping down on his neck and drinking him dry. The guests all scatter like cockroaches, and one of them knocks over a candelabra, which falls to the floor and sets fire to the carpet. Damon pays no attention to the fire, though, because he's too busy zipping around the room, killing all the guests by either feeding on them or snapping their necks.

By the time he's done, the fire has spread considerably, and Damon, who is noticeably revitalized after being able to binge for the first time in five super-starved years, is soaked in the blood of his victims and has a crazed look in his eyes. Enzo shouts at him that they need to get out of there ASAP, since the fire is out of control, so Damon races over to free him from the cage. They both grasp at the bars to break them, but they're coated in vervain and singe their hands. Damon continues to try to break the bars, instead of, I don't know, maybe bending down and grabbing the keys from Dr. Whitmore's corpse? This is one of my complaints of this episode--Damon is not an idiot. I understand where the writers are trying to go with this, they wanted Damon to feel guilt for doing what he's about to do, but there are a ton of other ways they could have used that would have made more sense than Damon all of a sudden becoming a moron. Damon is a lot of things, but being this stupid/careless is not characteristic of him at all.

In the present day, Damon's face is devastatingly heartbreaking as he continues the story. "Enzo trusted me with his life. The fire was getting out of control. I would have burned up, or they would have captured me again. There's no way I would have ever gotten another chance of escaping." Elena watches him through the bars with concern, and Damon summarizes what happened next. "So, I chose to save myself." We flash back to Damon and Enzo trying and failing to break the bars. After a moment, Damon steps back and shakes his head in frustration. He has the saddest expression on his face when he eventually meets Enzo's gaze, and Enzo immediately gets a bad feeling about what's to come. He tries to beg Damon to reconsider, but Damon's mind is made up. "I'm sorry, Enzo," Damon states sadly, as he continues to back away from him.

"And I knew if I was going to save myself, that I had to stop caring about Enzo," Damon explained to Elena in the present day. "So, I turned off my emotions." Elena exhales deeply as she closes her eyes, but I don't think that she's disgusted by his behavior as much as she just feels terrible for all of it. Terrible because Damon was tortured for five years, because he had to make the choice between saving himself and staying with his friend, because he had to turn of his humanity to deal with it, and that still sends pangs of guilt and embarrassment through her as a result of her actions while she was also a humanity-less vampire. She continues to look at him with concern as we go back to the flashback, where Damon has closed his eyes for a moment. When he opens them again, emotion has completely left his face, and he stares blankly at Enzo. Enzo shouts at him not to leave him there to die/continue to be tortured, but Damon remains silent. He takes one last look at his friend before turning around and walking toward the front door, while Enzo continues to plead for him to change his mind. "I left my friend to die," Present-Day-Damon says in voiceover. Back in his cell, he closes his eyes for a moment and sighs. Once he opens them again, his tone gets a little lighter. "After that, everything was fine." Elena is completely stunned after hearing this story, and shakes her head in disbelief. THIS IS TERRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE.

Casa Salvatore. Caroline is still standing watch outside the safe and cheerfully chirps, "How's it going in there?" Stefan is still hyperventilating, but manages to gasp that he feels like he's dying. Meanwhile, Katherine is cool as a cucumber, and decides to start pointing out the roots of Stefan's psychological issues. She starts back in on the whole "doppelgänger prophecy" crap she was spouting earlier, and points out that she's sure he's still in love with Elena, and that he's still pissed about her and Damon getting together. She brushes her fingertips over Stefan's chest as she brings up the fact that Stefan is ready to ditch Mystic Falls/Damon and Elena and start a new life elsewhere, but he keeps making excuses to keep him here. When she smirks that she believes she is Stefan's newest excuse to stick around, Stefan grabs her in a chokehold and threatens to kill her. "Good! Yeah, get it all out, Stefan!" Katherine rasps. Stefan's fingers tighten around her throat, so she adds, "Although, don't forget you loved me before you hated me." Hahahaha, oh Katherine.

Stefan is pissed, though, and asks her why the fuck she thought to bring this up while they're both locked in a safe. Katherine insists that it was necessary in order to show him that the safe isn't his real problem. This does nothing to improve Stefan's mood, and he shrieks, "How could you say that to me?" Katherine: "The problem is, you're not facing your real issues. The death you felt in the safe, the pain of dying over and over again? It's easier for you to focus on the physical pain than the emotional heartbreak of Elena leaving you." Her take-away point is that Stefan's main problem is the fact that he's not living in the present, he's focused on his past--his summer in the safe, and all the shit that happened before it, such as Elena choosing Damon, finding out he's a doppelgänger, etc. Stefan slowly lets go of her throat, and she stretches her neck out a bit, baring it right in front of his face. "In this moment, are you going to feed on me, or are you gonna save my life?"

Katherine watches him as his face hovers dangerously close to her neck. His fangs and vampire eyes are out, and he struggles not to sink his fangs into her throat. She remains still, but her nerves start to show when she begins breathing pretty deeply. "Fight it, Stefan! Fight it!" After a moment, her voice softens. "I'm here. I'm here." She grabs his face in her hands, and she reminds him that they're both there, together. He's not alone. She wiggles closer to him, and they are just about to kiss when Caroline unlocks the safe and opens the door. Katherine quickly pulls away and shoots Caroline the most annoyed look ever, it's kind of hilarious.

Caroline looks down on them, and awkwardly informs them that they were so quiet in there that she started to get nervous and decided to check on them. Stefan quickly stands up and climbs out of the safe. He offers a hand to Katherine to help her out as well, and though Katherine accepts the help, she immediately lets go of his hand the second she's upright. The tension between Katherine and Stefan is thick as Stefan walks over to Caroline. She gleefully proclaims him to be still alive even after being traumatized, and she gives him a big hug. Over Caroline's shoulder, he continues to stare at Katherine. AWWWW SHIT, IT'S HAPPENING, YOU GUYS, IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING.

Aaron has managed to find the creepy basement lab in Whitmore House (or so I'm assuming, I've been really confused about the sets in TVD/TO this season, does anyone else have a better idea?), and Elena and Damon are startled when they see him enter the room. He asks what the hell this place is supposed to be, but instead of answering, Damon just snits, "Great, Mini-Wes." Come on, dude! Don't poke the bear! Especially when you've [spoiler alert!] killed the bears entire family systematically for over half a century. Aaron maintains that he had no idea what Wes was doing, nor did he know that he was doing secret experiments in their basement. Elena pleads with him to let them out, but Aaron doesn't want to do anything until he gets the truth. "When we met at Megan's memorial, you asked me a bunch of questions," Aaron begins, and he fumbles with the gun as he tries to load it. Damon just can't keep his snarky comments to himself, so he mutters, "Slick hands, cowboy." COME ON, DAMON! Seriously?

Aaron is getting a little hysterical at this point, although it's certainly understandable. He yells that he's never used a gun before, nor has he ever killed anyone. "Unlike you!" Elena is confused, but Aaron points out that Wes told him a vampire killed Megan, and now he thinks Elena did it. Damon scoffs at the thought that Elena would kill her own roommate, but Aaron is feeling so confused and betrayed by all of the lies he's been told that his mind is drawing the wrong conclusion. It reminds me a lot of when Matt found out about vampires, and thought that Caroline must have killed his sister, even though she wasn't even a vampire back then. Elena tries to explain herself. "No, Megan was inside THIS house, I hadn't even been invited yet. You just--" Aaron cuts her off, and informs her that Wes told him that a vampire also killed his parents. He suggests that Elena killed them as well, but as we all know, that's impossible, because Elena was only a kid then herself.

"Why else would you be so interested in me?" Damon tries to defuse the situation by ordering Aaron to calm down, but he's so not having that. Aaron asks Elena why else she would pretend to be his friend, and points the gun at her as he turns to Damon. "She's a VAMPIRE!" BAHAHA, I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh at that, but the thought that Elena would be a vampire hiding it from Damon is hilarious to me. Damon sighs and spills the beans. "Not the one who killed your parents. That was all me." OH GOD. I had a feeling this was going to happen. Elena and Aaron are both shocked at this revelation, and Aaron lowers the gun for a brief second before pointing it at Damon. "What did you just say? [beat] Start talking!" Elena asks Damon what the fuck he's doing, thinking that he's lying just to protect her, but instead, he starts telling the story of what happened when he broke out of Augustine.

"In 1958, after the fire, Enzo was dead, so I had to take on my revenge-plan solo." We flashback to where Enzo and Damon were discussing their revenge plots as Damon carved his initials and the year, "D.S. '53" into the wall. Damon drops back to the floor after he's done, and closes his eyes as he visualizes his plan. "Yes, I can see it. After I've taken out the entire Augustine Society, I'll kill every member of the Whitmore family." Enzo just scoffs at him, and laughs as he points out that he told Damon to use his imagination. Damon's not done, though. "Except one person. I'll let that person grow up, start a family, and then, I'll start killing Whitmores again. And then I'll take out the generation after that, leaving only one person to carry on the name, and then I'll take out the generation after that, and so on, and so on, and so on." He smirks, and Enzo seems quite fond of this plan.

In the present day, Damon finishes his story by informing him that he did indeed stick to his plan, once he had escaped. Elena is totally disturbed by this news, although honestly, I don't think it's the fact that he did it as much as it's the fact that he never said anything to her about it. Aaron is almost sick after listening to Damon's story, and asks him how many Whitmores he's killed. Damon points out that it had been over sixty years, so he lost track a while ago. Elena tersely asks him when he killed the most recent one, but Damon remains silent. Angry, she repeats her question, so Damon is forced to confess. "A few months ago. Her name was Sara. Had to go all the way to Charleston to find her. It was a weekend trip. You didn't know."

Elena's face goes cold as she realizes the implication of this reveal. "But, we were together a few months ago." Damon confirms that they were, which only serves to disgust Elena more. Damon reminds her that he told her it wasn't pretty, but he looks a little disgusted at himself, as well. I have a lot to say about this, but I'm gonna wait for the end. Aaron, who has had enough of hearing about his murdered family for one day, furiously holds up his gun and shoots Damon smack in the forehead. He falls to the floor of his cell in a heap, and Elena screams, "No!" She kneels down and looks at her boyfriend, whose head is bleeding out on the floor. We already know that isn't going to kill him, but damn, that had to sting!

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline is in the parlor of Casa Salvatore, struggling to move the safe back out of the house. Finally, she stands up and frustratedly yells, "A little help, here? I mean, I know I'm a vampire, but this thing is really heavy!" Oh, Caroline. She looks around for Stefan or Katherine, and when she can't find them, she calls out for Stefan again. Upstairs in what I believe is the library, Stefan is alone as he picks of the pieces of the chair he broke earlier and throws them into the fireplace. When he looks up, he finds Katherine standing in the doorway. I forgot to mention that Katherine is wearing this awesome, slinky, black lace, off-the-shoulder top with tight skinny jeans tucked into boots. She looks FABULOUS, and I basically want her entire wardrobe. Stefan laughs a tiny bit to himself and admits, "You know, for the record, I, uh, I only broke one of these." Katherine smiles, and replies that the chair was ugly, anyway. Katherine bend over to pick up another piece of broken wood as Stefan confesses that Katherine was right all along about Elena and the break-up, and adds that he does need to move on.

Katherine takes a lot of joy from the fact that Stefan is more-or-less admitting that she does, in fact, know what she's doing, but Stefan just snarks, "To be honest with you, I never know exactly what you're doing, Katherine." She laughs, and concedes that she often doesn't know what she's doing, either. Santigold's "My Superman" starts to play in the background, and the sexual tension in the room increases like, a hundred-fold. Stefan tosses another piece of the broken chair into the fireplace as Katherine hesitantly struts over to him so she can look him in the eyes. Their faces are only inches apart as Katherine informs him that now is one of those times. She stares at his lips for a moment, and Stefan seems to be confused about her intentions until she puts a hand on his chest and rubs his shoulder.

Stefan glances at her hand, and then looks back at her, so she moves a little closer to him. When he does the same, she kisses him softly. They pull apart for a brief second, but Stefan pulls her back, and the two start making out. I am SO thrilled about this, to be honest, although there is a part of me that thinks it's kind of creepy. I'll get into that in a moment. Back downstairs, Caroline is leaving Elena a voicemail, since she can't exactly get to her phone at the moment. "Hey, Elena, I'm probably going to stay at my mom's tonight. I think I am OFFICIALLY homesick! So, I'll let you know when I'm..." Caroline trails off when she starts to hear kissing noises and soft moans from upstairs. She's confused at first, and then she TOTALLY realizes that Stefan and Katherine are getting their mack on, and starts to explode from the potential drama. "Oh. My. GOD. Call me as soon as you get this!" LOL, Caroline is so easily scandalized, I love it!




























(via fangirlcurse)













Aaron is at his apartment and talking to Wes, who is over at Whitmore House, on the phone. Wes apologizes for the fact that he had to find out everything about his family like this, but Aaron isn't really that happy with Wes right now, either. "What I found out was that I've been lied to my entire life! What the hell is going on, Wes?" He sits down on his couch, and brings up Elena and Damon. "Are their other friends gonna come after me? I mean, do I have to drop out?" Wes assures him that he will be fine, and urges him to continue going to school and living his life like any other normal day. He picks up a file on the table, and says goodbye to Aaron before hanging up. Aaron sets down his phone and picks up his great-grandfather's watch. He stares at it for a moment, and then decides to put it on. Uh oh! No more compelling Aaron whenever they fuck up somehow, at least not without pick-pocketing his watch, I guess.

Meanwhile, Damon has just awoken from his little bullet-in-the-head nap. He groans and touches the wound on his head before muttering, "Guess I had that coming." He realizes where he is and what happened, and immediately calls out for Elena. When he gets no response, he stands up and looks between the bars that separate them to see that Elena is no longer in her cell. He automatically starts to panic and starts to shout for her, to no avail.

Elena wakes up after what I can only assume was another vervain injection, because she's super disoriented. After getting her bearings, she realizes that she's strapped to a gurney. She attempts to break free from her restraints, but she's not strong enough. She turns her head when she hears the sound of humming, and guess who is strapped to the gurney next to her? ENZO. "Ahh, Welcome! I'm 12144. My name's Enzo." Elena just stares at him in shock and horror as she realizes where she is, and who she's with. Enzo, though, continues to hum. AW SHIT THIS IS GOING TO BE SO NUTS.

Next week: Elena gets experimented on, Stefan and Damon somehow take Aaron hostage, and we FINALLY learn more about Grayson Gilbert.

[screencaps from the lovely cappers over at KissThemGoodbye]

Click HERE to move on to my next recap of The Vampire Diaries!

NOTES/SPECULATION:
-OKAY, so first, let's talk about Stefan/Katherine, yeah? As I've mentioned before, I'm a multishipper when it comes to my shows. If they have chemistry, I am a fan, and when it comes to shows like the ones I recap, EVERYONE has chemistry. I used to be a Stelena shipper, as well as a Delena shipper, back in the day, when Stefan was still a tolerable character. Now, because Damon/Elena are my favorite in this show, I, like many other shippers, am happy to see Stefan with ANYONE who isn't Elena, hahaha. I am happy about him and Katherine hooking up, because I feel like out of all of the relationships on this show, theirs is the one who has had the least amount of closure. Plus, with Katherine being human again and slowly re-embracing her humanity, I feel like she could use a win for once. They both could! So, yeah, I'm like 90% happy about this, and the other 10% is just me being weirded out by the fact that Stefan's method of moving on from Elena is sleeping with her doppelgänger. But, I have a feeling Stefan/Caroline is going to happen soon, so maybe a fling with Katherine is just what he needs to get over Elena and move on to seeing other people. I guess we shall see!

-Now, time to move onto Damon and his time as an Augustine test subject. I like this story line in theory, but in practice, there are a bunch of plot holes that I just can't ignore. So, Damon has still been killing Whitmores the whole time we've known him, including over the past summer. So, we know Damon hasn't completely forgotten his time there. So, why didn't it come up when he went to Whitmore with Elena and Bonnie last season? Or when Elena left to go to school there? I know he thought that the Augustine Society was no more after he massacred all the members in 1958, but still, wouldn't it come up when he knew that Elena had applied/decided to attend Whitmore? Damon is not an unintelligent person by any means, so it seems weird to me that it would take him this long to see the connection between what Wes is doing and what the Augustine Society did back then.

Also, the thing about Damon and Elena is that their relationship has always been built on being "real" with each other. Hiding/lying about the fact that he killed Aaron's aunt Sara over the summer just seems to be a huge kick in the gut for their relationship. Obviously, that was what the writers were going for, but again, can't they find a way to put an obstacle in the way of their relationship without being out of character? It just doesn't make sense to me.

-What the HELL was Grayson Gilbert doing with Augustine? JFC.

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