The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 7: "Do You Remember The First Time?" Recap/Review

Welp, as far as TVD episodes go, this one was NOT my favorite, and it's probably going to show in the recap. Sorry about that! I'll try my best to be impartial, but between boring Liam and the Damon/Elena drama heartache, the Tripp storyline, and Bonnie being psychologically and physically tortured by Kai, I was just not very impressed. On a positive note, I did think the dialogue was hilarious, so I will probably be doing a lot of transcription to make up for it. I'm gonna try to do this short-and-dirty style so we can all move onto the much better episodes that follow, but since I don't really have much control over my word vomit, I'm not sure how well that's gonna go. Okay, let's talk about "Do You Remember The First Time?"

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: Damon and Bonnie died, but not really-- instead of moving on to the still-undefined afterlife following the destruction of the Other Side, they were sent to a mystical prison world that was stuck on an endless loop of May 10th, 1994. Elena was so distraught by the loss of her boyfriend that she had Alaric compel her to forget all of her memories of loving him. Unfortunately, this had some consequences: 1) without the love-y memories, Elena pretty much just sees Damon as a monster who has terrorized her friends, and 2) thanks to some quick magic and an old mystical relic called an Ascendant by Bonnie, Damon managed to make it back to the real world to find his girlfriend has absolutely no memories of being with him whatsoever. However, another prisoner in the 1994 dimension named Kai shot Bonnie before they were to leave, and Bonnie figured she was a goner and sent Damon without her, leaving her stuck in the dimension with the literally psychopathic Kai and no cranky vampire to protect her.

Damon had a heartfelt and huggy reunion with his little brother Stefan, who was kind of a huge jerk to everyone while Damon was "dead," and now he has to deal with the consequences of his behavior towards his friends, since having his brother back reverted him back to his usual personality. Elena's pre-med teacher, who has a major requited crush on Alaric, was revealed to be a witch when Alaric tried and failed to compel him, and Matt similarly found out that his Community Protection Squad mentor Tripp Cooke (aka Thomas Vincent Fell III) is a vampire hunter who tried and failed to kill Damon and Enzo. Finally, Elena decided that she wanted her memories of loving Stefan back after initially refusing to allow Alaric to do it, but thanks to Alaric's attempt to save Damon and Enzo, he got thrown into the anti-magic barrier and was cured of his vampirism, only surviving the process due to Jo's timely and effective medical intervention. So, Alaric's no longer has the power to compel people, and Elena's memories are seemingly gone for good. Still, Elena decided it was time to see Damon after an entire episode of avoiding him, which is where we pick up today!

This episode picks up right where the last one left off, with Elena and Damon staring at each other and Damon aggressively praying that their love will be strong enough to break through the compulsion. And, since Damon can't ever have nice things, the reality is pretty much the exact opposite. "Okay, I'll start," Damon finally states after an uncomfortably-long awkward silence. "I know Alaric Eternal-Sunshined our relationship out of your brain, but PLEASE tell me it's coming back." Damon starts anxiously bouncing on the balls of his feet as he stares Elena down and searches her face for some sort of sign. "Or, at least part of it, because... imaging this exact moment is what got me through the last few months." OUCH. Elena continues to just stare at him blankly, and finally, after a long moment, sighs and insists she doesn't know what to say. Damon grabs her hands and squeezes them as he begs her to at least say that she missed him as much as he missed her, which, as we all know, is NOT happening.

"I remember... pain," Elena begins, as she shakes her head in disbelief and backs away from him, causing Damon's face to fall in the most heartbreaking fashion. "I remember all the terrible things that you did to the people I care about," Damon looks as though he has a rebuttal, but he can't find his voice as she straight-up tells him that she literally cannot remember anything good between them, and although even she though maybe her feelings would change when she saw him, but it didn't. Damon suggests that she just needs more time, but Elena just plows on and lobs more and more shots straight to his heart. "Damon, I know that I loved you, and that apparently, I forgave you for all of the awful things that you did... but I just don't remember it. I'm sorry, I just don't... feel it anymore." When she sees just how devastated Damon is, she starts to feel just the tiniest bit guilty and starts apologizing, but Damon just loses all of his nerve and basically flees before she can say anything else.

You know, for the most part, I don't blame Elena for the way she's behaving, because based on the memories she has, this is the reality of the situation-- Damon was the dude who formerly terrorized her, her friends, and her family after he first returned to town, and who made countless decisions that were questionable at best and absolutely awful at worst that had serious consequences on her and her loved ones. Not to mention the fact that there are very few viable options with regards to returning to her the clarity that her former memories gave her about the situation. And, since 1) a significant majority of the bad things Damon did, he did out of love for Elena, and 2) she now has no memory of that love, everything that Damon did now just looks like things that a psychopathic asshole (or, rather, a previously-mostly-humanity-free vampire) would do.

And, I mean, I love Elena. This is very well documented on this blog-- girlfriend is my favorite character, and I will always root for her. So, I do understand why she did what she did and I don't really blame her for it, because she was in a bad place and something had to give in order for her to move on and live a relatively healthy and functional life. On the other hand, this was a conscious choice that she made with her eyes wide open-- before she had Alaric compel away her memories, she was told by a multitude of people (just off the top of my head, I can specifically remember Alaric, Caroline, Matt and Jeremy) that it was still totally possible that they could end up finding a way to bring Damon back to life, even if that chance was only slight at best. And Elena's response was that if that were to happen, she would just have Alaric give her her memories back, and she didn't think about it any further than that, which was her first mistake. Then, before Alaric wiped her memory, Elena wrote herself a letter telling herself to avoid the temptation of having Alaric give her memories back, based on the belief that Damon was dead-dead and NEVER going to come back to her. This is the part to remember, because when she wrote this letter, in her mind, Damon was still going to be forever-dead with no hopes of resurrection, and she was merely anticipating that-- should she figure out that she had Alaric compel away her memories-- she'd get curious and want them back and ruin any progress that she had made as a result.

So, when Stefan spilled the beans to mind-wiped!Elena about what she had done, she re-read the letter and took her fully-aware self's message as a a literal order to not, under any circumstances, get those memories back for the sake of her own happiness, even though the fully-aware Elena would have totally thrown that entire letter out of the window had she actually had enough hope to believe that Damon could be resurrected. This is even something Alaric told her the second they learned that Damon was back-- Elena would have NEVER, EVER, EVER compelled away her memories if she thought that this was even the smallest bit possible.

Since Alaric knows Elena better than she does at this point, considering she lost 85% of the memories and experiences that defined her maturity from a seventeen-year-old girl to a twenty-one-year-old woman, you would think it would have been smarter for Elena to just accept that she can't make informed decisions about ANYTHING due to her memory modifications, and should instead just trust Alaric's instincts, since he's been her guardian, alive or dead, for years, and in this case, he's the one who knows her better than she does. I mean, obviously Damon is too biased for her to listen to what he thinks should happen, but Alaric? He has always had her best interests at heart, because he has been her protector, step-father and close friend pretty much since his arrival to Mystic Falls. But, instead, she decided to run away from it and stick her head in the sand and live in ignorance, which is an ineffective coping mechanism she used a LOT when she was with Stefan. Actually, this is something both of them did a lot, just kind of putting their fingers in their ears and pretending bad things weren't happening, which is what led me to start disliking them as a couple around the end of Season 2, but that's another story entirely. However, it does tie in with my next point, which is that this whole compulsion thing has actually had a huge effect on Elena's personality/behavior in general.

It's exactly why Elena has been noticeably weird since Alaric compelled her, because she didn't realize before she did it that her experiences with Damon-- from their road trip to Georgia to Damon fighting for her during the ritual to break Klaus' curse, from their bonding after Stefan went on his Ripper-bender with Klaus and shut off his humanity, and through Elena's transition into a vampire-- had a huge role in who she became as a grown woman. So, without those memories, it's almost like she's been de-aged to her teenage, MUCH less mature self again, because along with all the memories of loving Damon, she lost all the times that he challenged her beliefs and made her open her mind to new possibilities and realize that the gray area really does exist and most vampires live somewhere on that spectrum. It really is like she lost a lot of the personal growth she had accomplished over the last six years of this show, and its becoming more and more noticeable as the season goes on.

Oh, wow, okay, this was way longer than I intended and I kind of lost my train of though for a while, so I guess the tl; dr version of what I'm trying to say is this-- while I accept and understand that Elena did what she thought she had to do for the sake of her own well-being, she also can't blame Damon for being hurt and upset, and honestly, she probably could have been a little more tactful and understanding about where he's coming from, here, considering that this was a position in which she willingly put herself without any thought as to how this could affect him in the case that he could return. And, as I pointed out in the earlier recaps when Stefan was being such a fatalist about Damon's death, literally EVERYONE on this show has died at least once-- in fact, there is only one character, Caroline, who has ONLY died once. Everyone else has died two times or more, and Elena herself has died and been resurrected in one way or another THREE TIMES. So, why was it so hard for any of them to believe that Damon's resurrection is possible? It's not really Damon's fault that she decided to take her letter literally and ignore what her friends have been trying to tell her. Like Elena will end up telling Damon in a couple episodes, those memories of loving Damon weren't JUST hers, and she should have been a little more mindful of that. Basically, this is just a mess and it hurts my heart. Moving on!

Damon apparently went straight to Whitmore Medical Center to see Alaric, who has apparently been healed by someone's blood since the last episode. Probably Damon's, let's be real-- if Alaric is gonna be human now, he should probably carry a vial of Damon's blood in his pocket at all times for emergencies. Anyway, Damon is messing with all of the buttons on Ric's telemetry equipment, looking into Alaric's eyes with the eye/ear scope, and just generally acting like a moody teenager, which is actually pretty good considering the circumstances. If this was Season 2 or 3, Damon would be secretly dining on/killing some poor unsuspecting woman on the backroads of town or angrily throwing some sort of epic tantrum, but instead, he's just being angsty and giving Alaric shit for ruining his love-life. Talk about personal development and character growth! So, Alaric tells him he should probably not be messing with his equipment, but Damon is in a mood, so he starts in on how horrible of a person he is.

DAMON: "Keep going. We are on a ROLL. All the terrible things I did to people that Elena cared about. Let's see... I used Caroline as my own personal blood juice box. I turned Matt's sister into a vampire, and threatened to kill Bon-Bon a couple times..."
ALARIC: [raises his eyebrows] "...More than a couple."
DAMON: [offended] "Subjective! Sometimes, I was being funny."
ALARIC: "And, you killed Stefan's best friend at his birthday party..."
DAMON: "Unfortunate coincidence."
ALARIC: "And then, you snapped Jeremy's neck when Elena said she'd never love you..."
DAMON: [annoyed] "On second though, let's focus on all the charming, heroic things you obliterated from my girl's mind."
LOL. Oh, Damon. You've grown a lot from the petulant asshole that you were when the show first started! Anyway, Alaric is feeling majorly guilty and insists that if he could take it all back, he would, but Damon assures him that he knows. "And, listen-- despite the fact that my long list of dastardly deeds involves killing you, I'm glad you're alive." AWWW! I have missed Damon and Alaric's bro time SO MUCH. Alaric thanks him for this uncharacteristic show of love and affection, but since it's Damon, of course there is a "but..." coming as he claps Alaric on the shoulder so hard that he winces in pain. "Although, if you had died a vampire instead of becoming human again, your compulsion would have broken, and Elena would be mine again..." Alaric can't even help but laugh and inform the idiot he decided was his best friend that his sentiment was truly heartfelt. When Damon reminds him that now Elena is stuck with "evil-me" memories forever and ever, Alaric retorts, "If I die, I am dead for GOOD this time. You remember that!" OH GOD, DON'T EVEN PUT THAT THOUGHT INTO THE UNIVERSE, RIC. Season 4 and Season 5 are my least favorite seasons and I think a major reason behind that was because Alaric was dead, so I don't even want to consider him dying again. NOPE. NOT DOING IT.

So, Damon rips the heart monitor/oxygen saturation monitor off of Alaric's finger, causing his heart monitor to flat-line and summoning a chipper-looking Jo to investigate what the hell is going on with her crush/sort-of boyfriend. She bids them both a good morning, and though Alaric tries to shoo her away from the clearly-angsty Damon, his efforts are futile. "Heads-up, doc," Damon says to Jo with a wry smile. "You're gonna be in real high demand with a bunch of vampires who want to be human again if you could repeat that little healing-trick you did at the border with Ric last night." Jo, bless her, is a doctor who doesn't have much tolerance for bullshit, so she just smiles fakely at Damon and retorts, "Well, just a heads-up, but saving Alaric's life was a matter of a treatable death wound, perfect timing, and fear-of-losing-the-most-interesting-guy-I've-dated-in-a-while adrenaline. One-hundred-percent UNREPEATABLE, which is why you're gonna tell no one." GOOD TO KNOW, because I was seriously afraid that this was going to turn into a curing-vampire-free-for-all. (Well, actually, no, I wasn't, because I've seen all of the aired episodes after this one, but before I had, I was totally worried about that. I've already talked about how much I LOATHE the idea of vampires getting cured. This is The Vampire Diaries-- we need MORE vampires, not less)

This snarky response seems to impress Damon, who turns to Alaric and tells him that he likes Jo because she's bossy. He taps Alaric on the shoulder again, causing him to wince in pain (which makes no sense, because if he was fed vampire blood to heal, he wouldn't have any pain, and if he WASN'T, then he definitely wouldn't be well enough for what comes next) just as Jo asks him if he has a nice suit and a clean pair of socks. Alaric hilariously replies that he THINKS he does, because Alaric has been kind of a shut-in since his resurrection, so Jo proclaims this to be good, as she's releasing him from the hospital today so he can be her date for the Whitmore Medical Center fundraiser, which she is forcing all of her interns to attend as well. Before waiting for a reply, Jo leaves to go start his release paperwork, and Damon just waggles his eyebrows at Alaric suggestively. I'm still on the fence about Jo, but I do love seeing Alaric happy, and he needs a smart, funny, hot girlfriend who isn't going to die immediately.

Meanwhile, at Tripp's warehouse/vampire-torture-emporium, Enzo is taunting Tripp, who is chained to a chair, while Stefan and Matt watch from behind him, the latter of whom looks very uncomfortable as he does so. "That was quite a mess you made at the border last night," Enzo croons to Tripp in that voice of his. "Hit-and-run, tsk, tsk, tsk. Good thing Matt here was in the neighborhood to give you a ride home." Tripp looks incredibly betrayed as he turns to Matt and is, like, "YOU brought me here?", so Matt reminds him that he went after his friends, so he really shouldn't have expected any differently. Tripp points out that his friends KILL people, which is both true and untrue at the same time-- every single person in the Mystic Falls Gang has killed someone, Matt included, but aside from Enzo, none of the vampires feed on and kill humans for funsies. Anyway, Stefan is a little tired of the banter and orders Enzo to just get on with the interrogation already. "Stefan has already made a very passionate argument in favor of snapping your neck," Enzo continues on, ignoring Stefan completely. "Whereas, in a surprising role-reversal, I've opted for the 'Let's think this through and get all the information before we kill him.'" BAHAHAHA! I'm on the fence about Enzo, too, but no one can deny that he's actually pretty hilarious. He gets all of the good lines. More of this Enzo, please, and less of the stupid-scheme-y Enzo.

As you can probably expect, Matt is not at all game for killing Tripp, because deep inside, Matt agrees with Tripp's views about vampires who aren't his loved ones, so he tells Enzo to stop being a dick before suggesting that they just dry the vervain out of him and compel him to forget everything and to not ever step foot in Mystic Falls again. Enzo has an excellent rebuttal, though, which is that in the time that Tripp was holding him captive, he not only overheard Tripp's many phone calls about vampire hunting, but he also saw a flood of different associates, all of whom were wearing the same Mystic Falls Community Protection Squad uniforms that Matt has been wearing. So, what Enzo wants to know is what Tripp's little buddies are up to while they're here with him. When Tripp remains quiet, Stefan loses his patience and smashes Tripp's hand with a hammer, which causes him to scream in pain and finally confesses, "They're doing the same thing they were when they were with me! They're tracking vampires, like your friend Caroline Forbes." OHHHH NO, NOBODY TOUCHES MY VAMPIRE BARBIE, YOU ASSHAT. As soon as Tripp mentions the name of his BFF and crush (though he's still too dumb to realize that part), Stefan becomes super serious and gives the official order: "Take two hours, get the names of his men and what they know. After that, he's a liability. Get rid of him." Ohhhhh shit.

Speaking of Caroline, she's over at the quad at Whitmore's campus, where she and Elena are having a little picnic as they sit on a blanket spread over the grass and have some girl talk. Caroline can't believe that Elena didn't feel anything when she reunited with Damon, but Elena just shrugs and replies, "I felt scared, and guilty, and his eyes were really, really blue and pretty, but... no, I don't remember loving him." Hahahahaha, oh Elena! You are right about that second part though-- Damon's eyes are amazing. Of course, Caroline may not be on Team Stelena anymore considering her own crush on Stefan, but that doesn't mean that she's suddenly shipping Damon and Elena together, and so she determines that this is a sign from the universe that it's not meant to be and supports Elena's current feelings that Damon's kind of a monster. Elena may not remember loving Damon, but she still expected her best friend to at least kind-of tell her to give it time and to try to get to know him more or whatever, and so she's like, "That's your advice?"

But yup, that is Caroline's advice, because in her eyes, Elena's life is golden right now-- she's acing school in her new pre-med major, she's actively trying to be happy, and she's got a new sort-of-boyfriend in Liam, who Caroline insists also has very pretty eyes and has the added bonus of never having tried to kill her brother. Elena concedes that she is correct about that, so Caroline adds, "I mean, I just gave Stefan the friend-boot. Maybe a little break from the Salvatore brothers is in the cards for both of us." She then sees that Liam is approaching them and hilariously refers to him as "McDreamy" before scampering off to give them some privacy. Caroline, you watch too much Grey's Anatomy, and that's coming from someone who literally has a blog with millions of words about how much they love television.

Unfortunately for Elena, he's not there for more smoochies, he's actually in detective mode, and wastes no time bringing up a patient who apparently came into WMC for a shoulder arthroscopy this morning, before he asks her to guess who it was. Elena is like, "Uh, hello to you, too, I guess?" but Liam just plows right on into his story. "Lady Whitmore, the girl from the bonfire? The one that you miraculously saved from certain death, and I still can't figure out how? Turns out, she was here on a tennis scholarship before she blew out her arm last year. Now, she needs to get her cartilage cleaned out every six months." Ew! That's an unfortunate injury. Elena tries to shrug it off and fake-laughs at the fact that he's still obsessing about that, but he hasn't even gotten to the crazy part, yet-- she doesn't remember getting hurt in the corn maze crash. Elena laughs again and suggests that maybe she was just really drunk, but Liam insists that he's going to check her labs to make sure she's not "an alien or a super-soldier or something."

Elena points out that volunteers don't have access to patient files because that is a HUGE HIPPA/patient privacy violation (seriously-- even nurses are only allowed to look at the charts of patients who they personally are caring for and no one else, and if you get caught sharing patient information with someone who doesn't need to know it, best case scenario is you get fined $25,000, and worst case scenario, you get fined that much or more, AND you lose your job, AND you probably will never work in healthcare again. It's serious business. ~The more you know!~) but Liam just replies that if she rats him out, she can't be his date to the hospital fundraiser that evening. When Elena reminds him that all interns HAVE to go, Liam just retorts, "Doesn't mean it can't still be a date!" and kisses her briefly before he takes off again, leaving Elena seriously concerned about getting herself outed by Liam's investigation. JUST DUMP THIS BORING DUDE ALREADY, WILL YOU?

Time to check in with the 1994 Prison World, since we haven't been back there in a bit. Bonnie has just awoken on the couch of the Salvatore boarding house, her shirt still soaked in blood, and when she looks around, she finds Kai sitting on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, tinkering around with a boatload of little pieces of metal and clockwork machinery. Kai's immediately, like, "Oh! Look who's awake! How do you feel?" Bonnie isn't quite pleased to be in his presence for very understandable reasons and remarks that she feels like he shot her in the gut with an arrow, which he did. Unfortunately for Bonnie, Kai doesn't really give a shit, so he just shrugs and replies, "Right. ANYWHO, I have no idea how you managed to shatter the Ascendant into a billion pieces, but we need to put it together before the eclipse at 12:28. You wanna help? I know you're a puzzle person." Bonnie groans as she sits up and reminds him that she has no interest in helping whatsoever, because he's a psychopath, and because of that, she has no interest in letting him out of his prison, plus she knows he's just going to kill her when they get back anyway.

Kai, who is still so hilarious despite being seriously insane, smiles and points out that she's been through a trauma, which is why she's probably forgotten that her magic can't protect her, since all he has to do is touch her and make her magic his own. He demonstrates by holding her hand, and Bonnie, already weakened from the injury, groans even more as he siphons some of her magic. "What was that?" Kai adds mockingly over the sound of Bonnie's moans of pain. "You're gonna do the spell and finally get us home?" Fortunately, Bonnie has become quite the spitfire since she's been trapped there, so she quickly picks up a pen, stabs Kai right in the carotid artery with it, and waits until he falls dead to the floor before scooping up all of the pieces of the Ascendant into her book-bag before literally fleeing like the wind. YES BONNIE, YOU GO GIRL. Way to be resourceful! Plus, she knows that staying in there with him is literally a death sentence, so it's a good plan to try to leave without him. Of course, this is The Vampire Diaries, aka "The Let's-Torture-Bonnie-Bennett Show," so we all know this plan is going to be an epic failure no matter what she does. UGH, STOP HURTING BONNIE, CAROLINE DRIES/JULIE PLEC.

Meanwhile, in the real world at Whitmore College, Caroline is standing in her dorm room, doing her usual thing, when Stefan suddenly appears in the doorway and knocks on the frame. Caroline literally ignores him and says aloud, "That's weird," as though she just heard some knocking that came from nothing. When Stefan asks her what's so weird, Caroline snaps, "None of your business! We're not friends anymore, which means you can't just show up unannounced at my door. Goodbye!" She tries to slam the door in his face, but Stefan squeezes into the room just before the door closes and insists that he's trying to help her, because since Tripp's men still have her name, she's not safe here. Caroline finds this infuriatingly hilarious, considering none of this would have happened had Stefan not handed Enzo over to Tripp in the first place, and she maintains that not only does she not need his protection, she also doesn't want it. Of course, that's when Caroline's phone rings in order to heap even more drama on her lap.

It's Liz, who Caroline greets by saying, "Hey, Mom. Can I call you back? I'm trying to get a piece of gum off my shoe." Liz seems worried and anxious as she replies that this is kind of time-sensitive before asking her if she possibly knows where Tripp Cooke might be. Caroline frowns and answers in the negatory, because she has no idea that Stefan, Enzo, and Matt took him hostage, but when she asks her why she wants to know, Liz sighs, and the shot finally widens to show us that she's on the side of one of the backroads, with two hunters glaring at her intimidatingly. "Because one of his men just ran me off the road, and they're gonna kill me if they don't get him back," Liz replies with a grimace. OHHHHH HELL NO, YOU DON'T, YOU WANNABE HUNTERS. Back the fuck up off of Liz Forbes! Like, what the fuck kind of hunters put actual human lives at stake to get their vampire prey? The answer is SHITTY ONES, obviously, because once you're threatening to maim or kill innocent, normal humans, you have officially become just as bad, if not worse, than the vampires you're hunting.

Cut to the roads outside Mystic Falls, where Caroline is riding shotgun in her car while Stefan drives. She's in the middle of making what must be her hundredth call to Enzo to make sure he hasn't killed Tripp yet, and when he doesn't answer, Caroline goes into her usual stressed-out rant. "Answer your phone, Enzo!" she yells at the phone before she starts berating herself. "I just... I didn't call her today, you know? I always call my mom every Saturday morning, but NO, today, I said, 'Screw it! I want to sleep in. I'll do it tomorrow.'" Stefan tells her not to worry and assures her that they're almost there, which was a mistake on his part, because now she's just directing her rant at him, and she makes some excellent points while doing it.

"We're almost there?", she screeches anxiously. "You said, 'Two hours, and then kill him.' Do you even remember how long ago you said that? I mean, what kind of person sets a ticking clock without setting his watch?" As usual, she has a good point, Steffy-- once again, he's kind of forgotten that whole "Hm, lets think this through," thing that smart people do before making important decisions. That said, I'm glad that he's actively working to try to win back Caroline's friendship (and maybe even more), which is something he's not used to doing-- most of the time, he just bolts when things get difficult, like all the times he tried to dump Elena because he thought he wasn't good for her, or when he thought it was easier to just leave his humanity off and be a dick to his loved ones, or when he literally fled the Greater Mystic Falls Area for Savannah and dropped off the face of the earth after his brother died. Tried to atone for his sins against Caroline is a good move, and I like it a lot, I meant to bring that up earlier, but then I got distracted by the whole "Liz is in danger"-thing.

ANYWAY, so Enzo FINALLY calls Caroline back, and she wastes no time demanding to know whether or not Tripp is still alive. Enzo sighs and replies, "Tripp is still alive. Surprisingly torture-resistant, but alive." When Caroline exasperatedly asks him what took him so long to answer his phone, Enzo hilariously snarks, "My fingers were covered in blood, and the touch-screen wouldn't work." It doesn't seem that funny on paper, but Enzo's boredly evil tone paired with his delivery is what makes it absolutely hysterical. So, Caroline is basically, like, "Do whatever you want, just make sure he stays alive, because one of his guys took my mom and is holding her hostage until they get him back." Enzo LOOOOOVES Caroline, as we all know, so of course he's going to do what she says, but at the same time, he's also ENZO, and this dude tortured him, so he's definitely not going to be just letting him free without some kind of punishment.

Back at Tripp's warehouse, Tripp is trying to wax poetic while simultaneously making Matt feel guilty, all, "I thought I could make the world a better place by getting rid of them. Teach kids like you to be strong, defend yourselves. But, look at you. You're on the wrong side." Oh, wow, the self-righteousness is strong on this one. Matt is understandably offended and replies that he's not on the WRONG side, it's just that his side is really complicated, which is true. His sister was turned into a vampire by Damon and then had to be put down by Stefan when she went feral and tried to kill Jeremy and Elena; his first love ended up falling for both vampires who were involved in Vicki's deaths and then became a vampire herself, and his second love was turned while they were together and she hid it from him for months; his best friend Tyler became the first successful werewolf-vampire hybrid and had to deal with all of the issues that came along with that, and his other best friend Jeremy became a supernatural hunter who had a similarly supernatural urge to kill all of them. He loves his friends-- they're his only family, and he would much prefer them to be undead vampires than just dead-dead, but he also can't deny that his friends, whether intentionally or not, end up causing violence and death wherever they go, and it's clear he's having difficulty reconciling his love for his friends and the things they have to do to survive.

Wow, there I go again! I totally just started the introduction to this recap off, like, "Oh, I didn't like this episode and so this is going to be short-and-sweet" and yet here I am, only like one and a half acts into this episode and I've already probably written 3,000 words. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? As my mom has always said, I am physically incapable of making a point in twenty-five words or less. Anyway, Enzo comes in and interrupts their conversation before Tripp can give a rebuttal and informs them both that Tripp's minions kidnapped Sheriff Forbes and are threatening to kill her if they don't hand Tripp over. Matt is understandably pissed for all of the same reasons I outlined a few paragraphs ago, and when Tripp states that it was their contingency plan in case something like this should happen to him (which means Tripp probably knew about Caroline and the others quite a while ago, since only an idiot would think a non-MFG vampire would give a shit about Liz. Hell, even Enzo only cares about her insomuch as he cares about Caroline), Matt understandably yells, "That's your idea of being on the right side?" Tripp doesn't even respond to that, because even he knows that Matt is 100% right on this one, and instead instructs them on what they're going to do to get Liz back safe-- "You can set the meet for the edge of town off Old Miller Road. You can do the trade there. They know they'll be safe behind the border." He pauses for a moment, and adds, "And send Matt. They trust him." Ooooh, Tripp, I'm already so sick of you.

Over in the 1994 Prison World, Bonnie has just arrived to the hospital, where she quickly limps inside and starts rummaging through all of the cabinets for supplies. Good thing she's stuck in 1994 and not, say, oh, I don't know... 1903? Then, things could be pretty complicated. (I'm not psychic-- I've just watched ahead. :P) Bonnie finds huge bottles of amoxicillan and hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin) and swallows a handful of the pills before she changes the bandage on abdomen, wincing in pain as the tape pulls on the edge of the arrow wound. She looks at the clock next to her, which reads 10:45 AM, and psychs herself up by muttering, "An hour and forty-three minutes. I can do this." Ohhhh, Bonnie, girl, I just want to rescue you and bring you home and wrap you up in blankets and give you cookies and make it so that no one ever, ever, ever hurts you again. Pobrecita :(

In the real world, it's night time now, and the Whitmore Medical Center Fundraiser is underway. Liv and Tyler are both decked out in the standard white button-up shirt, black vest, and black pants of a caterer as Liv brings several bottles of champagne over to where Tyler is standing at the bar. He starts pouring glasses of bubbly, and Liv is both charmed and super-annoyed by Tyler's inability to properly serve champagne, since the glass is full of bubbles and sticky on the outside from where he spilled it. Tyler reminds her that he never said he was a professional, so Liv just rolls her eyes and snarks, "First and most obvious rule? They all have to be even. And, no slopping over the sides!" Tyler thanks her, and she just laughs and asks why he's thanking her. "For not firing you? I'm not even PAYING you."

Tyler just smiles and clarifies that he's thanking her for giving him the opportunity to try to repay HER for killing that dude Tyler ran over with his truck so he wouldn't trigger his werewolf curse again. Question-- do you guys think Tyler is going to trigger his curse again? I feel like it's only a matter of time, but it doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. Anyway, Liv points out that being her barmaid for one night doesn't exactly repay her for killing a dude, and Tyler, who is starting to understand how Liv's sense of humor works, snarks back, "Honestly, I'd rather chain myself up in a cellar and turn every month than have to wear this lame-ass tie." Liv just smirks and points out that said isn't straight, and adjusts it for him before adding, "You should take some pride in your appearance" and skipping away, leaving Tyler alone to ponder just how much trouble he's going through for this aggressively rude girl.

Meanwhile, Alaric and Jo have just arrived at the party, which looks pretty classy, to be honest. Alaric spots a sign with Jo's photo and name on it nearby and asks her if she's supposed to be the guest of honor or something, but Jo just shrugs modestly and is all, "I won an award for a battlefield medical clamp I patented. Whitmore likes to trot me out when they want to raise money." Alaric is ridiculously impressed by this, even if Jo doesn't seem to be, and he tells her she's clearly a genius, then, which isn't untrue. Of course, Damon is still in his angsty mood as he shows up to rain on all of their parades. "Or, she has a witchy advantage," he croons as he sidles on up next to them. When Alaric and Jo both give him blank, exasperated looks, Damon is just, "What, it's supposed to be a secret that she's a witch?" Jo, as a doctor, has plenty of experience dealing with people like Damon, and just replies that she doesn't practice witchcraft anymore, so she doesn't have an advantage-- anything she's accomplished has been because of good, old-fashioned hard work. She then turns to Alaric and asks him who invited Damon to this shin-dig, but Alaric just grins sheepishly and replies, "He sort-of invited himself... mostly to stalk Elena." Damon denies it and insists that he's just here to finally spend some quality-time with his "once-dead, now-human best bud."

Of course, that's when Elena walks into the party, wearing a lovely black cocktail dress, and like every other time Damon's face has lit up when he's seen Elena all dolled up (when he was her escort in the Miss Mystic Falls pageant in Season 1's "Miss Mystic Falls," and when he saw her enter the Mikaelson Ball in Season 3's "Dangerous Liaisons" are two notable examples), Damon is completely in awe when he sees her. And then, naturally, his face completely falls when he sees that her date is Liam. Damon asks Alaric who the dude with her is, but Jo takes some pleasure in answering for him. "That would be Liam Davis. Valedictorian, straight A's freshman year, taking junior-level classes, not to mention medical royalty. Not so bad on the eyes, either. Looks like he's Elena's date!" Damon gets suuuuuper pouty and retorts, "Did I say I liked you? I meant the opposite."

Across the room, Elena is writing her name on a ticket for a raffle, which makes Liam tease her for it, since he claims raffles are rigged. "Is that another one of your conspiracy theories? Super-soldiers take over the world to carry out vicious fundraising schemes?" Liam laughs and points out that, as usual, when she says it like that, he sounds like a total loser, and Elena replies that he doesn't have to come when she wins her trip to Fiji. Damn, I want a trip to Fiji! I am tired of this Ohio winter. Anyway, when Liam kisses her, Elena amends her previous comment and claims that he can come. When she sees Damon staring at them unhappily from the other side of the room, Elena gets awkward and asks Liam if he can get them some drinks so she can have an opportunity to talk to Damon.

She immediately apologizes for what she just saw and insists that she didn't know that he'd be there tonight, which, of course, is when Liam comes back to ask if she wants wine or beer. Elena's eyes about bug out of her head as she tries to get him out of there as quickly as possible before
Damon does something stupid, which is what he totally does. He holds out his hand to Liam and introduces himself as "Damon, Elena's ex." Liam is understandably confused, and asks Elena if he means Damon, as in her dead ex Damon, and Elena's face is seriously hilarious as she replies, "Right. Yeah, um, that is what I... what I told you... Obviously, that's not true." Damon tries to make the save for her, since it's not like Elena actually lied-- Damon WAS dead, but now he's not, and how do you explain that to a civilian? Unfortunately for Elena, though, Damon doesn't exactly do a great job at it. "It's a figure of speech. It's more like an emotional death. You know, it was a very messy breakup, but we're past that now, right? We're... we're in the friend stage." Elena is cringing internally in the hardest way, and can only reply with "Right" as she tries to figure out how the fuck she's going to navigate her way out of this mess.

After a long, awkward silence, Damon's like, "So, the ex meets the new guy. Heh." He then compels him and asks him how freaked out he is right now. "I feel a little threatened, but I think I could take you," Liam replies in his compulsion haze. Damon proclaims his confidence to be sexy, and Elena scolds him for messing with her boyfriend's mind. When Liam's actual cognitive faculties return, he asks them what the fuck is going on, but Damon just instructs him to focus before compelling him to go to the bar and get Elena a Chardonnay. When Liam walks away to do what he was told, Elena reminds Damon that she hates Chardonnay, but of course Damon knows that and did it on purpose. Elena finally asks him what the fuck he thinks he's doing, Damon assures her that he'll explain everything on the dance floor before holding out his hand and asking, "May I?" So, she reluctantly takes his hand and allows him to lead her to dance, just like they've done so many times before. I love that dancing is Damon and Elena's thing, but it just feels wrong with them being in such an awkward place right now, ughhhhh.

Back at Tripp's warehouse, Stefan and Caroline have finally arrived to find Enzo standing next to an unconscious Tripp, who has passed out in the chair to which he's bound. Enzo greets Caroline with his usual, "Hello, gorgeous," but she's more concerned about what the fuck he did to Tripp. Enzo just shrugs and insists he's fine, and that he just got sleepy from the blood loss. "I think he may have an iron deficiency problem," he adds, which just causes Stefan to tell him to shut the fuck up before reminding him about the fact that Caroline's mom's life is on the line, as though he didn't play a pretty significant role in what is happening. Then this pretty hilarious and totally necessary conversation happens:

ENZO: "Hang on-- just so I'm clear-- all Caroline had to do to get you to treat her with a modicum of respect is to stop paying attention to you. Is that how this works?"
CAROLINE: "Shut up, Enzo. And did he REALLY need three chains? I mean, who is this guy, the Hulk?"
STEFAN: "Well, I didn't restrain him."
CAROLINE: "No, but you let your sidekick Enzo do it, because what could go wrong when you team up with your sworn enemy?"
ENZO: [has a dawning realization] "Oh. That's brilliant! Of COURSE that's why she hates you. That's how you worked her into such a state in Savannah. That's why she told you to take a leap-- she hates you because she doesn't hate you at all!"
Caroline is understandably embarrassed, and if vampires could blush, she would totally be doing it, but Stefan kindly speaks for her by retorting, "I'm sorry, are you still talking?" Enzo is super amused by this whole thing (although he is also a liiiiittle jealous since he's totally got a crush on Caroline) and states, "She's got a thing for you, mate," before turning to Caroline, telling her to send Liz his best, and struts off into the sunset. Once he's gone, Stefan and Caroline share the most awkward silence before Caroline finally snaps, "Whatever he just said, it will never be discussed again, okay?" Fortunately for Stefan, he's smart enough to just reply, "Mmhmm" before they both pretend like it never happened.

Meanwhile, back at the Whitmore Medical Center Fundraiser, Elena and Damon are doing their traditional dance in the middle of the party, looking amazing as usual. Elena, in her memory-wiped confusion, asks him why he's doing this, but he just shrugs and replies, "Why? Well, because I'm an incredible dancer, and it would be a shame not to share my talent with the world." Elena can't help but giggle at this, and Damon, slightly renewed by this response, adds, "Oh, don't worry, I didn't see you smile." He twirls her around before reeling her in closer and gives her a little reminder of a past dance of theirs. "Miss Mystic Falls. First time we ever danced. Stefan stood you up-- bloodlust issues, surprise, surprise-- so, I stepped in," Elena tells him it's a bad idea for him to stir up her old memories, but that's kind of Damon's whole point, of course. Wait a minute-- did Alaric tell Damon what major memories Damon modified? Or is it just that he has ranked their memories in the same way that she did? Who knows. "I stepped in, sexy as hell, and saved you from complete and utter humiliation. Of course, you were just worried about Stefan, but there was this moment, this one moment, where everyone else fell away, and it was just the two of us."

Elena reminds him that she's here with someone, and that he can't just show up unannounced to ruin her night, which leaves Damon absolutely flabbergasted. "Come unannounced?" he yelps in exasperation. "What are you talking about? I literally went through time and space to be with you!" Elena acknowledges the difficulty of his position and asks him if he wants her to feel guilty, because she totally does. She goes on to say that she feels horrible, and she's sorry about what she had to do to deal with his loss, but she doesn't know what to say because she doesn't remember anything about them being together. This is what drives Damon to fully spill his guts about literally everything that he's feeling, and it's actually pretty romantic, to be honest-- or, at least, it would be if Elena had the ability to fully understand where he's coming from. "I do," Damon insists, "And no matter how much I missed you, or how much pain I was in, I never would have erased everything we ever had. Even if I was drowning in grief, I'd rather hang on to every moment that I ever held you, or every laugh that I ever heard, every shred of happiness that we ever had. I would rather spend every moment in agony than erase the memory of you."

UGH, I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING. And Elena is getting close to that point as well, but even someone who has no memory of this person she once stated was her soulmate has got to see that that is some seriously romantic shit right there. And maybe, just maybe, there's a part of Elena that recognizes that this kind of epic-speech-making of Damon's is something that has happened more than once. The brilliant recapper/reviewer Arabian on Livejournal has had a LOT to say about this whole Elena/Damon situation since Damon has come back (and, because she's way more consistent than I am, she has managed to actually keep up with all the episodes), and one of the major points she keeps coming back to is the fact that while Elena's mind may not remember her love for Damon, her body and her soul definitely do. Her mind is telling her to proceed with caution, but it's almost like Elena's muscle memory is still sort of drawing her to him, especially after this admission, not to mention her vampire soul, which I'm sure is somehow aware that this is the person whose blood made her who he is. This show doesn't get into the the whole bond of a sire and their progeny like other vampire shows such as True Blood, but I'm sure it still does play a role in their relationship, despite that fact. ANYWAY, so Damon gently touches Elena's face, and though she's totally into it at first, after a moment, she gets totally overwhelmed and pulls away before stating that she needs air and fleeing the scene.

And, of course, Jo and Alaric have totally been watching from across the room as though Damon and Elena were a particularly dramatic telenovela or something. (Which, let's be real, it totally is.) Jo sarcastically remarks that the Damon and Elena reunion seems to be going swimmingly, and Alaric immediately concedes that it's all his fault before admitting he shouldn't have compelled her. Jo's response is that the word "shouldn't" should be used for a statement like, "You shouldn't mix painkillers and booze," and not so much something that Elena asked for and played an active role in with her eyes wide open. Alaric just laughs and reminds her he isn't even on painkillers before adding, "In fact, I feel awful, but I am enjoying every miserable human moment of pain." UGH, I still don't like this human!Alaric-thing, but I am happy that he is happy to be human again. ALSO-- how is Alaric still in pain? This episode picked up immediately after where the previous episode left off, which means it's barely been a full twenty-four hours since Alaric became rehumanized after being "cured" of vampirism with the magic purification spell throughout Mystic Falls and then having his nearly-fatal injury (A LACERATED AORTA, i.e. having arguably the biggest and most important artery cut open.) So, if Alaric was healed with vampire blood, he shouldn't be sore or feel terrible right now, and if he WASN'T healed with vampire blood, then he most certainly should NOT be up and walking around right now, so basically I don't understand any of this.

Whatever, moving on-- Jo holds up her drink and replies, "To being powerless and mundane," and Alaric clinks his glass against hers in cheers to their humanity. Once they've drank in each other's honor, Alaric brings up the fact that they are both technically former supernatural beings and hilariously asks if they should be starting a support group. Jo just corrects him, though, and points out that she's still technically a witch, but she relinquished her magic and hid it for safekeeping. Alaric, even being the occult studies expert that he is, had no idea witches could do that, and Jo's voice gets an almost bitter tone when she replies, "Let's just say I chose to remove myself from a tragically dysfunctional family, and I haven't regretted a moment of it." OH SHIT. I'm sure that Jo hiding her magic and this hint regarding her dysfunctional family has absolutely NOTHING to do with any of the other storylines currently going on right now. AND, I'm sure that the cut over to Liv has nothing to do with it, either!

So, yeah, Liv is doing her caterer thing when she spots her twin Luke nearby and walks over to him to ask him how he managed to get into this shindig. Luke claims he came with a radiologist he met at the gym, which is such a Luke thing to do, but when he asks Liv what's going on with her and Tyler, Liv's voice gets cold as she snaps, "It's a short story called 'Mind Your Own Business.'" Yikes! Easy, girl! Luke immediately gets where her aggression is coming from and his demeanor becomes more gentle as he replies, "Liv, I'm not saying don't have fun, okay? Because that's why we're here. But, when the coven calls us home, they don't care if we're in love or not." Ohhhh shit. Liv isn't very pleased to hear that, either, so she tells him that he sounds just like their dad, which is apparently not at all a compliment. Luke tries to interject, but Liv just cuts him off and tells him to have fun with his gym fling before adding, "Leave me to mine," and storming away. Girlfriend's attitude is pretty impressive, wouldn't you say?

Time to check in with Bonnie, yeah? Except honestly, as you can already guess, it's not good news. She's still at the hospital, and has almost finished putting the Ascendant back together, but, since the universe has it out for poor Bonnie Sheila Bennett, she's missing the last piece of clockwork. She starts freaking out, all, "This isn't happening." Matters are made even worse when suddenly, the power goes out in the hospital, and Bonnie, completely unnerved at this point, cautiously pokes her head out into the hallway to investigate, which, naturally, is when Kai appears in front of her with the missing piece of the Ascendant. "Looking for this?" he asks with almost frightening levels of calm. "You stole the Ascendant, naughty girl. You weren't planning on using it and leaving me behind, were you?" Bonnie just glares at him angrily, but Kai just adds that since she left a trail of blood in the hallway, he figured that the hospital would be her first stop to patch herself up.

Bonnie doesn't wait to listen to another word, she just thrusts her hand in his direction and shouts, "Vados!", which causes the windows to shatter and carts and debris fly toward him to slow him down while she runs away. The first exit she manages to make it to is locked, so she scrambles to find another way to get out of there until she finally gets to where Damon's car is parked in the parking lot. Unfortunately, when she turns the key in the ignition, it won't turn over, because DUH, Kai obviously messed with it. That's when Kai appears behind her in the backseat, and he wastes no time putting his hands around Bonnie's throat and squeezing tightly as he leans forward so he can whisper into her ear like the world's worst creeper. "I thought about taking the keys, but that'd be like taking the cheese out of a mousetrap, right, Bonnie?" he asks, as Bonnie continues to grunt and thrash around in his hold to try to break free. "Although, you know, fun fact-- mice don't actually like cheese. Isn't that great?" Bonnie is still struggling as hard as she can to get away from him, but he just shushes her and reminds her that they still have an hour before the eclipse. "It's time to go home, Bonnie." UGH, HATE HIM. Anyone who hurts Bonnie is at least temporarily on my shit-list.

Back in the real world, Damon is in the middle of taking a series of shots at the bar when Elena approaches him and states that she has decided she wants to remember everything she compelled away. Damon just laughs bitterly and exasperatedly, and is like, "Well, you're a day late and a dollar short, honey." Elena amends her earlier statement to mean that she wants to TRY to remember-- obviously, she's fully aware that Alaric compelling her to remember again is out of the cards now. "Knowing that there's this whole piece of my life missing, it's... it's driving me crazy," Elena adds. "So, I have to at least TRY to get it back." Damon asks her how she's supposed to do that, so Elena suggests that perhaps unwinding the memories backwards could help trigger something that will at least help get her a few bits back, if not all of them like some falling dominos. Damon doesn't seem very convinced it will work, but he's desperate to get the love of his life back, so Damon tries to play it cool. "Yeah, sure! Tell me what you want me to do." Elena informs him that she wants him to take her to the last place she said she loved him, and Damon smiles. OH GOD THIS IS GOING TO HURT SO BAD.

Speaking of stuff that hurts really bad, let's cut back to the prison world, where Bonnie and Kai are in the underground tunnels in preparation for the spell to get back home. Bonnie is facing away from him when he tells her that he brought her a present, and when she turns around, she sees him pulling her teddy bear out of his bag. "Ta-da! Ms. Cuddles!" Kai exclaims happily. "Thought you might want to bring her along." Bonnie reluctantly thanks him for this uncharacteristic thoughtfulness, but Kai holds onto the bear as he makes his psychopathic version of an apology for his actions. "I know you think I'm a monster. I mean, I did murder or heavily maim most of my immediate family, but after a long period of self-reflection, I've come to the conclusion that I could have handled my anger better." Bonnie isn't buying it and reminds him that his exact words were that he wanted to get out of there so he can give the rest of the Gemini Coven an excruciating death, but Kai insists that he didn't actually mean that. "Honestly, I would do anything to get my family back, and the thing I'm most scared of is to figure out how to live in the world again," Kai explains. "Sort of hoping you've been a positive influence on me. You're a good person, Bonnie," he continues on, as he takes a step toward her. "You're brave, loyal, patient... I want to be more like you." YES SHE IS, YOU DICK. Everyone would be better if they tried to be more like Bonnie, let's be real. Kai adopts a high-pitched voice as he moves Ms. Cuddles arms and pretends to speak for her. "What do you say?" Kai/Ms. Cuddles squeaks. "Friends?" Bonnie just sighs in frustration and insists that they just get the fuck out of there, so Kai takes the fully-repaired Ascendant out of his pocket and hands it to her.

Out on Old Miller Road, Stefan and Caroline are waiting outside of the car when another car pulls up right at the border and stops. Stefan states the obvious by announcing that the hunters are there, and he goes into the backseat where Tripp and Matt are waiting to help them out. Meanwhile, the hunters have Liz at gunpoint as they walk her toward the border as well, and the two groups stand face to face with only the magic purification spell separating them. Caroline sees that Liz is bleeding a little from her head and immediately goes off on the guys and asks them what the fuck they did to her, but Liz assures her that she's fine before Matt, also pissed at the hunters' actions, insists that they just get this trade over with already. He tells them to let Liz go, and then they'll hand over Tripp, but of course they're like "YOU FIRST, TRAITOR." Caroline demands that they let her go or she'll kill them, but Liz once again instructs her to stand down before telling Stefan to let Tripp go. Stefan reluctantly does as he's told, and Tripp walks over to his fellow hunters.

As soon as he's out of Stefan's reach, Caroline once again demands that they let Liz go, which they reluctantly do, but once Tripp crosses the border, he gets a very weird look on his face. Matt immediately notices and asks him if he's okay, but Tripp only has time to ask, "What's happening to me?" before a huge slice suddenly materializes on his throat and he collapses onto the ground. Matt and Caroline watch in horror as Tripp bleeds out and dies right in front of them, and Matt wastes no time turning toward Stefan and angrily asking him what the fuck he just did. Stefan swears up and down that he had nothing to do with it and guesses that Enzo must have turned Tripp into a vampire before we got there to pick him up. Sly, Enzo! That is some pretty poetic punishment, to be honest, plus we know that Enzo's pretty fond of turning people to get back at others, as evidenced by his little stunt with Ivy. I do have a question, though-- what happens with the other hunters? Like, clearly, they're outnumbered, between Stefan, Caroline, Liz, and Matt, but it seems weird that they were just like, "Welp, see ya," after Tripp's death when they were so desperate to get him back that they literally took the SHERIFF OF THE COUNTY hostage, you know? I'm thinking there's probably way too much going on now in the currently-airing episodes for them to come back into play, but you never know, maybe they're just plotting their revenge somewhere.

Back in the prison world, it's almost time to portal-jump through the eclipse, and Kai states that it's now or never as Bonnie slices open her hand and drips her blood on the Ascendant. Man, Bonnie must have like some major gnarly scars there at this point, because she's done this like a million times by now. When she starts to chant, Kai quickly clutches onto Bonnie's arm to ensure that she won't leave him behind, but he doesn't notice that a drop of Bonnie's blood has dripped onto Ms. Cuddles, who is on the floor by her foot. She continues to chant as the Ascendant clicks itself open and the eclipse begins overhead, and she nonchalantly nudges Ms. Cuddles with her foot. "So long, 1994," Kai crows, but suddenly, the Ascendant makes another clicking noise and closes itself. Kai starts to freak out and asks what the hell is happening, but Bonnie claims she has no idea. He's like, "Keep going! Hurry!", but Bonnie can't, because something has happened to her magic. Kai is pretty much losing his mind at this point and asks her what the fuck she's talking about, because she was just doing the spell just fine, but when he grabs her arms, he can't siphon her magic, and his eyes about bug out of his head.

"It's so strange," Bonnie says, with a small, triumphant smirk on her face. "I wonder if I accidentally put it somewhere?" She pauses for effect, and then adds, "Oh, I remember now! I put it somewhere safe." Bonnie is so damn proud of herself, and Kai tries his best to remain calm when he asks her where she put her magic. She asks him if he remembers what he said earlier about wanting to be brave, loyal, and patient like her, and Kai immediately is hit upside the head with the realization that she PUT THE MAGIC IN MS. CUDDLES! Damn, Bonnie is so badass! She was casting the portal-jumping spell aloud while she was casting a non-verbal spell to put her magic in the bear at the same time! GOD, I LOVE BONNIE SO DAMN MUCH. He turns to check his bag for the bear, but Ms. Cuddles has left the building, and he screams in fury for a moment before turning back to Bonnie.

"Come on!" he yells, completely dropping his nice act. "Where's the stupid bear, hmmm?" She just shrugs and replies, "Oh, it's gone. I guess we're stuck here forever. Sorry!" Damn, girl! On the one hand, I get it-- Kai is a dangerous psychopathic murderer, and she doesn't want to give him what he wants, which is to get free and terrorize his family/coven. On the other hand, why doom yourself to an eternity of living in this prison world with the aforementioned psychopath? Like, she had to know that doing this is probably gonna result in her getting killed or tortured by him. She could have easily just brought them both back and then let Damon kill his ass, because he's got some pent-up anger and frustration he needs to let out and he's surely still pissed at him for what he did to Bonnie. Why does no one even consider killing Kai? It's just one of those cases of "Well, the script says we can't, so..." and it's a LITTLE annoying. I'll get into that more in the next TVD recap.

In the real world, Damon has driven Elena out to Route 9, where they have stopped just short of the anti-magic border. Damon is sitting on the hood of the car, while Elena stands beside him awkwardly. She admits that she doesn't remember being there with him that night, so Damon tries to stir up some of the memories by asking her what she DOES remember, i.e. what did Alaric compel her to believe? Elena thinks on it for a moment and starts outlining the events of "Home" (the recap of which I have yet to finish because I am awful), only with Alaric's memory modifications.

ELENA: "You had a plan, but you didn't tell anyone what you were doing. And, the next thing I know, you're dead. I heard that you drove your car into the Grill and then blew yourself up so that you could trigger some explosion."
DAMON: [smiles] "There's just one little part of that story that you're missing. YOU got in the car with me."
ELENA: [shocked] "What?"
DAMON: "I was all ready to go, and the door opens, and you jump in the car and say, "We're in this together," and you weren't taking no for an answer. That was the moment I realized you were the perfect girl for me, because you were just as crazy as I was."
Elena doesn't seem to be remembering any of this, but there is a part of her that is kind of exhilarated to hear it, because it's much more exciting than what Alaric compelled her to believe. You know the first time Damon and Elena met before her parents' car accident, and he was talking about how she wanted romance and passion and adventure? That is exactly what buttons these stories are pushing, and she wants to know more, specifically something happier. "Okay, happy..." Damon begins, before adding, "Well, there is a motel ice machine in Denver that's got some stories." BAHAHAHA. As far as Damon and Elena memories go, that's like the Holy Grail for Delena shippers. Elena asks him for more, so he replies, "Well, can't forget the night of your graduation." Elena is hilariously like, "Well, I did, so...", which does get a smile out of Damon despite everything.

"Shame. Probably one of your best speeches," Damon says with a grin. "You, in your very passionate and adorable way, told me you were in love with me, and hell if you were gonna apologize for it." They stare at each other for a moment, and then Damon shares another memory, only this is one that we haven't witnessed yet, because it took place over the summer between Season 4 and Season 5. "My favorite memory of us, oh, one that I've relived a million times over the last four months, is this summer night that we had before you went off to college. You wanted to show me this meteor shower, so we drove out in the middle of nowhere, and the moment those shooting stars started to fall? Rain. Lots of rain. You were SO sure it would clear, and it was just easier to believe you, and I took your hand..." Damon takes her hand in his and places it on his shoulder, and Elena looks deeply into his eyes for a long moment before she becomes too overwhelmed and frustrated with her memory loss to fully enjoy the hot dude who would literally walk to the ends of the earth for her. She tells him that she's sorry, but this whole memory-jog thing isn't working, and turns away from him, taking a few steps in the opposite direction to put some space between them. Damon makes the mistake of suggesting that maybe she needs to try harder, which is when she completely loses her temper.

"I AM trying!" she says loudly, and she takes a deep breath before continuing in an only mildly calmer tone. "I get that we had an amazing life together, and I know that I love the fact that you were reckless, and probably made me feel very free, but now, when I look into your eyes, I just..." When she trails off, Damon asks her what it is that she feels like, and Elena is brutally honest when she replies that she feels like she's looking at a stranger, because since she just can't remember, she's never going to be able to give him what he wants. Damon walks over to her and holds her face in his hands as he gently murmurs, "Hey-- there are things you can't erase, and you know that." He leans toward her to where their foreheads are nearly touching, but once again, Elena gets overwhelmed and pulls his hands off of her, though, to Damon's everlasting credit, he immediately realizes how uncomfortable she is and he backs off.

Suddenly, Elena gets that determined look in her eye that tells you she's about to do something crazy-- like stab herself in the gut with one of the Original vampire daggers while she's human to call Elijah's bluff, or hand herself over to Klaus to save her friends, or jump into her boyfriend's Camaro so they can blow themselves up as part of their Traveler sacrifice-- and she begins purposefully walking away from him. Damon starts chasing after her, not understanding what she's doing until she crosses over the anti-magic border and starts coughing up water as the spell strips away her vampirism and causes her to drown again. Of course, the plus is that the memories of loving Damon that were compelled away by Alaric start flashing rapidly through her mind (telling Damon she was still in love with him even despite the sire-bond, Damon putting the necklace Stefan gave her around her neck on her birthday, etc) as she continues to gag and sputter water that just magically appeared in her lungs.

Finally, Damon can't stand it anymore, and he pulls her back out of the force-field to ensure she didn't end up dying on accident. "Hey! What the hell are you doing?" Damon asks in exasperation. "Ninety more seconds, you'd be dead." After a moment, Elena tells him she was trying to undo the compulsion, and claims its the only way, but Damon is NOT game for that plan whatsoever, as you can probably guess. "No, no, no, no," Damon states emphatically. "Hey. Listen. I would give ANYTHING for you to remember, but I'm not gonna risk your life. It's the last thing I would ever do... even if you don't remember that." Elena and Damon both look pretty wrecked, to be honest, and after a moment, Damon pats her on the shoulder and tells her it's time to get her home.

Over at Whitmore Medical Center, Caroline is being a total helicopter-mom to Liz as they sit in a hospital room. Liz insists that this is totally unnecessary, but Caroline reminds her that she was hit over the head and could have a concussion, and since she can't trust Liz to go to Mystic Falls Hospital to get checked out, she has to supervise her here. Stefan is hovering in the background, and after a moment, Caroline turns to him and tells him to leave, because she's got it handled. Liz, seeing the tension between Caroline and Stefan, sweetly asks Caroline if she could check to see how long the wait will be, and when Caroline leaves to do as she's told, Liz looks over at Stefan and is like, "I see that she's still icing you out." LOL, man, Liz is the best. Stefan looks a little embarrassed as he confirms it, and asks her if she's interested in helping him fix it, but Liz just smiles at him and points out that since she's Caroline's mother, she's not allowed. Caroline returns just then with a nurse to do her assessment, and she informs her that she'll be just outside as she leaves Liz to have her head injury checked out.

Once she and Stefan make it out into the hallway, Caroline immediately snaps, "Please don't ask my mother for her opinions." Stefan seems surprised that Caroline heard him for some reason, even though she's a vampire with super-hearing, which is exactly what she tells him-- because of said super-hearing, she hears EVERYTHING. Stefan claims that she only hears stuff when she listens, which just earns him a withering glare, so he sighs and asks, "Why?" Of course, Caroline pretends that he's still talking about her super-hearing, so he amends his question to, "Why do you have a thing for me?" GOD, STEFAN, YOU ARE SO DAMN OBLIVIOUS. Like, I seriously wonder if he's just been wandering around with his eyes closed for the last three years.
CAROLINE: [stone-faced] "I don't."
STEFAN: [awkward] "Okay. Um... why DID you have a thing for me?"
CAROLINE: "We said that we would never talk about this again, so..."
STEFAN: "Look, Caroline, please, just talk to me. Tell me how, tell me why... Please, just make me understand how is it that I missed it."
CAROLINE: [appalled] "What kind of a stupid question is that? Why did I have a thing for you? I don't know, Stefan. Maybe because I thought you were worth having a thing for? Because when I woke up as a vampire, you told me that I would get through it, and I did? Because when I watched Elena move on with your brother, I couldn't imagine why she would ever let anyone like you go? Because you were practically my best friend? Because I trusted you?"
STEFAN: [shocked and guilty] "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not seeing it, I'm sorry for not..."
CAROLINE: [upset] "Feeling it back?"
STEFAN: "No! I didn't say that. I... I... Look, I don't know what I felt. You know, my head was all over the place, but I am incredibly sorry for the way that I treated you."
CAROLINE: "Yeah? Well... I know what you felt, Stefan, because even if just a little, tiny piece of you felt for me what I was starting to feel for you, you wouldn't have walked away. And I don't hate you for that. I don't hate you for mourning your brother. I don't hate you for being the biggest jerk on the planet while doing so, and I accept your apology."
STEFAN: [sad] "...But, you do still hate me."
CAROLINE: "Yes. Yeah, I hate you, because if I don't hate you for ruining our friendship, then I have to hate myself for ruining it, and I think that I deserve better than that."

HOT DAMN! That conversation seriously needed to happen, like, five episodes ago, but I'm glad that these two finally got all their cards on the table. I honestly have no idea how Stefan could have missed Caroline's growing crush on him, because he KNEW that she liked him allllll the way back in the pilot, when he told her that it wasn't going to happen. Sure, he was all absorbed in Elena and whatever, but they've been broken up for almost three whole seasons now, and he got over his breakup with Elena like halfway through last season, so what was his excuse? I mean, he was there when Caroline was ready to kill Tom Avery to save him, he was there when they cuddled in the back of the van at that junkyard where the Travelers were living, he was there when she became such a mess after he died that she actually DID kill Luke to motivate Liv to bring him back. I mean, these are some pretty glaringly obvious signals, here, and it's kind of silly that Stefan never even considered the possibility, you know? Sigh.

On campus, Damon is walking Elena to her dorm room, and just as they make it to the door, Elena mentions that she did get some bits and pieces of her memories when she crossed the anti-magic border. She goes on to say that she remembered looking at the stars with him when it started to rain, referencing the memory they just talked about a few minutes ago. However, Damon's likely been stewing about this whole situation during the trek back to the dorms, so he does this thing where he starts to get real about the state of their relationship, and Elena just pretends that he's not saying anything and keeps pushing him to answer her questions, and it's actually pretty great and very true to character. "When you became a vampire, part of me was thrilled, because suddenly there was this possibility I could have you in my life forever," Damon begins sadly, reminiscing over the events of Season 3's "The Departed" and Season 4's "Growing Pains." "But then, the other part of me was devastated, because I realized you'd lost the life that you wanted to have." Elena somehow knows deep down where this conversation is going, and so she tries to swerve around it by bringing up the stars again and asking him what happened next. Damon ignores her and continues his trademark "I'm bad for you" break-up speech, even though they're technically not together right now.

"And since I've been gone, you've gotten part of that life back. You're thriving, you're happy. Yeah, sure, maybe you'd be happy if we gave it another chance, But the truth is... you're better off without me." Elena finally starts really tuning into Damon's side of the conversation and asks him what the fuck he's talking about, so Damon spells it out for her-- Damon's death caused her to start over, and he doesn't want her to stop living her life now that he's back. "Be happy," Damon says, echoing Elena's letter to herself. "I love you, Elena... enough to let you go." Damon looks SO SO SO SO SAD as he looks down at the ground, unable to make eye-contact with her, but Elena is still determined to keep going. "It started to rain, and then what?" Elena asks again, and Damon, unwilling to continue playing this game any longer, replies, "It got cold and muddy. You were miserable, so we got in the car, and we..." He hesitates for a moment, and then finishes, "We drove home." He turns and leaves without another word, leaving a very confused and unhappy Elena all alone in the hallway.

Meanwhile, Alaric and Jo have finally made it back to Jo's apartment, where Alaric is continuing to groan in pain and to remark that he probably should have decided to go the painkiller route after all. Jo is exhausting after a night of schmoozing with hospital donors and insists that she needs to order a pizza and get out of her dress. She heads into her bedroom as Alaric plops down on the couch, though he totally watches her get undressed like a creeper. When she pulls off her dress, he sees a large scar extending from her navel laterally to her side, and he calls out, "Ouch," in response. She asks if he means her scar, and then explains that she got into an accident when she was younger that caused her to lose her spleen. OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT, SHE'S KAI'S SISTER!!!! Alaric assumes it was a car accident, but Jo instead further confirms that she's Gemini Coven by replying, "Actually, it was less an accident, and more like my brother tried to gut me with a hunting knife. Like I said, tragically dysfunctional family." Alaric doesn't know what to say to this, at least partially because he recognizes the details from the stories he's heard from Damon about the prison world, but Jo figures she just killed the mood with this admission. Alaric assures her that she didn't, and points out that since they both have "complicated, tragic, and dysfunctional histories," he's pretty sure they're a perfect match. Aw, Alaric! That was so smooth that Jo immediately starts kissing him, and man, I really like them together.

To make matters worse for Elena, she's in her dorm room when she suddenly hears a knock at the door and goes to answer it. It's Liam, who does not look happy, and it's not (just) because she totally blew him off at the fundraiser. She apologizes for her behavior earlier, but as it turns out, he's not there solely because of what happened with him and Damon. He shoves a case file into her hands, and when she asks what it is, he drops this bomb on her: "So, I finally got a look at Lady Whitmore's labs. Turns out, they sent her home without doing the shoulder surgery because the injury doesn't exist anymore." Elena gapes in horror, because hoooooly shit, this is so no bueno, but Liam's on a roll. "Seems to have spontaneously healed itself, and all this after meeting your dead boyfriend tonight? None of this adds up. The only thing that's really clear is that you're not only a liar, but you're a liar with secrets. So, you can tell me the truth, or I can figure this out on my own." He doesn't even give her any time to argue, though-- he just turns on his heel and storms away while Elena just looks bewildered. I'm sorry, but Liam is just SO BORING TO ME. What is his point, exactly?

Poor Damon is at the cemetery, or at least the part that vampires can still enter, and is, as usual, drinking a bottle of bourbon. He pours a little booze onto a gravestone and slurs, "One for you, one for me. Cheers, Honoria Fell." LOL, I love how she just keeps popping up, even though I'm not sure we've ever even met her in flashbacks? Fun fact: in the Vampire Diaries books, Honoria Fell is a witch who helps out the main gang of kids. Anyway, as Damon drinks, he flashes back to his memory of the night of the meteor shower that he referenced earlier. The two have just made it out on a dock somewhere, and they smile at each other as the stars fly over their heads. Suddenly, it starts to pour down rain, and they start to giggle. After a moment, Damon suggests that they "abandon ship," but Elena insists that it'll clear up soon. However, despite Elena's insistence, the rain doesn't even slow down, but Elena doesn't care-- she just leans in and starts kissing Damon for a long beat.

(via 1864damon)
When they pull away, Elena smiles the brightest smile and says, "Promise me this is forever." Damon smiles what is probably the biggest and most genuinely happy and adoring smile we have ever seen Damon smile in all of the various incarnations of Damon we've met in his 170+ years of life. "I promise," he says in response, and the two begin to make out again as they're soaked to the bone in rain. In the present, Damon raises his bottle and turns to go to the Salvatore mausoleum, and mutters, "Here's to optimism." Suddenly, he spots Ms. Cuddles sitting on the front step of the crypt, as though it's a sign from the universe that Damon desperately needed. Damon lunges for the bear and picks it up, not believing his eyes. "Bonnie!" Damon murmurs under his breath. "You're still alive!" He smiles, finally happy after the shitty day that he had. YESSSS TIME TO GET BONNIE BACK!

Next episode: It's Friendsgiving at Caroline and Elena's dorm, and Stefan isn't invited, but it's okay, because he, Damon and Alaric are off to Portland to seek out the Gemini Coven again. Back at Whitmore, Caroline, Elena, Tyler, Liv, Luke, and Jo come to the girls' dorm in what is probably the most awkward dinner in TVD history.

[screencaps via Screencapped]


"Budapest" by George Ezra (Liv teaches Tyler to pour champagne into glasses, and Jo and Alaric arrive at the fundraiser)

"Msk" by Yellowcard (Elena and Liam arrive at the fundraiser, and Jo lists Liam's good qualities to Damon)

"Belong" by The Cary Brothers (Elena and Damon dance at the fundraiser)

"How Long Do I Have To Wait For You?" by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (Elena approaches Damon at the bar and tells him she wants to remember loving him)

"Two Weeks" by Grizzly Bear (Alaric and Jo toast to their powerless, ordinary lives while Liv and Luke discuss their coven)

"Concrete Angel (Acoustic)" by Christina Novelli (Stefan asks Caroline to explain how he missed the fact that she had feelings for him)

"The Hardest Part" by Nina Nesbitt (Elena and Damon drive out to the borders of Mystic Falls, where Elena last told Damon she loved him)

"Another Love" by Tom Odell (Damon pours a drink on Honoria Fell's grave before finding Ms. Cuddles on the step of the Salvatore crypt)


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