The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 12: "Prayer For The Dying" Recap/Review

At this rate, I'm running out of things to say in these introductions, so let's just skip the formalities and get to talking about "Prayer For The Dying," yeah? Especially since I totally posted this without adding in the previouslies because my brain is pretty much scrambled between the scorching heat, a ridiculous case of PMS, and my brain being flooded with recap discussion ideas. Whoops!

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: Despite the fact that Elena had her memories of loving Damon erased when she thought he had died for good, she has still managed to relearn the good about him and has decided to take the plunge with him again. Kai then captured Elena before she could have dinner with Damon and decided to practice magic on her, because SURPRISE!-- Kai sucked up the anti-magic Travelers spell throughout Mystic Falls, which is good because now the vampires can return home, but it's also bad, because that gave Kai a shitload of powers. Fortunately, Damon managed to save Elena with help from Jo, Alaric, and Jeremy, the latter two of which shot Kai with an arrow and shot him up with sedatives to keep him knocked out 'til Jo is strong enough to beat him in the twin-merge. Oh yeah, and the twin-merge is to determine the leader of the Gemini Coven, but it ends up causing the stronger twin to absorb the magic of the other and kill their weaker twin. Liv and Luke were supposed to do it, but Tyler is adamant that his girlfriend not do it, since he likes her alive and everything. Caroline hated Stefan for ruining their friendship while Damon was "dead," but Stefan quickly won his favor back by actually being a friend to her. Imagine that! Unfortunately, Liz has been diagnosed with Stage 4 glioblastoma (brain cancer), so she is going to need a friend right now, especially considering she fed her mother vampire blood in hopes that it would heal her cancer. Unfortunately for her, she tested this theory on another patient with terminal glioblastoma, but once she thought the vamp blood healed him, she assumed the experiment was a success and didn't still around to make sure nothing bad happened. Which, it totally did-- Colin ended up vomiting up blood and dying in his hospital room, so you know what that means...

We start off this episode with Caroline straight-off-the-bat getting a terrifying middle-of-the-night visitor in Colin Phelps, the Grade IV glioblastoma patient from Duke University's medical center who she healed with her vampire blood in the last episode. He's ashen, super confused and scared, and is covered in blood, and he somehow manages to enter Caroline's house without an invitation, despite the fact that it's obvious that he's now a member of the undead. My first question is, how the fuck did he track Caroline down so fast? Like, did he google her address and then drive the four hours from North Carolina to Virginia while he's presumably soaked in the blood of some poor nurse who had the misfortune of coming to check on him after he awoke in transition?

Anyway, so Colin ends up passing out on Caroline's couch, and she waits until morning to call Stefan up and get some friendly advice from him. She insists that Colin was clearly fine when they left, judging by the fact that he was running around and stuffing his face with vending machine snacks, which seems to suggest that vampire blood did heal him of whatever damage the radiation treatments caused, but only served to speed up the growth of his cancer, which ended up killing him. That would explain why he felt better at first and then got worse, because the accelerated growth of the cancer would have made up the difference in suffering that was caused by the healed radiation damage pretty quickly.

Man, I feel badly for any cancer patient who died with vampire blood in their system, because that is a seriously terrible way to go. Stefan finally puts it together that, hello, the blood on his clothes might not be his, and he could have gotten in the house if Liz transferred the house to Caroline's name, making it open for any vampire to just swan right through the door without the usually necessary invitation. He then confirms their theory by lifting the blinds, which allows the sunlight to hit Colin's sleeping face and burn it. Rude, Stefan! Like the dude isn't suffering enough right now. Anyway, the implications of the fact that he's now a vampire start to finally make their way through Stefan and Caroline's currently-spinning minds, and their eyes widen in horror when they realize that he must have died last night, which does not bode well at all for poor Liz. Ugh, I still hate this whole Liz-dying thing. She may not have been a main character or even a favorite character of mine, but she was still awesome and I'm going to miss her. TITLE CARD!

Elena and Damon have apparently been crashing at Alaric's to help him and Jo guard Kai's still barbiturate-filled body while Jo tries to get back on the old magic bicycle. Elena rushes around the apartment while she gets ready for the shift for which she is already late, and Damon holds out part of a sandwich he made for her so he can feed her. While it is super disgustingly cute, it just reminds me once again that I'm watching a show about vampires who, like, never drink blood any more, and it makes no sense to me. Don't forget about the premises of your shows, Julie Plec! Before Elena leaves, she instructs him not to smother Kai with a pillow like she knows he's been dying to do since he got there, and adds that he should give Kai an extra 50 milligrams of pentobarbital if he starts getting twitchy. She's just about to walk out the door when Damon stops her and asks her on a date that night, a right proper date with dinner at an Italian restaurant that "has eggplant so good you actually think you're eating people" and a pretentious French arthouse movie. Elena seems game at first, because she's obsessed with eggplant, though she doesn't know French, but when Damon insists that the point is sitting in the back and throwing popcorn at the hipsters, she realizes that they've already been on this date before, and the memory of it was among the ones that Alaric erased.
ELENA: "Damon, that's cheating, okay? You already know everything about me."
DAMON: [offended] "Cheating? Cheating is erasing all of our epic memories! That's cheating."
ELENA: "I'm serious! Look, if we're going to do this, then we can't just pick up where we left off, because I don't remember where that is."
DAMON: [sighs] "I understand. Where would you like to start?"
ELENA: [smiles] "At the beginning. I'm off at six-- you can pick me up then."
Bah, this erased-memories thing continues to be such a damn drag. I feel like both sides of valid points here-- I get why Elena wants to ease back into things, but at the same time, it's not Damon's fault that he's having difficulty adjusting to the fact that Elena essentially hit a reset button on their entire relationship. What's done is done, and while I don't think it's exactly fair of Damon to keep berating Elena for what she did, I can't blame him for having a hard time dealing with the fact that his girlfriend essentially has voluntary retrograde amnesia. He still has all of these memories that are essentially worthless to their current relationship, because her version of those memories are totally gone, and like it or not, it's made her a completely different person. I would probably be a little impatient, too.

At Whitmore, Liv and Tyler are snuggled up in their underwear in Liv's bed in her dorm room, where they're trying to find a nice place for them to go. Liv isn't taking it seriously at all, and suggests stuff like Atlantis, or the Sea of Tranquility on the moon, which does nothing but make Tyler more frustrated. Still, Liv is worried about all the real world stuff going on in her life right now, and so she's doing what any introverted grumpy girl does-- she's hunkering down in her bed with her boyf and ignoring it all, which, as a fellow introverted grumpy girl, this is a method for which I can totally vouch-- so she insists that the two of them just spend the entirety of spring break exactly where they are.

As if he's got some kind of super-sense as to when his daughter would least like to see him, that's when Joshua decides to start pounding on Liv's door. Tyler tells her to ignore it, not knowing who it is, but when Joshua starts yelling through the door to see if Liv is home, Liv starts cursing under her breath about the fact that he showed up early and scrambles to put on some real clothes so her dad won't find her nearly-naked in bed with her beau. When Tyler asks her why he's there, she vaguely explains that he wants to take her and Luke to dinner before throwing him his shirt and telling him to hide in the closet. She then opens the door to see her dad with the fakest of smiles, and he tells her he decided to come early to have some extra quality time with his "girl" before holding out a wrapped gift and wishing her a happy birthday. Yeah, and I'm sure that gift will be totally useful when Liv dies in the twin-merge you're trying to make happen, right, dude? Ugh, I hate him.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Jo has just finished passing meds to a patient-- which is totally not something a doctor does, that is what NURSES do-- and walks into the hallway, where she sees a withered and dead-looking plant and decides to try to revive it with magic while no one is looking. Of course, nothing happens, because in case you didn't know, Jo sucks at magic, so Elena comes up behind Jo and asks her if she should call the time of death, which is super adorable, though it doesn't do much to boost Jo's confidence, because she just drops it in the trash. Elena tries to make up for the joke by holding up her new-daylight-ring-clad hand and assures her that she walked all the way across campus without bursting into flame, so that's something. Before Jo can celebrate her magical success, Stefan stumbles into the ER, half-carrying Colin, and tells Jo that they need her help.

We cut to a little while later, after Jo has ordered a CT scan of Colin's head, which she is now comparing to the CT done last week on the lightbox in another room. The amount of red on the scan of his brain has pretty much doubled since then, and even Damon, who has never worked in healthcare, can see that Colin is totally fucked. Stefan correctly assumes that the vampire blood didn't heal the actual cancer, it just sped up its growth, and Jo is understandably frustrated with the case she just got handed by her friends. "So, now, I have a Stage 10 cancer patient-- which, by the way, doesn't exist-- who is beyond terminal and a vampire, meaning all of his emotions are heightened and he can't die." That was a very accurate and succinct way to put it, Jo. Thank you! Damon isn't unsympathetic to the guy's predicament, but he's not exactly sure why he was brought here, so Liz, who has just arrived with Caroline, gives him the deets-- since Caroline fed her vampire blood last night, Liz is not far away from being exactly like Colin. YIIIIKES! And Liz may have a much more tolerant view of vampires now than her ex-husband did, but that doesn't mean she actually wants to be one, and she most especially doesn't want to be one if she's still going to be suffering from cancer even when she's immortal, so basically, she and Caroline are fucked.

When we return from the break, Elena is sitting outside of the hospital when Stefan comes to join her. She asks him if there's any news, but when Stefan points out that it's kind of hard, since it's out of Jo's expertise, Elena gets a little snippy and asks him if he knew that Caroline was planning on feeding her blood to her mother. Stefan sighs and admits that he was there afterward and saw it heal Colin, but Elena points out that it didn't really heal him, which isn't exactly true-- no, it didn't heal the cancer, but it did heal the radiation damage, and it did have a visible improvement, so there was no reason for them to think it didn't work. Elena becomes even more frustrated and reminds him that deep down, he knew it wouldn't work, since he's been alive 165+years now and has been a paramedic, and states that she wishes they would have just done more research or waited a day or so before trying anything.

Yikes, Elena! Maybe tone it down on the judgment? Stefan says basically the same thing, arguing that he doesn't exactly have an MD in supernatural cancer treatment, so how the fuck was he supposed to know, plus no one can exactly blame Caroline for acting irrationally at the thought of losing her mother-- especially not Elena, who literally burned her house down with her brother's corpse inside when he died AND erased all of her memories of loving Damon after Stefan rudely told her that she needed to just get over it already. "You didn't see the hope in her eyes when she thought that maybe her mother didn't have to die," Stefan adds. "And I didn't want to be the one to take that away from her." Aw, Stefan! And, of course, Caroline has just appeared right behind them, likely having heard their entire conversation, and informs them that Jo has an idea.

Jo and Damon are standing outside Liz's new hospital room, where she is hooked up to various IVs and is sleeping soundly. Jo's hypothesis is that if the vampire blood is the issue, then a full transfusion of human blood could flush it out of her system and stabilize her. Damon immediately calls her out on her lack of confidence in this theory, but Jo reminds him that they're kind of in a medical no-man's-land, since this isn't just an actual physical problem, but it's also a magical one. Damon just smirks and sarcastically retorts that Jo should be uniquely qualified, given that she's a doctor-witch and all, but Jo just rolls her eyes at the fact that Damon is choosing now to believe in her medical abilities before insisting that Liz's problem is beyond any witch ability she's ever heard of. When she asks him if he has any better ideas, Damon looks as though he's about to get one of his crazy-Damon plans, which means it's going to be a Hail-Mary that is likely going to blow up in everyone's faces. And, I mean no disrespect to Damon, obviously, because like him or not, he gets shit done-- it's just the fact is that impulsive plans have a very high risk ratio, and they can't all be miracles, you know?

Tyler and Liv are walking to meet up with Luke before the twins have dinner with their dad, and, as expected, Tyler is mad again-- this time, because Liv lied to him and told him that she and Luke wouldn't be turning twenty-two until two weeks from now. As they walk, Liv checks her makeup in a compact mirror and insists she did it to avoid this very reaction before asking him if her eyeliner is too heavy. Tyler is understandably not okay with this dinner, since she and Luke are now officially old enough to merge, which means that Liv could very well die, but she assures him that she and Luke are going to use their "wonder-twin powers of persuasion"-- which is hilarious and kind of makes me love Liv more-- to convince Joshua that Jo is strong enough to take on Jo so he'll let them merge instead.

Just then, Luke arrives and instantly and rudely remarks that Liv is wearing too much makeup before snitting that Tyler shouldn't be there, even though he's not actually going to dinner with them. When Liv makes fun of his suit, Luke reminds her that they're trying to ask the leader of the Gemini Coven to let them out of a centuries-old tradition, they'll probably have a better chance if he actually takes them seriously. Tyler stupidly suggests that it would be better if he talks to their dad, but both twins are actually in agreement when they order him to stay out of it. Tyler is clearly still considering it, but Liv just tells him to trust her before kissing him and taking off for dinner. Oh, Tyler, I hate what they've done to your character. Remember Season 2 Tyler and how awesome he was? That was such a good time.

Back at the hospital, Damon is sitting in the waiting room when Elena comes in to see him. He stands and asks her if the blood transfusions are helping with the cancer before bitterly joking if there's a "Sheriff-sized space" left in the family crypt. Yikes, morbid. Elena just shakes her head and says that she doesn't know, since Jo is still running some tests, but she should be back soon. "I don't know if you remember this," Damon begins, "But Liz and I are pretty close." Elena assures him that she does know that, and when Damon adds, "I mean, as far as humans go, she's... tolerable," Elena promises that not only does she know he cares about Liz, they all do, so if there's anything they can do to fix this, then they will. Of course, that's when Jo comes in, but remains silent other than a deep sigh that pretty much communicates all they need to know-- it didn't work.

Caroline is at a vending machine when Stefan finds her, and she immediately starts complaining about the coffee machine being broken, because if they can't fix a coffee machine, how can they fix people? Stefan lowers his voice and asks her if she doesn't actually need some real food, since he's sure there's a machine in the hospital that vends O+. which is silly, because everyone knows Caroline's favorite kind of blood is B+, especially since she's having a really hard time BEING positive right now. She sighs and laments the fact that she fed her mother her blood, but when she asks Stefan why she'd screw up so royally, Stefan reminds her that she was only trying to help. "No, I was trying to fix something that I had no business trying to fix. It's like textbook-definition of 'control-freak from hell.'" Stefan once again reminds her that she's an optimist who wants to believe that anything is possible and that it's exactly that positive outlook that Liz needs most right now.

And, since the universe just seems to want to shit all over Caroline this week (instead of Bonnie, who is their usual target of opportunity), they both start to hear extremely loud pained moans from a nearby room. When Caroline realizes it's Colin's room, they rush through the door to find Colin impaling himself with an IV stand. YIKES! This is so, so, SO horrible and hard to watch. Colin angrily pulls the metal bar from his chest and drops it on the floor before asking them why he can't die, but Stefan tries his best to assure him that it's okay, though it's most certainly not. "I'm not okay!" Colin exclaims. "I'm in agony! I can hear my tumors growing!" Yikes, that is literally a fate worse than death for sure. Caroline promises that they'll help him if he stops hurting himself, but Colin just vamp-speeds over to her and insists that if they want to help him, they should kill him and put him out of his misery.

Just then, he collapses onto the floor to reveal Damon standing behind him, holding his heart, which, for the record, looks TERRIBLE-- it's all blackened and shriveled and definitely unhealthy. Caroline immediately demands to know why he did that, but Damon is still super upset about the news he's just heard and decides to take it out on the last person on earth who needs it. "He made a wish," Damon snaps. "I granted it." He waits a beat before pointing out that the transfusions didn't work either, which means Colin isn't the only person Caroline just killed, but when Stefan quite rightly tells him to shut the fuck up, Caroline just sighs, near tears, and angrily responds, "No, it's fine. You know, he's just saying what everyone else is thinking. I killed my mom." She then speeds out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

Elena is standing outside Liz's room as she looks through the window and calling Caroline, but she keeps getting her voicemail. She leaves Caroline a message begging her to come back before walking into the room to find Liz just waking up after her nap. She asks her how she's doing, and Liz admits she feels like a human pin cushion before asking her if their little blood-swap worked. Elena hesitates for a moment, not wanting to have to break the news, before stating that they're not sure, since Jo is still running some tests, but Liz is the damn Sheriff of Mystic Falls, so she knows better. "You shouldn't lie to sick people, Elena," Liz says with a weak smile. "It's bad karma." Elena sighs and sadly informs her that though they thought the blood transfusions would slow the cancer cells from replicating, it didn't work, and Liz's eyes fill with disappointed tears as Elena apologizes to her. When she asks how Caroline is doing, Elena lies again and says she left to go get food, but when Liz calls her out again, Elena looks as though she's about to cry herself while she explains that Caroline just took off and no one can get a hold of her. "She's not going to forgive herself for this, is she?" Liz asks worriedly, but Elena sits down next to her on the bed and squeezes her hand before promising that they will find her. Liz nods and thanks her, but she doesn't seem very hopeful. GOD, MY HEART.

Stefan finally finds Caroline at a flower shop, while she's maniacally looking through the various vases of flowers. As soon as she sees him, she declares this to be excellent timing, because she has apparently decided that she needs to stop interfering with Liz's life and instead throw all of her energy and attention into picking flowers for her funeral. She considered sunflowers, since they're Liz's favorite, but she thinks they might be too over-the-top cheerful, and while pink roses are classic, the vase sucks, blah blah blah. Caroline in this kind of laser-focus task is a scary thing for many reasons, so Stefan pauses to try to figure out the best way to approach this situation, but before he can say anything, Caroline heads him off. "If you're thinking of saying something to make me feel better, don't. I don't deserve to feel better." Stefan replies that he wasn't planning on it at all-- he just wanted to remind her that there may be more important things to focus on right now than plan a memorial service for her still-alive mother. Caroline reminds him that it's still stuff that needs to be done, since Liz isn't going to want to live out her life as an immortal bloodsucker with agonizing cancer for eternity, so she plans on just doing this kind of thing instead of making stuff worse. Stefan feels awful about this, as you can imagine, especially after Elena made him feel horrible about it, but since they can't change the past, he gets into pep-talk-mode.
STEFAN: "Caroline, you took a risk. It didn't pay off, but you did it out of love. You made your mother sicker, okay? But what are you gonna do now? Are you just gonna bury your head in the sand?"
CAROLINE: [overwhelmed] "I don't... I don't know what to say to her."
STEFAN: "You don't have to say anything. Just sit with her."
CAROLINE: [near tears] "I can't. I can't even face her."
STEFAN: [sighs] "Look, when I was young... my mom, she got really sick. And, instead of spending time with her, I did everything I could to avoid her, like picking out her favorite flowers, or walking into town to get the tea that she liked. And I pretended like I was doing it for her, but I wasn't-- I was just afraid to see her like that. And then, my dad, he, uh... he sent her away, and she died. I would give anything to have one more day with her."
YIKES! This episode is seriously just dead-set on making me cry constantly! It's not bad enough that we have Liv in dire straights, but now Stefan is dropping not-at-all-subtle hints about his mother that we've never heard about. Until this episode, all we knew about Stefan and Damon's mother is that 1) in the flashback in Season 1's "Blood Brothers" where Stefan, who had decided along with his brother to die rather than completing his transition, went to visit his father Giuseppe, who told him that he was glad his mother wasn't alive to see him become a demon; and 2) in Season 4's "For Whom The Bell Tolls," Damon informed the then-amnesiac Stefan that their mother died of consumption, the old-timey name for tuberculosis. So, this is an interesting bit of information, that she was sent to a sanatorium where she has been said to have died, and it's even more interesting that's she's being brought up again this season, and not for the first time. I'm sure that this isn't foreshadowing the possibility that Mama Salvatore may not be as dead as everyone believes at all. ;) Anyway, when Caroline asks Stefan what happens if Liz can't forgive her, but Stefan assures her that Liz doesn't think there's anything to forgive-- she just wants to be with her daughter. After a moment, Caroline sighs and takes Stefan's hand, and they leave the flower shop together.

Meanwhile, at Scull Bar, Joshua, Luke, and Liv are at birthday lunch, where they have just broken the news about their plans not to merge. Luke insists that they just want to consider other options, but Joshua just looks super offended and reminds them both that if the set of twins doesn't merge, then the Gemini bloodline will literally die in entirety upon Joshua's death. When he asks them if that's really what they want, Luke assures him that it isn't, and instead points out that since he's in perfect health and Kai is in a barbiturate coma, they have time to figure things out. Joshua insists that there's nothing to figure out, since they were quite literally born to do this, Liv finally pipes up, "No, Dad-- this is why Kai and Jo were born. We were just the backup plan you bred because you thought that your first batch had a design flaw." 

Man, Liv speaks the truth, and also, this family is seriously fucked up. Luke tries to mediate and adds that they're just asking that they give Jo a chance, because they think she can win. Even still, Joshua continues to argue that Kai is a dangerous psychopath before reminding them that he's not asking them to do anything he hasn't done himself, but Liv's remarks that it's a lot easier for him to say, since he actually survived the merge and didn't drop dead. "It doesn't work like that, and you know it," Joshua retorts impatiently. "One will absorb traits from the other. Both of your souls will unite into a new being." I know he's trying to make this sound better, but it really doesn't come off that way, especially since he told Damon in "Fade Into You" that if Kai won the merge, Jo would cease to exist, which is exactly what Luke argues. "Who looks exactly like me. Yeah, I know I'm stronger than Liv, so that means I will win if we merge. So, you can put whatever poetic spin you want on it, but I will be killing my own sister. I can't do that to her." God, Geminis, get a better leadership-choosing ritual already! This is crazy.

Over at Alaric's apartment, Tyler has just arrived and made a beeline for where Kai is laying zonked out on the couch. He takes the oximeter off of Kai's finger first before unhooking all the wires and IVs. Naturally, that's when Damon comes out of the woodwork and asks him what the fuck he thinks he's doing. When Tyler doesn't immediately reply, he vamp-speeds Tyler across the room and pins him in a choke-hold against the wall. "I'll make it easier on you," Damon adds, clearly still needing an outlet for all his impending Liz-grief. "I'll give you multiple choice: A) I'm being an idiot, B) I have anger issues and I'm a puny human now and I have to pick on people while they sleep, C) A and B are both correct." LOLOL DAMON, you sass king you. Tyler manages to break out of Damon's grip and gasps for breath for a moment before informing Damon that Joshua Parker is in town, which pretty much tells Damon everything he needs to know about what is going on.

"Oh, so you just thought you'd come and grab Kai as a fail-safe in case Papa Parker says no to Liv and Luke?" Damon asks incredulously. "You just turn him loose, and he merges with Jo anyway, huh? While I appreciate your efforts, he's a psycho-freak magic-siphon-- I'm not gonna just let you walk out with him." As soon as the words leave Damon's mouth, he gets a trademarked Damon!Plan idea, and he smiles widely at Tyler before slapping him on the shoulder. "I could kiss you right now, you beautiful moron," Damon exclaims happily, which is absolutely and totally hilarious and probably the best line of the night. Tyler just asks him what the fuck he's talking about, so Damon vamp-speeds Tyler across the room to the bed, where he takes the syringe full of pentobarbital and stabs it into Tyler's neck, which instantly causes him to pass out onto the floor. "Yep, that stuff works really well," Damon quips to Tyler's unconscious body. "That should keep you down for an hour." BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh, gods. I am not a huge fan of this Damon plan, but Tyler has been acting a fool the last couple episodes, so this cracked me up.

Damon then calls Liv from Tyler's phone, and when she answers it at the restaurant and tells him its not a good time, Damon replies, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that, Twinderella." LOLOLOLOL FOREVER. "Big pitch going south, is it?" Liv demands to know where Tyler is, but Damon just informs her that he and her boo have finally come up with a solution that, while being a Hail Mary, may just give everyone what they need-- he just needs to talk to Papa Parker. She eventually hands the phone over to her dad, and Damon and Joshua have a pretty hilarious conversation:
JOSHUA: [on the phone] "Yes?"
DAMON: "Hello, sir. Damon Salvatore, here. We had Thanksgiving together? Anyway, I've just been sitting here Googling celestial events happening today, and I was just curious-- would a Mercury-Venus conjunction give you enough juice to do a little Gemini merge-party?"
JOSHUA: [suspiciously] "Why?"
DAMON: "I'm gonna take that evasive answer as a 'yes.' So, here's the situation: I'm gonna need you to use the planet party to merge your set of blonde twins ASAP, because, well... unfortunately, your formerly-comatose son is gonna be on the loose and hellbent on beating you to the punch."
YIKES! While the thought of Damon Googling celestial events is inexplicably hysterical to me, this is suuuuuuch a shit-show of a situation for so many reasons. While the thought of Kai being on the prowl is terrifying, Joshua really isn't THAT worried, because the only solution to this issue is the one he wants to happen in the first place, which is to have Liv and Luke merge immediately. I'm guessing that there's some sort of stipulation in the Gemini Code that states that once a twenty-two-year-old set of twins merge, any older set of twins are instantly out of the running, which means that Kai is on a tight schedule, and missing it means that he misses out on Gemini leadership forever. Honestly, Joshua is kind of a creeper himself, and the more we see of him, the more I wonder if maybe Kai didn't inherit more of Joshua's genes than he likes to admit. Also, another only tangentially related sidebar-- Kathleen and I have a theory that the whole Siphoner thing is some sort of side-effect of the Gemini's weirdo twin-merge traditions, because the only Siphoners that are known of are former Gemini Coven members, so it has to have some sort of specific link to them. Any theories?

Anyway, back in Alaric's apartment, Kai is just starting to stir as the sedatives start to wear off, and Damon tries to speed up the process by yelling, "Rise and shine, you little weasel!" Damon's dialogue is just killing me this episode, if you couldn't already tell by the excessive quoting of his lines in specific. Kai sees Damon standing next to him and instantly raises a hand to mystic-migraine him, but fortunately for everyone involved, he's apparently been comatized long enough for all the Traveler magic to drain away in the interim. Damon guesses he's trying to pop a few of his cerebral brain vessels and informs him that his magic seems to have evaporate, but he assures him he knows where he can get more. Kai just laughs humorlessly as he sits up and asks him if he really expects him to trust him, but Damon just scoffs and replies, "No! And I'm not gonna trust you. I just happen to need a magic siphon, and you're the only game in town." Kai finally seems intrigued enough to agree, and so he hops off the bed, stepping over Tyler's still-unconscious body and hilariously saying "Hi" to him before looking back up at Damon and remarking that they should discuss his fee.

We cut over to Whitmore Med, where Kai is washing his hands in the sink in Liz's room while Elena and Damon stand watch. Kai turns to Elena and chirps, "All right, I need a twelve-gauge needle, stat! I don't know what I'm gonna do with it, but I need it." Oh, dear lords. Elena rolls her eyes and reminds him that while he's not actually a doctor, she IS actually a vampire, and she will rip his magic-less head off if he fucks around with Liz. Damon seconds this threat, which leads Kai to point out that he gets why they love each other, since they put the "fun" in "dysfunctional." Kai is such a fucking Delena shipper, I s2g. Liz just sighs and snarks, "Just get on with it, Kai. Listening to you makes me want to die." LOL, LIZ. You and me both. So, Kai puts one hand on Liz's arm and the other on her face and starts sucking up all the vampire magic in her body, and though it's clearly painful for her, it does seems to be working.

Of course, that's when Jo walks in and is immediately horrified at the sight of her psychopath twin laying hands on one of her most critical patients. She wastes no time demanding what the fuck he's doing there, so Elena tells Damon to explain and stays with Kai as the two go out into the hall to discuss Damon's bananas plan. She's understandably like, "Have you actually lost your mind?", which is debatable, but Damon just replies, "Hey, shh! Listen-- you told me Liz was gonna die in eight hours if the magic kept doing his thing. He steals magic, you made it through med school... I figured you knew where I was going with this!" Jo reminds him that Kai does not do things out of the kindness of his heart because he figuratively doesn't have one, and when she asks what the price is, Damon doesn't beat around the bush and just tells her straight-up that he wants to merge that night.

Inside the room, Kai has just finished magic-sucking Liz, and when he pulls his hands away, he flexes them and lets them know that it worked. Elena completely ignores Kai in favor of asking her if she's okay, but though she says she feels alright, it takes about two seconds before she starts having a heart attack. "Oh, that is so tragic," Kai remarks with faux-sympathy. "You know, 'cause you guys jumped through hoops to get the magic out of her system, but then her ticker's just not strong enough to take a little siphoning!" Man, not only is Kai literally a horrible person, but he's trickstery, too! He just lives to see people in agony. Elena demands that Kai fix this, but he ends up pulling out his predictable vanishing act instead, leaving a panicked and frankly under-educated to figure out how to treat Liv's cardiac arrest without vampire blood.

In the other room, Jo is anxiously insisting that she doesn't have the juice or the skill to merge tonight, but Damon's like, "Uh, you have set fire to half of my personal belongings and have shattered the rest while trying to levitate them, so I'm very aware of your lack of skills," before insisting he already has it taken care of. Jo looks at Damon in horror and demands to know what he did, but before he can answer that he's manipulated Joshua into merging Liv and Luke at their birthday dinner, Kai telekinetically snaps Damon's neck and asks her if this is the part where she starts running. "I've spent my entire life running from you," Jo growls angrily. "I'm not running anymore."

Back at Scull Bar, Joshua is standing outside of the restaurant when Luke and Liv finally find him. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that it's totally dark now, which means the Mercury-Venus conjunction is in effect. When Liv asks him what he's doing, he starts bullshitting about how proud he is of them, and how they've built themselves a great life for themselves here in Virginia, as though he's not planning on essentially murdering one of them in about thirty seconds. Luke optimistically asks if this means he'll consider what they asked, Joshua smiles and replies, "Of course! We share a history. A bloodline." He holds out his hands for his children to take and adds, "We're in this together. We're family!" 

The twins take his hands, which, of course, is when he starts chanting the merge spell, which immediately starts causing both of them to experience quite a bit of pain. Luke looks betrayed and asks if he's seriously merging them right now between gasps, but Joshua just reminds them that since Kai has been released and is most certainly going after Jo, they have to do this before he can get to her. Liv cries for him to stop, and Luke insists that he's going to kill Liv if they do this, but Joshua just faux-apologizes before continuing the spell. It's not until Tyler, the wild card that Damon wasn't counting on, appears out of nowhere after having the sedative wear off and tackles Joshua, punching him over and over again until Liv pulls him off of  her dad. He insists that Joshua was going to kill her, but Liv assures him that shes okay. Suddenly, Luke gets up and starts to leave, and when Liv worriedly asks him where he's going, he tells her to trust him and promises to be back soon. He then runs away, leaving Liv so confused and scared that she hugs Tyler tightly. Yeah, this is so going to end horrifically badly.

Elsewhere, Jo and Kai have just come upon a empty part where they are apparently going to do the merge. Kai makes a joke about how he's enjoying the planet conjunction, considering how sick he is of eclipses after his nearly two decades in "solitary confinement," before warning her that he has envisioned the last eighteen years envisioning every single possible scenario and will thus rip out her heart if she tries to pull another stunt on him. He then asks her for her closing remarks, which are thus: "You're a parasite. You killed the people I loved. You shoved a hunting knife in my gut. You destroyed my life. Now, I'm gonna destroy yours."  Kai just chuckles and states that they'll have to see before slicing each of their palms and clasping their hands together and starting the spell. However, unfortunately for Kai, they manage to chant for maybe half a minute before Luke shows up and uses his magic to knock her the fuck out. Kai is not thrilled with this outcome, as you could guess, but Luke has his own Damon-style plan-- he wants Kai to merge with him.

Kai just gives Luke a patronizing smile and a pat on the cheek, all, "Aw, that's adorable," but when Luke just swats his hand away, Kai realizes that he's totally serious.
KAI: "Oh, you wanna merge with me? Hate to break it to you, little brother, but we're not twins, alright? That's not how this is supposed to work."
LUKE: [shrugs] "Well, that's true! But, we share the same parents, the same bloodline, and, thanks to your time-out in the magic penalty-box, we're the same age. So, it's definitely a Hail Mary, and maybe it won't work, but I'd do anything to save my sister's life."
Holy shit! I have to admit, when I first saw this episode, I was not expecting this whatsoever, but it does make sense, in a weird way. So, Luke slices his own hand with the blade and throws it onto the ground before insisting that they give it "the old college-try." Wow, I think this is the most I have liked Luke since his introduction as Kalena's gay bestie in "While You Were Sleeping." As you can guess, Kai is not interested in this makeshift merge, so Luke uses his telekinesis to pull Kai closer to him and grips his face with his non-bleeding hand before calling him out on not wanting to play chicken with someone who might actually beat him. Just like earlier, Kai swats Luke's hand away and reluctantly takes Luke's bleeding hand into his own. "It's your funeral," Kai spits in annoyance. Well, shit.

Back in Liz's room, Elena is in the middle of doing chest compressions and desperately pleading with Liz not to die, just as Damon, who has just reawakened from his snapped-neck-nap, rushes in to see what's going on. Elena tearfully informs him that she's in cardiac arrest and that she's losing her, but when Damon is all, "Okay, no offense, Elena, but I think we need to get a real doctor," Elena just frustratedly yells at him to go find one. You tell him, girl! Someone's gotta stay with her and continue CPR anyway, so that was a dumb move on Damon's part.

In the park, Kai and Luke are doing the merge, and after a moment, Jo wakes up and realizes what is going on. She begs him to stop, but he's not listening, and after a few more long moments of chanting, both Luke's and Kai's eyes turn pure white, kind of like Bonnie's eyes while the witches were trying to cleanse her of Expression in Season 4's "Because The Night." They keep chanting until the merge ceremony completes itself and both Kai and Luke are knocked unconscious and fall backward onto the ground. Jo desperately rushes over to Luke and cradles his head in her lap as she encourages him to wake up. THIS IS SO AWFUL, OH MY GODS.

Damon has finally found a doctor, who rushes into the room and starts setting up the defibrillator while he asks Elena how long she's been down. Elena thinks it's only been a minute or so, even though it's likely been way longer than that, and even she admits it has felt like an hour. The doctor moves toward Liz and yells "CLEAR" before shocking her with the paddles.

While this is all going down, Liz is in the middle of a dream. She's just packed up all of her bags and walks downstairs with them to find Caroline standing with her back to her as she stares out the windows. Liz tells her that she's leaving and asks her if she's going to say goodbye, but Caroline doesn't move.

In the real world, the doctor shocks Liz again, but it doesn't work, and Elena is about to burst into tears. When it looks as though the doctor is about to give up, Damon shoves the paddles back at him and reminds him that he compelled her to save her and threatens to gouge his eyes out if he doesn't keep trying. Still, the doctor insists that he's done everything that he can do and apologizes before informing him that she's gone. Damon gets so pissed that he compels the doctor to leave the room, and Elena desperately starts to do chest compressions again and stating that she's not going to let Liz die. Damon becomes much kinder as he touches Elena's back and points out that she's gone, which is right when Caroline returns and speeds over to her mom as she starts to sob and shake her. She begs her not to leave her and shakes her as she pleads with her to wake up, but Liz is still out.

In Liz's dream, Liz is still trying to get Caroline to talk to her, and asks her if she can hear her before reminding her that it's time for her to go. "You don't want to say goodbye to your mom?" Liz asks in a hurt voice as she walks toward Caroline and touches her shoulder to make Caroline face her. When she does, Caroline's vampire eyes and fangs are out, and her face is smeared with blood, her hair crazed, as though she's just been on a feeding frenzy. The sight of this scares Liz so much that her heart monitor magically start beeping again, and everyone gasps in shock and relief when it appears that Liz has somehow been brought back to life. Caroline starts to sob even harder, and then I do too, but Liz just squeezes Caroline's hands and promises that she's still here.

 Elena, seriously overwhelmed by all of this, leaves the room to get some air. Damon follows her outside and asks her if she's okay, and Elena starts to freak out about the fact that Caroline's mother nearly just died in her arms. Not knowing what else to do, Elena lunges for Damon and kisses him with everything he's got, which he is totally okay with, but when he pulls away, he snarks, "I thought you wanted to start over? Because, FYI, this is exactly where we left off." Elena doesn't care, though-- all she knows is that life, even an immortal life, is too short, and she doesn't want to waste anymore time, which is all Damon needs to hear to start kissing her again. GOD, STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH MY HEART, SHOW. F'reals, though, don't recap really sad episodes of your favorite TV series' when you're on your period, because it's literally nothing but tears.

We skip ahead a couple hours, because Liz desperately needed some rest after that ordeal. When she wakes up again, she finds Caroline sitting at her bedside, and when she asks her if she's okay, Caroline immediately starts apologizing for nearly killing her. "Oh, sweetheart, please," Liz says with a laugh. "You know me, I'm the world's unluckiest gambler." Caroline moves on to apologizing for not being here when she almost died, but Liz just cuts her right off and insists that what she needs most is for her daughter to stop blaming herself, which Caroline reluctantly manages to do. Caroline mentions the fact that she put the house in her name, which Liz confirms, and understands that Liz needs to do this, but she still makes it clear that she's not at all ready for any of this, so Liz promises her that she'll stick around as long as she possibly can before pulling her into a hug. GOD, STOP IT, THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR MY COLD, DEAD HEART.

Stefan comes in with a coffee for Caroline, remarking on the fact that "someone" (probably him, let's be real here) fixed the machine, and when Liz smells it, she laughs and tells him she'd give him a million dollars for a decaf latte before asking Caroline if she'd go get one for her. Caroline, desperate to make up for her actions of the last twenty-four hours, rushes out to get it, which leaves Liz alone with Stefan so she can talk to him privately. She points out that their miracle-cure seems to be off the table, but Stefan isn't willing to say that there aren't other options yet. Liz doesn't seem too concerned with that, though-- what she's most worried about is Caroline. "I need you to promise me something," Liz begins, unable to keep herself from crying. "When I'm gone, Caroline is gonna need you-- even if she doesn't know it. She's gonna need someone to help her move on with her life. Someone to just make her smile. Promise me that you will do that, Stefan." Stefan takes her hand and squeezes it and promises her that he will, not knowing that Caroline is outside the door, listening to their conversation. Aw, Caroline! I'm sure the dream Liz had is definitely playing a role in how she feels about her impending death, and since this show eats through plot so quickly that it is nothing but foreshadowing future events, I think it's safe to say that borderline-Ripper!Caroline is coming. (Of course, I have seen the whole season, so it's not like I'm psychic. ;))

Over at the park, Jo is still crying as she clutches Luke's unconscious body in her arms when Damon finally arrives. He rather bluntly remarks on how good it is that Jo is still alive, since that will save him a major ass-kicking from Alaric when he gets back, but when he sees both Luke and Kai unconscious on the ground, he realizes that he's clearly missed something. Jo informs him that Luke and Kai merged, and Damon again, rather tactlessly, replies, "Huh. So, I guess adding the words 'twin-merge' to my vocabulary was pointless, 'cause they ain't twins." Jo is not at all thrilled with his glibness either and insists that Luke wasn't even supposed to be here, and the only reason why he came was because DAMON let Kai out. She goes back to trying to wake Luke up, and Damon, feeling guilty, offers to give Luke his blood to speed things along, but Jo states that it won't help-- as they've already merged, it's all up to them now-- whoever wakes up is the winner, and whoever doesn't is dead. Just then, Luke awakens with a gasp and opens his eyes, and Jo immediately ignores Damon in favor of asking him if he's okay.

Meanwhile, at Scull Bar, Liv is pacing around outside the restaurant as she tries calling Luke again after what appears to be many failed attempts, and she frustratedly asks herself why Luke isn't answering his phone. Tyler asks her if she wants him to go looking for him, but Liv doesn't know what she wants. Before they can discuss it further, Joshua finally wakes up and immediately asks what the hell her twin has just done.

We cut to the park at Whitmore, where Luke is laying motionlessly, having only managed to open his eyes and gasp a bit. Jo continues to beg him to wake up, but when she checks his pulse, she gasps in shock when she doesn't find one.

Back at Scull Bar, Joshua has just held his hand out to Liv and insisted that they have to leave, but Tyler argues that she's not going anywhere with him after what he just pulled. Joshua then drops the bomb that he can not only feel that he isn't the coven leader anymore, but he can sense that Luke and Kai merged and Kai won. Liv starts to cry but still claims she doesn't believe him, but Joshua is more concerned about them going into hiding to avoid being killed by Kai. Liv refuses to leave with him, even if what he's saying is true, but though Joshua makes it clear he doesn't think Tyler has what it takes to keep her safe, he assures her that if she changes her mind, she knows how to find him before taking off, looking defeated as hell. Wait, how the fuck are they going to hide if Joshua isn't the leader anymore? Surely Kai will be able to do a locator spell strong enough to break through any of their cloaking spells now? Bahhh.

At the park, Jo is weeping openly about the fact that Luke saved her life and died in the process, and Damon is so stunned and guilty that he has no idea what to say, especially since he kind of liked the twins in the annoyed and antagonistic way that he likes Matt and Tyler. Just then, Kai awakens and quips, "You win some, you lose some." When Damon turns to glare at him, he adds, "Except for me. I always win." Damon lunges for him-- even though that's stupid, because 1) Kai has his own power now, and 2) even if Damon could get the upperhand, killing him would kill Jo, Liv, Joshua, and the rest of the living Geminis, too-- but Kai cloaks himself and vanishes before he can, and THAT'S IT. THAT'S SERIOUSLY WHERE THEY ENDED IT. I'm gonna be forwarding you my therapy bills, Julie Plec!

Next episode: It's Bonnie's birthday, so Damon, Elena, and Jeremy decide to celebrate it the way that they think Bonnie would want them to, while Bonnie struggles with feelings of loneliness and isolation and tries to muster up the courage to kill herself. Also, Kai apparently absorbs Luke's ability to feel empathy (along with his attraction to boys, LOL) and wants to try to make things right with Jo and the rest of the gang, while Caroline and Stefan go on their mission to find the original Ms. Cuddles from their own world.

NOTES/COMMENTS:
- I still don't understand how Kai won the merge, because Luke was like, easily 25x more powerful than Jo, and Kai only had that little bit of magic he sipped from Liz, which was literally the equivalent to probably two teaspoons of vampire blood, so it really shouldn't be possible. So, unless Kai really did manage to siphon all of Luke's power to beat him, I'm going to assume it's just because both the fans and the staff are obsessed with Chris Wood and didn't want to kill him off yet.

- Also, here's the music from this episode!

"Happy Idiot" by TV On The Radio
--- Elena rushes around to gather her things before her hospital shift and is cute with Damon

"Running Wild" by Moon Taxi
--- Liv and Luke try to convince Joshua to let Jo and Kai do the merge instead during their birthday lunch at the Scull Bar.

"Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind" by Matt White
--- Joshua ponders the celestial alignment, tells the twins how proud he is, then tries to merge them himself until Tyler stops him.

"Always Take You Back" by Night Terrors of 1927
--- Liz wakes up, and she and Caroline cry in relief together. Elena tells Damon she doesn't want to waste any more time and kisses him.

"I'll Never Forget You" by Birdy
--- Caroline eavesdrops on Liz telling Stefan to take care of Caroline after she's gone. Jo yells at Damon for releasing Kai and forcing Luke to try to save her by merging with him instead.

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