Previously on Vampire Diaries: Elena had some anger issues, Klaus came back back, and our mysterious hunter got blown up. OR DID HE?
We open on five super buff, half-naked dudes standing in a circle in the woods while some witchy shenanigans go on. As the spell is completed, a magic tattoo similar to Connor’s appears on their arms and chests, and one of them holds up a sword marked with the same symbol that was on Connor’s stake and bullets. DUN!
Back in the present day, Damon’s going through a box of Connor’s stuff, hoping to find some clues about what Klaus meant by “The Five.” He’s interrupted by a call from his favorite sheriff, however, who gives him the bad news that no body was found in the wreckage of last week’s explosion. Which means Connor’s probably still alive. Because Damon is actually five, he initially refuses to share this with Stefan, as they’re “in a fight” right now.
But when Stefan corrects him that he, at least, is a grown up and not interested in continuing to argue about it, Damon gives in and shares. He also shares that he’s taking Elena along on Bonnie’s college visit to teach her how to feed correctly, and gives Stefan an assignment to figure out the deal with Connor while he and Elena are gone. Stefan looks like he’s already regretting that “not in a fight” stance.
Skip ahead to Elena out in the woods with Stefan, getting in some hunter evasion practice. She explains about almost eating poor Cute!Matt the night before, and that she’s afraid learning how to feed on live people from Stefan would endanger his vampire sobriety. (And apparently Caroline is “too good” at being a vampire with self-control to teach it? Um, okay, Elena. Whatever.) Stefan warns her to be careful, as it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of the feed. (Foreshadowing!) Elena promises she will.
Rebekah finds Matt at the Grille and attempts to buy his forgiveness with a brand new truck. Cute!Matt is not having it, much to a watching Klaus’ amusement. Klaus gets in some digs about Rebekah’s constant and pathetic attempts to find someone to love her before getting down to the real point: the Brotherhood of the Five is still in existence. This clearly means something to Rebekah, but when Klaus tries to solicit her help dealing with it, she blows him off. Because he is a dick.
Elena, Bonnie, and Damon have arrived at college. Elena mopes that higher education probably isn’t in her future and Damon lets it drop that he’s actually been several times. (See! Spending large parts of your eternity at college makes much more sense than going back to high school again and again. I really wish Rebekah would look into that.) They sit in on a lecture being taught by the professor who has taken over Bonnie’s Grams’ classes. He is, of course, young and hot. And apparently teaches a course on witchcraft, because even in Mystic-adjacent colleges, they only teach locally relevant history.
Stefan has broken into Klaus’ mansion and found Connor strung up in what Stefan hilariously calls his “red room of pain.” Which I have on reliable authority is a reference to Fifty Shades of Gray, and now all I can picture is Stefan reading it for inspiration on how to spice up his and Elena’s love life. (Hee! And also… ew.)
Klaus admits he hasn’t gotten much out of Connor yet. Stefan suggests they talk privately, as Connor can’t be compelled to forget anything he overhears. (Did we know that already? I guess I missed it.) Anyway, Stefan’s figured out that something’s up with Klaus, since it was out of character for him to heal Elena the other day with no strings attached. And he basically threatens to hang around bugging him until Klaus comes clean. Heh. Since Klaus could easily just kill him, I’m going to take him not doing so as proof his mancrush on Stefan is still going strong. In fact: he wants Stefan to help him get Rebekah’s cooperation, promising that the secret of The Five holds “the answer to all Stefan’s prayers.” HMMM.
Yay, flashbacks! Turns out the originals first ran into The Five — a group of skilled vampire hunters made up of the dudes from the teaser, obviously — in Italy during the 12th century. We see Klaus and my sweet honeybunny, Elijah, decked out in the latest in 1100s fashion as they watch Sword Guy kill a captured vamp in public by exposing it in the sun.
Elijah exposits that between Klaus and Kol, the feeding and killing has become rather indiscreet. (Why am I not surprised to find it’s those two assholes causing all the problems?) Klaus thinks the real issue is Rebekah totally thinking with her ladyparts once again: she’s fallen in love with Sword Guy.
In the present: we find Rebekah’s ladyparts gravitating once again toward Cute!Matt, who is disturbed to find her becoming BFFs with April at the Grille. He doesn’t bother hiding his disdain for Rebekah, and also snarks that he’s keeping the truck. Good for you, Cute!Matt.
Before April can ask what that’s all about, Stefan swoops in, compels her not to remember any of this, and tells Rebekah he wants her help figuring out what Klaus is up to with this whole Brotherhood of Five business. In return, he offers a “clean slate” with Matt. (April, hilariously, watches all this with a really fascinated yet stoned expression.)
College: Damon has Elena try for a nice looking co-ed on the quad, but when Elena finds out she has a little sister, she can’t bring herself to feed off of her. Damon correctly points out that everyone is someone’s daughter, father, sister, husband, etc.. Elena correctly counters that she’s still the same compassionate person she was when she was alive and can’t just ignore that part of her. Luckily, there’s a frat party that night! Problem solved!
Rebekah and Stefan show up at Klaus’ red room of pain, where she’s surprised to find out the tattoos are now invisible. The three of them sit down to a tense dinner. (Waited on by one Klaus’ compelled servants — good to know Stefan’s A-Okay with allowing people he doesn’t care about be enslaved and probably eventually fed on and killed. Remind me again how much more like Elena he is than Damon?)
Rebekah wants an apology from Klaus and they bicker back and forth a bit. Stefan, who has a tiresome, bickery sibling relationship of his own, could really not care less about this bullshit. I feel you, Stefan. After Klaus offers up a ridiculously insincere apology, we dive back into flashback to learn that Sword Guy was actually named Alexander, and he claimed that he had an ultimate weapon against the vampires — a weapon to which the tattoos are a map. DUN! And since only one person can actually see those tattoos back in the present, Klaus has had Jeremy kidnapped to draw the map for him. Stefan, again, looks like he’s regretting all his life choices.
Frat party/all you can eat vamp buffet: Damon’s wearing a top hat as Jack the Ripper and Elena and Bonnie are his… prostitute victims? I guess? Did they just happen to have those costumes with them? They spot creepy hot professor right away, because tons of young professors hang out at frat parties, I’m sure. Seems legit! Bonnie goes to talk to him while Elena and Damon scan for a worthy asshole to eat. And, oh look! There’s some douche slipping a roofie into a girl’s drink! Elena lures him to a quiet corner, feeds, and compels him to forget. Um, Elena? Maybe also compel him to, you know… stop drugging ladies? Just a thought?
Damon asks her how she feels, and she’s elated, hugging him and whispering that she wants more. Damon smiles like this is the best news he’s heard all day.
While Jeremy draws the tattoo, Connor confronts him about setting him up at the hospital last week. He’s surprised that Jeremy is “a sympathizer” if he can see the tattoo, and reveals that years ago he served in Iraq with a man who told him that if he saw the tattoo, he was destined to be a vampire hunter. They lost touch and then one day the tattoo just started to show up on Connor. The more vamps he kills, the bigger the tattoo gets. Interesting.
Flashback to Rebekah in bed with Alexander. Why Rebekah, you 12th century strumpet! She asks what the symbols on the tattoo mean, and he tells her the pommel of his sword contains a key to deciphering the map.
They make plans for her to go with him when he leaves to follow the map, and he shows her one of the daggers that can take out originals, sitting beside the bed. She hesitantly asks if maybe there might be a few vampires who don’t deserve death. Oh, Rebekah. He distracts with kisses… and then stakes her, of course. Because girlfriend has the worst taste in men.
Turns out The Five were onto the originals all along. They daggered the entire family that night, but because Klaus is immune, he slaughtered them all and undaggered everyone… except Finn, who he considered boring. Harsh, dude. When Rebekah wakes up to the sight of Alexander’s body, Klaus is there to scream at her like the abusive asshole he is while she cowers and cries. Nice, Klaus.
It turns out Alexander had confided to her that the secret weapon was, in fact, a cure to vampirism. DUN! But since the tattoos faded as soon as the hunters died, they couldn’t follow the map to the cure at that time. As they relate this to him, Stefan furrows his brow in shock. Or possibly constipation. It’s so hard to tell with him.
Klaus starts laying into Rebekah about her pathetic history of trusting men who abuse her. (Ironic!) When she storms out, he reveals it was all a manipulation to soften her up so she’ll tell Stefan where the sword is. He thinks Stefan will help him in order to help Elena. But since Elena being a vampire is the only reason Klaus no longer has a reason to kidnap and keep her as a blood bank for the rest of her life, I’m not sure this is really the greatest plan ever.
Back to college! Creepy professor and Bonnie are at his office, where he’s got some of Grams’ things. He calls himself a true believer and asks if Bonnie practices witchcraft. When she confesses that she doesn’t anymore (since the spirits went all cray cray on her) he is sympathetic, and claims to know of “other ways” to practice, even thought he’s not a witch himself. Well, I’m sure that will turn out well!
Cut to Elena on the dance floor, looking like she’s totally loving life. She sexy dances up to a girl and feeds right there in the open, not even bothering to wipe the blood off of her face after, although I suppose the fact that it’s Halloween means she could plausibly get away with that. Damon’s also dancing with a face covered in blood and they sexy dance together, looking like they’re more high on ecstasy than blood, and also about thisclose to just going at it right then and there… until Elena catches Bonnie watching in shock and remembers that she’s not allowed to enjoy anything ever.
Jeremy’s done with the tattoo, but Klaus can tell it’s not enough. He throttles (and compels? I couldn’t tell) Jeremy into confessing that the tattoo grows as Connor kills more vampires. After Klaus sends Jeremy home, Connor flexes his rather impressive arms and rattles his chains enough to lure his hybrid guard over… so he can bite his ear bar piercing off. Ewww.
Outside the party, Elena’s freaking out in a mini identity crisis. Bonnie blames Damon, of course, and Elena panics that she should have been going through this with Stefan.
Damon has clearly had enough of this vamp shaming attitude, and I don’t blame him. (I mean, what exactly did she and Bonnie think was going to happen when she learned to feed from people? Would it have been okay if she was miserable the whole time?) He points out that Elena is a different person now than she was as a human, and that the reason he’s not a ripper like Stefan is he’s able to revel in being a vampire and make it fun.
Speaking of Stefan, he’s luring Rebekah in with sympathy and respect — the two things for which she’s a complete sucker. He spells out that he would do anything to save Elena from accidentally killing someone and turning off her humanity switch. And Rebekah, in turn, spills her guts about how she and Alexander were engaged. Stefan expertly manipulates her into admitting that she buried him with the sword in the churchyard where they would have been married, and you can see she realizes exactly what’s up the second the words leave her mouth. Oh, insta-regret. We’ve all been there, honey.
And, yup! Klaus has been listening the whole time and has just gotten what he was looking for. And now he’s going to dagger her again, because that’s how Klaus rolls. Rebekah tries to vamp speed away, but Stefan blocks her. So she dares Klaus to do it, telling him he’s a coward who no one will ever love or miss because he, himself, cannot love.
After he daggers her, he looks surprisingly affected, considering how often he’s done this to his family. (Poor Rebekah. She’s awful, but look at her role model!) Anyway, Klaus heads off to Italy to get the sword, but not before warning Stefan that this needs to stay their little secret. I’m not sure I’m following his reasoning that it getting out could mean all their deaths — especially considering Klaus is still basically invulnerable, right? But Stefan agrees to wipe Jeremy’s memories and keep his own mouth shut, even from Damon and Elena.
… who are just getting home. Elena apologizes for letting things get out of control earlier, and confesses that deep down she knows he’s right about what it means to be a vampire. But it scares her. Damon correctly interprets this as meaning she doesn’t want to be like him. Well, so be fair, Damon, for all your big talk, you’re actually pretty miserable and alone most of the time. Their moment is interrupted by Stefan’s appearance from inside the house, where he’d just been messing with poor Jeremy’s brain some more. That kid is going to end up with brain damage one of these days.
Damon leaves and Elena confesses to Stefan that she got caught up in it just like he warned. She’s freaking out about how she doesn’t like who she’s becoming and can’t live like this. Stefan’s resolve is clearly strengthened.
Back at the mansion, Connor’s manages to get loose and decapitate one of the hybrids, which causes another piece of the tattoo to appear. He heads straight over to… creepy professor! Who’s surprised to see him, as Connor should be in Mystic, killing vamps. Connor wants to know why creepy prof sent him there. DUN!
Next time: Hostage drama and cute!Matt in danger, oh my!