Previously on Vampire Diaries: Elena and Damon played brainwashed bondage games; Stefan finally got out of the box.
So, wowza. This episode took this show’s normally bonkers approach to world building and mythology and said, “NAH. WE CAN GO CRAZIER, GUYS.”
YUP. THIS IS A THING THAT HAPPENED.
I don’t know whether I love it or hate it or just want to roll my eyes a lot at this point, but never say this show isn’t afraid to take some chances.
We kick things off with Elena and Katherine sharing real-time dreams about Stefan’s current whereabouts — which happens to be a dive bar in the middle of nowhere. The Petrova ladies see him snacking on a tender young bartender before stepping into the morning sun without the protection of his daylight ring.
What they don’t see is his rescue at the hands of a mystery lady who turns out to be none other than the famous Qetsiyah, holder of the longest running grudge in romantic history:
It seems she came for a visit when Bonnie took the veil down and then somehow managed to stick around — presumably because she’s just better at witchery than everyone? IDEK, you guys. They’re not even pretending to justify this shit anymore.
(She’s also helpfully decided call herself ‘Tessa’ now. I’m sensing some naming remorse on the part of the writers here, and it’s all very silly. But whatever, my spell-check isn’t complaining.)
Damon, Katherine and Elena head out for an awkward road trip to follow their dream trail. Which gives Katherine the opportunity to set up this week’s theme by mercilessly trolling Damon about Elena’s connection to Stefan.
When they find the bar, Stefan’s long gone, but Silas’ Traveler friend, Nadia, is waiting to ambush them. Oh, and Nadia? A vampire who’s working a double cross on Silas. Turns out her dead friend, Gregor, is still riding shotgun in poor Cute!Matt’s brain.
(I’m not sure how Nadia was able to keep that part of the plan from Silas since she demonstrates pretty clearly later on that she’s completely vulnerable to his mind control. But again: WHATEVER. There are so many bigger continuity fish to fry in this episode.)
Elena runs off to protect Katherine from Nadia, and the two of them almost have a moment… right before Nadia appears and knocks Elena out. Oops. Meanwhile, Damon tracks Stefan, who’s busy having story time with Qetsiyah. Welcome to ancient Greece, circa 2000 years ago:
COLUMNS! URNS! GREECE ON A BUDGET!
Back then, Silas was a toga wearing douche — you know, the kind of guy who says he loves you until it comes time to commit… and then he ditches you at your wedding to become immortal with your handmaiden instead. (Ladies, we’ve all been there, right?)
Qetsiyah’s totally reasonable response was to make two batches of the cure, shove one down her handmaiden’s throat, and then cut her heart out. Oh, and also the whole thing with splitting the afterlife in two, imprisoning her former fiance in a cave for 2000 years, and creating a line of superhuman hunters devoted to killing him. You know… normal break up stuff.
Anyway, most of this story is old news. The big revelation is the handmaiden in question? Looks like this:
Meet Amara: the first Petrova doppelgänger. On the one hand, I appreciate that this actually makes the fact that Stefan is also a doppelgänger seem a little less random and — how do I phrase this delicately? — contrived and stupid. And I also sort of appreciate that we’re finally getting a reason why Elena and Stefan went from zero to GREATEST LOVE OF ALL TIME within about five minutes of meeting each other. But… let’s just say there are a lot of holes here.
I mean, if “nature” creates the doppelgängers to balance out the existence of immortals, then why doesn’t effing Klaus have his own line of doppelgängers around? And really, why does the Petrova line exist at all? Amara hasn’t been immortal for 2000 years. So wouldn’t the continued presence of the Petrova doppelgängers actually be throwing nature out of balance?
And speaking of the Petrova line, aren’t they all related? Didn’t Klaus want to keep Elena alive so she could pop out some babies to ensure a new doppelgänger would eventually be born? So are Stefan and Elena both Silas and Amara’s direct descendants? Because it sure didn’t look like they had much time have any secret kids.
(Also, um, awkward? I really didn’t think this show’s triangle could get any more incestuous.)
And that’s not even touching on the fact that all this is a HUGE retcon of the established mythology that Tatia was the original doppelgänger, created specifically to offset the cure on Klaus. Which is to say… Vampire Diaries: consistently inconsistent since 2009.
In any case: while telling this story to Stefan and then Damon, Qetsiyah Tessa’s been busy brewing up a spell that will link Silas and Stefan, therefore robbing the former of his mind control abilities. (Again, don’t ask how. Just go with it.) The spell goes through just as Nadia is about to hand Katherine over and Silas is about to make her kill herself, so… good timing, team.
Stefan’s out for the count, and Tessa tries to convince Damon to leave him with her because blah blah doppelgängers, blah blah DESTINY, the freaking universe is a huge Stelena shipper and Damon doesn’t have a chance. But Damon, to his credit, declines and gets knocked out for his trouble.
I don’t really know why Tessa didn’t take Stefan at that point? But she leaves both brothers there unconscious for Elena to find. And of course, she fawns over Stefan, much to Damon’s silent dismay.
Nadia and Katherine, still on the run together, get a call from Silas. It seems the cure is still in Katherine’s blood, and that’s why both Tess and Silas want her. Interesting.
And safely back at Chez Salvatore: Elena checks in with Cute!Matt, who’s waking up not remembering where he’s been — and in true Vampire Diaries fashion, not sharing his concerns about this development with any of the relevant parties. Oh, Matt.
Shockingly, Damon doesn’t follow suit and is completely honest with Elena about Tessa’s warning that the universe is against them. Naturally, she scoffs. But the moment is broken when Stefan finally wakes up… and announces he’s doesn’t recognize either of them. DUN!
Next time: Destiny! Doppelgangers! Damon probably making bad choices!