Previously on Vampire Diaries: Professor Jerkface revealed his dastardly plan and Jesse came to a predictable end.
Let’s begin with the B-plot, because, as usual, it was the best. Over at Chez Salvatore, Stefan has Katherine attempting therapeutic diary writing while she’s on suicide watch. This goes about as well — and as hilariously — as you might expect.
Because they’re both kind of basket cases at the moment, Katherine calls in some reinforcements in the form of her new frenemy Caroline. (Katherine, by the way, has definitely noticed Caroline and Stefan’s chemistry, so I am not alone in that. Of course, Caroline protests. But a little too much, if you know what I mean. Girls, girls… there is a simple solution to this, and that solutions is: threesome.)
Anyway! Caroline, because she has about a Britta Perry level understanding of therapy, decides to deal with Stefan’s lingering horrific PTSD by literally locking him back in the safe where he spent all summer repeatedly suffocating. This also works out about as well as you might expect.
Katherine thinks the problem is that Stefan’s just too heroic; he’s only good at saving other people, not himself. Um, yeah. I imagine the ghosts of the many, many, many people he’s murdered beg to differ, Katherine. In any case, her plan is to lock herself in the safe with him, thereby forcing him to either get over his trigger or, you know… violently murder her.
THIS IS WHY SUICIDAL PEOPLE
SHOULDN’T BE THERAPISTS
When Stefan wakes up to find her in there with him, at first he’s all panicky. And then things get a little intense and violent. But Katherine’s kind of into it, so it’s cool. And he manages to keep himself from eating her, which naturally leads to sexy times. Of course, just when things are getting interesting, Caroline gets worried and opens the safe door. Damn it, Caroline.
(Also, I guess Stefan’s real issue was his angst over Elena leaving him? VOMIT TO THE MAX.)
But not to worry — later, Stefan and Katherine meet up in front of the omnipresent roaring fireplace to finish what they started in the safe. And Caroline, leaving a message for Elena, hears them and is appropriately horrified. Heh. (Seriously, Caroline, if you go upstairs to join them, I’m 150% sure both of them would be into it. Think about it!)
Meanwhile, back in flashback land, circa 1953: a very Fonzie-esque Damon has been lured to Chez Salvatore by one of his greedier relatives.
He helpfully exposits that he hasn’t seen Stefan since he left him on that WWII train platform eleven years earlier. Which is unfortunate, because if they’d kept in better touch, events would have worked out very differently.
In any case, it turns out this whole visit was a trap, and Damon ends up drugged and captured by the Augustine society, where he spends the next five years being horrifically tortured by mad scientist Dr. Whitmore, aka Victor Lord Jr., for those of you — like me — who are still in denial about One Life to Live never coming back.
The story of Damon in the 50s comes out slowly over the course of the episode, as present Damon wakes up to find himself drugged with vervain and on the floor of his old cell.
Meanwhile, Elena has enlisted Aaron for help finding Damon, since he was last seen with Jerkface, aka Aaron’s legal guardian. Oh, and did we mention that Aaron’s last name is Whitmore?
Yeah, apparently, his family owns the whole school, as Elena discovers when he brings her back to his mansion house. There, she finds a picture of her father and gets knocked out by Jerkface for her trouble. Really, Elena? That was pretty weak sauce of you.
She wakes up in the cell next to Damon, who explains what this place is. Elena’s disturbed to think of her dad participating in torture; Damon promises to get her out of this, then tells her the story of how he survived all those years of torture — by making a sexy friend named Enzo!
Enzo helped keep Damon sane by fantasizing elaborate revenge scenarios. And he also came up with an escape plan — for a year, he gave Damon his daily dose of blood. And thus, when they were hauled up for show and tell with Augustine party guests, Damon had the strength to break free of his chains and go on a rampage. Unfortunately, he also accidentally set the house on fire with poor Enzo still locked in his cage. Oops.
So Damon turned his humanity switch off to give himself the strength to abandon his friend. Leading, I presume, to the carefree asshole we met with Lexie in the 70s.
Present Damon is reluctant to tell Elena all this, and we’re meant to think it’s just because he’s ashamed of having left Enzo behind. But it turns out, nope! It’s much, much worse.
Because while Damon’s been spilling all his secrets, Aaron’s been getting the lowdown on all the vampire business from Jerkface. And he’s pretty appalled by it — especially the part where he learns it was a vampire who killed his parents, not a bear. (If your stomach just dropped, then yup! They’re going there.) Aaron responds to this by punching Jerkface in the face and storming off to confront Elena at gunpoint. Oh, honey.
This prompts Damon to confess that he’s been taking his revenge against successive generations of the Whitmore family since his escape in ’58, including murdering Aaron’s parents. And the last one he killed? Was Aaron’s aunt… at the beginning of the past summer.
AARON DOESN’T TAKE IT WELL.
And, I’m sorry, but I need to back up here. Are we now to believe that Damon let Elena come to Whitmore without a qualm — knowing, apparently, everything that he did about the Augustine society and the Whitmore family? And it seriously took him that long to make the connection to Jerkface’s experiments on vampires and the Augustine stuff? That is some sloppy, sloppy retconning, guys.
ANYWAY. Elena’s upset to realize that while the were in the midst of their perfect love summer, Damon was still of murdering people. This is all clearly part of the on-going “Damon’s still a monster!” stuff Caroline was warning her about last week. Which… is true? But the show is also clearly wedded to keeping him around as both a main character and a love interest, and in light of that fact, I really wish they would stop doing shit like this. It’s not fun or interesting to watch.
In the last scene, Damon wakes up after being shot in the head to find Elena gone. Turns out she’s strapped down in a lab somewhere… next to a very alive Enzo. Well, who could have seen that coming?
Next time: You wouldn’t like the Salvatores when they’re angry.