Previously on Vampire Diaries: Ding dong, the last doppelgänger is gone.
This marks Paul Wesley’s directorial debut, which explains why Stefan is largely Sir Not Appearing In This Episode. As the previews promised, he and Elena are sharing dreams about each other — except it’s less “sexytimes” and more “comforting rom-com domesticity in a world where everyone’s family is alive and no one is a creature of the night.” Whatever floats your boats, kids.
Elena has the first dream while she’s actually asleep, but falls into the second one while wide awake and in public. As she’s telling Caroline about it, Stefan calls his BFF for a sanity check of his own. Once they clue into the weirdness of what’s happening, he heads off screen to check out the Traveler encampment.
Over at Chez Salvatore, Enzo and Damon play pool and girl talk about the latter’s recent relationship woes. I’m not sure when he had the time to get the pool table, since it’s established in this episode that Elena’s never seen it before and also that this is literally the day after she was last in the house. Also, I have to say: Enzo seems awful up to speed on the modern world and emotionally functional for someone who’s spent the last 60 years locked up and tortured.
Enzo helpfully explains that he’s not currently off stalking his nurse from the 50s because the Travelers did their combustion routine before telling him where she was. (Um, did you try Googling her, Enzo? Maybe he’s not as up to speed on modern life as I thought.)
ANYWAY! Damon’s not taking Elena’s calls. Because he is a child. But Enzo is taking Caroline’s! Because duh, she is smoking hot and he is not blind. So she fills them both in on the latest Mystic weirdness, theorizing that this is the universe’s way of shoving the last two doppelgängers at each other — much to Damon’s disgust. He agrees to help, though.
Back on campus, Bonnie leaves a message for Jeremy — who’s apparently been dodging her calls. But ghost!Grams appears to warn her that all the Other Side witches think someone escaped during the Traveler fire bomb spree and it’s making the afterlife all hinky.
Speaking of Jeremy, he’s hanging out at Tyler’s. Where Liv is explaining the whole Traveler threat — after making Matt and Tyler prove themselves possession free with some sexy stabbing. (Countdown begins now to Liv boning either one of them, or — if the show really wants to impress me — both at the same time. Hey, we know Matty blue eyes doesn’t mind a good old fashioned threesome.)
Blah blah exposition: it seems her coven has been tracking Travelers for “thousands of years.” And when the Travelers gather in large numbers they usually hide their presence by possessing regular townsfolk. She thinks they’re doing that in town now. Right on cue, we see several of the long-suffering norms of Mystic Falls getting passengers of their very own. Including the lovely Sheriff Liz. HI, LIZ!
Bonnie shows up looking for Jeremy and catches the tail end of all this. Because Liv has apparently not been watching this show long enough to realize NOTHING GOOD COMES OF BAD COMMUNICATION, she’s refusing to let Jeremy tell Bonnie what they’re up to. He awkwardly sends he away, asking her to trust him.
Sure, why would you want a knowledgeable ex-witch, former ghost, and current mystical conduit to another freaking plane of existence helping you out when you could have the brain trust that is Tyler and Cute!Matt? (No offense intended to Matt, but come on. His superpower is being literally too cute to kill. And even that only works half the time.)
Case in point: upon learning Liz was late to Caroline’s lunch date, Cute!Matt goes to investigate and promptly gets his cute neck stabbed for his troubles. His spirit gives Bonnie a cryptic warning about Liz before passing over into blue-tinted Other Side. Where sucky Kol is waiting! Apparently, the hinkiness Grams warned about is causing all the spirits to be visible to each other.
Matt realizes this means he might be able to see Vicki, and it’s all very heartbreaking. OH, MATTY. (Although, um, hasn’t Matt been able to see Vicki before when he was temporarily dead? And Bonnie? I don’t know why I even bother to type the words “internal consistency” anymore when it comes to this show’s mythology.)
He runs through some ghost woods shouting for his sister until she appears. But when he tries to take her with him, she’s ripped away like Katherine was. Poor Matty. Kol begs Matt to find a way to remember all this when he wakes up so they can stop the same thing from happening to all of the supernatural dead.
While all this is going on, Tyler catches up to FauxLiz and tricks her into revealing herself. Although how she knew his name but didn’t know his mother is dead is kind of a mystery. He manages to stab her (non-fatally) with the magic de-possession knife.
Back in the A plot, Caroline and Elena show up at Chez Salvatore for a pow wow about this whole vision situation. It’s hella awkward, so Caroline and Enzo escape to another room, the better to drink and eavesdrop in comfort. Enzo confesses that he’s not stalking his nurse friend out of some delusion of romance. He merely wants to thank her for being a friend to him when he needed it. Caroline seems touched, in spite of herself.
Luke’s arrival interrupts Damon and Elena’s painful small talk. THANK GOD. THAT WAS TERRIBLE. He explains he can’t do anything about the visions, but thinks they might provide a clue to find the Travelers, since they still need Elena and Stefan’s doppelblood. (Wait, still? Didn’t they already take several buckets full? Jeez, Travelers. Plan ahead!)
Later that night, Elena comforts Damon by reminding him that the freaking universe doesn’t actually get a say in her love life… right before being catapulted into another vision of alt!Stefan proposing to alt!Elena. When she snaps out of it, she realizes Markos must be at the address of their alt!dream house.
So Damon and Enzo head over there and find the infamous Markos waiting. He’s refreshingly open about his plans. Seems “the universe” isn’t drawing Damon and Elena together so much as a spell he cast 1500 years ago. Exposition time! My favorite!
Blah blah, schism between witches and Travelers. Blah blah, there’s a witch curse that causes disaster whenever the Travelers gather in large numbers in their own bodies. Hence, the body-snatching. Somehow the doppelblood will break this curse.
Markos offers to break the spell and stop the visions to prove he’s not Damon’s enemy. Oh, and also he casually reveals that his people have possessed half the town. I don’t know why anyone normal still lives in Mystic, honestly.
A little chanting rips Elena and Stefan out of their idyllic dream world. Just in time for him to come home and find her feeling a little bereft about it. Stefan talks them through their mutual feels in his emotionally mature way. They agree that they’ll always love each other, but it’s feeling like a past tense thing.
Elena wistfully wonders if she and Damon will ever be able to talk to each other like this. Stefan thinks you’re either friends with someone or in love with them. That seems… like kind of a messed up viewpoint on what makes a healthy, loving relationship. But I guess that’s kind of par for the course for everyone on this show.
WHATEVER, DRAMA LLAMAS
Damon comes home a little while later to find Elena waiting in his bedroom. Oh, lord. They have another one of their overwrought conversations about how their relationship is messy and real and they need each other but they’re bad for each other and BLAH BLAH BLAH while music swells in the background. Damon finally says he can’t be her friend and can’t be around her. Elena tearfully walks out. Later, rinse, repeat.
Back at the Sheriff’s office, Bonnie and Jeremy wait for dead!Matt to come back to life. He apologizes for lying; she needs him to not drop off the face of the Earth at times like this. Their relationship issues are interrupted by Matt waking up. And he remembers everything from when he was dead! (Why? No idea. They seriously don’t even attempt to explain it other than Kol told him he needed to remember and then he did. WHATEVER, SHOW.)
Tyler calls Caroline for an update on Liz, who should be fine. THANK GOD. I would seriously have to cut a bitch if they ever offed Liz Forbes. He reassures her they’re not going to let the town be taken over. But, whoops! As soon as he hangs up the phone, we see he’s actually been possessed himself. And he delivers the last of the magic de-possession Traveler knives to Markos, who destroys it. DUN!
Next time: Apparently one of the Salvatore brothers ripped the head off of Enzo’s nurse years ago. The jaunty preview music thinks this is HILARIOUS, so I’m guessing hijinks are about to ensue. Kill me now.