Previously on Vampire Diaries: Damon ate a pregnant lady.
Vampire Ivy has been giving Stefan a little too much realness about all the ways in which he’s ruined her life. So he stuffs her in a trunk and drops her off at Caroline and Elena’s cavernous dorm room so the former can provide some free babysitting. As you do.
Unfortunately, Ivy sees right through both of Caroline’s weakness — love of Stefan and Scrabble — and pretty much immediately makes an escape.
Meanwhile, this week’s weird local event is a quaint annual Whitmore tradition involving a Woman in White. Because what college wouldn’t want the liability of drunk undergraduates wandering unsupervised at night through a haunted corn maze?
Elena cajoles a depressed, alcoholic Alaric into attending — after refusing, once again, to let him compel her memories of loving Damon back. (“As if I’m going to wake up one day and realize that my life is over if I don’t have the traumatic memories of loving a serial killer?” — HAH!) I like Damon-free Elena so much, you guys.
Unfortunately for everyone, Tyler ends up plowing through the party with his truck to avoid hitting one of Ivy’s dazed frat boy victims. There are injured people everywhere, and if any of them die, his wolf curse will be triggered. (In true Vampire Diaries fashion, I’m sure we’re supposed to find that a bigger tragedy than the numerous innocent people bleeding out all over the place.)
Luckily for him, Liv shows up and suffocates the frat boy who was slowly dying anyway, so that she’ll technically have been the one who killed him. I wish I cared about Liv at all, but I really don’t, so… yeah. That happened? (Actually, what are Liv and Luke still doing at Whitmore at all? Weren’t they only there undercover to watch Bonnie? $10 says their creepy coven family is the same one Kai came from.)
Between hot Dr. Jo and semi-hot med student Liam, most of the other victims are saved. Elena manages to give her blood to the one girl who had fatal wounds — although not without raising Liam’s suspicions. But Damon-free Elena is the kind of person who’s actually attracted to life saving heroics, so he gets a distracting kiss at the end of the night.
Also kissing in the aftermath: Ric self sabotages by compelling hot Dr. Jo to not like him. Except she seems immune to compulsion and also immune to being weirded out by guys ordering her not to like them. I guess if that’s what you’re into?
While all this is going on, Stefan — having earlier failed to get Alaric to compel Ivy into a guilt-free break up — finally slinks back to Caroline and confesses that he was about to ditch her again. Because caring about his friends and taking responsibility for his shit is really getting in the way of his starting over plan. Caroline takes this about as well as you might expect, i.e. she kicks him out and goes to clean up his Ivy mess.
Except Trip finds Ivy first and drags her off in his magical mystery incineration van, to Caroline’s horror. So long, Ivy!
But enough of that! Because over in 1994, Bonnie, Damon, and Kai are being all mutually self-sacrificing and BREAKING MY HEART. But first, they’re preparing for their escape by digging holes in the forest and sniping at each other. When Bonnie calls Kai’s bluff about his threat to steal her magic and leave them both behind, she figures out that he doesn’t actually know the spell to get them out. And then she straight up kills him with a pickax.
(Bonnie? Is not even remotely in the neighborhood of playing anymore.)
She’s also smart enough to figure out the spell on her own — it requires the blood of a Bennett witch to activate a magical McGuffin amulet thing. Which explains why Kai really needed her. As the eclipse is about to start, she and Damon share a tender call back to their death scene in the finale:
BONNIE: It’s time, Damon.
DAMON: All right. Let’s get awkward. [takes her hand] I’m sure there are about a billion people you’d rather be here with.
BONNIE: [getting choked up] Not exactly.
Damon doesn’t really know how to deal with sincerity from her, as usual. But he smiles and she smiles and I smile and of course, that’s when Kai shows up and shoots her with a crossbow, because he’s a dick who can’t die, and also a perennial moment-ruiner.
Damon tries to heal her with his blood, but she orders him to keep Kai from getting the mystical McGuffin. While they struggle over it, Bonnie manages to crawl her way over and grab it instead.
Damon actually yells for her to use it and leave him behind — which I think counts as a certain amount of character growth — but she uses her magic to separate him and Kai and send Damon back instead. Alone. Let’s just say his shout of horror as he realizes what she’s done was pretty epically good for me.
And okay, on the one hand? This is totally BULLSHIT. Damon returning without Bonnie pretty much ruins both of the only enjoyable things for me this season, i.e. all the Damon/Bonnie screen time and Elena’s Damon-free personality regression. But on the other hand, if he’s about to spend the foreseeable future on a quest to rescue her… I COULD BE SUPER INTO THAT. Don’t let me down like you always do, Vampire Diaries.
Anyway, now back in the real world, Damon comes home to the family crypt — which I guess must be just outside the bounds of Mystic Falls for some reason? — to find Stefan sitting among his dead relatives, giving a big, sad speech how much of a mess he is without his brother.
And, fine. Even my cold, dead heart was moved by the expression on Stefan’s face when he touches Damon and realizes he’s real. (The words “HUG, YOU BASTARDS!” might have been shouted at the television screen.)
But it still doesn’t make up for leaving Bonnie alone with a serial killer and dying of a gut wound, writers. Don’t think you’re off the hook until you fix this!
Next time: The words “nothing is more important than rescuing Bonnie” are not uttered, so I’m refusing to acknowledge that preview exists.