Alaric and Jo are being all romantic – this may be less of a romantic gesture and more (as we switch to Damon and Stefan) because of Damon’s compulsion on Alaric to get the magic-steampunk-key no matter what which is why Alaric is asking lots of questions about it (I suppose I should call it the “Ascendant” because that’s its name – but it’s brass and it has cogs! It’s like they went to a Steampunk convention and asked for the shiniest thing! Also with a name that pretentious it needs to do more than open a door). Stefan points out that Alaric may kill Damon for this but Damon takes the chance to mock Stefan about Caroline some more, which, as I pointed out last episode, may be the highlight of the whole season. (Damned with faint praise).
In other news, Elena has deigned to notice her little brother so he is now totally over his angst over Bonnie (it may distract Elena from, well, Elena and force her to care about someone). Learning that Jeremy has moved on and stopped grieving, Elena decides to tell him that Bonnie’s imprisoned still. Jeremy is neither willing to have a lot of hope nor put a lot of trust in Damon. Elena is sad by this, Elena has clearly (again) forgotten that Damon murdered Jeremy.
Over to Liv who has been hiding out with Tyler for an unspecified period of time and is now sick of it so is going back to a normal life or risking her life or something. Anyway, Damon wants her to do some witchy magic on the Ascendant to get Bonnie back – Tyler suggests using Luke (because absolutely no-one gives a damn if he gets killed. No, really, even Liv doesn’t take exception to “hey, let’s just sacrifice your twin brother” plan) but since that would involve giving Luke some on-screen time other than to exposition Liv’s relationship AND suggest he actually has power there’s no way that’s happening.
Sarah is still around (I actually had to do some googling to figure out who she is) and she wants Matt to help her find Stefan (the whole Tripp the vampire-hunter storyline appears to be officially buried now). Anyway Sarah wants to talk to Stefan which involves talking to Enzo (“Matt and Stefan, you can do so much better.” So very very true). Stefan arrives so he and Enzo can do their usual dick measuring. Enzo and Matt retreat to snark at each other while Sarah tells her life story to Stefan. And Stefan uses a milk shake blender so he can compel her without Enzo overhearing because apparently everything Sarah has said is a lie.
In the car, Stefan reveals that he actually looked after the real Stefan Salvatore, ensuring she was adopted by a great family et al and he’s even kept an eye on her and knows her entire life story because she’s family and Stefan cares about that in a long-distance stalky kind of way. Fake Sarah tries to run which is really pointless with a vampire. She reveals her real name is Monique who knew Sarah and decided to try and hijack Sarah’s history because her life is terribad. Stefan points out that she has no idea how terribad Sarah’s life would have been because Monique hasn’t met Damon yet. And to make sure terribad Damon never goes to the real Sarah he compels Monique to completely forget Sarah and get out of town.
Amusingly Enzo stays behind to exposition to Matt and lamp-shade what is so wrong with this show – that Stefan is just as evil as him but Stefan gets to be a hero while he is a villain. Wow, who’d have thought Vampire Diaries was so self-aware? Enzo points out at least he’s honest about killing people.
They catch up to Monique and Stefan and Enzo decides to threaten Monique to demand the whole story. When Stefan doesn’t talk, Enzo kills her. Matt realises Stefan is bad and I guess this is the start of the Matt-becomes-a-hunter storyline.
Liv uses magic and shinies to send Elena and Damon to the Other Side to find Bonnie (personally I would have sent Stefan since he’s older than Elena but that would have involved someone other than Elena). I do like him teaching Elena about pagers and, for one brief moment, actually pointing out the age gap between them. She also finds his video diary which he hastily takes from her.
Bonnie gets in touch in response to the pager and she and Damon do the snark (they do give each other good snark). Alas, because Bonnie is clearly drunk, she’s excited to hear Elena’s voice and plans to get to them (she’s driving back from Portland). She confirms Kai has vanished. Damon realises that Kai already has everything he needs to escape and he probably already has.
After waiting a while, Elena realises that Damon used Nefarious Means to get the Ascendant and is Most Displeased. She’s decided the absolutely only reason Damon may want to rescue his only companion for 6 months who gave up everything to rescue him is to get back in Elena’s good books…
…oh dear gods that is so self-centred that Elena should have started imposing her own gravitational pull. Damon kindly explains to Elena that not everything is about her and the connection he forged with Bonnie while they were stranded together for 6 months. Elena realises the topic is not about her, so decides to talk about the time she burned her house down.
Yes, they’re right – Kai is already in the Real World being his annoying self and murdering taxi driver because he can’t afford the fare. He has tracked down Liv to where she’s working at the bar.
After a long afternoon of being annoying he finally reveals who he is by showing her his ID. He grabs her and does his magic drainy thing and she stabs him in the arm. He uses his stolen magic to stop her running though (Liv responds by pushing furniture around) until they end up on the mezzanine floor and Tyler pushes him over the balcony. They then decide to run rather than stab him repeatedly with sharp things. He’s just fallen off the balcony, you could at least drop something heavy on him!
Instead they run out and summon Elena and Damon back – without Bonnie. Whyyyy?! At least Tyler and Liv are smart enough to be over the border and immune to vampire wrath when they do it. They then leave. No, really, why? Why bring them back just then? Will that stop Kai?
Apparently not because he shows up to destroy the Ascendant and throw around some mystical headache magic (and turn his back on Elena, seriously she could have snapped his neck 11 times while he’s circling Damon). Damon hits him apparently hard enough to send him flying but not hard enough to knock him out of breath. Kai decides to rampage around Mystic Falls and mock the fact no vampires can stop him…
…no, just the humans because he has no special powers in Mystical Falls either. They could actually call Alaric, Sheriff Liz, Matt, Tyler (all of which look physically more capable) to stab, shoot or maim Kai - or just handcuff and drag over the border.
Except apparently not because Kai somehow manages to overwhelm Tyler with a broken glass (how does he even know where Tyler lives? Or who Tyler is?) He offers Tyler a deal.
Elena calls Jeremy to tell him everything went terribly wrong – he is not surprised and blames Damon, just ‘cos. And Mat drops in to recruit Jeremy to become a vampire hunter; specifically hunting Enzo.
Jo has realised her Ascendant is missing and that only Alaric knew where she kept it. He swears he knows nothing (honestly) and Jo realises what has happened – compulsion so they can use the Mystic Falls border to remove and expose the compulsion.
Which means we also get Alaric confronting Damon – Alaric is pissed, hits Damon a few times and doesn’t listen to Kai’s escape being absolutely nothing to do with Damon
On the Otherside Bonnie realises Damon and Elena are gone.
Can we revisit again Elena now telling Jeremy, her brother who she knew was actually falling apart and becoming an alcoholic over his grief over Bonnie? Because she told him this episode. Last episode she found time to have a Thanksgiving Dinner and several romantic moments with Damon including some kind of waterboarding at the town boundary. But telling Jeremy that there’s hope and he can stop crawling into a bottle of bad American whiskey? Not a priority. I’ve said it before and will say it again, Elena is a terrible person.
This season seems to be full of micro-storylines which kind of limp forwards then vanish. Like the hunters – we have hunters and then… not. It lasts for several episodes but doesn’t, quite, go anywhere. There’s Elena’s now ex love interest. Then there’s the vampired and now dead Holly. And Enzo… what is he even still doing in Mystic Falls? Why does he care so much about Stefan? Jeremy’s devastating grief is another. And now Sarah/Monique randomly going nowhere. And that’s not even including the 8 bajillion romances on this show.
This season introduced 2 new WOC – Holly and Monique. Neither were developed, neither did anything, both were often ignored, both got murdered – by the same vampire no less. I’d say they’re disposable tools but to call them “tools” would be to imply they were used and discarded for a narrative purpose – but they didn’t even reach that height.
ZOMG Damon compelled Alaric to steal from Jo! HOW COULD HE…?! Seriously… Damon has left a trail of bodies behind him that matches that left by some armies – it leaves me constantly amused and slightly stunned by the moral outrage at anything he does. And, frankly, given the amount of murders they’ve all been willing to do/forgive – refusing to take the Ascendant from Jo by any means necessary to save Bonnie feels… dubious