Flashforward to 3 years in the future with Stefan wanting to get in touch with Caroline because his “scar opened up.” He contacts Tyler (this guy just can’t escape this show it keeps dragging him back in) who isn’t thrilled to get involved in whatever drama Stefan and Caroline have. He wants to warn Caroline – and run. Running involves torching his car and saving his journal at the last minute.
To the present with more journaling from Bonnie who keeps having horrific visions from the Phoenix Stone which cause black outs.
Damon in a towel! Ah, Vampire Diaries belatedly remembers why we watch this show. He’s camping with Alaric. Who isn’t that much of a fan of the arrangement. Bonnie arrives for the eye-candy (and that phoenix stone thing). Alaric continues to lie about it. Damon is still focusing on kidnapping Donavon, the missing Heretic witchpire he intends to kidnap for a prisoner exchange.
So on to plan to kidnap Oscar and the plan has now extended to using his power to siphon off Bonnie’s visions since they can’t think of another way to remove them since Alaric keeps lying. Turns out Oscar knows Damon and sent him to check on Damon in the past. Oscar is currently merrily partying (don’t mind the bodies, it’s Vampire Diaries no-one cares) and happy to be out of Lily’s eternally watchful eye
They ask Oscar to siphon Bonnie’s visions – he tries – but then asks where the phoenix stone is and promptly disables them all with magic. When they wake up Oscar is gone, so is the stone and Bonnie is pissed to learn Alaric didn’t destroy it. She blames Damon for not telling her – he happily steps aside, this is so between bonnie and Alaric. They argue and Bonnie is clearly not happy though Alaric points out that bonnie and he have both died a few times and came back though now the Otherside is gone they don’t have that option. Alaric is still focused on raising Joe no matter what happens
Anyway Damon catches Oscar and admits he does know him – but he doesn’t talk about that time when he was a Confederate soldier and very ashamed of that. He claims Oscar saved him by compelling him to desert but Oscar says he couldn’t compel, he just convinced him. And now Oscar wants to be free of Lily’s rules. Damon then attacks Oscar so they an trade him in – which doesn’t go well because Heretics are super powerful but Bonnie and Alaric arrive to back him up, taking down Oscar. Bonnie then takes the stone from Alaric.
They then research it – Bonnie’s on side despite this being an epicly awful idea. Alaric tries to convince her by showing her Joe’s body and his epic inability to let go.
Caroline, captured by the Witchpires, is both reading Stefan’s journal about how wonderful Valerie was while being tormented by Nora and Mary-Louise. She does manage to talk to Stefan since he left his phone. There’s so much they could discuss, plans against the witchpires. What Stefan and Damon are plotting. But, no, she wants to know all about Stefan’s relationship with Valerie because CW. She doesn’t get an answer before Valerie destroys the phone.
This gives Caroline chance to ask Valerie about the relationship – when Valerie was a magic-less witch who just syphoned and describes herself as Stefan’s first love. Caroline has snarky commentary at least and isn’t all impressed with how mean Valerie was to poor Stefan
And Lily is destroying cars and helpfully in the area so Stefan can tell her that he and Damon are totally sulking with each other and gives Stefan chance to ask about Valerie – apparently Lily sent Valerie to him, apparently to “check on him.” Stefan also has some sharp words for Lily never bothering to tell him she was alive despite him never getting over her apparent death. At least he’s not super eager to believe that Valerie’s affections were genuine – or Lily’s for that matter.
Shared flashback time! Of Valerie and Stefan meeting and having sex (Stefan’s first time). Followed by grave visiting. Also about a guy called Julian Lily fell for – because, really, she totally needs to tell stories of her past boyfriends with her son. Julian was so very very “protective of Valerie”.
Valerie leaves and doesn’t return to Stefan despite her promise. Baby Stefan is all angsty, but Valerie is dragged away by the evil Julian who also knows Valerie is pregnant with Stefan’s baby. Julian beat her unconscious and caused her to miscarry. She then tried to commit suicide – with Lily’s blood in her system, making her the first witchpire heretic.
Lily goes home to Caroline to about Caroline’s dead mother which also gives Caroline the chance to use Stefan’s journal to throw in all the angst he feels about Lily his mother dying. Woe woe angst woe. Lily decides to release Caroline.
Valerie catches up with Stefan to explain all what happened. Stefan doesn’t say anything and leaves (though I think they’re separate).
Caroline goes home to Stefan – her skin still acidic and vervainy for them to discuss Lily and lost love and Caroline’s worry about whether she is first in Stefan’s affections – while he assures her she’s number 1.
And Damon calls Lily to tell her that they have Oscar and want an exchange. She then wakes up with Valerie standing over him – she’s used a searching spell. And the mission Oscar was on was to find Julian – he’s found him. His plan was to use knowledge of Julian’s existence to buy freedom from Lily
Valerie kills him Oscar – she doesn’t want to risk Lily bringing Julian back
I think the show could do to play up more Lily’s relationship with the witchpires because at the moment they all seem to resent her and her control and, at the same time, are all more than powerful enough to rip her into teeny tiny pieces and clearly it’s not morality stopping them (morality! On the Vampire Diaries hah, the very idea!). Oscar says how he wants to be free from Lily… well, why not just be free? Why does he have to buy freedom from Lily?
Valerie, Nora, Mary-Louise, none of these characters like her or appear to… so why do they put up with it? What does Lily have over them? And if it is maternal then we need to see it go both ways – at the moment we just have Lily talking about her kids but none of her “kids” treating her as a mother. It feels more like Lily suffering from a delusion than a genuine affection bond.
Is there a reason why Valerie/Stefan is a thing? Does it need to be a thing? Does anyone even care enough about Valerie for this to be a thing? Can no-one just have a relationship on this show? Why does there always have to be love triangles?
And why do I think evil Julian is going to appear as a character because clearly we don’t have enough side characters or plots. And if Valerie is Lily’s daughter and there is affection is there a reason why she can’t just tell Lily what he did if she fears Julian coming back? Or just leave?
With Oscar’s death we have killed off one of only three POC on this show. Bo is literally silent. Bonnie is now helping Alaric (which is annoying but at least an acknowledgement of her powers) but like so many times with her she is helping someone when SHE DOESN’T WANT TO. This is a recurring theme with Bonnie – I’m glad Alaric turned to her rather than completely overlooking her power, but ever since the beginning of this show Bonnie has not just been the servile with helping white folks, but she has been the servile witch helping white folks WHETHER SHE AGREED OR NOT. The times she’s sacrificed herself for others or helped people she hated or disagreed with or pursued plans she thought were wrong is ridiculous and it really does push that constant helping to outright servility. Helping her friends all the time with nothing coming back would be bad and a trope. But doing it when she doesn’t want to and even vehemently opposes can’t even be presented as “hope” – it’s service.