It’s Lizzie and Josie’s 16th birthday. Which means a big party and Lizzie making everything about her as usual. There will be a lot of teen drama about this. Yay.
But there’s still a story about this shiny knife of why-has-Alaric-kept-this-my-gods-doesn’t-the-supernatural-world-have-someone-more-qualified-to-handle-this-aaargh-I-can’t-even-get-up-without-asking-Hope-for-help to deal with. And the latest monster to collect the knife is… Alaric’s dead wife Jo
Jo, as we recall from the Vampire Diaries trainwreck, is Josie and Lizzie’s mother who was killed on her wedding day to Alaric by her evil twin (since her whole family has twins and oh, one is destined to kill the other at age 22 and no-one has told Lizzie and Josie this yet) and her family magically stuffed the babies into Caroline’s womb. Vampire Diaries went to some strange places.
Alaric is pretty suspicious about his dead wife coming back from the dead and points a crossbow at her. Well, I get the suspicion but, as Jo points out, this is Mystic Falls. Everyone has come back from the dead at some point. She also makes a hilarious comment about Alaric looking “seasoned” since he’s 16 years older than she remembers.
Alaric tries to keep this from his daughters but they quickly find out and don’t remotely respect his no because he’s helpless and useless anyway so discover their biological mother. Lizzie is kind of hostile to Jo, having the idea that bonding with her is somehow disloyal to Caroline. While Josie instantly wants a closer relationship. Alaric wants to keep her away from them until he is sure that Jo is who she says she is. Which involves testing and that huge huge hugely useful lie detector orb which really really could have been really super useful in The Originals. Where were you little plot breaking orb? All the tests point to her being the real deal
Dorian’s research does turn up the idea of people being resurrected in order to murder someone though. So she’s still a risk
Teenaged angst time! So Hope is all crushing after Landon but at least she is self-aware enough to recognise this. She also tries to make peace with Rafael - he’s super angry at her for kicking out Landon for his own good but he also needs Hope’s help. He agreed to be Lizzies date for the party and, especially since he just slept with her (which he regrets) he feels he needs to do right by her. Which means learning all the ornate, rather old fashioned party etiquette which Mystic Falls loves so much. Hope is happy to teach him since Aunt Rebekkah has a weird fixation with this kind of nonsense.
This gives them chance to bond, Rafael admit he’s not all that into Lizzie and Hope to realise that he’s still mourning for his dead girlfriend and kind of working through his issues by being afraid of letting Lizzie down. Honestly that amount of angst means you probably need to not date for a while. Hope seems to agree and encourages him to be honest with Lizzie
They also discuss family and friendship and I like how you can see their histories in their views. Hope has no time for friends and is all for family - after all, she’s a Mikkaelson, surrounded by people who don’t like them very much but at the same time have the epic, almost unhealthily intense family bonds. While Rafael, an orphan, has never known family to be reliable but has learned to rely on people like Landon
They get to discuss all this because Penny the evil one casts a spell locking them in to make Rafael late to the party
Why? Well she has mutual plots. One is MG who still has a desperate crush on Lizzie and Penny agrees to give him one more chance with her before finally promising to give up and not being constantly heart broken by her disinterest. And this begins to work with Lizzie impressed by his charm and epic dancing skills (he’s a vampire I’m not impressed) as well as how he knows everything about her (I’ve always found this less romantic and more than a little creepy. I mean it’s sort of an admission of stalking)
But when Rafael finally gets there, Lizzie is quick to dump him for Rafael and maybe MG will stop chasing the woman who isn’t really that into him. While Rafael tells Lizzie that he isn’t actually that into her when she’s clearly already making plans to have sex with him (and it’s a little… desperate there Lizzie. Invest in some batteries, hon and tone it down a bit).
Penny’s second step is to go to Josie, pointing out she’s spent the entire time preparing for THEIR party, helping Lizzie get ready rather than getting ready herself. Josie is constantly sacrificing herself and Penny calls her out on seeming to think any kind of self-care or self-regard is selfish.
Duly inspired Josie goes back to see Jo, talks hair and bonding and history and romance before going for a walk to the party. At which point Jo is overcome by Evil Murder Impulses. Oops, I would say someone should have predicted this but they did, they just didn’t do anything about it.
Possessed Jo has buried Josie alive and demands Alaric give up the knife or she dies. Alaric wants to but Doria and Emma have said “hell no” and have already skipped town with it to stop him giving it up. Sensible people.
So what does he do? What he always does when he has a problem - turn to Hope. She recruits MG and Penny (since she’s learned about friends) and they go to find Josie - running into zombies along the way. These zombies Penny and Hope kill by hitting them in the head rather than use magic… which seems odd but hey one of the writers has been watching way too much Walking Dead. MG’s vampire hearing finds Josie and the day is saved
But Jo realises she is a risk to her children. If she is possessed again she could hurt them. And there’s only one way to protect her kids - have them siphon away the power that controls her. And which keeps her alive. I think having Alaric behead her would achieve the same goal without traumatising her daughters but then we wouldn’t get the beautiful, emotional goodbye scenes.
Penny catches up with Josie to double down on the fact selfishness is ok - and how compatible they are. She kisses Josie… who says she hates Penny and kisses her back. I love that we’re finally getting something from these characters than utter enemies - but this is still going to be a trainwreck.
And the big bad arrives! Looking kinda cheap-horror-filmness he declares he is the Necromancer and wants the knife. Dorian and Alaric act like Necromancy is totally not intimidating which is kind of weird because zombies but hey, grandstanding. Alaric swears epic vengeance which would mean something if his epic vengeance wouldn’t involve asking some teenagers to do his vengeing for him.