Elena wakes up in Anna and Ben’s motel room, having been brought there the night before by Anna. Ben’s asleep in a chair by the door, and though Elena tries to sneak by him and escape, she’s not fast or quiet enough. He tries to compel her not to run, unaware that she’s wearing vervain. She plays along and pretends the compulsion works, then tries again to run out. Anna comes back just then and locks her in the bathroom. That’s when Elena realizes that Anna and Ben have also kidnapped Bonnie.
At Vamp Villa, Stefan tells Damon that Anna took Elena, and he’s been looking for her all night. He’s worried that Damon’s blood hasn’t left Elena’s system and Anna will kill her, turning her into vampire. “At least you know you’ll see her again,” Damon says dismissively. Stefan begs Damon to tell him where Anna’s been living, but Damon refuses.
Stefan says that he used to feel something other than hatred for Damon, but Damon’s choices have erased everything good about him. He knows Damon has just as much reason to hate Stefan as Stefan does for hating him, since Stefan is responsible for Katherine being taken away. He apologizes, hoping that’s enough to make Damon want to help. “I mean this sincerely: I hope Elena dies,” Damon replies.
Elena turns on the faucet in the bathroom so she and Bonnie can talk without Anna and Ben listening in. Elena thinks they want Bonnie because she can break the spell on the tomb and let out the vampires. Ben comes in and turns off the water, and Bonnie tells him she won’t help him and Anna. Ben notes that that’s why they took Elena – she’s motivation for Bonnie to do what they want. Anna gets her first good look at Elena, and is also the first person in the series to use the word “doppelganger.” Get used to hearing it a lot. Elena’s not clear on why her brother’s friend is involved in this whole thing.
Over at the Grill, Tyler is back after giving us a few episodes of peace. There’s a party that night, and he wants Matt to go. Tyler and Jeremy bicker a little, like, aren’t we all tired of this? Caroline arrives and asks Jeremy where Elena is. She also wants to go to the party, which is being thrown by a Mystic Falls High alum who throws a bash every time he comes home to visit. (Fun fact: His nickname is Duke and he goes to Duke. Also, no one really likes him). Caroline invites Jeremy, because I’m sure Elena would love for him to go to a kegger just as he’s getting away from drugs and alcohol.
Caroline then turns to Matt for a speech about how she doesn’t want things between them to be weird after they kissed. He’s already said that he doesn’t think a relationship with her will work out, so she wants to offer him an escape clause before they go any further. If he wants to stay friends, they’ll stay friends. Matt wants more, and he agrees to go to Duke’s party with her.
Damon goes to Sheila’s house, looking for Bonnie. Sheila slams him for coming to her, since she knows from both Bonnie and the spirits that Damon is a bad guy. She orders him off her porch. “Step outside and say that,” he replies. Instead, she psychically gives him a massive headache. She reminds him that she’s not Bonnie, and he doesn’t want to mess with her.
At the motel, Elena tells Anna that Bonnie won’t open the tomb. Anna disagrees. Elena thinks she wants Katherine freed, but Anna says Damon’s the only one who wants that. She’s in this to get her mother out. She blames Katherine for not being careful enough and getting Pearl captured with her. Anna plans to use Elena as leverage. She calls Stefan and promises to leave Elena alone since the Salvatores have something she wants. She tells him to send a brother to meet her in the town square in 30 minutes so they can discuss working together to open the tomb.
Anna heads out again, telling Ben that compulsion won’t work on the girls, so he should feel free to get violent. He starts questioning Bonnie about her witchy abilities. When Elena asks for some water, Bonnie gets an idea. She throws it on Ben and uses her old trick of setting water on fire to burn him. Elena’s not fast enough getting out the door AGAIN, and Ben grabs her and uses her to get Bonnie to stay in the motel room.
Anna runs into Jeremy downtown, lying that she had to leave suddenly the night before but told Elena to let him know. He invites her to Duke’s party. Anna’s like, “I’ve spent all this time trying to get you to go out with me and NOW is when you finally agree?” Jeremy wants to stop being a loner and get back to socializing. Since the party’s by a cemetery in the woods, right near Fell’s Church, Anna accepts the invitation.
After Jeremy leaves, Damon joins Anna in the town square. He still doesn’t want to work with her, and he warns that Stefan will come after her for kidnapping Elena. Anna isn’t intimidated. Damon finally gives in, which just reminds Anna of how pathetic the Salvatore brothers are when it comes to women. She tells him to meet her at Fell’s Church after sundown.
Back in the motel, Ben really thinks he’s in a position of power. That ends pretty quickly when Stefan bursts in, letting in sunlight. Elena and Bonnie are able to run out, and Stefan tells Ben to leave town after the sun goes down or risk being killed by Stefan.
Bonnie, Elena, and Stefan go to Sheila’s house, where we learn that she was the one who told Stefan where the girls were, thanks to a locator spell. Stefan wants the Bennetts and Elena to stay in the house while he deals with Anna. Elena thinks they should just help Damon free Katherine, since he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. Bonnie disagrees – Damon doesn’t deserve to win.
Sheila laments that witches are being dragged into vampires’ problems. She agrees to open the tomb and let Katherine out, as long as Stefan kills the other vampires. Stefan doesn’t think Damon will go along with that plan, since he and Elena double-crossed him. Elena says he’s hurt, not angry. She knows what to do to get him to agree to their idea.
Anna returns to the motel room to find the hostages gone and Ben hiding because there’s too much sunlight in the room for him to move around. Anna knows that without Bonnie, Damon won’t bring her the grimoire, so she’s out of ideas. She’s determined to be there when Damon figures out how to get into the tomb.
Elena goes to Vamp Villa and tells Damon that she convinced Bonnie to help him. She won’t apologize for getting the grimoire without him. Both of them are trying to protect people they love. They’re on the same side, with the same goal. Damon agreed earlier to work with her and Stefan, so she thinks he should agree again. “Fool me once, shame on you,” Damon says.
Elena asks why he didn’t use compulsion on her in Atlanta. She thinks the two of them “have something. An understanding.” She knows her participation in Stefan’s betrayal hurt Damon more than Stefan’s betrayal did. But she’s truly sincere now when she says she’ll help Damon get Katherine back. Damon doesn’t believe her, so Elena takes off her vervain necklace and invites him to compel her to tell the truth. He tells her Anna won’t stop, even if Damon does, but Elena says they’ll deal with it. Instead of compelling her, he puts the necklace back on her. He says he didn’t compel her in Atlanta because they were having fun, and he wanted it to be real. Now he’s trusting that her promise to help is real.
Damon and Elena head to Fell’s Church that night, passing by Duke’s party on their way. They run into Matt and Caroline, and Caroline takes Matt’s hand like she’s declaring possession of him. This is the first time Matt’s meeting Damon, and Damon really couldn’t care less about him. (This won’t change much over the next seven-and-a-half seasons.)
Stefan’s already at Fell’s Church, having made Sheila’s preparations for the spell. Damon and Elena arrive as Jeremy shows up at the party. Tyler asks him if he has any pot, which just makes Jeremy laugh – Tyler is a jerk to him 99 percent of the time, but when Jeremy might have something he wants, he’s all friendly. Jeremy doesn’t party anymore, and if he did, he wouldn’t do it with Tyler. Tyler taunts him for being a loner without any friends. Shut up, Tyler.
Anna arrives at the party as Sheila starts the spell. Damon has thoughtfully brought a blood bag with him so Katherine can feed and un-desiccate. He and Stefan finally agree on one thing: They can’t wait for Damon to leave town.
In the woods, Jeremy feels out of place – he’s not a partier anymore, and being there reminds him of Vicki. He’d like to be friends with Anna, but she tells him she’s leaving town soon. She and her mother are moving away. Jeremy gives her a goodbye kiss, but she vamps out. Before she has to come up with an explanation, Ben comes up behind him and knocks him out. It’s all part of his and Anna’s plan.
Caroline has ditched Matt, who’s worried that she’s clingy and wants to be an on-display couple. Tyler thinks it’s nuts that after all that stress about Matt wanting to date her, he’s not that into her. Caroline apologizes for trying to be couple-y in front of Elena, but she was thrown by Damon’s presence and wanted to show off that she was with a good guy. Matt’s relieved.
Sheila and Bonnie chant something magic-y to open the tomb. Once that’s done, Stefan goes to get the gas he brought along to burn all the vampires who aren’t Katherine. Damon’s suspicious that Sheila might seal him in the tomb after he goes to get Katherine, so he announces that he’s taking Elena with him as collateral. Sheila threatens to make the walls collapse if he does. Elena agrees to be Damon’s leverage, probably so they can get this over with.
Ben and Anna surprise Stefan at the spot where he stashed the gas, telling him that they’ve nabbed Jeremy. Stefan has the choice of stopping Anna from going into the tomb to get Pearl or saving Jeremy from Ben. Meanwhile, Damon and Elena enter the tomb. Anna arrives at the entrance, and Sheila tells Bonnie to let her go in, too. She reveals to Bonnie that she’s not going to let any vampires come back out.
Stefan tries to convince Ben that his partnership with Anna isn’t going to get him anywhere. Ben thinks he can best Stefan, since Stefan doesn’t drink human blood and isn’t strong enough for a big fight. Ben really is an idiot because he’s already forgotten about all the gas Stefan has brought there. His lack of strength doesn’t matter when he’s holding a makeshift blowtorch. So long, Ben.
Elena is understandably freaked out by all the desiccated vampires in the tomb, especially since they can still open their eyes. As she runs into Anna, Stefan returns to the tomb entrance and learns that Elena went in. Sheila warns him that if he goes in, he won’t come out. Opening the door didn’t actually remove the seal Emily placed on the tomb. Sheila and Bonnie just lifted the seal a little to let people in. The seal is back down, and it prevents vampires from leaving the tomb. Stefan clarifies that Elena can leave, since she’s human, but Damon, Anna, and Katherine can’t. He realizes that Sheila always intended for this to happen. She reminds him that she vowed to protect her loved ones.
Anna finds Pearl, then tells Elena that Stefan and Johnathan are responsible for her captivity. Anna decided a long time ago that since a Gilbert made this happen, she’d use Gilbert blood to revive Pearl. That’s why she brought Jeremy with her. She changed her mind about him, though, so she bites Elena’s wrist to draw her blood instead. Elena disappoints me by not yelling, “But I’m adopted!”
Stefan hears Elena screaming and runs into the tomb to save her. Bonnie objects to Sheila letting him get trapped in there, but Sheila says he made his choice fully knowing what he was doing. Bonnie insists on lifting the seal again. Sheila isn’t sure they can, and even if they’re successful, they might not be able to reseal the tomb after Stefan gets out. Bonnie doesn’t care – she’ll do it herself if she has to.
Stefan finds Elena as her blood is reviving Pearl. He sends Elena out of the tomb, but he can’t follow her. Bonnie promises that they’ll fix this. Elena doesn’t want Stefan to be trapped because he was saving her, and she also doesn’t want to leave Damon in the tomb. Sheila tells her they can’t guarantee that they can lift the seal long enough for Damon to get out.
Damon is still looking for Katherine, and he finally realizes that she’s not in the tomb. He angrily throws the blood bag he’d brought her against a wall. As Bonnie and Sheila chant to lift the seal again, Anna emerges with Pearl. She tells Elena this is all she wanted, and she didn’t hurt Jeremy. Elena yells for Stefan to bring Damon out ASAP. When they don’t come out, she goes back in and begs Damon to accept that Katherine isn’t there. The Bennetts struggle to keep the seal up until Elena and the Salvatores make it out of the tomb. The door closes behind them, trapping the other vampires inside again.
At the party, Matt wonders if Caroline’s honesty and openness are for real. She tells him she wants this to work, and she’s afraid to messing things up. Matt doesn’t want to mess it up, either. Stefan and Elena find Jeremy in the woods, dazed but fine. Damon is devastated that after all this time and all his work, Katherine isn’t there. Elena hugs him and says she’s sorry.
Sheila’s weak from all the power she used on the spell, but she tells Bonnie she’ll be fine. Elena takes Jeremy home, making sure he doesn’t remember what happened. He thinks he drank too much and passed out. He’s worried that Elena’s mad, but she tells him he didn’t do anything wrong. After she leaves, he goes to his computer and uses a product-placed search engine literally no one uses outside of Mystic Falls to look up vampires.
Anna takes Pearl to her motel room, where Damon’s waiting for them. He’s guessed that Anna knew the whole time that Katherine wasn’t in the tomb. Anna confirms this; she had to let Damon keep believing Katherine was there so he would help her. He wants to kill her, since she doesn’t deserve a happy ending. Pearl explains that the guard who locked the vampires in the tomb back in 1864 was obsessed with Katherine, thanks to her compulsion. He let her go. Anna last saw Katherine in Chicago in 1983. She knew where Damon was and didn’t care.
Elena calls Stefan from Bonnie’s and asks how Damon is. Well, he just learned that the last 145 years of his life were a huge waste, and the woman he’s been waiting to reunite with wants nothing to do with him. So…not great. Stefan keeps a close eye on his brother, probably half sympathetic and half worried about how Damon will inevitably lash out next.
Bonnie takes Sheila some tea, but the power Sheila used in the spell took too much out of her, and she’s not breathing. Bonnie desperately looks through a spell book, wanting to find a spell to fix this, but there’s nothing she can do.
Back in the tomb, the blood Damon threw at the wall drips down. A vampire uses it to revive himself, then opens the tomb door.
Etc.: I wish Bonnie’s trick with the water had let her and Elena escape the motel room. It would have been much more satisfying than Stefan having to rescue them.
You’d think someone would mention to Jeremy that Anna isn’t someone he should be spending time with, but nooooooo. All they care about is Katherine.
Honestly, Anna deserves a round of applause for never once letting on that she knew Katherine wasn’t in the tomb. She fully tricked Damon into working with her after he refused to team up. And it worked! I think Katherine would be proud.
Who else would watch a spin-off about Katherine’s adventures between 1864 and 2009?