Isobel’s at the door of Gilbert Gables, and Jenna is just now discovering that she and Elena have already met. Isobel asks to come in, and Elena tells Jenna not to invite her inside. She closes the door in Isobel’s face. Jenna guesses that, along with Elena, Alaric and John also knew this whole time that Isobel was alive. She runs upstairs, ignoring Elena as she promises to explain everything. Jenna locks herself in her room and cries.
The next day, Stefan tells Damon that Isobel’s back. Katherine suggests not telling Isobel that she’s also in town – she’d like John and Isobel to believe that she fled after getting out of the tomb. Damon points out that the three of them are supposed to be working together. Katherine says she’s considering abandoning that alliance. Since she and the Salvatores all want Klaus dead, she may join Team Salvatore. Plus, it’s a good strategic move to keep Katherine’s presence in town quiet in case she needs to impersonate Elena again.
Stefan leaves Damon to deal with that part of the mess, and to let Alaric know that “his wife just showed up on his girlfriend’s doorstep.” He’s going to go check on his girlfriend. Alaric’s already at Gilbert Gables, hoping he and Elena can fix things with Jenna. Jenna, however, is going to stay somewhere else for a few days so she can be away from the people who keep lying to her. (Also, she’s working on her thesis, which we never hear anything about.)
Alaric wants to explain things, but Jenna is even less interested in talking to him than she is in talking to Elena. She ignores him and tells Elena to stop by Lockwood Landing in her place to accept a check from the historical society for Miranda’s foundation (something else we never hear about; it has something to do with scholarships). Jenna leaves before anyone can tell another lie. John appears and tells Elena and Alaric it’s better to just let her go, since they’re in the middle of a mess. They should have considered being more honest with her from the beginning, though. Alaric punches him, then leaves. Elena tells John this is all his fault.
Caroline has lost track of Matt – Liz arrived before she could finish talking to him the night before, and he took off. Stefan tells her to calm him down, even if that means compelling him. Usually she slips vervain into his drinks, but she didn’t get a chance last night, which means he won’t have any in his system. She remembers that he’s catering at Lockwood Landing, so she can catch him there.
Stefan arrives at Gilbert Gables for damage control, and John asks him and Elena to sit down for a talk. He’s invited Isobel in because she’s asked for a second chance. She announces that she has information on Klaus. She’s been hunting for him, knowing she and John could protect Elena better if they found Klaus before he found her. Isobel didn’t have luck actually locating him, but because there are rumors circulating about a doppelganger, she wants to share the warning that Elena’s in danger of being grabbed and taken to Klaus.
Elena’s skeptical, since the last time Isobel visited, she made it clear she doesn’t care about Elena. John says she’s been helping all along. They killed (well, John killed) the tomb vampires so they couldn’t blab that Katherine was alive, which would bring Klaus to town. Not that Elena considers that a good deed, since Stefan and Damon almost got killed in the process.
Isobel offers Elena a safe house to hide out in – the deed’s in Elena’s name, so no vampires can get in without her permission. Elena can even keep Isobel out if she wants. Elena tells her birth mother that the best way for her to help right now is to get out.
Damon, Bonnie, and Jeremy go to Luka and Jonas’ place, which Damon’s able to enter since both of them are dead. Bonnie wants to gather up all the grimoires they spent years collecting. Damon agrees to bury Luka, even though it would be easier to just burn him again until he’s fully cremated. Bonnie has decided that if she can find the site of the witch massacre in Mystic Falls, she can harness the energy the witches released upon death and use it for a big spell. She realizes that Damon knows where the site is. Bonnie just needs the right spell, which she gets by magically finding a book that contains it.
Isobel goes to the foreclosed house she’s squatting in this time around and happily reunites with Katherine. Isobel announces that she’s made a deal with Klaus to save Katherine. She only went to Gilbert Gables (the first time) because she got jealous of Alaric’s relationship with “Auntie Vanilla.” Katherine guesses that John is on Isobel’s side, since he invited her in. Isobel says he thinks she’s protecting Elena, so he’s been keeping her updated on everything the gang has been up to.
Though she wasn’t able to get near Klaus, Isobel did get in touch with one of his witches. He says Klaus will grant Katherine her freedom if she and Isobel hand over Elena and the moonstone. This means Katherine will have to betray the Salvatores again. She says she was willing to work with them, but they don’t have a plan. Bonnie’s lost her powers, and their only potential weapon against Klaus is currently in Elijah’s chest. Katherine will never survive being on Team Salvatore.
Elena and the Salvatores regroup at Vamp Villa to discuss their options. They probably can’t trust Isobel, but they should listen to her warning that people are talking about a doppelganger and might come after Elena. Damon suggests that Elena stay with them, but Stefan thinks she would be safer at Gilbert Gables. Damon invites himself and Stefan to move in. Elena doesn’t like the idea of having two bodyguards 24/7, but she’s probably not going to talk them out of that idea, so she tells them one of them needs to come with her to Lockwood Landing. Stefan volunteers, and Damon says he’s working on witch stuff with Bonnie anyway.
Elena starts to mention the massacre site, but Damon shushes her so Katherine won’t hear. Katherine enters and tells the group that she’d love to hear their plan for defeating Klaus. She gave them three things they need – the moonstone, a werewolf, and a dagger – and they only have the moonstone left. Actually, Katherine isn’t even sure they still have that. Damon says they do, and it’s in a safe place. Katherine would like more details, since she’s been honest with the others, but Damon tells her not to think they trust her just because they haven’t killed her.
At Lockwood Landing, Liz tells Carol that the cause of the fire at the Grill hasn’t been determined, and no bodies were found, but there was blood at the scene. They guess that vampires were involved. Caroline arrives, looking for Matt, but he hasn’t been there. Carol asks her to ask Matt if he’s heard from Tyler. He’s been out of touch since he left, and Carol doesn’t even know where he is.
Stefan and Elena show up, and Caroline tells them she’s worried that Matt will start telling people that she’s a vampire. She regrets how her news came out, and how badly he took it. Elena and Stefan will help her look for him after they accept the check for Jenna.
Damon takes Bonnie and Jeremy to the woods, having figured out that Emily was killed in the same place the witch massacre once happened. (The founders thought they were being clever by killing her there.) He tried to save her, though only because he needed her to help save Katherine, not because he actually cared about her. There’s an old house at the spot, which I call Hex House because I like alliteration. While they’re walking through the house, Damon suddenly finds himself unable to move. Then his daylight ring stops working and he’s burned by the sun coming through the windows. Bonnie thinks the witches who died there want him out, so he decides to wait outside.
Back at Vamp Villa, Katherine searches the house for the moonstone. She finds a whole lot of nothing, though she does steal some money Damon was hiding (she puts it in her bra). After looking in the fireplace, she goes to Damon’s bathroom to wash her hands. Remember how Damon called the moonstone a “little moonstone bar of soap”? He’s taken advantage of that resemblance to hide it in plain sight, in a bowl full of real bars of soap. Now it’s Katherine’s.
Isobel tracks Alaric down on some street and tells him she’s tying up some loose ends. She wants to apologize, though not for what happened with them in the past. She admits that approaching Jenna was a bad, petty move. Alaric says he’s not interested in revisiting their mess of a relationship. Isobel tells him she compelled him to let her go because she doesn’t want to do what she has to do without him knowing how much she loved him. Then she signals a witch named Maddox to do something magical to Alaric that makes him collapse.
Damon’s impatient outside Hex House, but a witch closes the door so he can’t get back in and see what Bonnie and Jeremy are up to. Bonnie’s about to start her spell, assuring Jeremy that she’ll be okay. The witches’ spirits start whispering, though she can’t tell what they’re saying. She finds the spot where they were killed, and the whispers grow louder. Bonnie tells Jeremy they’re not saying anything. The fireplace and some candles ignite, and Bonnie says the witches are ready.
Elena accepts a check from Carol as John and Isobel meet up elsewhere in Lockwood Landing. She tells him she’s creating a distraction, then bites him. He falls down the stairs as Elena’s giving a little speech. Everyone rushes into the foyer to see what happened. This is exactly what Katherine and Isobel wanted, and Katherine is able to grab Elena without being seen. Liz sends everyone out of the foyer, telling them that John just needs some air. Stefan goes looking for Elena and instead finds Katherine, who’s switched outfits with her. The real Elena is unconscious in the backseat of Isobel’s car.
Katherine calls Damon to tell him that Isobel is wreaking havoc. If John is dead, Damon will have to explain things later when he turns up alive again. Stefan confronts Katherine, having figured out he’s with an impostor, but she was ready for that possibility. She injects him with vervain and tosses him in some bushes in the parking lot.
Bonnie starts her power-up at Hex House, but Jeremy gets worried when it looks like she’s in pain. A spirit tosses him aside so he can’t stop what’s happening. When it’s over, Bonnie tells him it worked, though it took a lot out of her.
Damon arrives at Lockwood Landing and tells Carol and Liz that John will be fine in a few hours, thanks to his Gilbert ring. He tells them to come up with a cover story while he gets rid of John. As Liz is calling in the incident as a false alarm, she runs into Matt. He wants to see Vicki’s file – he wants to know how Liz covered up that she was killed by a vampire. Liz tells him to calm down, then forces him against her car when he won’t.
Damon takes John’s body to Vamp Villa and dumps him on the rug in the foyer. As he’s going to the bathroom to wash up (which involves taking off his shirt, since it has blood on it – that’s a little treat for all of us), Stefan calls to tell him that Katherine switched places with Elena. Damon realizes Katherine isn’t Team Salvatore after all, then discovers that she took the moonstone.
Katherine calls Isobel from her temporary house to tell her to hurry up before Damon finds them. But Isobel has a plan Katherine doesn’t know about. She’s been given orders: “He wanted the moonstone and he wanted you.” She hangs up without telling Katherine who “he” is. It’s too late for a warning anyway – Maddox is in the house, and he overpowers Katherine with a psychic migraine.
After spending all day trying to call Matt, Caroline finds him waiting for her at Fort Forbes. He explains that Liz threatened to arrest him after he accused her of covering up Vicki’s death. He promises he didn’t tell Liz anything about Caroline, not that she would believe anything he said. She brought him here to calm down, then got called away. Caroline asks why Matt’s still there if he’s scared of her. Matt wants to know more about Vicki and Caroline, so Caroline promises to tell him everything.
As Bonnie and Jeremy leave Hex House, he asks again what the witches were saying. She tells him they were just warning her to be careful with all the power she now has. Jeremy asks how much power she was able to draw from 100 dead witches. Bonnie demonstrates by creating a thunderstorm. So…a lot of power.
Stefan and Damon find the house where Isobel was squatting, but there’s no one there. Isobel takes Elena to a cemetery in Grove Hill as Elena wonders if her birth mother is going to hand her over to Klaus. Isobel just wants to show her the headstone her parents had made for her back when she was presumed dead. They visit every week, even though there’s no body there. The Isobel they knew is dead, and she thinks part of her might be buried there – the human part that she abandoned when she became a vampire. The part of her that wanted to know Elena. Isobel regrets that Elena only got to know her as a villain.
Maddox calls to tell Isobel that he has Katherine and the moonstone. Since Elena’s safe, Isobel can let her go. Klaus has everything he needs, and Isobel has done all he compelled her to do. After she hangs up, she tells Elena she’s sorry that she was a disappointment. Then Isobel tears off her daylight necklace and lets herself burn to death in the sun.
Caroline does what she promised, telling Matt everything. She tried to stay away from him, but she loves him. He laments that without Vicki and with a bunch of liars for friends, he’s alone. Caroline says she’s still the person she always was, but Matt doesn’t agree. “I don’t want to know this,” he tells her. She wants to make things better, so he asks her to compel him to forget like she did before. “I don’t want to look at you and see what I’m seeing right now,” he says. Caroline starts to suggest that they wait a little while, but Matt demands to have his memories erased.
Elena takes Isobel’s necklace with her to Vamp Villa, telling Stefan that she never expected to feel bad about Isobel dying. She wonders why Klaus let her go. She and Stefan decide that Klaus must know everything John knows, including the fact that Elena is going to willingly participate in the sacrifice and won’t run.
Damon joins them with a new measure of protection that will hopefully keep them all from being played again: the deed to Vamp Villa. The brothers are signing it over to Elena so she can control who gets invited in. (Damon hopes he’s on the list.) John revives across the room, and when Damon zooms over to confront him, John immediately swears that he didn’t know what Isobel was going to do. Elena tells Damon to let John go so they can talk.
At Gilbert Gables, Jeremy has done some research and now knows what the witches were warning Bonnie about. Using too much of her new powers at once will kill her. He wonders how much power it would take to kill Klaus. Bonnie admits it would take everything. Jeremy doesn’t want to let Bonnie take that risk, but she believes there’s a reason she was born with her magic. It’s not to float feathers. Jeremy notes that Elena won’t let Bonnie die for her. Bonnie replies that they’re not going to tell her. If Bonnie’s the only one who can defeat Klaus, then she’ll be the one to choose if she does it.
Matt leaves Fort Forbes and gets into Liz’s patrol car. He confirms that he drank vervain and got Caroline to tell him everything. That means her compulsion to make him forget didn’t work, and he remembers everything. It also means Liz knows (again) that Caroline is a vampire. “I feel like she died,” Matt says. “She did,” Liz replies tearfully.
John tells Elena that he knew Katherine and Isobel were close, but he didn’t realize they were working against him. They were both uncaring and selfish, but they were somehow friends. Elena wonders why John trusted Isobel at all. He says he saw her as a human, when she gave birth to Elena and then gave her up. She was the first girl he ever loved. When she said she would keep their daughter safe, he believed her. Now, John will do whatever Elena wants him to do, including leave town. She doesn’t respond, so he takes that as a hint to go. But Elena says that even though he screws up everything, he’s her only remaining parent. Maybe she can learn not to hate him.
Elsewhere in the house, Damon hears from Bonnie that her spell worked and tells Stefan she’s ready for whatever comes next. The two realize that Katherine doesn’t know Bonnie got her powers back, and Isobel had no idea where Damon, Bonnie, and Jeremy were today. The gang has a literal secret weapon.
Katherine regains consciousness in Alaric’s apartment, where Maddox is doing a spell on him that involves a blood transfusion. When Alaric wakes up, he doesn’t seem like himself. Katherine makes a run for the door, but she’s been spelled inside the apartment. “Zdravei, Katerina,” he greets her in Bulgarian, adding that he’s missed her. Katherine realizes there’s someone else in Alaric’s body: Klaus.
Keep in mind: Klaus can inhabit other people’s bodies.
Significant item update: Maddox has the moonstone.
Etc.: Full disclosure: I don’t like Klaus. He’s the reason I waited so long to watch The Originals. I find the Mikaelsons tedious in this series (minus Elijah).
Also, in this house, we do not speak of Klaroline.
I don’t get how John can invite Isobel into Gilbert Gables if he doesn’t live there and his name presumably isn’t on the deed. I also don’t get how Katherine entered Alaric’s apartment, since we have to assume that Alaric was unconscious when Maddox took him there, so he couldn’t have invited her in. I guess we’ll just have to file these under Don’t Ask Questions.