Matt and Caroline are basically trapped in the Lockwood cellar, with Tyler trying to bite them through the bars of the gate. Matt shoots him with wooden bullets, even as Caroline reminds him that this werewolf is their friend. With Tyler wounded, Caroline opens the gate and zooms Matt off to safety.
Damon and Katherine examine his werewolf bite at Alaric’s, realizing that it’s most likely his death warrant. Damon starts to leave, and Katherine complains that he’s not going to say goodbye after 145 years. Oh, like you said goodbye to him? She tells him not to leave mad, but he has no interest in ending things with her on good terms. Katherine says Klaus made her lure Jenna out; she didn’t have a choice. Damon reminds her that the vervain gave her a choice. She notes that it was Jenna or her, so of course she chose herself.
He’s annoyed that he did Katherine a favor, and now, when Klaus dies, she’ll be free but Jenna will be gone. How is this ending with Katherine being the only victor? She replies that she didn’t let love get in the way. Damon tells her to enjoy eternity alone. He’s going to offer himself as a replacement for Jenna. Katherine reminds him that Klaus already declared him “impure” because of his bite. There’s nothing he can do now to save Jenna.
In the woods, at Steven’s Quarry, Jenna’s in her natural state: confusion. She thinks Elena called her, scared about something. Klaus grabbed her as soon as she left the house and made her drink his blood. Elena has explained to Jenna how someone becomes a vampire, and Jenna realizes that’s what’s happening to her. Greta’s there to offer her blood so Jenna can complete her transition.
Elena spots a rock she might be able to use as a weapon, but Greta’s a step ahead. She magically lights a circle of fire and traps Elena in it. Elena begs for Jenna’s release as Greta uses the rock to cut herself so she can feed Jenna her blood. She says Klaus chose Jenna, so Greta won’t let her go. Jenna tries to resist drinking, but she can’t help herself. Greta puts Jenna in her own circle of fire as Elena tries to assure her aunt that everything will be okay.
Bonnie and Jeremy have spent their time at Hex House looking through Jonas and Luka’s grimoires for a way to keep Elena from turning into a vampire. Elijah finally resurfaces, arriving there with Stefan and Alaric as he tells them how things will go down. First Klaus will kill the werewolf and vampire, then Elena. Her death will activate Klaus’ werewolf side and make him vulnerable. That’s when Bonnie will attack him. If she can weaken him enough to put him at death’s door, Elijah will finish him off. Damon calls Stefan to tell him that he couldn’t stop the sacrifice, and Jenna is now involved.
At the quarry, Jenna is experiencing the heightened emotions that come with being a vampire. Elena tells her that vampires can turn off their emotions. Jenna guesses that she’s going to die, but Elena promises she won’t let that happen. They hear yelling as Greta brings Jules to the woods. She’s cast a spell to slow Jules’ transformation, and her organs aren’t reacting well.
Elena reminds Greta that witches are supposed to maintain a balance in nature. That means keeping the curse sealed in the moonstone. Greta stays her duty is to Klaus and his new order. Klaus arrives, pleased that at least one part of his plan is going the way he wanted. He asks his “lovelies” if they’re ready for the sacrifice.
Caroline and Matt decide to hide out at Lockwood Landing. She asks how he knew she was a vampire, since she compelled him to forget. He admits that he was on vervain and faked forgetting so he could spy on her for Liz. Caroline realizes that Liz knows (again) that she’s a vampire. Matt tells her that Liz still hates vampires, but he won’t say how he feels about them. (To be fair, they do have something more important to worry about right now.)
At Vamp Villa, Damon’s starting to feel the effects of the werewolf bite. John shows up wanting to see Elena, who’s been dodging his calls. Damon tells him he’s “a day late and a daughter short.” The sacrifice is about to start. John reminds Damon that his only job was to keep Elena safe. Damon says he fed her his blood, so she’ll come back as a vampire after Klaus kills her. John grabs Damon, wanting to fight, and Damon warns that this is a bad time to make him angry. John says Damon ruined Elena life, which Damon gets, and possibly agrees with. He adds that it gets worse.
Klaus reluctantly gives the moonstone to Greta, finding it hard to part with something he spent 500 years looking for. Greta starts the spell to remove the curse. Jules tries to apologize to Elena for all her actions; she just wanted to help Tyler. Jules starts to transform, and she tries to run off, even escaping her circle of fire. But Klaus grabs her and pulls out her heart. The first stage of the sacrifice is done.
Jeremy finds a resuscitation spell in Emily’s grimoire that she did for Johnathan. He thinks there might be more information in one of Johnathan’s journals, but he didn’t bring them along. Alaric joins them and asks to speak to Jeremy alone. He tells Jeremy that Jenna is now involved in the ritual. Upstairs, Stefan and Elijah tell Bonnie the same thing, and she insists on trying to kill Klaus before he kills Jenna. Stefan knows Bonnie won’t survive that. He plans to offer himself to Klaus as a sacrifice instead of Jenna.
Klaus squeezes the blood out of Jules’ heart over the fire where Greta did her spell with the moonstone. She says it’s working. Jenna tells Elena that the day she learned she was Elena and Jeremy’s guardian, she wanted to hand the responsibility off to someone else. Elena says that no one else could have gotten her and Jeremy through their parents’ deaths. Jenna hates that she wanted to pass up taking care of them. Elena’s grateful that Jenna put her whole life on hold for them. Jenna feels like she’s failed them, but Elena says she failed Jenna instead.
She tells Jenna that as a vampire, she’s stronger and faster than she was before. She can fight back. She needs to believe that Elena will be okay, and leave her behind. When she gets the chance, Jenna needs to run.
Matt worries that he killed Tyler, but Caroline assures him that that would require more than wooden bullets. She worries that her mother wants to kill her. Matt says Liz probably doesn’t know what to do with her. They hear a sound outside, and Caroline peeks out the door to see Tyler, human again, lying on the porch.
At Hex House, Elijah reports to Stefan that according to Bonnie’s locator spell, the ritual is taking place at the quarry. Stefan announces that he’ll go over now, and Elijah and Bonnie can come when it’s time for her to fight Klaus, when the moon hits its final phase. They need to keep her hidden so Klaus doesn’t know she’s alive. Elijah tells Stefan he’s honorable for trying to do this. “Are you?” Stefan replies. After all, the gang’s whole plan depends on Elijah’s honor.
Elijah promises not to fail him. But Stefan knows what it’s like to hate your brother enough to want to kill him, but not be able to do it. Elijah says Klaus isn’t his only brother. He had parents and other siblings, a family, but Klaus took them all away. He’s hidden their bodies at sea, where Elijah will never be able to find them. Yes, Elijah wants revenge, but sometimes there’s honor in that. He promises again not to fail Stefan. Stefan asks him to just end this.
John brings Johnathan’s journals to Hex House and starts looking through them with Bonnie and Jeremy. Upstairs, Alaric tells Damon that Stefan is going to try to trade himself for Jenna. Damon says no one has to die at all – Bonnie can take care of everything. But obviously Stefan doesn’t want to treat her as collateral damage like Damon is willing to. Damon punches a wall, then looks a little woozy, which makes Alaric worry. Damon comments that Stefan is again cleaning up one of his brother’s messes.
Klaus approaches his two remaining sacrifices, ready for Jenna to have her turn. Elena asks for her release, not wanting Jeremy to be without his family. She reminds Klaus that she follows his rules and did what he wanted. Before Klaus can consider doing her a favor, he realizes that Stefan has arrived at the top of the hill overlooking the quarry. Klaus agrees to have a chat with him.
Bonnie and John tell Damon that they found a spell to try. A woman’s baby was dying, so Emily did a spell that bound the mother’s life force to the baby. The child died, but the mother’s life force flowed through her and resurrected her. Jeremy points out that Elena’s already going to come back as a vampire. John says that this spell would keep her soul intact, which would bring her back as a human. Damon doesn’t trust the idea, but John won’t let Elena become a vampire, the thing he’s spent his life fighting. He wants to try it.
Stefan and Klaus are at the top of the hill, so Elena can’t hear their conversation, but she tells Jenna her vamp hearing will let her eavesdrop. Stefan offers himself in Jenna’s place, but Klaus likes the idea of killing three women – “three goddesses sacrificed at nature’s altar.” Jenna gets her vamp hearing working in time to hear Stefan ask again for the trade. She tells Elena what he’s doing.
Caroline puts Tyler to bed and goes back to Matt, who can’t believe this is her life now. He enjoyed the last few days with her, even as he was pretending not to know who she really is. He even thought he could get past the fact that she’s a vampire. Now he’s not so sure. He gets that this is her life, but his is the reality that his parents are gone and he has to go to school and pay bills on his own. It’s hard enough without all the supernatural stuff, and he thinks he needs to stick to reality for now.
Bonnie does the life-force spell on John, then heads off to the quarry with Damon. Jeremy insists on coming along, and since he won’t let Bonnie talk him out of it, she knocks him out with a magical kiss. She also spells Alaric inside Hex House so he won’t come along and put himself at risk.
Stefan and Klaus come down the hill as Elena becomes more desperate to do something to protect Jenna. Klaus lets Elena choose whether Jenna or Stefan will be sacrificed. When Elena won’t pick one, Klaus stakes Stefan through the back. He leaves him alive, saying he has other plans for Stefan. Then he breaks Stefan’s neck to keep him out of the way.
Greta starts the next stage of the spell, Jenna’s sacrifice. Jenna tells Elena it’s okay – she knows what she has to do. She zooms out of the fire and bites Greta’s neck. Klaus stakes Jenna and tosses her on the ground. Elena tearfully tells Jenna to turn off her emotions so she won’t be scared anymore. Klaus flips Jenna over and, after a long pause, stakes her through the heart. Poor Jenna, who’s only been a vampire for a couple of hours, who didn’t know anything about the supernatural until just days ago, dies in front of her helpless niece.
Stefan wakes up with the stake still in him, keeping him weak. He sees Jenna’s body and realizes it’s too late to take her place. He whispers an apology to Elena as Greta continues the spell, pouring Jenna’s blood on the fire. Elena asks Stefan if the others are going to kill Klaus. He assures her they are.
Klaus announces that it’s time for the third sacrifice. Elena willingly joins Greta at the fire, furious about Jenna’s death but still determined to protect everyone else she loves. Klaus thanks her for her sacrifice, and she tells him to go to Hell. Stefan can’t get up, so he can’t stop Klaus from biting Elena’s neck and draining her blood. He watches her die.
Klaus’ werewolf side has now been triggered, and he starts transforming. Something flings him in the air and the fires that went out with Elena’s death flare back up. Bonnie’s arrived, and she’s ready to take Klaus out. Damon kills Greta as Klaus realizes that Bonnie is alive. Damon takes Elena’s body over to Stefan and pulls the stake out of his brother’s back. Stefan tells Damon to get Elena out of there. He’s going to stay until Klaus is dead.
Whatever Bonnie’s doing is really unpleasant for Klaus. She weakens him until Elijah arrives to finish him off. He grabs Klaus’ heart and says he’s doing this for their family. Klaus blurts out that he didn’t bury their family at sea like he claimed. They’re all safe, but if Elijah kills Klaus, he’ll never find them.
Stefan thinks Klaus is bluffing, but Elijah doesn’t want to take the chance. Klaus gives Elijah his word that he’ll take him to their family. Bonnie warns that if Elijah doesn’t kill Klaus, she’ll kill both of them, even if it kills her in the process. Elijah weighs his options, then apologizes and zooms off with Klaus.
At Hex House, John writes a letter. The sun’s up, and Alaric’s concerned that they haven’t heard anything from the others. Jeremy’s reading the rest of Johnathan’s journal entry, which gives more detail about the life-force spell. He confirms that John knows what happened to the baby’s mother after the baby was resurrected. John says she saved her daughter and found peace. He finishes his letter and asks Jeremy to give it to Elena. He also hands over his Gilbert ring. Alaric’s confused as John tells Jeremy that they need to take care of each other.
Jeremy and John head upstairs as they hear Damon bringing Elena into the house. Damon tells Elena that if she comes back as a vampire, he’ll stake her himself. He doesn’t want her to hate him forever. Alaric asks about Jenna, and Damon’s lack of response serves as a good enough answer. He tells Jeremy he’s sorry.
John looks in on the others, then heads out the front door. As he turns back, Elena wakes up – human. Outside, John collapses, dead, having traded his life for Elena’s.
At Lockwood Landing, Tyler also wakes up. He tells Caroline she was right about him making a mistake by coming home. She replies that he never should have left, and he shouldn’t leave again. Tyler notes that he’s tried to kill her twice. “Well, no friendship is perfect,” she jokes. She tells him that Matt broke up with her. She asks Tyler to apologize for trying to kill her, instead of deciding to leave again. They cuddle and he thanks her for taking care of him.
Sometime later, the gang prepares to put two new occupants in the Gilbert family cemetery plot, Jenna and John. Stefan tells Damon that Elena’s in shock from losing more parents. Jeremy checks on her as she’s getting ready for the funeral and looking at family pictures. He gives her John’s letter and ring. She tells him she’s sorry for all the losses he’s experienced. He notes that he still has her.
After a long hug, Jeremy leaves Elena to ready the letter by herself. (Music: “Skinny Love,” Birdy) In it, John says it’s hard to be an ordinary parent of an extraordinary child. He failed, which means he failed Elena, in part because of his prejudices. The letter continues in voiceover as the gang (minus Matt and Tyler) gathers at the cemetery. John is “haunted” by how different things could have been if he’d been willing to listen to Elena’s side. For him it’s the end, but she’s getting a second chance to grow up and maybe do better with her own child. That’s who the ring is for.
Elena places roses on Jenna and John’s graves, then on Miranda and Grayson’s. John continues that he doesn’t want Elena to forgive or forget him, but just believe him. He loves her whether she’s a human or a vampire now. He’s always loved her and always will. Alaric puts a rose on Jenna’s grave as Elena struggles to hold herself together. Stefan, please hug your girlfriend. She really needs a hug.
After the funeral, Stefan tells Damon they’re all going back to Vamp Villa. Damon doesn’t want to come, but Stefan tells him that Elena needs him. Damon points out that they still have Klaus to deal with. They have no idea how to kill him or Elijah. They need to come up with a plan fast. He shows Stefan his arm and reveals that Tyler bit him. Stefan promises that they’ll find a cure, but Damon knows none exists. Stefan reminds him that they kept Elena human despite all the odds. They can fix this, too. Damon asks him not to tell Elena about his bite. He doesn’t want her to have to mourn him, too.
Etc.: Again, the gang’s plan feels underdeveloped. If I’m Elena, I want something a little more solid than “Bonnie will show up when the moon is in its final phase.”
Jenna’s death is really a message from the writers letting us know that no one is safe, and we’ll most likely end up heartbroken. Thanks, guys! We appreciate it!
I have to wonder what John and Elena’s relationship would have been like after this. But I like that his final act was an attempt at redemption while also saving her. There wasn’t really a place for him on the show after this, so it was right to have him die.
I wish Matt had gone to the cemetery with the others. I think he should have put aside his issues with the rest of the gang’s secrets and supernatural stuff to be there for Elena. Also, Tyler’s absence just fuels my belief that Elena and Tyler aren’t actually friends. They have the same friend group, but they never hang out. I can only think of three or four meaningful interactions they have in the whole series. He ends up closer friends with Jeremy.