Elena and Matt have taken Alaric to the hospital, and she’s convinced him to spent the night under observation. She’s heard from Bonnie that she and Abby are fine. Caroline is also okay, despite Bill’s death. Someone watches through a window as Matt and Elena wonder who’s been attacking members of the Founders’ Council. She thanks him for his support tonight.
They split up in the parking lot, and as Elena is heading out, she hits something with her car. When she goes to see what’s there, she finds nothing. Rebekah appears and vows revenge for being daggered. Before she can bite Elena, Elijah swoops in to stop her. Rebekah won’t leave, and when her brother asks if she’s challenging him, she calls him and Elena pathetic. After she goes, Elijah tells Elena they need to catch up.
At Gilbert Gables the next morning, Elena tells Stefan and Damon that Esther was in the sealed coffin. She must have done something magic-y to stay alive after Klaus killed her. Elena reports that Esther wants to live peacefully with her family, including Klaus. Elijah says she’s not the weapon against Klaus that they all thought she would be. So now the gang has nothing to use against Klaus. Damon feels used.
Elena says that Elijah promised his family won’t hurt the gang. She believes him. The doorbell rings, and Elena finds an invitation on her doorstep. The Mikaelsons are throwing a ball that night, and Esther wants to meet Elena.
At the Haus of Klaus, the siblings are already getting ready for the party. Klaus has heard that Rebekah went after Elena, and he’s not happy about it. He threatens to dagger her again, which Kol says is a threat they’re all sick of. The two of them bicker for a little while until Esther pulls Klaus away. He complains that Rebekah started causing trouble again as soon as she was undaggered. Dude, are you going to tattle to Mommy about everything? Snitches gets stitches.
Esther reminds Klaus that he daggered his siblings, so they’re not going to want harmony with him right away. Klaus thinks it’s reasonable for him to want his family to be the way it used to be. Esther tells him to give it time. She spent 1,000 years on the Other Side healing from what Klaus did. Now she’s going to help her children do the same. Klaus doesn’t understand how she can forgive him for killing her. She says she’s wanted her family to be together for 1,000 years. “Forgiveness is not a chore – it’s a gift,” she tells him. She changes the subject to the ball and asks if Klaus is bringing a date. He says no, and he doesn’t even want to go. Esther urges him to reconsider, promising a “magical” evening.
Back at Gilbert Gables, Elena tells Stefan and Damon that she should go to the party. Damon disagrees, since Esther has already come after her once, but Stefan thinks there’s a reason Bonnie was led to open the coffin, beyond just a family reunion. Damon asks if they can go back to a time when Stefan cared about Elena’s life. Stefan says that’s Damon’s job now. Elena tells them she’s going to the ball, and Stefan announces that he’s escorting her. Damon knows he’ll just tick off one or more Originals, so he’s going instead. Sadly, Elena doesn’t say, “Screw you both, I’m going with Matt.”
Caroline gets a message from Tyler apologizing for keeping his distance while Bill was dying. He’s gone off to fix himself like Bill wanted. Someone leaves an invitation on Caroline’s doorstep as well, with a note from Klaus asking her to save him a dance. He’s also sent over a dress for her to wear.
She meets up with Elena at the Grill and they discuss how weird it is that the Mikaelsons want them at the party. Elena wants Caroline to be her “drama-free bodyguard,” since she told the guys she’s not going. Caroline thinks she should go with Stefan, but Elena needs a Salvatore break. Stefan is all about Klaus all the time, while Damon…she doesn’t finish, but we can fill in the blanks: He kissed her and is in love with her but also won’t let her make any decisions for herself and will probably just start a fight and ruin the evening.
Caroline reveals that she knows about the kiss, thanks to Bonnie. Elena says she was going to tell her, but there’s been a lot of other stuff going on lately. Caroline reminds Elena that she called the second she kissed Matt for the first time. Caroline shouldn’t be hearing this stuff from a third party. Fair, but the difference is Elena most likely wanted Matt to kiss her, while she didn’t really welcome Damon’s kiss, or at least won’t admit she did. Anyway, Elena doesn’t know how she feels about the situation yet. She just misses when things were easier.
Rebekah crashes their conversation, but she’s not there to bug Elena. She’s there to invite Matt to the ball. Elena thinks she’s just hoping to get a rise out of her and Caroline. Caroline didn’t want to attend before, but now she’s going.
The party is full of…I guess townspeople who have no idea who their hosts are and just wanted free champagne and fancy food. Carol’s there, wanting to welcome “the oldest, deadliest family of vampires” to town. They told her they want peace, and she’s going to enforce it. Kol introduces himself to Carol, and Damon introduces himself to Kol, asking if they’ve met before. Kol says he’s met a lot of people and Damon doesn’t stand out. (A source from the show said they originally wrote some backstory for Kol and Damon for a later episode, but it got cut.)
Elena arrives, and Damon looks at her like a groom seeing his bride for the first time on their wedding day. But before he can approach her, Stefan beats him to it. She tells the guys she’s not leaving until she finds out what Esther wants. She’s going to let both of them accompany her, because that’s always gone well in the past.
Caroline is still at home, looking for something to wear. She can’t find anything, so she reluctantly puts on the dress Klaus sent over. She barely acknowledges him when she arrives. Finn introduces himself to Elena, then tells her that Esther will only meet with her – no Salvatores allowed.
The Mikaelsons gather on the staircase and Elijah thanks the party guests for coming. It’s family tradition to start a gathering with a dance, and tonight they’ll all be waltzing. Esther heads upstairs, so Elena starts to follow her, but Damon won’t let her go. When she protests, he tells her they have to be polite and dance. (Music: “Give Me Love,” Ed Sheeran) Klaus picks Caroline as his partner, of course, and dancing ensues. He starts to express his condolences over Bill, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Instead, he tells her she looks beautiful in the dress he sent her. He also compliments her dancing, which she credits to being Miss Mystic Falls. He says he knew that about her.
People switch partners, and Elena ends up with Stefan, who was previously dancing with Carol. Caroline’s now with Matt, upset that he came with “the she-devil.” Matt isn’t any happier that she came with Klaus. Stefan notes that Elena has already put Damon “in a mood.” She says he’s just looking out for her, but Stefan thinks she can look out for herself. Elena wants to talk in private, so she pulls him out of the room.
Rebekah’s with Damon, and he tells her to stop staring at Caroline. She seems jealous, so Damon says Rebekah’s pretty, too. He realizes that Elena left. She’s outside with Stefan, hoping he’ll help her sneak upstairs to talk to Esther without Damon getting in her way. She notes that Stefan cares about killing Klaus more than anything else. Stefan agrees to help once he’s sure Elena can handle seeing Esther on her own. She reminds him that he used to trust her to make her own decisions when they were together. She’s glad that hasn’t changed.
Back inside, Kol teases Rebekah that she’s showing weakness by “settling” for a human. She tells him she actually brought Matt there to kill him, as a way to make Elena suffer. She’ll need Kol to help her pull that off, since she’s already gotten in trouble for targeting Elena. Kol is looking forward to breaking Esther’s rule about hurting locals.
Elena summons Damon to what looks like a library so Stefan can break his neck and put him out of commission for a while. On her way upstairs, Elijah stops Elena and expresses his discomfort with Esther’s seeming ease at forgiving Klaus. He’d like Elena to tell him whatever Esther says in their private meeting. Elena agrees.
She goes to Esther’s room, where Esther’s burning sage as part of a spell that will keep anyone from listening in on their conversation. (Finn is there, too, but no one cares about Finn, and he leaves when Esther dismisses him.) Esther invites Elena to ask any questions she might have. Elena starts by asking how Esther is alive. Esther explains that Ayana did a spell to preserve her body. Ayana was a Bennett ancestor, which is why only Bonnie and Abby could open the coffin she sealed.
Esther drew power from Abby, Bonnie, and their ancestors on the Other Side. She was sent there as punishment for turning her family into vampires. Esther says there’s a way for her to undo the evil she created. Elena guesses that that means Esther is going to help the gang kill Klaus. Esther doesn’t want to rush into that. She needs Elena’s help with something first.
There’s a horse-drawn carriage outside the house, for some reason, and Klaus finds Caroline admiring the horse. She tells him she won’t talk to him until he explains why he invited her. Umm, ’cause he thinks you’re hot, genius. Klaus says basically the same thing, but with more class. Caroline tells him she’s spoken for, so I guess she considers herself and Tyler to still be together. Klaus doesn’t think they are, since the sire bond is in their way.
Klaus says horses are the opposite of people, thanks to their loyalty. Mikael hunted him for 1,000 years and only really hurt him when he killed Klaus’ favorite horse. Caroline asks if Klaus ever thought about sitting down with his father and talking things over. Caroline…honey…no. She says she was able to let her father go with no regrets. Also, she likes both horses and people, so she’s going back inside. That was a weird conversation.
Esther knows that Rebekah told Elena all about the Mikaelsons and how they became vampires. Esther and Mikael wanted to protect their children but instead turned them into predators, one of whom killed his own mother. Elena asks how Esther can kill Klaus, since he’s immortal. Esther says it’ll take time and magic, as well as Elena’s help. This ball isn’t really a celebration of the family’s reunion. It’s an excuse to get the Mikaelsons together for a ritual. She needs a drop of doppelganger blood for that ritual, so she can puts its essence into the champagne they’ll all toast with later. Elena agrees to the small donation.
Esther continues that Elijah is more suspicious than his brothers and sister, so he might need to be talked into the toast, but they all need to drink so they’ll be linked together. It’s true that Klaus can’t be killed, but once the siblings are linked, killing one will kill all of them. Esther loves her family, but they’re an abomination due to a betrayal of nature. It’s her responsibility to kill them.
Speaking of killing Kol’s impatient to kill Matt, but Rebekah needs a few minutes to get him outside (because killing him inside would ruin the party, but killing him outside wouldn’t). Meanwhile, Damon wakes up and attacks Stefan for attacking him. He’s already guessed that it was to give Elena time alone with Esther. Stefan says it was all Elena’s idea. Damon needs to stop being so controlling – he’s a liability. His emotions are interfering with the plan. Damon’s like, “Did I wake up in Bizarro World?” Stefan tells him he cares too much.
Rebekah takes Matt for a walk, and he stops at his truck to get his coat. Even though he’s the one who’s cold and she’s a vampire who doesn’t feel it, he puts his coat over her shoulders. She decides to let him live, but Kol hasn’t gotten that memo. Back inside, Elijah asks Elena what she and Esther talked about. Elena says she just wanted to apologize for trying to have Elena killed. Esther really has forgiven Klaus. It’s time for the champagne toast, and all the Mikaelson siblings drink, completely unaware of the significance of their actions.
Klaus shows Caroline his art collection, which she guesses he stole. She asks if the bracelet he gave her was also stolen. He says it belonged to a princess almost as beautiful as Caroline is. She looks through some sketches and realizes that he drew them. He admits that he has a painting hanging in the Hermitage. He offers to take her there, or anywhere else she wants. Caroline snarks that it must be nice to get whatever you want whenever you want it. She asks if that’s why he wants a hybrid army to serve him. Klaus tells her she’s making assumptions.
Caroline challenges him to let Tyler go so he can have his life back. Klaus tells her it’s time for her to go. She psychoanalyzes him: Mikael didn’t love him, so he assumes no one else will, either. He forces people to do what he wants through compulsion or the sire bond or bribes, but he doesn’t connect with them because he doesn’t bother to try to understand them.
Kol bugs Rebekah again about killing Matt, and she tells him she doesn’t want to ruin the party. Kol thinks she changed her mind because Matt gave her some attention. She tells him to leave Matt alone. Damon finds Elena and asks if she got what she wanted. She says she did, so he tells her they’re leaving. Elena resists, then apologizes for not telling him about her plan. But she knows if she hadn’t sidelined him, he would have ruined everything by trying to be the hero. Damon says it would have been an attempt to protect her. Stefan clearly doesn’t care anymore.
Elena asks if Damon’s mad because she included Stefan in her plan. “No, I’m mad at you because I love you,” he replies. Elena says that might be the problem. She regrets that, but Damon repeats what Stefan said about him caring too much and being a liability. He finds that ironic.
Caroline comes up to them, looking for Matt, who’s upstairs. Kol lures him to a balcony and introduces himself. He squeezes Matt’s hand hard enough to cause pain, but Damon steps in and throws Kol off the balcony. He jumps down after him and breaks Kol’s neck. Stefan catches him in the act, and some party guests come out, including Elena. Damon’s all, “Oh, did I cause trouble? Sorry about that.”
At home, Caroline calls Tyler and leaves him a message saying she’s glad he’s doing what he’s doing, but she misses him. She finds another present on her bed, a sketch Klaus did of her with a horse. He’s written a note thanking her for her honesty.
Esther complains to Elijah that Rebekah and Kol brought disgrace to the family with their antics. He promises to handle his siblings, because he’s the one good Mikaelson. Too bad he’ll have to die with the rest of them. Speaking of which, Finn knows about and supports Esther’s plan. He’ll be ready to die when the time comes. Esther uses his blood to finish the spell. The blood spreads across a piece of paper with her children’s names on it, connecting all of them in the shape of a tree.
Stefan takes Elena home, discussing Esther’s plan, which she’s told him about. She feels bad that she’s complicit in the murder plot, but he points out that they’re about to be free of Klaus. The Mikaelsons have brought her darkness, so she shouldn’t worry about the collateral damage the plot involves. Stefan asks where Damon is, and Elena says she’ll let him know she got home safely. They think his attack on Kol was just typical self-destructive Damon behavior. Elena admits that she said something to him that she didn’t mean. Stefan says he did, too.
As he’s leaving, Elena asks if he really doesn’t feel anything. She can’t act the same way – she feels everything. She doesn’t believe he feels nothing. Stefan says he hates himself for hurting her. She urges him to show it. Any emotion is better than trying to convince her that he doesn’t care. Stefan says he can’t, because if he lets himself care, he only feels pain.
Matt ends his night at the Grill, after a trip to a doctor to splint the fingers Kol injured. He doesn’t have health insurance, because his parents suck. He wants to wallow at the bar before he goes home. Rebekah offers to buy him a drink to apologize, but Matt just wants to be alone. Damon overhears and taunts Rebekah for being rejected by the captain of the football team, such a typical teen thing for an atypical 1,000-year-old teen to experience. She laments not killing Matt, blaming Esther for not letting her.
The two of them start doing shots, and Damon says that Rebekah needs to be with someone more durable than Matt. She asks who that would be. Fast-forward to them literally tearing each other’s clothes off at Vamp Villa. Welp, Stefan, looks like Elena’s all yours!
Etc.: Aw, Matt still calls Alaric “Mr. Saltzman” outside of school.
Who organizes a party for just hours after the invitations go out? Why do all the attendees have clear schedules and fancy clothes available so easily? And how do they all know the exact choreography of the beginning of the waltz, when people are dancing in a line??
Kol: “Rebekah, tell me how handsome I am.” Rebekah: “Oh, Kol, you know I can’t be compelled.” Heh.
Rebekah’s perceived rivalry with Caroline, which kind of kicked off in “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and is briefly mentioned here, never goes anywhere and never gets explained. I guess it’s just from Rebekah wanting a normal life, but they never explain why she dislikes Caroline. I assume it’s because pre-vampire Caroline was basically Rebekah. Which makes Klaus’ interest in her gross, when you think about it.
Honestly, Damon and Rebekah needed to hook up, even if it was just once. Ian Somerhalder and Claire Holt had insane chemistry in “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”