Alaric is undergoing an MRI so Meredith can see if there are any anomalies that explain his behavior. Elena asks when she started to suspect that Alaric was killing council members. Meredith says learning about his Gilbert ring reminded her of a story her grandmother told her about Samantha Gilbert and her journal. Elena asks why she protected him. Meredith says she didn’t want him punished for something he didn’t have control over. Plus, ever since they first met, she’s wanted to help him. (That just makes him sound pathetic. Okay, that’s fair.)
In the MRI machine, Alaric looks at his reflection in a mirror attached to the top of the tube. It doesn’t match his movements. He starts to panic, but after he closes his eyes for a moment, things go back to normal.
The MRI doesn’t show anything, and Alaric thinks it’s because Meredith is wrong about him being the killer. Or maybe she’s right, and he’s crazy. He’s understandably hesitant to put his ring back on. Elena wants to call Bonnie; since the rings were made by a Bennett witch, another Bennett witch might be able to reverse the damage they cause. Alaric tells her to take his ring because he doesn’t want it anymore.
Damon arrives to take Alaric home (I don’t know why Elena can’t do it), and Elena glares at him and tries to leave without talking to him. When he follows her, she lays into him for taking Stefan on a “vampire pub crawl” the night before. She thinks he stood by and did nothing while Stefan fed on an innocent person. Damon corrects that he made Stefan do it. They’re vampires, which means they need blood to survive: “We’re predators, not puppies.”
Elena notes that Stefan has survived without human blood before. Damon tells her that Stefan can’t stay on the wagon because he hasn’t learned control. She reminds him that he was in control when he was drinking her blood in moderation. Damon notes that their relationship has changed. Elena tells him that he’s probably not the best person to teach Stefan about control.
Caroline brings some blood to Abby’s house, where Abby is struggling to adjust to becoming a vampire. Caroline tells Bonnie that things will get better once more time passes. Abby is distressed that she can no longer feel a connection to nature. Bonnie resurrects a flower in her dead garden, explaining to Caroline that when Abby lost her magic, she lost her ability to communicate with nature. Bonnie doesn’t know how to help her.
Back in Mystic Falls, construction is underway on Wickery Bridge. Damon, Alaric, and Meredith show up for its rededication because, as Damon says, the world isn’t going to stop just because Alaric is “an accidental psycho killer.” Meredith asks if Damon has any tact. Everyone who’s seen Buffy: “Tact is just not saying true things. I’ll pass.” Carol asks if Alaric brought the sign he’s been restoring, but he’s been a little busy and completely forgot about it. He and Meredith are ready to leave, but Damon decides to stay. He’s just spotted Sage in the crowd.
She’s happy to see her favorite student in the town she claims she’s just passing through. Rebekah joins them and the two women start firing barbs at each other. Sage reveals that she’s really in town because she heard Finn was finally let out of his coffin. Rebekah tells her he left town, and Sage guesses he’s looking for her. Rebekah thinks he forgot all about her, since he didn’t mention her.
Elena goes by Vamp Villa to pick up a book Stefan found about Samantha. Damon told Alaric that no one was home, so Elena’s surprised to run into Stefan, who’s fixing himself a drink of human blood. She starts to ask how he’s doing, but he shuts down the conversation before it can start. He gives her a recap of the book so she doesn’t have to read it herself: Samantha was committed because she became mentally unstable, and she bled to death after trying to give herself a lobotomy. If Alaric is going through what Samantha went through, the gang can’t help him.
Damon and Sage go for a walk in the woods and talk about Finn. He turned Sage so they could be together forever, but that didn’t last long since Klaus daggered him not long after. She’s happy to hear that Damon isn’t friends with Rebekah. Damon says he’s just humoring her because she’s clearly trying to get information out of Damon, and he can’t figure out what she’s after. Sage suggests that he get in her head to find out what she wants. Damon says Rebekah’s strong enough to keep him out, but Sage thinks she can pull it off. Damon just needs to find and exploit Rebekah’s weakness.
Damon returns to the bridge and starts flirting with Rebekah. He invites her to Vamp Villa for a drink with him and Sage. Rebekah declines, but no matter how strong she is, she might not be able to resist Damon’s charms.
At Abby’s, Caroline checks in with Jamie, who’s been keeping his distance from the vampires. Caroline encourages him to stay connected to Abby and make her feel like things are normal. Jamie notes that this situation is far from normal. She reminds him that Abby didn’t choose this, and she’s trying to make this work so she can keep being there for Jamie and Bonnie. Caroline tells Jamie to get over himself.
Elena calls from Gilbert Gables to complain that Bonnie isn’t returning her calls. Caroline says she’s still mad, and she’s trying to stay focused on Abby’s transition. Elena tells her that Alaric is going through a crisis and they need Bonnie’s help.
In the kitchen, Alaric addresses his police record, telling Meredith he was an idiot when he was younger. But he only went after bad guys. “Everyone needs to find a way to deal with their dark side,” he says. That’s why he became a vampire hunter. He confesses that he killed her cousin Logan, as if anyone cares about Logan. Meredith says she tries to stay out of vampire stuff. She uses their blood on her patients but doesn’t judge. She does wonder why Alaric has never tried to kill Damon. Alaric says he did, but Damon killed him. The first time Alaric was brought back by the Gilbert ring, he was angry enough to think he could take on a vampire.
Damon catches Stefan binging on blood bags at Vamp Villa and guesses that he’s “stress eating” because he talked to Elena. He says Stefan and Elena deserve each other, since they both like to pine and mope. Stefan asks what Damon said to Elena, and Damon replies that he told her what she already knows: Stefan is a vampire and needs to drink human blood. He should own who he is instead of being ashamed. Stefan tells Damon to stop talking to Elena about him.
Back at Abby’s, Jamie tells Bonnie that Caroline got through to him. Abby’s always been there for him, so he wants to be there for her. But as they’re making up, Abby vamps out and bites Jamie. Bonnie magically flings her away before she can do too much damage.
Sage has brought a piano player to Vamp Villa to entertain her and Damon while they wait for Rebekah to show up. Sage is sure Rebekah won’t be able to resist the temptation of joining them, since she loves attention and hates being alone. Damon mentions that Finn is gone after 900 years of stringing Sage along. He didn’t get in touch when he finally got his freedom, which should tell Sage something. She notes that when she met Damon in 1912, he was also waiting for someone he loved. “Hope’s a b&^$%, Sage. Get out while you can,” he tells her.
Rebekah arrives with a bottle of whine she stole from Klaus, who stole it from a queen (she doesn’t know which one). Now the party can start. Damon and Sage dance while Rebekah drinks from the piano player. Damon joins her, and they go from drinking together to kissing each other. Rebekah points out that Sage is still there, and Damon says he wants both of them. No, no, no vampire threesome. Not until season 5.
Abby is understandably upset that she bit Jamie. She thinks she should take off before she hurts him or Bonnie. Bonnie says that the only way Abby can hurt her is if she runs away again. She doesn’t want her mother to give up. Caroline lets them know that Jamie’s okay; she fixed him up with her blood. Now she needs a favor.
Alaric gives Elena everything she might need to take care of his affairs if he dies. Elena doesn’t want to have to think about that, but Alaric needs to make sure she and Jeremy are taken care of. Caroline calls to tell Elena that Abby thinks Bonnie can fix Alaric. (Did you get all that?) Witches who become obsessed with dark magic experience something similar to what Alaric’s going through, acting out their worst impulses.
Bonnie takes the phone to tell Elena that she’ll need something personal that belonged to Alaric before he started wearing the Gilbert ring. Elena apologizes for what’s happened and thanks her for agreeing to help Alaric. Bonnie keeps it all business, saying they need to work fast, so Alaric has to be ready when Bonnie gets back to Mystic Falls. Elena tells Alaric that Bonnie might be able to help him, but they need a personal belonging. He suggests his wedding ring, which is at his apartment. Meredith wants Alaric to stay with her (she has tranquilizers in case he gets violent), so he sends Elena to get the ring.
Over at Vamp Villa, Rebekah’s asleep in Damon’s bed, which is Sage’s cue to do a head-dive and read her thoughts. After, she and Damon get in his shower so Rebekah won’t be able to hear them over the running water if she wakes up. Sage kisses Damon to show him Rebekah’s thoughts, including her memory of her conversation with Klaus about the white oak tree.
Damon realizes that Rebekah’s been hanging around and asking weird questions because the Salvatores have the milling ledgers from the time the second white oak was cut down. He tells Sage to keep Rebekah distracted while he looks at the ledger from 1912. It shows him that the oak was used to build something he’s familiar with: Wickery Bridge.
Stefan’s waiting for Elena outside Alaric’s apartment, having heard from Alaric that she was going over there. She doesn’t want to talk, since he made it clear that morning that he doesn’t want to be around her. Stefan says he just can’t be who she wants him to be right now. He’s not in control. As Elena looks for Alaric’s wedding ring, Stefan tells her that Samantha killed two people after she was institutionalized…and after she stopped wearing the Gilbert ring. That means Alaric isn’t back to normal just because he’s not wearing the ring anymore.
At Gilbert Gables, Alaric wakes up after dozing off. Meredith is making coffee so they can stay awake after two days of poor sleep. While she’s distracted, he empties all the tranquilizers out of her syringes.
After Rebekah leaves, Damon tells Sage that since the milling ledgers aren’t public records, Rebekah’s going to have a hard time figuring out that Wickery Bridge was made from white oak. Sage is like, “You realize you just told me that you can use the wood being stripped from the bridge to kill my boyfriend, right?” Damon offers her a deal: If she lets him kill Rebekah, he’ll let Finn live.
Elena continues looking for Alaric’s ring (Stefan isn’t helping at all), determined to do whatever it takes to help Alaric if Bonnie’s spell doesn’t work. Stefan thinks it could be too late already. Elena says it’s her responsibility to fix the damage her family’s ring has done. “Not everyone can be saved,” Stefan reminds her. Elena says she’s not giving up on either him or Alaric. Stefan opens a drawer and finds a bunch of pictures of Brian and Bill after their deaths.
As Damon realizes that Sage has left Vamp Villa, Elena finds an envelope with Jeremy’s name on it. There’s a letter inside telling him to continue Alaric’s work if anything happens to him. Jeremy’s Gilbert ring will make him strong. He needs to “cleanse” the Founder’s Council “before the work can begin.” The letter is attached to information about council members and what Stefan thinks is a hit list. Elena denies that Alaric put this together, but Stefan asks who else would have. She finds Alaric’s ring and says she’s going back to her house.
Alaric asks Meredith if she ever feels remorse. Meredith quickly catches on that something’s off, but there’s not much she can do, since she’s at the kitchen sink and Alaric is blocking her only exit. He picks up a knife and complains that the council members have been looking the other way and not doing their job. He asks again if Meredith ever feels remorse, then says she should.
He slashes out at her with the knife, but she throws her coffee on him and is able to run away. In the living room, she sees that the syringes are empty. Alaric reaches her before she can head for the door, so she kicks the knife out of his hand and starts to go upstairs, a huge no-no in horror movies. She locks herself in Elena and Jeremy’s bathroom, stabbing Alaric in the hand with a pair of scissors when he tries to reach in before all the doors are closed. It’s only then that she realizes Alaric stabbed her in the stomach.
Damon races to the bridge, but he’s too late – Rebekah has already set fire to the white oak. He accuses Sage of setting him up, but she says she was just looking out for herself. Thanks to a head-dive on Damon, she knows the Originals are linked and that Finn will die if Damon kills Rebekah. Damon threatens to kill Sage, but she reminds him that she’s 900 years old and he’s no match for her. He tells her that Finn wants to die – he volunteered to let Esther sacrifice him to kill all her children. Sage doesn’t believe that. Damon tells her that Finn doesn’t love her, and when Damon finds a way to kill the Originals, he’ll start with Finn.
Elena and Stefan arrive at Gilbert Gables, which is eerily quiet. Stefan leaves Elena at the front door so he can check things out. As he finds blood and broken dishes from Alaric and Meredith’s encounter in the kitchen, Alaric comes downstairs, wrapping the wound Meredith gave him on his hand. He tells Elena that she was called in to work. The wound is from a broken coffee mug. Alaric asks if Stefan caught up with Elena, and she lies that he didn’t. She also lies that she couldn’t find Alaric’s ring. He says he’ll go get it, but then he spots the knife on the floor. Elena follows his gaze and sees it, too.
Stefan sneaks up behind Alaric and strangles him until he’s unconscious. He senses that something else is wrong – most likely he’s smelling Meredith’s blood – and he tells Elena she needs to come upstairs with him because he’ll need her help. They find Meredith unconscious in the bathroom, and though Stefan vamps out at the sight of her blood, he feeds Meredith some of his own, then runs off.
Alaric wakes up in his bed the next morning with Damon keeping an eye on him. Bonnie did her spell, and Alaric’s dark alter ego will hopefully be suppressed from now on. He doesn’t remember what happened the night before. Damon tells him he’s being sent back to his apartment for a kind of house arrest (translation: no they don’t trust him to live with Elena right now). He doesn’t tell Alaric what he did to Meredith, but he promises that she’ll be fine.
Downstairs, Bonnie tells Elena that, according to Abby, all of Alaric’s deaths and resurrections probably chipped away at his psyche, which made it easier for his dark half to take over. There are herbs he can take that will keep the suppression spell going. Bonnie will get more after she and Abby revive her garden. She’s much more optimistic about the situation now and thinks her mother will be okay once she adjusts to being a vampire. Elena tearfully apologizes again, saying she didn’t want this to happen. Bonnie just hugs her. She knows Elena isn’t really to blame, and Bonnie’s already forgiven her.
Back at Abby’s, Caroline and Jamie are working in the garden. She tells him that she went through a little of what Bonnie’s going through with Abby when her father was turned. That had a different outcome, of course. Caroline goes inside and finds Abby writing a goodbye letter. She’s leaving again. Abby says she has to, since she doesn’t know how to do this. Caroline asks if she means being a vampire or a parent. She can teach Abby how to be a vampire, but Abby will have to figure out the parenting stuff on her own.
Caroline doesn’t want Abby to throw away the time she now has to spend with Bonnie – for Abby, it’s a literal eternity. Abby says that her daughter is better off without her. Caroline disagrees, saying no one’s better off without their parents. Eh, Matt is. Tyler’s better without his father. Stefan and Damon are better off as orphans. Caroline certainly wasn’t benefiting from having Bill around. Anyway, Caroline asks Abby to stay, but Abby walks out.
After Elena has finished cleaning up yet another bloody scene in her house, she calls Jeremy in Colorado. He’s doing okay in school, and he got a dog. She confirms that he hasn’t talked to Alaric recently and has no idea what’s been going on in Mystic Falls. She sends him off with his friends to enjoy his life away from vampires and serial killers.
Stefan is feeling better about his cravings, since he was able to control himself around Meredith. Damon is also feeling better, despite Alaric’s dark alter ego and Sage’s betrayal. He tells Stefan he’s a philanthropist and enjoys contributing to good causes, such as bridge restoration. Remember that restored bridge sign Carol was looking for? It was also made from white oak, and Damon has it. When he got mad at Sage on the bridge, he was acting. The gang has a secret weapon and can kill the Originals after all.
Etc.: Matt would have been a good person to talk to Jamie about Abby’s situation and how to keep their relationship the way it’s always been. But Matt doesn’t get to do anything this season, so oh, well.
Alaric gives Elena information about his parents, so we know they’re alive (and live in Massachusetts), but as of halfway through season 4 of Legacies, we haven’t met them and know nothing about them. Disappointing!
Also, I wonder what’s in his will. All he has are books and weapons.
Of course Finn hasn’t contacted Sage yet. He’s been in a box for 900 years. He’s trying to wrap his head around electricity and indoor plumbing. He thinks he has to go for a really long walk to find her, and his siblings are trying to explain cars to him.
Like I said in the last episode, Damon is off his game. Why would he trust Sage enough to tell her where to find the white oak?
Putting aside the fact that she went upstairs and trapped herself without a good exit, Meredith did pretty well against Alaric. It’s always nice when the damsel in distress isn’t completely helpless.