In 1110 A.D., a witch performs a ritual with five men. It sends magic into the swords they’re holding and makes a tattoo appear all over their bodies. The symbol Connor likes to carve into his weapons is on the hilts of their swords.
In the present, Stefan examines one of those weapons, which Damon stole from the presumed-dead Connor’s RV. He hopes to find some kind of handbook giving them more information. While Stefan’s not completely convinced that Connor’s supernatural, Damon is – his arrival in town just after the council was killed can’t be a coincidence, and he has a tattoo only Jeremy can see. Plus, Klaus said he was one of the Five, whatever that means.
Liz calls Damon and gives him news that he calls “concerning.” He won’t share it with Stefan, since they’re fighting. Stefan says he’s over it. Yeah, he’ll always be mad that Damon let Elena drink his blood, but he’s moved on. Damon gives in and tells Stefan that Connor’s body wasn’t found at the hospital, so he must still be alive. He tells Stefan to get started on going through Connor’s stuff. Damon already has plans for the day: taking Elena to college. He’s going to teach her how to snatch, eat, and erase.
Stefan questions Elena about this later, and she apologetically says this is the only way she’ll be able to feed. She’s moved on from vampire-hunting lessons with Alaric to defense-against-vampire-hunter lessons with Stefan. He suggests that Elena ask Caroline to be her vampire mentor instead, but Elena says Caroline’s too good at self-control. She doesn’t get how hard this is for Elena. And Elena knows that Stefan can’t be around too much blood, which is why she hasn’t asked him for help. She makes Damon sound like a last resort.
The two are tagging along with Bonnie to Whitmore College, where Sheila used to teach. The professor who took over her occult-studies classes invited Bonnie to visit. Elena promises that Stefan is the one getting her through this new stage of her life, even if Damon’s the one who will teach her to feed. He warns her to be careful not to get too caught up in the blood and the process of feeding.
At the Grill, Rebekah has a peace offering for Matt: a new truck. After all, she did make him drive his old one off a bridge. Matt says Rebekah should be buying presents for Elena instead. Klaus is sitting nearby, glaring. He tells his sister she’s trying too hard. Rebekah notes that he was going to leave town. Klaus changed his mind to keep an eye on her, and also because he realized that the Brotherhood of the Five still exists. Rebekah is surprised by that but claims she doesn’t care.
Damon drives Elena and Bonnie to Whitmore and just parks his car in the middle of the quad, because why not? Bonnie’s not thrilled about the others’ reasons for making the trip, but it’s better for Elena to learn how to control herself now than to go crazy at freshman orientation. Elena doesn’t think she’ll be going to college at all. Damon says that if he can go to college, Elena can, too. I’m not sure how much studying he did while he was in school. He says he mostly went because he liked sorority girls. “You’re disgusting,” Bonnie tells him. “I know,” he replies.
The three sit in on a class taught by Sheila’s replacement, Atticus Shane. The lecture is about witches, but he also mentions vampires and doppelgangers. “What is this guy, witchipedia?” Damon asks. Elena worries that she’s a Ripper, so he tells her to pick a meal and they’ll find out. He gives her a Sage-style crash course on who not to feed on, then directs her attention to a blonde student who should be easy to isolate. Shane busts them for talking during class, and Damon lies that he was just saying how much he likes witches. “You and me both, brother,” Shane replies.
Back in Mystic Falls, Klaus has chained Connor up at his house in some kind of Inquisition torture device. Stefan comes by and asks if Klaus has gotten any information out of him. Nope – Connor won’t talk about the council explosion or Pastor Young’s “greater evil” warning. Stefan wants to chat with Klaus, but he knows they shouldn’t do it in front of Connor, since he can’t be compelled to forget the conversation. That’s another check mark in the “supernatural” column of Damon’s “is Connor supernatural or not?” list. Connor says he doesn’t know anything about why he can’t be compelled. Klaus says he knows plenty.
He takes Stefan to another room, where Stefan says he knew Klaus was up to something when he healed Elena from the werewolf venom without asking for anything in exchange. Klaus says he was feeling benevolent, which Stefan knows is bull. He wants answers about Connor and the Five, and he has nothing else to do today, so he’ll wait until Klaus starts talking. Klaus gives in and says the Brotherhood of the Five are vampire hunters the Mikaelsons encountered in the 12th century.
1114: The Mikaelsons are in Italy, enjoying an all-you-can-eat human buffet and turning people along the way. Unfortunately, not all the vampires they’ve created are discreet, and at least one has been caught by a hunter named Alexander. Elijah (hi, Elijah!) warns Klaus to be a little more careful about staying out of the public eye. Klaus doesn’t care about people knowing he’s an Original; he has no problem with infamy. But if Elijah’s really worried, he should keep a leash on Rebekah, who’s interested in Alexander.
Present: Stefan confirms that the Five have been around for centuries. Klaus says Connor’s the first one he’s come across in a long time, so he doesn’t know what they’ve been up to. Rebekah fell in love with Alexander, who told her all his secrets. Klaus will share those secrets with Stefan if he’ll get Rebekah to come over. They need to make her think they’ve made up so she’ll come talk to them about Alexander. Stefan asks what’s in it for him, but Klaus won’t tell him until he’s succeeded. He does, however, tell Stefan that Connor is the answer to all of Stefan’s prayers.
Rebekah’s at the Grill with April, which doesn’t sit well with Matt. He tells Rebekah he’s keeping the truck, though. Stefan pops in and compels April to forget the conversation he’s about to have with Rebekah. Then he tells Rebekah that Klaus wants them to fake a truce so Rebekah will talk about the Five. She warns that Klaus will just betray Stefan. Stefan asks her to help him instead. He’ll give her the one thing Klaus won’t: a new start. Rebekah’s clearly going to stick around Mystic Falls, so Stefan wants to ensure that they co-exist peacefully. He’ll even talk to Matt about giving her another chance, too.
At Whitmore, Damon and Elena stalk the student he’s picked out for her to feed on. Elena gets off to a good start, but when she sees a picture of the student’s little sister on her phone, she chickens out. Damon reminds her that everyone is someone’s loved one. She can’t let herself care about who she might hurt. Elena says she cares because she’s still herself. Damon won’t be able to turn her into a “super-vampire.”
Bonnie joins them and tells them Shane is going to give her some stuff he found that belongs to Sheila. She’s learned about a frat party that night and thinks they should go. Damon agrees, since there will be plenty of meals there for Elena to choose from. The theme is Murder House, so he asks if they should go as killers or victims.
Klaus checks on Connor, pretending he cares about the hunter’s comfort. Stefan arrives with Rebekah, who questions whether Connor is really one of the Five since he doesn’t have a tattoo. Klaus says this generation of the hunters has invisible tattoos. They head to the dining room for a meal served by compelled humans (the council explosion burned up a bunch of vervain, so Klaus has been having an easy time finding people to be his slaves). Rebekah refuses to eat until Klaus apologizes for breaking her neck after she ruined his supply of Elena’s blood. She complains that he took her for granted. He tells her that’s what older brothers do. “Let me just name the million other people I’d rather be having dinner with right now,” Stefan breaks in.
Klaus is like, “Sorry you’re so delicate, Rebekah,” and she’s like, “I’ll think about forgiving you sometime in the next millennium.” Stefan finally gets the conversation back on track by asking about Alexander.
1114: Alexander has a meal with the Mikaelsons, who feel safe around him because he’s looking for creatures who can only come out at night, and they have daylight rings. He tells them he’s one of five hunters with the singular goal of destroying all vampires. They plan to accomplish that goal with the “ultimate weapon,” something no vampire can survive.
Present: Stefan clarifies that this is all about a weapon. Rebekah says it’s not that simple. Stefan asks how that weapon could be the answer to all his prayers. Klaus doesn’t want to rush things, not that they can be rushed anyway. To find the weapon, they have to solve a puzzle, and that puzzle seems to have disappeared. Stefan realizes that he means Connor’s tattoo. Klaus explains that it’s a map that leads to a “treasure.” He knows Jeremy can see the tattoo, and he’s already had him captured. Jeremy refuses to help Klaus with anything, but when Klaus takes his Gilbert ring, he doesn’t have much of a choice.
Elena, Damon, and Bonnie head to the frat party dressed as Jack the Ripper and two of his victims. They spot Shane and Bonnie goes to talk to him while Damon helps Elena find a meal. Elena sets her sights on a frat brother who’s drugging someone’s drink. She bumps into him and makes him spill his drink, then offers hers to him. He follows her into another room, where Damon provides some guidance as she feeds on him. She pulls herself back before she drinks too much, and she successfully compels the guy to forget what happened. Elena’s thrilled, and Damon’s pleased when she celebrates by hugging him. “I want more,” she declares.
Jeremy sketches Connor’s tattoo as Connor asks why Jeremy led him into a trap at the hospital. Jeremy explains that Connor is targeting people important to him. Connor thinks Jeremy has poor judgment when it comes to people he considers important to him. How can he be a “sympathizer” and still see the tattoo? Jeremy notes that Connor doesn’t know much about the Five. Where did the tattoo come from? Why is Jeremy the only one who can see it?
Connor explains that he met someone a few years ago who had the tattoo. He said he had a desire to kill vampires that was so intense, it was like it was part of his DNA. Since Connor could see the tattoo, that meant he was a potential hunter. He lost track with the other guy, and one day, the tattoo just started to appear on him. It grew with every vampire Connor killed. He thinks it’s trying to tell him something, but he doesn’t know what.
Elsewhere in the Haus of Klaus, Stefan asks Klaus about the tattoo. Klaus says Alexander wouldn’t give up anything about it, but Rebekah stuck close to try to learn more.
1114: Rebekah asks Alexander how to read the symbols in his tattoo. He tells her his sword is the key to deciphering them. He asks if she’s considered his invitation to come with him when he leaves to follow the map. She agrees, but she quickly realizes this is not the guy she should be with. He has a dagger and white oak ash, which means if he ever finds out she’s an Original, she’s dead. And unfortunately for Rebekah, he has found out that she’s an Original, and he daggers her while they’re about to have sex.
Present: Klaus tells Stefan that the Five daggered all the Mikaelson siblings on the same night. Sounds like he holds a grudge against Rebekah for not realizing that Alexander knew who they are. Stefan remembers that the daggers don’t affect Klaus, which explains why the Mikaelsons didn’t stay daggered.
1114: Rebekah wakes up to find that Klaus has killed the Five, including the hunter she fell in love with. He thinks Alexander promised her something. Rebekah swears he didn’t, but Klaus knows something made her trust Alexander over her own brother. Hmm, maybe it’s because Alexander didn’t yell at her all the time?
Present: Klaus invites Rebekah to tell Stefan what Alexander said the tattoo leads to – the weapon that could kill all vampires. “A cure,” Rebekah reveals. “He said there was a cure.”
Stefan is pretty skeptical about that, since Klaus would have found it by now if it existed. Klaus says that the hunters’ tattoos disappeared when they died, so he lost the map to the cure. He figured the Five went extinct, since he didn’t hear about any more of them until Connor showed up.
Rebekah asks what they’re going to do now that they have another map. Klaus says she’s not included in whatever happens next – she can’t be trusted to keep quiet. She falls in love with any guy who shows her affection, even though she always ends up getting betrayed. Rebekah thinks it’s worse that she keeps standing by Klaus, who drains all the happiness from her life. Though at least Klaus didn’t keep her daggered for 900 years like he did Finn. Klaus says he was more interesting that way. I agree.
Rebekah guesses that Klaus wants the cure for Elena. If she goes back to being human, he’ll get his hybrid-juice supply back. That’s why he brought in Stefan, even though Stefan hates him – they want the same thing. She tells Klaus he can shove the cure. After she storms out, Stefan says he hopes Klaus got what he wanted out of her. Klaus says Rebekah was never going to tell him what he needs to know, but she’ll tell Stefan. He needs to find out where Alexander’s sword is so they can decipher the map. Maybe Stefan will see working with Klaus as a deal with the devil, but Klaus knows he won’t give up the chance to save Elena from eternity as a vampire.
Shane takes Bonnie to his office to give her Sheila’s things. She admires all his souvenirs from his travels. He asks if she practices witchcraft like her grandmother did. She says she used to, but she stopped after she lost control of herself. Shane tells her there are other ways to practice. He’s not a witch, but he has an open mind and has seen a lot of stuff that he’s willing to share with her.
Damon and Elena are still at the party, and she’s continuing to practice her snatch-eat-erase technique. (Music: “Feel So Close,” Calvin Harris) She and Damon dance, reveling in their ability to get people to do what they want. They’re a little more intimate than a non-couple should be, especially when one of them is dating the other’s brother. When Bonnie returns and gives Elena a “what are you DOING??” look, Elena realizes she’s gone too far and let herself enjoy it too much.
Jeremy finishes his sketch, but Klaus isn’t satisfied – the tattoo he remembers from the original Five was much bigger. Jeremy recalls Connor saying that that the tattoo spreads as a hunter kills more vampires. His just isn’t complete yet. Klaus dismisses Jeremy and tells a hybrid named Nate to babysit Connor. Once he’s alone, Connor tries to free himself from his chains. Nate returns and approaches to check them, but Connor bites his ear. Nate hits him and says Connor’s lucky that Nate’s not allowed to kill him. After he leaves again, Connor reveals that he tore a barbell earring out of Nate’s ear.
Back at Whitmore, Elena’s distressed about the way she’s been acting. Bonnie blames Damon, and Elena says she should be going through this with Stefan, not his brother. Damon overhears and says they should go home. Bonnie slams him for letting Elena get out of control when he was supposed to be helping her. Damon says she was having fun.
Bonnie points out that Elena’s acting like a different person. He notes that she is a different person now – she’s a vampire. Vampires hunt and kill, and when they feel too guilty, they turn off their humanity and enjoy themselves. Bonnie asks if Damon wants Elena to be like him. “She already is like me,” he replies. Unlike Stefan, who gets mopey about his actions, Damon’s able to make it fun to be a vampire.
Rebekah lets herself into Vamp Villa and apologizes for not being more helpful to Stefan. He tells her she doesn’t deserve the treatment Klaus gives her. She admits that back in 1114, she was willing to leave her family behind to get the cure. She asks if Stefan would take it himself if he could, or if he would just get it for Elena. Stefan says that he’d like to spend eternity with Elena, but there’s no way she’ll be able to avoid killing someone if she remains a vampire, and when that happens, she won’t be able to handle the pain and guilt that comes with it. She would absolutely turn off her humanity, and she probably wouldn’t ever turn it back on. Stefan would do anything to save her.
Rebekah envies that Elena has someone who would do everything he can to give her what she wants. She believed that Alexander loved her – he said he wanted to marry her, and they even picked out a church, San Vittore. She knows Stefan wants her help, but she can’t give it if it means Klaus will get what he wants. Stefan tells her that if it meant having a normal life with Elena, all the way through death, he would take the cure.
She says she still cared enough about Alexander to bury him in San Vittore. She suddenly realizes that she’s walked right into a trap. She buried Alexander with his sword, and now Stefan knows where it is. Klaus joins them and confirms that Stefan tricked her into helping him. He has a dagger and white oak ash with him. When Rebekah tries to escape, Stefan stops her. Rebekah tells Klaus that he can laugh at her for falling in love so easily, but at least she has the ability to love, unlike him. She dares him to look her in the eye while he daggers her. He can’t.
Klaus makes travel arrangements and tells Stefan he’s going to get the sword. His hybrids will continue babysitting Connor. Stefan is to hide Rebekah’s body somewhere and compel Jeremy to forget everything he heard today. For once, Klaus does something nice, giving Jeremy’s ring to Stefan so he can have it back. Klaus swears Stefan to secrecy about the cure – he can’t tell Damon or Elena. If anyone finds out about it, they could all be in danger. Once again, Klaus and Stefan are teaming up. “Some secrets are stronger than family,” Klaus says.
Damon takes Elena home and walks her to her door like the gentleman he isn’t. She’s sorry about the way things went at the party. When he tells her what a vampire should be like, she believes him, but she hates feeling that way. He guesses that it’s because she doesn’t want to be like him.
Stefan opens the front door, explaining that he came by to talk to Jeremy. He lies that he didn’t learn anything more about Connor. Damon leaves, and Elena tells Stefan that while she learned how to snatch, eat, and erase, she hated it. He assures her it’ll get easier, but she says she doesn’t want it to. She can’t live like this. Being a vampire is turning her into someone she doesn’t want to be. She doesn’t think she’ll survive it. Stefan promises she will and urges her to hold on.
Nate goes to check on Connor, who’s used the barbell to pick the lock on his chains. He wraps the chains around Nate’s neck and yanks until he’s decapitated. This counts as killing a vampire, so Connor’s tattoo spreads up his arm, ending with a star symbol on his shoulder. That same symbol is on a parchment in Shane’s office, which is Connor’s first stop as soon as he’s out of the Haus of Klaus. Shane asks why he’s not killing vampires in Mystic Falls. Connor asks why Shane sent him there in the first place.
Keep in mind: The hunter’s mark is a map that leads to a cure for vampirism. The tattoo grows as a hunter kills more vampires. To decode it, you need Alexander’s sword.
Etc.: Shane is so annoying that when I saw the actor who plays him, David Alpay, in an episode of Nancy Drew, my immediate response was, “Ugh, YOU.”
Again, Matt’s pretty willing to take what he wants from vampires while talking about how evil they are. It feels like preaching that bank robbers are villains, then accepting some of the money they stole.
I assume they threw in the line about this generation of hunters having invisible tattoos because someone screwed up and gave the first generation visible ones, and then they realized this generation’s need to be invisible for Jeremy to fit into this part of the plot.
Damon: “Oh, look, Professor Creepy.” Bonnie: “His name is Professor Shane, and he’s not creepy.” He’s at a frat party. He’s creepy.
Elena, next time spill the roofied drink instead of the roofier’s drink. And then maybe make sure the person who got roofied makes it home okay.