Damon wakes up alone the morning after his big night with Elena, but only because Elena’s already awake and wandering around in his shirt. They get right back to it. Over at Fort Forbes, where Stefan spent the night, Caroline thinks he should be more upset about their realization that Elena is sired to Damon. Stefan thinks the odds of that being true are one in a million, and even if they’re right, the bond might not affect them the same as it does others. Caroline says it’s obvious – Elena agrees with Damon all the time and does everything he wants her to do. Hmmm, is that why she had sex with him?
Caroline wants to talk to Tyler about the bond, since he experienced it himself. Stefan agrees but asks her not to tell anyone else. If they’re right, the sire bond might have influenced all of Elena’s actions since she became a vampire. Meanwhile, Elena draws blood while she and Damon are going for another round.
A guy named Adrian is the next hybrid breaking his sire bond at Pastor Young’s farm. Tyler and Hayley want him to keep pushing despite his pleas to stop, but the newly unsired Kim wants them to go easier. Hayley notes that with Klaus’ previous right-hand men dead, Adrian now has the honor, and they can’t let him be around Klaus until he’s unsired. Tyler agrees with Hayley, but Kim doesn’t like how the two of them are forcing the hybrids to do what they say. The whole point of this was to get back their free will.
Damon sees Elena off to school, trying to rush her off before she can ask what they’re going to tell Stefan. He wants them to have a “secret, selfish” day before they upset Stefan. Stefan arrives as Elena’s leaving, and everyone acts like things are totally normal with the three of them.
Stefan tells Damon his and Caroline’s theory (off-screen), and Damon says it sounds ridiculous. They just can’t accept that Elena’s happy because of Damon. Stefan wants to test things out by having Damon tell Elena to drink from a blood bag. Damon thinks she can’t do that because she’s a doppelganger, not because he said she has to drink from the vein. Stefan says that if it turns out he’s wrong, he’ll apologize. Damon says that apology better be epic.
At school, Elena meets up with Bonnie and Caroline and invites them to hang out that night. Bonnie offers up entertainment in the form of a demonstration of a couple of small spells she’s been working on with Shane. Caroline is hesitant to have a get-together at Vamp Villa, but Elena says it’s her place now, too.
Damon is down the hall, and he and Elena head into a classroom together for what she thinks is just a surprise visit on their selfish day. He tells her he brought her lunch and wants her to see if she can drink from a blood bag. This time she keeps it down, which is great news for her because she no longer has to risk hurting anyone, but bad news for him because it means Stefan might be right.
Hayley snoops around Shane’s office, and when he catches her, she tells him she’s having trouble getting Adrian to break his bond. He tells her they already have the 12 hybrids they need. Hayley corrects that they have 11, because, as she previously said, she’s not going to let Tyler participate in their top-secret plan. Shane tells her to get a 12th hybrid or Tyler will fill that role. She notes that Shane hasn’t kept his end of their bargain. He shows her a flash drive with information about her biological family and promises she can have it when she delivers him 12 unsired hybrids.
Caroline calls Stefan, who’s still at home, and reports that according to Tyler, the sire bond exists between Klaus and the hybrids because they’re grateful to him for ending the pain of having to transform during every full moon. Since there’s no equivalent for vampires, they can’t have Elena break the sire bond the way the hybrids are.
Stefan finds Damon looking through some boxes. Damon admits that Stefan was right about Elena being sired to him. He shows Stefan a picture of New Orleans from 1942, one of the few times they were in the same place at the same time after 1864. Damon was hanging out with a young woman named Charlotte.
1942: Damon has turned Charlotte at her request, and he offers to get her anyone she wants for dinner. They’re at a bar, and when he goes to get her meal, he tells her to fight anyone who tries to touch his drink. When a sailor accidentally spills the glass, Charlotte takes Damon’s instructions literally and breaks the guy’s neck. She’s surprised that Damon’s upset – she thought he would be happy.
Present: Stefan assumes that Damon took advantage of the fact that Charlotte was sired to him. Damon says she got too clingy and he had to ditch her. He finds a coaster with the name Valerie LaMarche written on the back. She was a witch Damon found to help break the sire bond. He’s bringing Stefan along on a road trip to pay her a visit.
That night, Bonnie and Caroline come to Vamp Villa and Elena proudly tells them she can drink from blood bags now. She credits Damon, who merely suggested that she give it another try. Caroline asks where Damon is, and Elena reads a text he sent her saying he and Stefan are out for the night, bonding. Caroline asks what Elena and Damon do besides check in with each other via text. Elena would really like to not hear Caroline complain about Damon for a while, since he just changed her life. Bonnie quickly distracts them by offering up the tea Shane gave her that helps her do magic without contacting the spirits. Caroline agrees to stop judging her friends’ decisions, even the really bad ones.
Damon and Stefan are in New Orleans for the first time since 1942. Stefan left from there to join the war effort. Damon jokes that he stayed back to “entertain” the women who were home without their husbands. He relays a text from Elena that she’s having a ladies’ night and raided the guys’ stash of champagne. Stefan says she made herself at home since Damon told her to. Damon scoffs that the sire bond isn’t that literal. Dude, Charlotte broke a guy’s neck over a spilled drink. Come on.
Stefan challenges Damon to name one thing he’s told Elena to do that she hasn’t done. Damon wants Stefan to stop blaming him because Elena dumped him. He probably blames the sire bond for Elena’s feelings for Damon. Stefan says he does – there’s no other explanation for why Elena doesn’t see how wrong Damon is for her. Well, this bonding trip is off to a great start!
1942: Stefan is in New Orleans to make amends with Damon and apologize for blaming Damon for turning him into a Ripper. Yay, Lexi’s with him! She reminds Stefan that he’s here to talk to Damon peacefully, not fight or bring up the past. Apparently Lexi has moved from sober coach to family therapist. Stefan finds Damon at the bar and says he wants to make peace. After some hesitation, Damon happily accepts the olive branch.
Stefan doesn’t have much time in town, since he’s going to Egypt soon as an ambulance driver. Damon considers enlisting, too, so they can spend time together. When Stefan goes to get more drinks, Lexi tells Damon he’s not going to Egypt. “I don’t like you,” he replies. Heh. She reminds him that he made Stefan relapse in 1912. He’s going to help with the war effort as a way to accept that blood and death are part of life. He needs balance and restraint, not temptation from Damon. She tells Damon he always thinks about himself first, second, and third. Stefan’s better off alone than with him around.
When Stefan returns, the three toast to the possible trip to Egypt. Then things go south quickly when Charlotte arrives with “leftovers” from her dinner. She pushes her victim toward Stefan, who gets blood on his fingers. Even that little bit makes him vamp out and need Lexi’s help to stay in control. Yeah, he’s definitely ready to transport bleeding soldiers on a daily basis. As Lexi heads off with Stefan, she tells Damon that Charlotte’s better off without him, too.
Present: Stefan apologizes for what he said, acknowledging that it’s not Damon’s fault that Elena’s sired to him. They can’t find the store where Damon originally met Valerie, so Stefan suggests that they find Charlotte instead. Damon admits that when he last saw her, he told her to count every brick in every building in New Orleans, then meet him back on the corner where they were talking. Then he left town. Stefan decides to go back to that corner and see if the sire bond really is that literal.
It’s hybrid night at the Grill, apparently, as Tyler, Hayley, Kim, and Adrian are all hanging out there. Hayley’s worried that Kim and Adrian will get everyone killed. Tyler notes that Kim’s right about the point of all this being freedom from Klaus. He doesn’t want to force anyone to do anything. Hayley says that hybrids are werewolves first, and wolves run in packs, which all have alphas. They challenge each other for dominance. Kim is challenging Tyler’s role as alpha, and he needs to put her in her place.
Tyler interrupts Kim and Adrian’s game of pool and tells Adrian to go home and rest, since he’ll be spending the next day continuing to try to break the sire bond. Kim objects to Tyler’s order and tries to fight him. He tells her if she tries that again, he won’t hold back. Kim seemingly backs down, but she tells Adrian they’re going to pick a fight.
Back in New Orleans, Stefan wonders what they’re going to tell Elena about the sire bond. Damon doesn’t think they need to tell her anything. Stefan mocks that Damon doesn’t want to do the right thing, just what’s right for him. Damon says Stefan’s just as selfish – he just wants to break the sire bond so he can “restore her original factory Team Stefan settings.”
Damon heads off alone to get a drink but gets stopped by Charlotte. She’s spent 70 years waiting for him, and yes, she counted every brick on every building in town. Damon makes an “oh, crap” face. Charlotte clarifies that she didn’t spend every minute thinking about him, but when she did remember him, it was like listening to a beloved song. Stefan notes that 70 years is a long time to be stuck with the same song. Damon pulls Charlotte’s hands off of him and asks her to help them find Valerie (something she should be able to do, as a 70-year resident of the town who’s been to every building, or at least the brick ones).
The champagne has loosened up Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline, and they’re having a great night. They end up in Damon’s bathroom, for some reason. Elena wants to hang out in the empty bathtub more often. Caroline cautions her to think of all the gross women Damon has let in there. She apologizes, but Elena eggs her on, picking a fight. Caroline says that at least when Stefan was a Ripper, he kept his pants on.
Elena asks what it was about Damon that made Caroline jump into bed with him as soon as she met him. Caroline says she didn’t know what a “sociopathic narcissist” he was yet. Elena notes that he’s always been there when she’s needed him. Caroline replies that he shows up for her because he wants to sleep with her. Elena shoots back that she fulfilled that wish for him. Bonnie and Caroline aren’t happy about that, which makes Elena upset, since she wanted to share what she thought was good news.
Stefan and Damon go to a magic shop and ask the owner, Nandi, about Valerie, who was her great-grandmother. Damon knows she had a grimoire with a spell that will break the sire bond.
1942: Valerie tells Damon that he’s looking for powerful dark magic that comes at a steep price, and she’s not talking about money. It requires a sacrifice of 12 humans.
Present: Stefan’s mad that Damon thought he would be on board for a spell that requires killing 12 people. Damon says he’d hoped the recipe had changed. Nandi tells them she just sells magic stuff to tourists, but she’s not a practicing witch. Damon asks for a referral to another witch, but Nandi can’t help. All of her great-grandmother’s witch stuff was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
Elena tells Bonnie and Caroline that ladies’ night is over. Caroline thinks their displeasure is justified because they’re just looking out for their friend. Elena says she gets why they don’t like Damon, but she can’t hate him. She thinks she’s falling in love with him. Caroline blurts out that she’s not – she’s just sired to him. She goes over the evidence, then says Stefan can back her up. That just makes it worse, since Elena doesn’t like that her ex is talking about her with someone else.
Caroline tries to convince Elena that Damon took advantage of her. Elena angrily kicks her out, but Kim and Adrian are right outside the front door. Kim grabs Caroline and Adrian goes after Elena. Bonnie magically makes the lights go out in a demonstration of power. Kim threatens to bite Caroline if Bonnie doesn’t back off. The hybrids zoom off with Caroline before Elena and Bonnie can do anything.
Damon thinks Nandi’s lying about not practicing magic. Stefan is more focused on what it takes to break the sire bond. He asks if Damon killed 12 people in 1942. Damon says he did, and he’d do it again if it meant he got a fresh start with Elena. He wants Stefan to go back to Nandi with him and play good cop/bad cop.
Tyler takes Elena to Pastor Young’s farm, guessing that that’s where Kim and Adrian took Caroline (Bonnie hasn’t been able to find her with a locator spell). Elena asks why they wanted her in the first place. Tyler says Kim wants to be the alpha. If he can get her to “submit,” the rest of the pack will fall in line and they’ll all be free of Klaus. He doesn’t get why they won’t cooperate, since they all hate Klaus. Elena notes that Adrian can’t hate Klaus because of the sire bond. Tyler tells her that the bond doesn’t change how you feel about the person you’re sired to. He did everything Klaus said despite hating him. The bond only affects actions, not feelings.
Damon returns to Nandi’s to accuse her of lying. She’s Valerie’s daughter, not her great-granddaughter. He remembers seeing her writing her name in the shop back in 1942. Because there’s no way she could have been named after her grandmother Nandi, I guess? Anyway, Damon knows that since Nandi looks too young to have been a child in 1942, she must have also lied about not being a practicing witch. Nandi proves he’s right by giving him a psychic migraine.
Stefan comes in and tells Nandi they just need her help. She says again that she’s not able to give them what they need. The magic her mother practiced was unnatural. It’s called expression. It’s worse than black magic: “Channeling the power of human sacrifices calls on darkness that can’t exist on this plane without swallowing it whole.”
Nandi reveals that Valerie made Damon think she could break the sire bond because she wanted him to kill people so she could access that power. In other words, there’s no spell, and Damon killed 12 people for nothing. Oh, and a vampire only bonds to their sire when they have human feelings for the vampire before they turn. To end the bond, Damon needs to tell Elena to stop caring about him, then leave her.
Kim has chained Caroline up in the barn, wanting to show Tyler who’s in charge. Tyler and Elena run in, and Tyler tells Kim that they’re on the same team. Kim says she isn’t on Tyler’s team. The other hybrids come in, leaving Tyler, Elena, and Caroline at a huge disadvantage. Kim threatens to stake Caroline, since that’ll make Klaus mad, but Elena says he’d be even madder if Kim hurt Elena.
Kim takes the bait, and Tyler grabs her and reaches into her chest. He threatens to rip her heart out if the other hybrids don’t back off. He announces that he’s not like Klaus – he doesn’t kill and torture his friends to get what he wants. If the hybrids want to be free of Klaus for good, they all have to work together. Anyone who isn’t with him is against him. He orders Kim to submit or die. Well, she doesn’t have much of a choice, now, does she? She apologizes and Tyler lets go of her. The other hybrids kneel like he’s their new master. Gross.
Damon practices ending the sire bond by telling Charlotte that they both need to get on with their lives. She doesn’t want to live without him, but he says she can make him happy by forgetting about him. She’ll find someone new and be happy. Charlotte doesn’t think she’ll ever forget about him. Damon says she will, and he won’t be happy until she realizes that she won’t have the life she deserves if he’s still around. He says goodbye and leaves her for good.
Stefan’s waiting outside and comments that it must have been hard for Damon to do the right thing. Damon knows Stefan doesn’t think he’ll be able to tell Elena to stay away from him. Stefan notes that he’s not very good at being selfless. Damon says that Stefan doesn’t know him as well as he thinks.
1942: Damon shows up at the train station to meet up with Stefan and report for duty together. Lexi intercepts him and says Damon’s not going to Egypt with his brother – he just killed 12 innocent people. Stefan is going to Egypt to do penance for the pain he’s caused over the past 20 years. If he finds out what Damon did, he’ll be tempted to learn how Damon functions without guilt. Eventually, he’ll become a Ripper again.
Damon says he’s been mostly on his own since 1912. He just wants to have his brother around. Lexi says that’s why they can’t go to Egypt together. It might be good for Damon, but it’ll destroy Stefan. Damon needs to put someone else first for once and let Stefan go. Damon watches his brother for a few moments, then obeys Lexi and leaves.
Present: Stefan never knew that Lexi was the reason Damon didn’t join him. He admits that he’s upset about losing Elena to Damon, but that’s not why he wants them to break the sire bond. If she still wants to be with Damon after that, at least it’ll be because she’s choosing him. Damon says he knows what he has to do.
Caroline and Elena meet up at Vamp Villa, and Caroline immediately apologizes. She promises not to judge Elena again. Elena asks her not to tell Stefan that she and Damon slept together. He needs to hear it from Elena, but she doesn’t want him to know until she figures some things out. Bonnie joins them and they praise her for getting her mojo back. She tells them Shane has been helping her with a new kind of magic: expression.
Hayley goes back to Shane’s office and tells him that Adrian has broken the sire bond, so Shane has his 12 hybrids. Now she wants her information. Shane tells her that her biological parents are dead. She’s furious that he led her to believe that he knew where they were. Now he has a werewolf for an enemy. Shane says that just because Hayley’s parents are dead doesn’t mean she won’t see them again. “This is far from over,” he tells her. “We are the beginning.”
Stefan returns to town and meets up with Caroline at Fort Forbes to tell her what he learned in New Orleans. He feels bad that Damon has to let go of Elena when he really loves her. Caroline hopes he actually does it. Stefan says he will – he’s not as bad as Caroline thinks. Damon will follow through on what he said he would do. Caroline asks what else Damon said. She doesn’t know how Stefan can trust him. Stefan replies that he thinks Damon loves Elena as much as he does, and he can’t be selfish with her anymore.
Damon goes home and tells Elena that his time with Stefan was horrible. She says her night was bad, too. She announces that she knows about the sire bond and has guessed that he and Stefan were working on breaking it. Damon says it’s not possible. Elena continues that according to Tyler, the bond doesn’t affect a vampire’s feelings for their sire, so nothing’s changed for her. Damon says everything’s changed.
Elena acknowledges that she herself has changed since becoming a vampire, but Damon has, too. She’s happy, and she knows he was before they knew about the sire bond. Damon would be happier if he knew for sure that her feelings for him were real. She promises they are and begs him not to do what she knows he’s going to. Damon says he doesn’t want to – he’s not the good guy who always does the right thing. He’s the selfish one who takes and does what he wants. But he needs to do the right thing for Elena.
She puts his hand on her chest and asks if it feels wrong. He doesn’t answer. She puts a hand to his cheek and asks if that feels wrong. Still no answer. And he doesn’t tell her what he told Charlotte about needing to get out of his life. He can’t do it.
Keep in mind: The sire bond only develops if a human is turned by a vampire they already have feelings for.
Etc.: Can we please ban the word “epic” from this show?
Caroline seems to be claiming that she slept with Damon willingly back in season 1, but he had to have compelled her at least some of the time, right?
While the way Tyler asserts power over Kim is gross, she’s pretty delusional if she thinks she can be the alpha just because she wants to. Tyler was the first hybrid created and the first to break his sire bond. Kim’s been free for, like, 24 hours. You have to earn a position of power, not grab it just because you want dibs.
People should stop telling Caroline things. She always ends up spilling secrets.
Not to get nerdy and analytical but notice the difference between Klaus and Damon when it comes to relationships. Klaus is so desperate for family that he makes hybrids, knowing they’ll have an allegiance to him. He doesn’t care why they’re loyal as long as they are. Damon, however, doesn’t want to force Elena to be with him, even though he could use the sire bond to get what he wants. He’s come around to Stefan’s way of thinking and wants her to have a choice. Klaus is the real selfish one here.