Damon wakes up tied to a tree with Vaughn nearby. Vaughn has been spying on the gang long enough to know all their names, where they’re from, and why they’re on the island. Despite spending his life killing vampires, Vaughn never completed his tattoo – it completed itself a few days ago. Damon claims not to know anything about that. Vaughn sticks a poker in Damon’s neck and orders him to start talking. Oh, Vaughn. Don’t encourage that. Once he starts talking, he’ll never stop.
At the shoreline, Elena uses the satellite phone to get in touch with Caroline back in Mystic Falls and fill her in on what’s happened on the island. Elena, Stefan, and Rebekah found signs of a struggle and think someone kidnapped Damon. Caroline wishes she could help, so Elena tasks her with getting Alexander’s sword so she can translate the hunter’s mark, since Shane isn’t around to tell the gang where the map leads.
Rebekah doesn’t think Klaus will give up the sword, even for Caroline. He doesn’t want anyone to use the cure on him, and he won’t want them to take the cure themselves and be happy. Stefan notes that Klaus is still stuck in Gilbert Gables, so Caroline just needs to go find the sword herself. She heads off as Klaus entertains himself by offering his help.
Shane takes Bonnie, Jeremy, and Massak to the well they’ll have to descend into to get the cure. Massak declares his part in this over, so he collects his payment from Shane, Silas’ headstone. He tells Bonnie and Jeremy he’ll pray for their souls. Bonnie can’t believe Shane just wanted the headstone so he could pay off a mercenary. Shane tells her the rock contains a bunch of Qetsiyah’s blood, which makes it super-valuable to some witches.
Caroline returns to Gilbert Gables with Tyler and Alexander’s sword. Tyler found a cryptex in the handle (something Caroline’s familiar with from The Da Vinci Code). Turning the sides to different symbols will give them the translation they need. Caroline thinks the sword and photos of Jeremy’s tattoo are all they need. Klaus tells her she’s wrong: The symbols are in Aramaic, and it’s not going to be easy to translate. “If only you spoke Aramaic,” he says…in Aramaic.
Rebekah tries to get cell reception (to call…who? April?) while Elena laments to Stefan that the quest for the cure has put people in danger because of her. Stefan says they all came because they wanted to. She asks why he never told her he wants to take it. Stefan says he’s experienced all the things that come with vampirism, good and bad, and doesn’t even like the positive stuff anymore. He didn’t tell her because it had nothing to do with her. He’s wanted to be human again since before he met her. Elena’s happy he’s told her now, and they agree that they’re friends. Rebekah’s not thrilled to see them getting along so well.
Vaughn has made a leash out of rope so he can lead Damon through the woods to the well. He’s going to give Silas the cure, kill him, and end the Brotherhood of the Five’s mission. Damon’s his leverage to get Bonnie to open the passage to Silas’ crypt. Damon tells him Bonnie won’t do that for him. The gang just wants the cure, so maybe Vaughn can just let them grab some and leave. Vaughn says Damon doesn’t get what’s really going on here.
As Caroline and Tyler try to make sense of the translated symbols, Vaughn reminds Damon that killing Silas involves giving him the cure. Klaus clarifies a translation, then asks Caroline to bring the sword to him. Vaughn tells Damon that if he uses the cure on Silas, the gang can’t have it. Klaus does some more translating and learns something that amuses him. Vaughn gives the same information to Damon: There’s only one dose of the cure.
Bonnie and Jeremy rappel into the well, but she slips as she’s landing and cuts her hand. As Shane starts his descent, Jeremy asks Bonnie what she thinks will happen once she casts her spell and there’s nothing left between Shane and Silas. Bonnie asks if Jeremy trusts her. Of course he does. She promises she won’t let Shane raise Silas. Jeremy tells her not to do anything dumb, since Shane is the only one who can keep her from losing control of her magic. Bonnie assures him she’ll be fine, but if Shane tries to hurt either one of them, she’ll kill him. Meanwhile, Bonnie’s blood seeps into the ground and drips down into the tomb underneath the cave.
Caroline calls to let the gang know she’s sending the translation. Rebekah takes the call, and Klaus tells her he was the one who did all the work. Rebekah wonders why, since Klaus doesn’t want to be human and doesn’t want anyone else to be, either. Klaus says maybe he finally realized that standing in the way of what people want makes them keep hating him. Or maybe he wants Rebekah to get what will make her happy. Rebekah knows better than to believe that, but Klaus says he’s not playing games anymore: “I hope you get to live and die as you wish.” The he rushes to announce that there’s only one dose of the cure, so Rebekah needs to get it before anyone else can. Caroline hangs up before Klaus can say any more.
Damon and Vaughn continue their trek, discussing the cure. Damon says he doesn’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to be a vampire. If he weren’t one, he wouldn’t be able to do nine of the things he plans to do to Vaughn when he’s free. Vaughn shoves him and he thinks of a tenth. Damon says he’s only trying to get the cure for his friends. He asks why Vaughn saved Jeremy from the bowman if he’s only on the island to get to Silas. Vaughn had nothing to do with that, which means there’s still someone on the island the gang hasn’t accounted for. The two of them come across Massak’s body, another death Vaughn says he’s not responsible for.
In the well, Shane tells Bonnie and Jeremy that all their sacrifices will have been worth it when Silas rises and resurrects their loved ones. Bonnie notes that Silas could kill them all. Shane reminds her that if anything happens to him, something worse will happen to her. Jeremy hurries things along, asking about the passage Bonnie’s supposed to open. It’s in the ground below them.
Elena, Stefan, and Rebekah head off to find the well. Elena asks what Caroline said on the phone, and Rebekah lies that the signal went out. They come to a quarry, which they need to climb down and cross. Since they’re vampires, they can just jump down. Elena suggests that Rebekah leave the map and satellite phone behind in case she falls in the water. Rebekah objects, and Stefan makes peace by telling Elena to jump first. Before Stefan can follow her, Rebekah stops him and tells him there’s something he should know about the cure.
Bonnie starts the spell to give her and Jeremy access to the cure. It makes Jeremy and Vaughn’s tattoos disappear. Vaughn tells Damon that Bonnie must be doing the spell. In the well, the magic causes an avalanche.
Elena waits impatiently in the quarry as Rebekah tells Stefan that there’s only one dose of the cure. He thinks they were dumb to hold out hope. Rebekah says there’s still hope for one of them, and she knows Stefan doesn’t want it to be her. He’ll give up his own chance to take the cure so Elena can have it. She says she’s sorry things couldn’t work out the way they all wanted it to, then breaks his neck.
Bonnie and Jeremy are both okay post-avalanche, which cleared away the passage into Silas’ tomb. Shane’s leg is broken, so Bonnie and Jeremy happily leave him behind. Meanwhile, Damon and Vaughn reach the cave, and Vaughn notes that since Bonnie has already gone into the well, he no longer has any use for Damon. Damon knows he can’t kill Vaughn without triggering the hunter’s curse, so if they’re going to fight, Vaughn will have an advantage. They do it anyway, since Damon wants to get the cure for Elena. Vaughn warns that Damon’s attachments to his friends will be the end of him. “You don’t know my friends,” Damon says as they hear footsteps approaching. But it’s Rebekah, so he adds, “Or my enemies.”
Stefan recovers on the ledge of the quarry, telling Elena about Rebekah’s big bombshell. Elena doesn’t want to call dibs when there are other people who deserve the cure as much as she does. After all this, there’s no more hope. She admits that it could be a blessing in disguise. When she died, everything changed. Even if she could be human again, she wouldn’t be the person she used to be. She needs to start accepting who she is now and learn to live with being a vampire.
Stefan notes that she’ll spend the rest of her life sired to Damon. Elena says she’ll deal with that when she gets home. That reminds her that Klaus is still at Gilbert Gables, and Bonnie’s spell will be undone soon. Stefan notes that they need to give Klaus the cure before he can kill them.
Tyler and Caroline go outside to discuss the situation away from Klaus. Tyler knows Klaus will come after him as soon as he can, so Tyler needs to leave town. Caroline asks for the chance to talk to Klaus, but Tyler says Klaus has nothing to lose. Caroline wants to at least try to find a way to keep Tyler from having to run away again.
Since Vaughn doesn’t have white oak, Rebekah isn’t too worried about what he can do to her. He shoots her with what I can only describe as a grenade that makes mini-stakes explode into her. (Alaric, somewhere: “Awesome!”) Damon goes after him but Vaughn hits him with some kind of vervain rope that wraps itself around Damon’s neck. (Alaric, somewhere: “And now he can’t talk! Brilliant!”) Stefan and Elena are approaching, so Vaughn quickly rappels down the well. Damon tells Stefan and Elena to go after the cure instead of helping him. Stefan agrees that Elena should go while he stays back with Damon.
Bonnie can’t believe that she and Jeremy, “a newbie hunter and a witch that needs adult supervision,” are the first two to make it to the tomb. They’re both glad to be there together. They’re not sure where to go, but Bonnie soon receives a hint – Sheila is down there with them. She reminds Bonnie that the well allows the living to see and talk to the dead. Bonnie apologizes for using magic that hurt Sheila, but Sheila says it’s okay. Soon, she’ll be resurrected. Bonnie just needs to get to Silas and feed him. “Everything will go back to the way it was,” Sheila promises.
Jeremy tells Bonnie to stop following Sheila – she’s not really there. If she were, Jeremy would be able to see her, too. She’s a hallucination. He centers Bonnie by telling her he’s real. When she snaps out of it, he tells her Silas got in her head and tried to control her. Bonnie guesses that’s what happened when Shane thought he was talking to Caitlin. Jeremy tells her to block Silas from her mind. He has her close her eyes and leads her to the tomb.
Caroline appeals to Klaus, who says he has to kill Tyler because he has a reputation to uphold. Also, he just wants to. Caroline asks for a compromise, for Klaus to let Tyler live but leave town. Klaus doesn’t want Tyler to have a happy life after he broke all the hybrids’ sire bonds, tried to kill him, and made it his life’s mission to get the cure and give it to Klaus.
Caroline says they all want the cure, but Klaus questions that she does. She says it doesn’t matter, since there’s only one and she’s not at the top of the list. Klaus asks if she would take it if she could. He doesn’t think she would because she likes who she is now more than who she used to be. She likes being strong and fearless. “We’re the same,” he tells her. “Then show me,” she replies. She has compassion, so Klaus needs to demonstrate his by showing Tyler the mercy Caroline would show Klaus. He relents, allowing Tyler to leave town alive – but it’s just a head start before Klaus comes looking for him.
Damon tells Stefan to go after Elena and leave him to recover. She only needs one of them. Stefan asks if Damon is really willing to walk away. Damon notes that Stefan and Elena both want Elena to take the cure, but Damon doesn’t. Stefan should do what makes Elena happy. Stefan says it’s not that easy anymore, but Damon says it is right now.
Elena gets to the cave and hears noises she thinks are from Stefan following her. Someone says her name and zooms around the cave. When she turns around, she’s very annoyed at who she sees.
Caroline and Tyler say goodbye on the porch of Gilbert Gables, though he wants to think of it as a pause until they find a way to be together again. After all, they’re immortal, so they have plenty of time. Caroline asks if he’ll live a full, happy life without her if they’re never able to be together. He teases that he’ll forget all about her. She cries as they kiss goodbye and he walks away.
Stefan finds Shane, who asks for some blood to heal his wounds. He says he doesn’t know where Bonnie and Jeremy are, but he’ll take Stefan the rest of the way if Stefan heals him. Stefan asks Shane if he knew the whole time that there was only one dose of the cure. Shane says no – his goal this entire time was to bring back his wife and son. He knew nothing about the cure. Stefan says that now Shane knows what it’s like to have hope and lose it, just like the rest of them. He leaves Shane where he is. Caitlin appears to Shane and assures him that he didn’t fail. He did everything Caitlin asked him to, and everything will be fine.
Bonnie and Jeremy find Silas’ body, which is basically one big rock. He’s holding a box that Jeremy quickly guesses can’t possibly contain enough cure for every vampire in the world. When Jeremy tries to take the box from Silas’ hands, it doesn’t budge. Bonnie realizes that the only way to get the box is to unfreeze Silas’ “vampire statue.” And the only way to do that is to give him blood. If they want the cure, they have to wake him up.
Damon nicely pulls the grenade debris out of Rebekah and revives her. She thinks he stayed behind because he gave up. He says he just realized he can’t control everything, and he’s made peace with that. Rebekah calls bull because of Elena – if she dumps him to go back to Stefan, Damon will never know peace. “Life sucks. Get a helmet,” Damon replies. Rebekah says he did something selfless. Maybe he’s becoming “halfway decent.”
Jeremy tries to break Silas’ hands with a rock so he can get the cure without waking him. Bonnie is also hopeful that they can figure out a way to get it without raising Silas. Suddenly she gets stabbed from behind. Vaughn has found them, and he tells Jeremy they have to raise Silas – now. Jeremy checks on Bonnie instead, so he’s too late to stop Vaughn from cutting his hand and dripping his blood on Silas. Vaughn reminds Jeremy that they’re on the same team. Jeremy doesn’t agree, since Vaughn stabbed Bonnie and wants to give Silas the cure. Vaughn points out that that’s what the cure was meant for.
They fight, but Vaughn overpowers Jeremy and gets him on the ground. He’s about to kill Jeremy when Elena zooms in and bites Vaughn. Jeremy reminds her that she shouldn’t kill him, so she knocks him out instead.
With Bonnie unconscious, her spell keeping Klaus in Gilbert Gables has lifted and he’s able to leave. He tells Caroline that something horrible must have happened to Bonnie. He isn’t going to hurt Caroline, and he tells her that the kindness he showed today (well, “kindness”) was all because of her. She doesn’t really care right now.
Stefan makes his way through the well and comes across Elena, who’s just regaining consciousness. “She’s here,” she tells him.
In the tomb, Jeremy assures Bonnie that everything will be okay – Elena’s there. Poor Jeremy doesn’t have a clue that their “savior” is really Katherine. He tells her to heal Bonnie, but Katherine is focused on the cure. She calls Jeremy a brat and says she’s done playing nice. She cuts his wrist and forces him to feed his blood to Silas. When Silas starts waking up, she bites Jeremy’s neck and gives Silas more blood. Silas holds Jeremy down as Katherine grabs the cure and zooms off.
Jeremy fights Silas, who’s stronger despite having been fossilized for thousands of years. He breaks Jeremy’s neck. Bonnie watches from across the tomb, helpless, as Jeremy lifelessly falls to the ground.
Significant item update: Katherine has the cure.
Etc.: Everyone probably should have assumed there was only one dose of the cure. I mean, why would Qetsiyah make more than one when she only needed enough for Silas?
Did the writers have a bet about how many times they could make Kat Graham (Bonnie) touch Steven R. McQueen’s (Jeremy) bare chest in this and the previous episode?
Did Michael Trevino (Tyler) request a bunch of breaks from the show, or did the writers just not have enough for him to do? It feels like all he does over the first five seasons is leave town.
What was Matt doing during this arc? Making up excuses to his teachers for why none of his friends were in school?
To clarify, because it’s not obvious here, Katherine killed Massak and took the headstone. To clarify further, the headstone was basically a red herring/unnecessary item that wound up not serving any purpose to find the cure (though it comes back into play later).