Elena and Rebekah are in Willoughby, Pennsylvania, a town that doesn’t look too different from Mystic Falls. They’ve spent a full day driving to towns where Katherine might be hiding out. They also ditched Damon’s car somewhere along the way. Rebekah wants to keep going, but Elena, who’s getting sick of her new road-trip buddy, wants a snack first. She approaches a woman and starts to bite her, but the woman calls her Katherine and asks what she’s doing. She reminds “Katherine” that she prefers to give her blood from her wrist, not her neck. Rebekah realizes that Katherine has compelled everyone in town to let her feed on them.
Elena tries to find out how much the woman, Lanie, knows about Katherine. Every time Lanie looks away from Elena, she forgets everything she knows. Rebekah guesses that Katherine compelled Willoughby’s residents to forget all about her unless she’s talking to them. Lanie also doesn’t know any details about Katherine’s life, other than some secret Katherine entrusted her to keep (which she also doesn’t remember).
Thanks to Liz, Stefan and Damon have found Damon’s car, which Elena and Rebekah left at a rest stop 100 miles from Willoughby after they ran out of gas. Liz also tracked down the car they stole after Damon’s, so the guys know where they are now. Stefan blames Damon for the whole mess, since he was so sure he could keep Elena under control and she got the better of him.
Stefan hopes he and Damon can get to the women before they find the cure. Damon notes that Rebekah might take it, and then they can kill her right away. Stefan reminds him that that means Elena will be a vampire forever. They need to focus on Katherine and the cure. Damon’s learned his lesson about trusting Elena – with her humanity, she’s a horrible person, so they need to get her back to herself. Stefan’s pleased that he and his brother finally agree on something.
Klaus is suffering from the effects of the indestructible stake and is desperately trying to pull out the piece Silas left in his back. It’s not in a spot that’s easily reachable, though. Caroline comes by his place and sees his distress. She tells him that as much as she would love to watch him die, he hasn’t found her the cure yet. She’s really Silas. Klaus wants to see Silas’ real face, but he’s not about to show that when he can look like anyone and mess with Klaus. He tells Klaus that no matter how much he resists, Silas will bring him nothing but misery until he gets the cure.
Rebekah and Elena go to the local post office to pick up any mail Katherine might have there. They find out she was just there minutes ago, so they check to see if she’s still close by. Katherine finds Elena first and attacks her, saying that Willoughby is a beautiful place to die. Rebekah intervenes and agrees – Katherine has chosen a beautiful place to die.
The three go to a diner, where Elena asks where the cure is. Katherine is surprised that she’s not there to avenge Jeremy. Elena blankly says that people die and everyone moves on. Katherine realizes she turned off her humanity, which must have upset the Salvatores. She tries to get up, supposedly to grab some menus, but Rebekah stabs her hand with a fork. “I forgot how charming you were,” Katherine comments. Rebekah notes that Katherine wedged herself between Klaus and Elijah. A waitress named Jolene is concerned about Katherine and the fork, but Katherine compels her not to worry about it.
Elena presses Katherine to start talking before Stefan and Damon find them. Rebekah tries to compel Katherine into revealing where the cure is, but Katherine’s on vervain. She doesn’t know why Rebekah wants the cure anyway. Rebekah has the same question about Katherine, though she assumes it’s so she can give it to Klaus and kill him. Katherine says she doesn’t want to go anywhere near Klaus, but she’ll trade it to him for her freedom (just as Stefan thought).
Elena’s ready for Katherine to get to the part where she screws over Elena and Rebekah, and then someone dies. Katherine says she doesn’t have a reason to screw them over – she’s changed. Rebekah grabs her phone and tosses it to Elena so she can look for anything that might give them insight into Katherine’s plans. Elena finds an appointment on her calendar with someone named “em.” Katherine won’t give her any details, so Elena decides to meet with “em” herself.
Caroline goes to the Haus of Klaus after getting a bunch of messages from Klaus, but he thinks she’s Silas and tells her to leave him alone. When she snaps at him for pulling her away from organizing the prom, he suspects he’s wrong. He asks for proof that it’s really her. She rolls her eyes at this weird new flirting attempt and starts to leave. Klaus tells her that Silas stabbed him with the indestructible stake and left a piece of it in him. Caroline laughs at him for thinking she’ll help him after everything he did to Tyler and Carol. Klaus notes that if he dies, his sireline does, too. He asks her to cut the piece of the stake out of him.
Stefan and Damon arrive in Willoughby and discuss how to get Elena out of there and back home. Damon says they’ll do whatever they have to do. He’s done caring what Elena wants. She’s on the verge of completely losing control. Stefan reminds him that he was going to let Elena embrace being a vampire and sit back to see what happened. Damon let go of that idea once Rebekah snapped his neck and ticked him off.
Elena fixes herself up to look more like Katherine for her meeting with “em.” She demands Katherine’s jewelry, including her daylight bracelet. When Katherine says no to that, Elena takes her leather jacket instead. Katherine doesn’t think Elena can impersonate her well enough to fool anyone. Rebekah, who’s really amused by the whole situation, helps Elena get the voice down right. As a final touch, Elena takes Katherine’s shoes.
She goes to a gazebo and waits for “em” while Rebekah keeps Katherine occupied at the diner. Rebekah admits to being a little jealous of Katherine back in the day, what with the way she commanded people’s (i.e., men’s) attention. But now, hundreds of years later, Katherine had to compel a town full of people to like her. Katherine reminds Rebekah that there’s only one dose of the cure, so she and Elena can’t both have it. Rebekah says Elena doesn’t want it. Katherine scoffs at Rebekah’s desire to take the cure and have a normal life. She thinks Rebekah wants a do-over, which isn’t possible. The cure will take away her immortality, but not everything else Rebekah hates about herself. Plus, she’ll lose her ability to compel herself a friend.
Rebekah’s about to get violent with Katherine when Stefan and Damon arrive. Damon taunts Katherine for getting found. Stefan asks about Elena, who’s still waiting at the gazebo for “em.” When he arrives, she’s surprised to learn that “em” is not a nickname, it’s the initials E.M. – and they stand for Elijah Mikaelson. Oh, and he and Katherine are a couple now, which Elena discovers when he kisses her.
Elena hides her surprise and keeps up her Katherine impersonation when Elijah asks if she has the cure with her. She says it’s in a safe place and offers to go get it and bring it back to him. Elijah finally catches on to the ruse, possibly because he recognizes Elena’s daylight ring.
Back at the diner, Rebekah refuses to tell the guys where Elena is, since she’ll lose her shot at the cure. Katherine tells them to check the town morgue, because Elijah will kill her. When she spills that she and Elijah are involved, the others all make faces. Heh. Stefan asks where Elijah and Elena are, but Katherine won’t say. He turns to Rebekah, reminding her that if something happens to Elena, she’ll never find the cure. Rebekah tells him about the gazebo, and Stefan volunteers to go get Elena.
Rebekah says that in the meantime, Katherine will take her and Damon to the cure. Damon scoffs at Katherine’s plan to try to make a deal with Klaus. Stefan guesses she’s actually going to have Elijah do it. That’s the only reason she’s gotten involved with him. It’s typical Katherine. Katherine gives in and agrees to take Rebekah and Damon to the cure.
Caroline digs around in Klaus’ back with some pliers, but she can’t see any white oak. She denies that she’s having fun causing him pain, though. She even apologizes for it when it gets really bad. Then she changes her mind, saying he deserves to suffer. If he wants her help, he has to let Tyler come back to town and promise not to hurt him.
Stefan uses Katherine’s phone to call Elijah, who’s moved from the gazebo to some other area downtown. Stefan asks where Elena is, and Elijah says she’s safe but will only stay that way if Stefan cooperates. Stefan says the same goes for Katherine. Elijah knows Katherine can handle herself when it comes to Stefan and Damon, but Stefan says Rebekah’s on “Team Good Guys” now, too. Elijah wants to talk to his sister, but Stefan says she’s not there. No one will get hurt as long as Katherine hands over the cure. Elijah notes that Rebekah hates Katherine and will kill her the second she decides Katherine is no longer useful. He threatens to “descend upon Elena” if anything happens to Katherine. “You’re both idiots,” Elena tells him as he hangs up.
She asks what happened to Elijah, the “man of honor” who’s now in bed with Katherine. He says he’s always felt a connection to her. She contacted him when she got the cure, thinking they could be “of mutual use” to each other. Elena laughs at him for falling for Katherine’s trap the way everyone always does. Elijah says he knows who Katherine is and what she’s done. She’s been honest with him. For instance, she told Elijah that Elena became a vampire. He can tell Elena isn’t herself in other ways, though, and guesses that she turned off her humanity. She explains that she did it because Jeremy died – thanks to Katherine. It looks like that’s one thing Katherine wasn’t honest with Elijah about.
Katherine takes Damon and Rebekah to her house, and he warns her not to make any sudden moves or pull any tricks: “No Katherine-ing.” He’s amused by her décor, which includes a quilt and a big aquarium. Katherine opens a safe, but it’s empty. She tells Damon and Rebekah the cure was there but is now gone. They don’t believe her, and they question whether the house is even hers, since it’s so unlike her. Katherine says maybe they don’t know her at all. Damon replies that she’s not that deep. She’s just been putting on an act.
Katherine smiles like she’s hiding something, so Rebekah starts to rush her. Damon reminds her that they need Katherine alive. He sends Rebekah to search the second floor of the house while he searches the main floor. When Rebekah leaves, Damon tries to think like Katherine to figure out where she put the cure. She would want it close by, but not on her. It would need to be both safe and accessible, something she could easily grab if she needed to make a quick escape.
He guesses it’s in the little treasure chest in her aquarium, which happens to not hold any fish. Katherine’s poker face doesn’t tell him anything, so he reaches in to find out for himself. There’s vervain in the water, which just makes Damon even more sure that he’s right. Katherine suddenly rushes him and shoves his head under the water. She tosses him aside, grabs the chest, and starts to zoom out of the house.
Rebekah comes back downstairs and demands the treasure chest. Katherine knows Rebekah will kill her whether or not she hands over the cure willingly, so she asks which is more important to Rebekah – Katherine’s death or the cure. She tosses the cure in the air, and when Rebekah rushes to grab it, Katherine zooms out of the house.
Rebekah’s thrilled to finally have her hands on the cure she’s wanted for so long. Damon tries to talk her out of taking it, but she tells him this is the best thing to ever happen to him. This way, Elena won’t run back to Stefan and leave Damon out in the cold. Rebekah presses Damon to tell her why he wants Elena to have the cure. He doesn’t respond, so she opens the capsule. Stefan arrives just in time to see her drink the contents, then pass out.
Caroline hangs out on Klaus’ couch while he yells about his pain. She says if he wants to be her friend, he’ll have to show that she can trust him. He reminds her that he saved her life twice, which isn’t a fair argument when he was the one who put her in danger in the first place. She asks him to do something decent for once. Klaus complains that Tyler tried to kill him. Caroline notes that the whole gang tried to kill him, and he’s tried to kill them, too. Why does Klaus think he deserves a friendship he’s done nothing to earn?
Klaus shouts that he won’t let Caroline or anyone else force his hand. She can’t believe that she’s reaching out to him, despite all his evil deeds, and he still can’t just suck it up and do something good. She feels sorry for him. He orders her not to turn her back on him, and she yells that she should have done it a long time ago. Klaus suddenly realizes he’s not in pain anymore. In fact, it was never there. Silas just made him think it was. Caroline took Klaus’ mind off of it and brought him back to reality. Caroline notes that if Silas can make someone as strong as Klaus believe he’s dying, everyone else is really screwed.
Stefan blasts Damon for not stopping Rebekah from taking the cure. He thinks Damon let her do it. Just then, Rebekah wakes up.
Back downtown, Elijah expresses his condolences over Elena’s loss. He hopes she can find her way back to her normal self. She guesses he thinks Katherine will do the same. He thinks she can still be the innocent girl he saved from Klaus hundreds of years ago. Elena says she’s a monster now. Elijah isn’t naïve enough to think Katherine is completely redeemed, but he had to try to find the woman he fell in love with underneath her facade. “You boys are all the same,” Elena says. Stefan and Damon still think she can go back to being the person they fell in love with, too.
Elijah understands the hope they’re trying to hold on to. He doesn’t want to think that Elena’s compassionate soul is gone forever. She remembers the letter he once wrote her telling her that her compassion is a gift. But that letter’s gone, having burned with the rest of Elena’s things and Jeremy’s body. Elena suddenly drops to the ground – Katherine’s there and has snapped her doppelganger’s neck.
Rebekah feels great, so Damon tries to change that by throwing a letter opener at her. When Rebekah grabs it out of the air, they realize she’s not human after all. This is confirmed when the cut the opener left in her palm immediately heals. Rebekah thinks the cure didn’t work, but Stefan says it was fake, and Katherine planned for this all along.
Elijah confronts Katherine for killing Jeremy and not caring about Elena, who’s destined for the same life Katherine has had to live. After all, Katherine’s whole family was taken from her, too. She says Jeremy was collateral damage and she killed him so she could survive. Elijah asks if he’s also just “a means of survival” to her. Katherine says Elena’s trying to turn him against her and he shouldn’t listen to anything she said.
Elijah asks again and Katherine firmly says she sees him as more than just someone she can use. He looked out for her when no one else did and he’s giving her a second chance. She loves him. But Elijah can no longer trust her, no matter how much he always wants to believe her. She just keeps giving him reasons to doubt her. He doesn’t know her, and maybe he never will. Katherine stops him from walking away from her, reminding him that he promised to talk to Klaus about her deal. Elijah just says goodbye, calling her Katherine for the first time after he’s always called her Katerina.
That night, Katherine goes to Lanie’s house and asks for a package she once gave Lanie to keep. It’s a box containing the real cure. Lanie asks what it is, and Katherine says it’s her freedom. She takes it to Elijah and tells him he’s right about what a liar she is. She can’t even remember who she was when they first met. But she wants to find out, so she’s going to start by doing something good. She gives Elijah the cure, willing to give up her chance to kill Klaus so she doesn’t lose Elijah. Elijah’s skeptical that this isn’t yet another lie Katherine’s telling yet another man. She says she’s trying to prove her feelings for him, and she wants him to trust her like she trusts him. He gets to decide where they go from here.
Rebekah’s been hanging out nearby, and after Katherine’s gone, she questions Elijah’s choice in romantic partners. She thought he was the smart brother. He says he’s as dumb as the rest of the Mikaelson sons. Rebekah offers to “judge him silently elsewhere” after he gives her the cure. Elijah asks how she knows being human again is the answer she’s looking for. It’s a romantic notion but might not be better than what she has now.
Rebekah just wants a simple life like anyone else; the 20 lifetimes the family has lived together were plenty. Elijah asks why she always thinks of their family as a burden. Uh, have you met Klaus? “Always and forever,” blah blah. Rebekah says Elijah will always be her brother, but she wants to be able to live and die the way she chooses, not the way her brothers choose.
Klaus calls Rebekah to ask for an update on the search for the cure. She tells him things have gotten complicated, then invites him to talk to one of the complications. “Complication speaking,” Elijah greets Klaus. He tells him he’s bringing the cure to Mystic Falls and has some demands. Klaus is ready to “settle this like family.”
Caroline has finished cleaning up someone else’s mess once again, and Klaus thanks her for helping him. He asks if they’re friends. Dude, what did you do to earn her friendship?? She requests Tyler’s freedom again. Klaus won’t give it, but he notes that he’s not exactly searching for Tyler, implying that Tyler doesn’t have to stay in hiding.
As Stefan and Damon walk back to the diner, Damon admits that he let Rebekah take the cure. He thought for a second that it would make all his problems go away. Then she took it and he realized what a big mistake he’d made. He had a moment of weakness – that’s his thing, like him and Stefan falling for the same person. Stefan notes that they keep repeating history like Katherine does. They need to stop reliving their lives. Stefan feels that he owes Elena the chance to be normal again. Once she takes the cure, he’s getting out of her life and getting one of his own. Damon says they need to focus on the first step of that, since they still don’t have the cure. He’s willing to risk losing Elena if she takes it.
They join Elena in the diner, where she’s summoned them to tell them she will never want the cure and no longer wants to even discuss it. She wants the guys to accept that and let her be who she is now. They say no, since this isn’t the real her. She warns that there will be consequences if they don’t accept that it is. Stefan can relate to Elena’s situation, and he reminds her that she didn’t give up on him. She fought for him until she’d pulled him back from the edge.
Jolene comes by to refill Elena’s coffee, and Elena springs up and snaps her neck. Damon yelps in surprise. Elena tells the guys this death is their responsibility, and if they keep trying to “fix” her, they’ll be responsible for more. The choice is up to them. “You still ready to ride off into the sunset?” Damon asks Stefan.
Significant item update: Elijah has the cure.
Etc.: Imagine the havoc Rebekah and Katherine could have wreaked together if they’d gotten along 500 years ago. I think Rebekah would have had a lot more confidence standing up to her brothers when they picked on her. I also think Rebekah’s hatred of Elena probably stems partly from her resemblance to Katherine, someone else Rebekah hates.
I call bull on Elijah being late to meet “Katherine.” Elijah is much too proper to ever be late.
I also don’t buy him continuing to believe that Elena was Katherine after he kissed her. I feel like someone as observant as Elijah would figure that out right away. But then again, maybe he sensed something was off and made an excuse for it so he could continue believing things were going great.
There’s an impressive outtake from this episode where Nina Dobrev throws the fake cure over her shoulder and actually lands it in the aquarium without looking.