It’s been two weeks since Wes turned Jesse, who is now an Augustine vampire. Wes gives him what he calls Augustine blood, which unexpectedly gives him extra strength. It’s enough for Jesse to escape his bonds and attack Wes.
Bonnie and her awesome new haircut send Abby a video message from the Super Suite, where she’s now living after becoming the anchor. (Abby still thinks she just spent the summer traveling.) Elena and Caroline come in while Bonnie’s filming and quickly hide the alcohol they’ve gotten their hands on. They tease her a little about the things she didn’t say to her mom – like how she’s the anchor, she’s not a witch anymore, and she exists in both the real world and the Other Side.
Bonnie says she’ll explain all that later. For now, she wants to enjoy being back. Caroline and Elena feel the same, which is why they’re throwing a party. They’re not sure about the turnout, though, since they’ve each only made one friend at college, and Caroline’s has disappeared. Elena says they’re all going to move on from Wes and the Augustine Society and anything else trying to stand in their way. They’re two functional vampires and…whatever Bonnie is now. Break out the Jell-o shots!
Spotting a message on her phone, Bonnie tells her roommates that she needs to register for classes. Elena and Caroline know better – she’s going to see Jeremy. They make out on a bench on the quad so Bonnie doesn’t have to feel the discomfort of doing it in front of Elena. Jeremy suggests that they go to Vamp Villa, but Bonnie likes that idea even less. I’m sure Damon agrees.
Bonnie sees an older woman across the quad, watching her. She tells Jeremy she’s going to class and heads off alone. The woman follows her and says she’s ready. She passes through Bonnie, making Bonnie feel the pain of her death as she crosses to the Other Side.
Elena calls Damon as she’s handing out fliers for the party and tells him he should come. She spots Aaron and rushes to invite him, too. Damon hears her and wonders who Aaron is. Aaron declines the invitation, but Elena wants him to stop pushing people away like he always does. He asks how she knows that about him. She says he told her at the costume ball, then remembers that she compelled him to forget that conversation. She wipes his memory again and compels him to come to the party. Damon teases that he should come, too, so he can make sure Elena doesn’t spill any secrets.
She tells him to invite Stefan, but Damon says that with his memories back, he remembers that he hates Damon and Elena. Elena offers the option for Stefan to get drunk and hate them from across the room. Damon agrees to talk to Stefan, but when he tries, he realizes Stefan isn’t listening – he’s having a flashback to his time in the safe, and it’s so intense that he’s accidentally torn holes in a chair with his fingers.
At the Grill, Katherine bugs “Matty Blue Blue” to give her another drink, but he won’t serve her any more since she’s drunk and scaring the other customers. He’s rewatching the footage from his blackout, when he spoke Czech to someone on the phone. Katherine knows the language and agrees to translate in exchange for another drink. Matt tells her about Nadia (though he doesn’t use her name) and the spirit or whatever she put in his head. Katherine explains that Matt has been “activated” by a Traveler. Matt has another Traveler inside him, AKA a Passenger. It’s like a parasite that’s hiding out in his brain. Katherine guesses that Nadia’s involved.
Elena and Caroline decorate their dorm’s common room for the party, still hoping they’ll have some guests other than the gang. Sorry, Caroline, but you might have to hang out with Damon tonight. Elena sees that Jesse is calling Caroline and hopes that’ll put her in a better mood. Jesse begs Caroline for help, asking her to come to his room before his roommate gets back. She agrees to come, but she doesn’t get there before Jesse’s roommate, who happens to be Aaron. Jesse apologizes, then bites Aaron’s neck.
Caroline arrives before he can do any damage and asks who turned him. He tells her about Wes’ experiments and his two-week disappearance. Caroline calmly says that they’ll make up a cover story for his parents. Elena brings her and Caroline’s stash of blood bags and tries to convince Jesse that being a vampire isn’t as bad as it seems. And that’s from someone who hates it! Elena starts to use her blood to heal Aaron, but Caroline wants Jesse to do it so he can experience one of the benefits of being a vampire. Next, Elena will teach Jesse about compulsion.
Stefan goes to the Grill, where Katherine guilts him into sitting with her. She tells him they’re fated to be together, so Stefan’s going to end up with someone who looks like her. That might be Elena, though, because the universe likes to mess with Katherine. Stefan came to the Grill to be alone, but Katherine invites him to open up to her. He admits that he thought killing Silas would help him move on. It didn’t work.
Katherine diagnoses him with PTSD and ropes him into helping her with a favor so he’ll have something else to think about. Stefan isn’t interested, but Katherine guilts him again, saying she knows something about PTSD after all the traumas she’s been through in her life. Nadia arrives just then, surprised because Katherine said she never wanted to see her daughter again. Katherine introduces her to Stefan.
The party is underway at Whitmore, and Bonnie’s joined the mission to help Jesse adjust to becoming a vampire. She tells him her mother is one, too, and she’s doing well now. He notices that she keeps scanning the room and thinks she’s worried about him attacking someone. No, she’s just looking for Jeremy. She’s not sure if she should call him her boyfriend, since she still thinks of him as Elena’s little brother, but she admits that she might be in love with him.
Elena tells Caroline that she sent Damon to question Wes. Caroline’s like, “You mean you sent Damon to kill Wes. Because Damon’s totally going to kill Wes.” Elena’s tired of Caroline always insulting Damon, like, you’re dating the “reformed serial killer,” Elena. You’re going to get some pushback.
Anyway, Damon has tied up Wes in his lab and plans to inject him with various diseases like he assumes Wes has done with his vampire subjects. If Wes answers Damon’s questions, he gets healed with vampire blood. If he doesn’t answer, Damon gets to see what happens when a human is injected with necrotizing fasciitis. I don’t know about you but I’m rooting for the flesh-eating bacteria.
Stefan has a question for Katherine and Nadia: Which of them is younger? Each claims she is. Matt joins them in the backroom of the Grill so Nadia can give a demonstration. She calls Matt’s Passenger, Gregor, forward and Katherine asks him why he’s in town. Gregor claims he’s there to track and kill Silas. When Katherine shows him the knife Matt found after one of his blackouts, Gregor’s very interested. Katherine holds it to his throat and Gregor spills that he was supposed to kill Katherine after Silas died. Nadia’s surprised to hear that. Gregor doesn’t know the reason; he was just following his orders as a Traveler.
Katherine rants that Travelers are horrible – she knows from experience because Nadia’s grandfather was one. (It’s not clear if she means her own father or Nadia’s father’s father. It doesn’t matter.) She stabs Matt with the knife, assuring Stefan that he’ll be fine. Gregor, however, is now gone. He wanted the knife because it’s the only thing that will kill a Passenger.
Wes doesn’t look too great, but Damon hasn’t gotten the answers he wants yet. He asks why scientists at Whitmore are so into experimentation. Wes says they do experiments without their subjects’ consent because it’s “necessary for the greater good.” Damon’s like, “Even I know that’s messed up.” He asks what Wes’ “greater good” is. Wes doesn’t answer, so Damon gives him rabies.
Back at the party, Bonnie sees the woman who passed through her earlier on the Other Side. Bonnie’s able to blip over there, and everything looks the same as in the real world, just with a woman there no one else can see (and with some kind of filter on the camera lens to make it look a little different). Bonnie chats with the woman, a former witch, who says she had a painful death but is now feeling fine. She appreciates seeing Bonnie’s friendly face.
Jeremy arrives and lures Bonnie away to “register for classes.” Caroline dances with Jesse, who’s appreciating the part of vampirism where your feelings are heightened. Meanwhile, rabies doesn’t do much to Wes, so Damon looks for something else to give him. Wes says he wanted to make Jesse a different kind of vampire. He starts talking faster as Damon picks out Ebola for him. Vampires are dangerous to humans because humans are their food source. Wes wants to change that.
Jesse tells Caroline he wants to kiss her, but the last time he did, it got weird. She bypasses the weirdness by kissing him herself. Wes explains to Damon that if vampires don’t feed on humans, they’re no longer a threat. So his human experimentation was really a way to protect humans. What a sweetheart! He warns Damon that drinking human blood will only satisfy Jesse for so long. Once he gets a taste of the thing he really craves, he’ll be dangerous. That thing is vampire blood, and when he bites Caroline while they’re kissing, his craving awakens. He runs off before he can hurt her.
Aaron arrives at the party, clueless about the fact that he saw Elena earlier, since Jesse compelled him to forget all that. She gives him a Jell-o shot and he jokes that that’s why Wes told him to stay away from her. She asks how he knows Wes, and Aaron tells her Wes is his legal guardian because his parents are dead. Elena one-ups him by saying both her birth and adoptive parents are dead. Aaron’s died on a camping trip when he was six. He believes they were killed by bears, but since they had bite marks on their necks, Elena is justifiably skeptical. Aaron lived with various relatives until Wes took him in. He doesn’t have any family left. Elena leaves to get more Jell-o shots, but really to call Damon and tell him not to kill Wes.
There’s a full house at the Grill, and the crowd makes Stefan feel claustrophobic, like he did in the safe. He goes to the alley for some air, but his flashbacks don’t stop. Katherine finds him and tries to help him calm down, but he lashes out and grabs her by the throat. She tells him he can either face his issues now or run, but either way, he can’t escape them forever. Even though he’s still strangling her, she gets him to focus on something that will make him feel grounded and in control: the names of his first victims. She assures him that he’s not drowning or dying. Stefan finally lets go and thanks her.
Nadia joins them and blasts Katherine for killing Gregor. Katherine says Nadia deserves better. “Rot in Hell,” Nadia replies. All in good time, Nadia. All in good time.
Elena calls Damon, who tells her that Jesse’s going to feed on other vampires. Elena confirms that Wes is still alive and asks Damon to keep him that way. Damon reluctantly agrees, though he tells Wes he doesn’t want to follow through on that promise because Wes will just keep racking up victims. Killing him is the only way to stop him. But then Damon would have to bury his body, and he’s not in the mood, so he decides to heal Wes instead.
Before Wes can drink Damon’s blood, Jesse bursts in and demands to know what Wes did to him. Wes tells him he’s made to feed on monsters. Jesse goes after Damon, who tells him that their age gap means Damon’s a lot stronger. Wes reveals that that’s not true. Damon learns that himself when he can’t stop Jesse from throwing him out into the hallway and biting him.
Elena’s on her way to the lab, and Damon begs her to do something before Jesse finishes him off. Well, something other than just telling Jesse to let go. Elena grabs a piece of wood that’s conveniently nearby and stakes Jesse. Caroline arrives just in time to watch her new love interest die. She’s upset that the gang wasn’t able to help someone they promised they would. Damon tells her Jesse wouldn’t have stopped feeding on him if Elena hadn’t killed him. Elena feels horrible about what she did, but Caroline feels worse because the Elena she used to know wouldn’t have done it.
Stefan’s wrapping up his night at the Grill when he finds a letter Katherine wrote Nadia. (Music: “The Other Side,” David Gray) She apologizes for killing Gregor, then says she’s going to kill herself. She’s currently at Mystic Falls’ clock tower, preparing to jump off. Her letter says she ran from her enemies for 500 years and then just stopped one day. Now she’s facing a new enemy: time. She won’t “drift off into the sunset” – she’s going to go out on her terms.
Katherine turns to face the clock and lets herself fall backwards off the tower. She braces herself to hit the ground…but she doesn’t. Stefan catches her. She tells him she chose a third option besides facing her issues or running from them. She’s dying of old age, something she never thought she would have to deal with. “You’re Katherine Pierce,” he says. “Suck it up.” That seems to snap her back into fighting mode.
Bonnie and Jeremy appear to have gotten a hotel room so they can have sex. The mood gets ruined when Jesse shows up, needing to cross to the Other Side. He’s not ready and doesn’t want to go, but he doesn’t have a choice. For the first time, Jeremy learns that Bonnie has to feel the deaths of all the supernatural beings that will pass through her. She didn’t want to tell him because the pros to being alive again outweigh the cons. It’s worth it to be with him. They get back in the mood and go at it.
Caroline and Elena clean up after the party, and Caroline apologizes for taking out her anger on Elena. Elena wishes she could have done something else, but Jesse was dangerous and she had to kill him. She needs Caroline to believe that. Caroline wants Elena to realize that the outside world isn’t as dangerous as Damon is. She’s going to keep pressing that issue not because she wants to hurt Elena but because they’re best friends.
Wes has gotten his hands on a scalpel and is cutting through the tubing Damon used to tie him up. Damon plans to wait until the vervain is out of Wes’ system and then compel him to forget the whole night. As he’s putting away Wes’ collection of infectious diseases, he finds a bag of blood with a number on it. He’s familiar with it because he once had his own number. Wes is surprised to realize that Damon was an Augustine vampire. “Augustine. I haven’t heard that name in decades,” Damon says as he has flashes of old memories.
He thought the Augustine Society and their lab rats and coded names shut down 60 years ago. Wes says they didn’t. Damon decides to kill him after all, but Wes has freed himself. He hits a button that releases atomized vervain into the lab. “I’m sure Augustine will be thrilled to have you back,” he says as Damon loses consciousness.
Damon wakes up in a cell and has more flashes of memory. Carved into the wall are his initials and the year he first woke up there, 1953.
Keep in mind: A Traveler can only be killed with a Traveler’s knife.
Aaron’s parents were killed by vampires.
Etc.: There’s a nice parallel between Caroline telling Jesse to heal Aaron and Caroline telling Elena to compel April.
Please don’t think about how a person like Wes has access to Ebola. Please don’t think about how a person like Damon has access to Ebola. You’ll never sleep again.
Poor Jesse. He would have made a nice addition to the gang.
But once again, Rebekah was right: When necessary, the gang will kill innocent people to protect each other.
Someone had fun picking music this season. Not only do we have a song called “The Other Side” in this episode, but a later one uses a song by the group Passenger.