In Bulgaria in 1490, Katherine is about to get ready for bed when she goes into labor. In the present, she’s been rushed to the hospital after her collapse and doctors are trying to revive her. Her memories and the present combine, and she imagines a doctor speaking to her in Bulgarian. She remembers Nadia’s birth as Nadia arrives at the hospital in the present. She insists that Katherine won’t die from a silly little heart attack. As the doctors revive Katherine, Stefan tells Nadia that Katherine’s organs are failing. He compelled the doctors to let him take her home so she won’t have to die in the hospital. She most likely won’t survive the day.
Elena stays in bed as long as possible in the Super Suite while Matt and Jeremy find Damon passed out at the Grill after a night of drinking. (Music: “Love Don’t Die,” the Fray) Caroline and Bonnie bring Elena a breakup breakfast, because what better way to get over being dumped than with carbs? Jeremy tells Matt that Damon dumped Elena, which Matt think is ridiculous after Damon spent years pining after Elena. Damon wakes up and immediately pours himself another drink.
Bonnie doesn’t think Elena should just give up on her relationship. Caroline does, of course. Damon ignores a call from Stefan while Elena says she has to face reality. She can’t change Damon’s mind after he’s decided something. Stefan calls Elena next, but she has Caroline answer the phone and tell him she doesn’t feel like talking. Stefan thinks she’ll change her mind when she finds out what’s going on.
Damon, Jeremy, and Matt go to Vamp Villa to celebrate Katherine’s impending death. They’re having a twist on an Irish wake. I guess it qualifies better as a drinking game: name something horrible Katherine did to you and drink. When someone else names something worse, which will inevitably happen, drink again.
Damon starts by saying that Katherine pretended to be in the tomb for 145 years while he waited for her. He wonders if that beats the time she pretended to be Elena and kissed him. Jeremy doesn’t think so, so Damon drinks again. Matt can’t think of anything immediately, so Little Gilbert goes next: Katherine fed him to Silas and killed him. Then she made him crash his car and left him for dead. Matt decides he can blame Vicki’s death on Katherine. Damon agrees – he wouldn’t have been in town to turn Vicki if he hadn’t come to get Katherine. All three guys drink.
Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline arrive, and Elena tells Jeremy he’s cut off. She takes Damon’s glass and says she has more reason to drink than anyone: Katherine impersonated her, made Jenna stab herself, and cut off John’s fingers (Jeremy speaks up that he might have deserved that). Bonnie pins Sheila’s death on Katherine, and Caroline blames her for the triggering of Tyler’s werewolf curse. Elena and Damon note that Klaus’ arrival in Mystic Falls was because of Katherine, and it led to the deaths of both Jenna and Alaric. Matt goes to get more alcohol as Elena says that Katherine tried to kill her at least twice. Caroline remembers that Katherine did kill her (“although I’m weirdly better off”).
Upstairs in Stefan’s bed, Katherine knows the gang is talking about her. Stefan says they’re reminiscing. She accepts that she deserves everything they’re saying. She worries that her skin has gotten more wrinkled and tells Stefan to kill her if she starts to sag. He notes that she’s still vain even on her death bed. She just wants a glamorous end to her life. Stefan takes her hand and she asks why he’s being so nice. He says she deserves compassion because she’s dying.
Nadia ambushes Matt in the wine cellar and knocks him out. Upstairs, Jeremy thinks Damon has won the drinking contest by bringing up the rumor that Katherine started the Atlanta fires. Stefan comes down and tells the gang to stop being insensitive. Damon thinks he feels bad for Katherine because she’s weak and looks like Elena. He shouldn’t forget how manipulative she is.
Stefan accepts a drink and names everything Katherine did to him and Damon when she first came to Mystic Falls. But before that, he reminds everyone, she was an innocent girl whose family turned against her. She spent 500 years lying and manipulating just to stay alive. She’s a survivor, and that’s the person he’s going to drink to. Damon says Stefan’s brainwashed because he had sex with Katherine recently. Elena and Bonnie are both shocked by that. Caroline apologizes for not telling Elena, but to be fair, Elena had other stuff going on.
Matt hasn’t returned with more alcohol, so Damon starts to go get some himself. Nadia comes in and he asks if Caroline told Elena that she’s Katherine’s daughter. Caroline did not. “I think my mind just exploded,” Elena says. Nadia announces that she found a way to save Katherine, and she needs the gang’s help. Damon refuses to give Katherine even one more day of life. Nadia figured she wouldn’t get any volunteers, so she took out some insurance. She stuck Matt in the safe, took his Gilbert ring, and buried him alive somewhere on the property.
To save Katherine, Nadia needs assistance from a Traveler, so she takes Stefan and Elena with her to handle that part of her plan. Elena asks why Nadia wants to help the woman who killed her boyfriend. Stefan argues that Katherine acted in self-defense because Gregor was going to kill her. They bicker a little about how he slept with Katherine. Guys, is this really important right now? Anyway, Nadia tells them that she’s going to offer up her body for Katherine to be a Passenger in.
Bonnie, Jeremy, and Caroline search for Matt, but the property is huge. Caroline wants to talk about the fact that Stefan and Katherine hooked up. Jeremy notes that they’ve all made some mistakes in sex partners. Uh, present company excluded. Caroline realizes he and Bonnie slept together. She cheers over their “scandalous sex” when she learns that Elena doesn’t know yet. She asks how she’s the only person on the planet not having scandalous sex. Jeremy and Bonnie quickly ditch her.
Katherine has a dream about her return to Bulgaria, when she found her whole family dead. Present-day Damon enters her memory and admits that he misses Klaus and the way he used to torture her. He points out that this means Katherine’s family’s death was her fault.
Liz catches Damon standing over Katherine’s bed, about to smother her with a pillow. She notes that that would be murder, and she’s not in the mood to arrest him and fill out all the necessary paperwork. Damon says that every horrible thing he’s ever done is linked to Katherine. She taught him to kill and to enjoy it. “She ruined me and I can’t take any of that back,” he says. Liz tells him to find a way to stop letting Katherine have control over him.
While searching for Matt, Caroline runs into Klaus. Meanwhile, Nadia takes Elena and Stefan to an abandoned house. A Traveler named Mia has agreed to help her with Katherine; in exchange, the Travelers requested doppelgangers. Nadia zooms out of the house with Mia, leaving Stefan and Elena behind as some Travelers appear and start chanting. The doppelgangers’ daylight rings short out and trap them inside. Pieces of the house start falling apart, and the doppelgangers get backed into a corner.
Caroline tries to blow off Klaus, who tells her that he heard about Katherine’s condition from Damon. Caroline thinks he came back to town to gloat. Klaus mentions his recent run-in with Tyler, assuring Caroline that he’s fine. She says she made Tyler choose between her and his revenge fantasy. She suggests that Klaus make a different choice and leave Katherine alone.
Liz brings Katherine some sedatives so she doesn’t have to die in pain, but Katherine declines them, since they’ll make her weak and allow Damon back into her head. Liz asks if anyone has found Matt or heard from Elena. Katherine tells her that Damon broke up with Elena so she wouldn’t be exposed to his evilness. And guess who’s getting blamed for that – Katherine! Damon injects her with a sedative so she’ll shut up.
She has another flashback dream, this one of her and Emily’s arrival in Mystic Falls in 1864. They come across Stefan, who’s having problems with his carriage, and Katherine is immediately smitten. Instead of going to the Lockwoods’ as planned, she decides to try to get the Salvatores to take her in.
Damon has seen this in Katherine’s head and is surprised at how her and Stefan’s first meeting really went. Katherine wants to not believe in the “prophecy” that the universe bring doppelgangers together, but seeing Stefan for the first time felt like fate.
Stefan and Elena try to ease the tension between them, since they’re stuck together for who knows how long. She apologizes and says she shouldn’t judge him for sleeping with Katherine. A Traveler approaches them, cuts their arms, and drains their blood into a bucket. Stefan contemplates killing the guy, but he thinks the house might fall down around them and they’ll end up as piles of ash. Elena notes that they’re not healing from their cuts.
Klaus interrupts Caroline’s search for Matt again and asks if she would offer him the same choice as Tyler if he agreed not to seek revenge on Katherine. Caroline chastises him for distracting her from the search. Klaus tells her he located Matt and has sent someone to save him – someone Matt will be happy to see. That someone is Rebekah, who teases Matt for getting into so much trouble just a few months after she left him.
Thanks to the drugs Liz left and Damon’s inability to control himself, Katherine has started hallucinating. First she sees Jenna, who stabs her. Then she sees John, who cuts off her fingers. Elijah’s next, calling her Katerina and giving her about 30 seconds of peace before Damon tells her he’s not real. “No one’s coming to say goodbye, Katherine, because no one cares,” he says. Nadia breaks his neck and says she does. She brings in Mia to start the Passenger ritual.
For two people who are trapped by a group of chanting witches who are stealing their blood, Stefan and Elena are holding up pretty well. He jokes that it’s a good thing he’s not claustrophobic anymore. She realizes that’s what Katherine helped him with and asks if she can hate Katherine anyway. Stefan says she can, but he wants her to find peace. He continues that Damon keeps pushing Elena away because he hates himself. She never gave up on Stefan, so she can’t give up on Damon, either. And she can’t let him give up on her. The chanting stops and Stefan and Elena heal. Their daylight rings are working again, so they zoom out.
Katherine asks for a moment alone with Nadia before they do the Passenger ritual. As Damon starts to wake up, Katherine tells her daughter that her biggest regret in life is not fighting to keep Nadia. She spent 500 years fighting for everything to make up for that. In the process, she had a full life, and eventually got to know her daughter. Nadia wasted centuries searching for Katherine and shouldn’t give up any more of her life to her. It’s her turn to have her own life.
Nadia doesn’t want to let Katherine go, but Katherine is determined to make an unselfish decision for once. Nadia blasts her for leaving her daughter again and refuses to stay there and watch her die. After she leaves, Katherine gives herself a sedative.
Klaus offers again to drop his vendetta against Katherine. He just wants Caroline to make a confession. He’s going to leave Mystic Falls and never return. Caroline will be free of him forever – free of the parts of herself that she hates because she cares for him. But he wants her to be honest with him about her feelings. Caroline says she’s building a life for herself and has plans to fulfill. None of them include him. Yes, she has some feelings for him, but she doesn’t want him. Klaus repeats his promise to never come back. Caroline steps closer to him and replies, “Good.” They kiss, then really start going at it, with clothes being ripped off and everything. Scandalous!
“In a shocking twist, Katherine’s daughter’s a psychopath,” Damon tells Stefan when he’s recovered from his temporary death. He’s had his fill of messing with Katherine’s mind, his way of dealing with his breakup. Stefan checks on Katherine, telling her he came to say goodbye. She asks to see him as she dies. He says she will.
She returns to her memory of finding her family dead, which she tells Stefan was the worst day of her life. She agrees with Damon that she’s to blame and deserves everything bad that’s happened to her since then. She doesn’t deserve to be loved. Stefan clears the bodies from her memory so she can have peace. He reminds her that she was 17 when her family died. It wasn’t her fault. They hear a baby crying and Katherine finds Nadia in a crib. Stefan leaves her with this happy scene and says goodbye. Elena arrives just then and Stefan tells her that Katherine’s been given so many sedatives that she won’t wake up again.
Damon and Stefan continue the Irish wake on the roof, then turn the topic of conversation to Elena. Stefan says Damon needs to work things out with her, since she’s the best thing to ever happen to him. Damon agrees and says he can’t live without her. But he’s no better than Katherine, and Elena will be happier without him. Damon thinks he’s being selfless. If Katherine could have a selfless moment, he can, too. Then Damon says that when he and Elena do eventually get back together, and everything turns chaotic because they aren’t both doppelgangers, Stefan needs to remember that he talked Damon out of doing the right thing for the universe.
Caroline finally returns to the house, lying that she got lost in the woods. She joins Bonnie, Jeremy, and Matt as they wait for Katherine to die. Matt asks if Bonnie will feel her death as the anchor. Bonnie thinks she will, since Katherine’s human but also a doppelganger and a Traveler.
Matt asks who she sees on the Other Side. Bonnie names Sheila and other witches, but she knows who Matt’s really curious about and confirms that she sees Vicki. She doesn’t want to talk about it, though. “It’s depressing as Hell,” Vicki speaks up as she joins the group. She tells Bonnie to give Matt her love and say she watches over him. Also, she wants him to stop hanging out with Rebekah. Tyler shows up next, though unlike Vicki, everyone can see him. Rebekah delivered him as a parting gift. Caroline seems to want to return that particular gift, but Matt’s happy.
Stefan comes in and notices that the gang drank four bottles of bourbon in one day. Alaric pops up and says they should stop drinking so much. Jeremy alerts everyone to his presence, which surprises him because he thought Alaric went to find peace. “Did you honestly think I’d leave Damon in charge and never look back?” Alaric replies. “He’s talking about me, isn’t he?” Damon asks. “He says you’re a dick,” Jeremy tells him. Damon toasts to him anyway.
And then Katherine’s spirit is in the room. She suddenly regrets her decisions and says it’s too soon. She wills herself back into her body and back to life. Elena’s with her. Katherine says she still has unfinished business. Elena does, too, but she’s decided to forego her prepared speech. Instead of saying how much she hates her lookalike, she forgives Katherine. She wasn’t born evil; her experiences made her that way. She didn’t have people to look after her. Like Elena, Katherine lost her whole family way too young.
Katherine asks to skip the part where Elena talks about how they’re not as different as they seem. Elena replies that she’ll save it for the funeral the gang probably won’t hold. But she doesn’t want to lose the part of herself that forgives, so she had to get it out. Katherine asks for a final dose of sedatives, figuring it’s fitting for Elena to be the one to finish her off.
Elena starts to inject Katherine, stopping when Katherine thanks her for her forgiveness. As the needle goes in, Katherine grabs Elena’s head and says the words necessary to initiate the Passenger ritual. Elena falls to the floor, unconscious, and Katherine seemingly falls asleep.
A phone rings and Elena wakes up and answers it. On the other end is Mia, who says the word that brings forth a Passenger. Nadia takes the phone from Mia and asks if the spell worked. “Of course it worked,” Katherine tells her in Elena’s body. “I’m Katherine Pierce. I survive.” She hangs up and goes to a mirror so she can practice looking and acting like Elena. It’ll be the challenge of her life: imitating a nice person.
Keep in mind: The Travelers have a bunch of doppelganger blood.
Etc.: This is the show’s 100th episode, which explains why there are so many guest stars – they wanted to get everyone in on the celebration.
Candice King (Caroline) is in the music video for “Love Don’t Die.” The guy she kisses is now her husband.
Thanks for bringing back Tyler, Rebekah! We all really appreciate it!
Jeremy has obviously learned his lesson from the Bonnie/Anna mess because he doesn’t even acknowledge Vicki when she shows up.