Katherine meets Matt in the town square, completely fooling him into thinking she’s Elena. After confirming that he doesn’t drink vervain anymore, since he wears a vervain bracelet, she pulls off the bracelet and tells him she’s really Katherine. Her plan all along was to make herself a Passenger in Elena, not Nadia. Now she needs an inside man to tell her everything she should know about Elena. First up: Is she dressed appropriately?
Matt tries to leave, but Nadia zooms over and makes him sit back down. Katherine compels Matt to answer her questions, and he does, but he has his own about what’s going on. Nadia says that the body-sharing is only temporary until they do a spell to make it permanent. Katherine has questions about her hair, which still has red in it from Elena’s trip to New York. She decides it’s time to get rid of it. She asks for some info on Elena and Jeremy’s birthdays, then whether Elena prefers Bonnie or Caroline (“please say Caroline”). Her last question is how Elena broke up with Matt. She needs to know for something later.
We go back in time to earlier that day, when Katherine and Nadia meet up in a motel room. Nadia reports that Mia needs Katherine’s body. Katherine thinks that’s creepy, but it’s also necessary for her to take control of Elena’s body. Until that happens, Elena’s consciousness could pop out at any time. As a precaution, Nadia wants to handcuff and chain Katherine to a bed in case Elena shows up. Katherine kind of wishes she’d died instead. But there’s only one thing left to do before Katherine gets Elena’s body for good.
Nadia goes to Vamp Villa, where Damon has just finished burying Katherine’s body. She claims that Katherine wanted to be buried in Bulgaria. Damon doesn’t care, but Stefan thinks they should just hand over the body so Nadia will go away. Damon refuses.
Matt’s on his way to work but first has to deal with his new roommate, Tyler, who’s moved back into Lockwood Landing and is living it up without having any responsibilities. Matt asks what happened in New Orleans. Tyler wants to put it behind him, which is a good idea, since Matt’s not going to be thrilled that he tried to kill an unborn baby. Anyway, Matt announces that he’s throwing a welcome-home party that night and tells Tyler to clean up for their guests.
Speaking of cleaning, that’s what Caroline’s doing in the Super Suite. Looks like someone’s sublimating her feelings about sleeping with Klaus into a different activity. Aaron comes by looking for Elena and asks Caroline to let her know that Wes won’t be a problem anymore. Aaron’s trust fund came through, so he’s cut off the Augustine Society’s funding. He also wants Elena to know he’s sorry for everything. He heads back to his room, where Enzo ambushes him.
Stefan calls Caroline to confide that he told Damon he shouldn’t have broken up with Elena, and now Damon’s “in a bit of a mood.” He thinks Damon has been trying to get in touch with Elena but she’s been avoiding him. Caroline doesn’t want to get involved, since she doesn’t want them to get back together, but Stefan asks how she would feel if she were judged just on who she’s attracted to. Caroline asks if he knows something. He doesn’t.
She tries to convince him that Elena and Damon are a bad pairing, but Stefan disagrees. Plus, Damon’s happy when they’re together, which means he behaves himself. Caroline finally says she can’t help because Elena’s not there. She thought Elena was staying with Stefan. Funny, because she told Stefan she was going back to school.
While ignoring Elena’s phone, Katherine hears voices whispering. She closes her eyes and Elena emerges. She’s really confused about where she is, how she got there, and why she’s handcuffed and chained to a bed. She realizes Katherine must have been involved somehow. She’s able to yank her chains off, but she’s just milliseconds too late to accept a call from Caroline. Nadia zooms in and grabs the phone before she can call back. Elena guesses that Nadia put Katherine inside of her. Nadia summons Katherine forward and tells her that the exact thing they didn’t want to happen did. Also, Nadia didn’t get Katherine’s body.
At the Grill, Stefan tries to talk Damon into giving Nadia what she requested. Damon’s cranky because of Elena’s radio silence, and he blames Stefan for telling him to get her back. Stefan says Damon did what he always does – he ran instead of dealing with a problem. Caroline joins them with the news that Bonnie and Jeremy (who are visiting Abby and won’t be in this episode) haven’t heard from Elena.
Damon’s surprised to learn that Caroline is going to help him get Elena back. “You hate me,” he notes. “You once told me that calling me Satan was an insult to Satan.” Heh. “Nobody’s perfect,” is all Caroline says. Damon doesn’t think she can give good romantic advice. She objects that she can be unpredictable and reckless. Damon guesses that she and Stefan are there to babysit him, which he insists he doesn’t need.
Caroline calls Elena’s phone again, and Katherine complains that the gang is needy. She’s sick of Damon trying to win Elena back and everyone asking where she is. Nadia thinks they’re getting suspicious, so she and Katherine need to move faster. Stefan texted about Tyler’s party, so Katherine decides to go so everyone can see that Elena’s okay. Then she can ask Stefan where her body is buried. Nadia protests because Elena could reemerge. Katherine has imitated Elena countless times, so she knows she can pull it off again. Nadia says this is different – she’s not impersonating Elena, she is Elena. Katherine doesn’t know enough to snow everyone. So that’s how she gets the idea to talk to Matt.
Tyler and Matt set up for the party, discussing the fact that now that Matt is the owner of Lockwood Landing, at least on paper, he’ll have to invite some of their guests in. Matt thinks Tyler’s just trying to find out if Caroline is coming. He teases that Tyler’s claim that he wants to start over isn’t true – he wants his ex back. “Elena” calls, calling Matt “Matty,” and asks him to meet her downtown. So now we’re caught up to the beginning of the episode.
Damon goes home and finds Enzo waiting for him. He’s brought along a present. It’s a very big present, which means Enzo probably couldn’t find enough wrapping paper, so he’s put it in a body bag instead. How thoughtful! Enzo warms himself by the fire in the fireplace, noting the irony of his love of fires after being left to die in one. Damon thinks he’s there to try to make Damon guilty again, which is ridiculous – yes, he left Enzo to die, but he also saved him from Wes, so they’re even.
Enzo says he’s done some soul-searching, as well as some searching for information. He knows that Damon has carried out his revenge plan against the Whitmores and how Aaron’s the only one left. Enzo thinks that means Damon’s still the guy he knew back in the ’50s. He presents Damon with Aaron’s body – except Aaron’s still alive. Enzo wants him to die wearing Dr. Whitmore’s vervain watch, and he wants both himself and Damon to be present when it happens, no matter which of them does the killing.
Katherine goes to Lockwood Landing but can’t get in because Elena never went over after Matt got the deed. He invites her in and she compels him to go find someone to flirt with so he’ll be preoccupied while she talks to Stefan. She tells him she’s been taking some time to herself to try to process her breakup. She knows Damon wants her back, but she’s hesitant to get back together. She thinks it’s weird to talk to Stefan about this, but he likes them together and thinks Damon’s a better person when he’s with Elena.
As for Stefan, he’s not struggling at all with Katherine’s death. They had a thing, it ended, she died, and it’s all okay. Katherine’s like, “After 150 years…nothing?” Maybe they should hold a funeral. Or she can at least drop off flowers at Katherine’s grave. Stefan doesn’t know where that is; Damon just said he put her “where she was always meant to be.”
Back at Vamp Villa, Enzo presses Damon to finish Aaron off already. Damon has realized that he wants this as a show of loyalty. Enzo knows Damon wants to kill Aaron, so it doesn’t matter if he’s important to Elena. The old Damon has to still be inside him. Caroline calls just then to tell Damon to come to the party, since Elena’s there. Aaron regains consciousness, so Enzo tells Damon to make a decision right now: Does he want to kill Aaron, or can Enzo do it? Damon’s response is to break Enzo’s neck. “I hate deadlines,” he growls. He tells Aaron he can’t kill him. Aaron knows it’s because Elena would hate him. Damon removes Aaron’s watch and compels him to pack up his room at Whitmore, run far away, and never come back.
Nadia finds Katherine outside Lockwood Landing, where Katherine’s doing something Elena-like by taking out the trash. She tells Nadia that Damon must have put her body in the tomb, the spot she was supposed to be for 145 years. Nadia wants to go get it right away, so she tells Katherine to say her goodbyes and make sure no one follows them.
Katherine goes back inside and has to endure Caroline confiding in her about a recent bad decision – the one where she and Klaus slept together. Caroline wants Katherine to tell her what a horrible person she is. Katherine says Caroline is one of the least horrible people she knows. But Katherine herself doesn’t fit into that category, and when she spots Tyler nearby, she mentions him so he’ll hear and start listening in. She repeats that Caroline slept with Klaus, then pretends to be surprised that Tyler overheard.
Katherine goes to the tomb, where Nadia and Mia are already waiting. Mia’s annoyed that she’s late. “I was pretending to care,” Katherine explains. “It was very time-consuming.” Mia takes some of her blood (well, Elena’s blood), then cuts Katherine’s body open and grabs her heart. As she chants her spell, Elena emerges. She hides this from Nadia and Mia while trying to figure out what’s going on.
The party’s still going on but Tyler has gone to a quiet room to drink and mope. Caroline wants to talk but he’s not in the mood to hear her justification for sleeping with the guy who’s killed so many innocent people. Caroline knows she can’t justify it, so she just apologizes. Since Tyler walked out last time, he tells her it’s her turn. Caroline won’t go, so Tyler wolfs out and orders her to leave. Stefan zooms in and holds him back, wondering what has him so upset. Tyler gives him the news, which just makes Caroline feel worse. After she leaves, Stefan punches Tyler and says she didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
Back in the tomb, Nadia asks “Katherine” where she wants to go once the spell is complete. Realizing she doesn’t have much time left, Elena attacks Mia and knocks her out. Nadia realizes she’s reemerged, but she doesn’t move fast enough to restrain Elena. Elena impales her with something and zooms out before Nadia can make Katherine come forward again.
Damon goes to Lockwood Landing and yells for Matt to come invite him in, but he can’t be heard over the loud music. Nadia and Mia both recover in the tomb, and Nadia gives the order to finish the spell. Elena tries to make a phone call, but Katherine locked her phone with a PIN code she doesn’t know. She runs for safety as the spell continues and she’s hit with a bunch of Katherine’s memories. Katherine’s body goes up in flames as Elena nears Lockwood Landing. Damon is leaving and she races to him, relieved. As he holds her, the spell finishes and Katherine takes over.
Damon tells her that he hates how he screwed things up and doesn’t really think he’ll change her if they’re together. She’s the best possible influence on him, and he needs her. “You are the good, and I need a little good in my life, ’cause without it, there’s an awful lot of darkness,” he says. Katherine tells him he’s putting a lot of pressure on her. She appreciates that she makes him a better person and that he’s happy with her, but she can’t be the only thing he lives for. She doesn’t want to worry about what could happen if they fight or break up. Also, she’s not happy about how he tortured Katherine while she was dying.
Katherine continues that she can’t change Damon. He was right to end things. She spots Stefan approaching and tells Damon they’re done. Then she walks away pleased with herself. Damon comments that Stefan must be enjoying this a little.
As the party breaks up, Tyler tells Matt that he’s directionless and has lost the people closest to him. But at least he lives in a huge house. Matt suggests that he take a vacation. Tyler admits that Klaus put him through Hell in New Orleans, and just when Tyler thought it couldn’t get worse… He trails off instead of saying out loud that Klaus stole his girlfriend. Yeah, well, you tried to kill his baby, so really, you should be grateful that he didn’t do worse.
At the tomb, Mia assures Nadia that the spell worked. She wants her payment, but she won’t get it because Katherine’s back and has decided to tie up this loose end by tearing out Mia’s heart. Nadia’s fine with that, since Mia gave her the creeps. “Cold? Manipulative? Good hair? You really are my daughter,” Katherine says. Nadia wants to get on the road and start their big trip together, but Katherine’s not in any rush. For the first time in 500 years, she doesn’t have to look over her shoulder. She’s staying in Mystic Falls.
Nadia can do whatever she wants, but Katherine would like her to stay, too. She has all the time in the world to learn how to be a good mother. Nadia knows this won’t be enough for Katherine, which Katherine confirms. She wants everything – Nadia, immortality, and her one true love, Stefan. Nadia says she won’t stop her mother from getting what she wants.
Stefan and Caroline meet up at Vamp Villa, where she asks him if she’s a horrible person. He wants to know how she felt when she found out he’d slept with Katherine. She was grossed out, but she’s obviously not holding that against him, since she’s still being friendly with him. That means the people you hook up with don’t dictate the kind of person you are. Caroline says she might have sought Stefan out because he sees the best in people. Stefan jokes that she’s a horrible person and makes her laugh by listing her flaws.
Aaron is on his way out of the state when he comes across Enzo lying in the middle of the road. Damon’s taught him his old trick for getting a convenient meal. Damon says he tried to let Aaron go, but he couldn’t do it. He admits to killing all the other Whitmores – they all deserved it, as does Aaron. Aaron says that Elena’s too good for Damon. Damon replies that he used to feel the same. He thought he had to be better to deserve Elena’s love and she had to be worse to accept his. He would lie in the road and try to talk himself out of hurting people.
Aaron asks if he killed innocent people anyway. Damon says it doesn’t matter. What mattered was that he was conflicted. Now, though, he’s not. Elena thinks he’s a monster, and she’s right. He kills Aaron, and Enzo happily welcomes back the Damon he used to know.
Etc.: Why didn’t Bonnie mention to the gang that Katherine never passed through her? It seems so naïve of them to just be like, “Well, I guess she’s gone forever!” without any assurances.
It sounds weird to say that Katherine does a good Elena impression because they’re played by the same actress, so of course she knows how to play both characters. But it’s easy to see how the gang is fooled. Katherine has Elena’s voice and mannerisms down cold. This arc also shows once again how good Nina Dobrev is at differentiating the characters. When Katherine’s not impersonating Elena, it’s obvious which character we’re watching in any given scene.
I give Elena a lot of credit for not letting on that she’d emerged in the tomb so she could use the element of surprise. Then again, she could have just snapped Nadia’s neck and run, and she would have been in the clear.
I do NOT give Elena credit for using her birthday as her phone PIN code. Dumb!