Katherine is on Whitmore’s quad, writing in her new journal. I guess she got over her aversion to it. She’s very pleased with her decision to take over Elena’s body and her life. She has everything she ever wanted – health, beauty, and adoration. Plus, she’s a vampire again. She deletes photos of Damon and Elena from Elena’s phone and vows to get Stefan back.
The residents of the Super Suite all have a class together, and on their way in, Caroline announces that they’re not going to mope anymore. They’re all getting a fresh start. Katherine’s on board but Bonnie notes that she’s perfectly fine and hasn’t been moping. She sits next to a classmate named Liv, who isn’t the least bit friendly. Caroline tells her friends that since they’re single (Bonnie’s just “single-adjacent”), they’ll be attending the upcoming Bitter Ball. She declares it a chance to rid themselves of their romantic baggage. Bonnie notices Liv playing with a pen, making it spin without touching it. When she realizes Bonnie’s watching, she quickly stops.
I don’t know where Stefan spent the night, but it wasn’t at Vamp Villa, so he doesn’t know about Damon and Enzo’s activities the night before. He finds Damon’s car crashed against the wall in the front drive with blood leaking out of the trunk. The blood is from Aaron’s body. Damon and Enzo have made a huge mess in the living room, where Damon spent the night on the couch. He tells Stefan the car’s condition is thanks to Enzo; Damon let him drive, and since Enzo hadn’t driven since the 1940s, he was a little rusty. Also, Damon killed Aaron. Stefan calls him predictable for responding to his breakup with violence.
Enzo enters, introduces himself to Stefan (though they already met), and says it was his idea to kill Aaron. Stefan asks if Damon and Enzo are “murder buddies” now. Damon says they bonded pretty tightly when they were prisoners together. Enzo announces that their next victim will be Wes, but they’ll have to find him first. Stefan asks if Damon really plans to go back to his old sadistic ways. Damon says he liked that version of himself, and he was an idiot to change himself for a woman. He tells Stefan to get a new hobby: “I’m not in the mood to be saved.” Stefan replies that Damon’s better than this. Damon disagrees: “I’m better like this.”
Katherine calls Stefan and invites him to come hang out with her on campus. No, wait, strike that – she’s actually talking to Matt, asking his input on whether she’s acting enough like Elena to fool Stefan. Matt confirms that she is. Nadia takes the phone from him and compels him to forget the conversation. Katherine sent her over to the Grill so she could use Matt as her “Elena Gilbert cheat sheet.” Nadia’s annoyed that they’re not spending time together. Katherine thinks Nadia should be a little less upset about “babysitting Matty Blue Eyes.” After all, she’s slept with him. Nadia draws the line at compelling Matt and using him as a puppet. But burying him alive was okay??
Wes has found a new Augustine subject, a maintenance guy named Joey, and is going to continue his research in an abandoned hospital. For other scientists, the loss of funding might be an insurmountable obstacle, but Wes is going to power through. He tells Joey straight out that he’s going to be turned into a vampire who feeds on other vampires instead of humans. Wes hopes to find some money that will allow him to keep replicating the results he’s already gotten.
He may not have to go far for that money because a woman named Sloan has found him and has an offer for him. She’s familiar with his research. She can give him money and protection, and in exchange, she just wants some blood analyzed. Wes turns her down, but Sloan thinks he’ll change his mind when she tells him what she’s discovered. Aaron’s car was found abandoned, and his bag was left inside. Wes and Sloan both guess that he’s dead, and that Wes is next.
Damon and Enzo committed another crime on top of killing Aaron – they kidnapped Dianne, the head of security at Whitmore. She’s currently in the basement of Vamp Villa, bleeding until the vervain is out of her system. Damon compels her to admit that she covered up vampire attacks on campus by forging suicide notes. He asks where Wes is, but Dianne doesn’t know. That means she’s not needed anymore, so Enzo kills her.
Stefan finds Enzo burying her body in the woods and advises him to find a new BFF. If Enzo wants to blow off steam because he just got out of decades of captivity, fine, but he’ll need to leave Damon out of his activities. Enzo calls Stefan a do-gooder, but Stefan says he stays out of trouble so he can keep Damon from going too far over the edge. How’s that working out for you, Stef? Enzo invites him to join the murder buddies, handing him his shovel. That was dumb – Stefan hits him with the shovel and orders him to leave Mystic Falls. Enzo isn’t scared of a guy with a shovel, though, since he experienced decades of torture. “What I do to you, Enzo, will be final,” Stefan warns. (Cough.)
Katherine is contemplating calling Stefan when Caroline comes home to the Super Suite. Caroline accuses her of faking it – not pretending to be Elena, but pretending that she’s not hurting because of her breakup. She doesn’t have to go to the Bitter Ball if she doesn’t want to. Just then, Stefan calls. Elena asks if Caroline thinks Stefan might want to come to the dance. She answers the phone before Caroline can respond, and Stefan tells her he needs to discuss Enzo with her. Katherine suggests that they meet in person. How about at the Bitter Ball?
Katherine’s unfamiliar with Enzo so she texts Nadia asking who he is. Nadia’s still at the Grill, hanging out at the bar. Tyler comes in and comments to Matt that Nadia’s new (he means pretty). Matt tells him she’s Katherine’s daughter, “and the psycho doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Hee. Nadia can hear them, of course, but Matt doesn’t care, since Nadia buried him alive. She apologizes, using the excuse that she was trying to save her mother. Now she wants to grieve quietly because she failed. Tyler invites her to drink with him and orders some shots.
After getting a few drinks in them, Tyler and Nadia share stories of their intense mothers. Tyler admits that Carol once wrote a paper for him. Nadia notes that Katherine compelled a whole town to be friends with her. Matt joins in by bringing up the time his mom hooked up with Tyler. As Tyler heads to the bathroom, Nadia compels Matt to tell her about Enzo. Matt gives her some basic info but doesn’t know much. Across the restaurant, Tyler hears them talking, then hears Nadia compelling Matt to forget the conversation.
Bonnie has invited Jeremy to the Bitter Ball, but people aren’t supposed to bring dates, so they can’t show up together. He suggests that they get a hotel room instead. Does he still live at Vamp Villa? Go have sex there; no one’s paying attention. When Bonnie says that Caroline would kill them if they skipped the dance, he tells her they’re happy, so they should act like it. Damon finds them in the hallway of Bonnie’s dorm and brightly announces that he’s there to kidnap Jeremy.
Jeremy thinks he’s joking, but Damon shows him pretty quickly that he’s not. He notes that since Bonnie doesn’t have her magic, she can’t stop him. He explains that he can’t find Wes, so he needs a witch to do a locator spell. Bonnie’s like, “You just said I don’t have magic; why are you bugging me?” Damon knows there must be other witches on campus, and Bonnie, who’s a former witch and whose grandmother once taught classes on occult studies, should be able to find one. If not, she can say goodbye to her boyfriend.
Jeremy calls Damon’s bluff, knowing Elena would be furious if Damon hurt her brother. Bonnie goes a step further, saying Elena would kill him. “Cool, and then me and all her doppelgangers could start a baseball team on the Other Side,” Damon says. Enzo joins the group and puts some pressure on Bonnie by…well, putting pressure on Jeremy’s head. Bonnie finally agrees to help.
Katherine and Caroline arrive at the Bitter Ball, where Caroline gets a dead corsage and Katherine gets a text from Nadia telling her who Enzo is and warning that he’s dangerous. On this show, who isn’t? Stefan greets her and she makes him dance with her (not that he resists). He notes that she seems to be doing well post-breakup. She thinks he and Caroline are too worried about her.
Stefan wants to talk about Damon and his recent behavior, but Katherine is done with the guy who turned her into someone she didn’t expect to become. She asks Stefan if he likes the person she is now or if he misses who she was. Stefan doesn’t really want to answer, so Katherine invites him to talk about Damon instead. Stefan decides that can wait until later. Caroline pulls Katherine away, saying they agreed to go to a shredding station.
Back at the Grill, Matt’s skeptical when Tyler tells him that Nadia has been compelling him. Tyler notes that Matt’s not wearing his vervain bracelet, so Nadia probably took it and compelled him not to notice. Matt doesn’t get why she would want to mess with his mind. There’s vervain in the coffee, so Tyler tells him to drink some ASAP.
Caroline shreds some pictures of Tyler, then the horse sketch Klaus gave her. She announces that those relationships are over. She won’t go back to them even if she feels lonely or bored or nostalgic. Katherine guesses that she’s trying to hint at something. Caroline thinks Katherine is making herself too available to Stefan and is confusing things. In other words, she shouldn’t get back together with Stefan just because she’s not with Damon anymore.
Bonnie and Damon arrive at the dance and Bonnie points out Liv, who’s working as a caterer. She doesn’t really know Liv, so she has no idea if Liv will cooperate. Caroline asks Stefan why he came to the dance and what he’s postponing telling Katherine. He tells her that Damon killed Aaron, but he doesn’t want to break the news to Katherine while she’s happy.
Caroline guesses that Stefan’s worried that this will make “Elena” turn on Damon forever. Stefan confirms this, adding that he may not be able to pull Damon back from that. He’s seen Damon at his worst, and Damon seems to enjoy the way it makes him feel. The pain he causes leads to people hating him, and it lets him confirm everyone’s low expectations of him. Stefan doesn’t know how to fight that.
Damon brings Bonnie over and tells Stefan and Caroline that they’re looking for a witch. He lets Bonnie reveal that if she doesn’t find a witch by midnight, Enzo will kill Jeremy. There’s even a hostage photo to drive the point home. Katherine is nearby and hears the conversation. She pretends to be worried about Jeremy’s safety, but when she turns away from the others, she makes a face that says, “Thanks a lot for ruining my night, Little Gilbert.”
Katherine calls Nadia to ask if, hypothetically, she would be allowed to let Jeremy die if his life were in danger. His death would be convenient for her. Nadia asks if she’s seriously making a pro/con list. “Are there any cons? Because I’ve only listed pros,” Katherine replies. Jeremy’s death would get her a lot of sympathy from Stefan. Nadia reminds her to think like Elena, which means doing everything possible to save Jeremy. It doesn’t matter if she thinks Stefan was flirting with her. She has to play her role or the gang will get suspicious.
Katherine asks if she has to reveal that she knows where Jeremy is. She recognized from the hostage photo that he’s at Whitmore House. Nadia orders her to save Jeremy. Katherine tells her to find out from Matt if Caroline has feelings for Stefan, because she’s getting on Katherine’s nerves and Katherine needs to know what she’s up against.
After they hang up, Matt finds Nadia outside the Grill and asks who keeps calling her. She compels him to tell her if Caroline has feelings for Stefan. Matt answers the same way he would if he could actually be compelled right now: He doesn’t know. She tells him to forget the conversation, then zooms away. Tyler comes outside to confirm that he was right about Nadia compelling Matt, but she rushes back and breaks his neck.
Stefan checks on Katherine, who gives an Oscar-worthy performance as someone deeply invested in Jeremy’s survival. Meanwhile, Bonnie approaches Liv and introduces herself. Liv claims to have never heard of Sheila or her occult studies classes. Bonnie blurts out that she knows Liv is a witch, adding that she used to be one, too. When Liv tries to leave, Bonnie says she really needs help. Liv replies that she doesn’t know what she’s doing – she’s a freak with powers she doesn’t understand. Caroline zooms in to stop her from leaving and orders her to help.
They fill Liv in on the supernatural and take her to a room to do a locator spell. Damon’s impatient, but they’re dealing with a baby witch who needs to do a complicated spell on a deadline, so they can’t really rush here. Bonnie leads Liv through a locator spell, but her powers flare up and all the lights in the room shatter. Bonnie urges Liv to try again, but Liv is scared – her power has gotten out of control in the past, starting fires and hurting people.
Enzo calls Damon (who answers, “Witchy hotline”) to ask what’s taking so long. Damon tells him Bonnie needs more motivation. He puts Enzo on speakerphone so Enzo can warn that he’s going to kill Jeremy. Caroline demands that Damon stop Enzo, but Damon isn’t here for anything other than complete cooperation. Enzo tells Jeremy that Bonnie hasn’t done her part, so Enzo will have to follow through with his threat, because otherwise no one will take him seriously. Jeremy tries to free himself from the ropes around his hands, but Enzo puts a plastic bag over his face to smother him.
Bonnie tells Liv that she also did a lot of destructive things when she was learning magic, and she can teach Liv to control her power. She shows Liv a picture of Jeremy so she can see the person whose life is in her hands. Liv agrees to try again, though she’ll blame Bonnie if she accidentally burns down the school.
Katherine and Stefan arrive at Whitmore House, and Stefan holds Enzo off as Katherine reluctantly gives Jeremy CPR. Stefan goes after Enzo with a fireplace poker but misses. Katherine revives Jeremy, then takes a stake in the back courtesy of Enzo. He informs Damon, who’s just arrived, that he missed all the fun. But Damon’s ready to move on, since the locator spell is done and he knows Wes is in Richmond. As he and Enzo leave, Stefan tells his brother not to come back. Damon says he didn’t plan to. Stefan looks on sadly as he walks out, while Katherine smiles to herself.
Tyler wakes up outside the Grill, demanding to know where Nadia is. Matt says there was a misunderstanding. She wanted to talk about Katherine, and she compelled Matt to chat with her because she knew he wouldn’t do it willingly. Tyler advises Matt to stay away from Nadia and let him know if she turns up again. After Tyler leaves, Matt gets in Nadia’s car and promises that he took care of things. But now Nadia has a new problem: Matt has figured out that Elena isn’t Elena. Nadia threatens to take off his Gilbert ring and kill him, but she still has use for him, so she won’t do it yet. First she’ll get the vervain out of his system so he’s compellable again.
Damon and Enzo go to Wes’ hideout, but Damon’s not quite as eager for revenge as he was before. Now he’s distracted by the thought of Stefan being done with him. They come across some Travelers, one of whom is Sloan. Wes calls them his backup. They chant and give Damon and Enzo magic migraines. As the guys pass out, Wes injects something in Damon’s neck and wishes him luck making new friends.
Stefan takes Katherine to the Super Suite, where she gets him to put his hands on her by saying she still has a splinter in her back from Enzo’s stake. She thinks Stefan wanted to tell her earlier that Damon killed Aaron. She figured it out when she realized Stefan was able to enter Whitmore House without an invitation. She’s disappointed that he wasn’t honest with her.
He tells her that ever since he noticed her falling for Damon, he’s been waiting for Damon to screw things up so much that she turned against him. Every time he thought Damon had gone too far, he would still be there for her. Sometimes he was even better at it than Stefan was. After a while, Stefan stopped waiting for Damon to fail. He liked who Damon had become and doesn’t want to lose him.
Katherine points out that Damon threatened Jeremy, so she can’t go back to him. But if Stefan wants to save him, she’ll help – not for herself or for Damon, but for Stefan. She hugs him, so of course that’s when Caroline comes in.
Damon and Enzo regain consciousness and wonder what Wes injected Damon with. Damon hopes it wasn’t the compound that makes vampires feed on other vampires. They hear something down the hall and split up to investigate. Damon finds Joey and unchains him, but Joey’s wrists are bleeding, and the sight of the blood makes Damon vamp out. Joey asks what’s wrong with him. “I’m gonna go ahead and say karma,” Damon replies. “Karma’s happening to me.”
He bites Joey and drinks, ignoring Enzo when he finds him and tells him to stop. Joey’s head falls off, which means that not only was Damon’s injection something that makes him crave vampire blood, it also turned him into a Ripper. “I can see how this might be a problem,” Enzo says.
Etc.: I always forget that Liv shows up this early in season 5. She’s suddenly there and I’m like, “Oh, right. Her.”
“Murder buddies” makes me giggle. I use it all the time.
I accidentally typed “vampus” instead of “campus,” and I now I want to use that for Legacies.
I also accidentally typed “Biter Ball” instead of “Bitter Ball,” which would be a whole different type of evening.
For those keeping score:
- Hayley’s first words to Klaus: “Who the hell are you?”
- Hayley’s first words to Elijah: “Who the hell are you?”
- Bonnie’s first words to Enzo: “Who the hell are you?”
Imagine how ticked Enzo would have been if Jeremy had stayed dead and he’d found out Damon didn’t warn him about the hunter’s curse.