In 1520, Nadia goes looking for Katherine so she can find out why her mother abandoned her. Nadia’s dreaming of this search while suffering the effects of Tyler’s werewolf bite. Katherine is tending to her in an abandoned building, though there’s not much she can do without Klaus’ blood. Katherine reminds Nadia that she didn’t leave her; Nadia was taken from her.
She knows she can’t ask Klaus for help, but she doesn’t want to give up on saving Nadia, so she’s called Wes. He’ll study Nadia’s blood and figure out an antidote for the werewolf venom. Nadia jokes that if she’d known this was all it would take to get Katherine’s attention, she would have started dying a long time ago. She’s glad to have her mother with her. Katherine promises to be a better mother, not that that would take much work.
Stefan has just told Damon his and Caroline’s theory that Katherine is a Passenger in Elena’s body. Damon declares the plan brilliant. Stefan points out that that means Elena wasn’t the one who dumped him. Therefore, Damon’s murder spree with Enzo was him reacting to Katherine. Damon replies that Stefan shouldn’t have told him while he’s stuck in the basement, itching to kill. Stefan says he’ll handle everything.
Upstairs, Caroline tells Matt, Tyler, Bonnie, and Jeremy (the latter two via phone, since they’re at Whitmore) about Katherine’s scheme. Caroline thinks they’re bad friends for not noticing that Elena literally wasn’t herself. Jeremy finds it hard to believe that Katherine was the one who saved his life. Bonnie says she was just keeping her cover. Caroline’s upset that she spent so much time with Katherine in close quarters. She let that devious woman use her toothpaste! Stefan comes upstairs and points out that he made out with her, so Caroline doesn’t have the biggest complaint here. Katherine is also the reason Tyler found out that Caroline slept with Klaus.
Tyler asks how they kill her. Stefan knows they can get Katherine to vacate Elena’s body by stabbing her with the Traveler’s knife. Fortunately, Matt still has it. Caroline warns that Katherine will see them coming, so they need to get her to come to them. Tyler mentions that he bit Nadia, so Katherine’s probably busy taking care of her. Caroline says she most likely won’t leave Nadia unless she has to in order to keep her cover. They need to invite Katherine to something Elena would never miss. The gang settles on a surprise party for Bonnie, whose birthday is coming up. She’s not that excited, since she wanted a spa day instead of a party (it’s tough being the anchor).
Caroline calls Katherine to tell her about the party that night. Katherine says she can’t help set up because she’s making arrangements for Aaron’s funeral. Caroline can’t argue with that excuse. After they hang up, Bonnie calls Katherine and asks her to hang out. Katherine lies that she’s at a spa, buying Bonnie a gift certificate for her birthday. She complains to Nadia that the gang is being unusually clingy today.
Stefan gives Damon some of his blood, having figured out that he’ll stay satisfied with four ounces every eight hours. Well, Caroline figured it out, though Damon isn’t confident in her math. Stefan’s moving the Katherine/Elena situation to the front burner; Damon’s Ripper virus is no longer top priority. Damon wants to handle his situation on his own by just finding Wes and getting the antidote. Stefan thinks he’ll run away after that so he doesn’t have to tell Elena everything he’s done recently.
Stefan starts to call Katherine and try his hand at getting her to come over, but before he can finish dialing, she calls Damon. He pretends he thinks she’s Elena while she pretends she wants to meet up with him and talk about what happened the last time they saw each other. He invites her over, luring her right into the gang’s trap. But Katherine tells Nadia that something’s fishy – Damon wouldn’t risk putting Elena in danger right now. She guesses that the gang knows that she’s really Katherine. At the same time, Damon figures out that Katherine was testing him. She’s on to them.
In 1720, Nadia follows a lead on Katherine in France. She offers a man money for information about what kind of person her mother is. In the present, Katherine has moved Nadia to a church. Nadia thinks she should run while she can. She’s not going to be able to save Nadia. Katherine quips that she didn’t raise her daughter to be a quitter. They’ll leave town together as soon as Nadia’s better.
At Vamp Villa, Stefan tells Caroline what Damon figured out. She thinks Katherine’s just going to take off and they’ll never get Elena back. Damon suggests that they use a locator spell to track her down. That means going back to Liv. Bonnie and Jeremy tell her that they need to find his sister, who’s been possessed by her villainous doppelganger. Liv finds that interesting but not as crazy-sounding as most people would. She agrees to help.
Tyler’s on Damon-sitting duty and refuses to give him a snack between meals or let him go after Wes. Damon asks why Tyler’s still in Mystic Falls. His family’s dead and he’s not tied down to a job. Damon thinks Tyler is holding on to hope that he and Caroline will be able to work things out. Tyler doesn’t want Damon in his business, but Damon continues that while Elena keeps choosing him despite all the bad things he does, Caroline “chose the nuclear option” instead of fighting for her relationship with Tyler.
Tyler gets mad enough to go into Damon’s cell and taunt that Elena won’t want him back after all this. He should just leave. Damon agrees, suggesting that he go to New Orleans. Tyler steps into the cell and reminds Damon that he’s killed or almost killed people Elena cares about. He’s a joke. Damon replies that Tyler is, too, since he’s still in love with Caroline after she slept with the guy who killed his mother. Tyler rushes him, which is just what Damon wanted. He drinks some of Tyler’s blood, which gives him enough strength to break out of his chains.
Caroline finds Tyler in the cell later, lamenting that he took Damon’s bait and gave him what he wanted. He tells Stefan that Damon probably went looking for Wes. Meanwhile, Liv uses Jeremy’s blood for a locator spell in the Super Suite. She starts it a little differently than Bonnie taught her, which makes Bonnie take notice. Liv flirts with Jeremy, which doesn’t help the tension in the room, but the spell works and she finds Katherine at the church. She’s leaving to check on Wes’ progress with Nadia’s blood. Nadia warns that the gang is out looking for her, so she needs to be careful. Katherine’s used to living like this, though.
Damon finds Wes in some lab Enzo knew he’d used for Augustine stuff. Wes says he’s the only person left doing Augustine research. He doesn’t see any reason to cure Damon of the Ripper virus – if he stops feeding on vampires, he’ll just go back to feeding on humans, and Elena won’t be any more impressed with him. Damon vamps out and says Wes did this to him, but Wes replies that this is who Damon is: “I simply held up the mirror.” Damon throws him on a table and says he’s going to be the one who plays doctor now.
Nadia dreams about her night with Matt and Rebekah in Europe, talking to Matt while Rebekah’s taking a shower. She compels Matt to keep quiet as she steals Rebekah’s earrings. She knows that Matt’s not on vervain and that Rebekah’s an Original. She only came to their hotel room with them because she thought Rebekah might know something about Katherine. Nadia tells Matt that Katherine is her mother and she wants to meet her. She takes his Gilbert ring so she’ll have an excuse to see him again.
Katherine arrives at Wes’ lab after Damon’s left him there, dead. There goes Katherine’s last chance to save Nadia. Stefan calls her from Nadia’s phone, informing her that he found Nadia at the church and took her to Vamp Villa. He knows “Elena” is really Katherine. He hands the phone to Nadia to let her confirm that she’s with him, and Nadia tells Katherine to run. Stefan says that’s certainly an option, since it’s what Katherine does best, but she can also come see Nadia before she dies.
Matt tends to Nadia, who thinks he’s Gregor and apologizes for betraying him. Everything she did was for Katherine. Matt says he forgives her. She’s afraid to die, so Bonnie, who’s arrived with Jeremy, tells her how simple it will be – she’ll take Nadia’s hand and Nadia will go to the Other Side painlessly.
Katherine arrives and the gang lets her sit with Nadia. She regrets not asking Klaus for his blood, even though she would have alerted him to her location. Nadia thinks she’s still in the past, looking for Katherine, and she tells her mother that she’s looking for a manipulative, lying murderer. Katherine laments that Nadia spent 500 years looking for a disappointing mother. She offers to show her what her life should have been like.
She goes into Nadia’s head to give her a perfect childhood day. They live in a cottage and Katherine gets to tuck her daughter in at night. They talk about Nadia’s day playing in the woods, just being a normal child. As Nadia desiccates, Katherine tells her daughter to sleep well and that her mother loves her. Nadia’s spirit appears and gets to hear her mother’s goodbye. Just like Bonnie said she would, she passes to the Other Side peacefully and painlessly.
Once Nadia’s gone, Katherine knows the gang is ready to deal with her. She tries to make a run for it but Damon has just arrived and stops her at the front door. (Music: “White Collar Whiskey,” Emily Wolfe) She goes back to the living room to face the music, asking which member of the gang is going to finish her off. Maybe Tyler, who became a werewolf because of Katherine. She argues that she gave him an identity and made him matter. Uh, I disagree. Katherine doubts that Caroline will kill her; they both know she’s better as a vampire.
Matt won’t kill Katherine, the only woman who recognizes how attractive he is. She tells him she’ll remember him as the best night she never had. Katherine, he slept with your daughter! That’s gross! Katherine says goodbye to “Little Gilbert,” having enjoyed having a little brother when he wasn’t being annoying. She sees no reason to address Bonnie, since she’ll see her again on the Other Side.
Katherine knows Damon would love to kill her. He has nothing to say to her, but she wants to talk anyway. She’s sorry that he blames her for who he is. She’s sorry she turned him so he didn’t die as just another nameless soldier on a Civil War battlefield. She’s sorry that Giuseppe didn’t live longer to be ashamed of his son. She’s sorry that she gave his life purpose and drive and desire. “I’m sorry that you are who you are because I’m the one that taught you how to love,” she says. “I’ll see you in Hell,” Damon replies.
She’s saved Stefan for last. She says she always wondered what it would be like to have him love her. She thinks he did have real feelings for her as Elena, even if it was brief. “This truly has been the role of a lifetime,” she tells him. She loves him and always will. She kisses him one last time and he plunges the Traveler’s knife into her. “Then I guess this is how our love story ends,” she says. Katherine falls to the floor next to the couch Nadia’s body is on. She retreats and Elena emerges, then passes out.
Matt sits with Nadia’s body for a while, then tells Jeremy she deserves better than being buried in the woods. He takes her off somewhere on his own. Damon and Stefan wait for Elena to wake up, discussing what to do when she does. Damon says he’ll tell her everything he did and let things play out however they do. He doesn’t want to be like Katherine, who ran for her whole life before dying alone.
Caroline admits to Tyler that she’s a little sad about the way things ended for Katherine. Yeah, she was a horrible person, but Caroline can see the good in people. Tyler’s like, “Yeah, you definitely saw the good in Klaus.” Caroline notes that Tyler killed Nadia and no one cares; how does that make him better than Klaus? She slept with Klaus weeks ago and Tyler can’t let go of it. He says people expect more from her. She replies that she has the same impulses as Tyler, and she should be allowed to make mistakes like he does. She slept with Klaus after Tyler left her. She’s living with her decision and doesn’t need him to keep reminding her about it. He needs to either get over it or get out of her life. She won’t feel guilty anymore.
Bonnie goes to the church, I guess to get anything Nadia and Katherine left behind, and lights a candle for her father. Katherine’s spirit appears and chastises Bonnie for using Nadia against her. Katherine could have spent another 500 years running, but she wouldn’t have been happy. Elena would have won again. Katherine’s sick of Elena getting everything Katherine wanted. She knows Wes was never going to cure Nadia.
We go back to the end of Stefan and Katherine’s phone conversation when he told her she could run away like she always does or come see Nadia. After they hang up, Katherine plays a recording of Wes’ research notes. He added the werewolf venom from Nadia’s blood to the Ripper virus to make it more lethal. Katherine tells Bonnie that he just saw Nadia as a case study. Bonnie asks why it matters.
As Elena starts to wake up at Vamp Villa, Katherine tells Bonnie that Elena has the life Katherine always wanted – until now. Stefan thought he gave Katherine a choice between running and dying. Katherine wasn’t satisfied with that. She couldn’t let Nadia die alone, but she also couldn’t just let herself die. So she injected herself with the new, improved Ripper virus and its super-special additive. Elena’s awake and back to her normal self, but she finds a parting gift Katherine left her – an empty syringe. “If I can’t have Stefan, then no one can,” Katherine tells Bonnie.
She’s ready to go to the Other Side, but when she touches Bonnie, nothing happens. She thinks Bonnie’s keeping her from moving on, but Bonnie says she doesn’t control the process. Katherine asks who does. Wind whips through the church and Katherine is suddenly yanked backwards. She asks Bonnie for help, but there’s nothing Bonnie can do. Some unseen force drags Katherine out of the church and up into dark nothingness.
Etc.: What was the point of the flashbacks here? They don’t add anything to the story.
I kind of love that Katherine, who doesn’t like Bonnie and probably never listens when she talks, somehow knows that she wants a spa day.
The church used here is the same set they use for St. Anne’s on The Originals, just with different lighting and shot from a different angle.
The parallel between Katherine and Stefan’s last conversation here and their run-in at Lockwood Landing in “The Return” is great. In “The Return,” she stabs him and says it seems like they’re at the beginning of a love story. Here, he stabs her and she says their love story must be ending.
I assume that Nadia forgot that Matt had a Traveler’s knife, because I can’t imagine her being dumb enough to just let him keep it after Katherine became a Passenger, especially since she’d already told him their plans.
One thing I like about this season (there isn’t much) is how definitive it is about when storylines end. They killed off Silas, Qetsiyah, and Amara all at once, making it clear that that arc was over. Now they’ve killed off Nadia and Wes, and Katherine’s gone, so we know we’re moving on to something else.