The last time we saw Bonnie and Damon, they were eating pancakes. The last time we saw them before that, they were facing the destruction of the Other Side. So how did they get from there to breakfast? To find out, we join them four months ago, just after they were overcome by white light. They’re still in the cemetery but no one else is around. They head into town, where nothing happens to Damon, which means either he’s dead or the anti-magic spell has broken. But the Grill is in one piece, a big hint that something is off. Well, that and the fact that Damon and Bonnie are the only people there. He wonders where they are, and he doesn’t mean geographically.
In the present, Jeremy has spent the night with another woman he barely knows – Sarah. Matt isn’t happy that he let her stay over. After she leaves, Jeremy reminds Matt that Caroline compelled Sarah to forget that Elena attacked her. Matt thinks he should care a little more about the possibility that she’ll stumble across something she shouldn’t know about. In Savannah, Ivy makes breakfast for Stefan, who’s surprised she’s still there. She’s understandably offended that he expected her to sleep with him and then leave. She tells him she gets it: She’s into him and he doesn’t feel the same about her. Stefan tries to smooth things over by inviting her back for dinner that night.
Elena packs up everything Damon-related in the Super Suite in anticipation of having Alaric wipe their relationship from her memories. She meets up with Jeremy and Matt to tell them what she plans to do. Jeremy asks if she’s going to erase Bonnie, too. Elena says that missing Bonnie makes her sad, but missing Damon makes her dangerous. Once Alaric makes her forget their relationship, she wants the gang to keep everything from her.
At Bell’s, Alaric tells Caroline that Stefan hasn’t actually been looking for a way to bring back Damon and Bonnie. She’s furious, since she was using all her energy to find a way to bring down the anti-magic border and was expecting Stefan to take care of the rest. Alaric admits that someone else has picked up Stefan’s slack. That someone is Enzo, who’s currently seducing a witch in a hotel. She tells him there’s a coven in Oregon who found a way to communicate with their ancestors on the Other Side before it collapsed. They could have information on Bonnie and Damon. But the coven, Gemini, is small, weird, and unwelcoming of outsiders. Caroline arrives as Enzo’s about to reward his source for her help.
Alaric and Elena go to his office for the big compulsion session. He’s going to incorporate some things he learned about hypnotherapy and reprocessing memories. Apparently it’s not as easy as just saying, “Forget that you and Damon were a couple.” Elena will have to look through her memories to modify the ones that connect to Damon. Eventually she’ll figure out the “signature memory” that Alaric can erase to alter all her other Damon-related memories.
He starts with questions: Does she have doubts? Elena does, but she knows she needs to do this. She’s more sad than she is scared – she doesn’t want to stop loving Damon. She trusts Alaric to dig around in her memories, so he gets going.
He asks her who Damon was. “He was my boyfriend. I loved him. And he died,” she replies. Alaric asks when they first met. She remembers meeting Damon the night she almost died and feeling like there was something different about him. He was dangerous, but not in a scary way – in an exciting way. He made her feel like anything was possible. Alaric compels Elena to believe that that first meeting was just a nice moment with a stranger.
Four months ago: Bonnie and Damon walk through Mystic Falls, noticing that all the cars are at least 20 years old but look new. Even weirder, Gilbert Gables is not the pile of ashes it was turning into when we last saw it. Damon picks up a newspaper on the front lawn and sees that it’s dated May 10th, 1994 (AKA my 12th birthday). Overhead, an eclipse begins. Damon is suddenly less interested in where they are and more interested in when they are.
Present: Alaric has Elena revisit the moment Damon kissed her for the first time. She knew she shouldn’t have let him since she was technically still with Stefan. Alaric uses that to spin the memory into something she didn’t enjoy. He asks her who Damon was and she gives the same answer she did the first time: “He was my boyfriend. I loved him. And…he died.” The compulsion isn’t working. Alaric suggests a break so he can have a drink.
Four months ago: Damon also wants a drink. He and Bonnie are hanging out on the front porch of Gilbert Gables, a place Bonnie spent tons of time as a kid. She tells Damon that when she talked to Sheila before the Other Side collapsed, Sheila said she did something to ensure that Bonnie would find peace. This can’t be peace because if it were, Bonnie wouldn’t have to put up with Damon. Sheila must have send Bonnie somewhere, and by holding Bonnie’s hand, Damon got to tag along. Unfortunately, Bonnie doesn’t know where they are or how to get out. She figures since magic brought them there, magic will free them. Too bad Bonnie can’t do magic.
Present: Elena calls Caroline, surprised that she doesn’t support Elena’s decision to get rid of her memories of loving Damon. Caroline just thinks she should wait until they follow up on the lead about the Gemini coven. Elena says that if it pans out and Damon comes home, Alaric can bring back her memories. Caroline can’t figure out what to say, and instead asks herself what Bonnie would say. She thinks Bonnie would want Elena to do what’s best for herself. Elena admires Caroline’s ability to hold on to hope, but she needs to go through with this.
Enzo has heard the whole conversation because Caroline had it on speaker in her car and he’s in the passenger seat. He knows Caroline left school and thinks she should go back, since she can only get so far on her looks. She notes that he just seduced information out of someone, so she’s not going to take any advice from him. She asks about the Gemini coven, whom she thinks they’re on their way to see. They’re not, but Enzo won’t tell her where they’re going instead.
Stefan cooks dinner for Ivy while having an appetizer from a bag of blood he hid where she wouldn’t see it in his fridge. When she arrives, she tells him she ran into a couple of his friends. Those friends would be Enzo and Caroline, who are free to enter since the house belongs to Stefan. Stefan pretends this is all great. Caroline digs for information on his relationship with Ivy and what Stefan’s been up to for the past four months. Ivy starts getting confused/weirded out when Enzo admires her clavicle and says he’s a neck person. So is Stefan, or at least he was. Stefan says he’s not anymore, but Enzo argues that you can’t just stop being a neck person.
Ivy quietly asks Caroline if Enzo is her boyfriend. “Would you date that?” Caroline replies. Enzo tells Ivy that he can hear what they’re saying because his hearing is really good – “practically supernatural.” Does Ivy believe in the supernatural? Enzo’s a believer. In fact, he had a witch do a locator spell to find Stefan. Ivy’s starting to realize that this impromptu dinner party was a bad idea.
Four months ago: Damon makes pancakes while drinking bourbon and dancing. (Music: “Whatta Man,” Salt N Pepa feat. En Vogue) He’s in the same kitchen we last saw him cooking in, which happens to be at Vamp Villa. Bonnie comes home from a walk and Damon immediately stops dancing, trying to pretend she didn’t catch him. She’s thrilled to have found her old teddy bear, Miss Cuddles. She lost the bear when she was nine, but Miss Cuddles was in her normal spot at Bennett Bungalow here in 1994. Bonnie also got Sheila’s grimoire. Damon thinks his discovery is just as significant – a bottle of bourbon he drank after Alaric died.
Bonnie says it’s like they’re in a snapshot of another time. Everything that existed in 1994 exists here, too. That includes Damon’s CD collection, which he looks through to put on a new song. (Music: “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” Spin Doctors) Bonnie hopes to be able to reteach herself magic with Sheila’s grimoire. Damon figures that with their bad luck, she’s not a witch anymore. Bonnie asks for some support, but he says that they could be stuck in this dimension because she’s reacting to his normal self negatively. He serves her pancakes and gives her a newspaper so she can do the crossword puzzle.
As she starts it, the kitchen goes dark. Through the skylight they see an eclipse. Damon tells Bonnie to check the date on the paper. Just like the day before, it’s May 10th, 1994. They realize they’re reliving the previous day. Damon announces that they’re in Hell – his “own personal, custom-built Hell.” I think he’s going to need more bourbon.
Present: Matt asks Jeremy where Sarah is. Jeremy says he doesn’t know, but she’s actually still at Lockwood Landing. She wonders why Jeremy didn’t tell Matt that. Matt goes for a jog, running into Tripp, who asks what happened to Sarah. Matt says she spent the night at his place but is gone now. Tripp reports that Liz ran her license plates and her car came up stolen. He’s worried that Sarah’s a “bad element” and asks Matt to let him know if she turns up again.
Elena and Alaric are giving the compulsion another shot. She revisits the Miss Mystic Falls pageant, when Damon filled in for Stefan and saved her from public embarrassment. That was the first time she saw how sexy he was. Girl, it took you 19 episodes?? Alaric alters the memory, but again, that doesn’t make Elena forget the relationship. He tells her they need to find the moment when she realized she loved Damon.
Elena thinks that was when she found out about the sire bond. Everyone thought that was why she had feelings for him, but those feelings were real. Alaric compels her to believe her attraction was because of the sire bond, but again, it doesn’t work. There has to be something else. Elena thinks it could be the night at the motel. All she could think about was kissing him. “No one kissed anyone,” Alaric says compellingly. Nope, no luck. Every time he asks who Damon was, Elena starts to give her same response about him being her boyfriend, whom she loved, and who’s now dead. Elena gets frustrated and decides to give up.
Two months ago: Damon’s making pancakes (again) and Bonnie’s doing the crossword puzzle (again). She’s worked on it every day for weeks and still can’t get 27 across, “old tongue-twister Eddie turned top 40.” When Damon gives her a plate, she stabs it with her pencil, saying she hates pancakes. He tells her to get her magic going and get them out of there, then. It’s bad enough to be stuck with her, but it’s even worse to be stuck with a useless version of her.
She suddenly stops and asks if he heard something. Damon says there’s nothing to hear – they’re the only two people there, as has been the case for two months. Bonnie insists that she heard something. “Maybe it’s the sound of existential despair,” he replies. “It’s what Hell sounds like.” She snaps that they’re in her Hell, not his, since she’s stuck repeating the same day with the person she hates most in the world.
Present: Enzo asks Stefan an innocent question about his house, which leads to Caroline getting upset because he’s lived there longer than she thought. She reminds him that he’s supposed to be doing investigative work, not car repair. He tells her he’s moved on from investigations, but she says he can’t if the investigation hasn’t been solved. Stefan thinks that since he’s happy, it shouldn’t matter. Enzo calls for peace, saying there’s just been a misunderstanding. To clear it up, he stabs Stefan’s hand with his fork. He asks Stefan why he’s keeping so many secrets – what is he running from?
Enzo pulls the fork out and Stefan’s hand instantly heals, which freaks Ivy out. Caroline compels her to calm down and takes her out of the room. Enzo blasts Stefan for being a coward and giving up on Damon. They start fighting, and after they wreck a bunch of Stefan’s stuff, he breaks Enzo’s neck.
Alaric calls Caroline to ask for help figuring out when Elena first fell in love with Damon. Caroline says she’s avoiding admitting that she fell in love with him while she was in Stefan. She realizes too late that Stefan heard her. He starts cleaning up from the fight, pretending that he doesn’t care about what he just heard. Caroline says he always cared – how could he just stop? Stefan tells her he had to so he could move on. He followed lead after lead for months, and they all went nowhere. He’s already looking into Enzo’s new lead, the Gemini coven; it was another dead end. They can’t get Bonnie and Damon back. Stefan accepted it, and now he’s started over. That means cutting himself off from his old life and friends.
Caroline laments that they’re not as close as she thought they were. She wanted him to hear in all the messages she left him that she needed him. She realizes that he never listened to her messages. Stefan says he didn’t have a choice. He had to erase everything so he could move on. Caroline gives him a summary of the messages: “You’re a dick.” Also, she won’t help him get Enzo out of the house before he wakes up.
Elena opens her box of Damon-related stuff while leaving Luke a message to bring her more herbs. Alaric finds her and tells her the compulsion didn’t work because she wasn’t honest. She insists she was, and that talking to him about her relationship with Damon wasn’t easy. He clarifies that she wasn’t honest with herself. She needs to talk about her feelings for Damon while she was still with Stefan. Elena promises that she was faithful to Stefan and stuck by him through everything, even when he was killing people with Klaus. Alaric knows that, but he also knows that the compulsion won’t work until she admits how she felt about Damon then.
Elena says firmly that she loved Stefan the whole time she was with him and she never would have hurt him. Alaric tells her that she’s been lucky to love two people very deeply in just 20 years. Being honest about her feelings is okay. “It’s okay to love them both,” Elena remembers Katherine once telling her. Alaric gently urges her to tell him the moment she knew she loved Damon.
It was her birthday. After a summer looking for Stefan, Elena wanted to pretend things were okay because Caroline was throwing her a party. In his version of 1994, Damon goes to Stefan’s room, seemingly remembering the same moment Elena is – when he gave her back her vervain necklace. Even though Damon was in love with her, he gave her the thing that represented hope for her and Stefan. Damon finds the necklace in Stefan’s things as Elena puts her hand to the place where it used to be around her neck. She tells Alaric that that was the most selfless Damon has ever been. In that moment, she loved him. She didn’t want to, but she did.
“Do it,” Elena tells Alaric. She’s ready. He asks if she’s sure and she begs him to take away the pain. He compels her to forget Damon giving her back the necklace. The party was horrible, and afterward, she went home and watched movies with Jeremy. Elena remembers the moment she hated Damon the most, when he killed Jeremy, and lets it take the place of her love. Damon’s no longer her presumed-dead boyfriend – he’s the guy who killed her brother.
“Elena…who was Damon Salvatore?” Alaric asks.
“He was Stefan’s brother,” she spits out. “He was a monster. Then he died.”
Caroline cries in her car, then tries to pull herself together when Elena calls. She wants to go to a party with her friends. She had a good day, though she only remembers hanging out with Alaric and talking about Bonnie. She feels like things are taking a good turn. Caroline realizes that she went through with the compulsion. She agrees to come over later and spend the night in the Super Suite. She doesn’t let Elena hear how upset she is that yet another thing has changed.
Enzo gets in the car and, seeing that Caroline’s upset, gets right back out. Inside, Stefan tells Ivy that Enzo made a mess because he drank too much. He tosses some broken furniture outside, and when he comes back in, Enzo is holding Ivy, his hand around her neck. Stefan tells him to let her go. “Okay,” Enzo replies, snapping her neck.
He tells Stefan that Caroline’s upset because of how much she cares about him. Damon once promised Stefan “an eternity of misery,” and now Enzo gets why. Stefan isn’t a brother to Damon – brothers don’t give up. Every time Enzo sees him pretending Damon’s death doesn’t affect him, Enzo will give Stefan the misery he deserves. Stefan rushes Enzo, who just breaks his neck, then says, “See? We’re all still neck people.” I would like to stop having to type the word “neck” now, thank you.
Jeremy calls Bonnie’s phone to hear her voicemail message. He’s been paying her phone bill so he can keep hearing her voice. (Music: “Everybody Hurts,” Bread & Butter covering REM) He’s mad at her for telling him over the phone that she was going to die. He’s choosing to deal with that anger by leaving a message every day, knowing she won’t hear them.
Matt tells Jeremy what Tripp said about Sarah’s car being stolen. He wants her out of Lockwood Landing. Sarah overhears and confirms the accusation. (To be fair, she stole the car from her skeezy boss.) She understands Matt’s reasoning for not wanting her there. Besides, her father, whom she’s never met, supposedly lives in town, so she can go stay with him. Jeremy asks Matt to let her stay until she finds him. Matt says no, because he’s in the community-protection group and Sarah’s a car thief. Jeremy decides to take Sarah with him and stay at Vamp Villa instead.
The next day, Matt calls Tripp to tell him that Sarah supposedly has family in Mystic Falls. Tripp thinks she’s lying but says he’ll look into that anyway. Matt says Jeremy’s a good kid but is going through a hard time. Tripp’s familiar with Jeremy; he grew up with Grayson. Matt’s surprised to learn that Tripp is from Mystic Falls (he moved away as a kid). In fact, he’s a Fell. He took his mom’s last name after his father left, because his nickname, Tripp, didn’t go so well with the last name Fell.
Matt guesses that since Tripp is from a founding family, he knows all about the secrets that come with that status. Tripp jokingly asks if there’s a secret handshake. After he hangs up, he turns his focus to the drive he’s taking. He has a bunch of vampires chained in the back of his van, and he’s about to drive them over the anti-magic border. When he does, he opens the sunroof and they all go up in flames. He smiles and turns up the radio so he doesn’t have to hear their screams.
Bonnie cooks dinner in 1994 and she and Damon sit down for their umpteenth meal together. (Music: “Everybody Hurts,” REM) She can tell he’s been thinking about the gang, and she tells him she misses them, too. He sees that she finally got 27 across and finished her crossword puzzle. She says she didn’t – that clue is a rock she keeps trying to push up an “endless mountain.” But he shows her that 27 across has been filled in. “Old tongue-twister Eddie turned top 40” refers to the Pearl Jam song “Yellow Ledbetter.”
Bonnie asks if Damon’s messing with her. He says no. She tells him she didn’t finish the puzzle. He didn’t, either. That means there must be someone else with them.
Etc.: Not only did I post the recap of the first episode of this season on May 10th, but I watched this episode on May 10th. Neither was planned ahead of time; that’s just how they shook out. Freaky. (I also TRIPPed and almost FELL down the stairs, but that’s just my normal clumsiness.)
“Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” would be a good nickname for Liv.
Interesting that, as much as they get on each other’s nerves, Bonnie and Damon would rather stick together than go off on their own. Nothing’s forcing them to be around each other 24/7. She doesn’t have to live at Vamp Villa. But I think that, while she would be okay alone, he would go crazy without her.
I watched Eureka for the first time around the time I started this blog, so this is my first go-round seeing Colin Ferguson (Tripp) as a villain again after seeing him as the hero on Eureka. It’s messing with my head.
I like how the music goes from the “Everybody Hurts” cover in the present to the original version in 1994.
Apparently Bonnie and Klaus have the same flair for analogies. He says in “Rebirth” that Elijah seeks his redemption “like a man rolling a stone up an endless mountain.” Here, Bonnie says, “27 across is a rock I am pushing up an endless mountain.” (Show-runner Julie Plec wrote both episodes.)