Stefan is woken in the middle of the night by a call from Tripp. He’s grateful to Stefan for helping him capture Enzo. Tripp hasn’t killed him yet, since he’s still waiting for Enzo to tell him all about the other vampires in the area. Enzo hasn’t cracked, though, so Tripp thinks the vampires have fled. Unfortunately, he thinks they’ve gone to Savannah, which means some hunters are on their way to Stefan’s new neighborhood. Also Ivy’s neighborhood, since she’s a baby vamp now.
She’s currently scouring Stefan’s kitchen for blood. Even drinking all of Dean’s blood (she revived while he was burying her) didn’t satisfy her thirst. She’s annoyed that Stefan’s only lessons in Vampire 101 have been about avoiding sunlight and drinking from blood bags. He tells her they need to leave Savannah, but Ivy isn’t going to listen to the guy she blames for her vampirism. She laments that she used to be a good person with good grades and a good relationship with her family. “I had a freaking Etsy store!” she says. Now she’s a killer. She vamps out and tries to attack him, but he snaps her neck.
In the morning, he takes Ivy to the Super Suite (in a trunk) and asks Caroline to babysit her and teach her vampire stuff while he gets Luke to make her a daylight ring. Caroline doesn’t want to clean up Stefan’s mess, but he argues that there wouldn’t be a mess if she’d left him alone. She reminds him that Tripp is lurking around, but Stefan tells her he’s in Savannah. Ivy says she should have known better about this relationship – she read He’s Just Not That Into You. Stefan and Caroline both tell her to shut up.
Ivy needs to learn to control herself, and Stefan thinks Caroline is the best teacher available. If she’ll look after Ivy for a couple hours, she’ll never have to see him again. Caroline is hurt that he would think that’s what she wants, but she agrees. After Stefan leaves, Ivy asks when their next meal is.
It’s homecoming at Whitmore, so Alaric tells his students the supernatural origin of the party that will kick off the festivities that night. A Civil War soldier named Nathan Whitmore came home to be with the woman he loved, unaware that she had moved on to his brother. Nathan murdered his brother, then chased their mutual love interest into a nearby cornfield. Tyler invites Liv to the party, and though she says she’s not interested, she definitely is.
Alaric continues that according to legend, Lady Whitmore comes out every year on the anniversary of Nathan’s return, dressed in white and covered in her lover’s blood, screaming and running through the cornfields. The moral of the story, according to Alaric: “Do not fall in love, especially with your brother’s girl.” But then we wouldn’t have this show!
After class, Elena good-naturedly confronts Alaric for his lesson, which doesn’t have as much of an impact as it would if she remembered being in love with Damon. “Damon may be gone but I can still find pleasure in judging his life choices,” Alaric replies. And vice versa, I’m sure. He asks if Elena’s changed her mind about not wanting Alaric to compel her to remember everything. Elena has no reason to, since she only remembers bad things about Damon. Plus, she believes herself from the letter she wrote – she can be happy now. She bugs Alaric to come to that night’s party, warning that he’s in danger of becoming like Shane. He can’t become a “self-loathing vampire hermit.” He got a chance to start over, so he should take it.
Elena runs into Liam and invites him to the party. He balks at an event that involves a corn maze, but she assures him it’ll be fun. He asks if she’s going to try to set him up with any more of her friends. She asks if he’s going to kiss her again without any warning. She heads off to invite more people to the party, since she’s in a good mood and wants everyone else to be, too.
Damon is also in a good mood – he’s sure he, Bonnie, and Kai will be getting out of 1994 today, which means he’ll be seeing Elena soon. Bonnie keeps things realistic, pointing out that they can’t trust Kai. Plus, she hasn’t seen the spell she’ll need to do yet, so she doesn’t know if she’ll actually be able to do it. Damon reminds her that she used to be the optimistic one. She’s just worried that Kai will screw them over somehow. Damon vows to kill Kai and anyone else who gets in the way of their chance to go home.
Kai joins them in the woods at the spot where the eclipse will align with the Gemini constellation. He tells Damon to dig into the tunnels underneath them so they can do the spell there. The light from the eclipse will shine down there and illuminate the ascendant. Anyone standing in the light and holding the ascendant will be sent to the real world. Bonnie asks to see the spell, but Kai won’t show it to her yet. He leaves for a supply run in town and Damon gets to work digging.
Ivy wants to go to the homecoming party but Caroline isn’t in the mood. She’s mopey because Stefan avoided her for months and is now only back in her orbit because he needs something from her. Ivy tells her to unwind and admit her feelings for Stefan already. It was obvious from the night they met that Caroline likes Stefan. Caroline tells Ivy to drop it and practice her new vampire skills. Ivy shows that she can already vamp run, and she knows all the other basics like compulsion and snatch-eat-erase. She bugs Caroline to take her to the party and teach her how to feed without killing someone. Caroline just wants to wait for Stefan so she can hand Ivy off to him. Ivy’s intent on having fun while they wait, so she snaps Caroline’s neck and leaves.
A woman in a white nightgown covered in blood runs through a cornfield, screaming and carrying a torch. When she reaches the edge of the field, she uses the torch to light a bonfire, kicking off the big homecoming party. Elena and Liam are there together, and they spot Jo, whom Elena invited. She wants to set Jo up with Alaric. Everyone grabs a drink and heads into the corn maze as the sun goes down.
Once Caroline recovers, she leaves Stefan a message (her third) about Ivy’s disappearance while she searches for her near Whitmore. She tells Stefan that anyone Ivy kills tonight is on him. Alaric has decided to skip the party and drink alone in his classroom, which is where Stefan finds him. Stefan got Luke to make Ivy a ring, which Alaric guesses he did by blaming Luke for Damon’s death. He’s not happy to see Stefan, since Stefan spent months pretending he was looking for a way to save Damon and Bonnie when he’d actually given up.
Stefan tells him that Enzo turned Ivy, and he’d like Alaric to compel her to go start a new life somewhere else. Alaric’s like, “I’m not breaking up with your girlfriend for you.” He’s not going to give Stefan a pass to avoid doing something difficult. Stefan notes that Alaric gave Elena a pass by compelling her to forget about Damon. Alaric replies that Stefan forgot about him first. Stefan says Damon was his brother, and Alaric says Damon was his best friend. He tells Stefan to go away before Alaric compels him to be the guy he used to be.
Ivy heads downtown and sets her sights on a frat boy. (He doesn’t get a name, and I don’t want to call him by the actor’s first name, Vincent, since there’s a Vincent on The Originals, so I’ll call him Farrell, the actor’s last name.) While Ivy’s fine with the “snatch” and “eat” parts of snatch-eat-erase, she doesn’t have the “erase” part down. Plus, she’s still hungry, and she can’t control herself. She tells Farrell to run away, which he doesn’t need to be compelled to do.
While Damon digs into the tunnels, Bonnie provides helpful commentary, noting that he could be digging his own grave. Kai returns with some things he didn’t want to be without after leaving 1994, like Zima and a pager. (Also Alex Rodriguez rookie cards, which is, admittedly, smart, and which means Damon or Bonnie told him that A-Rod became really famous.) His number is 555-HI-KAI, by the way. He’s looking forward to seeing the future, especially the Internet, but he doesn’t want to get homesick.
Bonnie announces that they’re not proceeding any further until Kai shows her the spell she has to do. Kai says okay, then just stands there. She tells him to take her magic and do the spell himself. Kai starts to siphon from her, which makes Damon nervous, but Bonnie’s sure that he won’t kill her. She’s called his bluff, having figured out that he doesn’t know the spell to get them out of 1994. That means they don’t need him, so Bonnie magically impales him with the pick-axe Damon used to dig into the tunnels.
Elena and Liam are deep in the maze, and though she thinks they’re lost, he admits that he looked at a satellite image before he got there, so he knows how to get out. They flirt, though she admits that he’s not really her type. He thinks she’s hung up on an ex, but he means Stefan, not Damon, so he’s surprised when she blurts out that her most recent ex died. Anyway, she wants to focus on her time with Liam, not her past.
The student who played Lady Whitmore spooks Jo, who’s too jumpy to have any fun in a corn maze. Alaric laughs at her and she calls him Professor Bourbon, but she’s still happy to see someone her age. He didn’t expect her to be so easily scared, since she works in an ER and sees gross stuff all the time. She notes that that stuff is natural. The two of them realize that Elena set them up, but they aren’t exactly against the idea. He even lets her drink from his flask, pretending his supposed germaphobia is taking a break.
Tyler’s on his way to the party when Liv texts to say she’s leaving if he doesn’t show up in the next five minutes. In a classic example of why you shouldn’t use your phone while driving, Tyler doesn’t notice Farrell running out into the road. Tyler swerves to miss him but winds up hitting him anyway. He smacks his head on the steering wheel and knocks himself out. His truck plows through the maze, heading straight for a group of people, including Alaric and Jo.
Tyler stumbles out of the truck on the other side of the maze and realizes that he’s hit the exact person he was trying not to hit. In the maze, Elena regains consciousness as people run around, trying to get help for their injured friends. Liam is tending to Lady Whitmore, and his brief medical training tells him that they can’t save her. Elena sends him to help others, then feeds Lady Whitmore her blood to heal her. She compels her to believe that she dove out of the way of the truck before it hit her.
Outside the maze, Tyler calls Elena and tells her that he hit someone with his truck. He needs her to come help Farrell, and not just because saving a life is the right thing to do – if Farrell dies, Tyler will retrigger his werewolf curse. Elena tells him that he drove through the maze and a bunch of people are hurt. She gives him some instructions for taking care of Farrell and goes looking for Jo and Alaric. Alaric has some minor injuries from the crash, but they heal before Jo can get a closer look at them. He pretends the blood isn’t his. She has a cut on her arm, which pricks up Alaric’s hunger, but he lets her believe he’s uneasy because blood makes him squeamish. She tells him to call 911 and follow her.
Caroline finds Farrell’s car, which is covered with his blood from Ivy’s sloppy feeding. Stefan meets up with her and admits that he was going to ditch Ivy and leave town. Wow, he really doesn’t want to have to break up with her. He’s more focused on starting his life over than he is helping someone who needs help. Caroline admits that a little while ago, she wished that Damon would come back because then Stefan would come back, too. Now, all she wants is for Stefan to get out of her sight. Ivy calls Caroline and says she did something bad. Well, two bad somethings, if you count breaking Caroline’s neck. Still, Caroline will go get her.
Bonnie tries to figure out the spell to get out of 1994 while Damon enjoys some Zima. It’s the only way he can stay optimistic about them escaping without the one person who could help them, who’s now a “giant douche-kebab.” Bonnie still doesn’t think they need Kai. Why put someone in prison and give them a key to leave? She believes the Gemini coven used a Bennett spell to create the prison world. That could be why Sheila sent Bonnie there. She told Bonnie to stay strong; maybe she was trying to tell Bonnie that she has the power to escape.
Bonnie is convinced that they have everything they need to get home: the ascendant, the eclipse, and her burning desire to get away from Damon. She chants something over the ascendant, which opens up. She realizes that Kai needed a Bennett to leave 1994. That’s why he didn’t kill her. Bonnie heads for the tunnels, telling Damon it’s time to go home.
Liv shows up at Tyler’s truck, where Tyler’s more worried about retriggering his curse than he is about some poor college kid dying. Alaric helps Jo with a patient, again struggling to keep himself from vamping out. Jo is as calm and focused as any good trauma doctor would be, and she has the added advantage of having been an Army medic right after med school (her way of avoiding some “family stuff”). Elena brings Jo her phone so she can tell Tyler and Liv how to help Farrell. Jo determines that they can’t save Farrell, so she tells Tyler and Liv to keep him comfortable and sit with him while he dies.
The eclipse is starting, and Bonnie and Damon are more than ready to ditch 1994. She drips some of her blood on the ascendant and chants over it again. They both put their hands on it and he paraphrases what she said to him right before they got to the prison world: “I’m sure there are about a billion people you’d rather be there with.” Bonnie fights back tears of joy as she whispers, “Not exactly.” But before the light can reach the ascendant, Bonnie gets hit in the stomach with an arrow. Kai’s not dead after all, and he’s not going to let them leave without him.
He explains that he can’t be killed in the prison world. He’s tried to commit suicide a number of times, but it never worked. Damon eyes the ascendant, which Bonnie dropped on the ground, but Kai threatens to shoot her again if he tries to pick it up. Damon goes to Bonnie and starts to feed her his blood, but she tells him to stop Kai, who’s making a grab for the ascendant. As the guys fight each other, Bonnie tries to reach the ascendant herself.
Tyler gives Farrell CPR, begging him not to die. Liv finally stops him, telling him there’s nothing he can do. Tyler can’t believe that it took one guy running into the road to put him right back where he didn’t want to be. Liv has another idea, though. She smothers Farrell with her hands so she’ll be the reason he dies instead of Tyler.
Liam wants to do a procedure on another victim, one he should definitely not be doing as a pre-med student, and especially without supervision. Elena is ready to expose herself and feed the victim her blood instead, but Liam does his thing and saves her. No one around them says anything about the fact that Elena was about to bite her own wrist. Later, after the paramedics arrive and everyone starts leaving, Liam spots Lady Whitmore walking around as if nothing happened to her.
Bonnie manages to grab the ascendant as Kai stabs Damon with an arrow. Damon tells her to take this chance to leave. She says she won’t make it but Damon will. She uses magic to throw Kai off of Damon and pull Damon into the right spot for the light to hit him. She tosses him the ascendant, which activates. Protesting, he disappears. In the process, the ascendant drops to the ground and breaks. Kai is furious but Bonnie is satisfied.
Jo and Alaric reunite at the hospital, where she tells him he’s a wonderful person and she feels like she was meant to know him. He replies that she’s also wonderful, and he would love to believe that they’re meant to be, especially since he doesn’t really care for his current life. Then he compels her to remember their night together as a disaster, and not just because of the mass trauma. He’s a borderline alcoholic and he’s boring and she doesn’t want to kiss him. She wants him to stay far away from her.
Jo agrees that the night was a disaster and Alaric is definitely an alcoholic. She kisses him and tells him he’s not boring. She walks away, leaving Alaric dumbfounded that his compulsion didn’t work.
Caroline’s still on her way to get Ivy, but Tripp finds her first. He thinks she’s covered in blood because she was part of the crash at Whitmore. She tells him to leave, but he shoots her full of vervain and drags her into his van. Caroline arrives in time to see this. At Whitmore, Liam asks Elena how she was able to save Lady Whitmore. Elena credits “crazy, mysterious things in the world” that science can’t explain. Then she kisses him to distract him. She didn’t think he was her type, but after he showed off his heroics, she changed her mind, because heroes are her type.
Tyler finds Liv at Scull Bar and tells her that all the other crash victims survived. He wants Liv to talk about the fact that she killed someone – she can’t pretend it didn’t happen. “Watch me,” she replies. He tries to ease her grief by pointing out that she couldn’t save Farrell, so she saved Tyler instead. He can never repay that. He won’t waste the second chance she gave him.
Stefan goes to the Salvatore crypt with a bottle of bourbon and the confession that he’s not holding up well without his brother. He keeps trying to start over but he’s not getting anywhere. He’s lost. His sadness turns to anger and he flings his bottle across the crypt.
Damon catches it. He chastises Stefan for wasting perfectly good bourbon and takes a swig. Stefan’s in shock that Damon’s really there, and Damon tells him it’s a long story but he’s back. Stefan hesitantly puts a hand on Damon’s shoulder to confirm that he’s real, then grabs his brother in a tight hug.
Keep in mind: Real world/prison world travel requires an ascendant, a celestial event, and blood from a Bennett witch.
Etc.: I know this is a very minor detail to focus on, but I don’t get how it’s afternoon in 1994 at the same time it’s evening in the real world.
Heroics aside, Liam really isn’t Elena’s type. I also find him annoying. They should have made him more like Matt, just a normal, friendly guy who treats Elena well. That way it’s harder to root against him (because there’s no way anyone’s rooting for him to be with Elena).
“Professor Bourbon.” Man, I love Jo.
It feels very contrived that Elena wasn’t able to find Tyler, Liv, and Farrell. We know Liv can start fires – why didn’t she use a magic flare to alert Elena to their location?
I love the little indications Bonnie and Damon give that they’ve developed a friendship. He doesn’t want to leave 1994 without her! She hints that being stuck with him for months wasn’t completely horrible! It’s cute.