the Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries 6.8, Fade Into You: Prison Break

May 9th, 1994: A 22-year-old Jo, then known as Josette, is lying on the floor of her bedroom after having been stabbed in the abdomen by her brother Kai. Kai has already killed four of their siblings, and he’s looking for the last two, a pair of blond four-year-olds. Jo finds them hiding and suggests that they play hide and seek. Kai comes into the bedroom, and at first it looks like he doesn’t see them under the bed. Just when Jo is starting to relax, he lifts up the bed…

Present: …and opens the trunk of his car, where he stashed Bonnie for a long drive from Mystic Falls to Portland. He’s counted the days since he was sent to the prison world (6,771), and according to his math, it’s Thanksgiving in the real world (which they’ll never get back to, now that Bonnie’s sent her magic away in Miss Cuddles). It’s Kai’s favorite holiday and he wants to celebrate it with a home-cooked meal in his childhood home.

At Whitmore, Elena and Caroline are also preparing for Thanksgiving. They’re hosting a Friendsgiving get-together in the common room of their dorm. Elena thinks she may need to tell Liam that she’s a vampire, so she’s practicing how to say it. Caroline is optimistic that he’ll stop digging into Lady Whitmore’s recovery and Elena won’t have to admit that she cured her with vampire blood. Elena notes that Liam could instead keep digging, learn the truth, and take off running.

Caroline suggests that she compel him to drop the subject, but Elena doesn’t want to kick off what will inevitably turn into a series of lies. Caroline says she’ll support Elena if she wants to tell Liam the truth, but if she’s making a rash decision to reveal her secrets because she wants to distract herself from all things Damon-related, she should take a beat: “Keep your fangs to yourself.”

Jo arrives for the get-together with a turkey and the news that Alaric won’t be coming. Elena calls him to confront him for going on a “guys’ trip,” since numbers at the meal will be low – Matt and Jeremy are cleaning up the Tripp mess and Liz has to work. Alaric is with Stefan and Damon, who determine that only two of the three guys were invited to Friendsgiving. Caroline must have been in charge of the guest list because she didn’t want Stefan there.

While Alaric is explaining the trip to Elena, she realizes that it has to do with Bonnie. He tells her that Bonnie was, in fact, with Damon in the prison world. Instead of feeling bad for letting Elena think Bonnie was dead, Damon pointedly acknowledges that he didn’t consult her in a decision that might change her life permanently. Alaric spins that to say that he didn’t want Elena to get her hopes up. Damon thought Bonnie died sending him back to the real world, but Miss Cuddles’ appearance gives him reason to believe that she’s alive.

The guys are in Portland to look for the ascendant Kai said his coven had there in 1994. Stefan cautions Alaric not to say too much, since he followed this lead months ago and it didn’t go anywhere. Alaric just tells Elena that Stefan sends his love, then hangs up. Caroline has overheard the conversation, and she and Elena are thrilled to know that Bonnie isn’t gone forever after all.

Alaric teases Stefan about not being invited to Friendgiving. Damon hopes he and Caroline work things out by Christmas. He suggests that they just date already, but Stefan claims not to have romantic feelings for Caroline. Damon and Alaric list the reasons he should: 1) She’s hot (“objectively,” says Damon). 2) She puts up with him. 3) She’s very well-organized. She has no drawbacks. “Ehhh, she did sleep with you,” Alaric notes. “See? Another plus,” Damon replies.

The guys have arrived at their destination, but instead of the building they were expecting to find there – the headquarters of the Gemini coven – there’s just an empty field. That’s exactly what Stefan found there months ago. But in the prison world, that field holds Kai’s house. He wanted to show it to Bonnie since no one outside of his family has ever seen it. The coven goes to great lengths to keep it hidden.

Stefan is ready to call an end to the trip and go home, but Alaric notes that not being able to see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. “Not unlike Caroline’s feelings for Stefan,” Damon says. He pulls out Miss Cuddles and uses a high voice to speak for her, saying that Stefan’s worried about ruining his friendship with Caroline since she liked him and he broke her heart. “See, Stefan? Even the bear knew,” Alaric tells him. “I saw that from a mile away and my brain’s made of cotton!” says “Miss Cuddles.”

Unamused, Stefan wrestles the bear away from Damon and drop-kicks her into the field. There’s a shimmer from the magic inside the bear, and suddenly a house appears. “Miss Cuddles 1, invisible creepy mansion 0,” Damon declares.

Back in Mystic Falls, Liv arrives for Friendsgiving and meets Jo, who finds her familiar. (Though they haven’t officially met, they heard each other’s voices over the phone at the corn maze.) Liv doesn’t return Jo’s politeness. She tells Tyler that Luke is running late because he’s making a retrospective video for their upcoming 22nd birthday. Liam shows up next and immediately apologizes to Elena: He double-checked Lady Whitmore’s records, and everything looked normal. He feels horrible for making accusations against Elena. Jo tells Elena that she altered the records to throw Liam off her’s trail.

Stefan is curious about how Miss Cuddles was able to undo the spell cloaking the house. Alaric remembers Jo telling him that she hid her magic somewhere. He guesses that Bonnie put her magic in the bear. Damon realizes she must have done it to keep Kai from being able to use her to leave 1994. He tries to enter the house but he can’t without an invitation, so Alaric goes in alone.

In the same house in the prison world, Kai is throwing together a meal with the ingredients that were in the family’s fridge on May 10th, 1994. The house looks the same as it did the day before that, blood and all. Bonnie plays with Kai’s pager and suggests that they divide the world in half and stay away from each other. He tells her he’s trying to make things up to her. She replies that he’ll never succeed, so he shouldn’t waste his time. Kai asks her to have one last meal with him before they split up. He’ll even let her take his car when she goes.

Luke makes it to Friendsgiving just as Caroline is starting things off by telling people to share what they’re thankful for (in 100 words or less). Tyler checks on Liv, who’s still in a bad mood, and worries that he did something to cause it. She assures him that he didn’t. Luke, failing to read the room, asks if anyone wants to see embarrassing home videos of Liv. Caroline wants a tech-free evening but everyone ignores her.

Luke plays a video of himself and Liv at their fourth birthday party. They greet the person taking the video as Josie. Jo and Elena come back in and Elena says that Josie sounds like Jo. That’s because Josie is Jo. She knows Luke and Liv as Lucas and Olivia, her younger siblings.

In Portland, Alaric emerges from the house with a bunch of pictures and articles confirming that Jo used to live there. One of those pictures is of her with Kai, which lets Damon make the connection that he and Jo are also siblings. A man joins the guys and asks if Damon met Kai. He’s Joshua, and he’s Kai, Jo, Liv, and Luke’s father. He shakes Damon’s hand, then does a spell that makes them and the house invisible to Stefan and Alaric (though Damon and Joshua can still see and hear them). Joshua then puts Damon down with a magic migraine.

Caroline asks how Jo and the twins wound up in the same community without having seen each other for years. Jo says they had a family friend nearby: Sheila. She helped Jo get settled there, and she helped send Kai to the prison world. Jo and Kai are twins, by the way, so Luke and Liv aren’t the only set in the family. Everyone at Friendsgiving is so used to discussing the supernatural with each other that they’ve forgotten that Liam has no idea what they’re talking about. When he hears the word “coven,” he has some questions. Tyler corrects that to “oven,” which is a nice try but not his best work. Caroline has a better idea, compelling Liam to go to his room to get a wine opener.

Jo tells the others that Kai killed four of their siblings while trying to get to Luke and Liv. In their coven, twins are in line to lead. Kai wanted to be the leader but couldn’t while Luke and Liv were alive. Jo hid them with magic so Kai couldn’t find them.

1994: Kai lifts up the bed but only sees Jo under it. Jo voices over that he doesn’t have his own magic and can only draw it from others. He acted out, and their parents realized that he would never make a good leader. They had more kids until they had another set of twins. Kai searches the room, then grabs a bat so he can beat Liv and Luke’s location out of Jo. She yells for the kids to run and they race out of the room, becoming visible once they leave the boundaries of her cloaking spell.

Present: Damon wakes up inside the Parkers’ house, where Joshua says he just wants information. He needs to know how Damon was able to leave the prison world. Damon wants the ascendant first, but Joshua isn’t about to hand over the only thing that will break Kai out of his prison. He came home on May 9th to find four of his children dead, one stabbed, and two running for their lives. He’s not letting the person responsible escape.

Liv tells the Friendsgiving crew that with Kai gone, leadership responsibilities fall to her and Luke. Caroline’s like, “Cool, we’ve learned some things about each other, so let’s eat!” Liv decides to leave, and Elena asks Luke what she’s so upset about. Luke and Jo explain that the coven can’t have two leaders. After a pair of twins turns 22, they merge. The stronger one absorbs the weaker one’s power, and the weaker one dies.

Tyler follows Liv to Scull Bar and asks why she didn’t tell him about the merge. If she doesn’t want to do it, she doesn’t have to. Her coven doesn’t control her. Liv says the coven needs a leader. Tyler can’t understand and he can’t help her. She’s been trying to keep him at a distance because she knows she can’t be with him. Either she’ll die in the merge or she’ll have to spend the rest of her life knowing she killed her brother.

Joshua has told Damon about the merge, too, but in terms of what it means for Jo and Kai. He knows that if Kai gets out of the prison world, he’ll want to merge with Jo. His siphoning ability will kill her and the coven will be forced to follow a psychopath. “Which is now moot, thanks to Blond and Blonder,” Damon says. He brings up the ascendant again, but Joshua refuses to let Damon get his hands on it. Damon says he’ll just kill Kai if he gets out. But Joshua isn’t willing to risk Jo’s life or the possibility that Kai will wind up leading the coven.

Alaric calls Jo to tell her that he may have just met her father. Jo demands to know what he’s up to. Meanwhile, Stefan fills Elena in on Damon’s disappearance (teasing her not to sound too concerned about someone she doesn’t remember loving) and Alaric’s call to Jo to get help breaking the cloaking spell. He confirms that Jo was invited to Friendsgiving but he wasn’t. Elena cites Friend Code, which says that if Caroline has a problem with someone, Elena has to side with her. She wants them to kiss and make up, since it’s getting weird.

As Liam returns to Friendsgiving, Elena asks Stefan how he knew he could trust her with the truth about who he was. He says it was easy – he was in love with her and wanted her to know everything. He tells her she owes him dinner, then hangs up. Jo warns Alaric that if Joshua thinks the gang is going to find a way to get into the prison world, he’ll suspect they’re going to free Kai, and he’ll retaliate. Joshua is currently working on a spell that involves a necklace that used to belong to Jo. Jo tells Alaric that he wasted a trip anyway. She’s had the ascendant all this time.

Suddenly Jo hears a loud screeching noise and her vision goes blurry. She tells Elena and Liam that her dad is trying to kill her. Elena ignores Liam’s questions so she can tell Alaric to find Joshua and stop whatever he’s doing. Stefan points out that they still can’t see the house, and he hasn’t been invited in anyway. Jo invites him in over the phone and tells him and Alaric that magic will let them see the house. She starts coughing up blood, but she doesn’t let that (or Liam’s attempts to diagnose her) stop her from directing Stefan and Alaric to a source of magic.

Kai has stretched out his last meal with Bonnie, but she finally calls an end to it and demands his keys. He wants to tell her the rest of his story. Yes, she read about it in the paper, but there are details that were left out. Joshua made the decision to send Kai to the prison world, putting the coven ahead of one of his kids. Joshua tells Damon that if Kai has an ascendant and access to Bennett blood, he’ll eventually break out of the prison world. The least Joshua can do is kill Jo to prevent Kai from merging with her. As Kai told Bonnie, Joshua is putting his coven ahead of his family.

Joshua gives Damon another magic migraine as he finishes the spell. Outside, Stefan and Alaric search the tree stump Jo sent them to and find a knife. Alaric thinks that’s where Jo hid her magic. Stefan throws it at the house, where it embeds itself in a post on the porch, making the house visible again. As Joshua is about to stake Damon, Stefan rushes in. Joshua quickly makes himself invisible again.

Elena and Liam try to use their medical knowledge to help Jo, who starts convulsing. When they check her eyes, they’re completely red. Liam thinks Jo’s dying, so he tells Elena to call 911 while he starts CPR. Elena decides there isn’t time, so she feeds Jo her blood, explaining to Liam that that will heal her. Once it has, Liam asks Elena what just happened. She blurts out that she’s a vampire. She’s realized that her life is too complicated to bring him into it. She compels him to forget everything about the night, Lady Whitmore, or his near-relationship with Elena. They’ll just go back to being work colleagues.

1994: Jo stashes the knife in the tree stump, covering it with leaves. She tells Kai she’ll merge with him as long as he doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Present: Kai tells Bonnie that they had to wait until the next day because they needed a celestial event for the merge. Jo gathered the coven for the eclipse.

1994: Jo and Kai start the merge but he doesn’t feel anything because Jo doesn’t have her magic anymore. He wonders why the coven is silent. Joshua comes toward him, chanting the spell to send him to the prison world.

Present: Kai has never been able to figure out what happened to Jo’s magic, but when Bonnie put hers in Miss Cuddles, he realized Jo had stashed hers somewhere, too. He pulls the knife out of the tree stump and siphons the magic out of it. Bonnie isn’t worried, since Kai only has magic and the ascendant, but not a Bennett witch to do the spell to escape the prison world. Kai says that after watching her do it twice, he knows how to do it himself. He just needs her blood. He stabs her and lets her fall to the ground, unconscious.

Damon summarizes the world’s worst guys’ trip: They went through airport security, flew across the country, and dealt with “Papa Kai,” all to get a knife. Stefan adds that the trip was a waste of time anyway, since the ascendant is five minutes from where they started out. Alaric refuses to let the Salvatores use the ascendant since his girlfriend’s life could be at risk. Damon thinks it’s a little early for Alaric to use the G word. Also, they need to save Bonnie. Alaric says he’ll do what he can to help, but not with the ascendant. Damon falls back on his favorite way of getting things done: forcing other people to do what he wants. He compels Alaric to do whatever’s necessary to get the ascendant. Stefan objects, but it’s not like he has a better idea.

The next morning, Liv wakes up at Lockwood Landing after a night of drinking. Tyler refuses to let her sacrifice herself for a merge just so her coven can have a leader. She warns that the coven will come after her, but Tyler notes that magic doesn’t work in Mystic Falls, so they’ll have to come through him. Liv apologizes for ruining Thanksgiving, and he says she’ll make up for it next year. He’s not going to let her die.

Stefan surprises Caroline in her dorm, and she surprises him right back by giving him some Friendsgiving leftovers. Apparently learning that Bonnie’s alive has softened her. Stefan apologizes for pushing Caroline away; he didn’t want her to let him wallow in his grief, since he knew she was the only person who would do that. He tries to say something else but she ends the conversation there.

Elena finds Damon at Scull Bar and chastises him for not telling her that Bonnie was alive or bringing her on the trip to Portland. “Well, Ric had more frequent-flier miles,” Damon quips. “And Ric didn’t deliberately forget our entire relationship.” Elena admits that she deserves that. She clarifies that Damon and Bonnie spent four months together. He says they fought a lot, but they also cooked and ate together, and they played Tetris for a while. They also talked a lot. Elena’s happy they had each other. Damon notes that Bonnie sacrificed herself so he could come back. He’s still amazed by that.

He continues that when Bonnie wasn’t talking, she listened while he did. She knew why he wanted to come back, so she gave him the chance when it became available. Elena asks what they talked about. “What do you think?” Damon replies, incredulous that she would have no idea. She tells him she ended things with Liam, and Damon asks what went wrong. “What do you think?” she says.

Elena’s at a crossroads – she could live the life she thinks she should have, and be safe and successful and probably happy. Or she could take a gamble on the “tiny glimmer of a feeling inside” that she can’t get rid of. She hasn’t made a decision yet, so she needs some advice. She’d like Damon to help her bring Bonnie back so she can find out what Bonnie thinks.

Bonnie wakes up on the Parkers’ lawn with Kai’s pager buzzing next to her. “I LIED,” it says. He took his car with him, stranding her in Portland, in a prison world where they’re literally the last two people on Earth.

Keep in mind: In the Gemini coven, twins must merge when they turn 22, and the survivor gets to lead the coven.

Etc.: Damon telling Stefan to just go out with Caroline already reminds me of Matt telling Damon to get back together with Elena already.

I love Damon and Alaric teasing Stefan about Caroline. It’s such a sibling thing to do.
Obviously the solution to the whole merge thing is “well, just stop doing that,” but in Legacies there’s an indication that there’s some curse that affects eligible twins who don’t merge. It never gets clarified or fully explored, so we’ll just pretend it’s accurate.

Two Jo high points in this episode, both involving Liam: 1) When he arrives, she says, “Am I glad to see you,” but she’s actually talking to the wine he brought. 2) When Liam tries to diagnose her after she starts coughing up blood, she bluntly tells him to shut up.

Everyone, please welcome Joshua to the list of horrible Vampire Diaries/Originals fathers. Joshua, you can stand over there between Marcel’s father and Giuseppe Salvatore.

Oh, Alaric. Why didn’t you start taking vervain the moment you became human again?

I’ve never really grasped how horrific Bonnie’s situation is, because it’s honestly too much to fully get. First she’s stuck reliving the same day over and over with only two other people around. Then she sends one of them away and is stuck with a murderer. Then she gets rid of her magic, leaving her completely vulnerable, as well as without a way to escape. Then that last person she was ever going to have contact with is gone, and she still has no way out. She’s injured, she’s alone, and she has no hope of not spending the rest of her life like this. She’d probably prefer it if she’d ceased to exist when the Other Side collapsed.

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