Caroline is dreaming about the day Liz taught her to ride her bike without training wheels. She’s had a spill, so Liz brings her some first-aid supplies. Caroline doesn’t think Liz is taking her scrapes seriously. She asks if she’s going to die, and Liz assures her that she won’t. Caroline then asks if Liz is going to die. Liz promises that she won’t for a long time. Caroline asks what happens if Liz dies and Caroline is still there. “Well, then you’ll be all grown up and you won’t need me,” Liz replies. “I think I’ll always need you,” Caroline tells her.
She wakes up in the living room of Vamp Villa, where she and the gang all fell asleep the night before. In the kitchen, Damon’s trying to write Liz’s eulogy but can’t figure out what to say. He thinks she wanted to teach him a lesson about his own mother. Caroline cuts him off, not wanting to hear about his own loss. She knows this is going to be the worst day of her life, and she doesn’t feel like starting it by bonding with him. Damon warns that this won’t be the worst day of her life. That’ll come when everyone starts to back off of taking care of her and she’s really alone.
By the time everyone else gets up, Caroline has made a to-do list. It holds five days’ worth of work, but she wants it all done in one day. She’s fine with the gang using various vampire perks to get things done. She wants Liz celebrated and buried by the end of the day. Matt and Tyler, who arrived sometime overnight, are first to agree. Caroline enlists Elena to go casket shopping with her; she’s a little more excited about the task than you would expect.
As they leave the house in the real world, Bonnie returns there in the prison world after her trip to the island to get Silas’ headstone. She makes a video diary entry, stating that she’s been there for 278 days and finally has a way out. She pours herself a celebratory drink and says she’s going home.
Caroline’s having a horrible day and Bonnie’s having a great one, but Jo’s is somewhere in the middle. She’s sick, possibly from food poisoning. Alaric thinks they should skip Liz’s funeral but Jo insists on going. Kai comes by and asks to talk to Jo. He’s also sick, but whatever’s wrong with him is worse than what Jo’s dealing with, because at least she’s not throwing up blood. Kai guesses that they’re dealing with the effects of a non-twin merge. He asks Jo to fix him, pointing out that if he dies, everyone in their family and coven dies, too.
While getting ready for the funeral, Damon has a flashback to the day of his and Stefan’s mother’s funeral in 1858. Stefan reminds Damon that the eulogy is very important and that Giuseppe doesn’t want them to cry. Damon tells him that their father isn’t capable of human emotions. Stefan’s ten, so he’s allowed to cry. Stefan says he doesn’t feel like he needs to – Lily’s angel visited him last night and told him everything would be okay. Damon didn’t get a visit of his own from their mother.
In the present, Stefan tells Damon that “something happened” between him and Caroline (Damon: “Ooh, finally!”) but they haven’t had a chance to talk about it, since Liz died right afterward. He needs advice on how to handle it. Damon tells him to “pull the rip cord.” If Stefan were in love with Caroline, he wouldn’t have to ask what to do. Stefan’s reluctant to admit that, but Damon gets him to realize that he doesn’t feel the way about Caroline that he did about Katherine and Elena. Not all love is true love. Caroline wants it and Stefan doesn’t. He should end things before they can progress – just not today.
At a funeral home, Caroline runs into a well-meaning townsperson who expresses her condolences over Liz’s death. Elena runs interference and advises Caroline to come up with three rote responses so she can get through chatting with all her mother’s mourners. As Elena’s giving more details, Caroline blurts out that she and Stefan kissed. She wants to talk to him about it, but not if he’s going to tell her he doesn’t feel the same way about her as she does about him. Elena tells her to wait until tomorrow. Caroline decides she needs to know one way or the other today.
Jo examines Kai in her office, asking about his symptoms and joking that he could be pregnant. He’s medically fine, but Kai thinks that’s just because his illness is magical. He realizes Jo has stopped throwing up. As he pukes up more blood, he grabs Jo’s arm and accidentally siphons some of her magic. It makes him feel better, so he thinks it’s his cure. Alaric objects but Kai reminds him that Jo will die if Kai does. In addition, the magic that keeps prison worlds intact comes from the leader of the Gemini coven, so those will fall apart if Kai dies. Alaric seizes on the fact that he said “prison worlds” plural. “Has no one ever mentioned that?” Kai asks.
Bonnie goes underground to the spot where she’ll be able to go home. The ground shakes and she suddenly finds herself somewhere else – it’s nighttime, it’s snowing, and there’s no eclipse.
Elena checks on Damon, who’s still struggling with the eulogy. He’s stuck on having to stand up in front of the whole town and pretend to be a nice person. He thinks Liz is laughing at him from the afterlife. Elena assures him that he’s “nice…ish” and tells him it’s not about him. He should say what Caroline needs to hear. Damon has another flashback, remembering how he joined Stefan at their mother’s grave after skipping her funeral. Stefan’s upset that he didn’t show up just to say goodbye. In the present, Damon starts writing.
Jo and Alaric discuss her options. He knows that playing martyr and giving in to a villain could get Jo or Bonnie hurt or killed. But it’s Jo’s choice. If she wants to keep her magic, Alaric will help keep her safe from Kai. If not, he’s okay with it – he loved her before he knew she was a witch, and he’s pretty sure he’ll keep loving her if she chooses to give it up. “Pretty sure?” Jo asks. “Yeah, at least 92 percent,” he replies.
As people start arriving at the church for the funeral, Stefan approaches Caroline, who’s with Liz’s casket. Elena told her to categorize mourners so she knows what to say to each of them (it differs based on the closeness of their relationships), but Caroline isn’t sure what category Stefan fits into. She figures she might as well ask. His facial expression makes it clear that he doesn’t want to be placed in the category she wants to put him in. He tells her they should talk about this later, “when all of this is over.” After he leaves, Elena goes to tell Caroline that it’s time for the funeral to start. She offers to give Caroline a minute but Caroline says she’s ready. She assures Liz that she’ll be okay: “Everything will be fine after today.”
Bonnie films herself as she looks around her new location, which she says is either “a snowy-tundra Hell dimension” or a hallucination from a psychotic break. She spots footprints in the snow, then looks up to see the northern lights in the sky. She spots a house and goes inside. She reads someone’s journal, which mentions the northern lights and how they’re a recurring celestial event, AKA something Bonnie needs to get home. The entry is dated November 1st, 1903.
Tyler’s late to the funeral, partly because he couldn’t find a tie and partly because he’s tipsy. Matt tells him he can’t go in while he’s drunk. Tyler refuses to miss Caroline’s mother’s funeral, but Matt isn’t going to let him bring his baggage from his breakup with Liv in with him. He goes in alone for the service, which is packed because Liz was a beloved public servant. He seems intrigued when a deputy does the traditional last radio call for a former law enforcement officer.
Damon’s eulogy is brief, but like Elena suggested, it’s a message to Caroline. Liz didn’t get a chance to talk to her daughter one last time, so Damon tells Caroline what she would want to say: Liz was proud of her. She’s a strong, beautiful woman, a wonderful friend, and “a bright light in a sea of dark.” Liz called Caroline extraordinary, which she is. Liz was, too, along with being a hero to the town and Damon himself. He says goodbye to Liz and tells her she’ll be missed. Caroline thanks the attendees for coming, then sings “Go in Peace.”
During the reception at the Grill, Matt praises Tyler for pulling himself together to make it. Watching Liz’s deputies today made him want to be a part of something like she was. He’s going to apply for an officer training program. He got an application for Tyler, too, hoping to give him some purpose. Caroline tells Elena she’s going home and turns down Elena’s offer to walk with her so she doesn’t have to be alone. Caroline thanks her for all her help throughout the day. “I just had to get through today,” she says.
Bonnie takes more video footage as she looks around the house in 1903. She finds a little frame that holds pictures of Damon and Stefan from back in the 1860s. Jo tells Kai she’s going to give him her magic. Alaric asks about the other prison world, but Kai just says it’s probably home to other horrible people, like his was. Jo does a spell to pass on her magic, and it makes the house Bonnie’s in shake. She runs out the front door…
And finds herself back in the woods on May 10th, 1994, with the eclipse overhead. She races to the tunnel, passing in and out of 1903 as she runs. She realizes it doesn’t matter where/when she does her escape spell, since the eclipse and the northern lights are both recurring celestial events. She cuts herself and drips blood on the ascendant to activate it. As she’s chanting the spell to go home from the 1903 prison world, a woman approaches her and asks who she is. Before Bonnie can answer, the ascendant whisks her away.
Kai now has all of Jo’s magic, as well as a message he wants to share with her. He whispers something in her ear and tells her to have a good life. After he leaves, Alaric asks what he said. Jo tells him that she’s not sick because of food poisoning. She’s pregnant.
While she tries to process that information, Alaric thinks for about two seconds and then acts on his instincts: He asks her to marry him. Jo rejects his “pity proposal,” but he’s been thinking about it for a while. He bought a ring the day after Luke died. With Liz sick and Jo in danger, Alaric thought about how short life was. He was going to propose this morning, before Jo got sick. He acknowledges that this is all up to Jo, but he’d like to have a baby with her. That’s something he never expected to get the chance to do.
He confirms that this isn’t a pity proposal and gets down on one knee. Jo is a little overwhelmed but she clearly likes the idea of marrying Alaric and starting a family with him. She asks if he’s really sure. “At least 92 percent,” he says. In that case, the answer is yes.
Stefan joins Damon at the bar and asks what helped him get through his writer’s block. Damon says he just needed the reminder that the goodbye wasn’t about him. He failed Stefan by not giving Lily’s eulogy, and he didn’t want to fail anyone today. Stefan tells him he was wrong about Caroline. He can’t really explain what he feels for her, but it’s more than just friendship. Maybe not all love is true love, but this could become something even better than that. Damon urges Stefan to go tell Caroline that.
Caroline goes home, where she’s surrounded by Liz’s things, all reminders that she’s gone. Elena shows up, having figured out that Caroline has been hiding something. She’s been focused on getting through the day without worrying about how she’ll feel tomorrow. Elena knows now that Caroline doesn’t want to feel tomorrow – and she doesn’t plan to. She’s going to turn off her humanity.
Caroline says she thought she could get through the hard parts and then pick herself up like she always does. Damon made her realize that it won’t be that easy. It’ll just get worse, and she can’t handle anything worse than how she already feels. Elena warns that turning off her emotions will make everything worse. Caroline thinks she’ll have a different experience than Elena did; she has more control over her vampire traits.
Elena predicts that people will get hurt and even killed. Caroline doesn’t think Elena has any place to weigh in here – she turned off her emotions when Jeremy died and she erased her memories when Damon died. Plus, Stefan ran away from his life. Caroline deserves the chance to avoid her grief, too. Elena says turning off her humanity and erasing her memories were two of the biggest mistakes she’s ever made. Caroline isn’t sure they were mistakes. They did the trick, keeping Elena from feeling the worst of her pain. That’s all Caroline wants, for the pain to be gone.
Elena asks if Caroline would change her mind if Stefan had said what she wanted to hear at the church. (Yeah, she eavesdropped.) Caroline says it doesn’t matter. Her mother’s dead and she can’t breathe from the pain. She can’t handle it getting worse and she shouldn’t have to. Elena hugs her, agreeing that she shouldn’t. But turning off her humanity isn’t the right solution and Elena won’t let her. Caroline snaps Elena’s neck and says it’s not her choice to make.
When Damon gets home, someone’s in the kitchen, making pancakes. Bonnie’s back! They’re so excited to see each other that he holds out his arms and she jumps into them.
As Stefan finds Elena still temporarily dead at Fort Forbes, with no sign of Caroline, Bonnie gives Damon the photos she brought back from 1903 and shows him the video she didn’t realize she was taking when the ascendant sent her home. She filmed the woman who approached her, and Damon immediately recognizes her: She’s Lily, his and Stefan’s mother.
Etc.: Everyone seems to have forgotten that Caroline has already lost her father, so she’s not new to mourning a parent.
I’m not sure why Jo is so insistent on going to Liz’s funeral, since they never met and she barely knows Caroline, but okay.
We’re not going to talk about how you wouldn’t be able to see the northern lights in Virginia.
Matt becoming a law enforcement officer makes perfect sense because he already likes making judgmental calls, and this will give him actual standing to make them.
I need to have a chat with the person who chose the song “Shine” by Night Terrors of 1927 to play during Alaric’s proposal – specifically, whoever thought it would be good to use the lyrics, “And we’ll live forever and we’ll never die.”
I love that Damon is the first person Bonnie sees when she gets back. I love even more how happy they are to see each other.