the Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries 6.16, The Downward Spiral: Not-So-Sweet Caroline

After leaving Elena temporarily dead at Fort Forbes and turning off her humanity, Caroline has gone to Scull Bar to get drunk. A bartender tries to cut her off but she insists on having more tequila to take her mind off of having to wear uncomfortable shoes all day. Liam approaches her and flirts with her, though he turns serious when he learns that her mother just died. Caroline invites him to leave with her, assuming he’s single (because he definitely isn’t dating Elena and doesn’t even know why he would be). After a brief makeout session, she vamps out and bites him.

The next day, Elena goes to the Super Suite and finds that Caroline’s cleared out all her stuff. Stefan reports the same from Fort Forbes. They wonder if this is her way of cutting off ties to her past. Elena decides to look around campus and find out if anyone’s seen Caroline, but before she can leave, she gets a huge surprise: Bonnie, back in the real world, alive and well.

I guess Damon didn’t tell Elena so that Bonnie could surprise her, but someone told Kai, who says Bonnie’s “plucky” enough to have gotten herself out of a prison world. He’s bugging Damon as he’s about to open Lily’s dug-up coffin to see what’s inside. Kai thinks he’s wasting his time, since Bonnie saw Lily in the 1903 prison world. Damon denies that that’s possible – Lily died of consumption in 1858, and he’s going to find her inside the coffin. Kai knows Damon can’t believe that 100 percent or he wouldn’t have called Kai over.

Damon says the person Bonnie met had to have been someone else, or it was Lily’s ghost. If Lily had been alive in 1903, she wouldn’t look like she did in 1858. Kai points out that she would if she were a vampire. Damon insists that she wasn’t, and she’s not in a prison world. She’s dead. Unfortunately for him, opening the coffin doesn’t prove that, since it’s empty.

Enzo catches Sarah taking pictures of him at Scull Bar and approaches her. She remembers how he saved Matt but doesn’t seem too freaked out about the fact that, you know, Enzo gave Matt his blood and Matt recovered from his horrible injuries. Back at the Super Suite, Bonnie happily reunites with her wardrobe while Elena opens a bottle of champagne, saying, “Suck it, 1994.” She bought it the day she and Damon tried to rescue Bonnie and has been saving it until she came home. She feels bad that they kept living their lives while Bonnie was away, but Bonnie’s just happy to be back.

She mentions Jeremy’s departure for art school and asks Elena not to tell him yet that she’s home. She wants to give him more time in his normal life before she drags him back into supernatural stuff. Plus, they need to deal with Caroline first. Caroline comes home just then from a shopping spree to replace all her stuff for a fresh start. She barely acknowledges Bonnie’s return before telling Elena that she ran into Liam. She reveals that she fed on him and was going to kill him but decided the aftermath would be too much trouble. Plus, she knew Elena would get on her case.

Caroline wants to use that mini-good deed to make a deal: She gets to keep her humanity off for one year without any attempts by the gang to make her turn it back on. She won’t hurt anyone unless someone tries to get her to flip her switch. It’s basically the same deal Elena requested when she turned off her humanity. She and Bonnie are speechless over their best friend’s sudden personality change.

Damon and Stefan learn about the arrangement, which Damon describes as “St. Caroline keeps her halo even with no humanity.” He’d actually be okay with her killing someone, since there are too many people around (he means Kai). He assures Stefan that anything Caroline does won’t be on him. It’s not his fault that he didn’t realize how he felt about her until she’d already flipped her switch. Stefan asks Damon to check around town to see if anyone’s missing.

Kai notes that Damon didn’t tell Stefan about Lily. He guesses that Damon doesn’t want to expose Stefan to the harsh truth that their mother did something horrible enough to be sent to a prison world. Damon says he wants the truth first, and he’s going to get it with Kai’s help. Since Liv was able to send Damon and Elena to the 1994 prison world, Kai must be able to send Damon to the 1903 world.

Kai says he needs the 1903 ascendant first. Damon guesses that he knows where it is, since he’s the new leader of the Gemini coven. Kai confirms this but clearly wants something in return. He’s been experiencing lots of feelings since merging with Luke, and he keeps thinking about what he did to Bonnie. He wants the chance to apologize to her, and he’ll need Damon’s help for that.

Sarah threatens to distribute photos of Enzo and his veins doing weird stuff if he doesn’t tell her about himself. He tells her he’s fast, strong, and rich, which he demonstrates by grabbing and destroying her memory card. She asks what he is and he thinks she’s joking. How could she not have figured out that he’s a vampire?

When he says the word, Sarah isn’t really impressed. She thought there would be something more to it. “It’s okay, the whole vampire thing is over anyway,” Caroline says as she joins them. Sarah introduces herself and Caroline realizes she’s the relative Stefan told her about. Before she can spill anything Sarah doesn’t know, Enzo compels Sarah to leave them. Caroline appreciates not feeling like she needs to know what Enzo’s up to. She invites him to a party she’s throwing at a warehouse that night.

Stefan finds Liam at the medical center and compels him to answer some questions honestly. Liam tells him that he made out with Caroline last night but nothing unusual happened. He mentions the party and says Caroline will be there. Stefan immediately calls Elena and surprises himself by inviting her to a rave. Elena shows up with Bonnie, lamenting that this isn’t what she had in mind for a welcome-home party. They split up and Elena spots Caroline dancing with a guy. Caroline taunts her by vamping out and acting like she’s going to bite the guy. She assures Elena that she’s fine.

Bonnie gets dragged to the dance floor and spends a few moments dancing with a guy who doesn’t want to let her go. He calls her hot, so she magically heats herself up and singes him. That’s right, keep your hands to yourself! Elena meets up with Stefan, who tells her that Caroline compelled Liam to forget whatever happened between them. Elena’s pleased, since that means Caroline’s covering her tracks, but Stefan doesn’t want her to keep going back to Liam as a source of food. Elena tells him she restocked their fridge with blood bags. So far, Caroline’s sticking to the agreement, so maybe they should do what she wants.

Stefan doubts that she’ll just flip her switch back when a year is up. She’s going to snap and it’ll be his fault because he didn’t tell her how he really felt. If he did, he could have stopped this. Elena’s willing to go along with whatever Stefan’s plan is. It starts with him drinking shots with Caroline.

Damon calls Bonnie, who admits that she’s happy to hear from him. He teases that their friendship only existed in 1994. He can tell that something’s off with her, and she hints that she’s having trouble getting back into her life. Damon brings up Kai, saying he’s not as brutal as he used to be, thanks to the merge. Bonnie doesn’t believe that he’s changed and doesn’t want to talk about him ever again. Instead of pushing the issue, Damon says he’ll figure this out on his own.

He tells Kai that Bonnie won’t agree to see him because she doesn’t believe he’s changed. Damon even puts his foot down about trying to discuss it with Bonnie again. Kai says that’s too bad, since he might know where the ascendant is, and he’s learned a little about Lily. She was captured in New York in 1903 after coming over from Europe, possibly to pay a visit to her sons. That’s all Kai will say until he gets what he asked for.

Caroline flirts with Stefan, even though she knows he, Elena, and Bonnie are only there to keep an eye on her. Stefan says he wants to tell her how he really feels about her, but she no longer cares. He plows forward anyway, saying he couldn’t admit his feelings because he got scared. Caroline comments that it only took a couple of years, Liz’s death, and Caroline ditching her humanity for him to figure it out. Stefan encourages her to turn it back on; it’ll hurt but he’ll help her through it. She looks tempted, especially when he pulls her toward him for a kiss, but she really sees it as an attempt to manipulate her, exactly what she told the gang not to do.

She finds Liam, asks him how he is at surgery, and takes him off somewhere. Then she meets up with Enzo, who complains that Sarah wasn’t impressed when he told her he’s a vampire. Caroline says that Stefan’s been looking out for her since she was born and has been trying to keep her away from vampires. He must have compelled her not to care about them. Caroline wants to take things with Enzo to a whole new level, but he decides it wouldn’t be fun since she’s not really herself. She’s not disappointed since she was just distracting him so she could steal his phone and get Sarah’s number.

Damon arrives at the rave to try another tactic to get Kai what he wants: Bring Kai to ambush Bonnie so she can’t say no. As Kai apologizes, Bonnie remembers the horrible things he did to her in the prison world. Her response: “If I see your face again, I will melt it off.” Kai’s disappointed while Damon realizes he crossed a line.

Stefan, however, has had success with his plan: Though he didn’t get Caroline to turn her humanity back on, he confirmed that he’s her emotional trigger. He thinks he’ll be able to get her to come back. Elena reminds him that she vowed to retaliate if they messed with her, so Stefan suggests that they lock her up and push until they get through to her. Of course, they’ll have to find her first.

She makes first contact, calling Stefan from Enzo’s phone. He asks why she has it but she thinks there are three other questions that he should be more interested in: 1) Why does Enzo have Sarah’s number? 2) Where’s Sarah? 3) “What the hell are you going to do to her, Caroline?” Stefan hears Sarah through the line as she joins Caroline at an empty Scull Bar. When he asks why she’s there, a question Caroline finally deems appropriate, she says she’s going to kill Sarah.

Damon follows a furious Bonnie to the Super Suite, where she blasts him for bringing Kai to her after she said she didn’t want to see him. She magically makes Damon feel the pain she felt when Kai shot her with an arrow, strangled her, drugged her, and kidnapped her. After all that torture, Kai claimed he wanted to be nice and start over – just like he’s saying now – but then he stabbed her. The worst part came when he left because Bonnie was alone for months. She wishes she could show Damon what that felt like. She kicks him out, ignoring him when he tries to apologize.

Stefan and Elena race to Scull Bar but Sarah’s not there. Caroline says she’s with Liam, who she has on speakerphone. She’s compelled him to operate on Sarah, who’s awake and aware of what’s going on. Elena tries to talk Caroline down but Caroline just laughs at her for trying to make it about herself.

Stefan offers to do whatever Caroline wants, up to and including leaving town, if she’ll let Sarah go. Caroline says it doesn’t matter how far away he goes – he’s still himself. She can’t risk letting him stay the person she fell for because she knows that person can make her flip her switch. Stefan notes that killing Sarah won’t change that. Caroline knows that, so she wants Stefan to change instead. If he wants to save Sarah, he just needs to turn off his own humanity.

Of course Stefan says he won’t do it, so Caroline tells Liam to cut out Sarah’s spleen. She figured she’d start with something Sarah can live without, though the post-op infection might kill her. (Also, since Liam has no idea what he’s doing, who’s to say he won’t cut something he shouldn’t?) Liam apologizes as he starts cutting.

Stefan reminds him of the conversation they had earlier about being honest and asks where he is. Caroline tells Liam not to answer but he ignores her and says he’s at the medical center. Elena zooms off to try to get to Sarah before Liam kills her. Caroline tells Liam to cut out Sarah’s heart instead of her spleen. Stefan attacks her and tries to grab her phone but she trips him, then stakes him through the back, immobilizing him.

Kai returns to Vamp Villa and tells Damon he’s not going to bring Lily back to the real world. There are only two prison worlds in existence, which means Lily must have done something truly horrendous to deserve being sent to hers. It’s for Damon’s good. Damon grabs him and demands to know how to get Lily back. Kai blurts out that she’s a Ripper. She became a vampire in 1858 and faked her own death. She went wild in Europe, then moved around to keep killing without getting caught. Rumor has it that she killed as many as 3,000 people. The Gemini coven took it upon themselves to stop her in 1903. Overwhelmed, Damon decides he’s heard enough.

Bonnie leaves Jeremy a message letting him know she’s back but isn’t sure she’s still the person she was before. She’s a mixture of scared of her new self and pleased with who she is now. She’s going to stay away until she figures herself out. After she hangs up, she looks at one of the scars Kai gave her.

Elena searches the medical center as Liam reluctantly prepares for Sarah’s next operation. Back at Scull Bar, Caroline asks Liam why Sarah stopped screaming. She seems to have passed out, so Caroline’s not as interested anymore. She tells Liam to kill Sarah, then hangs up. She pulls the stake out of Stefan’s back as she answers a call from Elena. Elena asks where Sarah and Liam are, but Caroline isn’t about to tell her.

Stefan knows that she’s going to let Sarah die. Out of options, he gives in. “Bring me back,” he tells Elena through the phone. She figures out what’s going on and yells for him not to do it, but he doesn’t listen. Caroline gives him a wicked grin.

Elena finally finds Liam and Sarah, but even as she’s giving Sarah some of her blood, Liam keeps trying to follow Caroline’s orders. Elena breaks both of his wrists so he can’t hold a scalpel anymore. She heals Sarah and assures her that everything will be okay.

She calls Stefan and tells him that she found Sarah, who will be fine. “Oh, really?” Stefan asks casually. Elena asks if he’s okay and he says he will be. She desperately asks him to tell her that he didn’t shut off his humanity. “Okay. I won’t,” he replies. He hands the phone to Caroline, who informs Elena, “He shut it off.”

Etc.: Ian Somerhalder (Damon) directed this episode.

Candice King (Caroline) does a great job making Caroline seem dangerous without taking it too far. She makes her look normal on the outside, if different from her usual self, with a hint of badness simmering just under the surface.

I’m not sure how Enzo considers himself rich, unless he stole a bunch of money before WWII and no one touched it in all the decades he was an Augustine vampire.

Caroline sleeping with Enzo would have been fun, if only because she would have freaked out later when she turned her humanity back on and remembered it.

Liam has his only really endearing moment in this episode: When Caroline asks him how Sarah’s surgery is going, he says, “I think I’m gonna go into pediatrics.”

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