Three years from now: Bonnie is attending a group-therapy session at a psych facility. The leader invites her to open up, and she says she’s been thinking a lot about the past and how one decision can completely change your life. She made a mistake and lost someone she loves. She wishes she could take it back, but all she can do is try to live with it.
When the session’s over, Bonnie goes to her room and is surprised to find Enzo waiting there for her. He tells her things are bad “out there” and she can’t hide forever. She runs to him and they kiss each other passionately. So when Bonnie said her life had completely changed, she wasn’t kidding.
Present: Alaric has brought Jo home from the morgue, but all she’s done so far is sleep. Bonnie comes by with term papers he’s supposed to grade. He offers to take her on as a TA; she’ll just have to write vague comments in the margins of the papers and give everyone a B+. Bonnie decides her time would be better spent figuring out how she was able to resurrect Jo and Oscar. She’d like to know what kind of magic she tapped into, in case she “opened up Pandora’s rock.” Alaric gives her the phoenix stone so she can learn more about it. As Bonnie leaves, Jo wakes up and says she’s hungry.
Caroline has also just woken up, and Stefan teases her for making herself lie in bed with him instead of getting up to do something productive. Damon interrupts what might have turned into another round of sex by letting himself into the Super Suite. He wants to celebrate: Elena’s safe, Stefan’s with Caroline, and Alaric got Jo back. “Everything’s coming up Salvatore,” he says. It makes him want to be a better person. He’s going to do right by Elena, starting with a visit to Valerie for an interrogation.
Caroline reveals that Stefan and Valerie had a fling a long time ago and he hasn’t seen her since she got out of the prison world. Damon knows about Stefan and Valerie’s history and is surprised that she’s one of the Heretics. Caroline tells Stefan this is a great chance for him to catch up with her. Unless he’d be uncomfortable, of course. Stefan pretends he wouldn’t be.
At Vamp Villa, Oscar is still binging on blood. Lily tells Enzo that Julian is coming home today, if things go according to plan. She hopes Enzo can be happy for her and get along with her boyfriend. Mary Louise and Nora come in and worry because Oscar isn’t his normal self. They’re looking forward to having Julian back, but they can’t get Oscar to cheer up about his return. Lily asks Enzo to babysit him while the rest of the Heretics go get Julian. She’d also like Enzo to try to convince Valerie to come home if she calls.
Enzo calls Valerie instead, urging her to hurry up and get to Julian before Lily and the others catch up to her. Valerie knows where Julian is because Oscar had the information on his phone, but the others must have used a locator spell to find him. The call ends when Valerie’s phone dies (I guess no one taught her about charging it). She looks up just in time to slam on her brakes so she doesn’t hit Damon, who’s standing in the road. It turns out that Valerie stole Matt’s car, so Damon just tracked it to find her.
Damon wants to know why Valerie killed Oscar and framed him. She claims ignorance, so Damon threatens to call Lily and ask if she has any helpful information. Valerie stops him with a choking spell, which she drops when Stefan joins them. Their reunion is less than friendly, since all Stefan wants from his one-time fling is an explanation of what she’s up to.
Bonnie tentatively goes home to the Super Suite, ensuring that Stefan isn’t still in Caroline’s bed before she goes in. Caroline is embarrassed to be a roommate cliché, but Bonnie’s happy that she’s gotten some action. “I think Miss Cuddles is starting to feel sorry for me,” she says. Caroline reveals that she sent Stefan to spend the day with Valerie. “You are either completely insane or the most secure woman in the world,” Bonnie comments. Caroline wants them to work things out so Stefan won’t keep his feelings bottled up. They need to clear the slate and get on with their lives. That inspires Bonnie, but before she can try to meet a guy of her own, she has to go to Mystic Falls and talk to Oscar about magic.
Stefan and Damon join Valerie for a very awkward road trip to find Julian. Damon summarizes the situation: Valerie killed Oscar so he couldn’t tell anyone where Julian was, because Julian is evil and she doesn’t want Lily to bring him home. Valerie says that Julian was responsible for a huge massacre in 1897, but Lily still loves him. Damon doesn’t see a problem with that – Stefan was the Ripper of Monterey but Caroline still wants to be with him.
Damon brings up Stefan and Valerie’s past, telling Valerie that when she didn’t return, Stefan went all emo in his journal. (Yes, Damon read it.) Stefan brushes off Valerie’s failure to reconnect with him, knowing she was Lily’s spy and was just playing a game with him. Valerie doesn’t say any different, just asking the guys to focus on the task at hand. Damon agrees to shut up, and Stefan explains that he’s trying to be a new man.
Like Oscar, Jo is having some memory issues. She’s confused about a number of things, including who she is, who Alaric is, and what a TV is. She shows a bit of her old personality when he cuts his hand and she offers to fix him up. Caroline checks in with Stefan, who’s stopped at a gas station. Damon yells through the phone (she has vamp hearing, dude; she can hear you even if you whisper) that he’s making sure Stefan and Valerie don’t do anything inappropriate.
Stefan invites Caroline to have dinner with him that night, not because he feels guilty about spending the day with Valerie but because they haven’t had a normal date yet. Caroline admits to feeling guilty herself for pushing him to spend time with Valerie when he obviously didn’t want to. Stefan says he needed the push. He needed to hear that their time together was a lie.
Valerie brings Damon a gas can to fill, since she needs an accelerant to burn Julian’s body. He says she’s getting ahead of herself, since they haven’t killed him yet. Valerie realizes that Damon and Stefan don’t know that Julian is already dead, and has been since 1903.
Bonnie goes to Vamp Villa, where Enzo tells her the gang can’t just let themselves in whenever they want anymore. “Shall we spend a few moments catching up before I throw you out?” he asks. How was her summer? Did she meet any nice guys in Europe? Or did she just follow Damon around and refill his glass? Enzo’s surprised that Bonnie’s still in town, since she’s the only thing keeping Damon from being with Elena. Maybe she likes the danger. Or maybe she has a crush on Damon. Bonnie shoots back that Enzo’s projecting, since he has a crush on Lily.
She tells Enzo that she wants to talk to Oscar, but Enzo says he’s not himself and this isn’t the time for a chat. As he’s throwing her out, they hear a scream from Stefan’s room – Oscar’s feeding on the housekeeper, Lucy. Enzo pulls him off, then heals Lucy and compels her to forget what happened (and take a spa day, which is nice of him). Bonnie tries to talk to Oscar, who remembers her from a dark room in the basement. She’s confused but proceeds, asking him about the phoenix stone. “There. You got me out of there,” he says.
Stefan, Damon, and Valerie reach the boarded-up warehouse where Oscar stashed Julian’s body. Valerie explains that Oscar didn’t want Lily to know where Julian was because as soon as Julian’s back with the family, the fun’s over and everything will change. Stefan doesn’t get why Valerie killed Oscar; does she just have a short temper? Damon tries to open a door with a bunch of locks on it while Stefan and Valerie bicker. When they finally get into the warehouse, they realize it won’t be so easy to just burn Julian’s body. Oscar’s a prankster and hid him in a room full of coffins.
They start searching while Valerie details Lily’s plan. She wants to reunite Julian’s body with his soul, which requires the phoenix stone. “Never heard of it,” Damon lies, though Valerie knows he used it on Oscar so he could trade him for Elena. Whoever he brought back fooled Lily enough to get the job done. Stefan asks her to clarify that. Valerie explains that the phoenix stone is full of vampires’ souls. The gang didn’t resurrect Oscar – they put a random vampire’s soul in his body.
Damon goes outside to call Bonnie and ask how things are going with “Professor Frankenstein and his rebooted bride.” He casually tells her to let Alaric know that they made a little mistake, and Jo isn’t really Jo. The phoenix stone is a “supernatural holding cell” and they pulled out a vampire’s soul and put it in her body. Oh, yeah, and Oscar is “some random vampire in a Heretic candy shell.” When Bonnie says she’s at Vamp Villa, Damon tells her to get out of there and go tell Alaric what’s going on. She doesn’t think that should be her responsibility, so he plays the I’m-trying-to-be-a-better-person-for-Elena card, saying Elena wouldn’t want him to give Alaric the bad news. Bonnie finally agrees to do it, telling Damon he owes her.
She starts to leave, but now Enzo wants her to stay. He has some questions about the phoenix stone. She tells him she got it on sale at Rocks R Us. Heh. He knows Lily’s been looking for it. Bonnie starts to leave again, but this time she’s stopped by Oscar, who says he won’t go back in the stone. He tries to bite her but she gives him a magic migraine. She drops the stone as she’s fighting him off. Enzo knocks him down when he tries to go after her again. Bonnie tells him that Oscar isn’t Oscar, which he confirms with a shout and an accidental blast of magic. Now that he knows he can use magic, Bonnie doesn’t want to be anywhere near him. She takes off with Enzo right behind her, though not before he picks up the phoenix stone.
While Alaric unpacks Jo’s things, she finds a gun in a box with her wedding dress. She asks what happened to her. He tells her a little about Kai but doesn’t want to give her too many details yet. It’s too crazy for her to grasp right now. Jo says she remembers being stabbed, but through the heart, not from behind. She gets agitated, and when Alaric tries to calm her, she points the gun at him. She keeps it aimed at him as she leaves the apartment.
Stefan, Damon, and Valerie continue searching the sea of empty coffins for the one that contains Julian’s body. Stefan snarkily mentions that he got Nora to remove the spell Valerie put on Caroline. Valerie says she forgot all about that. Stefan asks why she did the spell – he doubts she was trying to protect Caroline from Nora and Mary Louise. “Because I’m pure evil? Because I like seeing people suffer?” Valerie replies. She says she’s not a horrible person. Stefan doesn’t believe her, since she turned his life upside-down, left, and then messed with Caroline. Valerie replies that he doesn’t know anything about her.
Stefan finds a coffin he can’t open. Valerie siphons the spell sealing it and finds Julian’s body inside. Magic has preserved it so that it hasn’t desiccated. She spits on him, then starts pouring gas on him as Damon comments that Lily deserves credit for upgrading to a guy who’s better-looking than Giuseppe. Valerie tries a spell to set Julian’s body on fire, but the flames immediately go out. Nora and Mary Louise suddenly appear, having hidden themselves with a cloaking spell. They call out Lily and tell her that Valerie’s trying to kill her boyfriend.
Lily sends the mean girls outside so she can confront Valerie alone (well, Stefan, Damon, and Beau are all there, so not really alone). Valerie didn’t realize that Oscar had a ring in his pocket that belonged to Julian. Beau used it for a locator spell. Lily asks why Valerie would sneak out and come to kill Julian. Valerie tells her that Julian’s a monster and they can’t bring him back. She couldn’t talk to Lily about him because Lily’s blinded by her love for him.
Lily slaps her, and Stefan speaks up to defend his sort-of ex. Lily says that anything Valerie has told the guys about Julian is a lie. Damon asks who they’re really dealing with. Lily says Julian’s the love of her life, the man she didn’t think she deserved. She fought for him and waited for him and told herself she could change for him. Parallel narrative alert! “He makes me better, Damon. You know anything about that?” Lily asks.
She tells Beau to take Julian’s casket to the car. Valerie protests, telling Damon and Stefan that Julian didn’t make Lily better – he made her cruel and vindictive. She’s the one who gave Kai the idea to use the sleeping spell on Elena. It was her way of punishing Damon for not helping to get the Heretics out of the prison world. Damon zooms to Lily and chokes her, but Beau magically throws him off, then makes a bunch of coffins around them explode.
Bonnie spells herself and Enzo in Damon’s bedroom, which he doesn’t think is a good enough measure of protection – he thought she was going to take him to a secret passageway. “You watch too much Scooby-Doo,” she tells him. He considers jumping out the window and leaving Bonnie to fend for herself as Oscar tries to break in.
She demands the phoenix stone back, saying that if Lily wants it, it must contain someone she cares about. Enzo realizes it’s Julian. Bonnie’s like, “You’re in love with her so maybe don’t help her bring back her boyfriend?” Enzo doesn’t give any merit to relationship advice from someone who’s single, but she tells him he deserves better. Oscar figures out how to siphon off Bonnie’s spell, and he gets through the door and grabs Bonnie by the throat. He wants the phoenix stone, so she tells him that Enzo has it, then leaves. Ha!
Stefan and Damon were hit with debris from the coffins, which temporarily put them down, and by the time they recover, Lily, Beau, and Valerie are all gone. Damon’s practically foaming at the mouth at the idea of killing Lily. Stefan reminds him that she’s still their mother, but that just makes it worse – Damon’s mother is the reason he can’t be with his girlfriend for 60+ years. Stefan calmly tries to get him to go back to his I’m-trying-to-be-a-better-person kick, but Damon is ditching that to get revenge. Stefan promises they’ll deal with that later. Right now they need to find Valerie.
Oscar throws Enzo around, demanding the phoenix stone. Enzo chucks a pair of scissors into his neck, but Oscar is part vampire so that’s not going to do anything. Enzo tosses the stone across the room so Oscar will chase after it. Then when Oscar’s back is turned, Enzo stakes him. He takes the stone back, citing the legal precedence of finders keepers.
Valerie took a bunch of wood shards to the chest, and she tells Stefan not to bother pulling them out, since either Lily or Julian will kill her anyway. Stefan replies that he’s not the kind of person to leave someone hanging. Buddy, it’s time to let that go. It was 110 years ago. Move on already. Valerie says that she wouldn’t have ditched Stefan if she’d known how much it would make him hate her. He says he doesn’t hate her – he just wanted the truth. She admits that he doesn’t know the full truth.
She tells him that she was on her way back to him when Julian caught her. He was focused on taking Lily to Europe and didn’t want her distracted by Valerie. Valerie reveals that she was pregnant with Stefan’s baby, but Julian “made sure it wasn’t a problem anymore.” He knew Valerie wouldn’t be able to tell Stefan. She went with the Heretics and never told anyone. Stefan is saddened by the knowledge that his life could have been so different.
When Lily gets home, Enzo takes her to Oscar’s body and tells her that he died two days ago but was brought back (…ish) by the phoenix stone. Lily knows how it works, so she gets that without a matching soul and body, you just get a random vampire in a stranger’s body. Before Enzo will hand over the stone, he wants to know why Valerie would risk her place in the Heretics’ family to keep Lily and Julian apart. Lily doesn’t seem to know. Enzo thinks Julian might have control over Lily, but she says whatever you want to call what they have, it’s love. If Enzo wants her to choose between him and Julian, she chooses Julian. She takes the phoenix stone and asks Enzo to understand, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
Bonnie fortifies herself with some liquid courage at the Grill, then calls Alaric, who’s out looking for Jo. Bonnie tells him she’s not really Jo. Alaric is sure that she is and says she just needs time to adjust to being back. Bonnie knows she can’t be Jo because her soul wasn’t in the phoenix stone. She’s someone else now. Bonnie offers to meet up with Alaric and figure out what to do, but he’s just spotted Jo across the street from Scull Bar, so he hangs up. Jo gives him back the gun, since she doesn’t know how to use it, and says she doesn’t find anything familiar, even her own face. Alaric finally accepts that she’s not really Jo. But that leaves the question of who she is. He promises she’s not alone and he’ll help her figure things out.
Caroline calls Stefan, who’s in Mystic Falls and doesn’t think this is a good night for a date. Caroline knows what’s going on, thanks to a chat with Bonnie, and she’s understanding about the delay. She asks if there’s anything else she should know, and Stefan says there isn’t. When they hang up, he tells Valerie that he’s mad that he didn’t know what happened, and he’s sad that he lost something. He’s also furious with Julian and sorry that Valerie had to endure what she did alone.
She tells him that she killed herself after what Julian did, but she had vampire blood in her system. Now she’s a much different person from the one he met at the fair. One simple act changed her entire life. Second parallel narrative alert! Stefan promises not to telly Lily anything. Valerie starts to ask if he would have wanted a child but he answers before she can finish. Yes, he would have.
He invites Valerie to spend the night at Lockwood Landing, but she thinks she should run. He tells her that Damon is going to make sure Lily can’t get her hands on the phoenix stone, and if he fails, Stefan will kill Julian himself. But at Vamp Villa, the Heretics are already doing a spell to put Julian back in his body.
At the Grill, Damon tells Bonnie that Lily’s responsible for Elena’s sleeping spell. Bonnie jokes that mother and son are equally fiendish. “I do not go behind people’s backs and torture them,” he protests. “I like my enemies to look me in the eye and see the depth of my rage.” Now that they’ve lost the chance to burn Julian’s body, Damon’s decided it would be too good for Lily anyway. He wants to give Lily the love of her life, whom she’s been separated from for 100 years, so she can “taste true happiness.”
Julian’s alive and the Heretics are thrilled. Damon tells Bonnie that when Lily is good and happy, he’s going to kill Julian and destroy her. “So much for the new leaf, huh?” Bonnie comments. Damon expects her to tell him he’s not doing right by Elena. Bonnie says he is, and he’s pleased that she’s joining him on “the train to Crazytown.”
Keep in mind: The phoenix stone contains a bunch of vampires’ souls, and if you don’t have the right body to match with a soul, you’re just putting a random vampire in a random body.
Significant item update: The Heretics have the phoenix stone.
Etc.: I thought the Bonnie/Enzo pairing was ridiculous at the beginning, but it grew on me over time and I wound up really liking them together.
Why would a witch with powerful magic need an accelerant to burn something?
I enjoy Valerie calling Damon and Stefan “you clods.” I might make it my new ringtone.
It’s funny that for once, Damon is the third party being made to listen to two people constantly fight, when usually he’s one of the people fighting.
Were we supposed to be worried that Jo was going to shoot Alaric? Because we know the gun was empty.