Three years from now: Damon looks at the kids’ drawings on Alaric’s fridge and mocks him for having rooster dishtowels and glitter on his cheek. He asks when Alaric last talked to his fiancée. Alaric got a text from her earlier in the day, but it was about normal household stuff, not the reason Damon’s there. Damon tells him to call her, even though Alaric says she doesn’t answer her phone before a broadcast. Damon tells him that Stefan is being hunted again, and Caroline will eventually be used to lure him out. That’s right, folks – Caroline and Alaric are engaged! I know, it’s ridiculous! Try not to think about it too much!
Speak of the blonde, Alaric notices that Caroline has popped up on the TV. She’s broadcasting from her studio, her head still bleeding from her encounter with the person who shot her and Tony with stakes. She announces that she has an urgent message for Stefan.
Present: Stefan dreams about spending time with the son he could have had in the 1860s. The boy, Jacob, disappears while Stefan’s teaching him how to shoot a gun. When Stefan wakes up, Caroline tells him that he was yelling the boy’s name. Stefan doesn’t tell her what the dream was about.
Caroline wonders why he spent the night on a couch at Lockwood Landing instead of in the room he must have claimed for himself after getting kicked out of Vamp Villa. Valerie comes in, wearing a towel after a shower, and says she took his bed for the night. So the house only has three bedrooms? One for Matt, one for Stefan, and one for Damon? Sure, okay.
Stefan fills Caroline in on the events of the previous episode, telling her that if/when Julian is resurrected, he’ll go after Valerie, so Stefan wants to protect her. Caroline suggests that they help her disappear instead. She can go far, far away and never come back! Valerie interrupts the couple before they can get distracted by romance and tells them they need to move fast. The phoenix stone makes people crazy, and since Julian’s soul was in it for more than 100 years, he’ll become super-crazy. Valerie needs to get away from him ASAP. Sounds like Caroline’s plan is the way to go, then.
In terms of physical fitness, Julian’s century in the stone hasn’t left him any weaker. He’s able to leap around Vamp Villa, fencing with Beau. Lily tells them to take it outside, like a true mom. She’s worried about Julian being too active, but he spent 100 years off his feet, and he’s not going to keep himself restrained. Lily warns that they have enemies in Mystic Falls – her sons. Julian’s surprised that they’re still alive and says he has some catching up to do. Lily agrees, so she sends Beau to Lockwood Landing with an invitation to a welcome-home party for Julian. “Looks like Mom raised her man crush from the dead,” Damon comments.
Alaric is watching a video from his and Jo’s wedding, right before all Hell broke loose. Bonnie calls to let him know that Jo, or whoever’s in her body, is at Scull Bar, trying to figure out how to use a laptop. Bonnie thought Alaric was going to help Jo figure out who she really is before she does anything crazy. Alaric’s like, “It’s really hard, so I’m taking a break.” Okay, but you still need to babysit her! She’s a vampire! Bonnie tries to be sympathetic, but she agrees with me. She can’t babysit Jo herself because she feels obligated to attend Lily’s “peace party mixer” so no one in the gang gets hurt.
Stefan also plans to attend, but Damon doesn’t. Why would he, when Lily got her man back after taking Damon’s girlfriend from him? He tells Stefan the plan he already shared with Bonnie: He’s going to wait a few months until Lily and Julian are really happy, then kill Julian. Stefan says that’s a problem…because he plans to kill Julian tonight.
Caroline helps Valerie look for a place to hide from Julian, both of them aware that Caroline’s ideal location is somewhere extremely far from Stefan, like Indonesia. Caroline then switches to coming up with a new name for Valerie (she suggests Matilda Pettigrew). Valerie says that Caroline’s treating her like a victim, which she isn’t. Plus, Stefan’s going to kill Julian, and once he can’t hurt anyone else, Valerie will be able to put all this behind her. Caroline doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Valerie’s surprised that Stefan didn’t tell her, even though he promised not to share their secret. Now Valerie’s smug and Caroline’s annoyed.
While hired help get ready for the party that night, Nora shows Julian how to play Candy Crush. Great, now he’ll get mad when he can’t finish a level and his temper will flare. Thanks a lot, Nora! Julian comments that the modern era seems to suit Nora, but she complains that she hasn’t experienced much of it because Lily keeps them confined to Mystic Falls, and there’s nothing there for them.
Julian says that Lily doesn’t want to let her “little birdies” fly free because of what happened when she gave Valerie some freedom. Nora calls Valerie a traitor, which Lily must know Nora isn’t. Julian offers to ask Lily to loosen the Heretics’ leashes a little. Mary Louise joins them and Nora criticizes her outfit. Julian tells Mary Louse that she looks wonderful, as always.
Stefan arrives and learns that the Heretics now own Vamp Villa – they couldn’t afford the cleaning lady, who owned the house, so they let her go and had her sign the house over to them. How can you not afford a woman you compel to do whatever you want? Maybe the Heretics are just opposed to slavery. (That would be good, since Beau is Black.) Anyway, there are a bunch of guests from neighboring towns, and Stefan guesses that the Heretics compelled them to attend. Lily says she wanted to show what peace can look like. No one at the party is in danger.
Damon has already arrived, pretending he only came because he wanted a drink from his personal stash. He tells Stefan he can’t “redecorate” tonight because Lily needs more time with the furniture the way it is. Stefan isn’t on board, and Damon asks why he wants to move so quickly. Stefan tells him that Lily’s new furniture is psychotic and has to be removed. Julian greets the brothers, and Stefan doesn’t hide his hatred.
Matt is next to arrive, and he lets Nora know that he’s not pleased about the time she and Mary Louise drained his blood and compelled him. She tells him the point of the party is to clear the slate. He suggests that the Heretics leave town instead. Why do they want to live in an abandoned town where there’s no one to feed on? That’s a good point, actually. Matt would like them to go before anyone else dies. Nora notes that there are a bunch of humans in the house and they’re all still alive. “At least till the dessert course,” Mary Louise (who changed her outfit) quips. Nora tells her she’s making things worse.
Outside, Bonnie and Enzo arrive at the same time. She thinks he’s there to check out the competition. Just before Lily opens the door, he blurts out that if anyone asks, Bonnie’s his date. Bonnie has no time to react to that. Also, the fact that Enzo ditches her at the front door doesn’t make it look like they’re together. Lily hopes that she and Bonnie can move on from the rough start they had, but since Lily’s the reason Bonnie will never see Elena again, that’s a big nope.
Stefan plays pool with Julian, who invites Damon to join them. Damon makes up a story about a guy just like Stefan who tried to kill a vampire during a game of pool, even though the vampire was hundreds of years older. They made a bet, and just as the vampire was setting up his last shot, the other guy tried to stake him with a pool cue. But another vampire came in and stopped the would-be killer because he was being an idiot. “That is a wonderful story, Hemingway,” Stefan comments. Damon thanks him brightly and walks out whistling.
Alaric goes to Scull Bar, where Jo is drinking coffee and using the laptop like she does this all the time. Someone showed her how to use WebMD, and she diagnosed herself with retrograde amnesia. She’s ruled out some illnesses that could have caused it. A waitress recognizes Jo, who pretends she remembers her. Alaric plays along to make the waitress think they got married and went on their honeymoon. The waitress notices that Jo’s nose is bleeding, which is always a bad sign on this show. Jo then starts coughing up blood, an even worse sign.
Lily addresses the guests at the party, officially welcoming Julian home (supposedly from traveling abroad) and saying her family is complete. She hopes the gang and the Heretics can all accept each other and bring peace to the town. Everyone toasts to that except Stefan. Later, away from the rest of the guests, Julian tells Beau that his time in the phoenix stone may have affected him mentally. Oscar had something of his that would bring him some relief, but Julian isn’t sure where it is. Enzo eavesdrops as Julian asks Beau to find it.
Julian introduces himself to Enzo, having no idea who he is. In fact, he thinks Enzo is part of the catering staff. Enzo plays along, and after Julian leaves, Bonnie tells him to help himself to some dignity. Enzo doesn’t care, since Julian just unknowingly gave him a hint that will keep Enzo ahead of him. Julian’s looking for Oscar’s car, and Enzo plans to find it first. Bonnie adjusts Enzo’s tie, quietly telling him that Lily’s watching. Bonnie’s just making her jealous, like a good date. She figures that’s why Enzo wanted her to be his date anyway. He admits that that could have been part of his motive, then leaves, since he got what he came for.
Alaric takes Jo home, where Caroline and Valerie join them. Caroline gives Jo some of her blood but Jo just spits it out. Valerie reminds them that Bonnie put a vampire soul in a human body. Oscar “lost the plot” when he was a vampire soul in a vampire body, so obviously Jo’s situation is going to be worse. Caroline pulls Valerie out of the room to slam her for not being more tactful. Valerie says that Jo was a corpse and was supposed to stay one. Caroline’s like, “Please be nicer to the man who lost his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day.” Valerie immediately feels bad, but Caroline puts her in timeout while she and Alaric deal with Jo.
Julian finds Mary Louise in the wine cellar and compliments her dress. She complains that Nora didn’t like it, and that Nora is ignoring her to mingle with the guests. Mary Louise feels like she has to impress her own girlfriend. Julia compels a caterer to be still and quiet, and suggests that Mary Louise drink from her. Mary Louise reminds him that Lily made the Heretics promise not to feed on any guests. He tells her that she’s lost her swagger. She used to be spunky and love danger. “No wonder Nora’s bored,” he comments. He bites the caterer, and Mary Louise soon follows suit. She then goes upstairs and, as Nora asks if she changed clothes, kisses her a bit aggressively.
Bonnie’s leaving when one of the caterers asks if she knows where the high school is. She tells him the whole town is shut down, but he doesn’t seem to hear her. He’s adamant about finding the school. She guesses that he’s been compelled, and when she asks who he’s talked to, he tells her he can’t say. Matt joins Bonnie, who suggests that they follow the caterer. Matt gets a message on his phone and tells Bonnie to meet him at his truck while he handles something.
Stefan and Damon head to Damon’s room, which Lily has taken over. Stefan puts bad images in his brother’s head by noting that Julian is probably sleeping there, too. He turns on a victrola and urges Damon to help him kill Julian. Damon wants to stick to his plan. Stefan points out that their house is unrecognizable. Lily needs to go and killing Julian is the way to start. Damon thinks Stefan is acting a lot like he does when his switch has been flipped, which means he knows something. Stefan says it’s not his secret to tell.
Matt joins the guys, bugging Damon by drinking one of his top-shelf bottles of alcohol in front of him. Damon takes it from him and drinks, realizing too late that Matt spiked it with vervain. He injects Damon with more of it and knocks him out. Stefan tells Matt to get Bonnie out of there because things are about to get ugly.
Stefan then goes to the kitchen, stakes Julian through the stomach, and tells him that Damon didn’t tell the story right. Julian tries to fight back but Stefan headbutts him and tosses him into a fireplace. Wait, there’s a fireplace in the kitchen? Huh. Okay. Lily comes in and finds her boyfriend on fire and her son just standing there, doing nothing to help him. That’s going to be a problem for Stefan’s plan to get rid of Julian tonight.
Damon wakes up mad, which is fair. Back in the kitchen, Lily asks what she did to make Stefan hate her so much. He tells her it’s not about her. Lily says that ever since she got back, all he’s tried to do is take away her happiness. Damon comes in and snarks that Stefan’s plan went great. Lily and Julian order the brothers to sit down. Uh-oh, Mommy and Daddy are angry!
Julian shows them the phoenix stone, where he spent 100+ years in a custom-made Hell. He was alone in an empty place where time has no meaning and “the complete lack of humanity is quite literally endless.” Every day was the same. He would try to escape but instead would end up killing Lily, the person he loves the most. It almost drove him crazy. But after almost 500 years of life, Julian knew better than to believe it was real. He would never do anything to hurt Lily. It was all a trick to make him break. But he couldn’t give in because he wouldn’t be a man – he’d be a monster.
Julian throws a knife so it flies right between Stefan and Damon. He tells Lily that her children don’t respect her. When he throws the stake Stefan stuck in him, Stefan catches it and attacks him. Lily tries to make Julian back off but it’s Damon who jumps in to stop the fight. Julian throws him off, then beats Stefan until Lily grabs him. Julian wheels on her, holding the stake, but stops himself before he can use it on her.
Jo’s getting worse, but something has made her remember what happened to her: She was killed by a woman who stabbed her with a sword. It must have been a special sword, since the blade was metal but was still able to kill a vampire. Jo also remembered her real name, Florence. Caroline comes in as Alaric apologizes for putting Florence through all this. Florence is sorry that Alaric lost Jo, and that she can’t be the person Alaric wants her to be. She thinks Jo was lucky and Alaric would have been a wonderful husband. Alaric cries, though he’s grateful to have gotten the chance to hear Jo’s voice again and say goodbye. For a second time, Alaric is with her when she dies.
Matt and Bonnie go to Mystic Falls High School, where they find the caterer wandering around, pulling an IV stand with him. They follow him to a classroom full of catatonic people with IVs in their arms. Bonnie determines that someone compelled them to be there.
Valerie’s watching Jo and Alaric’s wedding video, specifically the part when the Gemini coven started chanting and Kai thought they were trying to send him to another prison world. Alaric has never watched this part; he’s never been able to get past the vows. (It looks like the video only continued because the videographer dropped the camera and it kept recording. Not sure how Alaric got the footage after that.) Valerie, a former Gemini member herself, recognizes the chant. It’s not for a prison world – they were trying to save Jo and Alaric’s twins. Valerie thinks the babies are still alive.
Stefan and Damon were allowed to leave Vamp Villa unharmed, and they angrily head to Lockwood Landing to continue fighting about Julian. “This is why there is a hard line between good and evil,” Damon says. “I don’t cross over into your territory; don’t cross over into mine.” Stefan tells him to get over it because it’s not about him. Damon wishes they could go back to the days when Stefan let him handle all the murdering. He doesn’t get why Stefan hates Julian so much. It must have something to do with Valerie.
Stefan warns Damon not to start with him. Damon taunts that he thought Caroline was Stefan’s one true love. Then again, everyone thought it was Elena before that. What was so memorable about his first time with Valerie? Stefan attacks him, slamming him through a coffee table. Then he calms down and reveals that he got Valerie pregnant in 1863. Julian found out and beat her until she miscarried. Stefan laments that he lost his chance to be a father.
Damon asks why Stefan didn’t tell him. Stefan figures Damon would have dismissed it as something that happened 150 years ago. Stefan knows that, but it still affects him. He wants Julian dead, and no one will stop him from making that happen. He’s not waiting – he’s doing it now.
Valerie tells Caroline and Alaric that twins are crucial to the Gemini coven. If someone pregnant with twins is in danger, the coven can do a spell to transfer the babies. Caroline thinks this is crazy but Alaric’s willing to go with this. After all, Jo, who was supposed to have died months ago, came back to life, so it’s not like there’s a limit on what’s possible here. Caroline’s worried that he’ll get his hopes up that he can get his children back.
Valerie uses some of his blood for a locator spell on a world map. She decides to start with Indonesia, the farthest geographical point from Mystic Falls. (Caroline isn’t amused.) If the twins are alive, Alaric’s blood will travel along the map and ignite in the spot where they are now.
Stefan and Damon agree that Julian acts a lot like Giuseppe. Damon says that he and Elena talked a little about starting a family, but it was all a fantasy while she was a vampire. After she took the cure, they were able to talk about it more realistically. Stefan asks if Damon was ever scared that he would be the same kind of father Giuseppe was. Damon replies that he wants to be a good father if only to spite theirs. As for Stefan, he’s had a lifetime of experiences and his only regret is not having a child. Damon vows to help him kill Julian whenever the time is right.
Lily confronts Julian for his rage toward her sons. He thinks it was justified, since the Heretics welcomed Stefan and Damon into their home, and Stefan repaid them by throwing Julian into a fire. Lily reminds him that the night was about making peace between the Heretics and the gang. Julian doesn’t know why she cares about Stefan and Damon. The Lily he knew had moved on from them. Where’s the woman Julian fell in love with?
She tells him she doesn’t want her children to die, and if Julian has a problem with that, the two of them have a problem, too. Julian blames the phoenix stone for his behavior, admitting that his mental state isn’t great right now. He’s scared that he’s not the person she remembers. Lily promises that they’ll fix whatever’s wrong together, but he needs to behave himself. Julian agrees, but he wants to protect himself; Stefan and Damon will most likely come after him again. Lily knows what he wants and points out that the Heretics will have to work together to make it happen. He doesn’t think that’ll be a problem, since they love him.
Alaric’s blood travels all the way across the map, sliding off the other side, where Caroline’s sitting. Caroline says the spell didn’t work, but when she starts to clean up the blood, the rag she’s using ignites, along with the map. Valerie realizes that the babies are there with them. Specifically, they’re inside Caroline. Congratulations, Caroline – you’re the first vampire to ever be pregnant after turning! Is there a supernatural version of What to Expect When You’re Expecting?
Keep in mind: Florence was killed by a woman with a sword.
Etc.: I would like to yell at the writers for putting Caroline and Alaric together, but technically, L.J. Smith, the writer of the book series, put Alaric with a student first (Meredith, who was one of Elena’s friends in the series instead of a doctor). Still, how dare anyone make us think about Alaric getting engaged to someone he once taught in high school. Ick.
God bless Bonnie for dubbing Florence “Faux Jo.” Though if she’d known Florence’s name earlier, she could have called her Flo Jo.
It’s really hard to hear but the song playing in the background when Alaric talks to Jo at Scull Bar is “The Greatest Trick I Know” by Michael Malarkey, AKA Enzo.
Apparently people thought Jo was gone because she’d taken a sabbatical, so…was the gang just never going to reveal that she was dead?
“Those meat and cheese spirals were decadent.” Aww, Julian learned about charcuterie!
Candice King’s (Caroline) older daughter, whom she was pregnant with when this episode was filmed, is named Florence.
If Kai’s death killed everyone in the Gemini coven, how are the twins alive? And you can’t argue that they aren’t part of the coven, since it’s an important plot point in Legacies. Do they just not become members until they’re born?