Three years from now: Damon and Alaric are speeding from Saltzman Shelter to Caroline’s news studio after learning that something went down there. Alaric thinks they’re heading into a trap, and Damon agrees, but he wants to spring it so Stefan can’t. Alaric insists on participating, since he didn’t get a babysitter on super-short notice just to tag along and stay in the car.
They arrive at the station, and Damon tells Alaric to vervain Stefan when he arrives, so he can’t come in. Alaric again insists on going in with Damon, since Caroline’s in danger. Damon tells him that “she” doesn’t want Caroline, “she” wants Stefan. If he goes in, she’ll kill him. Damon enters alone and realizes that the footage of Caroline that aired on TV wasn’t live, and she isn’t there. Someone shoots him with vervain darts and drops him.
Present: Caroline has just taken a pregnancy test, and she and Alaric now have to wait three minutes to see the results. She’s in denial that a pregnancy is possible, but it’s not like the impossible is truly impossible in this universe. She wonders why the Gemini coven chose her to carry the twins. Alaric says they didn’t really have a choice, and they picked the closest immortal body to put them in.
At Lockwood Landing, Stefan announces to Damon that they’re hosting Thanksgiving (though they’re doing it a day early). Damon thinks this is bad timing, since they were supposed to kill Julian. Stefan notes that Julian knows they’re plotting against him, so they probably only have one more shot at killing him. Stefan plans to use dinner as a cover for something else: “recruiting an ally.” And that possible ally is their only dinner guest, Lily.
Caroline checks her pregnancy test, which is negative. Alaric’s confused, since Valerie was so sure that Caroline was carrying the twins. He’s disappointed, and Caroline feels bad for him. Matt calls just then to tell her that he and Bonnie found a bunch of compelled people at the high school the night before. He’s worried since he hasn’t been able to reach her. He worries even more when Caroline says she thinks Bonnie’s with Enzo.
Matt continues that they tranquilized all the people they found and got them out of the school, but now they’ve returned. Caroline wonders why someone would compel them to gather in a school in an abandoned town. While they’re talking, Matt discovers that that’s not the only place they’ve gathered – there’s also a bunch of them at the Grill.
Stefan tells Lily that he and Damon want to call a truce and start over. Lily says that if the Pilgrims and Native Americans could do it, so can they (except she uses an outdated term instead of “Native Americans,” and Damon corrects her because if Damon Salvatore is anything, it’s an advocate for racial sensitivity). Stefan is forthright about his motives: He wants to convince Lily that she needs to help them get rid of Julian.
He starts by telling Lily about Valerie’s pregnancy and Julian’s response. He wants her to hate the man who killed her grandchild. Lily tells Stefan that Valerie lied to her about him, killed Oscar, and tried to burn Julian’s body. He shouldn’t believe a word she says. Stefan seems to have expected this, so he just pours the three of them drinks and offers a toast to moving on. Lily, that naïve little bunny, drinks what turns out to be concentrated vervain and ends up unconscious on the floor. Damon’s pleased with Stefan’s methods and declares this the best Thanksgiving ever. It’s definitely better than last year’s.
Bonnie’s not answering Matt’s calls because she’s at an impound lot with Enzo, looking for Oscar’s car. She’s not sure why Julian wants it, and Enzo says it doesn’t matter; he just needs to get it before Julian can. Bonnie taunts that that’s not the only thing of Julian’s that Enzo wants. His motive is to win Lily, not stop Julian. He needs to stop treating her like a prize he can win. Enzo fires back that Bonnie’s clearly never been fought over. Hey, Jeremy and Luka were both…interested in her…at the same time…and there could have been a love triangle! Really, there could have!
They find the car, and a look inside the trunk turns up a short sword. Bonnie recognizes it from her research on the phoenix stone. She’s curious about whether Julian’s interested in the sword (which is, coincidentally, called the phoenix sword) because he wants to kill someone with it or is worried about being killed by it. Enzo suggests that they stab him and find out. I’m game! But Bonnie makes a good point that Lily won’t suddenly fall for Enzo if he kills her boyfriend. Enzo says he could make it look like self-defense. “Good idea: Go pick a fight with an extremely powerful, unhinged ancient vampire. Should work out great!” Bonnie replies. He teases that she sounds concerned, and she tells him that he and Julian should just kill each other.
Lily regains consciousness as Stefan is tying her up with vervain ropes. He thinks Julian’s basically brainwashed her, just like Giuseppe did 150 years ago. Damon (who’s already made himself a plate for pre-Thanksgiving dinner) says they need to get her to wake up to the horrible nature of her relationship like she did with Giuseppe. Stefan asks if he remembers Thanksgiving 1851. Of course Damon does – that was the year Giuseppe made him behead his pet turkey.
1851: The four Salvatores sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, but a preteen Damon won’t eat the main course since it used to be his friend. Giuseppe orders him to eat everything on his plate or spend the night in the root cellar. Damon turns to Lily for backup, but this is the woman who left her children with their horrible father and let them believe she’d died, so of course she’s no help.
Present: Lily defends her actions, saying the food would have gone to waste. Also, what does this have to do with Julian? Stefan tells her she’s drawn to men who abuse her and manipulate her into seeing what they want. Lily points out that he doesn’t really have room to talk, considering he tied her up with vervain ropes. “This is pointless,” Damon complains. “Pointless with pumpkin pie, but pointless.” Stefan is determined to continue his plan, vowing that by the end of the day, he’ll have convinced Lily to help them kill Julian.
Caroline joins Matt at the Grill, where he tells here there are other groups of compelled people around town. The IVs contain saline to keep the people hydrated, so whoever’s responsible probably plans to keep them there for a while. Caroline suggests that they’re being used as “human blood banks,” possibly so the Heretics can have a big Thanksgiving feast. Matt hasn’t seen any bite marks, but he’s found food the people have been given to seemingly make them tastier.
The smell and discussion of the food make Caroline nauseous, but she blames it on tainted blood. She wants them to keep focusing on how to save all the compelled people. Matt doesn’t know how to break their compulsion aside from turning them all. Caroline realizes that they don’t have to break the compulsion – someone might be able to siphon it away.
Enzo goes to Vamp Villa and is greeted by Julian, who now knows that he’s the “steerage waif” Lily turned back in 1903. Enzo says she hardly mentioned Julian to him. He came to get his guitar, which Julian says Lily might have thrown away with the other trash in the house. Enzo says that Lily loves it when he plays for her – sometimes she begs him to. Julian is ready to turn violent, but he promised Lily that he wouldn’t fight in the house. Enzo’s like, “I guess we’ll just have to take this outside, then.”
At the Grill, Valerie tells Caroline that siphoning the compulsion from all the people there is a waste of time. The Heretics will just find new people to compel. She mentions that it’s not really safe for Caroline to be in Mystic Falls right now, which confuses Matt. Valerie blurts out that Caroline’s pregnant, which Caroline denies. Valerie’s surprised to hear that her pregnancy test was negative. Caroline urges her to call Alaric and explain how she could be so wrong about his twins still being alive. Valerie’s like, “Remember how you asked me here because you needed my help?” Caroline apologizes and allows that Valerie could have had a momentary magical lapse when she thought Caroline was carrying the twins. Valerie agrees to siphon everyone’s compulsion.
Enzo and Julian head into the woods for – get this – a sword fight. They’re going to duel. With actual swords. This is a thing that is happening. Meanwhile, Damon messes with Lily’s vervain ropes to try to spur her along to come around to her sons’ side. He thinks she deserves it for not protecting him from Giuseppe.
1851: Giuseppe makes Damon linger at the dinner table after he’s finished. He sends Lily to get him a drink, then asks if Damon knows anything about money missing from his bureau. Damon and Stefan both deny taking it. Giuseppe tells whichever of them stole it to confess now. Lily has put a lot of work into making them proper men, and they need to prove that it hasn’t all been for nothing. Damon acknowledges that a man would tell the truth. He exchanges a look with Stefan, then says he took the money.
Giuseppe isn’t pleased that Damon is a thief, since he wasn’t raised that way, but he appreciates his honesty. Damon promises that he’s learned his lesson. Giuseppe grabs his hand and burns him with a cigar to make sure it’s really sunk in.
Present: Damon says he didn’t take the money. He confessed because he didn’t want Giuseppe to hurt Stefan. Stefan repeats what he said earlier about Lily always going for horrible men. Lily knows exactly how awful Giuseppe was and what he did to Damon. She heard it all from the next room. Damon’s furious that she didn’t do anything.
Lily starts to protest and defend herself, but her neck suddenly starts to bleed. “Someone’s trying to kill Julian,” she announces. To protect him from Stefan and Damon, the Heretics did a spell to bind Julian’s life to Lily’s. If he dies, she will, too.
In the woods, Enzo increases his chances against Julian by pulling out the phoenix sword. Julian recognizes it, and he zooms off before Enzo can use it on him. Back at the Grill, Caroline finishes recompelling all the people who were previously compelled, telling them to leave town and forget everything they saw there. She examines her stomach in a mirror, imagining what she would look like pregnant. Matt invites her to talk about the situation, but Caroline’s deep in denial that she could be pregnant.
Beau suddenly arrives and Valerie tries to talk him out of whatever he’s there to do, obviously on Julian’s orders. He gives her a magic migraine as she says that Julian only cares about himself. Matt fires his gun at Beau, which distracts him enough to break his spell on Valerie, but Beau catches the bullet. He gives Caroline a magic migraine next, which means he doesn’t notice Valerie sneaking up behind him and staking him through the stomach. She then does a spell to cloak Caroline.
Enzo searches for Julian in the cemetery, and when he finds him, they duel some more. Julian overpowers Enzo, knocking away one of his swords and backing him up against a tree. Back at Lockwood Landing, Lily confesses to Stefan that she was the one who took Giuseppe’s money. He controlled every aspect of her life, so she didn’t have any access to money of her own. Stefan can’t believe that she stood by and said nothing while Giuseppe hurt their child, then remained in her marriage for five more years. Lily says she was trying to save them. She was going to take the boys and run away. But Giuseppe was always a step ahead.
1851: Lily goes to get a book she was using as a hiding place, but Giuseppe has already found it. She bought three train tickets, which she lies were for a surprise trip for Giuseppe and the boys. They could go to New York for the weekend and see a steamship. Exciting! He slaps her for stealing, lying, and trying to take his children away. If she ever tries it again, he’ll take the boys from her instead and she’ll never see them again.
Present: Lily explains that she had to stay in her marriage because of her children. Giuseppe wasn’t manipulating her; she always knew he was a monster. She wanted to leave but couldn’t. Everything she did back then was for her sons.
Enzo and Julian duel some more, and Julian again gets the upper hand, knocking away the phoenix sword. Hey, Enzo? You’re really bad at this. Just thought you should know. Julian’s about to finish him off when Damon zooms in and knocks him out. “Little tip from a professional: Next time you want to kill a bazillion-year-old psycho, don’t pick a sword from the juniors section,” he advises Enzo. Enzo, however, thinks the phoenix sword was made specifically to kill vampires.
Julian recovers and rushes Damon, but Enzo sees him coming and tips him off. Damon turns around and stabs Julian with the phoenix sword. Since Lily and Julian are still linked, she feels the effects along with him. Damon has either forgotten about that or doesn’t care, as he twists the sword in Julian’s chest.
Bonnie finds Alaric drinking in his office and makes an excuse to stick around so he’s not there alone. She tells him about the phoenix sword and the possibility that it’ll kill Julian. She finds it in a book and gets Alaric to confirm that it’s mentioned alongside the phoenix stone. The book says the stone gives the sword its power. Without the stone, the sword is just a regular sword.
That means that even though Julian is lying on the ground with a sword in his chest, he’ll only be there as long as any vampire with a regular sword on their chest would be. Damon, clueless about that, complains to Enzo that Julian engaged in a duel after linking his life to Lily’s. “What is this, Hamlet community theater?” he asks. Enzo asks about the link, and Damon explains that Julian’s using Lily “as a human shield.” Enzo asks if this means killing Julian also killed Lily. Damon isn’t too broken up about it. Enzo punches him, but before Damon can fight back, Julian jumps up and snaps Enzo’s neck. “Shouldn’t you be…deader?” Damon asks. Julian flings the phoenix sword into him.
Outside the Grill, Valerie asks Caroline if she’s okay – not because she cares about Caroline but because she still believes Caroline’s pregnant. Caroline thinks she might have just mistaken the spell the Gemini coven performed for another. Valerie insists that she knows the spell well. Caroline asks how, and Valerie admits that she used it. She tells Caroline about her pregnancy and loss. She tried to use the same transfer spell that the Gemini coven used for Jo, but she couldn’t do it alone.
It takes Caroline a minute but she figures out why Julian didn’t want Lily to know that Valerie was pregnant. Valerie says that her and Stefan’s story ended badly, but Caroline has the chance to ensure that Alaric’s doesn’t. Caroline reminds her that her pregnancy test was negative, so Valerie tells her to take another one.
Julian goes after Damon with a second sword, and as Stefan zooms up to fight him off, Lily calls for peace. Julian tells her that Damon tried to kill him knowing that she would also die. Stefan asks Damon what he’s talking about, but Damon says it doesn’t matter since the sword didn’t kill anyone. Julian takes the phoenix sword and leaves with Lily.
Bonnie finally calls Matt back from Scull Bar, blasé about spending time with Enzo while Matt was dealing with something else. He doesn’t want her help anymore; he got in touch with Jeremy and Tyler and is going to work with them instead. Enzo joins Bonnie so they can drink together and commiserate over their disappointing days. He laments that Julian has both Lily and the phoenix sword. She asks if he’s going to just give up after one attempt. “When nine Russians tell you you’re drunk, you lie down,” he replies. Lily clearly wants to be with Julian, so Enzo’s done. Bonnie’s happy to hear that, since he’s better off without her.
Stefan and Damon go back to Lockwood Landing, fighting over whether what Damon did was okay. He thinks killing two birds with one stone was ideal because Lily will never change, just like Damon and Stefan will never change. Stefan will always want to find even a small bit of redemption in their mother, and she’s always going to disappoint him. Stefan says Damon’s wrong and doesn’t know the whole story. Damon doesn’t want to know it – nothing could change his mind about how he’s sure things happened. Lily abandoned them, faked her death, started a new family, and forgot about them. That’s the only story that matters. She left them without caring what would happen to them, and she deserves whatever she gets.
Once they’re home at Vamp Villa, Lily asks Julian why he went into a duel with Enzo knowing their lives were connected. Julian says he wasn’t going to lose, so she was never in danger. They were “boys being boys,” fighting for Lily’s honor. It was just silly. You know, until Damon tried to kill them. Lily asks if Julian knew that Valerie was once pregnant with Stefan’s child. Julian says no, then denies the claim that he beat Valerie until she miscarried. He cares about their family and would do anything to keep them together. Of course he wouldn’t have done something like that. “It would destroy me if I ever hurt you,” he tells her. He asks for forgiveness and she grants it.
1851: Giuseppe apologizes to Lily for his bad behavior, blaming it on his anger over the thought of losing his family. He just wants to keep them together. He asks for forgiveness and she grants it.
Present: Julian promises that he would never hurt Lily. She lets him embrace her, but it’s clear that she’s finally realized that this relationship is just an echo of her marriage.
Caroline goes to the hospital for an ultrasound, which doesn’t show anything. She thinks this is the final confirmation that the babies are really gone. Alaric apologizes for putting her through all this, but she admits that she almost believed it. Valerie comes in and siphons something from Caroline. She explains that she figured things out when she cloaked Caroline to hide her from Beau. Since the twins are the future of the coven, the Gemini cloaked them to protect them. Caroline gives herself a second ultrasound, which shows two babies right where Valerie said they were.
Lily goes to Lockwood Landing and tells her sons that they were right about Julian. “I’ve traded one monster for another,” she says. She won’t let him hurt anyone again. She has a plan, and this time, no one will get caught.
Significant item update: Julian has the phoenix sword.
Etc.: Enzo and Julian’s posturing is ridiculous. Julian, you’re a horrible person. Enzo, you’re not Lily’s type. Both of you are fighting over a woman who isn’t even worth it. YOU ARE HAVING A DUEL IN THE 21ST CENTURY. Go sit down. And neither of you gets any pie.
Hey, Valerie, you don’t get to ask other people to keep your pregnancy secret, then reveal other people’s pregnancy news without their permission.
Beau catching Matt’s bullet is pretty cool. I wish we got to know more about Beau over the season. He’s much more interesting than Mary Louise or Nora.
I can’t imagine being a kid in 1851 and having my dad say, “This weekend we’re taking a train to New York to see a steamship.” Yeah, sign me up!