1842: A preteen Rayna Cruz is camping in the woods of Saint Malo, Louisiana, with her father, Vicente. He’s a member of the Brotherhood of the Five, and he’s been coloring in his hunter’s mark so she can see it. She asks when she’ll get hers, and Vicente says that if he does his job right, she never will – she’ll get to live in a world without vampires. Rayna asks him to teach her how to fight, so he gives her a weapon: the phoenix sword.
1857: After 15 years of training, Rayna is still lacking a little. Vicente urges her to show that she wants to survive. An alarm is raised and Vicente says that means there are vampires around. Rayna wants to go with him to fight them, but he won’t involve her in his “burden,” at least not yet.
Present: Rayna’s still in the glass room where Enzo put her before she caught fire. She tests the strength of the glass, then dives through it and shatters it. Have fun fighting her off, Enzo!
Krystal spent the night at Lockwood Landing and is now dancing around in her underwear while she and Damon make their way through the alcohol stash. He hears a car outside and quickly ends the party, kicking Krystal out. Bonnie has arrived looking for a friend and a drink. She’s going to overlook the fact that Damon almost killed her the last time they were together, since he’s the only person available for her to talk to right now.
She sees that the bourbon is all gone and asks if Damon started celebrating Julian’s death early. He didn’t even know about that, so she tells him that Stefan pulled it off. As for Julian’s “backup dancers,” they may not have even noticed yet that their leader is gone. Speaking of gone, Bonnie would like to know where Enzo is. She fills Damon in on her activities the day before, though he’s not listening very closely, since he’s thinking about the possibility of her finding out about Krystal. That’s exactly what happens when Bonnie finds a pair of very short cutoffs Krystal left behind. She guesses they’re not Carol’s.
Stefan finally makes it back to the hospital, where Caroline has been slowly desiccating all night. Okay, on-call medical staff, do you just not check on your patients? Caroline gets rushed into surgery for an emergency C-section. Valerie joins Stefan to wait and watch through a window. Thanks to the powers of compulsion, they’ve wrangled a medical team who will ignore anything supernatural and ensured that no one will wander past the window and see what’s going on.
Valerie tries to reassure Stefan, who feels horrible for leaving while Caroline’s condition wasn’t confirmed to be stable. Valerie thinks he was right to go after Damon. Stefan says Damon doesn’t care about anyone or anything; he made that clear yesterday. She asks if he’s told anyone what Damon did to Elena. Stefan hasn’t, since he doesn’t know what to say. Valerie urges him to focus on Caroline and the babies. They’ll be fine, and then this will all be over.
Back at Lockwood Landing, Bonnie teases Damon about sleeping with someone named Krystal. He expects her to berate him for cheating on Elena, but Bonnie prefers that to him being crankily celibate for the next 60 years. Plus, Elena told him to live his life. The mention of Elena makes Damon feel guilty again, so he’s relieved when Enzo calls looking for Bonnie, who won’t take his calls and won’t talk to him now that he’s tracked her down. He tells Damon that he wants the phoenix sword. “Of course he does. ‘Cause shady people like shady tchotchkes,” Bonnie says. No way is she going to hand it over.
Enzo asks Damon if Bonnie knows that he burned Elena’s body. He guesses the answer is no. He knows if Bonnie found out, it would ruin the friendship she and Damon have developed. That’s enough leverage to get Damon to meet up with Enzo at Whitmore and give him the sword.
Alaric’s still in Dallas, trying to get home before Caroline delivers the twins. He’s going to have some time, since the twins are pretty unhappy about the doctors’ attempts to deliver them. Their magic goes a little haywire and knocks the doctors’ instruments to the floor. Valerie guesses that they don’t want to be taken out of the place where they get to constantly feed on magic.
1857: Rayna goes looking for Vicente, who was unable to save people in Saint Malo from a vampire attack. The vampire in question is Julian. Rayna stops him as he’s about to kill Vicente and warns that if Julian kills him, he’ll suffer the hunter’s curse. But Julian notes that if he lets Vicente live, Vicente will pursue him until he’s dead. The solution: Compel Rayna to kill her father. He tries to convince her that since Vicente is already dying, she’s committing an act of mercy. Vicente absolves Rayna of guilt as she approaches him and tells her to use what he’s taught her to carry on his legacy. He’ll be with her every step of the way.
Present: Bonnie takes Damon to Alaric’s office to get the phoenix sword. He’s told her that Enzo blackmailed him for it, but not what he used for blackmail material. Bonnie demands answers, and when Damon won’t give them, she threatens to write Elena a journal entry about Krystal. He starts to walk away but Bonnie reminds him that she’s his best friend. (Awww!) After Alaric moves to Dallas, she might be Damon’s only friend. Because of that friendship, Damon thinks he deserves a favor without explanation. Annoyed, Bonnie gives him the sword.
Caroline is sent back to her hospital room, where Stefan explains that the babies don’t want to be born because they’ll be separated from her magic. Valerie wants to channel enough magic to more or less distract the babies or lure them out so they won’t fight their delivery. Caroline wants Bonnie to be there, so Stefan says he’ll call her. He promises that everything will be fine. As for Valerie, she left to get help in the form of the Heretics. Caroline doesn’t like the thought of putting her and the babies’ lives in the Heretics’ hands, but Stefan assures her that he won’t let anything happen to her.
Damon and Bonnie meet Enzo in an empty classroom, but when they see that he’s tied up, they realize they’ve walked into a trap. Rayna’s there to kill vampires, get her sword, and chew gum, and she’s all out of gum. Damon reminds Enzo how they spent Thanksgiving of 1953 together and Damon said he was thankful for Enzo. He takes that back.
Enzo argues that he didn’t have a choice here. He introduces Damon and Bonnie to Rayna, which confuses Bonnie, who last saw Rayna as an elderly corpse. Rayna requests her sword, and when Damon gets quippy instead of just giving it to her, she shoots Bonnie with an arrow. Rayna doesn’t care about anyone in the room – she just wants her sword. Damon tells her to fetch it, then throws it out a window.
1857: Rayna does a ritual with some Native Americans so she’ll become strong and impervious to magic. They’re going to sacrifice their lives to give to her so she’ll have multiple lifespans. Rayna’s shocked when they start killing themselves, since she didn’t ask for them to die. The shaman leading the ritual links her to the phoenix sword and stone so that every time she stabs a vampire, she’ll have help to destroy them. He tells her to avenge her father and the rest of the group, then kills himself as well.
1903: The Heretics are in England, clueless about Julian’s attack on Valerie. He, Beau, Nora, and Mary Louise are leaving a bar when a happily singing Beau suddenly gets a sword through the throat, courtesy of Rayna. Julian tackles her and knocks her out, getting scratched by the phoenix sword in the process. He tells Nora and Mary Louise to find Lily and have her book them passage on a ship to New York. By the time Rayna regains consciousness, the Heretics have all run off.
Present: Rayna gets her sword from the spot where it landed, mentally adding a new name to her list of vampires to kill.
Valerie, Nora, Mary Louise, and Beau gather in Caroline’s OR as she goes in for another attempt at a C-section. Stefan’s on the phone with Alaric, who begs him to make sure nothing bad happens. Valerie’s plan seems to be working, but Beau suddenly starts bleeding – the X-shaped scar on his throat has opened up. That means Rayna is nearby.
Damon heals Bonnie in the classroom, and she thanks him for not hesitating for even a second this time. Enzo asks to be untied, and Damon and Bonnie joke about not hearing him. Nora calls Bonnie to ask if Rayna has the sword. Bonnie gets hit with a bunch of information at once – Rayna’s at the hospital, Caroline’s delivering the twins, and every vampire in the area is in danger.
Since the Heretics have had to call off their plan to help Beau, the babies are protesting their delivery again. Stefan suggests that Beau leave by himself, since he’s the only Heretic who’s been marked. Mary Louise refuses to make him fend for himself – they need to stay together and protect each other. Stefan won’t let them leave, but Mary Louise points out that staying will just put Caroline in danger. None of them can fight Rayna.
Valerie agrees, saying she can finish things up with Caroline alone. Mary Louise and Nora will take Beau, running from Rayna and leading her away from Caroline at the same time. Nora doesn’t want to leave Valerie behind, but Valerie is willing to risk her life in order to help Caroline and the twins. She gives Beau some encouragement, and he leaves with Nora and Mary Louise. Valerie goes back into Caroline’s OR and continues the Heretics’ plan, reversing Caroline’s desiccation.
Damon calls Stefan to warn that Rayna’s coming for him. Stefan knows Damon gave her back her sword and slams him for his horrible timing. He tells Damon to do nothing so he doesn’t make things even worse. Bonnie asks questions again, but Damon just tells her that he screwed up and needs to make things right.
Nora, Mary Louise, and Beau decide to go to Richmond, where they can get a flight to anywhere they want to go. They’ll keep moving like they did 100 years ago.
1903: The Heretics pack up their things so they can meet up with Lily (and Valerie) for their trip to New York. Nora objects to traveling in a storage crate, but Julian tells her that’s the best way to stay off of people’s radar. They hear Rayna approaching, dragging her sword on the ground to let them know she’s coming. She tells Julian that she doesn’t know what Hell is waiting for him in the phoenix stone, but it can’t be worse than what he’s put her through. As she goes after him, he manages to grab a piece of wood and stab her. He, Nora, and Beau are about to make their escape when Rayna throws the phoenix sword into Julian’s chest.
Present: Rayna ambushes Beau, killing him with the sword. Nora and Mary Louise zoom off before they can face the same fate. Rayna punctures the gas tank in the U-Haul they were going to escape in, then drags her sword on the pavement so the sparks will ignite.
Stefan joins Valerie at Caroline’s side and goes into Caroline’s head to keep her company. She catches on that he’s trying to distract her, but he assures her that there’s nothing to worry about. Bonnie and Damon arrive at the medical center, where the flames that Rayna ignited are out but still smoking. Damon finds Rayna inside while Bonnie goes to Caroline’s OR in time for the delivery. She breaks the news to Valerie that Rayna killed Beau and may still be in the hospital. Stefan asks where Damon is.
Damon tells Rayna that she looks a lot like Elena and her doppelgangers. Eh, not really. He attacks her, but she’s way more powerful than he is. Bonnie informs Stefan and Valerie that a) Rayna is impervious to magic and b) Damon can’t take her on alone, so this could get messy. She tells Stefan to help his brother. Stefan refuses, since he doesn’t want to leave Caroline, but Bonnie tells him that Damon is so determined to make up for whatever he did that he’s going to get himself killed.
As Damon sees how an oxygen tank will fare up against a huntress and a phoenix sword (surprisingly well), Alaric arrives. This helps Bonnie convince Stefan to leave Caroline and help Damon. She joins Valerie to create magic the babies will be drawn to.
Rayna overpowers Damon and is about to stab him with the phoenix sword when he says going back to Hell won’t be a big deal – he feels like he’s already there. She raises the sword and plunges it toward him. Stefan zooms in between them and takes the blade in his chest. He knocks Rayna out before she can stab it in deeper and send him into the stone.
Stefan has flashbacks of his relationship with Caroline, then remembers Nora saying that when Rayna marks a vampire with her sword, she’ll hunt them down until she’s killed them. “I’ll see you, brother,” he tells Damon before zooming away.
The doctors deliver the twins and hand the first to her happy father. Damon returns to the classroom where Enzo’s still tied up and considers killing him. Enzo promises that he wasn’t working with Rayna and didn’t want her to get the sword. Damon’s mad anyway, since this all ended with Stefan getting marked. Enzo says Rayna didn’t give him a choice.
Damon pulls out a coin and flips it to determine Enzo’s fate. Heads, he lives. Tails, he dies. Just before Damon can check the coin, Enzo blurts out that Elena’s alive. Tyler took Damon to an empty coffin. Damon doubts that Enzo and Tyler would work together, but Enzo says they have “mutual friends” who are protecting Elena in New York. So that’s one problem of Damon’s solved.
Caroline wakes up back in her room and Bonnie tells her that the babies are fine. Now she’ll have to give her the bad news that Stefan needs to go on the run. Damon (who’s let Enzo go) calls him to tell him that Elena’s alive. He got a second chance, and he’s going to fix this. He promises to kill Rayna and bring Stefan home. Caroline calls Stefan next, sad that he’s once again the one having to clean up a mess. He promises he’ll get back to her somehow.
Alaric cheers Caroline up by bringing the babies into her room. As we know from a flash-forward, they’re both girls, and he’s already named them. The first is Josie, named for the girls’ biological mother. The second is Elizabeth, named for Caroline’s mother. Caroline is touched by that.
Three years from now: Caroline is driving somewhere with the girls in the backseat. She’s on the phone with Alaric, who’s eager for them to get out of Rayna’s orbit. Josie wakes up and asks where they’re going. Caroline tells her they’re going to New Orleans to see one of her friends.
Significant item update: Rayna has the phoenix sword and stone.
Etc.: Caroline must have known that any kind of C-section would have required magic – the doctors wouldn’t be able to cut her open without her instantly healing.
I know the medical staff was compelled to act like everything was normal, but it’s weird to see them not react when Valerie’s chanting and people are running in and out of the OR.
It cracks me up that Alaric suggested Josette Jr. as a baby name, and then wound up using it for real.
Candice King (Caroline) has a daughter named Josephine, and I really hope she goes by Josie.
Call me a softie but Alaric naming the other baby after Liz makes me feel all warm inside.