Rayna wakes up in New Orleans after another fiery resurrection. She grabs her sword and gets back to her job. In Mystic Falls, a vampire stalks Penny in an abandoned suburb. Matt shoots him with a stake-firing gun before he can hurt her. They’ve been using her as bait to draw out vampires for Matt to kill. Penny teases that his track record isn’t great, then shoots the vampire herself to ensure he’s really dead. Krystal and a few other vampires corner them, but Rayna arrives in time to take them all out. She tells Matt and Penny that they owe her. Have they heard of a vampire named Stefan Salvatore?
Stefan himself is in a car with Valerie, back on the road to hide from Rayna. He’s run out of the herbs Freya gave him to block the signal that connects Rayna to his phoenix-sword wound, so they’re on their way to get more. Valerie wants Stefan to think of this like an adventure. He’d rather have a quiet dinner with Caroline than an adventure. The kind of normal, boring life he wants doesn’t appeal to Valerie. She likes having “a lack of constants.”
They arrive at an outdoor greenhouse that holds all the herbs used by witches. Sounds convenient, right? Unfortunately, storing all those herbs in one place just means Stefan and Valerie will have a lot of plants to sort through to find what they need.
Bonnie ignores a call from Enzo as Damon checks on her in the hospital. Her magic’s back and she’s mostly recovered from her experiences in the Armory. Damon’s in a good mood because he has a plan. He won’t share it with Bonnie and won’t let her help. This one is solely Damon vs. Rayna. Bonnie predicts that he’ll end up back in the phoenix stone.
Enzo calls again, and this time Bonnie considers answering, since if anyone knows how to kill Rayna, it’s the Armory. Damon reminds her that she almost died there, and he doesn’t want her to go back there. He makes her promise to stay out of this. He doesn’t want her to get hurt because of him again.
Rayna, Matt, and Penny take a vampire to the Grill in hopes of getting him to tell them where Stefan is. Rayna gives the cops a little lesson in how to treat vampires. They should be handled like wild animals. They’re dangerous, but also beneath humans. They serve a purpose, such as providing information.
Damon arrives and tells Rayna that Stefan doesn’t have a lot of friends, so she won’t accomplish much by questioning people who might know him. Rayna thinks Damon’s an idiot for coming into her orbit. Damon acknowledges that, but a “shockingly effective ally” told him where Rayna was. Surprisingly, that ally is Matt, who shoots Rayna so Damon has the chance to zoom over and tear out her heart.
Penny’s horrified, but Matt assures her that Damon’s a…he can’t bring himself to use the word “friend,” so he just says Stefan is a friend. Otherwise, Matt wouldn’t help Damon. Damon gives him the phoenix sword and asks where he might be able to get his hands on a buzzsaw.
He takes Rayna to the woods and throws her down a well. More specifically, he throws garbage bags full of her dismembered body parts down a well. When she resurrects, he tosses her some of Elena’s clothes (he still thinks she and Rayna look alike, so he figured they also wear the same size). He complains that her inability to stay dead is interfering with his big plans. Rayna suggests that he let her kill Stefan so they can both be on their way. Of course Damon won’t do that, but he’s willing to brainstorm another idea with Rayna.
She doesn’t seem to understand the concept of fighting her nature to save someone in Damon’s family. But family is the reason this is her nature in the first place. Her father wanted a world without vampires, and Rayna won’t rest until she fulfills that.
Someone lurks around the greenhouse as Stefan and Valerie search for the herb he needs, which he’s surprised she hasn’t heard of. She teases him for being familiar with one that’s solely for recreational purposes, since he doesn’t seem like the type to use it. He says he used it once, and Valerie guesses it was with a woman. Stefan admits it was Rebekah. She was a handful, and Valerie’s sure that’s why she’s no longer in the picture. Well, that and because she was a little too evil for Stefan’s tastes. Valerie has pegged him as someone who prefers small-town women who are ready to settle down and are easy to handle. Stefan doesn’t think Caroline fits that last category.
As they find the empty spot where they think their herb used to be, steam starts filling the greenhouse. A woman with scabs all over her face appears and bids them good night as they pass out.
Having ignored Damon (what else is new?), Bonnie goes back to the Armory and notes that Enzo has had his hand reattached. She knows he only left her apology messages because he wanted her to come back. If he tries to neutralize her magic again, she’ll cut off something other than his hand. Enzo thinks Damon is rubbing off on her. He says she’s pathetic for following Damon around like a “high school groupie.” Bonnie brings up the fact that Damon and Enzo used to be friends, and now Enzo is totally alone.
Alex joins them and apologizes for Enzo’s behavior the day before. It wasn’t Armory protocol. She’s the one who got Enzo to invite Bonnie back, in an attempt to smooth things over. They should be working together against their common enemy, Rayna. Bonnie notes that the Armory wants to capture Rayna, which makes her think they know more than they’ve said. That’s going to make it hard for her to trust them.
Alex gets that, so she takes Bonnie to a room full of everything the Armory knows about Rayna. It holds the bodies of the eight Everlastings, the shamans who sacrificed themselves so Rayna could have their lives. Bonnie sees that while two of their bodies are perfectly preserved, as if they’re just sleeping, six of them look like corpses. Alex realizes that Rayna lost another life. Enzo tells Bonnie that when all the bodies die, Rayna’s gone for good. In that case, they just have to keep killing her until she dies permanently, and everyone’s problems are solved! Right? …Right?
In the woods, Damon presents Rayna with the idea that she can change her nature. He changed his, thanks to having the right person in his life. Maybe Rayna just needs to find her own right person. “I don’t need a vampire matchmaker,” Rayna says. Aww, why not? That sounds like fun! Damon asks if she’s ever found anyone she had feelings for. Her silence tells him she has.
Bonnie texts Damon with the news that Rayna’s lives are limited and she’s down to her last two. To him, the solution is clear: Just kill her twice more. As another Everlasting turns to a corpse, Enzo catches on that Bonnie’s up to something. She lets him know that Damon’s just killing Rayna over and over until she’s gone for good. Enzo tells her that every time Rayna resurrects, she’s stronger. Bonnie’s like, “That won’t be a problem after the eighth kill.”
She asks why the Armory wants Rayna alive, but he tells her not to worry about that. What she should worry about is the spell the shamans used to give her power. Bonnie studies it and sees that the phoenix sword links Rayna to her victims, which we already knew. But there’s more: The scars left by the sword are a kind of failsafe. If Rayna dies for good, so do all the vampires she’s marked. In other words, Damon’s on the verge of accidentally killing Stefan.
Bonnie quickly calls Damon to tell him to dig Rayna out of the shallow grave he buried her in (he figures that when she goes up in flames, she’ll suffocate and he won’t have to kill her again). Bonnie informs him that if Rayna dies again, Stefan will, too.
Stefan and Valerie regain consciousness in the greenhouse, where the woman who knocked them out apologizes for attacking them. She was just taking a precaution because someone else was there earlier to get the same herb they’re after. The woman tells them that the herb has anti-magic/anti-witch properties (which are responsible for her scabs). This was the only location left in the world where the herb could be found. Okay, but the Mikaelsons thought they’d gotten rid of all the white oak in the world and they were wrong, so maybe someone should double-check.
Back at the Grill, Penny watches footage of Damon killing Rayna and tries to wrap her head around the concept that there are both good and bad vampires. Damon’s a bad vampire, since he killed Vicki, so Matt isn’t helping him, but he’s helping Damon’s brother, who’s a good vampire. Since both kinds of vampires feed on and kill people, it’s understandable that Penny’s having trouble with this.
She’s also having trouble grasping that Matt spend days complaining to her about vampires, then helped Damon kill a vampire hunter. Matt tells her that she doesn’t get what he’s gone through in Mystic Falls. She acknowledges that but adds that maybe some of it was because he’s never taken a real stand against vampires. “At a certain point, it stops being the vampires’ fault that the town is like this and it starts to be yours,” she says.
As Damon goes back to Rayna’s grave and quickly digs her up, Caroline and Alaric get into the rhythm of taking care of two newborns. Stefan calls to tell Caroline that he won’t be able to visit for a while, since he can’t ensure that Rayna won’t follow him. He suggests that she come join him on the run for a few days (in Valerie’s place). They could even take a trip to Europe. Caroline is tempted but doesn’t want to leave Alaric alone with the twins. The couple agrees to figure things out once they’ve dealt with Rayna.
Caroline asks how Stefan would feel about moving to Dallas. She clearly wants to stay so she can be close to the twins. Stefan isn’t as eager to make that big change. After they hang up, Valerie guesses that Caroline plans to stay in Dallas. But that’s the least of Stefan’s problems right now – Rayna’s nearing her final death, and her connection to Stefan through his wound is pulling him toward death, too.
Damon tries to revive Rayna with blood, then good, old-fashioned CPR. Valerie attempts to siphon the magic from Stefan’s wound, but that doesn’t work. Fortunately, Damon’s able to get Rayna breathing again, which lets Stefan recover. Unfortunately, now there’s nothing stopping Rayna from fighting and killing Damon.
Bonnie starts looking up info on Rayna to help Damon, knowing he won’t be able to win a fight with her. Enzo tells her the Armory is on their way to Mystic Falls, but Bonnie doesn’t think they’ll get there in time. She wants to try to weaken the last Everlasting, which will weaken Rayna. Enzo warns that that could kill Rayna (and Stefan). He doesn’t get why Bonnie’s willing to kill for Damon – would he do the same for her? Would and has, friend. Just ask Kai. Oh, wait, you can’t, ’cause Damon killed him. Enzo says that Bonnie has no idea what Damon’s planning.
Damon tries to stall Rayna by asking about the man she once fell in love with. Turns out he was a vampire. Oh, of course! Has there ever been a story of a vampire hunter who didn’t develop feelings for a vampire? Damon says “vampire/human affairs” are his area of expertise. Rayna says they’re hers, too, so she knows they never work out. She ended up staking her guy.
She invites Damon to run so she can chase him; she has no problem staking another Salvatore. Damon asks if he can have a head start for saving her life. Then he decides to rush her instead. Rayna grabs the shovel he used to bury her and dig her up. He laments that this isn’t a fair fight, since he can’t kill her. Rayna tells him that Stefan will die no matter what. Saving Rayna just sentenced Damon to death, too. She breaks the handle of the shovel so she can stake him, but she doesn’t get a chance to use it. A bunch of Armory commandos arrive and shoot her full of tranquilizers.
Alex tells Enzo that Rayna’s been captured. She’s annoyed that he let Bonnie leave, as if anyone lets Bonnie do anything. Enzo doesn’t know why they would need her to stick around, since they got Rayna without her. Alex says she was their first priority, but Bonnie’s their second.
With Rayna locked up, Julian dead, and his vampires scattered or gone, Damon and Stefan are free to move back into Vamp Villa. Damon explains to Stefan that Rayna has to stay alive so Stefan won’t die. This isn’t the ideal situation, and there’s always the possibility that Rayna will escape the Armory, but it’s good enough. Not for Stefan, though – he doesn’t want to go to Dallas to be with Caroline and risk Rayna finding him there. It would be different if he just had to think about Caroline, but now there are children involved. If Rayna can’t die, they need to either find another way to get rid of her or get rid of the scar.
Damon gives Stefan two sealed envelopes. The last few months without Elena have been difficult for him, and he doesn’t want people to keep getting hurt. Stefan thinks Damon’s going to run away, but Damon is actually going to stay in one place. His big plan that he keeps referring to is to desiccate next to Elena until she wakes up.
Stefan reminds Damon that he saved his life multiple times, sacrificed everything for him, chose him over and over, and now Damon is going to turn his back? Damon doesn’t see the big deal, since it’s temporary. Stefan says that if there’s even a small part of Damon that cares about Stefan, he won’t do this. Damon tells him to save a bottle of bourbon for their reunion in 60 years or so.
Matt comes by while Stefan’s moping by himself. He’s been thinking about his place in Mystic Falls. As long as vampires are in town, humans will be at their mercy. Vampires are above the law and can destroy anything the humans build for themselves. Starting today, that stops. If all the vampires in town don’t leave, Matt will release footage of Damon killing Rayna, along with footage of Stefan doing vampire things.
Matt doesn’t want to have to threaten his friend because he’s a vampire – he hates that he’s friends with vampires at all – but this is about their hometown. It’s been destroyed over and over, and Matt has to do this to break that cycle. Stefan and Damon have until the end of the day to clear out.
Damon, of course, is already on it. He’s in Brooklyn, in the storage facility where Tyler and the Armory have stashed Elena’s coffin. Stefan leaves town next, going to Dallas and leaving Alaric a bottle of bourbon and one of the envelopes Damon gave him. It holds a letter explaining Damon’s plan and saying goodbye, since it’s unlikely that Alaric will still be alive when Damon and Elena wake up.
The letter says that Damon thinks it’s best for everyone if he desiccates, even if Stefan doesn’t get that yet. Damon doesn’t care what anyone thinks – he’s miserable. Being with Elena let him feel happy and complete. Now that he knows what that’s like, he can’t live without it. Stefan watches through the window of Saltzman Shelter as Caroline brings the twins to their father. He doesn’t go in to say goodbye. When Valerie texts to ask if he’s staying or going back on the road, he tells her he’s ready to keep moving.
Bonnie shows up at the storage facility just before Damon gets into his coffin. She learned of his plan from Enzo and realized that if Damon desiccates for the next 60+ years, he’ll still be out when she dies. She’s hurt that he was going to do this without saying goodbye to her. He tells her he gave Stefan a letter for her. Bonnie asks if they’re friends and Damon says of course they are. In that case, he should have let her react to the news in person instead of by herself after reading it in a letter.
She’s not okay with him desiccating – he’s choosing himself. And she’s not okay with never seeing her best friend again. She cries as she tells him this hurts her, but he doesn’t respond. She hopes that while he’s desiccating, he remembers what she said. Damon tries to respond but Bonnie doesn’t want to hear it: “You don’t get to say goodbye.”
After she leaves, Damon takes one last look at Elena’s coffin, then gets in his own. He nods like he’s telling himself he’s doing the right thing. Time passes and he desiccates…
…until one day three years later, when Stefan wakes him up. After a quick montage of clips from the flash-forwards from the past few episodes, Stefan is face-to-face with Rayna at the news station. She tells him he was smart to go on the run, but when she took Caroline and Damon, he got dumb. She’s curious which one of them Stefan showed up for. He won’t say, and Rayna tells him his secrets will keep him company in Hell.
There’s another option, though she knows Stefan doesn’t like to make decisions. She doesn’t want to kill him. She doesn’t think he deserves his mark, which he got protecting Damon. There’s a way for Rayna to transfer the mark to someone who does deserve it. They both know Damon should have had it all along. Stefan thinks Rayna wants to pit the brothers against each other, and he won’t agree to that. Damon appears and announces that it wasn’t her idea – it was his.
Etc.: I wish they’d done more to tie this episode to “A Streetcar Named Desire.” How did Rayna end up outside? Why did she have another resurrection? Who killed her on The Originals? And when did Valerie meet up with Stefan?
Does Damon just think all women with dark hair and brown eyes look like Elena? That’s the only way she and Rayna look alike.
Rayna quotes The Silence of the Lambs while she’s in the well, which just seems weird to me. A 150+-year-old huntress took a break from killing vampires to watch a movie?
Imagine how furious Katherine would be to know that while Damon was able to endure waiting 145 years for her, he couldn’t bear to wait for Elena after just a few months.
Interesting that Matt considers Stefan a friend. I’ve never thought of him that way. I always felt like Matt just tolerated Stefan because he mostly kept the peace (and because he was one of only two people who could keep a leash on Damon).