It’s the morning after Bonnie woke up with Rayna’s huntress instincts, and since Damon hasn’t heard from Matt, he assumes Matt failed to get her away from the gang. He, Stefan, Caroline, and Enzo are all on a conference call so they can discuss what to do next. Stefan and Caroline are still in the car, since their flight out of the country was canceled, and Damon’s outside the Armory, having already come up with a new plan. They just need to destroy the final Everlasting and strip away Bonnie’s huntress instincts. Caroline notes that that will kill Bonnie, which will in turn kill the vampires she’s marked. Enzo says the shaman who transferred Rayna’s last life to Bonnie told him that’s not true. Well, that sure is lucky!
Damon, who’s been bringing gas tanks up to the door of the Armory during this conversation, starts opening their valves and pouring gasoline around the building. Caroline reminds everyone about the monster or whatever that’s in the vault. Enzo says he’s working on finding out more about it. Stefan speaks up that none of this matters – Bonnie sealed the Armory, so no one can get in. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do,” Damon says before tossing a lighter onto the gas. He succeeds in detonating all the tanks, but the doors stay closed. “I can’t get in,” he concedes.
For plan B, Damon suggests getting Valerie to siphon off the spell Bonnie used to seal the doors. Too bad Stefan doesn’t know where Valerie is. Damon moves on to plan C, which he thinks is adorable – “the cutest little plan Cs you’ve ever seen.” Caroline reads his mind and objects to having the twins siphon the spell. Damon notes that since Bonnie has marked them and created a psychic link, she’s probably listening to them right now. (He’s right.) Stefan says they’ll try plan B.
On the road to find Stefan and Caroline, Matt asks Bonnie what the psychic link is like. She says she can see a little of what the others are seeing, but it’s more about feeling what they feel. “They’re scared…and they should be,” she says. Her urges are getting stronger, like they’re taking over, but she doesn’t want to hurt her friends. Matt tells her to untie him and let him help her. Bonnie knows she should, but she won’t.
Enzo’s at the hospital where Virginia’s now being treated, hoping she’ll tell him about the vault. Virginia guesses that Bonnie ignored her warnings and opened it. She tells Enzo they can’t fight or kill what was in the vault. It’s thousands of years old. He compels her to tell him what it is.
Caroline checks in with the twins, who are enjoying the results of Alaric’s urge to stress bake. She laments that they’ve been pulled into the supernatural world at just three years old. She tells Stefan that Lizzie siphoned her the other day. She’d stolen something from Josie, and when Caroline took it back, Lizzie grabbed her arm and inadvertently took magic from her. Caroline wants the girls to have a normal childhood, and Stefan tells her she still has the option of making that happen. She appreciates that, though she won’t let him off the hook for either leaving her or kidnapping her. It’s clear that she’s warming up toward him, though.
Bonnie calls and tells Stefan and Caroline to drive faster, since she’s almost caught up to them (thanks to the siren in Matt’s sheriff SUV). Even worse, there’s a big traffic jam on their road, which puts both cars at a standstill. Stefan decides to turn around and drive the other way. Bonnie can feel him and Caroline getting closer. He tells her to just let them drive past, but Bonnie and Matt both say she can’t do that. Just as the cars are about to hit each other straight on, Matt is able to cut through the ropes around his hands and grab the steering wheel. While Stefan and Caroline continue in the other direction, Matt drives himself and Bonnie off the road and into some woods, where they crash into a tree.
Enzo calls Damon, who asks if the monster in the vault is something ancient with tentacles. It’s not, but Enzo won’t say what it is. He doesn’t see the point, since Damon’s going to want to go into the Armory no matter what. He asks if anyone’s heard from Valerie, but Damon says it doesn’t matter. He tells Enzo to meet him at a runway a few miles from the Armory.
Stefan and Caroline stop for gas, hoping that Bonnie and Matt are okay. Since they haven’t heard from Damon, Stefan figures he’s working on something behind their backs, which means Stefan needs to step in. He tells Caroline to continue fleeing without him. Damon and Enzo meet up at the runway so they can get access to a private plane, but someone called and canceled with their pilot, so they’re out of luck. Damon compels a mechanic to get the pilot back. Then he calls Stefan, having correctly guessed that he made the cancellation.
Stefan knows Damon didn’t get the plane so he could flee – he wants to fly to Dallas to kidnap Josie and Lizzie. Damon says he’s just going to convince Alaric to let them try siphoning the spell. But yes, if he says no, then Damon will kidnap them. It’s the right thing to do. Stefan says the right thing is to let Caroline decide what’s best for the kids, even if Damon doesn’t like her decision.
Now driving somewhere on her own, Caroline calls Alaric to give him an update. He doesn’t want her to have to keep running; she needs to find another way to protect herself. Caroline has come around on Damon’s plan C, and she tells Alaric that Damon and Enzo can fix all this, but they’ll have to get Josie and Lizzie involved. Caroline initially said no because the vampires were all willing to run, but after talking to Bonnie, now she knows that this is torture for her.
Caroline wants Alaric to make the decision, since the twins are his kids. Alaric corrects that they’re hers, too, so they need to make the choice together. Caroline doesn’t know what to do, but Bonnie’s her best friend. Alaric is willing to give this a try if it means the girls get their mother back.
Bonnie and Matt regain consciousness in his SUV. She almost wishes she hadn’t survived the crash, since it would end all of this. He reminds her that her death would kill the rest of the gang, too. Bonnie can’t imagine having to continue living like this. Matt is sure he can keep stopping her from killing anyone, but she tells him that he’s human and shouldn’t be in this fight. She leaves him in the SUV, trapped by wreckage pinning his legs, and goes off on foot. Matt uses his radio to call for help, then tries to free his legs. He only succeeds in making himself bleed more.
Stefan arrives at the Armory and calls out Damon for moping, since the gang is going to do plan C after all. Damon’s upset that Stefan “pulled a Damon” – he made the right choice by kidnapping and Caroline, but after one night, he went back to his old “let people make their own choices” ways. Stefan can’t believe that Damon really thinks kidnapping Caroline was the right thing to do. Stefan let himself think like Damon, believing that his love for Caroline was so strong that he would do anything necessary to protect her. Then he realized he was acting on fear.
Damon didn’t let himself desiccate because he loved Elena – it was because he was afraid that he would do something horrible and lose her. That fear was so powerful that it overshadowed the love Damon had for others, including Stefan and Bonnie. Damon protests that it had nothing to do with Stefan, but Stefan disagrees. He begged Damon not to desiccate and Damon turned his back. Stefan has realized that he doesn’t want to be like his brother. He refuses to be ruled by fear.
Caroline and Alaric arrive with the girls and explain that they need them to unlock the doors. The girls don’t get what’s going on and don’t know how to siphon on cue, so Caroline has them imagine how they would feel if they could never see her again. That triggers their siphoning ability, and the spell is gone within moments. Plan C was a success.
Enzo calls Bonnie, who tells him she knows everyone’s at the Armory. He asks her to do him a favor: Think about him. She can’t control her urges, but she can focus them. If she chases him instead of the gang, she’ll give them the time they need to fix this. Bonnie’s worried that she’ll catch Enzo and want to kill him, but he’s up for a chase. She locks in on his location and agrees to go after him.
With the Armory now unsealed, Damon’s able to simply open the door and walk in. Stefan starts to go with him but Caroline stops him. He tells her to save whatever she wants to say until this is over. She waits outside as the brothers enter the Armory and take in the sight of all the dead bodies. “I’ve seen worse,” Damon comments.
Instead of running, Enzo has opted for a pit stop at the cabin. He tells Bonnie that he was running out of gas and she would have caught up eventually. He wanted one last meal with her before whatever happens next. She tells him that’s not possible and aims a gun at him. “Come on. My risotto isn’t that bad,” he quips. She fires the gun apologetically. “Huh. Maybe it is,” he says before zooming off.
The Salvatores have searched the whole Armory for the final Everlasting, with no luck. The only place left to look is the vault, which they know they shouldn’t enter. Stefan teases that if Damon’s scared, he can go wait outside with the twins. They approach the vault, and Damon says he’s going in alone. He doesn’t want Stefan to be affected by the monster; he’ll screw things up with Caroline and just blame Damon. Stefan’s helped Damon over and over, usually at his own loss, and this time he needs to help by letting Damon do this alone. Damon will either fail or succeed, but he needs to do it on his own.
He apologizes for abandoning Stefan to desiccate. Stefan was right about him being scared. Damon knew Stefan would be mad, but he also knew Stefan would be okay. Damon’s choices suck sometimes and Stefan likes to keep him from making bad ones, but this time Damon needs Stefan to believe in him. Stefan protests, but Damon won’t budge: “You don’t want a life ruled by fear? Then this time, you walk out on me.” Stefan needs to trust that, one way or another, Damon will be okay. Stefan agrees, and as they hug, he reminds Damon that he’ll be right outside if Damon needs him.
Caroline’s relieved to see Stefan emerge from the Armory, and she runs up to hug him as Alaric looks on, uncomfortable. Stefan tells her it’s not over yet. It’s also not over at the cabin, where Enzo’s doing his best to fight off Bonnie without hurting her. She makes it really personal by choking him with a guitar string. She gets him on the ground and shoots him in the side with some wooden bullets, immobilizing him. She grabs a stake, tearfully trying to kill him even as he tells her she doesn’t want to do this. She urges him to fight her, but she’s too strong for him.
Damon goes into the vault as Bonnie begs Enzo to hold her off. He tells her he’s at his limit and it’s okay if she can’t stop herself from killing him. “When this is over, don’t remember this moment,” he says. He wants her to remember their good times together, like New Year’s Eve and playing the guitar. “And remember that I had over a century of pain and loneliness before I found you, and then three glorious years of love,” he says.
As Damon finds the final Everlasting’s coffin, Bonnie sadly tells Enzo that she can’t hold back anymore. He says she doesn’t have to. Damon pulls the Everlasting out of his coffin and pours gas on him. When he tries to light his lighter, the flame won’t catch. It finally does just as Bonnie is slowly sticking the stake into Enzo’s heart. She immediately stops, her huntress instincts gone.
Outside, Caroline realizes that the scar Bonnie marked her with is also gone. Alaric tells her he’s going to take the girls home, but she should stay. She changed his life, and he’ll always love her for that, but he knows she doesn’t love him the same way. Really, he’s always known; he just thought there could be something there. Now he knows that wouldn’t be fair to either of them. Caroline apologizes and admits that she didn’t want to let go of their happy little family. Alaric wants her to be happy; she deserves to get everything she wants. Whatever happens, the two of them and the twins will always be a family.
Matt’s unconscious now, and no one’s answered his rescue call. He has a vision of Penny in the SUV with him. He apologizes for killing her, but she’s not upset with him. “How the hell did you get yourself into this one?” she asks. “I just can’t escape this life,” he replies. She doesn’t think he’s ever really tried to. Matt tells her he wants to be with her, which means giving up and dying. But Penny says he doesn’t belong with her, either. He needs to survive and go out to find a better life for himself. He wakes up to see that someone answered his call after all, and he’s going to be okay.
Stefan waits impatiently for Damon to come out of the Armory. Caroline joins him, reminding him that, like a cockroach, Damon always survives. He texts just then: “On my way out. Have bourbon ready.” Now Stefan and Caroline can have the talk they didn’t have earlier. Or they can just kiss. That’s probably the easier way to resolve everything.
Damon calls Bonnie, pleased with himself and anticipating a big declaration of forgiveness. She admits that he’s “kind of forgiven.” Enzo just wishes he’d done his thing a few minutes earlier. Damon jokes that he thought he’d waited long enough for Bonnie to kill Enzo.
She thanks him, and as Damon’s starting to list specific ways she can show her gratitude, he hears Elena’s voice saying his name from the vault. Bonnie reminds him that Elena’s in Brooklyn, so she can’t be there. Damon goes back toward the vault, worried that something happened and she’s somehow inside. Maybe the Armory took her. Though Enzo firmly says they didn’t, Damon can still hear Elena’s voice asking for help. He remembers moments from his life with her and goes back in. There’s definitely someone – or something – in there, and when Damon turns toward it, he hears whispers.
Bonnie and Enzo rush to the Armory, where Stefan and Caroline tell Bonnie that Damon closed a security door, so now only Armory employees can get into the vault. Enzo has already headed there on his own. He enters the vault and encounters Damon, who calls him heroic for coming to get him. Enzo says it’s not his style to leave people behind. Ooh, burn (literally). Plus, he wanted to save his girlfriend’s best friend. Heroes always do the right thing for their girlfriends. “I should warn you, it doesn’t always work out so great,” Damon replies.
He tells Enzo it’s not as bad as he thinks. It only hurts at first. A hand appears on Enzo’s shoulder and he hears whispers. Damon tells Enzo that after the pain is gone, “it’s kinda fun.” Hands grab Enzo by the head and yank him off into the darkness.
Three months later: Dear Elena, the gang almost got a happy ending. (Music: “Don’t Panic,” Clairity) Caroline and Stefan worked through their problems, Bonnie and Enzo were about to ensure a future with each other, and Damon did the right thing by being selfless for once. But after Damon and Enzo went into the vault, everything fell apart.
Caroline writes to Elena that they waited for days for the guys to come back out. Stefan tried desperately to get the vault door open. Alaric managed to figure out the security code after a week, but it was for nothing: The vault was empty. Somehow, Damon and Enzo got out.
Caroline’s worried about Bonnie, since she lost the two people she was closest to. Thanks to her brief time as a huntress, which made her immune to magic, she lost her own magic. She can’t do anything to find Damon and Enzo. Matt writes next, saying he did what he could to help the gang, but he eventually left Mystic Falls. If he wants to be happy, he needs to build a life somewhere else.
Stefan writes that it took three months for the gang to hear anything. They learned of a bunch of missing people, a group that kept growing. Stefan’s sure Damon and Enzo are responsible. He doesn’t know what’s wrong with them or why, but he promises Elena that the gang will get them back. Whatever happens before they can, it’s not Damon’s fault.
Damon drags a body into a warehouse, where Enzo, who’s standing near a puddle of blood, helps him string it up by its feet. Damon slits the body’s throat before Enzo raises it in the air. They’ve been doing this for months, and so far, neither of them has gotten tired of it.
Etc.: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do” may be a nod to Ian Somerhalder’s previous big series before this one, Lost.
Hey, someone finally listened to me about flying instead of driving everywhere!
When Damon calls Stefan to confront him for canceling the pilot, Stefan answers the phone, “Salvatore Airlines.” I love it when he gets snarky.
I would have enjoyed seeing Damon try to kidnap Josie and Lizzie. Human or not, Alaric would have fought to the death to prevent it.
I can’t believe that Stefan telling Caroline to wait until things were over to say what she wanted to say wasn’t a hint that something horrible would happen to one of them. They defied a TV/movie cliché!
I love so much that Alaric keeps assuring Caroline in different ways that he considers her to be the girls’ mother. He gets that she’s hesitant to walk away because she doesn’t want to lose her relationship with them, but he basically gives her a nudge by promising that they’ll always be her family.