A bell rings as someone writes in a journal, a woman writhes in pain, and a fire blazes. The scenes are pieces of a dream Matt’s having in the tunnel at the Armory. When he wakes up, confused about how he got there, he goes back to the building and hears the alarm blaring. He runs into Alaric, who wonders how Matt got in. Uh, I don’t think that’s the biggest problem right now.
Bonnie’s still at the house in New York, sitting in the hallway and trying to gather herself. Enzo’s body is still lying on the porch. Damon calls and asks if Elena’s alive. Bonnie tells him she’s okay but Enzo’s dead. Damon says he’s on his way, but she orders him to stay away. He wants to make sure he’s safe, and he tells her to let him handle Stefan. She replies that she already did, by giving him the cure.
Stefan has left the house and is driving somewhere. His memories of all his recent crimes and sins are flooding in. Caroline calls to tell him she talked to Damon and knows what happened to Enzo. Stefan’s haunted by what he did. She asks him to come home, but he doesn’t want to. She offers to meet him somewhere, but Stefan can’t face her or Bonnie right now. A cop pulls Stefan over, and since he still has Enzo’s blood on his hands, things aren’t going to go well for him. Plus, now that he’s human again, he can’t compel the cop to forget about this. He’s immediately arrested.
Alaric (who’s back in town because Dorian needed his help with something) asks Matt what happened. He’s not sure, but his dream was vivid enough to let him feel the heat of the fire. Alaric thinks he just had a nightmare about almost unleashing hellfire on the town. Matt says it was different – he felt like he was actually there. Dorian joins them with the theory that the pendant he gave Matt was a witch talisman tied to the Maxwell bloodline. Maybe Matt’s nightmares were memories. Alaric knows of witches who uses talismans (talismen?) to create a link to their ancestors. Dorian thinks Matt got linked up with Harvey, who wrote about some of the things from Matt’s dream in his journal. He mentioned working with Bennett witches. Alaric gets a phone call and tells Matt and Dorian that something bad happened.
Amazingly, Damon listened to Bonnie and went home instead of her house. Caroline calls to tell him that Stefan was arrested. Damon thinks that’s good, since Stefan shouldn’t be alone while he’s hit with all the guilt of the things he’s done recently. He asks Caroline if she talked to Bonnie. Caroline left her messages and doesn’t get why Bonnie won’t answer them. Damon thinks it’s totally reasonable.
He starts to leave so he can meet Stefan and Caroline at the police station, but Cade demands his attention first. He expresses condolences – not over Enzo, but Stefan. By making Stefan human, Bonnie accidentally voided the Salvatores’ agreement with Cade. On the plus side, that means both of them are free from serving Cade. On the minus side, Cade can end Stefan’s life and drag him to Hell whenever he feels like it. He’s chosen midnight tonight.
Damon thinks he’s delaying Stefan’s death because he’s hoping to make a deal. Correct! Cade wants Ethan Maxwell’s journal (Ethan Maxwell being Harvey’s real name). In exchange, Stefan gets to live a full human life. He’ll have to go to Hell after that, but, you know, everything’s a trade-off.
Stefan’s day gets worse as a detective confronts him with 32 murders he’s been linked to (via his fingerprints) in the past two months. While making tea at the house, Bonnie thinks she hears Enzo asking for help. She snaps out of it when there’s a knock at the door – Abby’s there. Caroline called her, hoping Bonnie would talk to her mother since she won’t talk to her friends.
The detective returns to Stefan’s interrogation room, apologizes, and tells him he’s free to go. Caroline has arrived and compelled him to believe that Stefan’s arrest was a mistake. She sees crime-scene photos of all his victims, and though Stefan takes responsibility, she blames Cade. Stefan thinks he’s still on the hook for his deal. Caroline tells him that now that he’s human, Cade has no use for him. Stefan gets until midnight, unless Damon can work something out.
Damon goes to the Armory and asks for Ethan’s journal. He won’t say why he wants it, and Alaric thinks it’s an awfully big coincidence that he’s looking for it just after Matt had dreams connected to it. Damon announces that Stefan will die at midnight if Cade doesn’t get the journal. Alaric won’t hand it over without knowing why Cade wants it. Damon replies that Alaric will have to kill him again to stop him. Alaric acts like he’s giving in, then vervains him.
Abby sprinkles flower petals on Enzo’s body and tells Bonnie it’s time to say goodbye before they “return him to the earth.” Bonnie doesn’t think he wants her to. She can still feel him, and she thinks he’s calling out to her. Abby says that’s just grief, but Bonnie’s familiar with that and knows this is different. If Enzo’s trying to reach out to her, there must be a reason. Abby reminds her that the Other Side is gone and neither of them has magic, so they shouldn’t do anything they’re not equipped for. Bonnie’s sure there’s a way to reach Enzo. Maybe this is the reason Abby came back.
Caroline compels a police officer to erase Stefan from the system as Stefan gets back his belongings, including the daylight ring he no longer needs. He overhears a girl talking to a cop about her mother, who went missing the day before. It’s Karen. Stefan tells Caroline that he forced her to change the deed to Bonnie’s house, then left her bleeding in the trunk of her car. The girl has no other family. Before Stefan even says anything, Caroline agrees to help him save Karen.
Damon wakes up in the medical section of the Armory, outside a cell where Alaric and Dorian are hooking Matt up to machinery so they can do something science-y to find out what’s so important about Ethan’s journal. Alaric tells Damon he can have the journal once they’ve determined whether there’s anything in it that can help them stop Cade. They’re going to hypnotize Matt and trigger his visions. Alaric says it might take a while, but it starts working immediately. Matt has visions of the Maxwell bell, Ethan’s journal, and Hex House.
1790: Ethan is working on the bell at Hex House as a woman named Beatrice admires it. He calls her Ms. Bennett and tells her that his skills as a metalsmith are nowhere near as impressive as the skills of her coven. She got his letter, which announced the completion of the bell but also contained a hidden message she deciphered with the cardan grille: “Dearest Bea, your courage will save us all.” Ethan hopes the bell will help them rid the town of the “vile, inhuman creatures” that have been killing townspeople. Beatrice is sure that the bell will drive them away when it’s rung tomorrow. Just then, Sybil approaches and announces that she needs a metalsmith.
Present: Matt tells Alaric and Dorian that Sybil forced Ethan to go somewhere with her – he couldn’t resist her.
Stefan and Caroline search the woods as he tries to remember where he left Karen’s car. She assures him that Damon will come through and he won’t die at midnight. Stefan doesn’t care, since he’ll be left with the guilt of everything he’s done. He can’t just pretend he didn’t kill anyone and get on with wedding planning. Annoyed, Caroline asks if he really thinks she only cares about their wedding. Stefan’s just struggling to figure out his feelings; he doesn’t know what he wants or what to do. They find Karen’s car but she’s not in it. She’s somewhere in the woods, bleeding.
1790: Sybil takes Ethan to the tunnels and into the room where Alaric, Georgie, and Dorian found the artifacts. He picks up a dagger, which Sybil says is made from Cade’s bones and ashes, turned to glass “by the fire of Hell’s creation.” Seline arrives and hands Ethan the tuning fork so he can add it to the bell he’s been forging. Sybil tells him that Cade came up with a new purpose for the bell when he learned that it would banish the sirens. Now the 12th ring will bring hellfire to the town. She sirens Ethan not to tell anyone.
Present: Damon wants to fast-forward to the importance of the journal. Yeah, sorry, that’s not how this works.
Bonnie and Abby hold a kind of séance, telling Enzo they’re listening. Abby gets a vision of Bonnie holding Enzo’s body and crying out in grief. Abby’s able to feel his pain somehow. She realizes that Bonnie opened a door to wherever Enzo is. It’s dark and full of emptiness and suffering. They need to bury him and close the door. Bonnie refuses, thinking there’s a way to free him. Abby tells her the darkness is reaching for her. Bonnie promises Enzo that she’ll find a way to get to him. She hears him saying her name, then collapses.
Stefan finds Karen, who thinks he’s there to hurt her again and stabs him with something. When Caroline joins them, he tells her to save Karen first. She does, then tries to heal Stefan, but because he’s taken the cure, vampire blood won’t work on him.
1790: Beatrice’s coven gathers at Hex House for the ringing of the bell. Ethan can’t warn Beatrice, since he’s been sirened not to. She’s hurt that he won’t tell her what Sybil wanted; they usually tell each other anything. He gives her a page of his journal, along with the cardan grille – he found a way to encode a message for her. But he’s been sirened to ring the bell and unleash hellfire on the town, so he has to proceed. Beatrice gets the warning about the bell as he starts ringing it.
The witches feel pain every time the bell rings. Beatrice tells them that it’s been corrupted and they need to work together to stop the ringing. As they chant together, fire erupts from the bell, but their spell keeps it from spreading.
Present: The strain of the hypnosis and the visions is affecting Matt’s heart. Dorian wants to bring him out of his hypnotic state.
1790: The witches try to hold back the fire to save the town. Ethan keeps Beatrice from joining them as they sacrifice themselves, letting themselves burn so the flames don’t spread.
Present: Alaric thinks Matt is having a heart attack. Damon offers up his blood as he flatlines. Alaric lets him into Matt’s cell, which puts Damon within grabbing distance of the journal.
1790: The flames go back into the bell, but not before incinerating all the witches except Beatrice. She comes up with a plan to stop the sirens, so she and Ethan go to their cave in the tunnels. She magically seals the sirens inside, where they’ll remain until Seline escapes in 1883. Sybil tells Ethan that the witches’ blood is on his hands, since he made the bell. He and Beatrice are both doomed to go to Hell. Seline and Sybil say they can escape that fate by releasing Cade from Hell, then killing him.
Beatrice doesn’t want to bring the devil to their world, so Sybil says Ethan needs to kill her. When he refuses, Sybil and Seline siren him to do it. Beatrice uses magic to trap him in the room where Alaric, Dorian, and Georgie found the artifacts and skeleton. He begs her to let him out, saying he knows how to kill the devil. He’s not able to tell her, thanks to his sirening, but it’s in there with him. Beatrice sadly leaves him there, so Ethan pulls out his journal and writes an encrypted message.
Present: Matt announces that the journal will tell them how to kill Cade. Too bad Damon has run off with it.
Bonnie’s not responsive, so Abby pours gas on Enzo’s body and lights it on fire, trying to free her from their connection. Bonnie’s devastated when she comes back to herself. Abby says she opened the door, not Enzo, so he wasn’t trying to reach her. Abby failed Bonnie in a lot of ways, but she won’t let her destroy herself. Bonnie’s upset that Enzo’s alone in the darkness. Abby replies that he wouldn’t want her to be dragged in there with him. He needs to let him go.
Caroline tends to Stefan after compelling Karen to go wait for an ambulance by the road. Stefan doesn’t see the point in her saving him – whenever he dies, he’s going to Hell. He deserves it. She disagrees, since he just saved a life. Stefan doesn’t think one person makes up for everything he’s done. Caroline urges him to keep fighting and stay alive so he can make things right.
Damon takes the journal to Cade, who notes that he’s cutting it close to the deadline. “Story of my life,” Damon replies. He asks how he knows Cade will hold up his end of their deal. Cade simply says he doesn’t. Once he has the journal in his hands, he tells Damon that Stefan is free to live out his human life. “Just between us bad guys,” Damon wonders if anyone has ever earned their way out of Hell. Cade doesn’t want to give him false hope, so he doesn’t respond. He lights the journal on fire, then drops it in the fireplace and leaves.
As Karen reunites with her daughter, Stefan looks over his victims’ crime-scene photos. He’s been fixed up at a hospital, and Caroline has filled his prescriptions for medications she hopes he’s not allergic. He apologizes for his comment about wedding planning. He just can’t figure out what their lives are supposed to look like now that he’s human and she’s not. Caroline doesn’t want to throw out their relationship just because things have changed. He tells her he doesn’t know how to make it right. She doesn’t, either, but she has an idea where he can start.
Matt’s waiting for Bonnie when she gets to Bennett Bungalow. He expresses his condolences about Enzo, though he knows from experience that that won’t bring him back. “I don’t think I can do this,” she says. But Matt does – she’s one of the strongest people he knows. He thinks she got that strength from Beatrice, and he’ll tell her about their families’ connected histories some other time. “I never truly appreciated what bad%$#@& you Bennett witches were,” he says. Bonnie wishes she had her magic so she could have saved Enzo. Matt encourages her to remember that he loved her and will always be with her. In a way, he literally will, since she still has the necklace that holds his blood.
Stefan goes to Vamp Villa, where Damon pours him a drink and offers to remind him how much he’s wanted to be human again. Stefan plans to go see Bonnie, though he has no idea what to say to her. If he can’t forgive himself, he doesn’t expect her to forgive him, either. Damon says she’s a better person than they are. It might take time, but the clock starts when Stefan asks for forgiveness.
Stefan thanks Damon for saving him, which Damon downplays as not a big deal. Stefan says now he’ll get a chance to undo some of the damage he’s caused. Damon feels the same about himself. “Do you think that there’s a chance for us? For redemption?” Stefan asks. “Absolutely,” Damon replies. But if Stefan’s still destined for Hell, does it even matter?
Alaric finally gets around to talking to Dorian about the reason he needed help, but Damon returns to the Armory, so Dorian decides it can wait. Alaric is quietly furious with Damon, who doesn’t care, since he saved Stefan. Damon has a few decades to make peace with the fact that his brother is no longer immortal. Today, all he could do was make sure it wasn’t his last day alive.
“Why do you only seem to care about loss when it’s your own?” Alaric asks. Damon reminds him of what he’s always known – Damon’s selfish. Alaric yells that Damon doesn’t know how important the journal was. Damon guesses that it contained instructions on how to kill Cade. He gave it to Cade anyway because he knows “how it ends.” He tells Alaric to get his blindfold and headphones so they can take a trip to the tunnels.
Stefan goes to Bennett Bungalow, but before he can go inside, someone tases him and drags him away. Back at the Armory, Damon tells Alaric that Sybil mentioned having an insurance policy against Cade. He thinks it’s the dagger made from his bones and ash. Wouldn’t it be poetic if they could kill him with something made out of him? Damon’s all proud of himself, and he thinks they should pour some bourbon, make some halfhearted apologies, and come up with a plan to kill the devil.
“Sorry to interrupt,” says a familiar face, joining them from the tunnel, “but what if I told you I had a better idea?”
Etc.: This episode feels rushed. Bonnie barely gets any time to mourn. We don’t see Stefan trying to adjust to being human again. And I hate that Bonnie’s not with the gang, the people she’s closest to.
I wonder why they had Zach Roerig (Matt) play his ancestor, Ethan, but they didn’t have Kat Graham (Bonnie) play her ancestor, Beatrice.
I assume that during this episode, Josie and Lizzie were being watched by whoever babysits Hope while her family’s off causing/fixing trouble.
Why does Alaric, a historian and archaeologist, know how to hypnotize people?
It’s kind of nice to get some follow-up on the death of the 100 witches at Hex House. It was a loose end that didn’t really need to be tied up, but it gives us a little more history of the town.