Three days ago, Matt rang the Maxwell bell 11 times, which we already know was enough to bring Cade to the real world. He’s not the only one who snuck out of Hell – Kai did, too. He found himself in the Grill, where he ordered a bunch of food to celebrate being alive. He realized too late that he couldn’t taste anything. He also couldn’t feel anything, as he discovered when he stabbed himself in the hand. But he had magic and could still hurt people, which is how a poor, clueless Grill waiter wound up with a knife in his throat.
Now, at the Armory, Kai tells Damon and Alaric that he’s a kind of “psychic imprint” stuck between dimensions. He has to really concentrate to do magic, which he compares to “having cell reception on Mars.” Alaric stabs him with the dagger made from Cade’s remains, which Kai figures is kind of fair, considering what he did to Jo. The dagger doesn’t have any effect on Kai, and for some reason he’s unable to use magic against Alaric.
Damon, the peacemaker for once, pulls Alaric off of Kai so he can ask some questions. First he wants to know why Kai’s there. Kai isn’t sure – when Matt rang the bell, Kai could suddenly see Mystic Falls, so he headed toward it. “Please don’t tell Cade,” he requests. Damon seems surprised that Kai was in Hell. “I think I’m on the wait list for Heaven, but they’re not returning my calls,” Kai replies.
Damon asks what he was talking about when he said he had a better idea than using the dagger to kill Cade. Kai says he’ll help if they find a way to get him out of Hell permanently. I guess you could say that if the gang wants to take down the devil, they’ll have to work with another devil. A devil they know, so to speak.
Alaric isn’t interested, but as he moves to stab Kai again, Kai blurts out that he could bring back Elena. Damon stops Alaric and takes him out of the room so they can talk about the pros and cons of working with Kai. Damon promises that once they’ve gotten whatever they need out of Kai, he’ll send Kai back to Hell. Alaric just needs to have some faith.
Caroline tries calling Bonnie from her news studio, but Bonnie still isn’t taking her calls or returning her messages. This time Caroline wants to know how her talk went with Stefan, who didn’t come home after going to see her the night before. Bonnie doesn’t answer this call because she’s trying again to communicate with Enzo. Matt joins Caroline and asks for her help. People have been calling in to report old crimes involving Stefan. Caroline realizes that when Bonnie gave Stefan the cure, all the compulsion he did in the past wore off.
Speaking of Stefan, the person who tased and grabbed him outside Bennett Bungalow has blindfolded him and driven him into the woods. It’s Dorian. He pulls a gun on Stefan and orders him to join him for a walk. Stefan’s confused, since he barely knows Dorian. It turns out that Dorian was one of the people whose compelled-away memories are now returning. He and Stefan didn’t meet at the Armory a few months ago – they first met seven years ago.
Dorian previously told Caroline that his father and sister died in a house fire. Now, though, he knows the real story. During Stefan and Klaus’ summer of murder, Stefan killed Dorian’s family, then compelled him to forget. The house fire was a cover-up. Stefan apologetically says that he had to do things to prove himself to Klaus. Dorian’s upset that he doesn’t even seem to remember them. But Stefan always knows his victims’ names, because how else can he write them down later? Dorian’s offended that Stefan didn’t remember him – the people he kills aren’t his only victims. Stefan apologizes, but that’s not enough for Dorian. He gives Stefan a shovel and tells him to start digging.
Bonnie tries to reach Enzo, asking for a sign that he’s still around. Instead, she gets a phone call from Damon. She answers, “What do you need?” because she knows it’s always something. He says he just wanted to check on her, but she knows from the nine messages he’s left already that there’s more going on. Damon asks if she’s made any progress getting Enzo out of Hell. If Cade was able to leave, surely she can get Enzo out, too. Bonnie reminds him that Cade used the Maxwell bell, which isn’t a route they should be going down. Also, she doesn’t have magic, so she can’t do much. Damon replies that she’s not a quitter.
He’s driving somewhere, and Kai reaches up from the backseat to try to change the radio station. Damon tells Bonnie that he has a situation similar to Enzo’s, with someone who’s halfway in their world and wants to stay. Kai, who’s looking through an MP3 player, whispers that he wants to say hi to Bonnie. Damon brushes him off and tells Bonnie that this is just a hypothetical. What if they could unlink her life from Elena’s by freeing a soul from Hell?
Bonnie’s smart enough to know that she would be doing all the work. She tells him it’s a crazy idea, since the only person who could break the link between her and Elena was Kai, who’s dead. She suddenly asks Damon who’s with him. He lies that it’s no one as Kai breathes on a window and draws a heart in the condensation. Bonnie says she just got the feeling that it’s someone he doesn’t want her to know about.
Damon tells her that even if there were someone with him, he wouldn’t want her to know because Cade, a psychic, is looking for runaway souls and could pull the information out of Bonnie’s head. He gets out of the car, leaving Kai to crawl out of the backseat without moving the driver’s seat. Bonnie catches on that Damon’s with Kai.
He’s skeptical that she could know that, but she tells him that even before she knew she was a witch, she had psychic abilities. That’s why she can still feel Enzo. Damon asks if those psychic abilities can help get someone out of Hell. Bonnie doesn’t know, but Cade would. She’s going to ask him how to save Enzo. Damon protests but she just hangs up on him. “Did it sound like she missed me?” Kai asks.
Caroline goes to the sheriff’s department with Matt to talk to the people who have recovered their compelled-away memories. One is the cop who was guarding the murderer Stefan turned so Jeremy could kill him. Stefan sent him away, and when the cop came back, the murderer had vanished. The cop lost his job and pension, and he fell off the wagon.
Caroline feels bad for him, but she can’t risk him telling anyone else this story, so she compels him to forget what happened. She tells him to get sober and turn his life around. One day he’ll get a check from Stefan, and instead of asking questions, he should use the money for a good purpose. Once the compulsion has taken hold, Matt tells the cop to give him a call if he ever wants to join the sheriff’s department.
After the cop leaves, Matt wonders if Caroline’s actually listening to what people are saying, or if she’s just compelling them to forget again. Caroline angrily says she’s fully aware of the “ripple effect” just one vampire causes in town. She’s plowing ahead because she’s the only person who can clean up Stefan’s mess.
In the woods, Stefan asks Dorian if he’s really thought through what he’s obviously intending to do. If Dorian kills him, he’ll go to Hell right alongside Stefan. Dorian thinks Stefan’s trying to mess with him. Stefan’s friends have compassion for him because he always feels so guilty, but Dorian knows something worse than living with guilt – surviving murder. And worse than surviving murder is being murdered.
Stefan agrees, but Dorian doesn’t want him to pretend they’re on the same side. Stefan says Dorian will never understand what it feels like to always be hungry or have a switch that can make you into a monster. Until yesterday, Stefan didn’t know what it was like to be helpless against that. Dorian asks if Stefan thinks he’s just like everyone else now that he’s human again. “In the real world,” people who murder in cold blood are sentenced to death. They don’t get to try to redeem themselves. Stefan asks what else he’s supposed to do. “You’re supposed to go to Hell – permanently,” Dorian replies. “Believe me, I am,” Stefan tells him. He’s just trying to do as much good as he can until his day comes.
Dorian doesn’t care about Stefan’s redemption. “The damage is done, Stefan! The dead are dead!” he exclaims. He doesn’t know how to move on knowing that the person who killed his father and sister is still alive and that people like him. Stefan starts to respond, taking a step forward, but Dorian suddenly fires his gun. Stefan falls back into the grave he’s started to dig.
Alaric takes Josie and Lizzie to a cell in the Armory so they can spend the night there. He gets an alert on his phone, then calls Damon to ask why @CobraKai1972 is tweeting for the first time in four years from a diner. “Better question: Why are you still following him?” Damon replies. Right?? He says Bonnie’s “on it,” without specifying what “it” is. Alaric doesn’t like hearing that she’s been pulled into the craziness. Damon hangs up on him while he’s complaining.
He tries to take Kai’s phone from him, but Kai points out that there’s nothing else to do while they’re waiting to hear from Bonnie. He takes a selfie with Damon, then notices that his nose is bleeding. He thinks he’s slipping back into Hell. Bonnie better work fast, because if Kai goes, Damon will lose his shot to get Elena back. Also, Kai would be really unhappy, since Hell isn’t exactly fun, what with the fire and the torture and all.
He brings up Damon’s employment with Cade and his encounters with the sirens, though he only wants to know if they were hot. As Damon notices a cook harassing a waitress, Kai wonders if he can stay in the real world by killing someone evil and feeding them to Hell. Damon’s trying to abstain so he can have a future with Elena, but Kai tells him one more murder won’t make a difference. He’s “super-deep in the karma hole.” Damon has eternity to seek redemption, but Kai is fading fast, so he convinces Damon to kill someone for him. Damon doesn’t object too much, since the scummy cook is right there.
Alaric calls Caroline to let her know that he and the girls are at the Armory and want to see her. Caroline would love that, but she’s hesitant to have the twins in Mystic Falls. Alaric thinks it’s safe enough. Plus, he needs some parenting advice. It seems the twins’ magic has grown, and they’re now able to levitate things (like crayons) without any effort.
Dorian realizes he’s gone too far by shooting Stefan. Stefan tells him the bullet didn’t hit anything important, so it’s going to take him a while to bleed to death. He encourages Dorian to shoot him through the head or the heart to finish him off. He wants to make this easier for Dorian. Dorian aims the gun at him again but can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. He drops it and tries to call 911, but he can’t get any cell service. He has Stefan hold something over his wound while they make their way out of the woods.
Bonnie finds Cade at the coffee shop where she briefly met him, having formed some sort of connection with him that let her know where he was. He admires her power, considering she’s new to being psychic. She asks how she can get Enzo out of Hell. Cade tells her to ask him herself. He’s going to help her understand what she’s become.
When Cade died, his true self came out, and now he and his “psychic dimension” are part of each other. To find Enzo’s soul, Bonnie needs to open her mind to Cade, and he’ll help her contact Enzo. Bonnie agrees, so Cade tells her to think of how she felt when Enzo died – how it felt to be betrayed by Stefan and to lose her love and happiness.
As Bonnie remembers those moments, the ceiling fans in the coffee shop start spinning faster. Cade tells her to think about Enzo’s dreams and happiness. Her rage grows, causing some machinery to steam. He urges her to embrace her pain and anger – they’re the source of her power. She remembers Enzo’s death over and over, eventually hearing him say her name.
She finds herself in the burned-down cabin with him. They’re able to embrace and kiss. He tells her to get away from Cade – he’s trying to use her to find Enzo so he can take Enzo’s soul to Hell. Bonnie asks Enzo where he is, if he’s not in Hell. Enzo just warns her not to trust Cade. She comes out of wherever she was and lies to Cade that she didn’t find Enzo.
Caroline compels Violet’s uncle to believe that she died painlessly in her sleep. Matt thinks that was a good one, considering fake animal attacks were getting a little too prevalent (and scaring people out of going camping). Dorian calls to confess that he kidnapped Stefan and tried to kill him. Caroline uses her vamp hearing to eavesdrop and get their location. She zooms off to find them before Matt can react.
Damon kills the cook and lets Kai feed on him, but it only makes him feel a little better. They’ll need more evil people if Damon wants to keep Kai around. Damon calls Bonnie but she doesn’t answer. She runs into Cade, who’s figured out that when Enzo died, Bonnie’s scream created a new dimension that’s linked only to her. Cade’s never known of anyone else who’s done that – except himself. But Enzo’s soul belongs to Cade, so he wants access. He grabs Bonnie by the head to try to force his way in, but she resists him. He does, however, learn that she suspects that Kai got out of Hell. He warns that if she keeps hiding things from him, she’ll regret it.
Even though Stefan’s the one bleeding from a gunshot wound, he asks Dorian if he’s okay. He knows there’s a big difference between wanting to kill someone and actually pulling the trigger. Dorian worries what will happen to him if Stefan dies. Stefan collapses and Dorian apologizes, wishing he hadn’t done this. Stefan passes out, and moments later, Caroline arrives. Not that she can do him any good, since her blood won’t heal him anymore.
Stefan leaves his body and meets up with Cade, who tells him he’s dying. He’s between the real world and his fate. Cade doesn’t know why Stefan’s surprised, since he’s mortal now. Stefan says he doesn’t have to die today. Cade urges him to let go – it’ll be easier that way.
Stefan resists, saying he has too much to make up for. Cade meant that it would be easier for Caroline. Stefan’s attempts to redeem himself will ruin Caroline’s life. She’ll spent the next few decades following him around on his road to redemption, which is a meaningless quest. He’ll age and become a burden. “You’re destined for Hell, Stefan – why should she be?” Cade asks. If Stefan really loves her, he’ll end her suffering and let her go back to her immortal life without him.
An ambulance arrives as Cade waits for Stefan to respond. When he doesn’t, Cade criticizes him for holding on to his “fragile existence.” But Stefan’s watching Caroline, his biggest reason not to give up. “I guess I’m stubborn. I want to live,” he tells Cade. “Well, that’s only human,” Cade replies. Stefan returns to his body as paramedics start to tend to him. The last thing he sees and hears before he passes out is Caroline saying she loves him and he’ll be okay.
Kai wants to go on a killing spree with Damon, but Damon tells him that Cade knows he got out of Hell and is coming to find him. Damon says they need to find a big, selfless gesture Kai can commit so he won’t have to go back to Hell. “I hate this already,” Kai says. Damon tells him he needs to do something to make up for all the pain he’s caused. Damon gets to decide what it is. When people forgive others, they allow for the possibility of redemption. If Kai wants Damon’s forgiveness, he’ll revive Elena right now.
Matt meets up with Dorian at the hospital, assuring him that Stefan’s stable. Caroline told the paramedics he was the victim of a hunting accident. No one else knows what happened, so Dorian won’t face any consequences. Except he can’t forget that he almost killed someone. He thinks he’s just as bad as Stefan is. Matt says he’s hurt people for the wrong reasons, too, but the voice in his head telling him to hate himself means he’s actually a good person.
He hands Dorian a stack of police files tying Stefan to a bunch of crimes going back decades. Stefan wants Dorian to decide what to do with them. If he wants Stefan to go to prison, he will. If not, Dorian can put the past behind him and try to work toward a better future.
Caroline tells Stefan that Dorian saved his life. Stefan doesn’t blame Dorian for coming after him, considering what Stefan did. He knows other people will be (literally) gunning for him, too. Caroline’s aware of that, since she spent the day dealing with is “collateral damage.” Stefan really considered letting go when Cade urged him to; it would have been easier than dealing with his guilt and regrets. Caroline asks if he really thinks he deserves Hell. He tells her he doesn’t know who he is anymore.
She reminds him that he’s only been human for a couple of days. He needs to figure out who he is now. Then he can decide how to help the people he’s hurt. Stefan tells her that he might need to leave Mystic falls to do that – alone. Caroline’s hurt, since she’s stood by him through everything up till now. How would splitting up solve his problems? She objects to him saying it’s for her. “Your walk of atonement and your guilt, your need to be a martyr to your past, that is all for you,” she says. Stefan asks what kind of future they can have together. She doesn’t know, but then again, she never knew. That used to be exciting. Now it’s “misguided.”
Bonnie tries another séance, and this time it works. Enzo’s not really in the world, but it’s good enough. Caroline has a happy reunion with the girls at Fort Forbes, but their family dinner gets dark when Lizzie objects to the color of her cup and lashes out, siphoning from Caroline. She says she didn’t mean to. Upset on Caroline’s behalf, Josie starts the spell Seline taught them to set things on fire. Caroline and Alaric stop her and tell her never to use that spell. Alaric admits that the girls’ powers have gotten out of their control.
Damon takes Kai to the Salvatore crypt, the latest hiding spot for Elena’s coffin. Kai’s suspicious that Damon will kill him as soon as he reverses the sleep spell. Damon acknowledges that he might do that, but if Kai isn’t willing to trust him, he’ll have to run from Cade forever. Kai says he needs to siphon more power before he reverses the spell. He grabs Damon’s arm, saying he needs to “drain the biggest, baddest battery of all.”
He steals Cade’s dagger from Damon, then says he’s been in Hell long enough to know redemption doesn’t exist – people just make bargains and fool themselves into thinking they’re good. Kai’s not a good person, and if he’s going out, he’s “going out with a bang.” He finishes siphoning Damon, turns himself and Elena’s coffin invisible, and leaves Damon to desiccate.
Etc.: I’m no shrink but I diagnose Kai with ADHD and Stefan with depression.
Why didn’t Stefan kill Dorian back when he killed his family? What made him draw the line? His humanity was off, so why not just take out the whole family?
The cop who recovers his memories describes Stefan as an “intense guy” with “weird hair.” I’m sorry Damon missed that.
Yeah, Alaric, it’s totally safe to take the girls back to Mystic Falls. It’s not like their murderous uncle, who tried to kill them before they were even born, is running around. EXCEPT THAT HE IS.