Legacies 1.6, Mombie Dearest: Bittersweet 16

A woman in a wedding dress walks through the hallways of the Salvatore School, approaching Alaric’s office. He’s on the phone with Caroline, who’s just told him that she won’t be able to make it back to Mystic Falls for the twins’ 16th birthday. They’ll have to come up with a reason to give the twins, since they don’t want to tell the girls what Caroline’s up to. Alaric says that he’s still working on figuring out what’s going on at the school. All he has are pieces of a puzzle – the knife, a symbol, and a place the dryad mentioned. He doesn’t know how they’re connected or what’s coming next.

The woman appears in his doorway. It’s Jo.

Dorian hears Alaric calling for him and runs to the office. Alaric has picked up a crossbow, thinking the woman standing in front of him in a bloody wedding dress is a monster disguised as the love of his life. Jo and Dorian both try to talk him down. She says she was “yanked awake” and found herself at the school. Alaric wants to kill her before she attacks, but Dorian suggests questioning her instead. If she is the next monster, she might know more than the dryad did. Alaric agrees and finally lowers the crossbow. He tells Dorian that no one can see Jo, “especially today.”

Hope’s in a counseling session with Emma, talking about Landon. Over the course of about 24 hours, she’s gone from not wanting to be anywhere near him to gushing about how much she likes him. Emma appreciates that she’s in a good mood for once and is experiencing a normal crush. She doesn’t need a counselor right now, just a friend.

She chooses Rafael, who’s offered to organize the set-up for Josie and Lizzie’s birthday party. He’s mad at Hope for voting for Landon to leave, but she says she did it for his own good. She wants to apologize to Rafael and offer to listen if he wants to talk. He needs something else from her – he doesn’t know how to act at a fancy party, and he wants to learn before he escorts Lizzie.

Lizzie’s in a great mood, and not just because it’s her birthday: She had sex with Rafael, she thinks Caroline’s coming home, and her pores are tiny. She’s also over losing the election; now that she has a boyfriend, she wouldn’t have time to serve on the Honor Council. Penelope stops by Twin Turret with cupcakes for Lizzie and Josie and the news that Caroline isn’t coming. So much for Lizzie’s great day!

Emma keeps Jo confined to Alaric’s office with a boundary spell. She asks if Jo can do magic; Alaric figures she can’t, since she couldn’t before she died. Jo, who’s changed into regular clothes, doesn’t appreciate being talked about like she’s not there. Alaric starts to interrogate her, but her answers indicate that she’s the real deal. She’s stunned to learn that 16 years have passed since she died. He thinks it’s all an act, but she reminds him that Mystic Falls is a hotbed of weirdness and she’s not the first person there to come back from the dead. (Alaric did it himself!)

Josie and Lizzie come by to confront Alaric for not telling them that Caroline will miss their birthday. Jo is surprised to hear Alaric being called “Dad.” He puts a hand over her mouth while he talks to the twins through the door, trying to get them to go away. Instead, they siphon the spell that’s keeping his office door closed. They don’t recognize Jo at first, but Josie realizes who she is just as Jo realizes who they are.

Alaric explains that the Geminis transferred the twins to Caroline when Jo died, and she gave birth to them. Jo thinks that means Caroline and Alaric are together. No, that would be crazy! He tells her that Caroline married Stefan, who also died on their wedding day. Lizzie is defensive about Caroline, whom she considers her only mom. She introduces herself, saying she was named for Caroline’s mother. Josie is much more receptive to Jo and says she was named after her.

Hope walks Rafael through how to make his entrance at the party. (She learned from Rebekah – “this kind of thing is her jam.”) Rafael is having second thoughts, and she tells him it’s only going to get worse. Lizzie has been looking forward to her sweet 16 for 11 years. Rafael may not want to go but he’s going to honor his commitment. He can’t let Lizzie down, considering he just had sex with her.

M.G. confronts Penelope for breaking the news about Caroline to Josie and Lizzie. If he weren’t a feminist who rejects toxic masculinity in all its forms, they would be “throwing down,” even though he knows he wouldn’t stand a chance against her. Penelope asks why M.G.’s working so hard to make the twins’ party perfect when Lizzie asked Rafael to be her date. He says he has to shoot his shot. Penelope tells him to get his “little M.G.s” out of Lizzie’s grip. He refuses, thinking he’s close to winning her over. Penelope offers to keep Rafael away from the party long enough for M.G. to shoot his final shot, which she figures won’t be successful. When he’s done and Lizzie has broken his heart again, he needs to let her go.

Alaric uses the truth sphere in his next round of questions for Jo. It backs up all her claims that she’s herself. Josie asks how they met, and Jo tells her that she approached Alaric at a party because he was the only guy there over the age of 20. Josie wants to know if it was love at first sight. Not really, at least for Jo. She asked Alaric for a sip of his drink but he said he was a germaphobe (neither of them mentions that he was covering because he couldn’t tell her he was drinking blood). She thought he looked like Indiana Jones. The sphere says this is true. Lizzie’s more interested in getting ready for the party than spending time with the biological mother she never met, so she wants to go. Josie asks if Jo will still be there afterward. Alaric doesn’t let her answer.

Hope teaches Rafael to waltz while questioning his taste in girls. He decides he’s done being both prepped and judged. Hope isn’t going to the party, but he doesn’t buy her front that she’s okay not having friends. Everyone needs a crew, and Landon was his until Hope sent him away. There’s a difference between being okay with being alone and choosing to be lonely. Hope shoots back that Rafael is taking a girl he doesn’t even like to her own birthday party. Rafael tries to leave but finds himself trapped by a barrier spell. It’s courtesy of Penelope, who says it’ll only be up for an hour.

Alaric tells Dorian and Emma that Jo knows things only she would know, and she hasn’t said anything about the knife. Plus, he remembers her, which makes her different from the other monsters that have shown up. Emma thinks the monsters are trying out psychological warfare since their other tactics didn’t get them the knife. Alaric needs to be careful. Dorian finds an account of a group of soldiers who came back to life in World War I and killed a village full of people. Afterward, they didn’t remember the attacks and they all said they’d been yanked back into being, just like Jo did. Something must have resurrected them and used them as puppets.

Josie thinks Alaric’s suspicions are out of place. Lizzie tells her that Jo isn’t their mother: “She’s DNA.” They can be mad at Caroline for missing their birthday but they can’t “cheat on her with Mombie dearest.” Lizzie’s ready for the party, thanks to Josie’s help, but Josie hasn’t even started getting dressed yet. She sends Lizzie off alone and says she’ll catch up. After Lizzie leaves, Josie finds a note from Hope in her bed wishing her a happy birthday. There’s a little pouch in the envelope with it, and Josie puts on the necklace it holds.

Penelope comes by and asks Josie if she needs an escort to the party. “Sure. Do you know anyone whose heart isn’t made of stone?” Josie replies. Penelope apologizes for blurting out the news about Caroline; she had a chance to hurt Lizzie and shot her shot. (Someone’s letting M.G. rub off on her…) Josie asks Penelope to ease up on Lizzie, but Penelope says she sucks the air out of any room Josie’s in. Josie replies that they can share oxygen.

Penelope asks if they’re sharing love interests, too, because Lizzie’s the only one with a date. “You have crawled so far down the codependence rabbit hole that you think taking care of yourself is selfish,” Penelope accuses. Josie says she takes care of herself fine, but Penelope notes that Josie spent all her time helping Lizzie get ready and is now going to be late to her own party.

In Alaric’s office, Jo goes through his things and finds an album of the twins’ childhood photos. A mirror shows her true reflection: Her face is a rotting mess. Now dressed for the party, Josie returns and asks if Jo knows how to braid hair.

Lizzie arrives at the party and almost has an Elena-at-the-Miss-Mystic-Falls-pageant moment when her escort doesn’t appear. M.G. zooms in to take his place. He hands her a rose, knowing it’s her favorite flower, and demonstrates that he knows a lot of her personal preferences. She’s not sold on letting him be her date until he starts dancing and makes her laugh.

Josie opens up to Jo about her dating life and her crush on Rafael, which she doesn’t want Lizzie to know about. Jo gets that Lizzie has a strong personality that overpowers Josie’s, and she assures Josie that she’s special. Josie starts to reply that Jo’s only saying that because she’s Josie’s mother, but she can’t say the M word. Jo’s okay with that – Caroline is the twins’ mom, and she’s done a great job. Josie says that Lizzie is just like Caroline, and Jo acknowledges that Josie is more like her. Josie’s happy that she’s there. She confides that she thinks Alaric is lonely, then invites Jo to the party.

Rafael’s annoyed that Lizzie probably thinks he stood her up. Hope says her ego could use the hit, but he doesn’t want to be seen as a guy who just forgets about people. Hope knows he’s thinking of Landon, but he’s actually thinking of Cassie. She died just six weeks ago, and Rafael feels like he cheated on her. He wants to do right by Lizzie to make up for that. Hope tells him that he went through something awful and he should mourn, but he can’t pretend to like Lizzie to make himself feel better. It’s bad for both of them.

M.G. shows off his dance and gymnastic skills at the party, amusing Penelope. She realizes that Josie hasn’t shown up yet. She’s on her way with Jo, telling her about Lizzie’s love triangle with Rafael and M.G. Jo suddenly collapses, unconscious. Josie starts to run off to get help, and Jo opens her eyes, which are completely white. When Josie turns around, Jo’s standing up, her face rotted like it was in the mirror. She runs straight at Josie.

With a minute to go before Penelope’s barrier spell comes down, Hope tells Rafael that she sent Landon to someone who can help him find his mother. That doesn’t make Rafael feel any better – Landon’s mother gave him up. Hope is optimistic that she’ll turn out to be great and Landon will finally get a family. “He had a family,” Rafael replies. Hope says a crew is different from a family: “Family is always and forever.” Rafael tells her that family can be someone who isn’t related to you by blood. She should find some friends to make up for the family she doesn’t have.

M.G. and Lizzie are having a great time dancing when a slow song comes on (appropriately, a cover of the Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”), so they just keep moving. Rafael arrives right then and takes back his role as Lizzie’s date. She basically forgets about poor M.G. immediately.

Alaric goes looking for Jo, whose face is back to normal when he comes across her. She tells him that she lost time and now her hands are covered in dirt and she doesn’t know where Josie is. She collapses again, reviving with white eyes. Speaking with a voice that isn’t hers, she says she’ll tell Alaric what happened if he gives her the knife. She’s sure Josie has an hour before she runs out of air. Hope comes across them (dressed for the party, by the way) and Alaric says he needs her help.

Penelope runs into M.G. at the old mill while she’s looking for Josie. He’s quietly mad about how Rafael ruined his night and announces that they’re going to duel. Penelope shuts him down and reminds him that he agreed to move on from Lizzie if things didn’t work out. Hope walks by with a shovel, not even pausing to engage in banter with Penelope. Then she realizes that she could use Penelope’s help. When M.G. and Penelope learn that Josie’s possessed biological mother buried her alive (just another day in Mystic Falls), they jump right in to save her.

Alaric goes to his office to get the knife, but it’s not in the safe he put it in. Dorian took it, knowing that Jo would ask for it and Alaric wouldn’t be able to resist giving it to her. He and Emma are on their way to hide it. He promises that they’ll save Josie without giving up the knife and possibly triggering Armageddon.

Hope, M.G., and Penelope go to the cemetery where Jo buried Josie alive. M.G.’s vamp hearing lets him pick up the sound of breathing, but it’s from a zombie that emerges from the ground. Penelope hits it in the neck with an axe, but M.G. knows from TV and comics that you have to go for their brains. Turns out the zombie isn’t alone, so the three teens have an uphill battle to rescue Josie.

Back at the dance, Lizzie tries to entice Rafael to spend the night having sex with her at the quarry. He knows this is a bad move on her birthday but he tells her that this is the only date they’re going to have. Having sex with her was a mistake. Instead of running away or melting down, Lizzie keeps dancing. She finally notices that Josie isn’t there.

M.G. kills another zombie before Hope sends him to find Josie. She asks Penelope if they should use magic to take on the rest of the zombies. Penelope suggests sticking with the axes and pretending the zombies are Lizzie. M.G. thinks he hears Josie, but again, it’s some other reanimated corpse. Hope saves him, then tells M.G. to get it together. He says there’s too much noise, but when he concentrates, he hears Josie. The three teens pull her out of her shallow grave. Hope realizes that she was kind of the hero here: The necklace she gave Josie is a talisman that makes quiet things heard.

Jo, again back to normal, feels horrible that Josie could have died because of her. Alaric assures her that whatever possessed her is really to blame. Something has been driving the monsters to go after the knife, and they’re at its mercy until they figure things out. Jo says no one’s safe around her while she’s in this state. She wants the twins to siphon the magic controlling her. Alaric notes that it’s probably what’s keeping her alive. She knows. He cries and hugs her, having finally accepted that she’s the real Jo just a little too late to appreciate it.

She tells him that Josie thinks he’s lonely, then asks if he’s happy. “I am happy right now, in the arms of my demon-possessed baby mama,” he replies. How sweet. He says he’ll be happy when the girls are older. Jo asks if they know what happens when the turn 22. Nope! Alaric and Caroline don’t want to tell them until they’re sure there’s absolutely no way to get around the merge. That’s why Caroline’s missing their birthday – she’s following a lead. Jo asks Alaric to thank Caroline for being the girls’ mom.

M.G.’s in a good mood again after fighting the zombies. He tells Penelope he’s a superhero, which is great because they get all the girls. “Oh, totally. Superman is such a slut,” she quips, cracking up. Josie walks by and thanks M.G. for saving her, pointedly ignoring Penelope. She blames Penelope for her live burial – she’s the reason Josie tried to go after something she wanted. There’s room for people in the world who just care about others and don’t want the spotlight. Penelope agrees, saying the world needs both selfless and selfish people. She’s the latter, of course. She kisses Josie, who pulls away just long enough to say, “I hate you” before continuing their makeout session.

Rafael runs into Hope, who says she had fun tonight despite skipping the party. She jokes that she has her own Avengers squad now. He invites her to dance, and she starts to tell him about her night, which kicked off with her taking his advice.

Alaric takes Jo to Twin Turret so Josie and Lizzie can siphon from her. They’re upset, but Jo reminds them that she’s already dead. She was a witch like they are, and witches believe in the natural order of things, so she can’t stay there. (Music: “Wake Me Up,” Tommee Profitt featuring Fleurie, covering Avicii) She loves that she got to be with them, but it’s a lie and they need to help her make things right.

The longer she stays, the more she remembers where she came from. She used to watch Alaric and the girls, “like in a dream where everything is warm and happy.” She thinks she was at peace. She’ll go back there and wait for them.

Lizzie’s sorry for being cold to Jo earlier. Jo can tell that Lizzie has a big heart, and she says it’s okay to let other people see it. She tells the twins they’re everything she could have wished for. She wants them to be good to each other and fight for each other. “When you’re older, you’ll understand what I mean,” she says.

She holds out her hands for them to take, but Josie doesn’t think she can siphon and end her life again. Jo says it’s the right thing to do – the only thing to do. She tells the twins and Alaric that she loves them, then faces the twins to show she’s ready. They siphon from her and she slowly vanishes. The other three hold each other and cry.

Later, Alaric puts some pictures and his wedding ring on Jo’s grave. Dorian tells him to go home, but Alaric wants to find the monster responsible for Jo’s resurrection so he can kill it slowly. Laughter behind them indicates that the monster is already there. He’s rotted and scarred, and he thinks Alaric and Dorian are terrified of him. “Tremble, then, in the presence of the Necromancer!” he yells.

“Who?” Alaric asks.

“The…NECROMANCER!” the monster repeats. “Bringer of life and death! He who holds the fates’ threads! The cursed king of the underworld!”

“It’s not ringing any bells,” Alaric says.

Dorian’s only knowledge of necromancers comes from video games, where they’re not very powerful. The Necromancer protests that he’s the only one of his kind. He wants to talk about the knife, and he’s not intimidated when Alaric threatens to kill him, since death can’t hold him. Alaric smacks him in the face with a shovel and says they’ll see about that.

Keep in mind: Josie and Lizzie don’t know anything about the merge.

Etc.: Marguerite MacIntyre (Liz) wrote this episode.

I don’t think Jenny Boyd (Lizzie) is quite on the same level as the other actors on the show, but she holds her own in the scenes where Josie and Lizzie talk to Jo at the end. Matt Davis (Alaric), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Jo), and Kaylee Bryant (Josie) all knock it out of the park.

There’s no way the twins wouldn’t recognize Jo as soon as they saw her. She looks exactly the same as she always has, and they’ve seen pictures. Come on.

You know your life has changed when your new classmate says, “One of my aunts has been around for more than a thousand years.”

It says a lot about Lizzie that she was at the party for almost an hour and didn’t notice that Josie wasn’t there. And she only noticed because she was upset and needed her twin to comfort her.

I’m not sure if it’s because she wants to signal that she appreciates Hope’s attempt at friendship or because she wants to continue to express herself but even after Josie gets cleaned up from her burial, she keeps the amplifying talisman on.

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