A teen girl is on her way to the Salvatore School, where students are writing letters for Remembrance Day. Hope voices over that she’s experienced a lot of death and tries to avoid talking about it. They’re supposed to write letters to their lost loved ones, then scatter them in the cemetery. Rafael’s writing to Cassie, but Hope is sketching the Necromancer instead. She doesn’t see the point in writing a letter to someone who can’t read it. She’d rather not think about death at all, but lately it keeps knocking on her door.
The girl arrives at the school and walks into the main hallway. Rafael recognizes her as Cassie. He hugs her tightly, not questioning how she’s there when she’s supposed to be dead.
In the basement, Alaric is frustrated with the Necromancer for not answering his questions, so he’s dealing with that (and I assume his grief over losing Jo again) by testing out weapons on him. He’s been doing this for a few days, and the Necromancer has survived everything Alaric has done to him. Hope comes down as Alaric’s about to burn him with a blowtorch. The Necromancer is pleased to see her (she’s visited him already) and asks how Rafael is. She replies that he’s in the middle of a reunion with Cassie, whom she guesses the Necromancer brought back from the dead.
The Necromancer says that Cassie’s spirit was on Rafael “like a vine in winter.” It didn’t take much effort to resurrect her. After the way the Necromancer has been treated in the basement, they’re lucky that’s all he’s done. A man of his stature deserves better. “Literally nobody knows who you are!” Alaric exclaims. He goes to check on Rafael, and the Necromancer tells Hope that if she wants the torture he’s been inflicting to end, she just has to give him the knife.
Hope follows Alaric upstairs and asks how he plans to handle the Necromancer. If they don’t give him the knife, he’s going to keep reviving people’s dead loved ones. Alaric says he’ll take care of things alone, and Hope needs to stay away from the Necromancer. He greets Cassie, whose last memory is of being in the car with Rafael the night she died. Things went dark, and then she heard a voice telling her to open her eyes. Alaric breaks it to her that she died in a car accident two months ago, and she was just resurrected.
Hope and Dorian look for books about necromancy but can’t find anything on the Necromancer himself. Like the other monsters that have come looking for the knife, he’s been erased from history. Hope asks if there’s a way to stop him from resurrecting people. Dorian says he’ll look into it later; he has the day off tomorrow. “Evil never takes a holiday,” she reminds him. But Dorian does – he spends Remembrance Day in the cemetery every year, ringing the bell in memory of his father and sister. Hope is worried about Alaric, who just had to say goodbye to Jo again, and Dorian says he needs a nap, a therapist, and his own vacation.
She heads back to the basement, where the Necromancer says she smells of death. He likes it. She magically removes the chains on his wrists and tries to get him to grasp that he doesn’t exist. She guesses that he went through the same thing the dryad did – he was brought back to life with a mission to get a knife. He confirms this but says the other creatures that have come after the knife are fictional. Hope clarifies that they were erased from history, just like the Necromancer.
He scoffs, claiming he’s world-renowned and people shake when they hear his name. She gives him a couple of books on necromancy so he can find out for himself. Cut to him having a tantrum and throwing the books around because he’s not mentioned in them. His life’s work is now only known as a brand of sorcery. He asks who’s responsible, and Hope says she’s trying to figure that out.
Her first question is who’s communicating with the Necromancer. Alaric mentioned Jo to the dryad, and Jo was resurrected soon after. Everyone’s coming after the same thing, so who’s behind their appearances at the school? The Necromancer denies that anyone’s using him as a puppet. He just has an instinct and knows things. Hope mentions Malivore, and the Necromancer says that if he takes the knife there, he’ll be free of blackness, the void, oblivion. He doesn’t know how to get there, but the knife will lead him.
Hope shows him a picture of the symbol the dryad drew. The Necromancer says it represents “the ultimate Hell.” There, no one remembers you or celebrates you or mourns you. “Loosely translated, it means ‘permanent death,'” he says.
Cassie starts to call her mother in Alaric’s office, but he doesn’t want her to get in touch if she’s only back temporarily. He knows this is emotional for her and Rafael, and he promises to help them through this. Cassie wants some food and a shower, and then she’d like to know more about what she considers her murder at Rafael’s hands.
Hope asks the Necromancer if he remembers how he died. He was in Normandy, bored on a beach, and he decided to entertain himself by resurrecting some World War II soldiers to mess with some Nazis. Hope’s pleased that even he hates Nazis. “Nobody likes Nazis,” he says. He doesn’t know how he died, but it’s common for the subconscious to block that out to protect a person from the trauma of death. Hope notes that the memory still exists, so maybe she can access it. The Necromancer is amused at the thought of her taking a peek around his subconscious.
She’ll need a vampire’s help, so she turns to M.G., who’s not usually anyone’s first thought when looking for someone with power, and that’s even without his Stefan Salvatore bunny diet. Kaleb teases that he was on a hunger strike for four days and can still bench press more than M.G. Hope asks M.G. to do a head-dive, but he suggests that she talk to Kaleb instead. Hope says he’s not in their “Avengers squad.” She trusts M.G. to keep this quiet from Alaric.
Alaric joins Rafael in his room while he’s waiting for Cassie to return from her shower. Rafael’s feeling rocked from everything that’s happening, and Alaric can relate, since he’s still feeling that way from Jo’s return. Rafael’s also upset that Cassie thinks he killed her. Alaric notes that he technically did, even though it was an accident. Rafael asks if there’s a way they can convince the Necromancer to let Cassie stay. Alaric replies that as soon as he can figure out how to kill the Necromancer, he will, and that’ll probably be the end of Cassie.
Rafael points out that another monster will probably follow – what if that one’s worse? They should at least think about keeping the Necromancer around. Alaric would rather slay more dragons than have anyone else go through what he and Rafael have just gone through. He advises Rafael to find closure: “When someone is taken from us too soon, it can haunt us forever.” Rafael should use this time to make peace with Cassie.
Hope has explained to M.G. how to do a head-dive, and he’s eager to try it out. She takes him to the basement, where the Necromancer greets him by name and says his great-grandmother is waving hello just behind him. She’s upset with M.G. for forsaking Jesus (“who I can also see, but, oh, that’s another can of worms”). Now M.G. has cold feet about doing the head-dive, especially since it means he and Hope have to go into the Necromancer’s cell. Hope tells him to pull it together. M.G.’s intimidated because to him, the Necromancer is like the Grim Reaper. (Isn’t he the opposite of the Grim Reaper?) The Necromancer objects that the Grim Reaper is just a hack. He threatens to summon M.G.’s great-grandmother to wash his mouth out with soap. That just spooks M.G. further.
He does the head-dive and allows Hope to get into the Necromancer’s head. His mind looks like Rousseau’s, a place the Necromancer hung out a lot in the 1920s. He was very familiar with Klaus, whose mass murders were great for the Necromancer’s business. He tells Hope that Klaus is standing behind her, but he’s messing with her. They were drinking buddies when Klaus was “at his most murdery.”
The Necromancer thinks Hope is solving the wrong mystery: Instead of looking into Malivore, she really wants to know how Klaus is – or, more specifically, where he is. She denies that, but there’s no way she doesn’t want to know if her father is at peace or is suffering and regretting sacrificing himself to save her. The Necromancer won’t tell her anything until they’ve wrapped up what Hope is there for. They’re in his conscious mind, but they need to find the door to his subconscious. He tells Hope to look for a hallway to nowhere or an endless staircase.
Music starts up outside and the Necromancer gets excited at the second-line parade happening on the street. They go out and take in a lively processional full of people wearing masks. The Necromancer thinks Klaus might be in the casket out there. Hope protests when he opens it, but it’s empty. “You’re not ready for the truth,” the Necromancer tells her. She clarifies that there’s literally nothing inside – it leads to an endless darkness. The Necromancer IDs this as the door to his subconscious and jumps in. Everyone and everything disappears except Hope and the casket. She emerges from the head-dive and tells M.G. that the Necromancer ditched her.
She wants to go back in, so M.G. does another head-dive. Hope ends up back at Rousseau’s, but this time all the doors are locked. All the pictures on the walls are of the Necromancer, and one points her toward a door that leads to an endless staircase. She thinks it’s a little much. She goes down the stairs and falls off the end.
Rafael tells Cassie he’s sorry about the car crash, which she says wasn’t an accident. She’s started remembering things, and she thinks he’s blaming the crash on a thunderstorm to avoid admitting the truth. He acknowledges that he took a turn too fast, but she says there’s still more. Rafael promises that he loves her and would never hurt her. Cassie knows, but she thinks there’s a reason he took the turn too fast. He says over and over that he doesn’t know and there’s nothing more to say. Eventually he lashes out and his eyes glow yellow.
Hope finds herself in an endless darkness, annoyed that the Necromancer left her alone and won’t respond when she calls out to him. M.G.’s worried, since she’s breathing harder and seems to be in distress.
Alaric tries to calm Rafael, who admits that the crash was his fault. He was mad because he didn’t medal at a track meet, and then he thought Cassie was flirting with the guy who beat him. He picked a fight with her, and the anger he hasn’t learned to control yet built up until he let it take over. He cries as he accepts that he killed his girlfriend.
Hope thinks the Necromancer wants her to admit what she really wants. She’s at peace with Klaus – he may have died because of her, but it was his choice. She doesn’t need to know anything. She calls out for M.G. to get her out of there, but all he can hear is her crying. He tries to break the head-dive, but Hope is at the Necromancer’s mercy now, and he’s having too much fun.
Rafael finds Cassie in the library and tells her that he remembers everything about the crash. They go out to sit by the lake, and he says he’ll never forgive himself for what happened. She doesn’t want to punish him; she just wanted him to be honest with himself. He tells her that when he first got to the school, he learned that a lot of other newbie werewolves go through the same things he has. Now that he knows the reason for his anger issues, he’s improving.
She asks what caused him to lash out earlier. She always knew he would never hurt her, but she still got scared of him sometimes. He has a lot of work to do on himself, whether or not it’s related to his wolf nature. She kisses him on the cheek and tells him she forgives him. Then she asks him to leave her alone for a little while so she can enjoy being in the sun again.
M.G. goes to get Alaric, admitting that he screwed up and can’t help Hope any further. Hope’s now really distraught, crying and wondering why the Necromancer is doing this to her. She confesses that she does want to know what happened to Klaus. Her family thinks he found peace, since he died with love in his heart, but she doesn’t know for sure. She’s desperate to find out if he’s alone. She wouldn’t be able to live with herself if he were. “No one should ever have to be alone like this,” she says. The Necromancer finally reappears and releases Hope from his mind. He’s looking forward to seeing Alaric get mad at her for this little stunt. Yeah, he definitely has his “I am very disappointed in you” face on.
M.G. has learned the wrong lesson here, and he wants to make sure that he’s strong enough to handle everything that comes with being a vampire. He doesn’t want people to get hurt because he’s weak. He asks Kaleb to feed him human blood. “Hallelujah, the prodigal son has returned,” Kaleb replies, because he never got the point of that parable, apparently.
Alaric takes Hope to his office to confront her for the head-dive. She thinks it was justified, since Alaric’s efforts weren’t getting anywhere. He insists that he has things under control, but she knows where he’s hidden the bottles of bourbon he’s drunk over the past few days. He reminds her that he’s grieving and suggests that she try it herself instead of pushing people away.
He’s trying to protect her, since the Necromancer is a master at manipulation and could torture her in a number of ways. He could bring back Hayley, Klaus, or any of the people she’s killed. (Except she only killed one human, and I don’t think she’d be too upset if, say, Emmett showed up and was like, “I’d like to talk about how you murdered me.” She doesn’t owe you anything, Nazi!) Hope is fine with Alaric punishing her for breaking the rules but she wants to skip the part where he acts like a disappointed father, because he’s not hers. She tells him she’s going to finish what she started, then magically seals him in his office so he can’t stop her.
She goes back to the basement and demands that the Necromancer tell her where Klaus is. He says he will, but he thinks she’d be more interested in knowing what he just learned about Malivore.
Dorian reluctantly answers a call from Alaric, who’s anxious to stop Hope from negotiating with the Necromancer. Dorian won’t interrupt his day off, since it’s the only one he takes all year. M.G. and Kaleb arrive in the cemetery to graze at the “all-you-can-eat buffet” that is Remembrance Day. Dorian spots them and gets concerned.
The Necromancer tells Hope that when he ditched her in his mind, he went back to the scene of his death. He saw a shadow and felt the pain from his death. He was stabbed with the knife everyone’s after. He was interested in how something like that could kill him, so he jumped out of his subconscious and summoned the spirit of the man who made the knife. Hope’s mad that he left her in his mind on purpose. He says he had things to do and she had things to learn.
The knife-maker told the Necromancer the story of Malivore, which was created to remove the supernatural from the world. It consumed and erased the creatures that are now popping up, causing their permanent death. Then the knife started calling to them to bring it home. Decades ago, Malivore was contained and three locks were created to seal it away. The knife is one of the locks. When all three locks return to Malivore, it will be free to start consuming again. It’s going to practice snatch-eat-erase again! Hope doesn’t get what that means. “Let’s just hope you’re not still alive to find out,” the Necromancer replies.
Speaking of snatch-eat-erase, Kaleb is giving M.G. a lesson in it. He himself learned about if from Alaric’s writings about “those Salvatore dudes that used to live in our school.” (Damon, somewhere: “Now I know how the Necromancer feels about the lack of respect given to his name.) M.G. feels bad about feeding on an innocent human, but Kaleb says it’s just like eating any other food. M.G. doesn’t feel bad about the cow his burger came from when he eats one, right? Actually, he does, thanks to a vegan phase Lizzie went through. Kaleb bites a teen and invites M.G. to feed, too. But M.G. can’t control himself, and Kaleb can’t stop him from drinking too much of the teen’s blood. Fortunately, Dorian’s there with a syringe of vervain.
Hope blasts the Necromancer for leaving her trapped in his subconscious in an apparent attempt to stall her. He says he was buying himself time to talk to the knife-maker…and get the knife, which Dorian hid in the library. He did that by using Cassie as his puppet. He’s stalling Hope again right now – he resurrected a Bennett witch to get the knife from Cassie and magically transport it to Malivore. When it arrives, the Necromancer will be free to find peace. Out by the lake, Cassie suddenly disappears.
The Necromancer tells Hope that Klaus watches over her every day. He did die with love in his heart and he doesn’t regret it. But he won’t find peace until Hope does. The basement shakes and the Necromancer says that means the knife has been destroyed. The first of the three locks has been opened. He bows theatrically before disappearing the way Cassie did.
Alaric is cleaning up his bourbon bottles when Hope comes to his office crying. Dorian brings Kaleb and M.G. back to the school and slams Kaleb for taking M.G. to feed on humans. Kaleb protests that the bunny diet keeps them from being real vampires. The administrators talk a lot about shaping the students’ minds but won’t let them be who they really are.
Dorian asks if Kaleb knows why he takes off Remembrance Day every year. It’s his day to honor his father and sister, who were murdered by the same vampire the library they’re standing in was named for – the library where he works every day. Dorian loves his job 364 days a year, but on Remembrance Day, he can’t stand being there. He asks if Kaleb knows what a Ripper is. He explains that Rippers are driven by obsession and only want to fulfill their deepest desires. They’ll feed until there’s nothing left to feed on, then move on to other victims. The vampires most susceptible to being Rippers are just like M.G. Kaleb clearly gets the message and knows he screwed up.
Hope repeats her voiceover from the beginning of the episode, which is actually a letter to Klaus. Rafael comes back alone after trying to find Cassie. Hope writes that she messed up today and knows Klaus would be disappointed in her. She’s not sure she can fix it. People take their letters to the cemetery, including Alaric and Rafael. Cassie wanted Rafael to be a better man, and he asks Alaric to help him with that.
As Kaleb checks in on M.G., who’s locked up in the basement, Hope writes that she hopes the Necromancer was just messing with her when he said Klaus can’t find peace until she does. If it’s true, she’s going to do better. Today she saw what it’s like to be truly lonely, which is what she’ll be facing if she doesn’t find her own peace. She doesn’t want that to happen. She’s glad to know that Klaus is with her but looks forward to the day when he isn’t.
She places her note in the cemetery and turns to see Alaric at Jo’s grave. Rafael approaches her and she apologizes for not helping him out today. Instead, she launched “phase 1 of Mali-pocalypse.” Rafael says it’s okay, since Alaric was there for him. He guesses that Alaric is still mad at Hope. She thinks he will be for a while. Rafael hopes they’ll get some quiet now that the knife is gone. Hope’s not sure that’s possible. It’s definitely not right now, since the beacon connected to the bracelet she gave Landon has just been activated.
A gloved hand presses some keys on a keyboard attached to a monitor showing a pit of black goo. The knife appears above the pit, then drops into the goo. The hand holds up Landon’s picture of himself as a baby, being held by his mother.
Etc.: Alex Peyton Smith (Rafael) does some great, subtle work in this episode.
Shout-out to Hope for prioritizing putting an end to the resurrections because if I lived in Mystic Falls, where the average person suffers three deaths a year, my first reaction would probably be, “How can I put in a request for the next person to be brought back?”
This series takes place in the late 2020s but Alaric still has a landline in his office.
Dorian needs a huge. Someone give Dorian a hug, please!
Alaric’s going to be mad that people are using his writings about the Salvatores as how-to guides. Damon’s going to be mad that he’s not getting royalties for those writings.
So if Alaric is mad enough at Hope that she’s giving him space, does that mean that when she went to his office crying, he just ignored her? Sent her away? I can’t imagine him not trying to comfort her, considering how upset she was.
Dorian’s description of M.G.: an “impressionable, obsessive, clinically ADHD, horny little kid.” First of all, I don’t see him having ADHD. Second of all, if those are the characteristics that Dorian thinks most Rippers have, I don’t see a connection to Stefan.