Hope wakes up in a field in Fort Valley, Georgia, with some scratches on her face. Nearby is a hole with smoke emerging from it. Alaric and Landon are there and are also just waking up. Hope voices over that she needs to start from the end. Landon and Alaric don’t remember what happened or how they got there, but Alaric paraphrases The Wizard of Oz, saying he doesn’t think they’re in Kansas anymore.
Hope decides to start at the beginning instead, so we go back to three days ago. She’s just gotten Landon’s SOS, so she tries to steal Alaric’s car keys so she can get to him. Alaric catches her and she lies that she was going to get his oil changed to make up for their fight. He reminds her that she doesn’t have a driver’s license, stealing his car is grand theft auto, and midterms are coming up. Also, she’s made it clear that he’s just a school administrator to her. Why shouldn’t he just suspend her? She tells him that Landon’s in trouble, and Alaric immediately invites himself on the rescue mission. (He’ll drive.)
Two weeks ago: Landon is in Lawrence, Kansas, where he’s found his mother, Seylah, in the coffee shop she owns. He’s been there every day for a week, and she finally comments on it. He tells her his name, and when she compliments it, he says that he thinks she gave it to him. He shows her the picture he has of the two of them when he was a baby.
Hope and Alaric’s road trip takes them through Indiana, and he quizzes her on the state’s geography so he can write this adventure off as educational. She thinks he should focus more on his daughters’ grades, since they’re not at the school right now (they’re visiting Caroline in Europe). She tells him he can chill since she’s acing geography. He switches to science instead.
Seylah takes Landon to her house, where he gives her scruffy little dog a piece of meat from his sandwich. He’s drawn to an urn with a lid shaped like the head of Anubis. Seylah comes in from the next room and tells him not to touch it. He admires all her collectibles, which make it look like she’s had a really interesting life. She even has a samurai sword (which he also shouldn’t touch). She apologizes for being short with him, saying she’s not used to having people around. Landon tells her this is weird for him, too.
She’s sorry that he’s had a difficult life, and he’s sorry for showing up out of the blue. He just wants to know more about her. Suddenly the dog collapses, and Seylah guesses that Landon gave her table scraps. “The drugs will wear off soon,” she tells him just before he collapses as well. He stays conscious just long enough to hit the panic button on the bracelet Hope gave him.
After 18.5 hours on the road, Hope and Alaric arrive at their destination. She’s happy to get a break from being “car-schooled.” He confirms that she’s clear on their plan. “You’re Professor X, I’m Wolverine,” Hope sums up. Alaric says he was more into D.C. comics. Hope amends their roles to Batman and Robin. Either way, the point is that he’s running the show here. She asks how they’ll get into the house Landon’s bracelet beacon has led them to: a fireball? A big gust of wind? Alaric was planning on knocking. “They’ll never see that coming,” Hope quips.
Landon regains consciousness tied to a chair. He’s anxious about being taken captive, but Seylah doesn’t care. She asks who sent him, but he says he already told her his life story. No one cares about him. Seylah asks who he called, knowing he used his bracelet to contact someone. He says she wouldn’t believe him if he told her. She replies that what she doesn’t believe is that he’s her son. She advises him to tell the truth before her iron heats up and she starts torturing him.
Hope and Alaric creep up to the front door, and she suggests that they go in strong, since there could be a jabberwocky inside. He quizzes her on the origin of that creature and she give him Lewis Carroll’s real name, Charles Dodgson. (Geography isn’t the only class she’s acing.) They hear a scream from inside, so Hope skips right past knocking to magically blowing the door down. Inside the house is an older couple who are watching an action movie. Alaric promises to replace their door, then tells Hope that Landon’s bracelet sent them to the wrong place. Actually, the bracelet itself is in the wrong place – someone put it in the couple’s mailbox to throw them off the track.
The iron is hot now but Landon refuses to tell Seylah anything. She tells him that everyone talks eventually. He swears that he’s told her the truth, but she still doesn’t believe that he’s really her son. He finally spills that he called a school for supernatural students, adding that vampires, werewolves, dragons, gargoyles, and all sorts of other creatures are real. Seylah backs off, and Landon complains that she’ll believe that but not buy that he’s her son.
The lights suddenly go out and Seylah gestures for Landon to be quiet. “They’re here,” she says, guessing that “they” followed him. She walks out, leaving him tied out. Hope voices over that the story is about to take a “monstrous turn.” There’s something in the house, and it’s definitely not human. It comes down the stairs, eyeing Landon, but just before it can take a bite out of him, Seylah cuts off its head with her samurai sword. I guess that answers Landon’s question about whether it’s real.
Hope uses Landon’s bracelet for a locator spell, but when they arrive at Seylah’s house, they come across a roadblock. A guy tells them there’s a gas leak in the house, and they’re looking for whoever lives there. Hope starts to tell him they’re looking for the same person, but Alaric interrupts and just says they’re lost and need directions. He calls his sidekick Jessica and takes her back to the car, where he says he’s been part of enough cover-ups to know this is one. They need to find Landon before whoever these people are do.
Seylah has taken Landon to a motel so they can hide out. He’s sure he wasn’t followed when he went to meet her, but she’s skeptical. She quizzes him about details at the motel, like the number of windows in the room and cars in the parking lot. Landon doesn’t think that stuff is important. She asks him to tell her more about himself, but he’s not sure if she actually cares or if she just wants intel. Plus, he says he’s already told her everything.
Seylah asks if he has a girlfriend. Landon talks about Hope, admitting that he hurt her and doesn’t think she’s going to be able to forgive him. Seylah thinks she sounds tough. He guesses they’ll hate each other. She comments that it’s true what they say about boys liking girls who remind them of their mothers. She’s come to accept that since he’s stubborn and surrounded by danger, he must be her son.
The doorknob rattles as someone starts to open it. Alaric enters but Landon and Seylah have disappeared. She pops up behind him and puts a gun to his neck. Before she can interrogate him, Hope magically steals the gun from her and threatens to shoot her if she doesn’t tell them where Landon is. Alaric takes the gun from Hope as Seylah guesses she’s the girl Landon told her about. Landon pops his head out of the bathroom.
Once the tension has lessened a little, Seylah clarifies that Alaric is the head of the Salvatore School and Hope is the teacher’s pet. Alaric admits that she’s a pain. Hope thinks Seylah’s pretty judgmental for a woman who gave up her child. “You were wrong – I like her,” Seylah tells Landon with a smile.
Alaric wants more information on her and why a fake gas company is looking for her and Landon. Surprisingly, Seylah opens right up. After she completed some military service (no specification of which country she served), she was recruited by an intelligence organization in the U.S. She didn’t know what she was signing up for, and it definitely wasn’t a typical organization, since her job clued her in to the existence of the supernatural. Her job was like Alaric’s – keeping the supernatural world secret. She tracked down monsters that risked blowing their cover and took them to headquarters.
Hope protests that not all supernaturals are monsters. Seylah says they are to her. Alaric asks where the headquarters are, but she won’t tell him, since he seems “morally inclined enough to do something stupid.” After a few years at her job, she saw something she wasn’t supposed to and went from being the hunter to being the hunted. She wanted to know what was happening to the monsters she brought in, because even though she’d spent time tracking and studying them, she couldn’t remember them. She took notes and realized her memory was being erased. She just didn’t know how.
Alaric does: Malivore. He explains that Landon took a knife from the school, and now monsters that aren’t supposed to exist keep popping up. Landon clarifies that he woke up the knife somehow. He asks what Malivore is. Hope tells him it’s a Hell dimension that consumes and erases creatures from the collective conscience. The latest was the Necromancer, who sent the knife to Malivore. Hope wonders why monsters are still coming after Landon now that the knife is gone and there are still two locks keeping Malivore contained. Landon doesn’t know – he couldn’t really ask the latest monster because it was too busy trying to eat him. “As you can see, it’s been a rough semester,” Alaric tells Seylah.
She says it’ll just get worse if Landon doesn’t go home and forget all about Malivore. He wants to know more first. She guesses what he’s really curious about and tells him she doesn’t know who his father is. She had various flings to relieve the stress of her job, and one of them left her pregnant. She wasn’t equipped to be a mother, so she gave Landon up, hoping he would have a better life. The conversation breaks up as Hope voices over that that wasn’t the worst part.
Alaric and Seylah take a break outside, and he shocks the world by declining a sip from her flask. He’s trying to cut down on drinking! Amazing! He tells her he knows how hard this is, but they need answers. She claims there’s nothing more to say, which he knows can’t be true. He also knows that she lied about Landon’s father. Bad liars look away when they lie to their kids, while good liars look them right in the eye. How often do you lie to your kids, Ric?? He urges Seylah to tell Landon the truth. She decides to tell Alaric instead. She wants to know if he’ll believe her, since she isn’t sure she believes it herself.
The organization Seylah worked for guards the portal to Malivore. She wrote everything down and drew maps when she realized there were gaps in her memory. Every entry ended in the same place. Alaric asks where that was, but she doesn’t want to tell him, for his own good. She snuck in one day and found a black pit. That fits with what Alaric’s heard about creatures consumed by Malivore experiencing endless darkness. Seylah knows from experience that it’s real: She’s been in there.
Back in the room, Hope tells Landon not to trust Seylah. He doesn’t want to give up on her, though. He’s always wanted a family and a home, even a screwed-up one. He hates that Hope always sees him when he’s weak. She replies that he’s not weak – he’s a survivor. He’s one of the strongest people she knows. They agree that he’s something of a “danger magnet.”
Landon feels bad for bringing his mess into Hope’s life, and for entering her life at all. She doesn’t feel the same. He wrote her letters on the bus to Kansas, but he’s embarrassed to tell her what they were about. He starts to recite one, saying that all he can think about is how it felt to kiss her. Looks like she does feel the same about that.
Seylah tells Alaric that she was thrown in the pit when her employers learned that she was looking into the things she didn’t remember. She doesn’t know how long she was in Malivore or how she got out. She felt endless isolation and loneliness until one day she woke up back in reality. She found out that two years had passed. No one she’d worked for remembered her, so she was safe, but then she learned that she was pregnant.
Hope and Landon make out in the room, pausing when he thanks her for coming to help him. No one’s ever shown up for him like that before. She teases that he’s had crappy girls in his life. Well, not really, but only because he hasn’t had any girls in his life, other than one who tried to get him to take her to the prom, then told everyone he was too poor to go when he declined. Hope confides that her first kiss was with a 90-year-old vampire who helped kill her mother. She adds that prom is really expensive. They agree that people suck, then go back to kissing. He promises that he’ll never hurt her again.
Alaric clarifies that Landon is the product of “supernatural immaculate conception.” Seylah is surprised that he believes her. Alaric’s like, “You want crazy baby stories? I got a crazy baby story.” He sums up what happened with the twins and she wonders how he explained that to them. It was easier for her to leave Landon in a basket on the steps of a church. Alaric excuses that, since she was young. She says she was tired. She’s spent the past 18 years trying to “remain erased,” and that means she can’t be the mother Landon needs. Alaric doesn’t want her to just leave him, but she says he’ll be better off without her.
As Hope and Landon move things to a bed, something inside his bag glows brightly. Hope voices over that the story is “about to get even fishier.” In the bathroom, black goo gurgles up from the bathtub and an eye peers through the drain.
Alaric catches Hope and Landon just as their clothes are starting to come off. He averts his eyes as he tells her to get another room. “You’re the one that’s always saying I need to connect more with people,” she points out. Ha! After she leaves, Alaric assures Landon that their actions are totally normal for teens and he shouldn’t let anyone else tell him otherwise. That said, it’s a bad time for the kids to act on their feelings. They have “bigger fish to fry.”
While getting her bag from the car, Hope catches Seylah trying to hotwire a getaway vehicle. When Hope confronts her, Seylah says Alaric was right about her being a pain. It’s her car, so she’s not stealing, but Hope guesses that she’s hotwiring it because she doesn’t want to go back to the room to get her keys. It’s easier to abandon Landon again like this. Seylah says that he likes Hope, and she needs to be good to him. “You first,” Hope replies, threatening to drag Seylah back inside.
Seylah says she never thought she would see her son again, and that was okay. She never wanted to be a mother. She wondered over the years how Landon turned out and whether he had a nice life. She fights back tears and says that he’s good person who’s had a rough life. He deserves better. Hope urges her to help that happen. Seylah replies that that’s what she’s doing.
Hope tells her that whatever she thinks she’s doing won’t matter – Landon will just remember that she abandoned him when he needed her the most. “No. He won’t remember me period,” Seylah says, “and neither will you.” She shoots Hope with a tranquilizer dart and drives off.
The black goo continues bubbling up in the tub and a webbed hand grips the side. On the other side of the door, Landon tries to wrap his head around the fact that his mother got pregnant with him in “Satan’s mud bath.” Also, she’s ditched him again. Alaric tells him that being a parent is complicated, and sometimes you think you’re doing the right thing when you’re really just being an idiot. He starts to leave to check on Hope, but Landon tells him they have bigger fish to deal with. Well, one – there’s a creature in the bathroom doorway that looks like it just crawled out of a swamp.
Hope returns just in time to use a blast of magic to send the creature back to the bathroom. “See? Danger magnet!” Landon exclaims. Alaric thinks the creature is a mer-man. He doesn’t know why monsters are still coming after Landon, but he does know they need to get out of there. Landon pulls the urn out of his bag and says that, like the knife, he took it without realizing it. He swears that he wouldn’t steal it on purpose. Hope promises that she believes him.
Instead of running, she thinks they should let the mer-man take the urn. They can follow it to Malivore. Alaric refuses to take two teens to a covert intelligence organization’s headquarters, which is home to a demon portal. Haven’t you ever heard of a field trip, Ric? Hope tells him he has to, since Seylah’s going there. She puts Landon’s bracelet in the urn so they can use hers to track it, then rushes the guys out. Alaric doesn’t think there’s any rush – the monster is half fish and he’s on land, so how fast can he be? Turns out…pretty fast.
They speed to Fort Valley, hoping to catch up to Seylah before she jumps in the Malivore pit and erases herself. They’re faced with a big gate outside the intelligence organization, which is called Triad Industries. Alaric hopes the fence around the facility stopped the mer-man, but a big hole in it says otherwise.
The three humans follow the mer-man, who accidentally triggers a landmine in the field around the facility. They all get blown back and knocked out. Hope voices over that doesn’t know for sure what happened after that, but she can guess: Seylah showed up, shot some security guards, and went to the Malivore pit. In fact, Seylah is the gloved person who watched on the monitor as the knife dropped into the pit. Hope thinks that Triad tried to stop her, but she had a reason to fight and probably won.
Another guard appears and takes a shot at Seylah. She fights him, and when he stabs her, she pulls out the knife and stabs him back. She uses a discarded key card to get access to the room where the pit is housed. As she dives into it, Hope voices over that she sacrificed herself for Landon and was erased again.
We’re back at the beginning of the episode, with the three humans waking up in the field. Once they’ve collected themselves, they head home. Landon thanks Hope and Alaric for coming to help him. Alaric’s sorry that they didn’t find Seylah. He can’t figure out why he doesn’t remember how they found Landon. Hope doesn’t have any theories. Landon thinks Alaric’s going to drop him at a bus stop, but Alaric is ready to take him back to the school. He has a gut feeling that Landon should be there. I guess the headmaster’s vote overrules all the votes from the Honor Council.
Later that night, Hope goes by what’s now Rafael and Landon’s room, where Landon’s trying to make peace with the fact that he might never meet Seylah. He can’t find his picture of her. He asks what Hope thinks she’s like. Hope says she’s an international assassin who specializes in killing monsters, and she loves Landon in her own way. He laughs at that, not thinking he could be the child of anyone that cool. Hope asks if he wants to be her boyfriend. He jokes that it’s a big decision and she should sleep on it. She’s ready for it, though, and so is he, so they’re officially together.
Hope’s voiceovers were all from a conversation with Alaric, in which she told him everything he’s forgotten over the past few days. He asks what they should do next, but he doesn’t know. He doesn’t remember anything that she said happened. She’s sure he’ll figure it out, since he’s a good headmaster. Alaric just wants to know how she remembers everything. Hope isn’t sure, but she doubts it’s for a good reason. She’s okay with keeping everything from Landon, but not Alaric. She needs his help. Also, there’s one more thing: She stole the urn back. As she shows it to him, it starts glowing again.
At Triad, a tech monitors the pit, telling a superior that there was an “unscheduled absorption.” The superior, Ryan Clarke, is the guy Alaric and Hope talked to outside Seylah’s house. The tech thinks a human might have gone into the pit. Whoever it was left something behind. Clarke kicks the tech into the pit and picks up the thing that was left behind: the picture of Seylah and Landon.
Etc.: Just before this series began, Lulu Antariksa (Penelope) and Nick Fink (Clarke) both starred in a web series called T@gged (it’s now on Netflix). It also featured Tristin Mays, AKA the real Sarah Nelson.
Alaric’s “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” quip is such a dad joke.
I want to know which of the X-Men M.G. thinks Hope is most like, because I don’t think Wolverine is the right choice, but I’m not familiar enough with the characters to figure it out myself.
It’s a biiiiig jump from kissing Hope once to calling her your girlfriend, Landon.
The look on Alaric’s face when he takes the gun from Hope is hilarious – half apologetic toward Seylah and half “okay, let’s just put that down and pretend that didn’t happen.”
Which is weirder: Landon’s “supernatural immaculate conception” or Josie and Lizzie being conceived in a human and then transferred to a vampire? Discuss.
Disappointing that we’ll never get to see Klaus give Landon a “what are your intentions with my daughter”-type interrogation.
I hope someone wound up taking in Seylah’s dog.