The group who took a road trip to Maple Hollows has only been back at the Salvatore School for a little while and there’s already a new problem: M.G. is missing. He missed curfew and his hall monitor tried calling Alaric, who never got his phone back from Triad. There’s a full moon, so Kaleb’s worried about M.G. being out and about, vulnerable to werewolf bites.
Landon is also missing, and when Hope goes to the werewolf holding spaces to see if he’s there with Rafael, Alaric tells her that Rafael’s gone, too. They go out to the woods to find the guys, but even a locator spell doesn’t point them in the right direction. Hope jumps to the worst-case scenario. They come across Rafael, who tells them he can’t remember what happened.
Emma diagnoses Rafael with lunar psychosis and does a spell to slow down his heart rate and calm him. He says he keeps losing time. She explains that his mind is stuck somewhere between his human and wolf states. It’s rare and only happens when a werewolf shifts back to their human form prematurely. Hope knows that shift was probably caused by some kind of trauma. With two people still missing, something bad must have happened.
Emma sends Hope to check on the other werewolves so she and Alaric can talk without her. Alaric asks if there’s a chance that Rafael will transform into a werewolf again, since the moon is still out. Emma says she’ll keep him sealed in his room. He needs to be around familiar things so he feels connected to his humanity. Alaric asks Rafael to try to remember what happened so they can figure out where Landon and M.G. are.
Yesterday: At a pre-spring break assembly, Alaric reminds the students that they’re not allowed to leave campus for unless they’re with a guardian. The vampires must stay in their dorms during the full moon, and the werewolves have to report to the bunkers. Yes, they have a cure for werewolf bites in case someone gets out, but they’re still painful. For those staying behind, M.G. and the holiday committee have planned some activities for the “dopest, coldest spring break ever.”
Kaleb asks Rafael to keep an eye on M.G. while Kaleb’s on the trip to Maple Hollows. M.G. seems fine right now but Kaleb knows he’s hiding his sadness over his family never inviting him home on breaks. He thinks this is the least Rafael can do for M.G. after having sex with M.G.’s crush. Rafael didn’t realize that was common knowledge. “Oh, yeah, everybody knows,” Kaleb says. Rafael glances at the people around them. “Yeah, them, too. They know,” Kaleb tells him. Heh. Rafael promises that he and Landon will spend the break with M.G.
He probably regrets that later, when there’s a poor turnout at one of M.G.’s activities, Faction Feud. M.G.’s really good at trivia and thinks he inherited his skills from his father. Landon clarifies that M.G. died and became a vampire, and his father stopped talking to him. M.G.’s mom always makes excuses for him, saying he’s busy. Landon thinks they should change that – the point of having a family is to actually be a family. He’ll help M.G. get answers if he wants them.
Today: Alaric is unhappy to hear that the guys went to M.G.’s hometown. Rafael says they were just going to make a quick trip to Maryland and come back before the full moon. Emma thinks Alaric wants to punish the guys, and she reminds him that it’s more important to find Landon and M.G. He heads out to clean up the mess, first by going to see Kaleb, who answers his door in his pajamas, sleep mask, and shark slippers.
Emma tells Hope that she was unable to track Landon and M.G. because Penelope did a cloaking spell on them. Rafael says she called it a gift for breaking up with Lizzie on her birthday. Hope asks what happened next.
Yesterday: M.G., Landon, and Rafael borrow a school van (well, they didn’t get permission, so it’s not so much borrowing as it is stealing) to go to M.G.’s house. M.G.’s incognito since everyone in his hometown thinks he died. In the front yard of the Greasleys’ house is a campaign sign – M.G.’s father is running for mayor. M.G. starts to chicken out, but Landon insists that “the truth is never a mistake.”
Today: Rafael comes out of the memory he’s trying to hold on to and yells a warning to Landon. Emma wants to sedate him, but Hope’s more concerned with finding out where the other guys are. She asks what Rafael’s remembering, but Emma injects him, and all he can say before he passes out is, “A monster.”
Hope doesn’t know how a monster could have popped up in Maryland, since Triad has the urn. Emma thinks Rafael’s confused. Once he gets some sleep and is out of the lunar cycle, he’ll go back to normal. Hope doesn’t want to wait, since Landon and M.G. could be in danger. Emma reminds Hope that they’ve discussed trauma and triggers. They need to do whatever harms Rafael the least right now.
Yesterday: M.G.’s mother, Veronica, is surprised to have three guests on her doorstep. M.G. can see that this was a bad time to show up, so he decides to just say hi to his father, Terrance, and then head back to school. Veronica says he’s not there. M.G. has questions about Terrance’s campaign for mayor and his parents’ sudden acquaintanceship with the governor. Veronica says a lot has changed since M.G. died. They love him but he can’t be there, in case someone recognizes him.
M.G. asks to come in and see Terrance, but Veronica says he doesn’t want to see M.G. There’s no room in Terrance’s religious beliefs for people coming back to life after they’ve died. “Except for Jesus. And Lazarus,” Landon mumbles. I mean, right? Veronica promises that Terrance will come around once he’s gotten used to the idea of what happened to M.G. Rafael says that’s Terrance’s loss.
Today: Alaric and Kaleb go to the Greasleys’ house, where Veronica anticipates an apology for M.G.’s impromptu visit. Alaric admits that he never got back to the school, and they’re afraid he contacted Terrance. Veronica is sure he didn’t. Terrance calls to his wife from inside the house, asking who’s at the door. She tells him it’s a solicitor. She doesn’t know where M.G. is and she expects Alaric to find him. He was supposed to be safe at the school – they had an arrangement. Kaleb’s curious about that arrangement: “Good thing that don’t sound suspicious.”
Alaric calls Hope, who passes on what Rafael said about a monster. He’s still asleep so Hope hasn’t gotten anything more out of him. She has an idea for a way to help him access his memories. It comes from the Crescent pack; because they can turn at will, they can access both their human and wolf minds. Alaric gives her permission to try it while he and Kaleb look for M.G. before Terrance sees him.
Emma, however, refuses to let Hope uses her Crescent elixir on Rafael. The division between his human and wolf minds is there to protect his sanity. Hope is desperate to do something to help, but Emma continues to put her foot down. Rafael pops up behind her and injects her with a sedative so he and Hope can do what they need to do. He drinks the elixir and starts remembering more.
Yesterday: Rafael wants Landon to back off of M.G., who’s hurt by the reception he got from his mother. Landon still thinks it would be better if he learned the truth about why his father turned against him. Rafael reminds him of something they learned from their Catholic foster parents: Religious people aren’t flexible about their beliefs. M.G. speaks up that Rafael is right – Terrance won’t want him in the family. “It is what it is,” he says.
Landon won’t accept that. He shows M.G. a newspaper he snagged from the house that features an article about Terrance. He’s a pastor, and one of his sermons went viral. It was about how much he wished he had M.G. back. Landon thinks he’s using his son’s death to get votes. Rafael wants to head back to the school, since the moon will be up in a few hours, but Landon says they have time to go see Terrance first. He would give anything to find out why his parents gave him up, and he thinks M.G. should take advantage of this chance.
They go to Terrance’s church, where he’s practicing a speech about M.G. When he was younger and got in trouble, he would remind Terrance that he’d also done good things. Terrance is running for mayor because he doesn’t want the town to forget about the good things they can still do.
M.G. tells Terrance that if he really wants to do good, he should take some time to speak to his son. Terrance thinks he’s seeing things or being tested by God. M.G. tearfully asks if his father still loves him. Terrance embraces him, overcome with emotion over seeing him. He prayed and God brought M.G. back. M.G.’s like, “A phone call would have been more efficient.” Terrance calls him a miracle.
Today: Hope realizes that Terrance never knew what really happened to M.G. All this time, he’s thought his son was dead. Rafael tells her that they were determined to get back to the school before the full moon, but that didn’t happen.
Yesterday: With no good way to keep Rafael restrained during his transition, Landon chains him to a tree in the woods. Rafael’s annoyed that Landon pushed M.G. to get answers because of his own abandonment issues. Landon doesn’t think Rafael has room to judge, since he keeps avoiding the elephant in the room: his feelings for Hope. Rafael insists that the slug made him say crazy things, but Landon says it just lowered his inhibitions. It didn’t make him do anything he didn’t already want to. Rafael says his feelings for Hope, whether or not they actually exist, don’t matter – he would never act on them. Landon knows that, but he wanted Rafael to stop bottling things up.
Rafael starts transforming just then, and he tells Landon to get M.G. and get out of the woods. Landon wants to stay with him, since they get through everything together. They hear noises nearby and see someone running by. Rafael tells Landon again to get out of there, but Landon won’t go.
Today: Rafael’s getting agitated again so Hope gives him more of the elixir. She asks who he saw and whether that was the monster that hurt Landon. Rafael still can’t remember. Hope tries a different tack, asking if Rafael remembers where the woods were. He thinks he can find them, so she decides to have one of the twins siphon away Emma’s spell so they can go back there.
Alaric and Kaleb are already there, and Kaleb thinks this is a good time to ask again about the arrangement Veronica mentioned. Alaric explains that she enrolled M.G. at the school without Terrance knowing that he was still alive. She didn’t think he could handle knowing that his son was a vampire. The arrangement was to keep that a secret. Kaleb finds that really shady. Alaric didn’t want to go along with the plan, but he also didn’t want to turn M.G. away. He thinks it’s a gray area. Kaleb disagrees – life is black and white. Alaric tells him he’s smart but young. If he’d been through what Alaric has, he’d know that life isn’t that simple.
Kaleb smells blood and follows the scent to M.G., who tells Alaric to stay away from him because he can’t control himself. “There are demons all around me. Beast horns and devil’s tongues,” he says. Alaric realizes he’s delusional because he was bitten by a werewolf. Kaleb says that Rafael saw a monster, but the monster was really him. Alaric knows that if M.G. was bitten last night, he has an hour at most before the venom kills him. Kaleb tells him to administer the cure he mentioned. Alaric says Hope’s blood is the cure, so they’ll have to wait for her to get there.
He can’t get a hold of her, since the students aren’t allowed to have cell phones and Alaric brought the school’s phone with him. M.G.’s delusions make him think he’s talking to Terrance. When Kaleb gets him to focus, he remembers what happened at the church.
Yesterday: Terrance wants to take M.G. to their favorite diner and let everyone in town know that he’s back. M.G. thinks that people will believe that Terrance lied about his death for votes. Terrance is willing to risk losing the election: “The truth is the truth.” M.G. takes that as his cue to reveal that he’s a vampire. He uses a campaign pin to prick Terrance’s finger, then says he’s not human anymore. He vamps out and shows his fangs.
M.G. promises that he’s working on controlling himself, but Terrance doesn’t want to listen. He thinks M.G. is possessed by a demon. M.G. compels him to be quiet. He says he’s a vampire but he’s not evil. He just has to try harder to be good. He compels Terrance to reveal how he feels about M.G. right now. “My son is dead,” Terrance replies.
Present: M.G. emotionally says that his father doesn’t want him anymore. Alaric tells him that some parents take time to understand. Kaleb offers to compel Terrance to accept his son, but M.G. says he already took care of it.
Yesterday: M.G. tells Terrance that he’s still his son: “The boy who sat here and watched you practice your sermon. The boy who still has a lot of good to do.” But Veronica was right, and Terrance is better off thinking that M.G. is dead. So M.G. compels him to forget this visit and to continue believing that he’ll see his son again one day.
Present: Kaleb tells M.G. that he’s better off, but M.G. thinks Terrance was right to be afraid, since he can’t control himself. Alaric assures him that he’s been making great progress and will keep it up when they get back to the school. M.G. says he can’t go back there after what he did. Kaleb puts the blame on Veronica and Terrance, but M.G. says he’s a killer.
Hope and Rafael arrive, and Alaric tells them that M.G. was bitten. Rafael remembers what happened, and everyone’s surprised when M.G. apologizes to him. Rafael’s memories fully return and he says he remembers who the monster was.
Yesterday: The “monster” in the woods with Landon and Rafael is just M.G. Rafael tells him to go, since it’s not safe, but M.G. says it’s not safe for Landon. He wants to punish Landon for pushing him to see his parents. “You put all your crap on me,” M.G. accuses. He hits Landon, and the blood he draws makes him vamp out. Rafael and Landon try to get him to fight his urges, but M.G. says he doesn’t have anything left to fight for. Terrance was right – he’s a monster. As Rafael starts wolfing out, M.G. bites Landon, drinking until Landon’s dead.
Present: Hope cries, devastated. M.G. repeats that he’s the monster. Alaric realizes that Rafael got out of his chains and bit M.G. Watching Landon die was so traumatic that he turned back and scrambled his memories. Rafael heads off alone, needing to get away from M.G. so he’s not tempted to bite him again. He also wants to get Landon’s body.
M.G. says he didn’t want Landon’s blood – he needed it. He’s not a monster, he’s a demon. Alaric tries to comfort him, but Kaleb thinks he should go talk to Hope and get her to give M.G. her blood. Alaric knows she’ll do it on her own. Indeed, after a few moments, Hope cuts her hand and feeds M.G. her blood. She then goes after Rafael, who’s just found Landon’s body, and they both cry over their loss.
Alone in the car, Kaleb tells M.G. that he wasn’t sure why Alaric wanted him along on this trip. Now he gets that Alaric knew that M.G. would need a friend. M.G. shouldn’t listen to everything Kaleb has said about being a vampire. It’s not about power or blood or being superior to other people. Kaleb just says it is to make himself feel better about the fact that they’re facing a hard life. But the two of them can handle it together. Maybe M.G.’s family will come around and maybe they won’t, but no matter what, Kaleb is his family now.
Kaleb suggests that they go with the others to get Landon so they can take him home to the school. M.G. worries that everyone will hate him when they find out what he did. “They’re gonna have to come through me,” Kaleb replies firmly.
Everyone gathers by Landon’s body. Rafael starts to go after M.G., but Hope holds him back, telling him to respect Landon, who would want them to be better than this. As they comfort each other, M.G. notices that Landon’s body is starting to smoke. Rafael tells Hope to make it stop, but her magic doesn’t do anything. Alaric doesn’t know what’s going on.
Landon’s body suddenly ignites. When the flames go out, there’s just a Landon-shaped pile of ash on the ground. Hope starts to go to him, but Alaric now has an idea of what’s going on. Their question about whether Landon was supernatural has just been answered. The pile of ashes shifts as Landon emerges from it, completely unharmed. “You ever heard of the legend of the phoenix?” Alaric asks him.
Etc.: Paul Wesley (Stefan) directed this episode. That seems fitting – a guy who played a Ripper directing an episode about another Ripper.
All the acting in this episode is excellent, but Quincy Fouse (M.G.) is definitely the MVP. He proves that he can do more than just be the smooth, charming comic relief.
Landon’s interpretation of the law: “It’s not stealing if you return it.” Be sure to tell the judge that if you ever get arrested for theft.
Interesting that M.G., a self-identified feminist, sees a campaign sign that says “Greasley for mayor” and automatically thinks his dad, not his mom, is the candidate.
Want a really depressing thought? Since M.G. asks Veronica to let him into the house and doesn’t just go inside, I have to wonder if he was ever invited in after he turned.
Love watching a show where people can say things like, “That was the slug talking.”
Alaric’s relationships with the kids on this show are much different from his relationships with the gang from The Vampire Diaries (which is good, because he shouldn’t be as close to these kids), but he shows in this episode that he still cares about all of them. He’s truly sad about Landon’s death, and he tries his best to reassure M.G. that he’s not a bad person.
Hope may worry about turning out like her father but the fact that she gave M.G. her blood even though he’d killed Landon makes it clear that she’s much better than he ever was.
Kaleb’s pep talk to M.G. solidifies for me that Kaleb is one of the best characters across all three series. “They’re gonna have to come through me” gives me goosebumps.