Hope is starting her morning with sit-ups in the town square so she can guard the new portal without looking suspicious. Lizzie finds her there and greets her with the same thing she said when she woke up with all her memories of Hope intact: “Hope Andrea Mikaelson.” She credits Josie’s black magic for restoring everything. Hope’s so excited that someone remembers her that she moves to hug Lizzie. Lizzie tells her that will have to wait while they handle a crisis: Josie and Landon are going to have sex tonight. Josie asked Lizzie to stay over at Alaric’s after that night’s decade dance, a tradition brought over from Mystic Falls High, no doubt by Caroline.
Lizzie urges Hope to tell everyone what they’ve forgotten. Hope asks why she didn’t tell Josie herself. Lizzie doesn’t want to be the one to break Josie’s heart – that should be Hope’s job. The portal starts smoking and a woman emerges in ’80s clothing. She introduces herself as the Keeper and says this is going to be easier than she thought. “Welcome to the game,” she tells the girls, holding up an arm wearing a bracelet that starts to glow. Then she glitches out like a character in a video game. “Well, that was…anticlimactic,” Lizzie comments.
Hope announces that they need to get to the Salvatore School to protect Landon from whatever monster the Keeper is. As they walk by a couple of guys in tracksuits who are practicing breakdance moves, Lizzie says Josie’s the one in need of protection: “She’s about to have sex with a human-sized Muppet.” They step off a curb into the street just as a Delorean speeds around the corner, heading right toward them. With an ’80s-era you-screwed-up video-game noise, Hope and Lizzie find themselves back on the grass in the town square. Hope guesses that the game just started.
M.G. wakes Kaleb and asks if he can see Sebastian. He can’t. He also can’t hear Sebastian saying he told M.G. already that no one else can see him, then smacking him on the back of the head. Kaleb thinks M.G.’s crazy, and Sebastian keeps messing with M.G. to make him look even crazier (and entertain himself). Kaleb advises M.G. to ask Sebastian what he wants. Sebastian already told him that: He needs someone to find his body. He’s desiccating somewhere but can’t provide any further information than that. “I’m a pacifist but if you touch my hair again, we will THROW HANDS!” M.G. warns. The guys have a little slap fight as Kaleb looks on, starting to get that someone else is really there.
Sebastian instructs M.G. to tell his “far more intelligent friend” that he recently came into contact with blood, which gave him just enough strength to connect with M.G.’s mind. M.G. realizes that the blood must have come from the skull fountain he and Kaleb moved in the tunnels under the school.
That night’s dance theme is one that never got to be enjoyed at Mystic Falls High: the ’80s. Josie’s overseeing setup until Lizzie gets there. “Trust me, you do not want to have only 98 red balloons,” she warns someone. Like mother, like daughter! She and Landon exchange flirtatious looks, making Rafael laugh. He tells Landon that Josie most likely thinks they’re going to have sex tonight. Landon thinks having sex after a school dance is an ’80s cliché, but maybe Josie just really wants to stick to the theme? She confirms Rafael’s suspicions when she tells Landon that Lizzie won’t be in their room that night.
A couple of balloons pop and Rafael gets tense. Landon notes that he’s been jumpy a lot lately. He doesn’t have to help with setup if it’s too much for him. Rafael wants to stick with his exposure therapy, though, and he considers this good practice before he goes to the dance. Apparently he sent Hope an invitation. When Landon teases him, Rafael advises him to worry about himself tonight. “I am,” Landon says to himself after Rafael leaves.
Hope and Lizzie attempt to cross the street again. Lizzie would like to talk about why Hope didn’t tell anyone they knew her when she came back from Malivore. Hope puts off that conversation and does a protection spell. But when they step off the curb, the Delorean is there again, and they get sent back to the grass. Hope guesses that they don’t have magic. Lizzie thinks she did the spell wrong, but when she tries to siphon from Hope, nothing happens.
Lizzie says they’re in “some sort of death maze from Hell.” The girls finally notice that everyone around them is dressed like it’s the ’80s. This makes Hope think of the game Frogger. They head to the curb again, and when Hope steps off, the Delorean comes speeding around the corner. She and Lizzie step back, and though the car splashes them with water, they don’t get run over. They make it across the street to a clothing store and get some dry clothes (’80s styles, of course). Lizzie’s hair is wet, so she grabs a hair dryer. It sparks and electrocutes her, sending her and Hope back to the grass. “Should have seen that one coming,” Lizzie says.
Alaric shows up at the Salvatore School to pick up the twins for brunch. Vardemus reminds him that there’s a restraining order keeping him off campus, but Alaric tells “Fumbledore” that he cleared it with Mac. He’s allowed to be there in the capacity of a parent concerned about the traumatic event his daughters recently experienced. Josie assures him that she’s fine. As for Lizzie, she hasn’t come back from the errand she told Josie she needed to run.
Hope and Lizzie have a setback in the form of a landmine and return to the grass. Hope wishes they had a clue to help them figure out what to do. Lizzie gets sarcastic about the chances of there being a clue store, but there actually is one. Inside is the Keeper, who explains that everything’s totally ’80s because it’s the only era she’s familiar with: “Turns out you miss a lot of pop culture when guys in black suits drop you into a giant pit of goo.” The girls are going to have to play this game, which was designed to kill “beautiful maidens,” until the Keeper’s pet feeds on them and they die.
The girls figure they won’t get anything out of this conversation, so they start to leave. The Keeper tells them there’s one way out of the game: One of them can agree to take her place. She’s trapped there as well and doesn’t want to be the Keeper forever. One of them will get her bracelet and become the new Keeper, and the other will be set free. Hope declines the offer but the Keeper says it’s not a choice. If they don’t take the deal, her pet will kill them: “That’s the endgame.” A roaring alerts the girls to the pet’s arrival. It’s a horned, bull-like creature, and it’s raring to chase someone.
The girls run to the woods and lose the monster. As they head for the school, Lizzie bugs Hope to explain why she didn’t come clean to anyone. Hope admits that she felt like everyone was better off without her. Lizzie angrily asks if she really has a big enough martyr complex that she couldn’t ask how they were doing. She was selfish and controlling. Hope replies that it was painful.
Lizzie says seriously that no one’s been better off without Hope. Landon and Josie are just using each other fill a void. Alaric’s lonely, Rafael has been a mess, and Lizzie is hallucinating boyfriends. If she was able to remember everything about Hope, maybe the spell Josie did on her can bring back everyone’s memories. She thinks Hope and Landon are made for each other, and Hope needs to tell him and Josie about their relationship before they have sex. Hope wants to back up and discuss Lizzie’s hallucination, but just then, they walk into a trip wire and tranquilizer darts fly into their necks. “Tell you in a second,” Lizzie says as they pass out.
M.G. and Kaleb find Sebastian’s desiccated body, and Kaleb expresses a desire to talk to Sebastian himself. Sebastian says that he can only appear to the “fragile-minded” right now. M.G. tells Kaleb that he said something about sharing a spiritual wavelength. Sebastian asks for fresh blood so he can revive, but M.G. doesn’t want to feed him. Sebastian offers to leave town and let M.G. have Lizzie.
Landon’s making a list of things he needs to do before his big night when Dorian walks by. “Uh-oh, angst alert – Landon’s journaling,” he comments. Landon asks if he can discuss something personal. Dorian tells him that he and Emma broke up and he doesn’t know when she’s coming back. Actually, Landon just wants to know how Dorian knew he was ready to have sex for the first time. Dorian says that when it’s right, you just know. There’s a look and then you know. Uh, I don’t think Landon knows.
M.G. and Kaleb turn to Alaric for advice on what to do with Sebastian. Alaric tells them to let him rot. If he was left to desiccate, it was probably for a good reason: “No one is desiccated for being too nice.” Kaleb notes that he might not be guilty of whatever crime he was being punished for. Alaric guesses that Sebastian was a murderer.
M.G. is leaning toward Kaleb’s way of thinking – “vamps before…non-vamps.” Alaric suggests that they not do anything until they know more about Sebastian. M.G. would like to get rid of him, though, so why not see if he’ll keep his word and leave town? Kaleb agrees with Alaric and says they should figure out what Sebastian really wants. After M.G. leaves, Alaric expresses surprise that Kaleb wanted his opinion, since he voted for Alaric to leave the school. Kaleb reveals that in the 3-1 vote, he was the one who voted for Alaric to stay.
In the woods, the girls talk about Josie and Landon while making their way past various obstacles they’ve obviously encountered a bunch of times already, like a bear trap and an arrow. (“Sorry!” yells the archer who almost hits them. “Be more careful next time, Frank!” Lizzie yells back.) Hope doesn’t think that telling Landon and Josie the truth would change anything. She’s probably going to have to jump in the portal to stop the monsters from coming, which means everyone will lose their memories of her again. She was made to be the loophole to end Malivore. It’s her destiny.
The monster finds them and runs after them but gets caught in a circle of spears. The girls make it out of the woods to what they think is the school, but they’ve actually just returned to the town square. The Keeper is power-walking by and she tells them they’re not in a maze, as they suspected – they’re in a labyrinth. That means there’s only one path out. “There’s only one way this is going to end,” the Keeper says. Hope decides that they should take the deal. She’ll be the one to stay behind.
Lizzie accuses Hope of being a martyr again. Hope notes that the bull monster – now obviously a minotaur, to go with the labyrinth theme – stays with the Keeper, so it’ll be trapped there with her. Since Malivore monsters only show up one at a time, no more will come. And it’s not like anyone will care if Hope’s gone.
Josie is picking out an outfit for the dance when Alaric comes to Twin Turret and announces that he knows she voted for him to leave the school. She says it’s what he wanted. He put it to a vote because he knew the school shouldn’t be run by a human anymore, and he couldn’t bring himself to step down. He let the students make the choice for him.
Alaric accomplished his goal of creating a safe home for supernatural kids, so it’s time for them to move on to the next chapter of their lives. They have to learn to live their lives without Alaric’s guidance. Josie voted him out so he could have his own life. She wants him to start dating and letting go of the girls. They’re fine, thanks to him. Alaric casts his own vote for which outfit she should wear, and she tells him she picked something out for him, too.
Kaleb feeds Sebastian some blood, which gives Sebastian enough strength to appear to him. Kaleb offers him more blood if he’ll answer some questions. First, is Sebastian a good vamp or a bad vamp? Sebastian admits that he’s made mistakes, but he won’t make them again if Kaleb revives him. In that case, Kaleb isn’t interested. The school is already full of people who deny their basic instincts. He was hoping that Sebastian was different.
Sebastian says he fed on so many humans back in his day that it became about the fun of hunting them rather than satisfying his hunger. He made the cobblestones run red with blood. That makes Kaleb even more confident about his decision: After the dance, he’s going to burn Sebastian’s body. Sebastian isn’t happy about being tricked, but Kaleb is pretty proud of himself.
Landon, who’s dressed as Marty McFly from Back to the Future, meets up with Josie, who’s dressed as Diane from Say Anything. He gives her a corsage and tries to keep himself together, knowing where the night is probably going to end up. She tells him that they don’t have to dance tonight if he doesn’t want to. He’s hugely relieved. He adds that they also don’t have to have sex, in case she meant actual dancing when she said that. (She didn’t.) He tells her she’s special, so he wants their first time to be special. He wants that look between them that Dorian mentioned.
They go to the dance, where everyone’s having a great time. Kaleb and M.G. (who are dressed as two members of Run-D.M.C., but with altered shirts that say Run K.M.G.) discuss Sebastian, whom Kaleb says is a “cold-blooded killer.” M.G. can’t believe he wanted to let Sebastian go. Kaleb says this is proof that when M.G. is pursuing Lizzie, he’s not his best self. M.G. doesn’t know how to fix that, so Kaleb tells him to “dance it off.” Dance break!
Back in the woods, Lizzie tells Hope that she understands why Hope thinks she needs to take the deal. Lizzie feels like she also exists for one reason: the merge. That’s her and Josie’s destiny unless Lizzie stays in this no-magic zone. Hope says she won’t let her, so Lizzie knocks her out with a big stick. “You’re not the only one who can be a martyr,” she says.
She goes back to the clue store, where the Keeper greets her with, “I knew you were the smart one.” Lizzie isn’t thrilled to take her job, but the Keeper notes that one day she could find someone to take her place. Lizzie denies that she would ever give this responsibility to someone else. The Keeper replies that she told herself the same thing. She takes off her bracelet and gives it to Lizzie, warning that if it breaks, she won’t be protected from the minotaur.
Lizzie confirms that Hope will be freed from the game. The Keeper tells her that she’ll “be set free from the eternal pain of the labyrinth.” Lizzie notes how carefully she worded that. The Keeper admits that Hope will die. The only choices here are for one or both of the girls to die. If Lizzie becomes the Keeper, she’ll be saving herself.
When the Keeper took over this role, she was told that the labyrinth was built centuries ago by a sorcerer who wanted to punish a maiden who rejected him. He wanted revenge “because she didn’t exist just for him.” She got out by trading places with someone else, who later traded places with someone else, and so on. “It’s every woman for herself,” the Keeper says. “That’s the game.” Lizzie doesn’t want to accept that, so she breaks the bracelet. She hopes the Keeper knows the labyrinth as well as she and Hope do.
Rafael arrives at the dance, disappointed that Hope hasn’t shown up yet. She’s just now regaining consciousness in the woods, with the minotaur growling nearby. She grabs a stick to fight him, but an arrow flies into his back before he reaches her. Lizzie borrowed Frank’s bow and arrow to save her frenemy. She tells Hope that accepting the Keeper’s deal would have furthered the patriarchy: “There’s always someone telling women they only exist for one reason.” She’s done with that game. This one isn’t over quite yet, since the minotaur isn’t dead. “Screw endgame,” Hope title-drops, then stabs him with a branch.
Hope and Lizzie are back on the grass, but it’s nighttime now, and the Keeper’s with them. She praises them for finding another way out. Lizzie doesn’t think the Keeper deserves their help, but there’s been enough woman-on-woman harm for one day. The girls check both ways before stepping off the curb, then head to the school.
A slow cover of “Take on Me” starts playing at the dance, and Josie and Landon get close. After a few moments, he asks if she wants to dance somewhere else…and he doesn’t mean dance in the literal sense. They make out first, and when they pull apart, we can see Hope and Lizzie standing nearby. As the couple leaves, Lizzie urges Hope to hurry and stop them. Hope says they should let them go.
Landon and Josie go to Twin Turret and start getting down to business. She asks if he’s sure and he says he’s never been more sure about anything. But he’s not completely ready – he doesn’t have a condom. As “Holding Out for a Hero” starts playing, he runs off to find one. There are none in the restroom or his dresser, so he runs downstairs. Wade’s there, dressed as Thomas Magnum, and though at first Landon’s happy to see someone who might be able to help him, he quickly realizes that the chances are pretty slim that Wade has a condom. But there’s someone else who does think Wade can help: Sebastian.
Hope and Lizzie seem to be the only people at the dance not having a good time. Lizzie can’t believe that after she and Hope literally killed themselves to get there, Hope let Landon and Josie go. Hope thinks Lizzie was right about destiny. Landon and Josie looked happy together, so maybe there isn’t just one way things have to happen. They don’t exist for just one path. Lizzie replies that they also don’t exist for just one boy.
They decide to cheer up and dance, and not just so Lizzie doesn’t have to imagine “Josie’s tragic visit to the Shire.” She warns that she’ll deny it if asked, but she’s glad to have Hope back. As they start dancing, Alaric checks in on the festivities dressed as Indiana Jones.
Landon Breakfast Club slides into the library and tells Dorian he was right about what they discussed earlier. On a related note, can Landon borrow Dorian’s car for a quick trip into town? Dorian catches on and gives him a key to the nurse’s office, where he can help himself to free condoms.
Back in Twin Turret, Josie tries to find a pose that will make her look the most appealing to Landon when he returns. She hears scratching under her bed and thinks it’s from rats that keep popping up under the floorboards. When she peeks down there, she realizes the noise isn’t coming from rats: It’s the sound of someone’s writing appearing in Penelope’s book. Josie flips a few pages back and finds a song that Landon wrote for Hope.
By the time Landon finally returns with a condom (“say hello to my little friend”), Josie’s no longer in the mood for sex. She tells him she wants to wait. He’s fine with that and doesn’t even need to hear her reasoning – if she’s not ready, neither is he. There’s no rush. He offers to make her some tea, and after he leaves, she goes back to the book.
Some of the dance attendees have moved to the old mill for an after-party. Rafael spots Hope as she’s walking by and invites her to join them. Back inside, some others are partying, and some drunk witches are throwing pillow in the air and sending feathers flying everywhere. M.G.’s using a magic mirror to talk to Kym, who thinks his school is awesome. She suggests that she tell that to the guy behind him in the black coat. It’s Sebastian, who’s now revived. He wipes some blood from his mouth, makes a gesture of thanks toward M.G., and zooms out. Nooooo, Wade, what did you do??
Vardemus goes to the Mystic Tap, where Alaric has asked him to meet for a drink. (He ordered Vardemus a drink with an umbrella. Heh.) If the school is going to succeed, Vardemus has to succeed, so Alaric needs him to be better as the headmaster. Vardemus snarks that the bar is low and asks if Alaric is going to hit him. No, Alaric’s going to keep his hands to himself and stay out of Vardemus’ way as long as he doesn’t screw up his responsibilities to people Alaric loves. Vardemus agrees, and Alaric claps him hard on the back as he leaves.
The Keeper is also at the bar, and Vardemus gives her an air toast with his drink. She’s not impressed. He turns around in his seat and removes the ring he always wears that helps him to magic. When he puts it back on, he no longer looks like Vardemus. Now he looks like his true self: Clarke.
The Keeper’s much more interested in this version of him, but he doesn’t have any romantic intentions. He tells her he recognizes her smell as the Malivore pit. She asks how he knows that name. “It’s a long story,” he replies. “Probably better if I just show you.” He grabs her wrist and his skin starts to crawl off of him and cover her. Whatever the end result is, it’s bloody and makes the bartender cry out in horror.
Etc.: I wish I could find a gif or video of the title card for this episode. The still shot doesn’t do it justice.
How long do you think it took Alaric to come up with “Fumbledore”?
I’m impressed with the ’80s outfits all the students put together for the dance. Special shout-outs to the guy dressed as Prince from Purple Rain and the two girls doing the Breakfast Club dance while dressed as Claire and Allison.
In the same vein as what I’ve praised before about characters’ sexualities on this show never being made into a big deal, there are some same-sex couples at the dance, and they look totally comfortable being together. I don’t watch a lot of shows targeted toward teens so I don’t know if that’s become the norm for TV, but I like it.
I also like that Josie is the one who pauses to make sure Landon’s ready to have sex. Consent goes both ways, kids!
On at least one floor of the school, there are two restrooms right next to each other, but instead of having the traditional male and female figures on the doors, they have one that’s half male, half creature of some kind and one that’s half female, half creature of some kind. I love that detail.
Alaric as Indiana Jones is…not a bad look. Not a bad look at all. Somewhere, Jo is very happy. (I like to think Josie was thinking of her when she picked out the outfit.)