Here’s a place we haven’t seen in a while: New Orleans! And another place we haven’t seen in a while: Rousseau’s! Josie’s there to meet with a person we haven’t seen in a while: Freya! Josie tells her she’s from the Salvatore School, which Freya’s heard of because Keelin wants their son (!!) to go there someday. Looks like Vincent came through.
Josie needs help reverse-engineering the spell she used on Lizzie that resulted in her recovering her memories of Hope. Freya advises her not to mess with that sort of magic. As she leaves, Josie stops her by blurting out that she knows Freya has pictures at home of someone she doesn’t recognize. If Freya helps with the spell, she’ll remember who that person is.
Kym is visiting Kaleb at school, and he’s in a rush to get her out of there. She reminds him that she’s in town for Commonwealth Day, so she’s not leaving yet. Apparently he can’t think of anything cool to show her, despite going to a school full of supernatural kids. Just then, the jogger who was killed by one of the robed figures bursts through the front doors. M.G. shoves him into the living room and Lizzie siphons from Kaleb so she can do a spell to set the jogger on fire. M.G. reminds her that they want to trap him so another Malivore monster won’t come after him. Lizzie puts out the fire as M.G. realizes Kym is there. I think she’s satisfied about getting to see something cool.
Commonwealth Day is one of those town-wide celebrations, and preparations are underway in the town square for a big shared meal. Mac finds Alaric there and complains that he ghosted her after she invited him to get a drink. He tells her he’s trying to deal with his relationship with his daughters and learning to give them space. Mac gets it. She has to cut the conversation short when she gets a call about an incident at the Mystic Tap.
Hope and Ethan are helping out with setup, and a councilman named Roberts snaps at them when they take ten whole seconds out of their work to chat. You might even say they’re flirting. Ethan heads off to football practice, even though his broken arm keeps him from playing. Hope asks if he’ll be back later, but he has physical therapy. He tells her that if she ever wants to see him, she should just ask him out.
As he leaves, a hand reaches out from under the table they’re standing by and grabs Hope’s leg. Lizzie’s under there, keeping an eye on the portal, since she doesn’t think Hope is doing a good enough job. “I’m literally on top of it,” Hope tells her. Lizzie says that’s not enough, since a zombie got into the school. Hope isn’t sure he came from the portal, since she was there all night, but Lizzie thinks the Malivore mark on his forehead is a pretty good indication of where he originated. Maybe Hope was too busy “flirting with the muggle” to notice.
Hope says she wasn’t flirting, she was fitting in. Lizzie’s fine with it, since the faster Hope moves on from Landon, the better things are for Josie. With the zombie locked up, no more monsters will be showing up, so the girls can ditch portal duty and hang out. Hope finds the fact that Lizzie wants to spend time with her less believable that the stuff about the portal and the zombie. Lizzie just wants a distraction so she won’t tell Josie the truth about Hope and Landon. I guess she hasn’t noticed that Josie isn’t even in town. That’s our Lizzie!
Rafael and Landon see the girls crawling out from under the table, and Landon wonders if they’re friends now. Rafael hopes Lizzie doesn’t bad-mouth him to Hope. Landon notes that anything bad she says is deserved, considering what happened between her and Rafael. He volunteers to be Rafael’s wingman and run interference with Hope. Then Hope and Rafael can go on double dates with Landon and Josie. Yeah, not gonna happen.
Freya works on the spell, telling Josie that her intention matters. If she’s not clear on her purpose when she uses it, she’ll permanently erase the memories she’s trying to bring back. Freya asks how Josie found the spell. She explains that she siphoned it from an ancient sword to save her sister. Then she read in Lizzie’s diary (via Penelope’s book) that the spell returned her memories.
Freya steps away to take a call from Keelin (hi, Keelin!), and Josie takes a look around the bar. Pictures we’ve seen before of Davina, Cami, Josh, and Jackson are still up, along with one of Freya and Hope. Freya asks who Hope is, guessing that she’s the same person Josie’s forgotten. She assumes that since Josie didn’t tell her that, she hasn’t decided yet if she’s actually going to use the spell they’re working on. Instead of answering, Josie does the memory-restoring spell on Freya. It knocks her out, and Josie leaves before she regains consciousness.
Back in Mystic Falls, Sebastian is following a woman in old-fashioned clothing through the woods. When he gets close to her, she spins around and sprays something in his face. It’s Kym, and M.G. and Kaleb gave her some liquid vervain and used her as bait. They’re mad that Sebastian fed on Wade, though not enough to kill him. Sebastian’s pretty combative, so Kaleb snaps his neck. He wants Kym to leave town, Commonwealth Day or no Commonwealth Day.
Kym has no intention of leaving town before she gets to wear her specially made costume to the festivities. Kaleb doesn’t like it, but M.G. says he supports a woman’s right to wear whatever she wants. “Stop trying to marsh my mallow,” Kym tells her brother. She’ll leave when she’s ready. He threatens to call their mother, so she threatens to call their father. M.G.’s amused.
He tells them he’ll take Sebastian to Alaric’s office at Mystic Falls High until Commonwealth Day is over. He knows the school is empty, so no one will be there when Sebastian wakes up. Kaleb guesses that he’s thinking about Lizzie, and that M.G. hasn’t told her that Sebastian is real after all. Kym seems a tiny bit jealous of Lizzie. M.G. admits that he kind of, sort of accidentally let her think she was having a psychotic break. He’s not looking forward to coming clean.
Roberts takes a secretive phone call in the alley behind the Grill and notices a figure in a cloak and pilgrim hat watching him. Roberts notes that the festivities aren’t until the next day. Dude, stop policing everyone. The figure also has a pointed nose, almost like a beak, which it uses to stab Roberts in the neck. Once Roberts is down, the figure crouches over him.
The next morning, Hope and Lizzie check out Roberts’ remains, which their classmate Alyssa found on a morning run. The police haven’t been alerted yet. Hope guesses that they’re dealing with a croatoan. Her first clue: the word “croatoan” carved into a nearby door. Hmm, maybe Hope should be a detective.
They assemble the available members of the Super Squad: Landon, Kaleb, Rafael, and special guest Kym. Lizzie thinks Josie’s in Richmond for Commonwealth Day. Kym recognizes the word “croatoan” from the lore of the lost colony of Roanoke. Everyone’s impressed, which kind of makes me sad, because isn’t that common history knowledge? Alaric would be so disappointed in this group. Anyway, Hope wants them to get Landon somewhere safe.
Kaleb asks why they’re following the lead of a townie. Lizzie says Hope’s a witch just as Rafael says she’s a werewolf. Landon adds that she knows how to kill monsters. Now Kym’s the one who’s impressed. Rafael’s confused about a new monster showing up when the zombie’s still around. Kaleb realizes that Hope knows about Malivore, and Lizzie lies that she told her everything. She boasts that Hope killed the oni and the minotaur. Landon’s disappointed that he missed that one. “Not everything’s about you,” Lizzie tells him.
Kaleb is happy to let “Miss Were-Witch” take the lead. Hope says they’ll use a barrier spell to protect Landon. Lizzie jumps in to volunteer to babysit Landon while Hope hunts the croatoan and everyone else goes to the town festivities. Landon thinks Rafael should go with Hope. As the squad splits up, the guys try to get everyone to put their hands together for a cheer. The girls aren’t on board.
After everyone else leaves, Hope tells Lizzie that she’s less worried about being with Landon than she is about Lizzie spilling her secret. Lizzie plans to ask Landon about something geeky, like Star Wars, and let him talk the whole time. She promises that Hope has nothing to worry about.
Josie calls Caroline from a bus station and says she knows how to bring back everyone’s memories, but she thinks people might end up hurt. She’s not sure what to do. Back in Mystic Falls, Hope and Rafael head into the woods to find the croatoan. He’s happy to have an excuse to be in a quiet place; he’s still adjusting to being around people again. He’s really comfortable with Hope and feels like he’s supposed to know her. He makes it clear that he’d like to date her, but she doesn’t give him a green light or red light to proceed.
Lizzie lights a candle (possibly the “flame of imprisonment”) to keep other supernatural beings out of the library while Landon’s there. He asks her if Hope is seeing anyone – not because he wants to date her but because he wants to fix her up with Rafael. Lizzie’s glad to hear that, since he’s “watered the garden of Josie’s eternal flower” and should respect that new bond: “Once you’ve boned, you can never unbone.”
Landon insists that he would never move on to a new love interest so soon after having sex with someone else. That said, he and Josie didn’t have sex. Lizzie’s surprised by that and says it changes everything. Not that she can explain that to Landon. She distracts him by asking him how he feels about Ewoks.
Sometime later, Landon wraps up his no doubt long opinion on the creatures while making himself a sandwich in the kitchen. Lizzie’s done with him for a while and says she’s going to take a nap. But as she turns to leave, the crotoan arrives and grabs her around the neck. Its arm is basically a tentacle, and Landon stabs it with a knife and gets it to release Lizzie. The two of them run back to the library, wondering why the candle didn’t keep the croatoan out. Landon notes that it went after Lizzie instead of him.
M.G. speed-reads in Alaric’s office, making Kym think that being a vampire must be pretty cool. He tells her it’s not all great, since vampires can hurt people, but she doesn’t think he’s like that. She’s found something about croatoans, which she compares to Venus flytraps mixed with octopi. They stab their victims in the throat so they can’t scream, then dissolve them with acidic saliva. They target liars and people keeping secrets. Kym suggests that she and M.G. be completely honest with each other so they won’t be at risk.
The book also says that croatoans can be summoned by witches, so there must have been one in Roanoke. Sebastian, who’s awake, confirms this. Her name was Cassandra, and he’ll tell them more if they’ll unchain him (and also cut out their flirting). Kym doesn’t think they should believe him, but Sebastian says he was there.
Landon tries to hold the door keeping the croatoan out of the library while Lizzie looks through a book. M.G. calls and, without naming his source, tells Lizzie that there was a vampire who fed on settlers in Roanoke. A witch he was dating wanted to find out who was killing people, so she summoned a croatoan to seek out those who were keeping secrets. Lizzie’s not happy to hear that, and less happy to know that M.G. and Kym haven’t found out how to kill the croatoan yet. She realizes that it’s able to get past her barrier spell because only the witch who summoned it can destroy it, and Cassandra’s been dead for 500-ish years. As the croatoan breaks down the door, Lizzie and Landon run again.
Mac calls Alaric to the Mystic Tap, hoping he can help her figure out what happened there that left behind puddles of blood. He goes with the old standard that it was an animal attack. Mac is going to send forensics from the crime scene to the FBI, but Alaric asks her to trust him on this. She doesn’t expect that to happen, since a witness says that Alaric was at the bar around the time of the attack.
Lizzie and Landon head to the basement, where she tells him that the croatoan goes after people with secrets. Landon thinks the solution is simple: She just has to tell him her secret. He guesses it’s about Hope. They end up by the cell where they’ve stashed the zombie jogger, and Landon asks if Lizzie can make them invisible and break the zombie out of his cell. “We’re gonna do what every great sci-fi franchise does. Kong vs. Godzilla, Alien vs. Predator…,” he says. “We’re gonna suck?” Lizzie asks. “That’s blasphemy,” he replies. They’re going to let the monsters fight each other.
She hates the plan, but she also doesn’t want to tell the truth, so she makes herself and Landon invisible and opens the zombie’s cage. But as the croatoan and jogger approach each other, nothing happens. They just walk right by each other. As a plan B, Lizzie lures the croatoan into the open cage and locks him up. Landon doesn’t that will hold him for long, so he bugs Lizzie to tell him her secret. She resists, warning that it’ll break Josie’s heart. Landon can’t believe that Lizzie’s actually keeping her mouth shut for once.
Just as Lizzie’s about to give in and tell him, Hope arrives and literally removes her mouth with a spell. That just backs up Landon’s theory that Lizzie’s secret involves Hope. Hope brushes that off, wanting to focus on the croatoan right now. She restores Lizzie’s mouth so Lizzie can tell her that M.G.’s looking for a way to kill the croatoan. She adds that there’s a zombie on the loose now, thanks to Landon. Hope sends Rafael and Landon to Alaric while she and Lizzie find a way to deal with the croatoan.
Sebastian can’t remember everything that happened with Cassandra, even though she was his “great love.” Kym doesn’t think she felt the same way about him, considering she summoned a croatoan to kill him. Sebastian thinks that if she’d known he was the killer, she wouldn’t have done that. M.G. says he should have told Cassandra the truth. Furious, Sebastian calls M.G. out for his hypocrisy.
Mac takes Alaric to her office for questioning, skeptical about his story that he was at the Mystic Tap to have a drink with Vardemus. Alaric says he wanted to make peace. Mac wants to believe that he’s the nice guy he appears to be, but his name comes up a lot in police reports featuring dead bodies in Mystic Falls. Alaric swears to her that he had nothing to do with whatever happened at the Mystic Tap. Mac notes that he has a bad track record with relationships; almost every woman he’s been involved with has had a “tragic end.” Yeah, when you think about it, Meredith dodged a bullet.
Alaric says that that’s one of the reasons he struggles to open up easily. Also, he’s not completely alone; he knows that Mac’s own husband died under “questionable circumstances.” (If you’re hoping we’ll get some follow-up on that, sorry, we don’t. Make up your own backstory.) Mac advises Alaric to produce an alibi or call a lawyer. He says he already has an airtight alibi and gives her a business card so she can confirm it. The person she’ll be calling is the mayor, Alaric’s very good friend Matt Donovan.
In the gym, Hope chastises Lizzie for almost telling Landon what they’re keeping from him. Lizzie says that things have changed. Since Josie and Landon didn’t have sex, Hope still has a chance with Landon: “You might still want to plant your flag on Muppet Treasure Island.” The croatoan finds them, and Hope suggests that she and Lizzie tell a bunch of secrets to keep it happy. She admits to stealing a hair clip from Lizzie when they were kids and having a crush on Josie for a week in middle school. Lizzie tells her firmly that the two of them will never get together.
Lizzie’s confessions are that she accidentally killed Hope’s hamster, siphoned her to cheat on finals, and thinks she’s kind of cool. The croatoan isn’t satisfied, and it opens its cloak to reveal a bunch of tentacles on its chest. Hope realizes that they can’t stop it until they share the big secret that she’s back. “I’m back, too,” Josie announces. She does the memory-restoring spell, which is powerful enough to spread across town, hitting and knocking out everyone who knew Hope.
With all the girls’ secrest out, the croatoan has no reason to stay, so it turns and leaves. Landon has the same visions of Hope he’s been having every time he dies, and when he wakes up, all his memories are back. Unfortunately, the croatoan is, too.
M.G. and Kym learn that the spell didn’t just restore people’s Hope-related memories – Sebastian’s memories of the croatoan are back, too. Cassandra gave him a token to protect him from the colony’s leadership. They asked Cassandra to find the vampire who was killing the settlers, but because she loved Sebastian, she summoned the croatoan to go after the lying Puritans. Then the croatoan went rogue and killed everyone. Sebastian tried to stop Cassandra, since he was worried that she would be a target while she was keeping him a secret. She desiccated him, and he watched the croatoan kill her. Sebastian tells M.G. to use the token to kill the croatoan before it hurts Lizzie.
The croatoan drags Landon through the woods as Landon requests a little less brutality, since Malivore is going to want him in one piece. Hope pops up and does a spell that chains the croatoan’s legs together. Landon heads straight toward her, ready to confront her for not telling him who she was. She refocuses him on the crisis at hand and blasts the croatoan back with magic. She and Landon bicker about his happiness and how he was going to have sex with Josie. M.G. zooms up and gives Hope Sebastian’s token, which she uses for a spell that makes the croatoan melt. Now she’s ready to talk to Landon, but he’s not in the mood.
Alaric’s alibi checked out, so Mac tells him he can go. She’s sorry for pushing so hard, but she knows there’s something off about the town. She kind of wanted it to be him so she wouldn’t have to deal with her growing feelings for him. He admits that he returns those feelings, which is why he’s been keeping things from her. What happened at the bar wasn’t an animal attack – it was probably the work of a zombie or vampire. Supernatural beings have been in town for centuries.
Mac doesn’t buy that, but Alaric doesn’t expect her to. He’d love to find a way to convince her to leave town before she lands in danger, but he needs a sheriff who will look the other way when he needs her to and believe everything he says. Mac says she won’t be able to do that. He knows, which is why he asked Kaleb to join them. Alaric promises Mac that things won’t get this complicated again, then signals to Kaleb to compel her to forget all about the supernatural.
Josie’s upset that Lizzie didn’t tell her about Hope; she had to figure it out on her own. Lizzie thinks they’re even since Josie didn’t say anything about what she did figure out. Josie advises her to stop using the pen Penelope gave her. Lizzie feels bad about keeping secrets from her sister, but she wanted to protect Josie. Josie admits that part of her didn’t want to bring back everyone’s memories. Caroline convinced her that they deserved to know the truth and make their own decisions, no matter how painful it was. Josie tearfully asks what choice Lizzie thinks Landon will make. Lizzie doesn’t know, but she promises to be there for her sister no matter what it is.
Sebastian enters and Lizzie thinks she’s having an episode. “At least this one’s got a hot guy guest star,” Josie comments. Lizzie’s stunned that she can see him. M.G. joins them and reveals that everyone can. Time for M.G. to spill his own secret.
In the town square, everyone has gathered for the big Commonwealth Day meal. Hope’s sitting alone, and Rafael teases her about being a lone wolf. She invites him to join her, but now that he remembers her, he also remembers his vow to steer clear of her for Landon’s sake. He tells her that when he was stuck as a wolf, Landon did all he could to turn him back. He’s always looked out for Rafael, and now Rafael needs to return the favor. He admits that he’s always had feelings for Hope and says they can’t be around each other anymore.
Landon finds Josie at the dock, where she tells him she went to New Orleans to get help from Freya. (Music: “Rescue,” Lauren Daigle) She needed a push to do the right thing. As much as Josie didn’t want to cause herself pain, she needed to see that Hope’s family was missing a piece of themselves. She couldn’t keep being selfish. Landon tells her she’s the least selfish person he’s ever met, and he didn’t need to be reminded of that. Josie confirms that he remembers Hope and says that changes things. Landon isn’t sure yet. He asks for time to figure it out.
Still at the town celebration, Hope’s surrounded by happy people celebrating with their families. Then suddenly, she has her own family there – Freya has come to see her. She gives her niece the hug she desperately needs right now.
Ethan’s out for a jog in the cemetery when the zombie jogger finds him. But a robed figure grabs the zombie before Ethan can see him and uses his blood to create a window in a cauldron. Thanks to an eye the zombie left behind, the figure can spy on the kitchen of the Salvatore School.
Etc.: Since Freya knows nothing about Hope before Josie’s visit, that means Hope didn’t contact anyone in her family after returning from Malivore. That’s sad! It’s one thing for her not to want to tell people in Mystic Falls who she is, since that could ruin things for Landon and Josie, but it’s another for her to avoid her entire family.
Freya calls her son Nik, so I assume his full name is Niklaus. Hopefully his middle name is Elijah.
I like “stop trying to marsh my mallow.”
If Lizzie’s willingness to listen to Landon blather about stuff she doesn’t care about so she won’t tell him something that could lead to him dumping Josie doesn’t say how much she loves her sister, nothing does. (Though, actually, she might care about ewoks. We’ll find out later that she’s a closet Star Wars fan.)
Not only is there a landline in the library, but it’s a rotary phone. I’m surprised the kids know how to dial it.
Part of me would have liked to see Alaric use his friendship with Matt to get out of jams more often, but the rest of me thinks that’s too easy.
Sebastian’s face when Josie calls him hot is great – like he’s thinking, “I can’t argue with that.”