Landon revisits his memories of Hope, which have all been restored, and voices over something about having a memory and not being sure if it was real or a dream. You let it go and tell yourself it was your imagination. He’s in his room while Hope’s in the town square, keeping an eye on the portal. She uses the conversation prism to make Landon appear but doesn’t talk to him.
Josie and Lizzie arrive to take over portal-watching duty, and it doesn’t look like Hope and Josie have spoken since everyone’s memories came back. Landon voices over that you put the memory aside and try to get through the day while a big decision weighs on your mind. Dude, you’re talking about yourself. Just say “I.” He passes by Vardemus, who we now know is really Clarke (which is why I’ll be calling him Clarkdemus). As Landon meets up with Rafael, voicing over that all eyes are on him to do the right thing, the zombie eye – which can apparently move around, since it’s no longer in the kitchen – spies on him.
Lizzie tries to make things less awkward between Hope and Josie, which just ends up making things more awkward. She thinks they’re evolved enough not to give each other the silent treatment just because they’re “competing for the love of the same garden gnome.” Lizzie’s in a great mood, since her perceived mental breakdown wasn’t real. Her new mission is to keep “Headmaster Downton Abbey” from letting Sebastian enroll at the Salvatore School to keep him out of trouble.
Josie urges Lizzie to forgive M.G. for not telling her that Sebastian was real. He didn’t mean to hurt her. Lizzie resists, but Josie points out that he wasn’t the only person keeping secrets. Hope speaks up that she didn’t mean to hurt anyone, either. Josie notices the conversation prism, and Hope gives it to her, since she doesn’t need it anymore. Lizzie praises them for “moving forward with dignity and grace. This is the true definition of girl power. I’m proud of us.”
A man sitting on the next park bench over greets them, knowing they’re witches. He presents them with a riddle: “There are two sisters. One gives birth to the other, and the other in turn gives birth to the first. Who are they?” Josie answers that they’re night and day. Her reward is the man’s announcement that he’s a Sphinx. The girls sigh. The Sphinx was hoping they would be more impressed. “It’s been a long semester,” Hope tells him. It’s October! She does a spell to freeze the Sphinx, and then all three girls turn him and themselves invisible before a nearby jogger can notice anything off. Lizzie praises girl power again.
Hope goes to Alaric’s office to tell him about the Sphinx. Since another monster has come through the portal, the zombie must be dead. Alaric hugs her, happy to remember her. She wishes everyone else felt the same. She’s going to go to New Orleans for a while to work with Freya and some of her witch friends on finding a way to close the portal. Alaric guesses that she hasn’t decided yet if the trip home will be permanent.
Josie uses the prism to talk to Landon, eager to know if he wants to be with her or Hope. The Holo-Landon notes that he only knows what Josie knows, so she’ll have to ask the real Landon. She just doesn’t know what to say to him. She’s annoyed that everyone wants Landon, including Malivore. She wishes she could give him the Holo-Landon. Hmmm, maybe she can…
Rafael has assigned himself the role of Landon’s bodyguard in case another monster comes after him. He feels he owes Landon because of his feelings for Hope. He leaves when Josie comes to talk to Landon, but instead of asking him if he’s made up his mind about the girls yet, she tells him she has a crazy idea.
They take the idea to Clarkdemus, who thinks it could work. Josie would have to use black magic, which Clarkdemus knows Alaric wouldn’t be happy about. She says he can deal, since it’s a life-or-death situation. Clarkdemus produces a trident she can use, then asks Landon if he’s fully on board. Landon notes that Hope’s the only one who will have to do something dangerous. Clarkdemus wonders if she’ll agree. Landon doubts it, but he’s willing to change her mind.
He runs to the bus station, where Hope’s about to leave for New Orleans. He tells her he doesn’t want to lose her again – he loves her. She’s thrilled by that, then confused, because suddenly there’s another Landon there, along with Josie.
“This is the opposite of girl power,” Lizzie says when Josie tells her everything in Twin Turret. Two Landons! Two! The fake one – which they’re calling Simulandon – is a golem Josie created from a manifestation of Landon’s subconscious. He’s bound with the trident and has something glowing in his chest where his heart should be. Lizzie’s worried about Josie using black magic again, but Josie tells her it’s fine because of the mora miserium. Plus, she’s doing what’s necessary to close the portal.
Downstairs, Landon explains to Hope that they’re going to use Simulandon as a decoy and let the Sphinx take him into the portal. Except Simulandon doesn’t want to go in the portal – he wants to stay with Hope. Apparently Landon’s subconscious is all about Hope all the time. Josie tells Lizzie that Simulandon is bound to the lunar cycle, so the next night, he’ll disintegrate. Simulandon isn’t happy about that.
They’ll need to pump a bunch of Hope’s blood into Simulandon so he’ll close the portal when he goes in. Hope tells Landon that that won’t be enough – since her vampire side hasn’t been activated, she’s not a full tribrid. Malivore will just spit out Simulandon and create a new portal. Landon thinks he could disintegrate before Malivore can eject him. There won’t be a new portal, and everything will go back to normal. Well, except for the part where Landon kind of has two girlfriends. Hey, wait, there are two Landons! Problem solved!
Landon thinks Josie just made Simulandon vocal so he’d tell the girls which one he wants to be with. Josie tells Lizzie that that question has already been answered. Simulandon keeps declaring his love for Hope, who knocks him out with a sleep spell. Wow, three minutes in and she’s already tired of him. She probably went two minutes longer than Lizzie, though.
Rafael guards the Sphinx in a basement cell, trying to ignore him as he makes a clanging noise against the bars. The Sphinx gives him that old riddle about a creature with varying numbers of legs that turns out to be a person. Rafael knows that one, and the Sphinx asks what else has been written about him. Rafael tells him that the Greeks mostly wrote about his riddles, but in Egyptian mythology, sphinxes were protectors. The Sphinx denies that they protected oracles – he is the oracle.
Since Rafael answered his riddle correctly, the Sphinx will answer any one of Rafael’s questions. Rafael knows from Monsters 101 that he’s not supposed to listen to monsters. The Sphinx adds that he can’t lie and tempts Rafael to ask a question. Rafael just wants to know how to keep Landon safe from Malivore. The Sphinx’s eyes glow as he searches for the answer, which isn’t what Rafael wants to hear: “There’s no keeping Landon safe as long as he remains here.” Rafael needs to take him somewhere else.
Landon hooks Hope up to a bloodletting device in his and Rafael’s room so they can fill up Simulandon. She asks if they’re going to talk about how he walked away without talking to her after she killed the croatoan. He doesn’t know what to say, other than welcoming Hope back. She notes that Simulandon has a lot to say. Landon tells her he has no filter, unlike Landon himself, who is complex and evolved. Hope would like him to prove that he’s evolved by talking to her instead of avoiding the subject. She wants to know how he feels.
He doesn’t think that’s important – this is about doing the right thing. “There’s a shelf life on doing the right thing,” Hope says. “If you wait too long, it’s just wrong.” Landon doesn’t appear to have anything else to say, but Simulandon’s awake and will fill the silence for him, mostly with declarations of love for Hope. Yeah, we got it, buddy.
Dorian greets Alaric at the front gates and tells him there’s a problem. Alaric thinks it’s that Vardemus wants to enroll “Teen Dracula” at his daughters’ school. Dorian says Vardemus himself is the problem. Alaric got his hands on forensic samples from the Mystic Tap (what Mac doesn’t know won’t hurt her, I guess) and sent them to Dorian, who forwarded them to a witch friend. They’re a match for Vardemus.
On top of that, the results say that Vardemus is both male and female, and a mix of every ethnicity possible but only 10 percent white. He also has the DNA of various animals. Alaric remembers seeing this before – he took samples at the Malivore pit the night Hope jumped in and couldn’t figure out who else was there. Alaric thinks Vardemus is really a Malivore monster in disguise.
Josie complains to Clarkdemus that Simulandon is telling everyone how much he loves Hope, and now she feels “second-rate.” Clarkdemus reminds her that she’s a powerful witch. Josie asks if the mora miserium is still working, since she’s feeling volatile. He tells her the mora miserium holds black magic, not strong emotions. Her frustration and anger right now are justified, and she can use the trident to ease them. Clarkdemus finds a spell that will let her channel all her negative feelings into the trident. As she does it, she grabs his arm, which makes him change from Vardemus into Clarke. Josie’s eyes turn black and she passes out. Clarke takes the trident back from her and smiles.
Simulandon blathers during the blood transfer, bugging Hope. He asks why she’s leaving town. She tells him she doesn’t want to stay where she’s not welcome. He points out that her friends created Simulandon so she doesn’t have to go into the portal again. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. Simulandon is sorry that Landon isn’t as open with his feelings as his golem is. They’re both cowardly, which is why Landon can’t tell Hope that he wants her to stay. The real Landon is listening from outside the room.
He goes to the dock, explaining to Rafael that he’s preparing a failsafe in case the plan with Simulandon doesn’t work. He’ll drown himself so the Sphinx can’t take him to the portal. Rafael is agitated because of what the Sphinx told him and annoyed with all the crazy plans the Super Squad keeps coming up with. He and Landon came to the Salvatore School because there were no other safe places for them. Now it feels like the least safe place in the world. Landon asks what else the Sphinx told him.
Alaric finds Josie still unconscious and wakes her up. “I think I did something bad,” she admits. Lizzie takes Simulandon to the basement so the Sphinx can take him to the portal. The Sphinx falls for the trick, thinking he’s the real Landon, and Lizzie opens his cage so he can “escape.” But the Sphinx says he doesn’t have any need for Landon and doesn’t know what to do with him. Lizzie closes the cage door again and Simulandon runs off, thrilled not to have to be sacrificed.
Lizzie doesn’t get why the Sphinx doesn’t want Landon. He says he’s not there for him, but won’t tell her any more unless she answers a riddle: “In blackness, a light emerges illuminating the path for darkened souls to follow. Two forge their own way, but a third sees a new path. What is the new path?” Lizzie has no idea.
Alaric’s with Hope when she wakes up after falling asleep during her bloodletting. He tells her the school has been evacuated but they decided not to move her. He explains that Clarke used Vardemus as a Trojan horse, and the Sphinx doesn’t want Landon, and Josie “accidentally created a dark object of indeterminate power.” Big day for the school!
After Alaric leaves Hope to rest, Clarke appears, having been hanging out invisibly, thanks to his illusion-creating ring. He slaps anti-magic manacles on Hope (thanks, Armory!) and tells her he made a deal with Malivore to take her out. But Malivore screwed him over by giving him an unstable form. Clarke had to consume monsters and people to stay stable, but he’s still slowly turning back to mud. Now he has a new plan: Take over Hope’s body and use her to defeat Malivore. Thanks to Josie, he can use the trident to transfer his consciousness into Hope. He’s pleased to get revenge on someone who screwed him over.
Clarke stabs at Hope with the trident, but even in her weakened state, she’s able to shove him away, get out of the manacles, and make a run for it. He figures she won’t get far, but he quickly loses track of her. They play cat and mouse for a while, and when he finally finds her again, he throws the trident at her. It goes right through her and embeds itself in a banister. She was just an illusion – the real Hope is hiding under her bed, using astral projection to mess with Clarke.
When he comes back to her room, she heads to the window. He breaks through the door just in time to see her jump out and land ungracefully on the ground. She yells for help, but since the school has been evacuated, no one hears her. Clarke catches up to her and raises the trident to stab her and take over her body. Someone grabs his arm before he can. “Hello, brother,” Landon greets him.
Clarke tells Landon he should have jumped into the pit instead of Hope. Landon tackles him and punches him while Clarke reaches for the trident he dropped. He doesn’t get what Malivore sees in Landon. Yeah, he can resurrect after he dies, but then someone always has to come to his rescue. He’s pathetic. Landon says he doesn’t care what Clarke or Malivore think of him – he only cares about Hope.
Hope fights Clarke, but he’s stronger than she is. Fortunately, Landon’s stronger than he is, and he grabs Clarke from behind. He tells Clarke to stab him with the trident – they don’t need Hope. She objects, but Landon talks Clarke into stabbing him and taking over his body. Clarke’s fine with not being a tribrid since now he’ll be a phoenix. But Landon pulls down his shirt to reveal his glowing chest. He’s Simulandon, and his body is set to disintegrate tomorrow, leaving Clarke just one day of life.
Clarke complains, then collapses. His consciousness enters Simulandon, and he guesses that Hope’s going to kill him. He thinks this little twist makes Simulandon’s sacrifice less romantic. He taunts that the real Landon is probably off with his other girlfriend. Hope throws some magic at him to shut him up.
Writing something on a bus, Landon voices over that today he learned that there’s nothing the Super Squad can do to stop the monsters. Lizzie tends to Josie, who’s recovering from whatever the spell did to her. Hope comes in as Landon voices over that sometimes pain can’t be avoided. Lizzie ducks out so Josie and Hope can be alone. They’re each glad the other is okay. Hope wants Josie’s blessing before she comes back to school. She misses all of it, including Josie, but she won’t reenroll if it causes Josie more pain.
Hope hears scratching noises, which Josie tells her are from Penelope’s book. She opens it and sees what Landon’s writing on the bus. He sees now that monsters aren’t the only problem – he is, too. He’s at the center of all the heartache people are going through. He’s leaving town so the monsters will follow him and his friends will be safe. He hopes they forgive him someday, but he’ll understand if they don’t. He’s been writing to Josie and Hope this whole time, knowing they’d see his words in the book. When he’s done, he breaks his pen. Rafael is sitting next to him, still committed to going wherever his brother goes.
Josie takes Hope’s hand and says that Landon made his choice. Now they can make their own. Whether Landon’s there or not, Hope belongs at the school, and Josie wants her to stay. Both of them apologize for what’s happened and they hug. Lizzie returns with ice cream and three spoons. She complains that Alaric said she can’t send Sebastian away until Alaric has checked him out. Also, with no headmaster, M.G. won’t be punished for keeping the truth about Sebastian from Lizzie. Aww, her priorities are still the same. Some things never change.
Dorian and Alaric discuss the riddle Lizzie couldn’t puzzle out. Dorian regrets voting Alaric out as headmaster, but Alaric thinks he shouldn’t have put Dorian in that position in the first place. Dorian wonders if the “darkened souls” the Sphinx mentioned are monsters. They follow the same path, but which two “forge their own way”?
They go to the basement to answer the riddle: The light in the darkness is the portal, the darkened souls are the monsters, the two who forged their own way were Hope and Clarke, and the one who sees another way is the Sphinx himself. He doesn’t serve Malivore because he has a different path – and a different master. The Sphinx confirms that they’re right. “Malivore is terrible, but what’s coming is even worse,” he warns.
Alaric asks what that is, and the Sphinx searches for the answer. Of course, it’s another riddle: “There are two prisoners. One is the master of his cage. The other returns home without power. The sins of the father are visited upon the daughters here…and not here. A new hero rises but can be felled by the golden arrow. The wolf among you has many faces. When time fractures, darkness overwhelms. But the greatest destroyer of all…is love.”
The guys are confused. “Don’t worry,” the Sphinx tells them. “It will all be painfully clear soon enough.” With Landon safe, the Sphinx’s work is done. He slits his throat, but instead of blood, sand pours out. He dissolves into a pile of it.
The zombie jogger drags Clarke’s body to the Salvatore crypt, where one of the robed figures is waiting. He turns to face the zombie, but the inside of his hood is so dark, his face can’t be seen.
Etc.: Jenny Boyd (Lizzie) is really funny in the scene where she’s trying to get Hope and Josie hyped about girl power. They should make Lizzie the comic relief more often.
Hope makes a joke about a Malivore monster bracket, and I really hope people actually have those.
Dorian’s reaction to the test results saying Vardemus is only 10 percent white is awesome. He’s like, “You know that man is nothing but white. He’s in the top 2 percent of whiteness of all white guys in the world.”
I refuse to believe that Alaric is dumb enough to leave Hope alone while she’s weak and Clarke is running around the school with the ability to take on other people’s identities. Come on!