Landon is at a da Vinci museum exhibit after hours. A security guard catches him, but Cleo takes care of her with a sleep spell. They’re there to find something that belonged to da Vinci, AKA Cleo’s one-time boyfriend. Landon thinks she should be more bitter that she gets no credit for inspiring one of the best-known artists in the world. Cleo notes that that happens a lot in history (*cough* especially with women *cough*).
She finds what they’re looking for, a model of a heart, just as another security guard shows up. Landon runs at him as he fires a taser, which Landon is able to dodge. Cleo calls off the violence before he can go too far. He asks how she knows that the heart is what they need to defeat Malivore. “Because I made it,” she replies.
At the wellness retreat/cult gathering/cover for Andi to do Triad’s bidding, Hope, Josie, and Lizzie have just been reunited with Clarke. He doesn’t have a lot of details about what happened after they last saw him, other than getting his head cut off and waking up in Malivore. Now he’s back, thanks to Andi. He’s disappointed that the teens haven’t made any progress in taking down Malivore. Hope says they locked him in a prison world, but Clarke says that no prison can contain him.
He asks if Malivore is still sending monsters. Josie says yes, and Lizzie orders her and Hope to stop giving Clarke information. He’s sure that Malivore is up to something, but Clarke has a plan. Hope wants to hear it, but Lizzie knocks him out with a sleep spell before he can share it. She reminds Hope that Clarke faked being Vardemus, turned Josie evil, and tried to take over Hope’s body, among other evil acts. They can’t trust him. Hope asks how Lizzie plans to handle Clarke. She suggests taking him back to school and letting the adults take over. Josie seems on board for that.
M.G. and Kaleb want to go looking for Cleo, but Alaric thinks they should respect her decision to leave. Kaleb notes that things worked out well when Alaric sent them on a mission together, so they’ve proven themselves. He still has things he wants to talk to Cleo about. M.G. wants some credit for asking Alaric’s permission instead of just finding a witch to do a locator spell behind his back. Alaric appreciates that and will allow the guys to go on this new mission.
On the front page of a newspaper from Alexandria (which Alaric just happens to subscribe to, apparently) is an article about a break-in at the museum. The guards were able to provide descriptions of their attackers, and the sketches are clearly of Landon and Cleo. Kaleb and M.G. wonder why they broke into a museum and when they started working together. Alaric tells them the da Vinci connection and assigns the guys to cover Landon and Cleo’s tracks and figure out what they’re up to. They need to be discreet, though. The “dynamic duo” happily heads to the Batmobile (AKA Kaleb’s Corvette).
The girls are also on the road, stopping at a gas station on their way back to school. Hope comments that seeing Clarke must have been traumatic for Josie. “I’m starting to think that traumatized is my permanent resting state,” Josie replies. Hope thinks that will change if they take out Malivore for good. Josie agrees, but they can’t work with Clarke to do that.
Hope says their only option is for her to go full tribrid. Josie thinks they should hold off on making any big decisions until they’re back at school. Also, again, they can’t trust Clarke. Hope agrees to come up with another idea. Josie goes in to get snacks with Lizzie, unwisely leaving Hope alone at the Camaro.
Landon and Cleo head to a motel, bickering about their partnership. She doesn’t think he’s the same Landon she learned about from Hope. He taunts her for creating a second Landon, which just made things worse. Cleo reminds him that she’s spent centuries staying ahead of Malivore. That’s the only reason she agreed to team up with Landon. He says he wants Malivore gone as much as Cleo does, so she’ll need to learn to trust him.
Hope opens the trunk of the Camaro, where the girls stashed Clarke for the drive home. She gives him 30 seconds to convince her that he has a good plan. He doesn’t need that long: If there are monsters, there must be a portal. He and the portal are both made of Malivore mud. They just need a locator spell to find the portal and they’ll both finally be free. Hope accepts the plan and drives off with Clarke, leaving Josie and Lizzie behind.
M.G. and Kaleb pose as detectives to confirm Cleo and Landon’s identities at the museum before Kaleb compels the second security guard to forget everything that happened. The guys check out the crime scene while discussing possible superhero names. Kaleb’s ideas: Fire and Ice, Tooth and Nail, or Hustle and Flow. (Kaleb would be Flow.) M.G. doesn’t like any of them. He asks if Kaleb knows what he’s going to say to Cleo when they find her. Kaleb plans to just tell her how he feels. M.G. finds a key card Cleo dropped from her and Landon’s motel, effectively letting the guys skip ahead to the end of their investigation. Kaleb comes up with two more names for them: Bump and Grind.
Hope and Clarke go to the woods so she can do the locator spell. He wants to get a little further away from the twins, but Hope thinks he’s stalling. He won’t tell her anything more, so she pulls out his least favorite spell, the one that makes him mimic her actions. Clarke swears that he’s changed and isn’t the monster she thinks. She’s not convinced. But when it’s time for him to cut himself for the locator spell, he shows that he really has changed. Instead of Malivore mud, he bleeds real blood.
Cleo dissolves the heart from the museum into Malivore mud for her own spell to find the portal. Landon notes that they’ll need Hope’s blood to close it when they find it. Cleo brought some along; the school keeps some on hand with other medical supplies. They’ll be able to trap Malivore back in the prison world until they figure out how to kill him. Cleo’s sure that she’ll find inspiration on how to do that, being a Muse and all. She doesn’t have any luck with the locator spell, since the mud doesn’t move around her map. She’s frustrated that she and Landon have gone through all this for nothing.
Josie tries to call the school to get a ride, but no one answers the phone. She’s worried about what Clarke is going to get Hope to do, because there’s no way it’s good. Lizzie assumes it has to do with Landon. Josie notes that he makes Hope happy, though their breakup didn’t do her any favors in the emotion department. Lizzie thinks they should help Hope break the cycle and find a new boyfriend before she does anything crazy for Landon. Josie clarifies that because they’re Hope’s closest friends, it’s their “sacred duty” to find her a rebound.
She asks if Lizzie has someone in mind. Lizzie doesn’t think it matters as long as the guy won’t dissolve into goo. Josie reminds her that there are more important things to think about right now, like the fact that Hope ran off with Clarke. Plus, it’s not like some eligible guy is going to just show up. But right then, an eligible guy just shows up. Ethan happened to be in the area, and he offers the twins a ride.
Landon and Cleo regroup and he tells her he knows what it’s like to feel trapped. In the prison world, he was always being hunted and never knew how he would get out or if Malivore would show up. Cleo says that when she escaped him, she swore that she would never be his prisoner again. Landon promises that she won’t. He can’t be sure of that, but he can vow to try to protect her from anyone who wants to get to her. Cleo decides she can trust him, then announces that she has another idea.
Hope is unhappy that Clarke didn’t bother to mention that he’s human now. He explains that when he worked at Triad decades ago, he wanted to break the cycle of abuse and torture that Malivore keeps putting him through. To achieve that, he went after the wish artifact. Hope tells him there was a Muse inside it. Clarke’s annoyed that Hope was able to open it after he spent years failing to. The Muse explains why he was inspired to use Andi to resurrect him. He’s pleased to be human: “I’ve always wanted to be a real boy.” Now Malivore can’t control him.
Hope notes that Clarke pitched a plan to her that he knew wouldn’t work. He thinks he can still help, though. Malivore will want to kill him, and Clarke will just resurrect like Hope and his “birdbrain little brother.” She tells him that Landon isn’t a phoenix anymore, and also isn’t her boyfriend anymore. Clarke’s surprised, having thought that they were destined to be together. “Well, destiny disagrees,” she replies. There’s nothing she can do to change it. She’s surprised to see that the locator spell worked with Clarke’s blood. “I guess blood is thicker than mud,” he says.
They race toward the portal, Hope driving a little faster than Clarke would like, now that he’s human and mortal. She’s eager to both close the portal and never have to see him again. He thinks it’s really about Landon. Hope reminds him that Landon is destined to be Malivore’s vessel and she’s destined to destroy Malivore, so they’re not exactly compatible. Clarke thinks that if a mud man like him can beat his fate, so can they. He’s pretty sure that Hope already believes that.
M.G. and Kaleb call Alaric to check in (and share another possible pair of names, Sound and Fury). Alaric plans to meet them at Landon and Cleo’s motel. M.G. urges Kaleb to practice what he’s going to say to Cleo, but Kaleb plans to just apologize. He should have believed her from the beginning, and he should have told her how he felt earlier. It’s been a long time since he’s felt this way about someone. She inspired him to open his heart and be the best version of himself. The guys come across a car accident just off the road they’re on. The driver might be hurt and there’s no one else around. They’ll need to delay their mission and be superheroes.
Lizzie talks up Hope as Ethan drops her and Josie off at the Salvatore School. It’s his first time there, and Lizzie offers to give him a tour (so they can keep talking…about Hope). Josie reminds her that they need to tell Alaric about Hope’s “surprise field trip.” Lizzie sends her to do that while she continues Operation: Make Hope and Ethan a Thing. Finch comes outside to see Josie, who enlists her for some help.
Cleo used to have inspiration sessions with da Vinci, and now she wants to have one with Landon. This involves holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes. Instead of flashes of inspiration, Landon has flashbacks – to being with Hope and to the story of Malivore’s origins. “I know what I have to do,” he announces.
Hope kicks down the door to their motel room. She asks what Landon and Cleo were up to, but before they can explain, Clarke comes in. He greets Landon as “baby brother” and asks if he and Cleo have met, since he’s “totally getting a vibe.” Landon can’t believe that Hope agreed to work with Clarke. She tells him they did a spell to find a portal, which obviously didn’t work. Cleo says they were searching for the portal, too. “In Landon’s eyes?” Hope asks. She storms out and Cleo goes after her.
Josie tells Finch that they need to hide everything magical that’s out in the open so Ethan won’t see it. She doesn’t want to have his memories compelled away again; she already feels guilty enough about what she did to him. She turns the two of them invisible as Lizzie and Ethan come around the corner, talking about Hope’s art. Lizzie mentions how someone once offered her $91,000 for a sculpture. Ethan finds that amount large and “oddly specific.” He seems more interested in Lizzie than in Hope. After they leave, Josie turns herself visible again and realizes that Finch isn’t there.
Landon asks Clarke how he became human again. Clarke, like Hope, wants to know what Landon and Cleo were doing earlier. He says he’s “Team Good Guy” now and is working toward redemption. He won’t judge Landon. Landon says that Clarke may be human but he’ll always be a monster, too – it’s in his blood. Clarke says they have that in common as he finds the skull mask Landon used as the hunter. If Landon’s changed, why can’t Clarke? And he’s sure that Landon has changed because the Landon he knew would have never left Hope.
Landon reminds Clarke that they’re both Malivore’s sons, which means he and Hope can’t have a future together. Clarke doesn’t think he should give up so easily. This is their chance to be what Malivore never wanted them to be: brothers. Landon says that Malivore must have really messed with Clarke in the darkness this time. Finding a blade in Landon’s bag, Clarke notes that Hope is the only person he’s told about going back into Malivore. He spins on Landon, lashing out with the blade.
Lizzie and Ethan throw around a football, and though she thinks it’s hard for him to talk about losing his chance to continue playing, he’s okay with it. She goes back to the topic of Hope, and Ethan asks if she always spends this much time talking about other people’s romantic lives. Lizzie thinks it’s better than dwelling on her own. Her last boyfriend, Sebastian, “had to relocate. Like, permanently. He had a bit of a drinking problem.” She almost got together with M.G. but that didn’t work out. Ethan’s sure that someone will come along for her. Lizzie asks him out on Hope’s behalf, still not getting that Hope isn’t the girl he’s interested in.
Cleo tries to explain herself to Hope, but her perceived relationship with Landon is just another item on the long list of things she’s done that have hurt Hope, and Hope doesn’t want to get into it. Cleo feels bad for the consequences her actions have had, especially for Hope, who understands like Cleo does what it’s like to be unable to escape your destiny. They both have to face them alone. Hope says that people keep telling her she won’t have to go alone, but she doesn’t believe them.
Cleo promises that there’s nothing going on with her and Landon. Hope acknowledges that it’s not her business, but she wants it clear that she still loves him. She wants him to be happy, even if it’s not with her. Cleo urges her to tell him that. She hopes that the two of them will be friends again after they get rid of Malivore. Hope doesn’t respond.
She returns to the motel room, where she finds Clarke with his throat slit. Landon’s gone. Hope offers Clarke her blood to heal him, but he resists. She realizes that it could be toxic to him, since he still has Malivore DNA, and it could send him back to the darkness. He doesn’t want that so she uses a fire spell to basically cauterize the wound.
Lizzie keeps pressing Ethan about Hope, and he finally tells her he’s interested in someone else. He didn’t say anything before because he didn’t know it yet. Lizzie says that whoever it is can’t possibly be as great as Hope is.
Cleo catches Landon stealing a car in an attempt to escape before Hope can get to him. Clueless about what he did to Clarke, she asks what his new plan is. She won’t leave with him until he tells her. Landon replies that he hoped it wouldn’t come to this.
First responders have arrived at the scene of the car accident, and the driver is being taken care of by paramedics. He tells one that he didn’t think he was going to make it. Then two guys in masks showed up and saved him. Back on the road, Kaleb and M.G. are proud of themselves for saving someone while keeping their identities secret. They really need superhero names now, though. M.G. still thinks that should take a backseat to figuring out what Kaleb’s going to say to…hmmm, who was Kaleb supposed to talk to? The guys can’t remember.
Alaric arrives at the motel in time to see Landon finishing dinner. And by “dinner,” I mean Cleo. And by “Landon,” I mean what’s obviously Malivore using Landon as a vessel. Alaric shoots him with tranquilizer darts, and when Hope comes outside, he tells her that Landon isn’t Landon. Hope asks where Cleo is, but Alaric doesn’t know who she’s talking about. That’s all Hope needs to hear to figure out that Landon is really Malivore.
She gets Clarke to a hospital, where he wonders if the fact that she saved him makes them friends. She thinks they’re “frenemies at best.” He comments that being human sucks, but it’s better than other options. She warns that it’ll get worse when he gets the hospital bill. He tells her that Landon isn’t Landon, which she says she would have known sooner if she’d allowed herself to see it. She let him convince her that he’d changed because of his experiences in the prison world. “Malivore finally got what he wanted,” she says. He’s been hiding in plain sight.
Clarke thinks Hope was right and there’s no fighting destiny. But now she’s not so sure. He beat his fate against all odds, and he did it alone. That’s what Hope will have to do when it’s her turn. Clarke says he didn’t do it alone, though. He needed help to get out of the darkness, and Hope will need help going up against Malivore. Being the tribrid might be something she has to bear alone, but she shouldn’t forget that she has friends and family on her side.
Josie finds Finch reading in the Great Room and thinks she ran off because she was mad. Nope – Finch just thought it was better to get out of Ethan’s way. She doesn’t want to keep secrets, though, so she’d like to know what’s up with Josie and Ethan. Josie admits to using black magic and ruining Ethan’s future in football. She adds that M.G. compelled Ethan to forget their friendship. They’ve hurt him in a lot of ways and he has no idea. Josie doesn’t want him to get hurt again, especially because of her or Lizzie.
Finch acknowledges that Lizzie is “a lot,” but when she meddled in Josie and Finch’s personal lives, they ended up together. Instead of dwelling on the past and dreading the worst, they should be optimistic: “Maybe, just maybe, things will be different this time.” Lizzie joins them with the news that her plan failed – Ethan asked her out instead of Hope. Also, she may have said yes.
Kaleb and M.G. look through comics to brainstorm superhero names. They lament that all the good ones are taken. Alaric comes by their “fortress of solitude” to report that they lost another student today, though they won’t remember her, thanks to Malivore. He warns that remembering her will hurt, since she meant a lot to Kaleb. He doesn’t have to remember her if he doesn’t want to. Kaleb says he wants to, if she was that important to him.
Hope does the spell to restore everyone’s erased memories, then apologizes to Josie and Lizzie for ditching them. She promises not to do it again. Josie makes her upgrade to a panda promise.
In Malivore, Cleo is alone in the darkness. Well, not quite alone. There are monsters around. She sees a light ahead and decides that wherever it takes her has to be better than where she is. I mean, I guess. She could just get stuck listening to the Necromancer blather for a few hours. But there’s also the chance that she’ll get a milkshake.
The Super Squad gathers in the gym, where Malivore (Malidon) has been locked up in a cage. Hope tells him they want their friends back. He replies that there’s something he wants, too, then title-drops, “Fate’s a b&^$%, isn’t it?”
Etc.: A nice little detail: During the first scene, the song in the background is “Nightmare” by Cloves, and the lyric when Landon is beating up the security guard is, “You’re not what you said you are.”
I kind of like Hustle and Flow.
It’s a testament to Leo Howard’s (Ethan) acting that I could see him with Hope, Josie, or Lizzie.
Aria Shahghasemi (Landon) does a great job playing Malivore without making it obvious that he’s Malivore. It’s subtle enough that you can tell something’s off with Landon, but not what it is.
This wasn’t originally supposed to be the season finale, which is why it’s a little lacking in that department. But what was supposed to be the season finale is such a huge cliffhanger that it was nice not to have to wait a whole summer to find out what happened next.