A preteen girl named Luna is at a carnival with her older sister, Valentina, who bribes her to go in the haunted tunnel by offering up a necklace Luna likes. Luna gets spooked in the tunnel and runs off. A creepy-looking guy named Magnic watches Valentina as she notices some hair and a bloody hand print on a mirror. Luna returns to where she left her sister, who’s no longer there. Magnus tells her that Valentina is gone, and Luna is going to tell people that she ran away. Magnus could make Luna forget everything, but that’s no fun. Plus, no one would believe her. Then he disappears.
Ben is the newest student at the Salvatore School, and Jed has offered to be his “first-day wingman.” Ben asks if anyone knows about his curse that draws monsters to him. Jed reminds him that the curse has been neutralized, thanks to Cleo’s bracelet, and he has nothing to worry about.
Speaking of Cleo, she’s been wrapping up some administrative stuff. She tells Finch that the Super Squad is going to assemble, Emma is sending them a new headmistress, and the drama teacher is going to let everyone know about the Pukwudgie. It’s hanging out at the stables, since it likes hay. Finch has been out of the loop on most of this stuff, but Cleo thinks she’s taken care of anything that could be a problem. She doubts that people will leave the school again once they know about the return of the monsters.
The drama teacher makes a PA announcement that the new headmistress, Eve Bloom, will be there soon. He admits that a monster attacked the school, but there’s a spell in place to prevent more attacks. The teacher takes a sip of his tea, then says that the spell will never work. The monsters will keep coming because someone – he doesn’t know who – is drawing them there. If the students stay, they’ll probably die. Cue mass panic.
Hope and Lizzie head to the same carnival Valentina disappeared from so Hope can “run some tests.” She wants to make sure Lizzie’s in control of her new vamp powers before they go after Aurora. Lizzie notes that Hope has only been a vampire for about five minutes longer than she has. They’re both fine. Lizzie thinks she’s a natural at vamp stuff because her mother is a vampire. Hope adds that her father is “an alcoholic vegetable” and her sister abandoned her.
Lizzie’s anger flares and her magic makes some nearby people’s popcorn…well, pop out of its containers. Hope notes that her buttons are still easy to push. She no longer has her psychic connection to Josie, and her emotional stability wasn’t great to begin with. If Lizzie can’t control her emotions, she won’t be able to control her powers. Hope will be teaching Vampire 101. If Lizzie can impress her enough, Hope will sever their sire bind. Lizzie still thinks this will be easy, but when she tries to compel the woman at the entrance to let them in for free, she fails. Hope pulls it off, adding in some theft from the carnival’s cash box.
M.G. has gone to meet Kaleb, who’s heading back to the Salvatore School. With his Corvette gone, he’s left with an old station wagon. He thinks M.G. wanted to meet halfway so they could road-trip together, but M.G. had something else in mind. Sheriff Mac left a message at the school letting Alaric know that there’s some sort of weird paranormal stuff going on at her house in Savannah. A locator spell showed that Ethan’s at the house, but Sheriff Mac thinks he’s still in Mystic Falls.
M.G. thinks his powers are glitching – powers that Ethan hasn’t told his mother and sister about. M.G. wants to help him. Kaleb doesn’t think he should participate, since he’s been on the bench with the Super Squad for a little while. M.G insists that Kaleb come with him…because he’s the only one who has a car. Kaleb cracks up at that.
Cleo determines that someone put blue calamus, truth weed, in the drama teacher’s tea. Finch asks what they should do, and Cleo says she doesn’t know. Why do people always think she has the answers? Finch reminds her that she’s a Muse, not that Cleo needs the reminder since she never stops talking about it.
Cleo complains that it’s exhausting to always have people look to you to solve their problems. Finch is annoyed that the Super Squad is always keeping things from them, which leaves Cleo on her own. The girls both realize that they’ve ingested blue calamus, too. Finch guesses that it’s in the water supply. They’re not the only ones affected, as Jed reveals when he bursts in. He’s scared that if he tries to take charge as the alpha, no one will listen, which will undermine his authority.
A carnie invites Hope and Lizzie to use a strength-testing machine, unless they’re “too delicate” to be any good at it. Hit him with the mallet, Hope! She tells Lizzie to get as close as she can to the top without actually ringing the bell. Hope goes first, tapping the end of the machine instead of using the mallet. Lizzie could still use some work, as her tap is strong enough to make the bell fly off the machine. At least they shut up the sexist barker.
Everyone’s sudden brutal honesty has led to a lot of hurt feelings, and it’s about to lead to violence. As Finch rushes to break up a fight, a familiar voice yells for everyone to go to class. The new headmistress has arrived, but she’s not Eve Bloom – she’s Aurora.
Lizzie has struck out on seven of Hope’s tests, leaving Hope gloating with reams of tickets. She agrees to stop after one more test. She mentions a vendor they passed near the entrance who was selling stuffed animals. Lizzie asks if Hope wants her to win a panda. Nope, Hope wants her to find the vendor’s voice using her new vamp hearing. Lizzie tries but instead hears Luna crying. She promises to help Luna find Valentina. Hope sends Luna off with some money, planning to ditch her instead of help her. She doesn’t need any extra complications.
Jed was supposed to introduce Ben to the pack, but he’s decided it’s not a good time. He just wants to be alone right now – more specifically, alone without Ben. He’s afraid that the blue calamus is going to make him say something stupid. He blurts that he doesn’t want to be around Ben. Ben is hurt by that, and also doesn’t seem to be affected by the truth weed. Meanwhile, Finch approaches Cleo with her concerns about their new headmistress. Instead of trying to get to the bottom of this apparent truth weed prank, she’s just asking about the red oak tree.
In Savannah, M.G. tries to figure out what to say to Sheriff Mac and Maya, since they don’t know what’s going on with Ethan or even that he goes to the Salvatore School. He decides that they should say they’re there to fix the paranormal problems at the house, then fix Ethan without them knowing. Kaleb doesn’t think that’ll fly. M.G. agrees – they need Alaric. But since he’s in a coma, they’ll have to settle for the next best thing: M.G. wearing an illusion ring to make himself look like Alaric.
M.G.-as-Alaric (hmmm…Malaric? Why not?) knocks on the Machados’ door without thinking things through. Kaleb only has time to tell him to act white. Maya answers the door and tells the guys that they appear to have a ghost. It’s eating their food and watching their TV. Malaric is really excited about his theory possibly being right about Ethan being there.
Cleo ends Aurora’s questioning about the red oak by telling her that she burned it down and there’s none left. Only three people in the world know what it can be used for, so Cleo is curious about why Aurora’s interested in it. Aurora knows that Cleo is a Muse, and she was told that Cleo is smart. She introduces herself as Aurora and confirms that she’s looking for a weapon that will kill Hope. She killed the real Eve Bloom and put blue calamus in the water to make the students tell the truth. Aurora herself is being truthful because she’s not afraid that Cleo will stop her. It turns out Cleo’s magic doesn’t do much to her; even a magic migraine barely affects her before she knocks Cleo out.
Lizzie doesn’t want to leave Luna behind, and she tries to convince Hope that finding Valentina will be good training for hunting down Aurora. Hope guesses that this is about Josie. Why else would Lizzie want to help a girl with a missing sister? She’s walking into a risk because her emotions are telling her to. If she can be manipulated that easily, she’s of no use to Hope, so their partnership is done.
Malaric and Kaleb tell Maya that they’re going to conduct a séance to communicate with the Machados’ ghost. It probably just needs help from its friends. Maya thinks they should wait until Sheriff Mac gets home. She’ll probably want to see Alaric anyway. Malaric doesn’t get why, having forgotten that Alaric and Sheriff Mac dated. They sit down on the floor to begin the séance, and Malaric makes exaggerated groaning noises to indicate that he’s old.
He yells for the “spirit” and informs it that wherever it came there from, “it’s probably all cool now,” so it can go back to where it belongs. It’ll get help there for whatever problems it might have. Kaleb pretends he’s getting a psychic message and says that Ben and Jed want the spirit to know that the curse has been lifted. Suspicious, Maya calls a halt to the séance and pulls out a taser. Her gut is telling her that the guys aren’t who they’re pretending to be.
Invisible Ethan grabs the taser from her, and Kaleb compels her to believe that she’s just having a bad dream. He tells her to go to sleep as M.G. takes off the illusion ring. Ethan appears, annoyed that the guys came. His powers are fine. He just wants the guys to compel Maya to forget all this, then leave.
Aurora goes into Cleo’s subconscious to get inspiration on what to do next. Cleo can’t be forced to inspire, but Aurora knows she can take an idea. The blue calamus has left Cleo’s mind unguarded. Her subconscious is the school’s art room, where there are a bunch of pedestals holding different sculptures. Aurora guesses that they’re pieces of Cleo, such as her will, her emotions, and her power. Aurora just needs to identify her inspiration. Cleo claims not to know which sculpture it is, but Aurora thinks she can sense it. When she finds the right sculpture, she smashes it, inspiring herself.
Lizzie goes into the haunted tunnel and finds the same bloody hand print Valentina did. Meanwhile, a carnie with a southern accent approaches Hope, having watched her and Lizzie beat all the games. He says they put on a good show, as if they don’t care who knows what they are. Lizzie finds herself in a storage area, where she comes across Valentina’s body. The carnie accuses Hope of “poaching on [their] hunting grounds.” Looks like the carnival employs some vampires. Some of them find Lizzie and inject her with something that knocks her out.
The carnie tells Hope that he and his fellow “creatures of the night” follow a strict set of rules to fly under the radar. They choose victims carefully, but their leader likes to leave one survivor behind. They’ve kept this up for hundreds of years by doing things “the right way.” They want to preserve the old ways. Hope thought Lizzie would be the most annoying person she would have to deal with today, but “being vamp-splained by Colonel Sanders” takes the prize.
Colonel Vampire tells Hope that she and Lizzie can either join the carnival and learn from a “true master” or else they’ll have to fight someone centuries older than them. Hope tells him she’s not a creature of the night, then chokes him with magic. With a twist of her wrist, she breaks his neck so hard that his head pops off. She’s impressed with herself.
Finch finds Jed hiding out in the library (how did she track him down? “That body spray is haunting”) and asks why he’s avoiding Ben, who already told her something happened. Finch may not be in Jed’s inner circle, but she has no problem telling him that he’s being a jerk. Ben has gone through life feeling like he doesn’t belong anywhere, and Jed, who convinced him to stay, is ditching him.
Finch thinks he’s worried that people will find out that he’s the reason there’s a monster magnet at the school. Jed claims he doesn’t know why he’s acting the way he is. He’s just worried that he’s going to stay the wrong thing to Ben. Cleo stumbles in just then and tells Finch and Jed that they need to stop Aurora. She’s in the gym, looking for Ben. She had a vision of him and would like to know why.
Lizzie regains consciousness alone, locked in what looks like an old train car. Hope tosses the carnie’s body in a Dumpster, then hears Lizzie summoning her via vamp hearing. “New test: Let’s hunt some condescending vampires,” Hope says when she finds her.
Aurora takes Ben to the cemetery to ask again why she had a vision of him in response to her dilemma of how to kill Hope. Instead of telling her how to defeat a tribrid, he gives her a drink recipe. Nope, he’s definitely not affected by the blue calamus. Aurora threatens to break all of Ben’s bones, but he’s pretty used to pain, so he’s not intimidated. He taunts that he could be lying. She thinks he’s stalling to keep her occupied. Maybe he’s afraid she’ll go after someone else instead. She threatens to kill all his new classmates if he doesn’t tell her what she wants to know.
M.G. clarifies that Ethan plans to stay at home without his mother or sister knowing he’s there. Ethan explains that he came to tell them about his new powers, but he started turning invisible on the way there. It was some kind of subconscious reaction – he didn’t want his family to see him. He doesn’t know how to look them in the eye. M.G. can relate, and he admits that things didn’t go well for him with his family after he turned. But Ethan can come back to the school now, thanks to Cleo’s spell.
Ethan asks if Cleo has a spell to make him a better friend. He wanted to be as cool as M.G. when he found out about supernaturals – he wanted to be on a team and be a hero. But when Ethan had the chance, he wasn’t a hero. M.G.’s forgiving him because he’s a good guy, but Ethan doesn’t deserve it.
M.G. reveals that he killed Landon once. Since he resurrected, everyone moved on, but M.G. didn’t believe he deserved a good outcome after doing something so horrible. His father, a pastor, would call it grace or a second chance. Terrance is wrong about a lot of things, but not that: “Wherever there’s love, there’s grace.” Ethan should give his family a chance to accept him for who he is now. And if they don’t, M.G. will be his family until they do.
Magnus is performing magic tricks (sorry – ILLUSIONS) at the carnival, and next he’s going to do a hypnosis act. Hope and Lizzie volunteer to participate. As he hypes up the act, Jed and Finch find Ben temporarily dead in the cemetery. Aurora left a note on his body: “Got what I needed. – A P.S. I quit.”
Magnus warns the audience that what they’re about to see is so frightening that some of them might need to look away. The brave ones should clear their minds and follow the sound of his voice. He attempts to compel Hope to obey his commands. She plays along for a while but reveals that the “hypnosis” didn’t work. Lizzie won’t cooperate, either, so Magnus calls for them to be removed. No one comes to get them. Lizzie tells him that the other vampires are “indisposed.” Plus, no one’s going to believe him.
Hope compels Magnus to stay where he is. She tells him she’s the future, then does a spell with Lizzie to send a saw flying into him, cutting him in half. Thinking they’re just really good at magic tricks, the audience cheers and applauds.
Finch invites Jed to test whether the blue calamus is out of their system. He says he’s good at pool and she says she’s always wanted to be the alpha. Yep, they can lie again. She apologizes for being nosy earlier and admits that without Josie around to keep her in the loop, she feels left out. Jed tells her she was right about him being a jerk to Ben. His feelings confused him. After they thought Ben was in danger, Jed realized what’s going on. He thinks he likes Ben…and not just as a friend. Finch is happy to listen if he wants to talk more about that.
M.G. and Kaleb are also happy, as Ethan is talking to Maya about being supernatural, and it looks like it was the right thing for him to do. Kaleb thinks that M.G. would have handled this just fine on his own. Uh, are you kidding? Malaric was a total failure. Oh, he means talking to Ethan. M.G. says he just told Ethan pretty much the same thing Kaleb said to him the night he killed Landon. He’s looking forward to having Kaleb back on the squad.
Ethan reports that Maya thinks his new powers are cool. Also weird, but he’s her brother no matter what. She acknowledges that M.G. isn’t Alaric, but she doesn’t want an explanation, since she’s met her quota of weird stuff for the day. She asks the guys to take care of Ethan, and also to say hi to Finch for her. Ethan’s excited to get to ride in the Corvette, since he hasn’t gotten to yet. Aww, and he was having such a good day.
Lizzie has broken the news to Luna that Valentina is dead. She tells Luna that things are going to be painful and scary, and it’s okay for her to be sad. She gives Luna the necklace she wanted and compels her to feel Valentina beside her, like she’s a part of Luna. That way, Valentina will never fully be gone, which will make Luna brave.
As Luna reunites with her parents, Hope tells Lizzie that the tests are over. They’ll figure out their own way to get this done. Lizzie says Hope was right about her broken connection to Josie messing with her. She’d like to keep the sire bond for a while. She doesn’t think she’s ready to face the world alone. Hope is proud of how good she is at teaching and considers opening her own school just for tribrids. Lizzie notes that she wouldn’t have any students.
Ben is all healed, and he thinks Cleo used magic on him. She tells him he healed on his own. When she tries to do magic now, it hurts. She thinks Aurora did more damage than Cleo gets yet. She was tired of people always coming to her for inspiration, but she’s sad not to have it anymore.
She asks what Aurora wanted from Ben. He says it was information about the gods and their powers. She seems to think that they can kill Hope. Cleo says they’ll warn her, but Ben doesn’t think Hope is the only one in danger. The gods have been asleep for a long time, and if Aurora wakes them up, they’ll need to warn the whole world.
Etc.: Cleo and Finch keep saying mean things and then apologizing, which means the blue calamus thing is just a repeat of the qareen plot, except not as fun.
The Machados’ house was also used for Hayley’s house at the beginning of season 4 of The Originals.
Matt Davis playing M.G. playing Alaric is comedy gold.
The carnival employing vampires is an interesting idea on paper, but it doesn’t end up going anywhere. What happened after Hope and Lizzie killed Magnus? Did the other vampires keep doing what they’d been doing?
I can’t tell if Lizzie’s so unbothered in the haunted tunnel because she’s too focused on helping Luna to be scared or because she’s seen so many scary things that this cheesy carnival attraction doesn’t do anything for her. Either way, it’s funny. Like, a guy comes at her with a chainsaw and she’s just like, “Nope, that’s not the way to go.”
I feel like Finch has been trying to find something she and Jed have in common, and as soon as he says he has feelings for Ben, she’s like, “Bingo.” She’s so excited to have another LGBT buddy, too!