The episode opens up with Damon still trapped in his cell in the basement of Whitmore House, looking kind of pissed. He notices a bullet on the floor (that Aaron had dropped while loading the gun, before he shot Damon in the head), stretches as far as he can to reach it and uses it blow up the lock of his cell. Then some aggressive kicking pops it open. Good job MacGuyver!
Back at Casa de Salvatore, Katherine wakes up in bed alongside Stefan which makes her happy, until she notices that her hair is turning grey and falling out. She runs away without letting Stefan look at her and crosses paths with Damon. She tells him that she and Stefan were together all night...
Katherine: Our hot naked bodies collided in one unforgettable night of passionThere, it's official! The bad asses of this show (Damon and Katherine) get much better lines than the goody goodies (Stefan and Elena). Love it. Nothing is better than snark.
Damon: I'm gonna barf.
Katherine: Great. Then my work here is done.
Damon is looking for Elena, but can't find her anywhere. Of course, we know that she's with Dr. Wes Maxfield being experimented on. She wakes up in a lab somewhere with Dr. Wes referring her as subject 83182. Creeptastic.
Question: Why did Dr. Wes experiment on Jesse in the lab at Whitmore college, where anyone could have easily found him, but has this extra special secret lab for Elena? (Turns out this lab is the basement of her father's old clinic, which is now a condemned building in Mystic Falls.)
Damon tells Stefan that he can't find Elena and believes that Dr. Maxfield has her (he's right - also duh). He doesn't know where they are, so they need to use Aaron as leverage.
Damon: Pop Quiz! So your girlfriend is take by an evil scientist. Do you A) get a new girlfriend, B) call the police or C) kill someone close to that mad scientist?Dr. Wes is draining Elena's blood in one of his creepy experiments and chitchatting with Elena.
Dr. Wes: Did you know Aaron Whitmore spent his entire life thinking his family was haunted by some death curse? Turns out that curse was your boyfriend systematically killing every member on his family tree. I'm curious. How does one justify that in your mind?Oh Science! So that makes it okay! He reads to her from a journal of experiment notes and tells her that they are the "handwritten medical findings of Dr. Grayson Gilbert" -- her father! Dr. Wes learned everything he knows from him.
Elena: And this? Holding people against their will. Torturing them. How do you justify that?
Dr. Wes: Science.
Stefan and Damon ask Aaron where Elena is, but he doesn't know.
Damon: Well, you're gonna call Wes and tell him that if he doesn't give us Elena, the next experiment that he conducts is gonna be sewing your arms back on.Aaron calls Dr. Wes and asks for Elena back or that the Salvatores will kill him.
Dr. Wes: Damon Salvatore is locked in an impenetrable and inescapable fortified cell.Really, how "impenetrable, inescapable and fortified" was that cell if Damon was able to escape so easily? Dr. Wes agrees to meet them in his classroom and when he knows that Aaron is safe, he'll give up Elena. But of course he's lying. He goes back to the lab and unstraps Enzo. He gives him an injection (an "insurance policy that guarantees you'll come back to me) and then gives him the "day off", so he and Damon can catch up.
Aaron: Or he's in front of me, imagining what my kidney would taste like.
Somewhere in the woods, Matt is helping Katherine work out. She is out of shape, losing her hearing and eyesight. She's dying wants to prolong this death thing and stay hot as long as possible. Unfortunately, she can't become a vampire again because her body rejects vampire blood (a consequence of taking the cure). The Nadia arrives, pissed off that Katherine attempted suicide without saying goodbye. Katherine asks Nadia if she thinks after all the horrible things she's done, it would be possible to be forgiven. Nadia assumes she means her own forgiveness (but we can assume she was talking about Stefan). Nadia has an idea to keep Katherine alive a little longer...of course we won't find out what it is just yet because we have to check on the status of all the other characters.
Dr. Wes reveals that Elena's dad was working with the Augustines to turn vampire blood into a magical cure-all. He also tells her that Enzo is on a day trip to take care of some unresolved business with Damon. Elena realizes that Enzo was the Augustine vampire who killed her roommate Megan. Dr. Wes reveals that the reason Megan had a photo of herself with Elena's dad because her parents funded his projects. They didn't know the details, but knew he had an unregulated compound that could cure most injuries (vampire blood). She got suspicious though... that's why she went to Whitmore College, sought out Dr. Gilbert's daughter, and went to the party at Whitmore House. She found Enzo in his cell and got too close and he killed her.
Damon reveals to Stefan that he was an Augustine test subject in the '50s and Aaron is the descendent of "vampire-probing, blood-testing organ-removing freaks". When Damon, Stefan and Aaron arrive at Dr. Wes's classroom, Dr. Wes isn't there.. but Enzo is waiting for them. He's pretty pissed that Damon left him to die in that fire. Stefan calls Dr. Wes, pissed off that he sent Enzo instead of holding up his end of the agreement.
Stefan: We have Aaron and we're trying to decide how to kill him.Enzo tells everyone the story of their New Year's Eve plan, including how Damon left him there to die in a fire.
Dr. Wes: Funny. I have Elena and I'm wondering how she'll survive without her cerebral cortex. Touch him and you'll never see her again.
Stefan: That threat works both ways.
Question: Why did Damon leave him there to die? As in, why couldn't he get the cage open? He should've taken the fucking key from the doctor who let him out! The guy was lying there dead on the floor... was it too hard to check his pockets before he turned off his emotions and walked away? Just saying, that's kind of a plot hole.
Stefan: You didn't tell me about him.Aaron offers to give them the files on his family history that Dr .Wes had given him, in exchange to not killing him. Enzo says Damon isn't going anywhere... so Stefan takes Aaron to his dormroom to get the files.
Damon: It was the 1950s. I'm supposed to remember every moment of my life? Do you want to kill Aaron or should I?
Stefan: This guy was your cellmate for 5 years. You left him to die, he comes back and you're completely unfazed?
Damon: Fine, I will.
Damon: Call me if you find anything. Kill him if you don't.Back at Casa de Salvatore, Nadia's idea to prolong Katherine's life is spirit-possession (the same way that Gregor had taken possesion fo Matt's body, even after he died). Since Katherine's father was a Traveler, then she technically is and just needs to learn the passenger spell. Katherine's father never allowed her to do Traveler magic, but it's in her blood so she could keep living in someone else's body, even after her body dies. Katherine doesn't want to because Stefan likes the body she already has. She admits that they may have "rekindled" something and Nadia realizes that it was Stefan that Katherine was talking about when she mentioned forigveness, not her. If she has to die, knowing that Stefan still cares wouldn't be such a bad way to die.
Katherine: Look, maybe I don't want to die a sad, lonely 538-year-old.Enzo tells Damon that he has been injected with a poison that will cause him to desicate if he doesn't get back to the lab at some point for the antidote. He won't get the antidote until Damon is dead.
Question: If Enzo had a "deadline" (before the poison caused him to desicate) to kill Damon, why the fuck did he waste all that itme with the long story and chit chatting...?
Damon wants to go back together, get Enzo the antidote, kill Dr. Wes, finish this together. Enzo throws Damon out a window. They fight, but Enzo keeps growing weaker thanks to the poison. Damon doesn't want to fight him. He only defends himself enough to stay alive... Enzo starts to dessicate so Damon demands to know where Elena is, but Enzo falls unconscious in his arms.
Over in Aaron's dormroom, he secretly grabs a gun to try to defend himself from Stefan, but you know, Stefan is a vampire so he doesn't fall for that shit.
Stefan: If you want me to kill you, I will kill you. Do not test me.He tells Stefan about Damon's Whitmore family tree serial killing spree... He asks Stefan to kill him so he won't give Damon the satisfaction. Stefan spares him, and tells him that not all of them are like Damon. Aaron gives him the Augustine files and mentions that he saw Elena's last name on a few pages, so maybe it will help.
Aaron: Dude, I'm dead already. Damon's been planning my death since before I was born.
Back in her father's lab, Elena has a flashback to a time as a little girl when she wandered downstars of her father's clinic and heard screaming coming from a locked door. Her dad told her the basement is a "kids free zone" and tells her it's okay because he's going to save a little girl's life, who is almost the same age as her. Dr. Wes's research is a little more sinister. He's developing a compound that will casue Elena to salivate at the smell of vampire blood, like he had done to Jesse. Jesse couldn't stop feeding and tried to kill Damon, which is the point. It's his goal to make vampires crave their own kind. Elena is the next patient and he's going to inject her with this compound that will make her crave vampire blood, but she is scared this will turn her into a ripper. She begs him not to but he stabs the syringe into her chest anyway.
Before he can push the plunger though, Stefan arrives. His yell of "Elena?" distracts Dr. Wes long enough for Elena to headbutt him and knock him out. Stefan saves her and leaves Dr. Wes unconsicous on the floor. She grabs her father's journal before she leaves.
Back at the Mystic Grille, Nadia visits Matt and asks him to hold onto the traveler's knife (the one that killed Gregor from within Matt). She's leaving town and needs to know that it's safe. If Katherine decides to live a little longer, she will need that knife to save her life. Nadia tells Matt that she searched for Katherine for 500 years, only to lose her again. She doesn't know if she should hate her for giving up or be at her side when she dies. Matt commiserates with her, because he had a crappy mom too. He also understands that there's always that bit of hope that the crappy parent will come through for them. So Matt tells Nadia that if Katherine changes her mind, he will have the knife for her.
Enzo wakes up back in the lab with Damon. He injected him the contents of a bunch vials that said "antidote" and one of them worked. Elena is safe and Damon doesn't want Enzo to desicate in vain. He tells him he didn't feel guilty about leaving Enzo, because in order to leave him he had to shut off his humanity and felt nothing. No remorse, no regret, no pain... but now they're even.
Enzo: Even if I forgave you Damon, would that make you less of a horrible person? You were the most important person in my life and you ruined me. That's just who you are and will alwasy be... a monster.Yikes. Unfortunately, Damon may have taken Enzo's words to heart... Back at Casa de Salvatore, Elena sits by the fire reading her father's journal. She realizes that the little girl who her father had saved (the one she remembered in her flashback), was Elena's roommate Megan. He saved her using vampire blood and that's why Megan had a photo of him in her phone. (Sorry to those of you who were hoping Megan was his secret love child.) The following converation made me yell "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO" at my screen, so I'm going to just give it to you all verbatim.
Damon: 100 pages of horrific torture and you find the one happy passage.And he walks out. Elena starts to cry. And then we ALL start to cry! Noooooo! Damon come baaaaaack!
Elena: My father used his research to save people Damon. Children... families...
Damon: Yeah, and dissected vampires along the way. Newsflash Elena, you are a vampire. Do you honestly think that he would sit here and see you as anything more?
Elena: I don't know, he was my dad, I can't not defend him.
Damon: Oh I know you can't. You do it for me all the time.
Elena: I'm not defending you. I'm not defending your decision to kill Aaron's entire family... to go out of town and kill his aunt, while we were still together.
Damon: So why are you still here? I'm bad Elena. I'm bad for you. So why wouldn't you have run away from me as far as humanly possible?
Elena: Because I love you Damon. Because I chose you and because I stand by my choice.
Damon: Well now I'm choosing. And I'm choosing to let you go.
Elena: What? No, Damon.
Damon: I'm choosing to not have to think about how you must feel every time some ghost from my past comes into our lives. I'm choosing to relieve you of having to defend me for every awful thing I've ever done.
Elena: Stop acting like I'm perfect. Damon, I've done horrible things too. You think I'm gonna stand here and judge you after I find out that you've been tortured for 5 years...
Damon: Stop defending me! I won't change who I am. I can't. But I refuse to change you.
How's the other Petrova doppelganger doing? She's also about to get her heart broken and start to cry... She wants to talk to Stefan about last night. He tells her that they got swept up in the moment, but he can't just forget everything she put him through for the last 147 years. She reveals her gray hair. She's dying and she wants redemption. But 147 years is a long time to forgive in one night.
Katherine: One night... an eternity... you'd never look at me the way you look at Elena, would you?Aaron goes to the Dr. Wes's lab and finds Wes knocked out on the floor. Aaron is very upset at Dr. Wes.
Question: How did he know where to find him? Stefan found Elena, presumably, through the notes Aaron gave him... but if Aaron knew where the secret lab was, why didn't he just tell Stefan about it, instead of making him waste the time reading the files?
Aaron: Do you really think that you're helping people with this vampire crap? You sold me out! You used my life as a bargaining chip.He picks up the syringe from the floor and leaves (huh?) telling Dr. Wes that he never wants to see him again and to get the hell out of his life.
Back at Casa de Salvatore, Elena throws her father's medical journal into the fire and Katherine calls Nadia, telling her that she wants to stay alive. She needs Nadia to find her a Traveler to teach her the spell.
Question: Why doesn't Nadia know the spell? She and Gregor did it for Matt... she can't teach Katherine? Katherine drops the phone mid-call and starts to have a heart attack. She falls down teh stairs (or a really obvious stunt double with a bad wig falls down the stairs) and lays there dying....
Way to leave it on a major cliffhanger TVD because we won't see new episodes until January 23!