It opens with a flashback to 1953, Damon arrives looking very 50s in a white T-shirt and leather jacket to meet with one of his descendants, Joseph Salvatore. However Joseph has lured him there under false pretenses. He stabs Damon with vervain (who then proceeds to kill him) just as a creepy dude walks in and says "well now I don't have to pay him". He introduces himself as his new doctor. That doctor is Dr. Whitmore. The theme of this week's episode is "creepy doctors" apparently... Flash forward to the present where Damon wakes up in jail cell with Dr. Wes Maxfield, who explains that he lost a test subject last night (Jesse) and Damon is going to replace him.
Back at Casa de Salvatore, Katherine is writing in a diary.Wait, what?
Exactly what we were all thinking. Nothing on this show would've been weirder than Katherine taking up the vampire-diary hobby like Elena and Stefan always did. Props to the writers for including that little joke, although I'm sure they just used it as a form of exposition to remind the viewers that she's dying (of rapid old aging - although she still looks young) and Stefan is trying to keep from committing suicide. She explains to him that he's not going to be much help if he's still having his PTSD panic attacks (after being trapped by Silas in a safe at the bottom of the quarry all summer). So she's enlisted some help to get him back to his old self... Caroline. Um, what? Stefan needs help and they call Caroline to be his new faux-therapist? Yeah, okay.So here I am alive. Stefan saved me from killing myself. Now he's got me on suicide watch. He says it will be therapeutic to write down my feelings about the fact that I'm dying and there's nothing I can do about it. Deep thoughts... mortal coil... blah blah blah.Katherine: What kind of sentimental idiot writes down everything they feel?
She shows up with the very safe that he was trapped in. "Don't worry, I sanitized it." Oh, because that's the part that he was worried about.
Back on campus at Whitmore College, Elena goes to visit Aaron who tells her that his roommate Jesse is dead. Campus security has told him it was a suicide. Of course, Elena already knew he was dead - she's the one who killed him, after he was trying to eat her boyfriend. Aaron is depressed because he's like the anti-Midas. Everyone he touches turns to dead. Except for Wes of course, his legal guardian who Elena begged Damon not to kill last episode for Aaron's sake. Bet she's going to regret that one by the end of this episode though.
Aaron tells Elena that Wes has been his guardian since the summer, when his aunt Sarah died. He mentions her name specifically because it's going to matter later, obvi. The reason Elena is there to visit Aaron is because Damon never came back from not-killing Wes last night. She's worried and wants Aaron to help her find Wes so she can grill him about the disappearance of her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, Damon and Wes are having a conversation about creepy old Dr. Whitmore. In a flashback, we see Dr. Whitmore explaining to Damon that he's experimenting on him for the advancement of science. He's particularly interested in the fact that his blood heals others and his body heals and regenerates itself.
Damon: Listen, how I got this amazing body has nothing to do with science.Modern Day: Damon is disappointed to hear that the Augustine freaks are still at it, but Wes tells him that he's going to take his research to the next level. Considering that the last level was training Jesse to crave vampire blood instead of human blood makes us all shudder to think about what the next level might be.
Elena and Aaron discuss Jesse's fake-suicide. Neither he nor Megan had any reason to kill themselves. Elena tells Aaron that Megan was murdered and Wes forged her death certificate. He's part of "something" but Aaron wants to hear his side of the story first. They get to Whitmore House (where Megan was killed) and just like the night of the frat party, she can't enter without being invited... but when Aaron tells her "what are you waiting for? Come in" it works.
Elena: So... who owns this place?
Aaron: Not to sound like a douche, but technically, I do. It's part of the Whitmore Trust that I inherited when my parents died. Yeah. Don't hold that against me. Usually when people find out that my name's Aaron Whitmore...
Elena: Hold on, your last name's Whitmore. So you like... own this school?
Then she notices her dad in a photograph labeled Whitmore House 50th Anniversary Commemoration. Wes walks in and tells her that her father was one of the best doctors the Augustines ever had... just as he stabs her with a syringe of vervain.
Wes: I'm glad he didn't live to see this.
Just had a random thought. A few seasons ago when Elijah woke up in Damon and Stefan's house (after Elena removed the dagger from his heart) he started dying or something because he hadn't been invited in. So how did they get Damon into Whitmore House in the first place? If Dr. Whitmore was the owner but he didn't meet him until after he talked to Joseph, who invited him in? Huh.
Back at Casa de Salvatore, Caroline is playing Psychology 101 and Stefan isn't thrilled with the idea.
Stefan: I spent three months drowning in this thing, what the hell were you thinking?
Caroline: I was thinking it's time for you to deal with the source of your PTSD.
Stefan: And you're sure you're not just sublimating your feelings about what happened to Jesse last night?
Caroline: Feelings? What feelings would I have about my best friend killing the guy I was crushing on?
Stefan: He was out of control and Elena did what she had to do.
Caroline: No. Elena did what she thought she had to do, just like she also thought that Damon was good boyfriend material - now see where I'm going with this?
Stefan: Anyway, aren't you a drama major? What do you know about PTSD?
My thoughts exactly! Caroline is such a hypocritical bitch lately, I can't take it. Even if this plan works I will still hate her because she's so stupid. She went from my least favorite character in the first season, to one of my favorites (after she became a vampire) and now we're right back to least favorite.
Back at Whitmore House, Aaron is freaking out. Wes explains that he studies vampires and Elena is one. He tells him that his family pioneered this secret vampire science work and it's the Whitmore Trust that funds his research. This is what his family fought for and believed in - it's his legacy! (At no point does he mention to Aaron that he turned his roommate Jesse into a vampire for the sole purpose of experimenting him and that's what got him killed.)
Downstairs, Elena wakes up to find Damon in the jail cell next to her. She's confused. He explains the "grand Augustine tradition" to her. He recounts tales of being tortured and disected every day for five years. He didn't go crazy because he had a friend down there - another vampire named Enzo. He had been there for 10 years before Damon got there. They would discuss their creative dreams of revenge together, which is what helped them keep each other sane.
Elena tells Damon that Wes knew her dad and they worked together. She's having trouble reconciling the idea that her dad was an Augustine too.
Elena: I know he was a vampire hunter but he was also the town doctor. He was kind and gentle and Loving. He wouldn't be part of a place that would cut your eyes out.
Damon: People are full of surprises.
Truer words were never spoken and TVD wants us to remember that. (Also, Damon gets the best lines in this show.) Damon apologizes to her for getting her caught up in this and promises to get her out of there. Um... how exactly is this his fault? She should apologize to him! If she had just let him kill Wes in the first place, none of this would have happened. It's her fault they're trapped there, not his.
After the commercial break we return to Stefan locked in a safe. That should be the next spin-off series.
Stefan: Caroline, are you sure you know what you're doing?Dumb question, of course she doesn't know what she's doing!
Caroline: Yes. Well, it's in my textbook, let me find it.
Katherine asks if they ever "you know' and Caroline is offended by the question.
Caroline: We are friends.Caroline reads from the textbook while Katherine complains... meanwhile Stefan is having a panic attack in the safe and they're just letting him have it. Great fucking therapy Caroline! Katherine tells Caroline that Stefan is always the hero, he always comes through for everyoen else - even when he can't come through for himself. So how do they help him?
Katherine: Your loss, he's great in bed.
Back in vampire jail, Damon explains to Elena that Enzo's friendship helped him hang onto his humanity. There's so much reverse-foreshadowing in the flashback convo where they talk about women, that it's almost too clever.
Enzo: Just one girl?Ha. Get it? He finally did meet another "like" her... her doppelganger Elena.
Damon: Never met another like her.
Enzo: Well, fair enough.
Enzo tells Damon about the woman he loved. Her name was Maggie and she worked for Dr. Whitmore. She was beautiful and kind and wasn't part of the torture. When she realized what was really going on, she couldn't bear it so she quit. (Of course, she didn't exactly help Enzo out though did she.)
Damon: Well... you know, never really would've worked anyway. You're a vampire, she's a human. The relationship would've been doomed from the beginning.
Ha again! Thought I have to wonder if Maggie - or one of her family members - will return to the storyline again. Maybe Maggie was Megan's grandmother or something.
Elena tells Damon that Stefan will figure it out and find them, once neither of them comes home or contacts him. Damon tells her that's unlikely... he never knew what happened to Damon at Whitmore House. They weren't in contact back in the 50s and he didn't see the point in telling him about it after he'd escaped.
Elena: But you did escape.
Turns out once a year (New Year's Eve) they'd have a cocktail party and let the vampires out for show. They were weak from vervain injections and and half-starved from living on only a glass of blood a day. They would let the guests drink their blood to demonstrate the healing power of vampire blood. Neat party trick! Enzo came up with a plan for one of them to drink both glasses of blood a day (the other to drink nothing) for the next year, to build up his strength for the next NYE. Then they could both escape. They play rock paper scissors and Damon wins.
Upstairs, Wes gives Aaron a birthday gift and it's watch to use as a "safety precaution". It's either got vervain in it or it's similar to the Gilbert rings in that wearing it will protect him in some way. Aaron is looking through Wes's files and finds out that his parents were actually killed by vampires. Wes explains that that's why he continued his father's work, to make sure this never happened again. (Oh, that's why. Sure.) Aaron punches Wes, knocking him out (best moment all season, I fucking hate that dude) and grabs a gun.
Back to Stefan-Trapped-In-A-Safe. He wakes up and Katherine is laying next to him. She got in while he was passed out and they're locked in together.
Caroline: I know it's a little extreme, but the babysteps approach wasn't working.
Katherine warns him not to get mad at her so he doesn't kill her. He needs to get over his PTSD triggers or else he will kill her.
Stefan: You're risking your life.Dude, every time someone says "suck it up" on this show I have to laugh. They're vampires!
Katherine: I'm already dying you idiot. You're the one who wants to keep me alive. It's my turn to help you now.
Stefan: I can't be in here. Please.
Katherine: You're Stefan Salvatore, suck it up.
In vampire jail, Elena insists that Damon tell her how he got the last time, so they can make it happen again before Wes comes down to experiment on them. He's reluctant to talk about it. She says she loves him and whatever he had to do she doesn't care, she won't judge him. Ah famous last words that people say right before they judge.
Flashback to New Year's Eve 1958. Damon had been drinking Enzo's blood rations for a year (saving him a few drops here and there so he wouldn't dessicate). As Enzo starved, Damon got stronger. I have to wonder how Dr. Whitmore never noticed this during a year of experiments, that Damon was healing faster than uusal and Enzo was weaker than ever, but okay, it's a TV show. Dr. Whitmore lets him out for the show and he's strong enough to break free of his shackles. He kills him by jamming his fingers into his eyes (yikes! but rather poetic) and then slashing his neck. Then he goes around the party killing everyone. A candelabra falls down and the carpet catches fire. Enzo yells for Damon to help him, but the bars of the cage are coated in vervain. He tries several times to get him out, but he realizes that if he stays he'll never have another opportunity to escape. He will either be trapped again or they will both die. If he leaves Enzo, he can at least save himself. He knew he had to stop caring in order to leave his friend to die, so he turned of fhis emotions. As the room goes up in flames, Damon calmly and emotionlessly walks away as Enzo begs him not to leave him to die.
Damon: I left my friend to die. After that everything was fine.Yeah, remember how Elena said she wouldn't judge him? Check her facial expression and ask yourself if you think she's judging him.
Back to Stefan-Trapped-In-A-Safe...
Caroline: How's it going in there?Shut the fuck up Caroline.
Katherine tells Stefan that she thinks there is a little truth to this doppelganger prophecy. She thinks he still loves Elena (duh) and is miserable that she chose Damon (double duh). She knows he wants to get out of Mystic Falls to get away from them, but keeps coming up with excuses to stay. She's trying to piss him off, in order to show him that the safe isn't his problem.
Katherine: You're not facing your real issues. The death that you felt in the safe... the pain of dying over and over again... It's easier to focus on the physical pain than the emotional heartbreak of Elena leaving you. Your problem is you're not in touch with the reality of the moment. So let's bring you back to to the present, shall we? In this moment are you going to feed on me or are you going to save my life? Fight it Stefan. I'm here with you, we're together.
He calms down and it looks like they are about to kiss, but just then Caroline opens the safe.
Caroline: It was so quiet, I got worried.Stefan gets out and smiles at her. It worked. Then he and Katherine share a special look. Foreshadowing.
At Whitmore House, Aaron goes down to the basement and asks Elena for the truth!
Damon: Great, mini-Wes.
Aaron tells Elena that Wes said a vampire killed Megan. He wants to know if it was her. (Um, if she killed Megan why would she tell him that she was murdered? Would she want him to think it was suicide? Aaron is stupid.) He tells her his parents were also killed by vampires and he wants to know if it was her.
Aaron: Why else would you be so interested in me?
Damon: Calm down.
Aaron: Why else would you preted to be my friend? She's a vampire!
Damon: Not the one that killed your parents. That was all me.
Damon confesses that he killed Aaron's parents. In 1958 after Enzo was dead, Damon had to take on their revenge plans solo.It was the revenge plans that kept them going the years they were trapped down there, being tortured. It was the revenge fantasies that kept them sane... so after he left Enzo to die, he had to carry them out.
Damon: After I take out the entire Augustine Society, I'll kill every member of the Whitmore family.And that's exactly what he did. Since 1958, he's killed so many Whitmores that he lost count.
Enzo: Boooo. I said use your imagination.
Damon: Except one person... I'll let that person grow up, start a family. Then I'll start killing Whitmores again. Then I'll take out the generation after that... leaving only one person to carry on the name. And then I'll take out the generation after that. And so on and so on and so on...
Elena: When was the last one?
Damon: A few months ago. Her name was Sara. I had to go all the way to Charleston to find her. It was a weekend trip.
Elena: But we were together a few months ago.
Damon: Starting the summer of our lives
Elena: I had no idea.
Damon: I told you it wasn't pretty.
Aaron shoots Damon in the head and TVD goes to commercial. Cliffhanger! Only not really, we know Damon can't die from a bullet to the head (he's a vampire!) and the show writers would be flat out idiotic to kill off the best character on the entire show.
After the commercial break, Stefan is talking to Katherine by the fire. He tells her she was right. It was easier to focus on the physical pain than the breakup.
Katherine: So you admit it. I do know what I'm doing.They kiss (by the fucking fire no less, come on). Doppelganger for the win!
Stefan: To be honest with you, I never know exactly what you're doing Katherine.
Katherine: Well, Stefan sometimes I don't either.... Like right now... for example.
Caroline calls Elena to say she's going to stay at her mom's that night. (Guess she won't be noticing Elena's absence any time soon.) Then she overhears Stefan and Katherien with her vampire hearing... ewww.
In Aaron's dorm room he' s on the phone with Wes, freaking out. He's pissed that he's been lied to his entire life. (That's sort of the theme of The Vampire Diaries no?) He's also worried that their (Elena and Damon's) friends may come after him. Wes tells him to just go to school and live his life. He puts on the watch... guess we won't find out what it means until next week.
Down in vampire jail, Damon wakes up with a major headache (ha) but Elena isn't there. She's in Wes's lab, strapped to a table, ready to be part of his next experiment.
She's not alone though...on the table next to her is none other than Enzo! He's still alive! And no doubt a little crazy from being trapped and tortured for 70 years! And no doubt he's also a little pissed about being left for dead by Damon. So he's the Augustine Vampire that Wes was talking about a few episodes ago - the one who killed Megan during the party at Whitmore House. If Wes was able to mutate Jesse to crave only vampire blood after only having him in his lab for a week or so, who knows what they were able to do to Enzo in the last six decades. Scary shit.
Can't wait to find out what happens next week. Next week's episode - which also happens to be the mid-season "finale", with episodes returning in late January - is titled "50 Shades of Grayson". Groan. But at least we'll get to the bottom of Dr. Gilbert's dealings with the Augustine Society (was he as much of a dick as Drs. Whitmore and Maxfield or just slightly douchey) and find out what Megan was doing with that photo of him in her phone. Is he her secret daddy?
Previews from the next episode suggest that Stefan did figure out something fishy was going on because we see him call Wes and threaten to kill Aaron. I have to guess that the big reveal that Damon is still basically a serial killer (of Whitmores) as recently as only a few months ago, will finally put a gap between him and Elena that Caroline is hoping for. Maybe the new love triangle will be Elena-Stefan-Katherine... the battle of the doppelgangers! I don't care, I'm still team Damon. He can kill as many Whitmores as he wants.
People of Color Count: Jesse's dead. No Bonnie this week at all. The only person of color I noticed was a black maid in the first scene with Joseph Salvatore. She had no lines. Shame on you TVD.