|“||I didn't want to live under Julian's thumb, so that night, as we crossed the Atlantic, I drew myself a bath, laced my tea with laudanum, and went quietly to sleep...But, I died with Lily's blood in my system... And, by virtue of pure happenstance, I became the first Heretic.||”|
FLASHBACKS TO 1863 — In the aftermath of a clever plan orchestrated by Lily, Damon sets off on a road trip with Bonnie and Alaric in search of leverage they can use against his mother. Meanwhile, Caroline, who is being held hostage by the Heretics, learns some shocking information about Valerie’s past, while Stefan learns a few unexpected details about his own past from Lily. Finally, Alaric turns to Bonnie for her help after coming clean about a secret he’s been keeping.
|Damon sets off on a road trip with Bonnie and Alaric in search of leverage they can use against his mother. The trio search for and meet the last member of the heretics, Oscar, who defected from Lily's group. Damon asked for Oscar's help in siphoning magic from Bonnie who was getting horrible visions after touching the Phoenix Stone, but Oscar refuses when he finds out about the stone, knocking Alaric & Bonnie unconscious and breaking Damon's neck. The trio then capture Oscar and make a deal with Lily for Elena's coffin. Meanwhile, Caroline, still being held hostage by the Heretics, learns some information about Valerie's past. Flashbacks to 1863 show Valerie meeting Stefan for the first time and showing how they fell in love. In actual fact, Valerie was sent by Lily to watch out for her son but they fell in love. When Valerie planned to run away while pregnant, Julian beat her & brought her back to the ship. There, Valerie killed herself which turned her into the very first vampire-witch hybrid as she had died with Lily's blood in her system. At the same time, Stefan learns a few unexpected details about his own past from Lily about how she first met Valerie. Also, Alaric turns to Bonnie for her help after coming clean that he has the Phoenix Stone which can bring the dead back to life. Lily sets Caroline free out of admiration for Stefan's honesty with her.
Flashforward: Three years later, Tyler is seen driving around in New York City when he gets a call from a frantic Stefan, who tells him that his scar opened up and that he needs Tyler to get hold of Caroline to warn her as she's not taking his calls. Stefan is about to leave town and sets his beloved car on fire.
Special Guest Stars
- This is the second 19th century flashback not to feature Katherine Pierce as the events of this flashback are one year (1863) before Katherine arrived in Mystic Falls with nearly 30 vampires.
- This is the first episode to have both a flash forward and a flashback in the same episode.
- In 2016 New York City, Stefan is shown burning his car but before he sets the car on fire he removes his 1863 diary as he decides against burning it. He calls Tyler who doesn't want anything to do with Stefan's problems, but he tells him that his x shaped wound has opened up again and he needs Tyler to get hold of Caroline to warn her as she's not taking his calls.
- Oscar reveals that he met Damon in a bar near Gettysburg. PA at Lily's request to see how her sons were doing. Damon also reveals that it was this meeting that ultimately saved his life—during their conversation, Oscar encouraged him to take sick leave and return home, and the following day, Damon's entire regiment was killed in the battle.
- Damon's history as a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War was explored more in this episode. It was revealed that he had wanted to desert the Army as early as 1863 because he didn't agree with what they were fighting for, which was alluded to in the flashbacks in Lost Girls and Memory Lane. However, he didn't have the courage until his talk with Oscar, because he didn't want to let his father down. Damon also mentioned that he didn't like talking about this part of his life in front of his friends, suggesting that he has dark memories from this time.
- It is revealed that Valerie Tulle was the first love of Stefan and that she carried his child, who died after she was mercilessly beaten by Julian when he caught her trying to run away to Mystic Falls before they boarding the ship for Europe.
- Stefan told Valerie that his father was disappointed in him in that he didn't join his brother Damon in fighting for the South.
- Valerie was revealed to have been the first member of the Heretics Lily created. She unintentionally turned herself into a vampire-witch hybrid when she committed suicide in her grief following her beating from Julian and her miscarriage, as she still had Lily's blood in her system.
- She was a Siphoner when she first met and fell in love with Stefan. She was seen using her ability on a necklace she wore and then performing her coven's trademark, the cloaking spell, to prevent Julian from seeing them.
- Valerie kills her fellow Heretic, Oscar, as he was going to tell Lily where Julian was living in exchange for his freedom from the family, as she still hated him for assaulting her, causing her miscarriage, and keeping her from being able to reunite with Stefan.This implies that the reason Lily wants to find the Phoenix Stone is that Julian is dead and she wants to use it to bring him back.
- Bonnie gets angry when she finds out that Alaric didn't destroy the Phoenix Stone but later she agrees to help Alaric to bring back his wife Jo with that stone.
- Tyler Lockwood was last seen in I'm Thinking Of You All The While.
- This is Tyler's first appearance in Season Seven.
- Katherine Pierce was mentioned by Caroline. She was last seen in Gone Girl and While You Were Sleeping in Elena's hallucinations.
- Stefan's red 1963 Porsche 356B Kramann Coupe was first seen in Season 1's There Goes the Neighborhood. It was set on fire in this episode's flash forward in 2016.
- Brooklyn, New York
- Warehouse (flashforward)
- New York Harbor (flashback)
- Ship (flashback)
- Mystic Falls, Virginia
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Behind the Scenes
- This is the second episode of the series to feature two special guest stars; Annie Wersching as Lily and Michael Trevino as Tyler. The first was The Walking Dead, featuring Jasmine Guy as Grams and Matt Davis as Alaric.
- This episode had about 1.40 million viewers in the USA.
- The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's novel.
- The Age of Innocence is a drama/romance movie released in 1993 based on Edith Warton's novel.
- The Battle of Gettysburg is a pivotal battle of the American Civil War by Union & Confederate forces that took place in Gettysburg, PA over three days from July 1 to July 3, 1863.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a book by Dr. Seuss, which has been made into both a well-know cartoon television special and a live-action movie.
- The Odd Couple is an American multi-camera television sitcom that premiered on February 19, 2015, on CBS. It is the sixth screen production based on the 1965 play written by Neil Simon, following the 1968 film, a 1970 television series, a 1975 Saturday morning cartoon, a 1982 reboot of the 1970 series, and The Odd Couple II, the 1998 sequel to the 1968 film.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a novel by Hunter S. Thompson that is based on autobiographical events in his life. It tells the story of a young man and his attorney who travel to Las Vegas and proceed to "chase the American Dream" in a drug-induced haze. The first book was released in 1971, and a movie adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro was released in 1998.