|“||I've been thinking a lot about the past lately. How one stupid decision can...Can turn your life into something that you don't recognize. Like it belongs to someone else. I made a mistake, and I lost someone I loved... And I'd do anything to take it back, but I can't. All I can do is...Try and find a way to live with it.||”|
— Bonnie in (flash forward)
A NEW THREAT ON THE HORIZON — After realizing the downward spiral he was on, Damon decides he’s going to turn over a new leaf and that his actions moving forward will do right by Elena. Lily prepares for the arrival of a special figure from her past, while Enzo stands by not sure what to expect. Elsewhere, at Caroline’s urging, Stefan comes face-to-face with Valerie and learns some upsetting details about her past, while Enzo and Bonnie find themselves at odds when they’re forced to fend off a violent threat. Finally, when Bonnie learns some disturbing information involving the Phoenix stone, she is forced to confront Alaric.
|Flashforward: Three years later, Bonnie is living in a mental institution and during a group session, expresses guilt for what she has done in the past. When she goes back to her room, she finds Enzo, who remarks that she needs to come home. They then passionately kiss.
In our regular timeline, Bonnie is focused on figuring out how the Phoenix Stone works. It probably would have been a good thing to investigate before using it to bring two people back to life, but she and her friends were a little short on time. Alaric tells her not to worry about it, that Jo is fine. But that is clearly not the case — both she and Oscar are starving (Jo for Thai food, Oscar for blood) and have no memories. Alaric is walking Jo through their life together, and she very sweetly takes it all in. Lily & The Heretics (great band-name idea) try to do the same with Oscar, but he just sits there and occasionally has rage outbursts.
Lily tells Enzo that Julian is about to come home, which he relays to Valerie. She’s not eager, but definitely willing, to help when Damon and Stefan corner her and ask to go find Julian with her. The drive down to Myrtle Beach to get him, which gives Valerie and Stefan the perfect time to catch up. And don’t worry Caroline is totes kewl with it and tells Bonnie this is just an opportunity for him to “clear away all the 19th-century drama.”
So while Damon tells Valerie every little word that his little brother wrote (and Damon memorized) in his diary about her breaking Stefan’s heart, she tells them about how awful Julian is. She says he once massacred a whole coastline, but Damon says that’s just run-of-the-mill vampirism. We know the real reason, and we know it’s understandable why she wants to set the guy on fire. So she’s going to do exactly that once they finally find his body — yes, as well all suspected and Damon and Stefan are just learning: Julian is dead.
Valerie tells the Salvatore brothers that’s the reason Lily needs the Phoenix Stone. Oh, and surprise! It’s not a stone to bring people back to life; it’s a stone that stores vampire souls. Which means that whoever’s hanging out in Jo and Oscar’s bodies are definitely not Jo and Oscar.
Meanwhile, Bonnie heads to the boarding house to figure out what’s going on with vampire possessing Oscar . Enzo is trying to keep him from eating the maid. When Bonnie asks him about Myrtle Beach, Oscar is confused. All he remembers is Bonnie getting him “out of there,” he says as he points to the Phoenix stone.
And right around that time is when Damon calls Bon-Bon so she can do the dirty work of telling Alaric. And right around that time is when Fake Oscar realizes Real Oscar’s body has witch powers. As Bonnie and Enzo flee from him, she drops the stone only for her future love to pick it up and keep it. Things are getting dicey with Oscar, so she makes a run for it. And Enzo stays behind and kills Fake Oscar.
At the world’s largest coffin-storage warehouse, Valerie is trying to kill Julian, but it doesn’t take. And before you can say “incendia” (again), Mary Louise, Nora, Beau, and Lily arrive. The gang’s all here! Valerie tries to tell Lily that she was doing this because Julian is bad news; Lily just says that he’s the love of her life, and she won’t hear it. In a rage, Valerie spits out that Lily was the one who gave Kai the idea for the Elena “Sleeping Beauty spell.”
Beau’s a badass and just shatters EVERY COFFIN IN THE ENTIRE WAREHOUSE WITH A FLICK OF HIS HANDS. Stefan, Damon, and Valerie are left in the wreckage, and the heretic train leaves the station with Julian in tow.
Stefan finds Valerie, and as he picks out the world’s largest splinters from her body, she tells him the truth about Julian: that he killed her and their unborn baby. She tells him the whole story that we got a couple episodes back. Stefan is obviously shocked, and hurt, and confused. He answers an un-asked question: Yes, he would have wanted a child. And Valerie and Stefan most definitely have strengthened their connection. (Caroline, who had nothing to do this episode except makeup college tests — LOL — and who got stood up on her date with Stefan, is not going to be happy about this. Maybe this is the start of why she has a new fiancé in the future?)
Damon is so outraged to hear about Lily’s part in Elena’s coffin-ing that he wants to kill her. But once he finds out that Enzo has the Phoenix Stone, which of course he hands over to Lily without question, Damon hopes that Lily brings Julian back. He wants his mother to see the man she’s missed for 100 years and to be able to hold him — so that when Damon rips off Julian’s head in front of her, he’ll be breaking her heart, as well. “I want to destroy her,” he says. Nothing like a Salvatore family bond, amirite?
But it’s not all sad endings: Bonnie calls Ric to tell him the truth about Jo (kind of a cop-out, but she had been drinking). He doesn’t want to accept it at first, but when he finds New Jo on the street — she had run away from the house with a gun in hand when she remembered a different death than the one Ric described — he knows it’s true. And she does, too. But because Ric is the best person in this whole messed-up world, he tells her that he’ll help her and she’s not alone. And they walk off holding hands. Let’s get a shipper name for this couple, stat.
Special Recurring Guest Star
- Antagonists: "Oscar", Lily, Mary Louise, Nora and Beau.
- Valerie informs Stefan about the death of their unborn child. She also tells him that Julian is the reason behind the death of their child.
- Stefan learns that because of Julian, Valerie couldn't meet him as she promised.
- Stefan tells Valerie he will kill Julian for not only her but for what he took from both of them.
- Stefan tells Valerie that he would have wanted a child, and choose not to tell Caroline about his discovery.
- Damon and Stefan find out from Valerie that it was actually their mother's idea to link Elena's life with Bonnie which was executed by Kai in I'll Wed You in the Golden Summertime.
- This was done by Lily in retaliation for their refusal to help her rescue the Heretics from the 1903 Prison World.
- In revenge for her actions, Damon plans to kill Julian in front of her eyes to show her what she inflicted on him, and Bonnie promises to help him.
- Damon tries to kill Lily after finding out she was the reason Kai put Elena under a "Sleeping Beauty" spell but Beau saves her before he can do so.
- The Phoenix Stone does not have the power to raise the dead. Instead, it is filled with the souls of ancient vampires who can be united to a body by magic. Julian's soul was trapped inside after he was killed in 1903.
- Julian is brought back to life with the help of the Phoenix Stone by Nora, Mary Louise and Beau.
- Alaric agrees to help the vampire soul inhabiting Jo's body figure out who she is.
- In 2016, Bonnie is living in a mental institution, and is seeking help in a group. When she returns to her room, she finds Enzo waiting for her. He tells her that things have gotten bad, and that she can no longer hide in her home. They then kiss.
- Julian was last seen in Age of Innocence in flashbacks.
- Beau and Lucy, the maid, were last seen in Never Let Me Go.
- Kai was mentioned twice in this episode. He was last seen in I'm Thinking Of You All The While and last mentioned in Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take.
- Ms. Cuddles was last seen in The Day I Tried To Live.
- Asheville, North Carolina
- McKinley, Virginia
- Mystic Falls, Virginia
Behind the Scenes
- This episode committed the egregious sin of coming in three minutes short. Here’s what you DON’T want to do when your episode is short: stretch it out to make it longer. You can completely destroy an episode if you mess with its rhythm and pace, so we added three new scenes. Tweet me if you can guess.
- The “Casket Emporium” was actually a very small room in our production office with a couple dozen caskets on shelves, made to look like an endless warehouse through the magic of visual effects. Joe “Joe Props” Connelly had to scour the state of Georgia for new and used caskets, which are shockingly expensive. Death is not an inexpensive business. Speaking of (our beloved) Joe Props, his daughter, who was a pre-teen when we started shooting, just started college. Nothing makes you feel prouder (or older) than watching the Crew Kids grow up over the years. Joe has politely requested that we remain on the air another five years until his younger daughter is done with college. Seems like a fair ask.
- Bonnie in group therapy was Rebecca’s first pitch for the flash-forwards. We’ve had a lot of fun, not to mention given ourselves a lot of headaches, pulling it off. A hazard of shooting two timelines on the same day, for example, is nail polish. Kat Graham had a gorgeous gel manicure that works just fine for present-day Bonnie but is terribly incongruous with institutionalized, possibly crazy Bonnie. We had to try to edit around as many of the shots with her hands in them as possible.
- The idea to put Bonnie and Enzo together in the flash-forwards was born out of their scene last season at the door of the Salvatore House where she calls him a “ruiner.” They had such a fun spark and good energy together, we thought it would be an interesting dynamic to explore.
- Live Through This is the second studio album by American alternative rock band Hole. It was released by DGC Records on April 12, 1994, just four days after frontwoman Courtney Love's husband, Kurt Cobain, was found dead in their home. It was Hole's only album to feature bassist Kristen Pfaff before her death in June 1994.
- Grumpy Gus is a generic name to call someone who is being grumpy.
- Damon says: "Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am." which is a verse from David Bowie's song Suffragette City.