We start this recap under very tense circumstances: Damon and Lily are in a standoff over Elena’s body, Caroline has been kidnapped (and more importantly, sizzles whenever she and Stefan touch — in a fatal way, not the hot way), and Alaric is turning into Professor Frankenstein. So let’s get right to it.
Three years in the future: TYLER!!!! In a suit! Plus 50.
“I have no desire to get mixed up in your drama with her.” Um … is TYLER the fiancé? Admittedly, this is not a possibility I had considered. Minus 18.
“My scar opened up. I don’t have much time.” Stefan, you’re hot when you’re on the lam! But let’s focus: His scar is the same as Beau’s, and the same as the scars in Bonnie’s visions. When are we gonna get to the bottom of this?! Plus 8.
“You should be running.” Tyler, I missed you. But I’m still mad you might be the fiancé, so minus another 10.
He’s burning the cute car, but of course he can’t burn the diary. That’s our sentimental Stef. Plus 5.
Freeze-frame on Stefan’s face walking away from an explosion. Plus 50.
Of course Damon’s shower has four shower heads. Eyeroll. (Plus 10.)
“You did destroy it like you promised me, right?”
Instead of whatever it was Alaric said, I would just like to insert a “No shit, Sherlock” instead. Minus 4.
Stefan always swipes right. Minus 6.
1863 flashback! Stefan’s adorable Civil War hair! Hoop skirts! Plus 8.
Plot twist: Lily sent Valerie to Stefan to make sure he was all right after her death. I guess this is a sweet thing for a sociopath to do, but still, Lily is the worst. Minus 4.
THE FIRST LOVE OF STEFAN’S LIFE? Look: Yes, you can (and should!) have more than one love of your life. That’s, um — the entire premise of our beloved show. But that’s kind of not what Stefan does. He’s more of the “locks eyes with her from across the county fair/vast abyss of water in which she is drowning and decides that she’s the one” type. But that is exactly why I am LOVING the slow Steroline burn of the past few seasons, because Caroline is the one girl in the universe that he’s loved (that we know of) whom he hasn’t done that with. No points, just pensive reflection here. Carry on.
Back at ye olde kissing booth (hosted by Julian, Lily’s lovah), Valerie and Stefan play getting to know you and evade Julian with some witchy woo-woo … and is that the Phoenix Stone around her neck? Curious. Plus 10.
VIRGIN STEF! Okay, that’s cute. Plus 12.
We haven’t seen Beau yet this episode, but I may have to retract my statement from previous recaps: Oscar might be my favorite heretic! Plus 6.
“All emotions are valid and welcome here,” says Oscar, surrounded by a sea of empty liquor bottles and a possibly dead girl on the bed (whom everyone else totally ignores, because been there done that by now.)
Post-unlacing of the corset and whatever else happened after that (we’re not going to talk about it), Stefan pulls this move on a first date: “This is my mother’s grave.”
Okay, taking a poll here: Boy brings you to his dead momma’s grave on the first date. Do you: (a) scream, (b) scream louder, or (c) run to your BFF and complain about how dating is basically like a full-time job anyway, and when guys pull stuff like this, it makes you wonder if it’s even worth it? Minus 10.
“So it’s kind of like The Notebook, except you two never reconnect and he forgets all about you.” Bravo, Caroline. Rise above. Plus 8.
Back to my favorite heretic, Oscar, who is going to try to drunkenly siphon Bonnie’s visions away. But then things get very serious: He knows the horror visions have something to do with the Phoenix Stone, and he wants no part of it. Cue some “phesmatos”-ing, a snapped vampire neck, and whoosh, Oscar is in the wind. I liked him! Minus 5.
Turns out Caroline was sort of wrong: Valerie did try to escape Julian and Lily’s clutches and return to Stefan, only to be thwarted on the night before their trip overseas.
“I hear your heart beating faster. Both of your hearts, actually. Does Stefan Salvatore know you’re pregnant with his child?”
I screamed. Then I screamed some more. No points, because I like babies, but I don’t like when Stefan may not end up with Caroline because of a baby mama.
Tidbit: Before Team Bamonric took him down, we learned that Oscar was the one who convinced Damon to desert the Confederacy. (Love that Damon always disagreed with the tenants of the secession — he had a soul even then!) Plus 7.
We finally learn what happened to Valerie the night she tried to escape: The mysterious Julian beat her and left her for dead. She miscarried her baby. Nice reminder of how terrible it was for women back in any time before the late 20th century — and because of the kind of witch she was, Valerie couldn’t even protect herself with magic. I now have compassion for her. Minus 25.
“By virtue of happenstance, I became the first heretic.” I really like this mythology! It’s complex, but so simple: Vampire blood is magic, witch siphons magic: voilà, heretic. Plus 5.
Alright, this sweet moment between Valerie and Stefan on the bench softened my hardened heart a bit. You can tell from her face that she really did love him — especially because of the reveal that she kept herself invisible through that whole speech, not wanting to confront him yet with the truth. Plus 8.
“This is necromancy.” This is definitely the most scared I have been with a potential resurrection on the show. Not even Silas scared me this much. (Remember that guy?) Plus 4.
Damon and Lily are still at an impasse when it comes to the Elena/Oscar trade, but I doubt Lily is going to set fire to Elena’s coffin (while absent, she is still very much the heart of the show).
“I was young and human when you and I met. I remember the first time I saw you. Do you remember the first time you saw me?”
Aw, insecure human Caroline peeks out from behind her fabulous vampire curtain. But, for the first time all night, Stefan says something not totally cheesy and 100 percent perfect:
“All I care about is that you’re here, you’re safe, and you’re with me.” I love him again. Plus 50.
But … POWERS THAT BE, ALLOW THEM TO TOUCH SOON! We need to resume the kissing! Minus 16.
Question for Team Bamonric: So you successfully took down a heretic but LEFT HIM ALONE so Valerie could find him? Minus 2.
“Julian is the Devil. I can’t let Lily bring him back.” And with that, we learn that Oscar found Julian (but was having a bit of a party before bringing that info to Lily). A single heart-snatch later, and Oscar is dead: And with him, the last known chance Damon had of getting Elena back!
That’s how things work in Mystic Falls (and adjacent to Mystic Falls), people: You make a plan, and the powers that be (a.k.a. the writers) laugh. I want to hear your thoughts: What’s up with the special scar? Will Alaric bring Jo back? IS TYLER THE FIANCÉ? Let’s chat about all of that and more on Twitter @Talkativetara.