Let’s have a toast. How about some revenge over ice? Here’s how you make it: equal parts Damon and Stefan, a splash of mommy issues, shaken with a few secrets and a cherry on top. Bloody delicious.
While you’re sipping on that chilly vengeance, a quick note: We're changing up the recaps to keep present and future story lines straight. This is TVD, after all, so you should be used to the unexpected by now.
In this week’s flash-forward, the biggest twist is a stunner: the mystery fiancé is not Tyler — it’s ALARIC! Excuse me while I try to untangle the Ric-hotness from the fact that he met Caroline when she was sixteen and human. And the fact that she's supposed to be in love with Stefan. Okay, noted, now we’re moving on. Maybe we’re okay with this?
Damon tells Ric that Caroline is going to be used as bait to “lure him out.” No sooner does he say this than wham, de-staked Caroline appears on TV with an emergency broadcast, delivering an “urgent message for Stefan Salvatore.” We don't get to hear what that message was, but my head is spinning and I may have fainted. I’m pretty sure this whole three-years-into-the-future thing is one big fever dream.
IT ISN’T A PARTY UNTIL THERE’S A MURDER
We open with a dream between Stefan and his “son” Jacob. Heartbreaking. For a moment, it seemed like it could have been real. (I wanted it to be, at least.) I could have done without the bonding guns, though, but I guess they didn’t have much else to do back in ye olden times.
Stefan explains to Caroline that Valerie needs to lie low. “If I need to drive her to the airport myself, I will do that,” she suggests, always ready to lend a hand. Aww, look at Steroline being so cute! It breaks my heart because I know it won’t last. Also, it makes me wonder what I would do if I were forced to choose between Stefan and Alaric on The Bachelorette. (Honestly? I’d vote for polygamy.) Stefan tells Caroline to trust him, that Valerie is right about Julian, and that he needs to help her get rid of him.
Damon’s latest great plan — great plan #9,872,487 to be exact — is to wait until Lily gets comfortable with her “zombie douchebrain boytoy,” then rip out the proverbial rug of happiness from beneath her feet, just like she did to him and Elena. Stefan has a different tactic: he wants Julian dead, now. On cue, an invitation from Lily arrives to a party. What is it with villains and their parties that turn into murder scenes? Note to self: avoid all parties. Stick to Netflix and pajamas.
Stefan’s excuse for wanting to kill Julian hinges on Lily’s redecoration of the house — “it's unrecognizable! Lily has to go!” — and Damon quickly figures out that something else is up. Two steps ahead, Stefan has Matt vervain Damon so he can't interfere with his plan to kill Julian … and it fails spectacularly, just Damon predicted it would, when another vampire interferes. Thanks, Lily! “What have I done to make you hate me so much?” she asks him. That’s when I burst out laughing. This woman. Minus 1000. (I reserve the right to apply points when I want to. And also I hate her.)
After a good old-fashioned fight scene in which Julian totally loses his chill, Lily steps in with her one milliliter of humanity — a.k.a. those blood droplets she’s been surviving on — and saves her sons from her lover. (Nope, I’m still not giving points to her for that meager good deed. These recaps are different now, haven’t you heard?)
Damon is pissed that Stefan let them on to his plan: “This is why there is a hard line between good and evil. I don't cross over onto your side you don’t cross over onto mine!” After another near-brawl, Stefan finally confesses about Valerie, the baby, and what Julian did to her.
This conversation between them was beautiful and melancholy: I have always loved vampires, from all the way back to my Brad Pitt days, and yes, there may have been a brief time that 16-year-old me had a thing for that guy who glittered. The next vampire who comes along can sign me up, I always say, ’cause I am down to live forever. But the brothers Salvatore are different; they have given up so much for an immortality that neither of them chose. On the plus side, Damon co-signs Stefan’s Kill Julian plan wherever and whenever it could happen, so the brothers end the episode on the same team.
MISERY LOVES FLIRTATION
Back at the murder party, Nora is teaching Julian to play Candy Crush and being a bitch to her girlfriend. (And on that note: Mary Louise, I loved your first outfit. I'm not a fan of how mean you are, but you do you, girl! There’s no such thing as too much lace.)
One by one, our guests arrive — including Lorenzo and Bonnie. “Since you're here, if anyone’s wondering, you’re my date,” Enzo informs her, and Bonnie only looks about 15 percent repulsed by the prospect. So that’s how Bonnie and Lorenzo are going to get together — a good old-fashioned “let’s make someone jealous” narrative. I dig it!
Julian is a busy little bee as well, inserting himself into other people’s business. He compliments Nora on how well she’s fitting into the 21st century and even offers to have a chat with Lily about loosening the leash. Then, he buddies up with Beau and secretly tries to get him to look for something he left in Oscar’s possession. It seems like Beau agrees to help him, but I just can’t tell with that dude. Is he on Julian’s side, or Lily’s? Who IS he? I love that we still don’t know the answer. Let’s hope the writers tease this one out, because I’ve got a hunch it's going to be a doozy.
Finally, Julian gets inside Mary Louise’s head by telling her she's lost her “swagger” — a word he definitely looked up on Urban Dictionary two minutes before using it. “No wonder Nora’s bored,” he says. Ouch. Julian convinces her to feed on one of the maids and promises he’ll keep it a secret. His plan works: Mary Louise goes to town, then struts back into the party, and this time, Nora notices her sexy costume change. And that kiss? Bow chikka-wow-wow. Julian’s m.o. is clear: get in between the heretics, isolate them from one another, and distract them from … what, exactly? We don't know yet. Another mystery!
Bonnie, however, has more swagger than Enzo can handle. She gladly helps him make Lily jealous, until he cuts and runs, apparently uncomfortable with the heretic matriarch’s gaze on them. Before Bonnie can leave too, she’s interrupted by a compelled waiter who keeps asking about the high school. So, she and Matt follow his trail, which leads to a group of people in a classroom, hooked up to IVs. And that raises yet another question: Is this the heretics’ plot? Why are they there, and what is being done to them? I wonder if this — and not the Phoenix Stone as I previously thought — may be what leads Bonnie towards that terrible mistake she mentioned in her flash-forward … and somehow, eventually, into Enzo’s arms.
Elsewhere, Caroline is coming up with 1,001 ways to get rid of Valerie, including a plan to ship her off to Indonesia. Not to be outdone in cleverness, Valerie insinuates that there’s a big reason Stefan is helping her get rid of Julian, using the fact that he didn’t tell Caroline to drive a wedge between them.
Alaric is grieving for Jo once again, while Not Jo — a.k.a. the vampire soul stuck in Jo’s body—is trying to remember who she was, as Bonnie quips, “before someone asks Jo to perform surgery.” But the mission goes very bad very quickly, when she gets a bloody nose and starts coughing. Bloody noses are always a bad sign in this universe. Valerie breaks the obvious news: a vampire soul can’t live in a human body, so Not Jo and real Jo’s body are dying once again. Caroline reprimands Valerie for her insensitivity, adding that Alaric’s babies were also lost at the wedding. Valerie immediately softens up.
(Side note: I’m really loving how complex the heretics are. Nora is restless and sensual, Mary Louise is both conservative and impulsive, Oscar was a tortured party boy, and Valerie is a viper with a deeply wounded past. Beau remains a mystery, which again, makes me think his story will be the best.)
“Thank you for letting me say goodbye,” Alaric says tearfully, as he watches his wife die. We did get to learn a bit about Not Jo before she passes: her name was Florence and she was killed with a metal sword. She remembered, but didn’t want to take Alaric’s wife away from him. She could tell he was sweet. I’m glad Alaric got some closure, even if it means saying goodbye to Jo forever.
Inspired by the empathy she felt about Alaric’s babies, Valerie drops another bombshell — while watching Ric’s wedding video, she saw that the Gemini coven wasn’t trying to kill Kai with their chants. They were trying to save the twins, which means it’s possible that Ric and Jo’s babies are somehow still alive — inside someone else. Using a map, Valerie casts a spell with Ric’s blood to track down the babies; if they are alive, the blood will land on their location and the map will explode.
The blood leads to Caroline, who touched the map, which exploded. And then I exploded, and the world exploded, and everything we ever knew about this show exploded. The babies are inside Caroline, which means … well, I'm not really sure WTF it means, but I know I kind of love it. (Candice Accola is pregnant, so this is a genius way to handle that — and it’ll introduce a new type of mythology into the show. Will it also explain how Ric and Caroline fall in love?)
Okay, finished with that drink? I'm guessing you want another (or five more) because wow, what a night. Next week is our annual Thanksgiving episode, so until we dig into that sweet potato pie — or until Stefan carves out Julian’s heart — come find me on Twitter @TalkativeTara.