Well, if you all wanted answers, this episode definitely provided a few. For starters, Alaric likes life better without Damon. Then there’s Bonnie, who’s gone undercover at the mental hospital to find out why the Armory is after her. And finally, when it comes to the question of which lady has Stefan’s heart, it seems the answer is Caroline. (And yes, Stefan has been returned to his hero hair. Thank the TV gods.)
We start on the brother road trip, where Stefan is only getting worse as Marty’s body begins to quit on him. And because Marty can’t show his face at a hospital – what with the cops being on the lookout for him — Damon calls an ambulance and compels the EMTs to save his brother’s life … or have their thumbs become squirrel food.
And while they stay with Marty, Damon and Ric head to Memphis as Valerie gets a motel room where she can prepare for the spell that will put Stefan back in his rightful body. Because if Marty’s insides shutting down don’t kill Stefan, his lack of hair conditioner just might.
With Ric replacing Stefan on the road trip, Damon tries to use the time to get information on Bonnie, but that doesn’t pan out too well. And when Ric doesn’t seem too excited to talk about Damon’s goodbye letter either, the eldest Salvatore tries to pitch this as “one more mission for old times sake.” But again, Ric has a rebuttal: He’s not exactly Stefan’s biggest fan considering that Stefan broke Caroline’s heart. However, Ric can’t deny that losing Stefan would kill Caroline, so he begrudgingly follows Damon to a frat house in Memphis.
Once there, it seems poor Damon didn’t get an invite to the party — if only this were a sorority, amirite? — and can’t get past the threshold. Thankfully, Ambrose – which is the name of the evil vampire in Stefan’s body — gives Damon a call and is ready to make a deal: If Damon kills Rayna, he will jump into the body of a transitioning vampire and give Stefan his hero hair back. Damon agrees.
The problem? Enzo just kidnapped Rayna, determined to find an anecdote to her blood pills (which Bonnie has been taking and which recently killed Mary Louise). But it turns out, Enzo taking Rayna is bad news for everyone involved: Not only can Damon no longer give Ambrose what he wants, but Rayna informs him that the effects of her blood cannot be reversed.
While all this is going on, Stefan-Marty is hanging out in an ambulance, remembering his days spent in The Philippines. In a flashback to two years ago, we find Stefan sitting at a bar attempting to write an apology letter to Caroline. As he explains to the freakishly optimistic bartender, she’s returned every one of his letters unopened. And when Marty-Stefan wakes up in the ambulance, he asks for pen and paper … in case he doesn’t make it through this.
Back in the car, Damon and Ric are working on a Plan B when Ric catches Damon up on the Bonnie-Enzo situation. Basically, he informs him that Enzo saved Bonnie from the Armory, after which the two fell in love. But their conversation is interrupted when Ambrose calls, rather disappointed in Damon’s inability to kill Rayna. As he puts it, “This sense of disappointment must be what it actually feels like to have you for a brother.” DAMN. Harsh burn, Ambrose.
By the time Damon and Ric make it back to the frat house, everyone inside is dead. And that’s when Ric has an idea: Could Ambrose have used his vampire hearing when Damon told Valerie where they were sending Stefan? Spoiler: Yes. (Finally, somebody uses vamp hearing to their advantage.) And that’s why Ambrose just flipped the ambulance and killed the EMTs helping Stefan. Luckily, Stefan is able to make it into a nearby home — which Ambrose can’t enter because #vampireproblems — before Ambrose can get to him.
While all of this is going on, we finally get a glimpse inside the mental hospital where Bonnie is spending her days in North Carolina. After speaking at a group therapy session about how the person she cared about “more than anyone else in the world” betrayed her — oh, Damon — she finds herself being followed by some girl named Virginia.
Virginia accuses Bonnie of switching her meds, and as Bonnie tells her, it’s true, which might be the most inappropriate thing Bonnie’s ever done. But she has a plan. It seems Virginia is a member of the St. John family. She claims that when she tried to save her family from “something dark,” they faked a story to get her checked into the psychiatric facility. And when Bonnie reveals she’s a Bennett witch, she asks Virginia why her family’s after her.
NEXT: Stefan v. Stefan