By Samantha Highfill
December 06, 2018 at 10:04 PM EST
Mark Hill/The CW
S1 E7
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Well, if you wanted to know what to expect from Legacies, I feel like the first six episodes should’ve solidified things for you. You can expect the fun absurdity of something like a dragon attacking the town. You can expect the oh-so-teenage moments of the Mystic Falls High teens playing pranks on the “rich Salvatore School kids.” You can expect the romance and heartbreak of first love. And you can expect the kind of deeply emotional moments that this week’s episode delivered as Jo got to say goodbye to Alaric and hello to her girls.

The episode starts with Ric on the phone with Caroline. It seems she’s going to miss the twins’ 16th birthday party and according to Ric, he “can’t exactly tell them what you’re really involved in,” so the mystery of what Caroline is off doing lives on … at least for 30 more minutes or so. But when Jo, Ric’s dead fiancée, walks through the doors of his office in her bloody wedding dress from the Vampire Diaries season 6 finale, he hangs up his phone and grabs a crossbow. Naturally, Ric’s first instinct says that Jo could be the next monster coming for the knife, but she claims she was “yanked awake” and arrived here.

Dorian suggests they interrogate her, so Ric has Emma — who leaves behind a smitten Hope — put up a boundary spell around his office so they can figure out what’s going on. Jo changes out of her wedding dress and tells Ric that the last thing she remembers is her psychopath twin brother with a very large knife. Yeah, that happened 16 years ago … sorry, Jo. But before Ric can find out more, his daughters come knocking. Penelope broke the news that Caroline will miss their party, and they are not happy. When Ric tries to shoo them away, they use magic to bust into his office, and that’s where they meet “bio mom,” as Lizzie calls her.

Ric quickly updates Jo on how the twins are alive — her coven magically implanted them in Caroline, who married Stefan, but then Stefan died (RIP!), and now Caroline is overseas doing “recruiting” work. Ric then pulls out the supernatural lie detector to get some answers, but all evidence is pointing to this being Jo, and Josie, for one, seems very excited.

While all of this is going down, Hope is giving Rafael dance lessons. After a failed attempt on her part to apologize for sending Landon away, Raf asks for her help seeing as how he’s never been to a fancy party and he doesn’t want to let Lizzie down because he slept with her. So Hope agrees to show him how to be a proper escort, but their lessons end up being longer than expected when Penelope traps them in the gym with a spell and forces them to miss the start of the party. See, Penelope made an agreement with MG: She’ll keep Raf away long enough for MG to take his shot with Lizzie but if it doesn’t work, MG has to quit Lizzie Saltzman for good. He agrees.

Upstairs, Jo is helping Lizzie get ready for their party while Lizzie explains that even though they’re mad at their mom, they can’t cheat on Caroline with “mombie dearest.” With that line, Lizzie heads down the party, leaving Jo to find a present from Hope — a locket that she quickly puts on. Penelope then offers to be Josie’s escort, but Josie’s not interested. Instead, she goes to find out if Jo can braid hair.

While Lizzie enters the party and meets her new escort (in a very TVD throwback moment to Damon stepping in during Miss Mystic Falls), Josie gets to know her bio mom. As Josie puts it, Lizzie is exactly like Caroline. You’d never guess Caroline wasn’t her biological mom. But Josie takes after Jo, which is why Josie’s so excited she’s here. After all, Josie worries that Ric is lonely.

But when Josie invites her bio mom to her party, things take a turn. On the walk over, Jo collapses, and when she wakes up she’s not herself. Her eyes are white and her face is a skeleton, and she attacks Josie. (Next: Jo says her goodbyes)

Meanwhile, in the gym, Raf tells Hope that Cassie only died six weeks ago, so in a way, he feels like he cheated on her by sleeping with Lizzie, and now, he wants to do right by Lizzie, even if he doesn’t have feelings for her. As for Landon, Hope tells Raf that she sent him to a friend who will help him find his birth mom, but that doesn’t make Raf feel better. As far as Raf is concerned, he’s Landon’s family, and Hope would understand that if she invested in friendships.

With that, Penelope’s spell comes to an end, and Raf heads straight to interrupt MG’s sick moves on the dance floor. And of course, Lizzie lets him. She accepts his apology for being late, but when Raf is honest with her and tells her that he doesn’t want anything with her, well, let’s just say this won’t be her favorite birthday ever.

It’s Ric who finds Jo, and she’s hysterical. She claims she lost a chunk of time and thinks she did something to Josie. Just then, she collapses, and as her eyes go white again, she tells Ric that she wants the knife and that his daughter has an hour before she runs out of air.

As Hope rounds the corner — in her party dress! — Ric asks for her help, and she enlists Penelope and MG to try to find where Josie’s been buried alive in the cemetery. Only, that’s easier said than done because every time they try to dig up a grave, a zombie pops out! Yep, we’ve got a full-on zombie attack happening, and Hope is loving it!

Eventually, MG finds Josie with the help of the locket that Hope gave her. It’s a talisman that makes “quiet things heard.” So talk about a perfect gift. As for the knife, Dorian and Emma hit the road with it in tow so as to keep it as far away from the bad guys as possible.

But Jo clearly isn’t the bad guy — something is controlling her, and she feels terrible about what happened. She comes up with a plan: The girls can siphon the magic out of her, but seeing as how the magic is the only thing keeping her alive, that means Ric has to once again say goodbye to the love of his life. Ric breaks down as he hugs her, and he promises her he’ll be happy once the girls are grown. And here’s where we get some answers: Jo asks if the girls know what happens when they turn 22, and he says not yet. That’s what Caroline’s doing, trying to exhaust all options before telling them. Jo then asks Ric to thank Caroline for being a mom to her girls, and now I’m sobbing.

Outside of Ric’s office, Penelope confronts Josie. She did help save her, after all. And Josie might hate her, but Penelope doesn’t feel the same, and so the two share a loaded kiss. As for Raf, he finds Hope and asks if she’d like to dance in a very sweet friendship moment.

Now, back to the waterworks. The girls prepare to siphon the magic out of Jo as she assures them that this is the right thing to do. Plus, she’s started to remember what the afterlife was like, and she remembers watching over all of them. “I think I was at peace, so that’s where I’ll be, waiting for you,” she tells them. Lizzie apologizes for being awful to her, but she tells the girls that they’re “everything that I could’ve ever wished for.” She tells them, “Be good to each other. Fight for each other. When you’re older you’ll understand what I mean.” For Vampire Diaries fans, we know what happens when the girls turn 22 and what they’re referencing, but I won’t spoil it for those who don’t. Needless to say, it will be life-changing. The girls then take Jo’s hands and as Jo says one last I love you, she disappears.

Ric and Dorian head to Jo’s grave, and that’s where they find the monster responsible for this: The Necromancer, who is easily the most cartoonish monster we’ve met yet, and I already love him. He claims that death can’t hold him, but Ric quickly decides to test that theory and knocks him out with a shovel. And that’s where we end.

This episode had it all, but more than anything, it proved what an impact these characters and these stories can have, and thus far, I’m so impressed with every facet of this show, but this hour has been my favorite. My tear ducts won’t forget it anytime soon.

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