Before we get to the Salvatore School, we start at Triad Industries, where Hot Bad Guy — he doesn’t have a name yet so that’s his official name for now — is trying to find any record of employment for a woman named Seylah. (Reminder: He has the photo that Seylah took from Landon before she returned to Malivore.) He has to go into the super secret back-up archives to find anything, but he does eventually get his hands on her file, which says she went into the pit 20 years ago. So naturally, Hot Bad Guy has questions. More on him later.
As the Salvatore School, Hope and Ric are waiting patiently for the next monster to arrive when they agree to get in front of things this time around: At 2 a.m. Ric calls a meeting to let the students know that they are in possession of a second Malivore artifact. Because of that, the younger students are being evacuated to the Lockwood mansion, and anyone else who wants to leave can. However, exam week stops for no one.
It isn’t long before Rafael has the first real experience with the monster of the week. In his dream, Hope is kissing him — take a moment to let that sink in — which is quickly followed by one of his old foster dads hitting him with a belt. He then notices a creepy woman in a black dress and veil talking about wanting the artifact. And when he wakes up, his arm is actually red from where his old foster dad hit him.
Raf shows Hope and Ric, and Ric comes up with a theory: They’re dealing with a night hag, a creature that interacts through dreams. In other words, everyone has to stay awake, so at least if a night hag was going to show up, it was nice enough to show up on exam week when everyone’s pulling all-nighters anyway, right?!
Landon — who can’t figure out why Hope is avoiding him post-amnesia — is the next to see the hag in a dream that involves him having to take a test on his first day at school and then standing in front of the class without pants on. So yeah, his fears are incredibly high school and I love him for it. Realizing it’s a nightmare, he stabs himself with a pencil and wakes up bleeding.
One thing to note: When the night hag asked Landon about the Malivore artifact she said “bring it home,” so I’m sticking with my theory that he’s the Prince of Malivore seeing as how his father was from there.
Elsewhere, in the gym, Rafael and Hope decide a sparring session is the perfect way to stay awake, but when Raf confronts Hope about Landon, he tells her she needs to stop lying to him, even if it’s to protect him. (Next: Landon faces his demons)
Speaking of Landon, through his research he discovers that they’re not dealing with a night hag after all. If the injuries are carrying over from the dream into the real world, they’re dealing instead with a dream demon. And that means someone has to pull the dream demon into the real world so Hope can kill it, but she can’t be the one to do it because she’s the only person who knows the real location of the urn. So instead, Kaleb, MG, Rafael, and Landon all agree to a group nap time, and before they fall asleep, Hope tells Landon a fake location for the urn. Only, he doesn’t know it’s fake.
Each guy enters into his own nightmare, including Ric who fell asleep on his own and is driving the urn out of town when he realizes he can’t leave Mystic Falls and is therefore in a dream. So he quickly crashes his car and wakes up. For Kaleb, his nightmare is being tied to a chair Hannibal Lecter-style and being forced to watch videos about how vampires are bad. MG’s nightmare involves going full ripper and killing a bunch of people accidentally. Rafael is chained to a tree during a full moon, where Hope once again pays him a visit and claims she wants to be with him. And then there’s Landon, stuck in a classroom where the walls are closing in on him.
Ultimately, it’s Landon who gets the dream demon to show its real face, and it’s Landon who brings it back to the real world. And Hope does the rest. With an assist from Alaric, she stabs the demon in the eyes and kills it. But the demon left its mark. Rafael tells Hope that they can’t talk like they have been anymore, so I guess his feelings are real?
Then there’s Landon, whose feelings for Hope are very real. He explains that facing the dream demon made him realize that he’s spent too much of his life being afraid. He tells Hope that she can keep her secrets because she’s the one burdened with all the responsibilities no one else can handle. “It is my job to bust my ass until you see me as someone to confide in,” he tells her, adding, “But I’m not going to be afraid of losing you anymore, Hope, because I’m gonna be the guy who always fights to find you again.” Her response? A kiss.
Okay, here’s where we get back to the Hot Bad Guy. He shows up on the doorstep of Landon and Rafael’s old foster parents asking questions. When it’s clear they’ve been compelled, he asks if they have any of Landon’s old possessions. And with that, they invite him in.
I still have a lot of questions about where we’re going with this mystery, but I love how this week saw Landon get in on the action, and I continue to be a massive fan of his love story with Hope. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the Rafael-Hope situation, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of that either. All in all, this wasn’t the show’s strongest hour, and yet, it continues to be a very enjoyable part of my week.