Caroline flips her humanity switch just in time for Elena to find out the truth about the cure.
Credit: Tina Rowden/The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…

Now it feels like we’re finally getting somewhere. Between Elena discovering the cure and Caroline flipping her humanity switch back on, we are headed full speed ahead toward Nina Dobrev’s last finale. And if tonight’s hour set the tone, I think I’m going to like it. Let’s dig in!

We start with Stefan and Caroline, who have just arrived at a B&B. As Stefan previously told Damon and Elena, he has a fairly simple three-step plan to get Caroline to flip her switch:

1) Convince her that his humanity is still off.

2) Torture her until she breaks.

3) Drain her blood, make her weak, and then bombard her with everything she used to care about… with the real kicker being a letter her mother wrote her and mailed just before she died. (Do people really do that in real life?)

And yes, Elena, Stefan and Caroline hooked up. And yes, Damon, it’s likely Caroline will choose to have “sexy Stefan time” instead of “an assault on memory lane” because who wouldn’t?!

But when Damon arrives at the B&B and shoots both Caroline and Stefan—for show—with vervain, the plan seems to be off to a good start.

Three days later, we find Caroline and Stefan in a now-very-bloody room, where Damon has vampire-proofed the entire B&B. So while Jo and Alaric watch over the place—and makeout occasionally after talking about tasting wedding cake—Damon heads to ask Bonnie for a favor. He sort of gave Lily the ascendant, which means she’s going to come to Bonnie sooner or later to ask about saving her “witchpire” friends. As you can probably guess, Bonnie then yells at Damon before deciding that she needs to get that ascendant back.

Meanwhile, Elena’s enjoying being on watch at the B&B, where she delivers Liz’s letter to Caroline. But it seems she tried to play that card too soon. Instead of opening the letter, crying her eyes out, and then flipping her switch, Caroline burns the letter. (Seriously, what is it with humanity-less vampires and their desire to burn precious things?)

Also, sorry Liz?

Back at The Grill, Matt—who’s a manager now or something?—is trying to stall Lily for Bonnie when Enzo enters. He’s decided he wants a reunion with the woman who turned him and then abandoned him. But much like Lily didn’t really abandon her sons, she also didn’t really abandon Enzo. She informs him that the night he turned was the night she was captured by the Gemini coven. See? She would never have left such an attractive man by choice!

And speaking of attractive men, by the time Damon gets to the B&B, Elena has decided that she sucks at torturing people. But little does she know that playing a “let’s pretend we’re human fantasy game” will be all the torture Caroline needs. As Caroline listens in, Elena tells Damon where she’d be in five years if she were human: She’d be living in a loft in Tribeca, above the bar Damon works at. As he puts it, he’d be Matt Donovan in her fantasy … except she makes him owner of the bar. (Clearly she hasn’t seen Matt’s new button-up. Owner probably isn’t far away.)

Then she tells him that she would be in a surgical residency program and that they’d have two kids together. (Nobody tell her that they could never afford a loft in Tribeca.)

NEXT: The return of Caroline Forbes

When Caroline can’t take it anymore, she decides to makeout with Stefan until Damon and Elena come to say hello. Damon comes bearing police reports for all of the people they’ve killed. And, of course, he talks about how Liz would feel seeing her daughter this way. But Caroline doesn’t go down without a fight: First, she turns the tables on Delena and asks Damon what it’s like to know he can’t give Elena the life she really wants and to know that, as a vampire, Elena will always be settling.

Elena walks away, and when Damon catches up with her, she tells him that she’s not settling. And once again, the conversation rolls around to how, if Elena were human, she and Damon wouldn’t work. Damon points out that human Elena chose Stefan, which makes Elena finally admit that she’ll never be 100 percent okay with being a vampire … but she’s okay with that because she gets to be with Damon forever.

However, their chat is interrupted when Lily calls. See, Bonnie managed to steal the ascendant from the Salvatore house, and now, Lily is threatening to destroy the cure if Damon doesn’t get it back. Really? Damon hid it in a shoe box? Even the moonstone in the soap dish was better than that.

Upstairs at the B&B, Caroline is still trying to undress Stefan—can you blame her?—when she realizes that his switch has been flipped this entire time. So she snaps his neck with a sweater, kicks down the door, and leaves … only to get pulled over by her mom? Confused? It’s okay. It’s because Caroline’s really still back at the B&B. Stefan’s been in her head.

Caroline wakes up and stabs Stefan, only to be treated to one of Stefan’s last memories of Liz, when he stopped by to get a sewing kit to fix Bonnie’s teddy bear. In the memory, Liz says that she hopes that Caroline and Stefan will be more than friends one day, but he tells her that he’s willing to be patient because he wants the transition to be “perfect.”

Just as Stefan starts to dessicate, Caroline removes the stake and begs to see her mom again. But she can’t.

Flipping her switch, Caroline wants nothing more than to read her mother’s letter, but she’ll never get the chance. With her mom as her anchor, Caroline comes back to the world of feelings, where she simply can’t deal with anything, eventually leaving Stefan alone at the B&B.

Back in Mystic Falls, Damon tries to get the ascendant from Bonnie, but she calls him out on the fact that he doesn’t really want the cure. She knows him and she know that he’s more scared now than ever before, because he’s scared of what might happen if he gives Elena the cure. Bonnie hands over the ascendant and gives Damon a choice: Return the ascendant to Lily in exchange for the cure or let her destroy it and keep Elena vampire. Damon being Damon, he leaves the ascendant with Bonnie.

At home, he watches Lily burn the cure just as Elena enters the kitchen. And that’s when we realize that Lily only pretended to burn the cure. She really left it for Elena, because the real way to “punish” Damon would be to tell Elena that Damon was never going to offer it to her.

With that, Lily leaves, only to run into a poor man on the street and return to her ripper ways—decapitation and all. She then calls Enzo for help … so that should be an interesting relationship.

And of course, now that Elena knows that truth, she wants answers. Damon tells her that her fantasy of her life five years from now scared the hell out of him. She sees an entire future when all he sees is her. He knows he’s been acting selfishly, but he can’t lose her. So Elena offers to give the cure away. She doesn’t want to live without him either.

But Damon puts a quick end to that: She’s going to take the cure. And he’s going to take it with her.

Okay, but with the whole anti-aging part of the cure, wouldn’t Damon die if he took it?

Either way, this episode planted a number of seeds that I’m excited about, while also getting things a bit more back to normal. I’m still not sure how Elena will say goodbye, but it looks like she’ll be doing it as a human.

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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