The Salvatore brothers join forces to take down Lily and her psychopath boy toy.
Credit: Annette Brown/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…
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Faking your own death and abandoning your two sons are definitely characteristics that would make a woman Mommie Dearest caliber. Lily Salvatore makes Joan Crawford’s aversion to wire hangers look like child’s play. But Lily is a different person now. She has her heretic family under control, the love of her life by her side, and neither Damon nor Stefan is dead. Victories all around!

Stefan invites Lily over so he can calmly remind her that she’s shacking up with a psychopath. He tells his mother than he got Valerie pregnant in 1863, and when Julian found out, he got rid of the baby. Spoiler: Your boy toy murdered your grandchild. Although this was a nice lead-in to the “Let’s Find Mom a New Boyfriend” campaign, Lily isn’t buying it. Valerie is a liar. Stefan concedes, pours his mama a drink, and watches as she falls to the floor from a nice glass of concentrated vervain. Cheers!

Lily wakes up tied up to a chair. Her two sons take turns comparing Julian to their father. Obviously, Lily has a problem dating losers. Especially a man who served a 12-year-old his pet turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Say it ain’t so! In a flashback, we learn that Giuseppe Salvatore forced Damon to eat poor Sammy. Bring on the nightmares.

Meanwhile, Bonnie and Enzo find Oscar’s car in a junk yard. Enzo is determined to uncover what is hidden away in the trunk that Julian could possibly want. Oh look! A miniature sword! Bonnie recognizes it and wants to study it closely. Enzo wants to stick the pointy end in Julian’s heart. Guess who wins that argument? Knowing that the sword must be the secret to killing his arch-nemesis, Enzo invites Julian to the creepy woods for a gentlemen’s duel. Swords are the weapon of choice (not the miniature one Enzo found), and the two begin some pretty impressive sparring. Let’s just say that both could be candidates for the Dread Pirate Roberts, should the need arise.

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Over at the Lockwood Mansion, Damon goes back to that awful Thanksgiving night. As if eating your own pet turkey wasn’t bad enough, Giuseppe accused Damon of stealing money. It’s clear that Damon didn’t take it, but he confessed in order to protect Stefan. His punishment? A cigar to the forearm. Current-day Lily looks wounded and defiant at the same time. She claims that she knew Giuseppe was a monster. And then, her neck begins bleeding. Through choking breaths she reminds her boys that she bound herself to Julian. If he dies, she dies.

Stefan unties Lily so her neck wound can heal. She tells him that she took the money to buy three train tickets so they could escape Giuseppe. All she cared about was protecting the boys. Then she doubles over with blood soaking her blouse and spilling from her mouth. Cut to Damon shoving the miniature sword he snatched from Enzo into Julian’s body. He scoffs at the Hamlet Community Theater of it all — his mother linking her life to a boyfriend who engages in a duel with the one guy who pines after her. Enzo didn’t know Lily was linked to Julian. He punches Damon out of anger before Julian cracks Enzo’s neck. To quote Damon, “Should Julian be deader?”

Julian stabs Damon; Stefan arrives and cracks Julian’s neck. Everyone lives because the “special sword” doesn’t permanently kill vampires. Julian runs to Lily, tattling on Damon for trying to kill him, ergo, trying to kill her. Julian picks up the sword and leaves with his bloody girl. Notice that Julian picked up the sword. Because Bonnie is a research genius, she discovered that the sword IS a significant weapon. It just needs one thing to possess the power against immortal foes — the Phoenix Stone. Without it, the sword is just a blade. And now Julian has it.

NEXT: Twinning is winning

Speaking of freaky magic not working, Caroline is not pregnant. After Valerie told Caroline that she was carrying Jo’s Gemini twins, a store-bought pregnancy test begs to differ. Caroline is thrilled that she hasn’t been knocked up by a coven of dead witches, but Alaric is more depressed than ever. While he turns to bourbon for comfort, Caroline meets Matt at The Grill. It looks like Julian’s band of compelled out-of-towners just got a lot bigger. There are dozens of people all over town who just sit around with saline drips looking spaced out. When Matt goes into great detail about how Julian must be “fattening the cows for slaughter,” Caroline pukes.

I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no. She’s not pregnant. Right? Caroline is already calling Valerie to come siphon the compulsion from the defenseless people. When Valerie arrives, she voices her concern about Caroline’s delicate condition. Caroline takes great pride in telling Valerie that she’s wrong. Now get to siphoning, heretic! All bets are off when Beau pops in, rendering everyone useless with his witchy headache tricks. Valerie casts a spell to cloak Caroline and gets the hell out of there. Who cares about Matt. That dude has nine lives. He can fend for himself.

Valerie tries to convince Caroline to take another pregnancy test. Caroline wonders how she knows so much about that Gemini spell. Valerie finally admits that she used it on herself. She tells the story about Julian and the baby. Caroline uses context clues to figure out that the baby was Stefan’s.

Ric accompanies Caroline to have an ultrasound. A nurse confirms that there isn’t a baby, let alone two. Valerie comes in, and Caroline delivers the sad news for the second time that day. Then it hits Valerie: the cloaking spell! She touches Caroline’s abdomen as Caroline grabs the ultrasound wand. The sonogram doesn’t lie. The babies are alive and well. Say hello to the next generation of Gemini twins.

Back at Thanksgiving Central, Damon defends his actions to Stefan. He plunged a sword into Julian’s body because he wanted to kill two birds with one stone. He doesn’t care about Lily. She deserves what she gets. And what she’s getting is some pretty pathetic lies from Julian. He promises Lily that she was never in any danger during his little sword fight with Enzo. He also feigns shock when she mentions his role in Valerie losing her baby. He really turns on the charm and asks for her forgiveness.

Lily flashes back to Giuseppe beating her senseless for buying train tickets and then asking for her forgiveness. Both men promise to never hurt her. Lily heads to the Lockwood Mansion to announce that the boys were right — she traded one monster for another. And Lily has a plan to take darling Julian down. Suit up, boys. And make sure to bring the wire hangers.

Diary Notes:

  • In the flashforward, Damon and Ric race to the TV station to save Caroline. Damon assumes that Stefan heard the broadcast in which Caroline has an urgent message for his brother. Does this mean they all live in Dallas? Who is the “she” who wants Stefan dead? Who shot Damon inside the station? Are these flashforwards annoying or annoyingly brilliant?
  • Raise your hand if you saw Bonnie give Enzo her sexiest stare? Are we on board with this love match?
  • Matt is still trying to save the Saline Drip People, so he called Jeremy and Tyler to find a way to help him. What does this mean, and do we care?
  • When Valerie said that she tried to save her baby with the same Gemini spell, did anyone think that it may have worked and a little Salvatore kid will come out of the woodwork sooner or later? Was that just me? (P.S.: Call me, Julie Plec! I’m full of great ideas!)

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