Damon works with Kai while Stefan is forced to face his past mistakes
The Lies Will Catch Up to You
Credit: Bob Mahoney/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…

“The Lies Will Catch Up to You”: This week’s title takes us back to season 1, episode 5, and, more specifically, to a Damon quote. After Stefan locked his older brother up in the Salvatore basement for being a threat to exposing what they were, Damon told his brother: “You won. You got the bad guy. Now nothing can come between you and Elena. Except the truth. The lies will catch up to you, Stefan, as long as you keep lying to yourself about what you are.”

And that brings us to tonight’s episode, which was quite literally about all of Stefan’s lies catching up to him. See, when Stefan became human, his compulsion wore off, meaning every single person he ever compelled has now been flooded with memories. In other words, Stefan has a lot of explaining to do. Or rather, Caroline does.

When Matt tells her that the police station is being flooded with people reporting old crimes involving Stefan, she heads down there to re-compel everyone to forget the “intense guy” with “weird hair.” As for Stefan, you’ll remember that last week ended with him being kidnapped, and we quickly learn why. Remember when Dorian mentioned that his father and sister died in a house fire? Well, that’s actually what Stefan compelled him to believe. In reality, Dorian’s family lived in Knoxville, and, as any die-hard fan can guess, that means Dorian’s family members were victims of Stefan’s during his time with Klaus (specifically, during the season 3 premiere).

And now, Dorian has kidnapped Stefan and is forcing him to dig his own grave. This kid’s out for revenge.

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, Kai has returned! As he explains his reappearance to Ric and Damon, we get a flashback to the moment Matt rang the Maxwell bell for the eleventh time. It was then that a very hot — literally — Kai found himself in the Mystic Grill. Suddenly, he was alive. Or at least almost alive. When Kai couldn’t taste or feel anything, he realized his predicament. As he tells Ric and Damon back in present day, he’s not so much a ghost as he is a psychic imprint with one foot on earth and another in hell. At this point, he can still do magic, but only when he siphons himself, and so he needs to find a way to stay in the land of the living. And if Damon will help him, he offers to bring back Elena.

Damon immediately thinks to call Bonnie. If she’s found a way to bring Enzo back from hell, maybe she can help with Kai. Only, Bonnie still hasn’t found Enzo. And it also only takes her about 30 seconds to realize Kai’s back. (I’m kind of loving that this season is bringing back Bonnie being psychic, which started in the pilot.) With that, she heads straight to Cade for answers.

Sitting in the middle of a populated coffee shop, Bonnie joins hands with Cade so that he can teach her about her new gift. Now that she’s had a “powerful traumatic awakening,” Cade says Bonnie must open up her mind to Cade and together they can reach Enzo. So, as she remembers the moment of Enzo’s death — again, you guys are in public — she’s transported to the cabin where she and Enzo fell in love.

After a quick reunion with Enzo, he warns her to stay away from Cade. According to Enzo, Cade is trying to use Bonnie to find him in order to claim his soul for hell. Translation: Enzo’s not in hell yet. So where is he?

Allow Cade to explain: When Enzo died, Bonnie screamed, and in the moment of her deepest pain, a powerful psychic blast created an entire world, a private dimension linked only to her. So yeah, she pulled a Cade. Except her dimension is hidden, even from Cade. Angry, Cade reads her mind and discovers that Kai might have gotten out of hell.

NEXT: Kai pays Elena a visit

Speaking of Kai, he might only have one foot in the real world, but he’s already back on social media. If you’re alive, you might as well get a few likes, as he puts it. But when his nose starts bleeding, he realizes he’s running out of time, and needless to say, he’s in no rush to get back to the place where you spend all of your time burning alive.

When Damon mentions the sirens, Kai gets an idea: He needs to kill someone evil to prolong his time on earth. Damon tries to explain that he’s no longer in the business of murdering people — he wants to preserve his future with Elena — but as Kai reminds him, he is already “super deep in the karma hole.” With that, Damon takes Kai to eat the sleazy cook at the diner.

But when Damon gets word that Cade heard about Kai, he puts his own plan in motion. Damon’s theory is that Kai’s only hope is redemption. He needs to atone. And in order for him to get Damon’s forgiveness, he’s going to bring Elena back right now.

So while they head to Elena’s coffin — which is now back in Mystic Falls — Stefan tries to convince Dorian not to shoot him, because if Dorian does, he, too, will be doomed to hell. But all Dorian cares about is revenge. Why should Stefan get to walk around trying to do good when he should be in hell? Dorian, for one, doesn’t care about Stefan’s redemption, so he shoots him.

Yeah, that doesn’t last long before Dorian regrets it and calls Matt for help. Caroline overhears and rushes out to find Stefan, but when she gets there, he’s already on the verge of death. In fact, Stefan’s so close to death that Cade has come to collect. Having a quite literal out-of-body experience, Stefan and Cade have a quick chat.

Stefan’s not ready to go yet. He has too much left to make up for. Cade, on the other hand, makes the argument that it’d be better for Caroline if Stefan died today. That way, she wouldn’t have to spend the next 50 years following Stefan around as he tried to find redemption. Instead, Cade thinks Stefan should release Caroline from her suffering and give her back the life she was meant to have.

But if there’s one thing Cade should know about the Salvatores, it’s that they’re stubborn, and as Stefan tells Cade, he wants to live. Cade’s final words before Stefan comes back to life? “That’s only human.”

At the hospital, Stefan is able to recover, and he decides to leave his fate in Dorian’s hands. Stefan has Matt give Dorian all of the police files that link Stefan to dozens of crimes. Whatever Dorian decides is justice, they’ll respect.

But for now, Stefan’s still trying to figure out who he is as a human. (To be fair, he’s only been human for two days.) And in order to discover who he is now, he thinks he needs to leave Mystic Falls… alone. Of course, Caroline hates that idea. She might not know what kind of future they can have, but she never did. Only, it used to be exciting. Now, it feels misguided.

With that, Caroline heads home, and when Ric brings the girls by, she discovers her newest problem: The twins are acting out (and using magic to do it) and Ric can’t stop it. He says it started three days ago, a.k.a. when the bell rang.

Getting back to the Kai of it all, Damon leads him to Elena, but because Kai is Kai, he siphons all of Damon’s energy and then uses that to disappear and take Elena with him. As Kai puts it, hell helped him realize that there’s no such thing as redemption. Kai is not a good person, and if he’s going down, he’s going out with a bang.

And that’s where we leave things. For me, this hour felt a little heavy handed in its delivery of all things related to “redemption,” but it’s still a theme that I enjoy and am happy the show’s exploring. I also love the mention of how many ripple effects come from just one vampire in Mystic Falls. After all, this season is all about the consequences of everything that’s happened over eight seasons. Plus, there’s Kai. How can you not love Kai?

What did you think of the hour? Hit the comments with your thoughts or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.

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