Jeremy's fate is revealed, as are Elena's and Bonnie's dangerous next moves
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…

Okay, everyone, we’re going to need some time to process this one. I love that this show is more than the love triangle, but I can’t remember the last time I rewound as much to follow exposition. (I miss Elijah and the fake Curse of the Sun and the Moon.) But it was, I believe, worth it in the end for the big show-changing twists.

1.) Jeremy is really dead. According to an poll after last week’s episode, only 22 percent of viewers were certain we were kissing our white tanks goodbye. So I’m guessing most of us are only now mourning the loss of those biceps. I’m sorry to see him go, but…

2.) Damon telling Elena to turn off her humanity so she would survive her overwhelming grief was brilliant. It should have hit me sooner that that’s where we were headed, but I gasped when he said it. It led to a beautiful scene between the brothers, which rightfully took place on the porch where Elena and Damon had some of their best scenes that divided the brothers. They made peace there now…

3.) BEFORE IT WENT UP IN FLAMES! Elena still burned down her house, with Jeremy’s body in it. Again, I should have seen that coming: Her emotions were off, it probably is the best cover story (even though April should know the fire wasn’t reported until long after she’d called the house phone and Elena said Jeremy was dead). This is as great a loss as Jeremy. Goodbye, porch. Goodbye, Gilbert Kitchen of Death that I was surprisingly fond of.

4.) Silas seems to be masquerading as Shane? That’s where I’m still confused. But the bottom line seems to be that Shilas, as he shall now be known, has Bonnie brainwashed into thinking it’s okay for her to kill 12 people to bring back Jeremy and EVERY OTHER SUPERNATURAL CREATURE THAT HAS EVER DIED. If they all return and end up in New Orleans, where the Originals start a supernatural detective agency to hunt the bad ones, that could be fun. Angel 2.0! (A girl can dream.)

Let’s dig in.

So Stefan was the first to figure it out: Because Jeremy was one of The Five, he’s supernatural, so the resurrection ring would no longer work. Stefan told Damon, and Damon said Elena won’t survive this. He asked Stefan to take Elena off the island, and he’d look for Bonnie, who’d gone missing.

Stefan and Elena arrived home with Jeremy’s body, and truth be told, he had more color there than he did in Silas’ crypt. I’m just saying. Stefan shook his head at Caroline, who’d been trying to clean Kol’s burn mark, so she knew Jeremy wouldn’t be coming back. Upstairs, Elena covered Jeremy in his bed, held his hand, and waited. Heartbreaking.

On the island, Damon’s witch hunt was interrupted by a noise in the woods. “Unless you’re blonde, a Bennett witch, or a doppelgänger, I suggest you steer clear,” he said. Who was it? We don’t know. But Rebekah appeared shortly there afterward. He told her about Katherine’s return and Jeremy, and I believed what Rebekah said: She’s not heartless. She won’t miss Jeremy, but she knows he was Elena’s only family and she understands loss. She wanted to find Katherine, but Damon said she’d be gone. They had to find Bonnie. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Silas is up and about.

Bonnie awoke to find she was pretty much healed from that stab wound to the back. And damn it, Shane is alive. He said he treated her with herbs and berries from the island — WHAT? — and that Silas healed his leg. DOUBLE WHAT? He congratulated her on raising Silas and said Silas was going to bring back the dead. Bonnie said that was unnatural, but Shane told her she might change her mind. Either she hadn’t remembered Jeremy dying or she blocked it out. Was Shane just brainwashed himself or was he Shilas already?

In the Gilbert Kitchen of Death, Stefan and Caroline turned on the faucet so Elena wouldn’t hear them discuss how her denial was the only thing keeping her sane until they could get Damon back there to sire bond her through this. Elena had come downstairs and heard them though, and she’s right, she’s not in denial: Technically, Jeremy’s Hunter’s mark, the spell that opened the passage to Silas, had left his body, so maybe he wasn’t supernatural at the time of his death after all. She’s holding on to hope. I’ll grant her that.

NEXT: “What’s that smell?”

Caroline left Tyler a voicemail to call her (he never would), and Stefan tried to give her a pep talk: Katherine had been running from Klaus for 500 years, so it is possible Tyler will be okay. Stefan presumes that’s why she stole the cure, so she could use it to bargain with Klaus. But how did she find out about the cure hunt, and why was she hanging around them for weeks? I wish there was a flashback montage of her lurking.

Caroline went into her version of Anya’s “I don’t know what to do” speech after Joyce’s death on Buffy, but of course, she rattled off her to-do list: Get Matt there for Elena, ask her mother what to do about a cover story and funeral, and make a casserole or whatever else people are supposed to do. Anyone else think it’s weird that she’s pretending she hasn’t seen a ton of people die? She went to leave but turned around. “What’s that smell?” she asked. “It’s his body. He’s starting to decompose,” Stefan said. Whoa. Not sure how I feel about that. I guess they have to keep reinforcing to us that he’s gone and this time it’s different. Stefan told Caroline to get Dr. Fell there.

On the island, Rebekah assumed Damon wasn’t strong enough to handle a grieving Elena, and he used her as a shield to stop an incoming arrow from Vaughn. Damon caught up to Vaughn and knocked him out. Meanwhile, Bonnie was busy sobbing over Jeremy and trying to start a forest fire with her own grief. Shane told her she was going to help Silas, and she’d see Jeremy again. (So that’s what all that mind control was back in Shane’s office?)

Meredith did a quick examination of Jeremy as Elena babbled about Alaric having been dead for a day once and Jeremy now having died enough times that they’ll have to watch him to make sure he doesn’t go crazy like Alaric had. Meredith went into doctor mode and told her how Jeremy’s body would start to bloat if they didn’t get him to a funeral home soon. More uncomfortable tough talk — that made it feel damn real. Elena shoved Meredith and started saying they needed magic. Someone had to bring her Bonnie. Did you see the way Stefan let his forehead touch the back of Elena’s as he held her back? Sweet. And then Matt arrived and started to tear up. Elena hugged him and told him Bonnie would be there and everything would be fine. She just kept repeating it.

After the commercial break, Matt and Elena were magically composed and drinking their usual cup of Grief Tea and toasted to Damon logic (being mean to the people you care about, which means he loves Bonnie). Matt didn’t drug her this time, but I thought he’d asked her to go someplace with him so Meredith and Stefan could remove the body. But would they really take the body away without her consent? (No, it turns out.)

NEXT: Prepping for the spinoff

On the island, Damon had a large knife to Vaughn’s throat because he assumed Vaughn had helped Katherine “bone” him. They couldn’t kill him, but Rebekah was prepared to go Zero Dark Thirty on him (which Damon always approves of) and Vaughn spilled everything: He was tracking vampire dens in Colorado when Katherine found him and said she could lead him to Silas. Katherine already knew about the Hunter’s mark and cure, having found Hayley in New Orleans. Katherine getting hooked up with Hayley seems like a megastretch, but since this leads to me seeing Elijah again, I’m cool with it. Damon left Vaughn with Rebekah, so she could pursue her lead on the cure, and he was off to find Bonnie. That really is why he stayed behind: He knows Elena couldn’t survive losing her best friend, too.

Bonnie was hearing what a large role she’s supposed to play now that Silas is up. Shane said Silas was a witch, but when he became immortal, he lost his ability to do magic. So he needs Bonnie to do his work raising the dead. That’s why Shane has been teaching her Expression. Those three massacres mark the earth with power that she can tap into. Oh, and he needs her to help do that third massacre of 12 people. Bonnie said no, and Shane grabbed her. She ran and tripped over Jeremy’s dying body. “Jeremy” asked her to help him and she performed CPR on the earth and enough magic for a prolonged wind gust. But Jeremy disappeared. Bonnie said she’d do whatever it takes. Ugh.

Meredith bumped up the AC to preserve Jeremy’s body and talked with Stefan about how watching someone in denial is the hardest part for people like them: All they can do is brace for impact. He got a call from Damon, whom he told to get his sire butt back now. Stefan would go looking for Bonnie if need be. Luckily, Bonnie walked out of the woods and found Damon, who hugged her. Ah. I would have liked to enjoy that moment, but I was kinda busy hating Bonnie. She told him she knows what to do to bring Jeremy back.

Matt really did want to take Elena some place. The stoner pit at the school, where Jeremy had long ago graffiti’d about his love of Vicki. I was a little confused by this scene: Matt’s point seemed to be that in this crazy town, it’s okay to have hope. Which was nice. But even though they didn’t know Bonnie’s plan, Elena’s hope still involved magic and resurrecting Jeremy somehow. When Matt got to see his sister again through magic, she’d tried to kill Elena. So you know, the moral here should still be resurrection is bad. Stefan called Elena and told her Damon and Bonnie were on their way back and Bonnie has an idea.

NEXT: Bonnie is crazy now

Rebekah, still on the island, got spooked by Vaughn when he showed her the mask Silas had been wearing and told her that no one’s ever seen his face. So how can you hide from the devil when you don’t know what he looks like? True. He wants Rebekah to find the cure and use it to kill Silas. If not, vampires and humans are all doomed, Vaughn said.

Bonnie and Damon drove up to Elena’s house, and Damon immediately told Caroline to get him Stefan. Apparently Bonnie had shared her plan with him on the trip home. If DAMON says your plan for carnage is wrong, it’s wrong. As Bonnie told Matt, Caroline, and Elena what she needed to do, we flashed back to Shane telling Bonnie on the island: So Qetsiyah knew Silas would want to die and be with his true love, so she created “the Other Side” — a purgatory for all supernatural beings — insuring that if he did die, he’d end up there forever. So Silas needs Bonnie to get rid of the Other Side. If she drops the veil, then ALL the supernatural creatures who’ve ever died since the Other Side was created will be back, including Grams and Jeremy. Shane told Bonnie she WOULD do this.

Caroline, of course, immediately said this was crazy talk, and Matt agreed. Bonnie fought with them and Elena just stared ahead. The phone rang, and it was April trying to reach Jeremy. I knew what Elena would say, that this would be the moment she admitted Jeremy was gone. But man, poor April for having to hear it: “Jeremy can’t come to the phone right now, he’s not — I’m sorry, he’s dead.”

Elena went upstairs and now smelled what everyone else had. I honestly thought Jeremy might, in fact, be bloated when she pulled back the blanket. Luckily, he wasn’t. Damon came in, and she wouldn’t listen to him. She went downstairs and asked for Bonnie. Matt was taking her home, so Elena said they’d have to do this the old-fashioned way. I didn’t get it at first: She wanted to burn the house down with Jeremy it. It was a good cover story. Plus, she didn’t want the memories of everyone she’s lost. She was scaring me, too, Caroline, as she dosed the house and Jeremy with lighter fluid. She lit a match and dropped it when it started to burn her fingers. Luckily, Damon caught it. Elena collapsed to the floor and wailed. The pain hurt too much. She just wanted it to stop. Stefan told Damon to help her, and here’s what made this whole episode worth it: DAMON TOLD HER TO TURN IT OFF. He said it would all go away. It’s what he wanted her to do. She stared ahead. And then did it.

Matt took Bonnie home, and she told him not to worry, she’d bring Jeremy back. I guess they all just figured they’d deal with her another day. Shane appeared outside Bonnie’s door in full-on creepy mode. He’s totally Shilas now, right? Bonnie hadn’t seemed herself in the car, but then she was herself here when she asked Shane about his lie: If bringing down the veil brings back the supernatural, the folks at the Pastor Young farm are still dead. A necessary sacrifice, Shane said. They’ve found peace, that’s all anyone wants, including Silas. Shane said they’d do this together. “We are the beginning.”

Rebekah was still on the island looking for, what, I’m not sure. A way off? Katherine? She stumbled onto Shane’s body. He looked dead, but he grabbed her leg as she walked by. “Silas,” he eeked out. Was that a warning or what? Confused!

Matt broke down in his car. Normally, I appreciate him crying. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a migraine most of the day, but that felt like a strange cut to me, even though he has every right to weep. I assume it was meant to contrast with cold-hearted Elena just staring at the old photo of her and Jeremy. Outside, Stefan told Damon it was a mistake to turn off Elena’s humanity, since it was all she had left, and Damon said humanity means nothing if you don’t have someone to care about. Stefan said she had Damon, and Damon said he wasn’t enough this time — she’d lost her brother. Ah. That was the best moment: I wanted to know for certain that Damon hadn’t turned off her emotions because it’s what he’s always wanted. He truly thinks she wouldn’t survive losing her brother because he couldn’t. His plan is for them to keep an eye on her, and then Damon will eventually use the sire bond to bring her humanity back. Good luck! The moment got even better. Damon told Stefan their differences over Elena mean nothing now, and Stefan started to tell Damon what he couldn’t actually say — I love you. Damon said he knew and put his hand on Stefan’s shoulder. I teared up. And rewound. And wanted to call my sister.

I thought the episode was over, but no. The brothers went back inside to find Elena with another lit match. This was still the best cover story, she said — again, despite the fact that she told April that Jeremy was dead way before the fire actually “killed him.” Stefan tried to tell her that maybe one day she’ll want to come home, but she said she wouldn’t. She dropped the match, and we watched them walk out as the flames built. We saw Jeremy on fire. Again, like a punch to the gut. This is real. He’s gone. Unless Silas gets his way…

How are you feeling? Do you really believe Silas wants to end “the Other Side” so he can die and reunite with his lady love in death? Qetsiyah killed that woman before Silas turned her immortal, right? So did Qetsiyah tell Silas that if he took the cure he’d go to that place, and that’s why he never took it? He waited to be freed so he could bring down the veil and THEN take the cure?

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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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