Humanity-free Stefan forces Caroline to lose control, while Damon and company free his mother from her prison world.

By Samantha Highfill
March 20, 2015 at 08:16 PM EDT
Tina Rowden/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S6 E17
  • TV Show

Much like Elena Gilbert, I love Damon Salvatore, the son. After six years, they’ve somehow managed to find yet another new dimension to this character, and it’s nothing if not enjoyable. And then there’s the fact that I already loved humanity-free Stefan, so right now, I’m pretty happy with where the brothers are in their journeys. Tack on the Enzo-Alaric duo and the twist at the end of the hour, and I’m in. Let’s do this!

We pick up right where we left off, at the bar where Stefan said goodbye to his humanity and hello to a margarita. Only now, Stefan is nowhere to be seen and Caroline is doing what no humanity-free vampire should: cleaning. As she tells Enzo when he enters, she’s returning the bar to the way she found it so that she won’t get kicked out of school or have to rot in a cell. After all, she can’t mess up her life right before she’s got an audition for the school musical tomorrow.

Basically, humanity or not, Caroline will always be a drama major. And she has a routine to keep.

Meanwhile, humanity-less Stefan returns home with one question for big brother Damon: “Where do we keep the weapons?” Spoiler: In the throne. Yes, they have a throne. Why they don’t sit on it more often, I have no idea.

While Stefan grabs his weapons of choice, Damon attempts to inject him with vervain, but he’s too slow. Stefan was ready for the attack—he figured Elena would tell on him. Now, he tells his brother to stay out of his way. Humanity-free Stefan was always a bit of a loner, wasn’t he? (Unless, of course, he had Klaus by his side.)

However, Damon’s idea of staying out of Stefan’s way involves beating up a perfectly good couch. Apparently, he thinks of it as a “healthy outlet” for his rage. Hey, it’s better than drinking a sorority girl.

When Elena enters, she informs Damon that Stefan was Caroline’s emotional trigger. He sees her bad news and raises her worse news: His mother is still alive. And she’s a ripper. As he puts, it makes sense, because “Stefan was always such a momma’s boy.” However, that gives Elena an idea: Why wouldn’t Stefan’s mother be an emotional trigger for him? And with that, they’re off to Lily’s permanent time-out.

Well, they will be, after Damon gets Bonnie and Kai on board, which turns out to be pretty easy. Promising Bonnie answers to all her prayers—which means what exactly?—Damon gets her to agree, and Kai agrees so long as Bonnie comes along. (He’s still hoping for forgiveness from the Bennett witch he betrayed so many times.)

Meanwhile, Sarah Salvatore wakes up in the hospital to find doctor Jo at her side. The story goes something like this: Sarah had too much to drink and passed out on the quad. You know, classic college mistakes. And with this being the first day of spring break, it’s the perfect time to protect a lie. It’s also the perfect time to think of baby names! More on that later.

While Bonnie and Kai get everything in order to pick up Mama Salvatore—yes, Elena is coming; as if she’s going to miss the chance to meet the woman “who gave birth to the two epic loves of my life”—Caroline has an audition to attend. After belting out a few notes and shedding a few tears, Caroline is pretty sure she crushed it, but when she asks the director for feedback, Stefan decapitates him. (Geez, Paul Wesley’s directed two episodes, and now no other director is good enough, am I right?)

According to Stefan, Caroline ruined his life by making him flip his switch, and in return, he’s going to force her to lose control. Because of course, Caroline is the only humanity-free vamp who actually plans ahead—trying not to do anything she’ll feel guilty about when she flips her switch back on. Yep, she’s even good at being a bad vampire.

But unlike Caroline, Stefan doesn’t have an elaborate system to keep him in check. And by the time he brings Caroline down to his level, she’ll be drowning in mistakes.

Still in control freak mode, Caroline retaliates by removing a few bolts on Stefan’s motorcycle, causing it to come crashing to the ground. And yet, it’ll take Stefan about 10 minutes to fix. As he puts it, her idea of revenge makes her an “embarrassment to humanity-free vampires everywhere.” So she punches a hole in his gas tank. Let’s see you fix that, Stefan.

Sidenote: Is it just me or is humanity-free Stefan hotter than normal Stefan? That white V-neck and leather jacket are more than working.

You know what else is more than working? Everything about Alaric and Jo. Especially this: “Anyone named Alaric should not be allowed to name another human.” She’s kind of right. But once Alaric brings up the point that he didn’t name himself, he’s granted veto power for their baby names. However, that’ll all have to wait when Damon’s second favorite drinking buddy decides to team up with Damon’s first favorite drinking buddy. Translation: Enzo enlists Alaric’s help in capturing Steroline.

NEXT: The return of the cure

Finally back in 1903, Elena explores the house Damon grew up in, stopping only to admire his adorable baby picture. Good try, Elena, but that’s Stefan. Luckily, Damon is equally adorable. (And suddenly, we’ve summed up this entire series-long love triangle.)

The best part of this hour? Damon turning and saying, “Hello, mother.” Oh, the memories.

Over tea, Lily tells some of her story: How a nurse in the TB ward fed her vampire blood and how she’s depleted all of the blood supply in her prison world. She’s currently living on two drops of blood a week to stay alive. Then, it’s Damon’s turn for storytime. He tells her how Stefan killed their father, which she finds just delightful. (And that should tell you all you need to know about her marriage.)

But at the first mention of Stefan, Damon and Elena reveal their real plan: They need Lily’s help to get him to flip his switch back. Lily is more than happy to help, so long as they agree to bring her companions back with her. Remember that joke Damon made about her joining a Ripper Coalition? Well, it’s kind of true.

Lily introduces Damon and Elena to a group of shriveled up vamps also imprisoned with her, otherwise known as her “family.” Apparently, they all sacrificed their blood rations for her, thereby teaching her to control her blood lust. This entire time, she’s made sure to save enough blood to be able to wake them if and when the day came. And now, the day is here. Or so she thinks…

Back at Whitmore, in her very empty dorm, Caroline is dealing with sexy Stefan, who tries to get Caroline to kill a stranger—or rather, not save her—but after one heck of a slap, Caroline seems to be winning the battle.

By the time Enzo and Alaric show up to try and capture the crazy vamps, they nearly get blown up. But again, Caroline stops Stefan from killing them. And that’s when Stefan returns to the random athlete down the hall. He’s sick of Caroline overthinking everything, so he’s going back to the basics of Vampire Temptation 101: Opening the neck vein of some poor bystander.

It’s only a matter of time before Caroline gives in … to all of her desires. First, she feeds. And then, she puts her blood-covered mouth on Stefan’s blood-covered mouth and the two of them have sex pressed up against a soda machine. To be fair, nobody said losing your humanity would lead to romance. Although it does apparently lead you back to the floor of your dorm room. The lesson here? Control is overrated. (And, as Elena’s taught us, sex with a Salvatore is always the answer.)

But unlike Caroline, I can’t lose control at this point, because we still have much to discuss. Like how Damon’s definition of answering Bonnie’s prayers is letting her literally stab Kai in the back. Turns out, the prison world changed Bonnie. And by changed her, she means that she’s now totally fine with killing bad people. But her final attempt to stab Kai in the heart fails when he magically disappears. Oh well, guess they’ll just have to strand him in a snowy 1903.

As Bonnie and Elena start the spell to return home, Damon convinces his mother to leave her “family” behind. In reality, he smashes the glass container of blood she’d saved for them and promises they’ll come back, but we know he’s lying. To him, it doesn’t matter, because Stefan is his family, and he’s here for his brother.

With that, Bonnie, Elena, Damon, and Lily return to present day. Left behind, Kai begins to cry, which I have to admit, really affected me.

In fact, the whole “bad boys making me feel things” continues when Enzo goes to Sarah and says that bringing her into his life was a mistake. Enzo now recognizes that he’s simply lonely, and Sarah was a pawn in a game that he’s lost interest in playing. She deserves better. So maybe someone should tell her why he’s calling her Sarah Salvatore???

Back home, Jo makes Alaric agree to stay alive for at least 18 years to raise their kid while Lily tries to figure out what a computer is. Staying in Stefan’s room—because there aren’t any other options at the boarding house?—Lily tells Damon that an angel did visit Stefan on the night of her funeral. It was her. She went to say goodbye to her boys, but when she leaned down to whisper in Stefan’s ear, she was overcome with bloodlust. She then fled for their sake. And she’s missed them every day since.

Damon, ever the oppressor of feelings, accepts her story and leaves, but not before lying about the fact that they’ll go back and get her friends—one of whom is about to snack on Kai, by the way.

Instead, Damon returns to the kitchen to find Elena still admiring the only baby picture of her boyfriend in existence. That admiration then turns to lust before Bonnie walks in and interrupts their makeout session. Sorry Elena, but Bonnie has a gift for Damon from 1994. It’s the cure for vampirism!

Apparently, Bonnie found Damon’s plans to get the cure for Elena and completed his mission for him. He asks, “What if I don’t want it for her now?” But that’s not Bonnie’s business. She was simply finishing what he started.

I’m going to be honest: Seeing the cure brings me back to season 4, and I don’t love the way it makes me feel. However, I feel like the cure is much more welcome this time around. Now, for some reason, I feel like it makes more sense, like it’s more intriguing. After growing into her vampire self, Elena is finally at the point where she could make an informed decision about this, right? Someone tell me how to feel! But more importantly, tell me how to get more Enzo-Alaric scenes.

Episode Recaps

The Vampire Diaries

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