While Stefan teaches Elena about his happiness, Damon and Bonnie learn a lot about Kai and misery.

By Mandi Bierly
Updated October 24, 2014 at 04:43 AM EDT
Bob Mahoney/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S6 E4
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Even in season 6, The Vampire Diaries still has its twists: Was anyone dying to see Ivy again? No, but surprise: Enzo fed her his blood, so she’s a hungry vampire. Kai is a serial killer, who murdered many of his “siblings” in the Gemini coven. He has no magic himself, but he can consume it from others temporarily, so unless Damon and Bonnie agree to take him back with them, he’ll kill them both. Damon killed Zach Salvatore’s girlfriend on May 10, 1994, along with the people at their eclipse party, which sparked the return of the Founders Council. The girlfriend’s unborn daughter survived and is Sarah. And oh, Stefan tells Elena about Alaric wiping her memory of good Damon. Let’s start with Damon.

We learn that back in 1994, Damon showed up at Nephew Uncle Zach’s doorstep after not seeing Stefan for nearly 50 years and claimed he wanted to go straight and narrow. Stefan, who knew that Damon had sent Lexi flowers to apologize for leaving her to burn on a rooftop 17 years earlier, reluctantly let him back into his life. He thought Damon was living on squirrel blood until he saw bite marks on the wrist of Zach’s pregnant girlfriend Gail. Turns out Damon had weened Zach and Gail off their vervain and didn’t consider feeding on his relative AND A PREGNANT LADY bad since he was keeping it all inside the house.

Stefan had snapped his neck and taken him to a shed where he could take his day ring, give him time to cool off, and berate him for always ruining his life. Damon, who just missed his brother and wanted him to go off on a road trip with him, snapped. That’s when he killed the people at the party, including Gail (though thank god Liz Forbes, who Damon flirted with, must’ve had to go home early to her “high maintenance” toddler, Caroline). He promised Stefan an eternity of misery—resentment for Stefan turning him into a vampire so he wouldn’t be alone, but then not wanting to be the kind of vamp Damon became and leaving him alone. Stefan was able to compel Zach to forget about Gail and the deaths, but he couldn’t hide the body count. Damon and Stefan both left town. Damon was happy to kill Zach when he returned because then he wouldn’t be reminded of what he’d done every time he looked at him. (That was well-played, writers.)

Is it convenient that Damon happened to commit this terrible crime on the day of the eclipse, which is what the coven had harnessed the power of, using a mystical relic called an Ascendent, to banish Kai? Yes. But you have to let them move the plot along. In the present day, after Kai mentions the relic was last with his family in Oregon, Bonnie remembers the newspaper she’s been staring at every day has a story about a family murder in that state. Creepy Kai tells them yes, he hanged two off a stairwell railing, stabbed one with a hunting knife in the abdomen, drowned one in the pool, and let one survive (he only cut out her spleen). The Gemini coven created this place for him—it’s his hell.

This presents a moral quandary: Kai wants to return so he can finish the job and kill the rest of his coven. Bonnie doesn’t want to bring back a serial killer, so she doesn’t want to do the spell. Damon, she realizes, has been making Gail’s favorite, pancakes, every day to punish himself—he feels remorse, which makes him different from Kai. Suddenly, after all these years, she sees there’s hope for Damon. (It could be that plaid shirt that’s unbuttoned to just the right spot. That’s even hotter than the henleys and V-necks.) He wants to get back for Stefan (but in a good way). He suggests they learn what Kai knows, then ditch him. But Kai, the master of creeping, overhears Damon and reveals that while he has no magic himself, he can temporarily take it from others. Either they take him with them, or he’ll steal Bonnie’s magic and kill both her and Damon. Bring Kai back and kill him on our side, guys. We need a Big Bad, and a human serial killer with succubus-esque qualities is different.

NEXT: Road trip

Stefan and Elena search the Mystic Falls border for Sarah, which is stupid, because why would she leave Mystic Falls? Stefan wants to go back to Georgia already, pack his stuff, and find someplace to begin anew. Elena threatens to keep pestering him unless he can prove to her that he can be happy just starting over. They go back to Georgia and after they visit Stefan’s car, they end up at a bar where Stefan shows her how easy it is to invent a new personality. He’s done it every 30 years, and has been a carpenter, ambulance driver, migrant worker, high school student, and an auto mechanic. Apparently, all you have to do is kneel in a public place and propose to “Elena Williams,” who plays along and says yes to “Stefan Cooper,” with whom she’s stayed through multiple rehab stints, jail time, and a bullfighting injury.

Elena seems satisfied enough and leaves. Stefan, however, sticks around and starts a bar fight with a guy who’s been giving him the evil eye. Were we supposed to recognize him? The guy is looking for payback, and Stefan just lets him beat him. Elena comes back in because she forgot something and breaks it up. Stefan may be trying to move on, but he’s still punishing himself for abandoning Damon. Elena thinks he’s pushing her away because she never liked Damon and that he should follow her example on how she dealt with Bonnie’s death. Stefan can’t handle taking advice from clueless Elena, so he finally tells her that Alaric erased all her good memories of Damon. She can’t believe she was in love with Damon, but Stefan explains it in a way that lets us know he truly understands why Elena and Damon were really in love. Neither of them can live without Damon, he says, but he has to knowing what he’s lost.

Elena goes to see Alaric, and he gives her the journal in which she wrote a letter to herself detailing why she had Alaric do it and why she hoped she’d not undo it. For now, she won’t. That decision isn’t surprising, but the fact that Elena found out so quickly is. It would have been too difficult for anyone who cares about her to be around her otherwise.

Last and definitely least, we get to Matt and Jeremy. Matt is on a mission to find out what Tripp knows. Matt does some decent acting when he tells him that Jay had said he was tracking a vampire. Tripp trusts Matt enough to take him to his secret holding cell in the woods where he’s keeping Enzo. Tripp now remembers a vampire compelling him to forget that he’d just killed his wife and to believe that he was to blame for her death instead. Who was the vampire? Damon at the party? And then Stefan compelled surviving Tripp to think it was an auto accident, and that’s why Stefan is punishing himself with being an auto mechanic now, just like Damon was punishing himself with those pancakes? Is that why Tripp is keeping Enzo alive, to get to Stefan because he recognized him? Tripp tells Matt that he knows Enzo killed Jay, but he wants Enzo to tell him the names of all his vampire friends, starting with the one who bit Sarah. This is when it’s good that Enzo is fond of Caroline. So far, he’s not talking. And speaking of Caroline? Where in the hell is she this episode? (At least we know she’s in next week’s. Girl gone wild Ivy brings Stefan and Caroline back together.)

Alaric takes hungover Jeremy to the hospital to get… rehydrated. At least the show has Jo acknowledge how lame that is. Plus, we get the comedy of Alaric suggesting she run STD tests on Jeremy as well, since she’s insisting on a full workup. This is really just an excuse for Alaric to see the Doctor Who is Not Meredith Fell. While Jeremy gets an IV, Alaric fails to flirt well with her because he’s distracted by a young man with a bloody face. The trip also begins Alaric’s mission to get Jeremy healthy. Naturally, this involves the two fighting in the woods, because that’s how hot men work out their issues. Jeremy feels like he has a right to have a problem right now since Bonnie died to save everyone else and told him about it over the phone. He has resentment issues, and Alaric, wanting to say what every adult is thinking, is like, “I have YEARS of resentment, you entitled teen prick.” I’m paraphrasing. The moral here is, “We find a way to keep going.” He seems to get through to Jeremy.

Jeremy returns to Salvatore Mansion and Sarah is waiting for him. All she wants is answers. When she was tossing the house, she found a photo of Zach and her mom on eclipse day—her mother was wearing the same dress in the picture she’s carried with her. Jeremy tells her Zach was her father. Now what? Will she be kind to vampires since Damon and Stefan are her distant relatives and she has no other family?

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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