The story behind the Gemini coven is revealed as Damon, Alaric, and Stefan blow off Friendsgiving to search for a way to bring Bonnie home. Well, Stefan wasn't invited.

By Mandi Bierly
Updated November 21, 2014 at 04:47 AM EST
Credit: Daniel McFadden/The CW

Well, those of you who’d like to see the show move on from the will they or won’t they (again) storyline of Damon and Elena are out of luck. But regardless of where you fall on the debate, a question: Why can’t Elena just date Damon and see if she likes him now for herself? Why does she have to wait for him to get Bonnie back so Bonnie can tell her whether Damon is decent or still a dick? Doesn’t the fact that Bonnie sacrificed herself so Damon could return count as an endorsement for at least dinner and a movie? But I digress.

We open with a truly frightening scene on May 4, 1994: Young Jo takes a large knife out of her spleen and stumbles into the next room to hide a young boy and girl under a bed as Kai hunts them. The kinds are blond, so immediately you guess they’re Liv and Luke. Cut back to present day, and Kai has transported Bonnie to Portland, Oregon, to cook her Thanksgiving dinner in the house where he committed mass murder. Charming.

Caroline is naturally planning a Friendsgiving, and for some reason, Jeremy and Matt are too busy cleaning the Tripp mess up to attend. Presumably, Sheriff Forbes had them over for some turkey, though. Jo breaks the news that Alaric has decided to have an impromptu boys weekend with the Salvatore Brothers. When Elena calls Alaric, he tells her about Bonnie’s teddy bear, Miss Cuddles, giving them hope that she’s still alive. They’re in Portland to track the Gemini coven and to make Stefan feel bad that he was the only one not invited to Friendsgiving. How would Caroline feel about Alaric and Damon knowing that she had feelings for Stefan? It makes for great comedy here as they list her pros (she’s hot, she puts up with Stefan, and she’s organized) and cons (she also slept with Damon).

The guys arrive at an open field and see nothing, at first. But then Damon starts using Bonnie’s bear, Miss Cuddles, to taunt Stefan: “Oh, no, is Stefan feeling sensitive about ruining his friendship with Caroline? She really liked him and he broke her heart,” he says in a high-pitched voice. “See, Stefan,” Alaric deadpans, “even the bear knew.” Brilliant. Damon continues talking in the bear voice until Stefan grabs it and punts it like Kyle kicking Ike on South Park. Suddenly, the house appears. “Miss Cuddles, 1. Invisible creepy mansion, 0,” Damon says.

Back at Caroline’s, Liv shows up being annoyingly pissy for someone who’s about to turn 22 with the chance to hook up with Tyler. She looks familiar to Jo, who has now sort of become the person I relate to most on the show as a thirtysomething woman who loves wine. She’s happy to see the two bottles Liam brought. Elena is just grateful that Jo risked her career to change that fake Lady Whitmore’s medical files, because now Liam is back to thinking Elena’s not a girl with secrets.

Alaric suspects that Bonnie put her magic in Miss Cuddles. The bear stays on the porch with Damon and Stefan when only human Alaric can go inside the house. After Bonnie (thinks she) convinces Kai to let her peacefully leave if she stays for one last meal together, we see Caroline try to gather everyone at the table and have them turn off their electronics. Luke plays a video of his and Liv’s fourth birthday party and Jo recognizes her own voice: Yep, she’s their sister.

NEXT: Father knows best

Back at the magic mansion, Damon meets Jo and the twins’ father, who, after hearing that Damon saw Kai, somehow masks Damon from Stefan and Alaric and gives him a witch migraine.

Exposition: Kai, Jo’s twin, killed four of their brothers and sisters but he was targeting Luke and Liv. In the Gemini coven, twins are in line to be the leader. After realizing Kai would never be capable of leading because he could only draw magic from others—which made him act out and isolate himself—their parents kept having children hoping for anther set of twins. When Kai figured it out, he snapped and wanted Luke and Liv dead. Jo hid the kids magically so they could run. She survived and found help with Sheila Bennett, a.k.a. Grams, who helped her remaining family and put Kai in his prison world.

God bless Caroline, she just wants someone to pass the dinner rolls. But we need to hear the rest of this story before Liam, who was compelled to go on a bottle opener run, returns. We learn that Liv does have a solid reason to be pissy: The coven’s tradition is that after their 22nd birthday, the twins merge their strength. The stronger twin absorbs the weaker’s power, and the weaker twin dies.

Liv, at this point, had taken her leave and is doing shots when Tyler finds her. He wants to help, but he can’t. Looking at him, she sees all she can’t have: Either she dies, or she lives knowing that she killed her brother. It’s wrong, but I just wanted them to have sex. That’s how he can help. Take her mind off of it for 15 minutes. Okay, 10.

We also learn why Dad gets so freaked out when Damon confirms that Kai knows about the Ascendant: If he arrives, he’ll go straight to Jo and absorb her power, then presumably kill the twins and become the coven’s mad man leader. While Damon watches Jo’s dad do a spell, Stefan and Alaric make calls. Stefan talks to Elena, who explains why she had to take Caroline’s side and asks him how he knew he could trust her with the secret that he’s a vamp. It’s because he loved her and wanted her to know everything. (You do not know Liam well enough to love him, Elena. Say nothing.) Alaric updates Jo, who says if her father knows they’re looking for the Ascendant—which is with Jo, by the way— to free Bonnie, he’ll believe they’re willing to free Kai as well and retaliate. Cue Jo doubling over in pain. Her dad’s trying to kill her, she announces. I laughed. This is the worst Thanksgiving ever.

But it’s all worth it to hear Jo tell poor Liam to shut up when he tries to diagnose her. Jo invites Alaric and Stefan into the mansion over the phone and tells them where to find the knife that she hid her magic in. Stefan tosses it and gets inside the house just in time to stop Dad from staking Damon with a candle holder. Dad disappears, and Jo is almost dead. Elena makes the choice to feed her blood in front of Liam to save her, and he demands an answer. Elena tells him the truth—then compels him to forget it, as well as the time they’ve spent together, because her life is too complicated. Bye, Liam!

NEXT: Tyler’s chenille blanket is back

We see in a flashback how Jo hid the knife and then told Kai she’d merge with him. The whole coven came out to watch, but Kai was fooled: They’d all gathered to watch Kai’s father use the eclipse and the Ascendant to send him to his prison world. Now comes the real reason Kai brought Bonnie to Portland. Her putting her magic in Miss Cuddles made him think that perhaps Jo put her magic in that knife. He was right, of course. He absorbs the magic, and Bonnie doesn’t seem scared. Why? He still needs a Bennett witch to do the spell. Or does he? He’s seen her do the spell twice—he just needs Bennett blood. And so he stabs her.

Back in present day, Alaric says he won’t let Jo die, so there’s no way they’re getting the Ascendant from her and risk letting Kai out. So naturally, Damon compels him to get it. Wrong? Yes. But why are you not on vervain, Alaric? Even if you trust your friends, you know there could always be a new vamp in town.

Liv wakes up at Tyler’s place on a cozy leather couch under my favorite chenille blanket. Tyler refuses to let her sacrifice herself so her coven can have a leader. He reminds her magic doesn’t work in Mystic Falls, so if her coven comes after her, “They’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. They’ll have to go through me,” he says. Finally, she takes his hand. She apologizes for ruining Thanksgiving, and he says she can make it up to him next year. Then they cuddle under that blanket. He won’t let her die: Why is he so sure she’d be the one who dies? She’s always seemed pretty kickass. (And since she has the love interest on the show, aren’t the odds in her favor?) Regardless, seeing Tyler be protective is hot.

Caroline runs into Stefan and hands him a doggy bag of leftovers. He gives her something in return: The real reason he pushed her away the most when Damon was gone. He knew she was the one person who’d sit with him and let him cry and he didn’t want to cry anymore. She thanks him for saying that, and he might have asked her if they could try a date, but she smiles and leaves too quickly. That’s enough for now.

Elena, meanwhile, finds Damon drinking and asks him what he and Bonnie did for four months: They bickered, cooked, ate, played Tetris, and talked—a lot. Bonnie listened to him talk about (what else?) Elena, which is why she sacrificed herself to let him return. Elena reports her breakup with Liam because (why else?) there’s a feeling she can’t shake about Damon even though she knows she could live her new life happy and safe. The reaction shots of Damon’s face were so great. I’ll say it again: He’s like Patrick Swayze with that look of love and pain that are one in the same. She takes his hand and asks him if he’ll help her get back Bonnie, the one person who’ll give her good advice. Because he misses Bonnie—and because he’s pretty sure she’ll tell Elena to be with him since, again, SHE SACRIFICED HERSELF SO THEY COULD BE TOGETHER—she says sure.

Bonnie survives a second stabbing. She finds Kai’s pager that spells out, “I Lied.” To quote Bonnie, the bastard took the car. Happy hiking, Bonnie.

Are you hoping Kai makes it out of his prison world? Go!

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The Vampire Diaries

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

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