Previously on The Vampire Diaries, we were hoping like hell that the ancient weapon Georgie found in the Armory’s archives would take down the Siren, because she is a ginormous bitch who keeps messing with our friends. The messing continues, and it sucks for us; it’s like a retcon, like in the 2009 Star Trek when you realize it’s not just a prequel but a change in the timeline, planning to write over the existing story (I frakking hate that, if you couldn’t tell). In the opening of this week’s episode, Sibyl is walking back through Damon’s memories to find Elena at the earliest possible moment: The Gilberts have just gone over the side of Wickery Bridge. But this time, instead of Elena getting rescued, she drowns with her parents. Sure, it’s only a change in Damon’s mind, not the real world. But it is awful. Elena brought out the best in Damon, and their love made his world worth fighting for. Now, he’s been stripped of all those memories and feelings.
Sibyl is puzzling over the revelation of Bonnie’s importance to Enzo. She orders Damon to kill Bonnie. Damon’s under her thrall and without his humanity, so he says okay. Also, he’s now reading Fifty Shades Darker. Hopefully, when we see him reading Fifty Shades Freed, it will mean he too is about to be free.
Stefan is being kind of a tool to Alaric. He says he just wants to make sure Ric is cool with the engagement, considering Ric and Caroline were pretty recently engaged. Ric is clearly exasperated, and I can’t help feeling like Stefan’s almost rubbing it into some degree. Maybe it’s misplaced aggression because of that other love triangle, in which he lost Elena to Damon (twice!), so now he can’t help feeling superior about winning Caroline from Ric.
Bonnie is being a great friend to Caroline, trying to give her some bridal-planning, girl-power time, as if their lives aren’t in constant danger. They go dress shopping, and of course, Damon bursts in to carry out the kill order on Bonnie. He fails, and when Sibyl shows up to witness the aftermath, she doesn’t for a moment believe he was simply overpowered by an ex-witch and a much younger vampire. She catches Enzo smiling, and she’s sure there’s more to this story. She gets into Damon’s head to root out why he too is soft on Bonnie, and she finds the moment when they died together, holding hands. Oh, crap. Yep, she’s editing herself into that moment too, and OMG I hate you, Sibyl.
Caroline calls Stefan to give the heads up that Damon is in town trying to kill Bonnie. They’re back at the mansion, having trouble finding the weapons cache, and Stefan explains he’s been child-proofing, which is kind of cute. Then Damon calls Stefan, asking for help, and we’re all with Stefan in this moment, hoping that Damon has pulled himself free enough to fight Sibyl and ask for help taking her down.
Just as Caroline and Bonnie have located some weapons, they are confronted by Sibyl. She’s let herself into the mansion, and she makes it clear fighting would not be their wisest move. She says she wants to talk; she’s determined to unravel the mystery of Bonnie, to know why two strong, handsome vampires are devoted to this depowered witch. She can’t believe Bonnie and Damon have never had sex, both because his devotion to a girl based on a platonic friendship is strange to someone who has no concept of friendship, and because, as she aptly puts it:
Georgie, still vamping non-stop at Alaric, is making impressive deductions about the nature of the ancient weapon, and she can’t help noticing that Ric’s interest is too intense for this to be purely academic. She’s determined the weapon is a pitchfork, but Ric is still fretting about how to use it, because he knows they’ll only get one shot at this. I have faith in you, Alaric, you magnificent, monster-hunting badass.
Stefan is trying to get Damon to talk to him, but Damon ruefully explains that he literally can’t speak on certain subjects, that if he tries to say stuff Sibyl doesn’t want him to say, “it comes out all applesauce penguin.” What Damon does tell Stefan straight up is that he asked Stefan here to be his backup in a duel to the death against Enzo. Sibyl has ordered them to fight until only one is left, and Damon saw a loophole: She never said they couldn’t bring help. It’s deeply dishonorable, but Damon has his switch off, and Stefan’s honor is not actually sterling.
Sibyl is hectoring Caroline and Bonnie, monologuing about the things she knows from her incredibly long life of killing and enslaving people. She starts talking about hell, how the bunch of vampires and monsters in this little friendship circle are all damned for all the murders they’ve committed. Caroline is visibly shaken, likely realizing that if this is true, she’ll be in hell, unable to look forward to an eventual reunion with her mother.
Sibyl complains about an annoying noise (hint-hint about the pitchfork), and Bonnie says it’s the put-on-your-seat belt noise (hint-hint there is about to be a reason people should be wearing seat belts, not that you ever shouldn't, of course). Bonnie slams on the brakes, and Sibyl goes flying through the windshield. It won’t really damage her, of course, but it gets her out of their way briefly.
Damon and Enzo start fighting as ordered. Stefan watches at first, but Damon was right in his assumption that Stefan wouldn’t just stand by and let him die. Stefan is on the verge of killing Enzo when Caroline intervenes. Damon snaps Caroline’s neck, Enzo snaps Stefan’s, and it’s back to the fight.
Damon has the upper hand, you might say, and he’s a moment from ripping Enzo’s heart out when Bonnie begs him to stop. Sibyl suddenly instructs Damon to let go of Enzo’s heart. She turns to Bonnie and says she must choose which will live and which will die. Bonnie says to Damon that she’s sure her friend is still in there somewhere, deep down, but she’ll live with the regret. She chooses Enzo.
Of course, Sibyl had no intention of following through on this. She demands that Enzo switch off his humanity in a new deal to protect Bonnie. He does it, telling Bonnie he knows she can bring him back. They kiss, and then his eyes go cold. Sibyl asks if he minds if she has Bonnie killed now, and he says no. Bonnie’s heart is breaking, but she takes off running, moments before Damon starts chasing her.
Outside, Damon is about to attack Bonnie, but here comes Alaric to save the day! I knew you could do it, you gorgeous, heroic man of action. He plows Damon down with his car, then proves he was clever enough to figure out the puzzle of the ancient pitchfork; he knocks it against his fender, making a tone ring out that brings Sibyl to her knees. The creature that uses sound as a weapon is also vulnerable to certain sounds. Makes sense. Also, Georgie followed Ric and totally sees all of this go down.
Unfortunately, merely incapacitating Sibyl temporarily is not enough to break her thrall. Damon drives off with a comment to Stefan, “Applesauce penguin, brother.”
Sibyl’s locked in a cell at the Armory. Bonnie’s going to take Enzo to the cabin to try to get through to him. Before she leaves, she gets right in Stefan’s face about what he did today. She’s got a hell of a point, too. Enzo has been actively fighting Sibyl and trying to help defeat her, he tried to rescue Stefan’s last living relative just last week. Damon has done nothing. He gave up and served Sibyl. Bonnie has just realized she can’t count on Stefan to do the unselfish right thing or even to stand back and let the better man prevail, in this case.
I wonder if Bonnie will point out to Caroline that her fiance almost certainly made a deliberate choice to burn her mother’s final letter in order to create a regret in Caroline as powerful as the regret he deliberately nursed in Damon all those years, never letting Damon know he hadn’t killed Uncle Zach’s unborn daughter, Sarah (though, again, I fail to see why that’s so much worse than killing Uncle Zach, Sarah’s mother, Lexi, or any of the other people Damon has killed). The point is that Stefan’s behavior is manipulative, and at some point, I expect Caroline to realize that he put her through that incredible pain and irreversible regret in order to put a leash on her. You can argue it’s for her own good, even for the greater good, to keep her from ever turning off her humanity again, but the truth is, he has no right to make the calls he’s making on other people’s behalves. He’s applying assumptions based on his own lack of willpower (Ripper, much?) as if everyone else shares his weakness. He isn’t giving Caroline the benefit of the doubt to trust that she’d regret the horrible things she’d done, he’s set up a wall of pain in her heart to keep her in line. I’m liking Stefan less and less as a person, but loving him as a character; he’s incredibly well-written and wonderfully acted; he’s a layered, complex character, but there's a darkness in him that is always there, as opposed to the kind he has to flip the switch to reveal.
Speaking of actions you may have trouble moving on from, Damon runs into an old frenemy, Tyler Lockwood. It doesn’t go well for poor Tyler, and the episode ends with Damon biting into Tyler’s throat and drinking…a lot. You want to believe there will be a rescue or something, but generally, the bite should be stopped early, and this one is going on long enough to make me worry. We’ve got our fingers crossed for you, Tyler.