We are back! It’s great how the titles of each episode are throw back lines from earlier seasons. This one is no different, as it takes you back to the first time Stefan and Elena met. She says to Stefan, “I know. We have history together”, since they were literally in history class together. Little did she know the whole story. So much has happened since we started this final journey of the series!
When we last left everyone after a disaster of a holiday dinner, Seline (Kristen Gutoskie) is on the run and when we last saw her she was trying to make amends for her past. Damon (Ian Somerhalder) freed himself from Sybil’s (Nathalie Kelley) grasp and ripped her heart out as a farewell. And lastly, Stefan (Paul Wesley) turned off his humanity in an effort to make the year more bearable.
We start this episode with with Damon and Stefan in an anger management support group meeting on their quest to find the worst of the worst. It seems since they left Mystic Falls, they have been bickering about each other and their new ‘employer’. They stop their arguing to turn their focus on the groups participants. Through a series of questions, they select their next victim and Damon attacks. Stefan uses this opportunity to kill the rest of the group. When Damon questions why, he replies that while Damon’s victim was for Cade (Wolé Parks), the rest are for him. He has learned from his past mistakes and is controlling himself by keeping the heads on the victims. It’s clear that Damon is a bit concerned about Stefan’s claims that the ‘Ripper’ urge is being kept at bay.
Meanwhile, back at Mystic Falls, Caroline (Candice King) writes to Elena (Nina Dobrev) about the last 3 weeks. Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) have found love and are halfway around the world in Paris. Alaric (Matthew Davis) has gone in hiding with the girls for their safety. Stefan and Caroline put a pause on wedding plans thanks to that pesky deal he made with Cade. She is focusing on work to keep her mind off of what Stefan might be up to, and so she finds herself at their old stomping grounds – Mystic Falls High School. As she waits for classes to begin she calls Matt (Zach Roerig), who is on his way back to the Armory to deliver Tyler’s St. John box with information on the sirens.
Dorian (Demetrius Bridges), Alaric’s intern, greets Matt at the Armory. Apparently Alaric has left him in charge while he is away on “sabbatical”. To Matt’s surprise, Dorian knows the truth of what happened to Georgie and the situation with the sirens. Alaric wanted him to know what he was getting himself into and he wants the chance to avenge Georgie’s death. Glad that he won’t be in dark anymore!
Remember the skeleton that was discovered in the cave? His name was Harvey and thanks to his journal, Dorian has figured out that the weapon (aka turning fork) that is with Bonnie and Enzo is called the Staff of Acardius. Cade’s enemies created it from the fire that killed him. He also learned that Harvey had befriended the siren sisters back in 1790 who lured him into the tunnel where he starved to death. DNA results of the body revealed that he was related to a family in Mystic Falls, and it just so happened that he tracked down a descendant to claim the remains. And who should appear right at that moment? Peter Maxwell (Joel Gretsch)! We knew there is more to him than he was letting on. Seeing his father there and realizing he has ties to the remains doesn’t make Matt a happy camper. With tensions already high between them, this most likely isn’t going to help matters.
Back at the high school, Caroline walks into the classroom to discover the new History teacher is Sybil. She has taken control of the students who are creepily enamored with her and admits to being the reason Caroline was assigned for this news piece. She’s ready to teach Mystic Fall’s history to not only the class but also Caroline. This is definitely isn’t going to be a fun assignment for Caroline!
In a restaurant, Stefan and Damon discuss finding more challenging people for Cade. A woman catches Stefan’s eye and they make a wager on her. The woman is dressed in scrubs so to get her attention, Stefan stabs Damon with vervain and he collapses on the table. When Damon wakes up, he is in the hospital. Stefan has Damon hooked up vervain to keep him weak. He tells Damon that he’s done some research on their target, Tara. She lost her parents to a drunk driving accident years ago and thinks this incident could help bring out the darkness in her. It’s exactly the type of person Cade is looking for – good souls that have been pushed to do evil.
Back at the Armory, Matt and Peter continue their uncomfortable reunion while they fill Dorian in on what happened over the holiday. He discloses that there seems to have been another artifact that could help their cause. The surviving Maxwell family members made an heirloom out of it. As he describes the details that he uncovered, Peter figures out that the description of what was written was in fact not arbitrary obsession measurements about Seline, but details for a bell. The Maxwell family had a history of building church bells.
In the hospital, Stefan makes his move on the doctor, Tara. Using his charm and influence, he brings up her past tragedy and implicates Damon as the cause for the loss of her parents. Talk about manipulative! To ensure he has the upper hand on the wager, he compels her to believe the lie.
As we return to Caroline and Sybil, Sybil tells the class about a 100 witches who were burned at the stake in 1790. This prompts her to tell everyone to head out for a field trip. Caroline has had enough of her and wants nothing to do with the history lesson and attempts to leave. However, Sybil obviously has an agenda for bringing Caroline to class, and makes it clear that if she doesn’t join them, the students will die. Once they reach the location where the witches were killed, Sybil tells Caroline more of the story. The witches had helped the local metalsmith and put a very powerful spell on a local church bell. The spell had a special purpose and unbeknownst to anyone, Sybil and Seline had befriended the metalsmith who forged the bell. Meanwhile, Matt and Peter continue their own family history lesson with Dorian as the go through the records of the Maxwell family. They realize that the bell that everyone has been talking about was what Seline had been searching for in 1883. Remember when Sybil went into Peter’s mind at the holiday dinner? It turns out she too was trying to get information about this mysterious magical bell from Peter. As she continues her lesson for Caroline, she divulges that he was the last person who had the bell up until he threw it over Wickery Bridge in 1992. Sybil has been searching for this bell and knows it must be somewhere as it is indestructible. As she finishes her story, the students begin tying themselves to the stakes that are scattered on the land. They douse gasoline on each other and Sybil demands that Caroline bring her the bell or they all get burned alive.
When we return to the Salvatore brothers, Damon and Stefan continue to play their game with Tara. Damon tries to compel her, but is too weak for it to work. Stefan ups his vervain dosage, while he pushes the good doctor to kill Damon. Turning a good soul into something bad is the perfect soul that Cade wanted. Tara tells Stefan to leave the hospital room, and to Stefan’s satisfaction, she falls into Stefan’s plan and kills Damon. He was right after all and as he watches this unfold, he searches through Damon’s jacket and finds Elena’s necklace.
Caroline has little time to find this church bell, so she reaches out to Matt to see if he knows where Peter is and conveniently for her they are still together. As they talk, she explains that she is searching for the charter bell that Peter threw off Wickery Bridge in 1992. Matt informs her that it’s the same location where Elena’s parents died and when they searched for them, they discovered the bell. It was broken but the sheriffs office saved it and put it in storage. Matt only knows this since he helped clean out the office and brought all the boxes to Caroline’s house. Sybil over hears the conversation and demands to be taken to the Caroline’s garage. Matt tries to convince Caroline to get away from Sybil but because the student’s could die, she can’t. As Matt and Peter head back to Mystic Falls to find the students, Peter explains why he threw the bell off the bridge. If it weren’t for the Maxwell family, no one would have settled in Mystic Falls. The Founding families took over the town because they were wealthy and looked down on the Maxwell family which he resented.
Stefan confronts Tara on her way out of the hospital and tells her that the joke was on her – he was basically giving her a morality test to see what she would do if given the opportunity. For Stefan she passed, but for Damon, she failed. Damon then shows up behind her. Poor Tara had no idea what she had gotten herself into! Damon and Stefan argue over her and then the necklace that Stefan found. He knows that Damon has been off since they started on their journey. He tells Damon that he picked Tara because of the similarities between her and Elena. Stefan thinks that the necklace has been holding Damon back.
Meanwhile back at the Armory, Dorian has figured out that the tuning fork and the charter bell fit together to make a mystical super bell. As he is telling Matt this, he and Peter have finally found the students. While they attempt to free the students, Sybil and Caroline are searching through the Liz’s boxes. Instead of the bell, they find a note from Seline to Sybil, who appears to have taken it. Sybil becomes furious and loses control. She uses her siren connection to instruct the student to drop the torch and set each other on fire. But thankfully Matt and Peter were able to save them from the flames.
In the car, Stefan continues to harass Damon about the necklace and the fact that his humanity is seeping through because of it. He wants proof that Damon doesn’t care anymore, so Damon throws the necklace out the window. He then kills the poor doctor, Tara, who was being held in the back seat to show Stefan that he doesn’t care anymore. Stefan looks on with satisfaction. “Ripper” Stefan is just awful!
After saving the students, the air between Matt and Peter is still pretty tense. Peter tries to explain that he regrets what he did, but Matt is too upset. All those years, Matt felt out of place because all his friends had such history with the town since they were from the Founding families. Knowing now that he’s family is also an integral part of the town’s history would have helped him get through those years, but because his father left, he never had the chance. Ouch!
Back at Caroline’s garage, Sybil has a bit of a temper tantrum – no bell and the students are safe and sound. Her day has definitely not gone according to plan. Caroline finds some satisfaction in Sybil’s not getting what she wanted, however that quickly goes away when Sybil threatens her children. She also places doubt in Caroline about whether or not the kids would be safe around Stefan who tends to always “fall off the wagon” and ends up being ‘the Ripper’.
In the end, we find Damon at the site of where he threw the necklace while Stefan is already out to find his next victim. As Damon searches for the necklace, he’s not even sure why he wants it, other than it gives him comfort when he has it. Perhaps he can be saved? Thankfully he finds it! When Damon returns to Stefan, he finds a bloody mess. Stefan has completely lost control and the ‘Ripper’ is out. While Damon only wishes to kill the sinners for Cade, Stefan is killing without discrimination and that could mean some real trouble ahead.
Next episode “The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch” Preview:
Stefan and Damon return to Mystic Falls. Damon uses this time to reach out to Caroline regarding Stefan, and Sybil continues to mess with Damon’s head using Elena.