When we last left Damon (Ian Somerhalder), he was left in a trance thanks to Sybil (Nathalie Kelley) giving him his humanity back, Bonnie (Kat Graham) was contemplating the idea of giving Enzo (Michael Malarkey) the cure, and Stefan (Paul Wesley) was up to no good as he continued capturing souls for Cade (Wolé Parks).
In the aftermath of the disastrous Mystic Falls Pageant, Caroline (Candice King) is desperately trying to avoid facing reality by not getting out of bed, so Bonnie pops by for a visit after her jog. However, as she walks through the house, she notices Damon sitting in a stupor in Caroline’s living room.
Across town, the young girl that Stefan turned from the pageant has let the blood lust take over and murdered several people. She lashes out at Stefan for putting her in this situation, but unfortunately for her, he could care less. He is satisfied that he was able to accomplish his goal – he turned an innocent girl into a killer. A perfect soul that he can now deliver to Cade.
Back at the Salvatore house, Caroline and Bonnie attempt to figure out what is going on with Damon. As they reach into his mind, they see him in a blaze of fire and screaming with pain. Unable to handle what was going on in Damon’s head, they retreat. Caroline then hears the siren call and discovers Sybil chained up in the dungeon that is located in their basement. Sybil admits to giving Damon what he wanted; she flipped his switch back and offers to fix him, if she is given what she wants. Reluctantly Caroline and Bonnie agree in order to save Damon.
In town, Matt (Zach Roerig) arrives at a crime scene. The cops have discovered the body of the young girl from the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant along with several other bodies. Seems the Sheriff has resigned as well – too many homicides in this small town! While there, Caroline calls Matt to tell him that she needs the bell. Matt doesn’t understand why and even through she explains it is to save Damon who is suffering, he doesn’t agree. Matt has yet to forgive Damon for everything that he has done and is irritated how everything constantly revolves around the Salvatore brothers despite all the innocent victims along the way.
Sybil examines Damon and determines that the task to bring him back will be complicated since he thinks he is in hell. They have to figure out what is holding him back in order to fix things and bring him back. Since they are unable to get into his mind through the “front door”, Sybil will take Caroline and Bonnie through the back door of his subconscious. This time, instead of fire and pain, the girls end up outside of his house. When they enter the house, a strange man welcomes them to the ‘Salvatore Boarding House’. He is adamant that Damon died years ago during the Civil War. It turns out the man is Henry, who Damon had helped back during the war. Both Caroline and Bonnie are then kicked out of his mind. They are puzzled as to why they were unable to locate him. As they go over the possibilities, Stefan interrupts their discussion.
Turns out when Caroline killed him, he and a chance to talk to Cade and apparently hell needs more souls than Stefan has been providing. Therefore he needs Damon back in order to pull his weight. Stefan reveals that when they were kids, they used to hide whenever they did something wrong in order to avoid the consequences. Therefore all they need to do is find where he is hiding. He is curious as to why Sybil is helping them and it turns out she will work with whoever can get her that bell.
Now that they have some additional information on how to find Damon, Bonnie and Caroline go back in. This time they end up in his favorite bar. As they look around for clues, Vicki Donovan (Kayla Ewell) appears! She is a waitress at the bar and takes them to a table. This episode is truly living up to its title!
By now, Matt has reached out to his dad, Peter (Joel Gretsch), for the bell. They meet at the graveyard, next to his sister’s tombstone. Upset by the location, Peter wonders if Matt is trying to get payback for their past. He feels responsible for her death, but so does Matt. Matt reveals that the person that killed Vicki is suffering right now and the bell could save him. They could get the bell to him or they could let him suffer. Peter prefers that he suffer.
Caroline is confused as to why Vicki is part of Damon’s alternate reality. As she looks around the bar, she sees her mother, Sheriff Liz Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre)! This episode is giving us some awesome opportunities to see some of our favorite characters that have moved on! I wonder who else might make an appearance? Bonnie offers to follow Vicki, while Caroline stays with her mom. When Bonnie confronts Vicki and asks about Damon, she is surprised to find out that Vicki doesn’t even know who he is.
Inside, Caroline is fully aware that her mom is not real, but seeing her is tough. You can see how much she has missed her. Like Vicki, Liz also doesn’t seem to know Damon Salvatore. Caroline tries to tell her that Damon is the vampire behind the animal attacks that she is investigating. Unfortunately, rather than believe Caroline, Liz suspects that it’s Caroline who is the killer and takes her in just as Bonnie returns. Caroline is unable to get away so she tells Bonnie to continue to search for Damon.
Meanwhile Matt meets up with Seline (Kristen Gutoskie) while Peter is welding the parts of the bell together. Seline reiterates that either Peter or Matt has to ring it twelve times. He questions why his bloodline has to ring the bell, but before she can answer, Stefan emerges. Part of the agreement he made with Sybil was to get his hands on the bell and deliver it to her. However, Seline offers another deal that might prove to be much better than Sybil’s.
Back at the Salvatore house, Sybil notices something is off with Caroline. In Damon’s mind, her mother is torturing her. She is trying to convince her that Damon is the one behind the killings, however Liz is not convinced. Caroline then discloses that her mother is dead. She got sick and Damon was the one person who was there for her the whole time. It was that act and understanding that allowed Caroline to really forgive him. That exchange drives Caroline out of Damon’s subconscious.
Now their only hope is Bonnie, who has gone to see if her grandmother (Jasmine Guy) is in Damon’s subconscious! Low and behold, she’s there! Bonnie is able to get her to help with a locator spell using the apology letter that Damon had written to Bonnie before he left town. She never read it, but knew it would be in his mind, and that would help her find him.
Stefan forces Matt and Seline to take him to where Peter has completed putting the bell together. To counter her sister’s deal, she offered Stefan a couple thousand souls in one night. Apparently, she left out a tiny bit of critical information. When either Matt or Peter rings the bell twelve times, it opens a gateway from their world to Cade’s world. The bell not only destroys sirens, but the hellfire it brings also wipes out everything within several miles. Basically all of Mystic Falls will be destroyed along with Sybil!
While Bonnie is still in Damon’s head, Sybil lets it conveniently slip that Bonnie wants to give the cure to Enzo. Sybil sure has a very difficult time meddling in everyone’s business! Meanwhile Bonnie arrives at the Salvatore crypt and who should she find there? Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino)! There are so many people who could have shown up, and I was definitely hoping that Tyler would be one of them!
Back in town, Stefan compels Matt to make a choice and follow his heart. He is out for himself and will do whatever it takes to get the souls he requires for Cade. He instructs Matt that he either has to forgive Damon for killing his sister and if he can’t then he has to ring the bell twelve times.
In the crypt, Tyler tells Bonnie to leave, but she knows that deep down Damon wants her to find him; even through he’s been putting obstacles in her way. As they talk, she realizes that it’s not about forgiveness. In Damon’s mind, he believes he lived and died as a human so it’s not their forgiveness that he needs. The only way to help Damon is to get Stefan to talk to him.
Stefan finally arrives and agrees to go into Damon’s head. When he goes in, he finds himself in a graveyard. His only interest is to get through this quickly so he can get on with his killings. When Damon appears, Stefan tells him that he is fine with whatever happened and he has forgiven him. However, Damon discloses that Stefan has the reason for his visit backwards. Damon doesn’t need Stefan to forgive him; it is Damon that needs to forgive Stefan. After all it was Stefan that made Damon a vampire all those years ago.
Back at the bell, Matt and Peter struggle to figure out ways to avoid following through Stefan’s orders. There is no way that Matt can forgive Damon; therefore, he will end up ringing the bell unless Peter can stop him. He concludes that the only way to do this is for his dad to kill him. Naturally Peter is unable go through with it, and with that Matt begins beating him.
While the Maxwells desperately try to not sound the bell, the Salvatore brothers argue about who should really be forgiven. Stefan can’t believe that it’s Damon that should be forgiving him after everything that Damon has done to him. He begins to scuffle with Damon and in the mist of it, Damon repeatedly spouts how he has “officially” forgiven him. That statement enrages Stefan and he starts to hit Damon. Damon takes it like a champ and lets him know that despite everything he still loves him because they are brothers. Furious, Stefan tells him his plans to burn all of Mystic Falls to the ground. Stefan realized only way to finally get rid of Damon was to let him go.
Unable to stop himself, Matt reaches the bell and strikes it once. Remarkably the sound snaps Damon out of his trance and he knocks Stefan out. Matt continues to hit the bell since Peter has been unable to stop him. Thankfully, Damon rushes in and knocks Matt, causing his head to strike the bell on number eleven. Phew JUST in time!
Matt is still upset with Damon, but they have a moment of understanding when Damon apologizes for Vicki’s death. Matt then informs Damon that he is headed to the police department since they are in need of a Sheriff. Damon responds by saying, “always did like the Sheriffs in this town.” What a sweet tribute to Liz, and perhaps an olive branch to a possible friendship between them.
When Stefan wakes up, he finds himself locked up in the same cell that Sybil was in earlier. Caroline confronts him. She knows that Damon might be the only one, who can help Stefan, but she will continue to have faith in their relationship and eventually she will get him back.
Upstairs, Damon finds Bonnie outside. She tells him that it wasn’t his fault for all the things he did when he was under Sybil’s control. And even though he knows this, you can see he still carries a lot of guilt. He then recites the words from the letter that he had left Bonnie. I love the way their friendship has grown over the seasons and blossomed into something so genuine! He apologizes for leaving and tells her he won’t ever leave again.
The episode ends with Seline and Sybil at a diner attempting to reconcile. If the Salvatore brother can do it, then why can’t they? However, their reconciliation attempt turns into an argument as they can’t seem to let the past go. While they bicker, Cade waltzes in. As the sisters sit in shock, he reveals that the bell was struck eleven times – not enough to break the barrier completely, but just enough to let him out. Both girls try to convince him that they can get him what he needs, but Cade no longer needs them and with that the sirens burst into flames!
Next episode “You Made a Choice to Be Good” Preview:
Cade gives Damon an ultimatum – kill 100 strangers or just one, Caroline.