I am a big fan of holiday themed shows, Halloween and Christmas being my absolute favorites.  So it was with no small amount of excitement that I tuned in for tonight’s extra spooky episode all about ghosts.  The ghosts tonight weren’t scary, though – just super sad and melancholy.

[Spoiler alert!] This show moves fast and a lot happens, so don’t read if you don’t want to know what went down!

Damon awakens in a sort of torture trap.  He’s chained to a chair with a poker pushing into his chest. He is unable to see Ghost Mason and assumes this is Stefan’s idea of a joke.  Stefan pleads innocent and releases Damon, but Mason gets in a final word by throwing open the drapes to burn Damon before he can get his ring back on. Jeremy and Ghost Anna are getting closer, bonding over the fact that he’s the only one who can see her as well as (recently) touch and feel her.

Damon warns Bonnie that her ghost ceremony from the previous episode must have gone awry since he’s now pretty sure Mason is the one who skewered him.  Elena asks Jeremy to contact Lexi, who helped Stefan return to his humanity several times before.  Bonnie’s witch grimoire flips itself open to a spell to “reveal failed matter” – ghosts.  Anna is unsure why she is able to touch Jeremy without any witch help.  He’s suspicious but unable to send her away.  They kiss.  He seems to have forgotten all about his girlfriend Bonnie.  Caroline is scared by the ghost reveal spell that Bonnie performs, but by the time she tries to stop it, it’s over.  Simultaneously, ghosts around town appear: Grams teams up with Bonnie, Elena sees Anna and Jeremy kissing, Lexi appears to Stefan, and Mason shows up in the bar next to Damon and Alaric.

Lexi was Stefan’s best friend, and she wastes no time in beating some sense into him.  Grams warns Bonnie that when she performed the ceremony to bring Jeremy back she opened a door, and when she performed the ceremony to banish Ghost Vicki, an old witch wedged the door open so that all ghosts with unfinished business could pass between worlds.  In order to close the door, Bonnie needs to destroy the witch’s talisman – Elena’s vervain necklace, which was last seen in Damon’s possession.

Elena confronts Jeremy about Anna and tells him Bonnie’s plans to banish all the ghosts.  Lexi appears to Elena for “Ripper Detox 101.”  Mason tells Damon he’s back for an apology, and to help Tyler.  If Damon apologizes for killing Mason, he’ll reveal a  weapon that could kill Klaus.  Damon comes as close as he can to apologizing, and Mason tells him to meet him at the old Lockwood cellar alone with a shovel.

Lexi brings Elena to where she has chained Stefan.  (Side note – is anyone else disturbed by the amount of buildings in town with chains and torture room cellars?  Just me?)  The first step is to dry Stefan out.  She warns Elena that his detox will not be pretty.  Lexi is able to detox Stefan at a rapid pace – she either draws the blood out of his veins or boils it out – whatever she’s doing, it looks painful and makes Stefan quite desperate.

There’s a Lockwood family legend about a weapon that can kill original vampires buried in the cellar.  Damon unearths a tunnel and makes Mason go in first.  Elena tells Caroline to hold off on destroying the necklace because Lexi is helping with Stefan, but the necklace is missing.  After an awkward conversation, Caroline tells Bonnie that Elena saw Jeremy kissing Ghost Anna.

At yet another Founder’s Event (seriously, there is some Founder’s Something or Other every week), Jeremy searches for Anna, who has been found by Frederick, one of the tomb vampires.  He and a group of other dead tomb vamps claim unfinished business with the founding families.  As a testament to their revenge, one of the town historians is found strung up in a nearby tree, his insides on the outside.

Stefan is miserable and begs Elena to help him.  Lex says that he must be weakened and then made to feel emotions again until he can get past his blood lust.  Elena is unable to handle Stefan and runs out into the street, where she sees the bloodshed from the Founder’s event.  Caroline and Bonnie can’t find the necklace anywhere, and Caroline accuses Anna of taking it.  Anna denies this but disappears.

Damon and Mason head farther and farther down the tunnel, and suddenly Damon is impaled by several spikes in a sort of booby trap.  Jeremy confesses to Elena that he can touch Anna, and that she is the one he always loved.  Anna appears, having overheard Jeremy, and Elena pleads for her to let Jeremy go.  Of course the audience knows that she’s also talking to herself.  Her love for Stefan when he is unable to return it will only keep her from living her life.  Anna reveals that she in fact does have the vervain necklace.

Mason helps Damon out of the booby trap, and Damon demands to know what Mason’s about.  He tells Damon, “I don’t need revenge.  I need redemption.”  This strikes a nerve with Damon, since he is always looking to redeem himself with Elena, though he won’t admit it.  Caroline defends Mrs. Lockwood from the tomb vamps.  Anna tells Jeremy she just wants to find her mother.  She gives Jeremy the necklace as she says goodbye.

Elena and Lexi are running out of time.  Damon gets stopped in the cellar – he hasn’t been invited in –  so Mason continues on alone.  Bonnie begins the ceremony to destroy the necklace.  Grams joins hands with her.  Mrs. Lockwood sees Caroline fighting the tomb vamps, which suddenly disappear as the necklace is thrown into a fire.  Mason disappears before he can guide Damon to the weapon.  Lexi tells Elena that she has to break through to Stefan, then is gone.  Anna finds Pearl, and they disappear together.  Grams is the last to go, first telling Bonnie how proud she is of her.

Damon calls Alaric into the cellar for help and finally apologizes for snapping Alaric’s neck a few episodes ago.  Stefan tells Elena he knew she would give up on him.  She responds with, “I won’t love a ghost for the rest of my life.”  If Stefan wants her, he’s going to have to find the strength and hope within himself.  Bonnie is fed up with Jeremy and sends him away.  The fire spits the necklace back out.  Alaric finds cave drawings in the cellar, with no idea what they mean.

This was a pretty thoughtful episode.  The scenes with the ghosts were touching in a way I didn’t expect.  Mason’s death was particularly sad, I thought, and I was glad to see him come back to fight for Tyler one last time.  I loved Lexi, but I also liked the juxtaposition of her attitude of how to save Stefan with Elena’s opinion that Stefan must save himself.  Lexi admits that she’s had to detox Stefan several times, so perhaps it’s time for a new approach.  Grams gets one last chance to teach Bonnie, and though I was never a fan of Anna or Pearl, I was happy the two found each other.  Halloween episodes don’t usually tend to be heart-warming, but for a show that already deals with the supernatural, I’ll allow it.

If you missed the last episode be sure to read our ‘The Vampire Diaries: Smells Like Teen Spirit’ recap to catch up.