Before I begin, you need to know that this is a complete recap, so I have to reveal everything that happens during an episode. What happens tonight is major, which is why I’m doing something I rarely do—use all caps.


Now that we’ve got that out of the way… Bonnie stands in a graveyard surrounded by the graves of her ancestors. The coffin appears; the locked coffin that is a mystery to everyone but Klaus. Bonnie approaches the coffin, and Klaus appears and attacks her. Bonnie wakes up inside the coffin; she’s trapped. She chants a spell, but her magic fails. The coffin opens, and bright light makes it difficult for Bonnie to see the female who opens the coffin.

At the witches’ house, Bonnie lets Elena in on Stefan’s plot about using Klaus’s family as leverage. Bonnie needs Elena’s help to find the woman in Bonnie’s vision—her mother. Abby Bennett left town shortly after Bonnie was born and never returned; she didn’t write or call, even after Bonnie’s grandmother died.

Stefan enters. He is angry Elena knows about his plan. Elena asks if he is going to kidnap her again. Stefan’s grand plan has obviously put a strain on their relationship. They don’t exchange any signs of affection toward each other. Elena might still love Stefan, but Elena will not easily forgive his recent behavior and actions.

Elena convinced the sheriff to search for every Abby Bennett in the country, and Elena and Bonnie comb through the files. Because the coffin is spelled shut, Bonnie tells Elena that it is a witch problem, so she does need to be involved in Stefan’s plan. Damon waltzes into the kitchen; of course, he has used compulsion to speed up the research process. Oh Damon. The girls plan a road trip to North Carolina. Damon wants to come, but Elena says no. Bonnie’s confusion is cleared up when Damon says, “We kissed. Now it’s weird.” Elena’s right; Damon’s comments are snarky, but they are charmingly snarky.

While the girls are on the road, Tyler works on breaking his sire-bond to Klaus. In a shocking move, he has Caroline’s mom call her dad, Bill Forbes. Caroline is in danger, so her father has agreed to help Tyler because he understands about making good after you make a mistake.

As Alaric and Dr. Fell end their lunch date, Damon enters. He asks Alaric what her damage is. According to Damon’s logic, smart + hot + single = damaged. Alaric has been looking for red flags, and he tells Damon about her ex-boyfriend. Damon tells Alaric about how her ex, the former medical examiner, was killed, and Alaric begins to share Damon’s concerns.

Klaus has made himself comfortable at the Salvatore home. Stefan enters, and the two have an exposition-filled conversation. Stefan wants Klaus to leave; if he does, then Stefan will tell him where his family is in a few years. Klaus laughs at Stefan’s attempt at villainy; Klaus has been perfecting his machinations for a thousand years, and he does not think Stefan will come close to defeating him, especially since it appears Stefan has no friends. And Klaus is partially right; Stefan has Damon’s help because Stefan saved him again, but no one, including Elena, actually likes Stefan currently, even me. I actually miss sensitive Stefan.

On their way to Bonnie’s mom, Elena admits that the kiss with Damon was good. Stefan calls Bonnie. Since he won’t leave them alone, Elena tells him that they are going to her family’s lake house. Stefan knows this is a lie because he is in her kitchen looking at the file.

Klaus calls one of his hybrids. The hybrid is outside the home of Bonnie’s mother Abby. Again, Klaus is a step ahead.

Bonnie and Elena arrive. The hybrid is long gone. Abby is not there, but Jamie is. Jamie is the son of a man Abby used to date. Jamie’s father wasn’t there for him, so Abby took him in and raised him. Abby comes home, and Bonnie reveals who she is. The moment is awkward, as it should be. Reunions between estranged family members are not commonly filled with tears and hugs. All of the unanswered questions have taken their toll, so Bonnie’s hesitation, nerves, and chilliness are completely understandable.

Back in Mystic Falls, Bill explains that the sire-bond is strong because the person feels grateful to the sire. Tyler is grateful to Klaus because he made it so Tyler does not have to transform every month. When Tyler changes into a werewolf, every bone in his body breaks, and the pain is intense and unbearable. For Tyler to break his sire-bond to Klaus, Tyler needs to change. Tyler is not thrilled about Bill’s plan.

Back in North Carolina, Abby reveals why she left. Elena is shocked to learn that Abby and her mother, Miranda, were best friends. Miranda discovered a vampire was in town looking for Elena. No one could kill the vampire, so Abby performed a powerful spell. It took every ounce of Abby’s power to deal with the original vampire, but she recovered. She left town because her powers did not come back. Bonnie wants to leave because Abby doesn’t have magic, but Abby convinces her to talk. Elena steps outside to give them some privacy.

Outside, Stefan surprises Elena.

At the hospital, Damon confronts Dr. Fell about her ex-boyfriend and comments that she signed the death certificate. They go to a room to be alone. Damon cares about Alaric, so he is checking her out. As Damon leaves, she injects him with vervain. Because Damon has been consuming vervain, he is semi-conscious when he sees her take some of his blood.

Tyler attempts to transform, but the pain is too much. Caroline wants him to stop, but Bill urges Tyler on. Tyler tells Caroline to leave; she reluctantly agrees. After she leaves, Bill brings out an axe and cuts Tyler, making him angry. Tyler pulls on the chains and begins to transform. The sounds of the bones breaking are nauseating, and Tyler in pain is difficult to watch.

Back at Abby’s, Bonnie and her mother talk. Abby took the opportunity to start over in a new city. Outside of Mystic Falls, she is a woman, a woman without any expectations of being a witch. Abby felt okay about leaving Bonnie with her father and grandmother, and Bonnie tells Abby how her grandmother died. They wipe away their tears. Bonnie thought Abby was supposed to help her, but now she thinks she made a mistake. Abby says that she might not have any magic, but she has knowledge of herbs and other things.

Outside, Elena and Stefan argue. Jamie interrupts. Stefan compels Jamie to leave. Jamie leaves, but returns with a gun. Jamie was told Stefan was not supposed to be there and shoots Stefan. Inside, Abby put an herb in her hand and covers Bonnie’s mouth.

Damon visits Alaric’s apartment. After looking for a bunny in a pot, Damon recounts what happened at the hospital. Damon certifies Dr. Fell as a “psycho case.”

Jamie ties Elena up. Stefan is incapacitated because the gun fired wooden chips. Abby puts Bonnie into a car.

Tyler breaks the chains. He transforms and attacks Bill.

Abby meets the hybrid that came to her house. Bonnie will not give up the location of the coffins. The herbs muted Bonnie’s magic. Abby tells Bonnie that Jamie is compelled to kill himself if she will not reveal the location (compelling people to kill themselves must be a Klaus standard). Without the hybrid noticing, Abby uses a cell phone to tell Bonnie to warn her friends.

Elena works at getting free from the ropes. Jamie is ordered to hurt Stefan, but Elena is to remain safe. She plays weak, claiming the ropes hurt. When Jamie gets closer, Elena breaks out of the ropes, grabs the gun, and hits Jamie in the head with gun, knocking him out. Looks like all that training was worth it. With Jamie out, Elena can pull the wood chips out of Stefan.

At the witches’ house, Damon meets Klaus. Klaus insults the witches, so they cause Klaus pain. Klaus is on his knees, but he knows witches take care of their own, and he is prepared to kill all of their descendants, starting by ending the Bennett line. The witches stop hurting Klaus and reveal the coffins. There are three coffins. Damon had enough time to hide one of the coffins. Which coffin did he take? The locked one. Klaus threatens Damon, but the same rules remain. The locked coffin has something Klaus considers very important, so Klaus has to back off for now.

Alaric visits Dr. Fell at the hospital. He confronts her. Bill Forbes is brought into the hospital. In Bill’s room, Dr. Fell tells Alaric that Bill won’t make it, but she will not let Bill die. She injects Damon’s blood into Bill, saving his life. She admits to cheating; she doesn’t like death.

Elena gets the last wood chip out. Stefan remarks that Elena has changed; she has gotten stronger and tougher. Of course she is different, everyone had to change and adapt after Stefan decided to be a better villain than Klaus. Elena confesses that she kissed Damon. There is a long pause. Stefan says nothing. He gets up and walks away.

Stefan stands by his car. He apologizes for kidnapping her, and she admits to knowing she should not have lied to Stefan about the road trip, but she wanted Bonnie to have space so Bonnie could have time with Abby. Elena says that she didn’t plan on kissing Damon. Before he drives away, Stefan tells Elena that she “is better than both of us.”

Bonnie tells Abby that since Abby kept her end of the bargain, she should be safe from Klaus. It is hard for Bonnie to hear that Abby cares about Jamie, but Abby cares about her too. Abby admits that her magic drifted away the longer she stayed away, as though nature punished her for abandoning her daughter. Abby wants to help, but Bonnie has her doubts because she doesn’t trust Abby. Abby hopes Bonnie can help her get her magic back.

Tyler apologizes to Bill for attacking him, but Bill knew the risks going in. Tyler says that he feels more like himself, and Bill is pleased and is eager to have another session again. Tyler is stunned; he thought transforming once would do the trick, but Bill explains that for the sire-bond to be broken, the transformation needs to be painless.

At Elena’s, Alaric wants to be honest with Dr. Fell, so he tells her about his ring and being a vampire hunter. They kiss. Elena enters. Dr. Fell leaves. Alaric apologizes for kissing someone in Elena’s house, but she tells him that the home is his too. Elena tells Alaric that he is allowed to move on.

This isn’t the big moment, but what happens next is a clue to tonight’s big moment. You’ve been warned!

Stefan comes home. Damon tells Stefan that he could only get the locked coffin away. Stefan cannot hide his disappointment. Damon asks about Elena, and Stefan punches his brother. Damon understands. Damon pulls out a slender knife, the knife used to immobilize original vampires.


A hybrid rolls in the three coffins. Klaus is not ecstatic. Klaus walks out of the room, saying he still has some unfinished business. The hybrid is in the doorway and asks about the unfinished business. Klaus turns. The hybrid collapses because his heart is ripped out. Who ripped out the hybrid’s heart?


Damon had enough time to pull out the knife keeping Elijah in stasis. Klaus is dazed.

“What did I miss?” Elijah asks.

A lot, Elijah. A lot.

A slow build to a stunning, surprising moment is what ‘The Vampire Diaries’ does best. Even with three plots, the episode’s slow build is steady and never dull. It is like driving up a steep mountain; the action rises, and the episode ends at a peak moment. The pacing of the show is one of its strongest qualities. We learn new information: Bill knows how to break Tyler’s bond to Klaus, Dr. Fell and Alaric are heating up, Dr. Fell likes to cheat death, Elena’s training is paying off, Elena will not just fall back into Stefan’s arms, Bonnie found her mother, and Elijah has returned. But there are many questions left: Can Alaric trust Dr. Fell? Who killed the medical examiner? Will Klaus care if Tyler is no longer bound to him? Can Bonnie trust Abby? Will Elijah turn against Klaus? And, of course, the million dollar question—

Just what in the heck is in that [censored] coffin?

I cannot wait to find out!

Unfortunately, we will have to wait until February 2 when ‘The Vampire Diaries’ returns.

If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘The Vampire Diaries: Our Town ‘ recap.