For those who've lost count of just how many lives Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) has now taken in the name of Arcadius, there's a fat and gruesome police file that's built up on him with about three dozen murder victims within it... and who knows how many missing persons cases floating around are his handiwork, too.
Stefan might want to be a do-gooder, but there's no denying his talents are of the more nefarious breed. Which makes his lifelong struggle to subdue that urge that much more jarring to watch. 'Cause last week's Stefan was the kind of guy who'd punch a bag of kittens, and this week, he's basically mewing for his mommy to forgive him for shredding all the yarn.
Here's a recap of The Vampire Diaries' new episode, "Who Are You?" (And no, the title has nothing to do with that catchy The Who earworm.)
Now that the younger Salvatore Brother has suddenly been reintroduced to his humanity thanks to Bonnie (Kat Graham)'s quick thinking with a Cure stick — so much for that plan about taking down Cade (Wolé Parks) with the Cure — Stefan's back to his old remorseful self again.
What that means is that he's finally being nice to Caroline (Candice King) again, feeling the sting of so many murders he's done when he
needed to eat a Snickers Bar just wasn't himself, and, oh yeah! He's human again, so just like all the hundreds of poor saps who've perished by his hand, he could die any minute, by natural or supernatural causes.
What does this mean for his engagement to Caroline? To be determined... but I don't see us slipping in some lavish ceremony over the final four episodes just yet. As for his relationship with Bonnie, well, it's virtually non-existent. What kind of self-respecting witch would take the call of the vampire who just murdered your boyfriend without giving it a solid two week buffer period? Please.
Bonnie's pretty broken up about Enzo (Michael Malarkey)'s death, so she spends much of the episode hovering over his dead body with the hopes that some of that magic she used to wield for everyone else will come into use and bring him back — or at least help him with whatever he's going through down there. 'Cause yeah. Wherever he's at it, it's probably not as rosy as the Other Side. She can hear him calling out for her in full Bella-in-New Moon hysteria style right now.
Trouble is, while Bonnie did have a little magic left up her sleeves, as evidenced by the ripple effect of her grief shout from the moment of Enzo's death, all it did was connect her to darkness, so her mother comes along and takes a chance that her daughter will hate her forever by torching the body and telling her it's time to deal with the reality of Enzo's passing.
Talk about tough love.
But back to Stefan. As far as Cade's concerned, the Brothers' obligation to him is done, but that doesn't mean he's finished torturing them, and the town by extension, just yet. There's still something he's got to deal with before he can move on to the millions of other souls that are awaiting his eternal punishment: Ethan Maxwell's journal.
It turns out, doppelgangers aren't reserved solely for the immortal types, 'cause Matt (Zach Roerig) has got one too! We've never gotten a Matt throwback story before, so this is fun. Ever since he started ringing that Maxwell Bell, he's been plagued by intense visions of fire and ringing, and it turns out, he's basically stepping into his old ancestor Ethan Maxwell's shoes and seeing a specific point in time.
Luckily, our resident antiquities expert with some vampire-resistant muscle Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis) just so happens to be in town to lend a hand scurrying up those images through medically-induced hypnosis — there are no rules in Vampire Diaries land except that anything goes, guys.
Cade has instructed Damon (Ian Somerhalder) to retrieve Maxwell's journal for him or else he'll kill the newly mortal Stefan, but Alaric wants to find out what's so important about the journal before he's willing to hand it over to Damon... if ever.
Damon stands in the way of his academic curiosity, so 'Ric gets savage and kills him right there — only temporarily, of course — leaving Damon trapped in an observation deck to watch along impatiently as Matt's sent back into Ethan's eyeballs to the past and discovers that he was in cahoots with an ancestral Bennett witch named Beatrice, who had him make the bell so they could rid the town of evil beings — vampires, probably. Thanks to a little siren song interference by Sybil and Seline, though, the bell is quickly retuned to serve its new purpose of destroying all witches within striking distance. Ethan's sirened into not speaking the truth about the situation, but he is able to use the decoder and his journal to tell Beatrice about what's happening before he ultimately strikes the bell and unleashes havoc on the witches' chant circle, saving himself and the Bennett witch in the process.
Ethan's encounter with the sirens did reveal Cade's fatal flaw, however, which is some dagger that's been forged from the ashes of his victims, so he wrote about that in his little journal, too.
While Matt's in the process of figuring all this out, he suffers a heart attack on the table and can only be saved by some of Damon's blood. This entry provides Damon the perfect opportunity to snatch the journal while everyone's attending to the near-death Matt, and he dutifully turns it over to Cade, who burns it right then and there and says Stefan's off the hook to enjoy his mortal life before returning to his clutches later on when he, inevitably, dies.
But Damon's far too clever to let his hopes of destroying the Devil end there. He's somehow figured out the key to destroying Cade and teams up with Alaric to make a plan to duel with the Devil once and for all.
Dorian's also got something on his mind now which is probably going to be helpful later on, but for now, he keeps his archaeological findings to himself while 'Ric and Damon start the planning process for destroying the Angel of Death.
But they've got company even so. Oh hi, Kai (Chris Wood)! Our old foe shows up in the siren's lair at the last minute with a cheeky wave and the words, "Sorry to interrupt but what if I told you I had a better idea." From the look-ahead, he's ready to make nice with Damon by dangling the option of waking up Elena (Nina Dobrev) in trade for their cooperation.
Stefan's newfound mortality has him asking the existential questions us normies are often plagued with — is there any chance of redemption for the likes of him, who's done so much wrong in life? His eagerness to rescue the real estate agent he used in Ripper mode to gain entry to Bonnie's place is certainly a start. But as far as Damon's concerned, it's probably still a good idea to go ahead and kill the Devil anyway, just in case.
The Vampire Diaries airs Friday nights at 8/7c on The CW.
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