Previously on The Vampire Diaries, this happened:
Returned from the island, Elena picks up a photograph in a shattered frame of her and Jeremy in their younger days. She flashes back to the island and discovering Jeremy’s lifeless body in Silas’s chamber. She sees he is wearing his magic ring and weeps with relief, believing it will restore him to life.
In an antechamber Stefan catches Damon up, which pretty much amounts to “Katherine screwed us”. He tells Damon that Elena’s in waiting for Jeremy to revive and Damon moves to wait with her. Stefan reminds him that Jeremy was a Hunter. Realization dawns on Damon that this makes Jeremy supernatural, so the ring will no longer work. I don’t remember if this bit of the mythology was ever established and I can’t be arsed to look it up, so OK. Damon, believing Elena won’t survive Jeremy’s death, tells Stefan to get Elena home while he finds Bonnie.
In Mystic Falls the next morning Caroline tries to scrub away the marks where Kol burned. She’s not wearing gloves so I hope she wasn’t using vervain-laced tap water in the scrub bucket. Elena enters and Caroline rises to greet her, stopping short when she sees Stefan bearing Jeremy’s body. Stefan lays Jeremy on his bed and Elena takes up a vigil by his side.
Damon searches the encampment and hears noises coming from the forest. “Unless you’re a blonde, a Bennett witch or a Doppelganger, I suggest you steer clear.” Hearing nothing more, he moves to check the shack. Finding nothing, he closes the door to find Rebekah beside him, demanding the cure. He tells her that Katherine has it, and that someone killed Jeremy. Damon heads off in search of Bonnie again but Becky wants to look for Katherine instead. Damon assures her that Kitty’s long gone so finding Bonnie is the priority. Well, finding Bonnie and not getting killed by the risen Silas.
Speaking of Bonnie, she awakens in a clearing and reaches to check on her wound. Shane warns her not to touch it, since he can’t guarantee the efficacy of his non-witchy remedies. She wonders how Shane was healed and he says Silas did it. So why not heal her too, Bonnie fails to ask. Instead she insists that she won’t keep helping Shane, calling his desires “unnatural”. Shane suggests her tune will change, seeing as how Jeremy’s dead and Silas is his return ticket.
As Elena maintains her vigil, Caroline and Stefan discuss things in the kitchen. Stefan thinks Elena’s in denial but he doesn’t want to break through it because of her goddamn HEIGHTENED EMOTIONS. His plan is to have Damon, after returning with Bonnie, use the sire bond to convince Elena that losing her only remaining relative isn’t so bad after all.
From the doorway Elena denies she’s in denial. She knows Jeremy was supernatural, but with his Hunter’s Mark having vanished when the tomb was opened, there’s a small possibility that he stopped being supernatural and the ring will still work. She has to cling to that hope because “there’s no way my brother’s dead.”
Caroline leaves a voice mail for Tyler, who you’ll remember is on the run from Klaus. Stefan asks if she knows where he is and she says no. He reminds her that Katherine managed to stay hidden from Klaus for 500 years so it’s possible Tyler will be able to stay hidden as well. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. He speculates that Katherine stole the cure to bargain with Klaus for her life. He can’t believe that Elena won’t have the chance to take the cure and will be a vampire forever, and without any family. She may not have relatives, Stefan, but she does have family.
Caroline, ever the organizer, decides to put together a to-do list. They need a funeral, or a cover story, or a funeral and a cover story, and she needs to tell her mom. Stefan suggests getting Matt and Caroline agrees to do that first and then tell her mom and then make a list or maybe a casserole. Before she can completely crack she catches a scent. Stefan tells her it’s Jeremy, beginning to decompose. Brutal. Stefan wants her to get Doctor Fell.
Back on the island Becks and Damon are bickering in a way we’re probably supposed to find cute but totally isn’t when Damon whips Rebekah around to intercept an arrow. “Better you than me.” She drops and Damon spots Vaughn the Hunter across the way readying another shot. Damon snatches it out of the air and zips away. Vaughn grabs his gear and beats a retreat but Damon intercepts him. They struggle and Damon knocks him out.
Bonnie’s crying for Jeremy and Shane tries to comfort her with a mug of his (sigh) “spirit tea”. She expresses it out of his hand and hilariously he looks at her like “you don’t like my tea?” In her grief she starts to lose control, causing the campfire to blaze taller than she is. Shane dials her back even with his crazy eyes at full bore, reminding her about the whole back from the dead thing.
Meredith interrupts Elena’s vigil and asks if she can examine Jeremy. Elena consents but tells her she won’t find any vital signs. It’s like when Alaric died, he’d just be dead until he wasn’t. Elena worries that Jeremy is coming close to racking up enough deaths that they need to watch for signs of madness but as Stefan joins them Meredith cuts her off. “Elena, it looks like Jeremy died of extreme blood loss. His neck also appears to be broken. The lack of blood explains why there’s no lividity but his muscles have tightened past the point of rigor mortis. If left unattended to soon he’ll start to bloat. Within a few hours his skin will discolor…” Jesus.
Elena can’t hear another word and slams Meredith against a wall, screaming at her that her science means nothing and demanding Bonnie. A voice calls her name and she looks over to see Matt in the doorway. He sees Jeremy’s body on the bed and his face crumbles. Elena crosses to comfort him.
He takes her downstairs and makes her a cuppa, promising that he’s not drugging her again.
She fills him in on Damon and Bonnie’s status. He’s amazed that Damon stayed behind for Bonnie because he hates her. Elena insists that Damon kind of loves her since you’re only mean to the ones you love. Matt finds that every bit as messed up as I do and they declare it “Damon logic”.
Damon explains to a trussed up Hunter that while at first he believed Vaughn was acting alone, he now believes that Vaughn and Katherine are working in concert. He scolds Becky for tardiness. “Sorry, I had to dig an arrow out of my spine.” Vaughn taunts that they can’t kill him lest they invoke the Hunter’s Curse. Becky agrees. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t tear you apart, piece by piece, nerve by nerve, until the pain is so severe that your brain shuts it off to give you one tiny moment of blessed relief. And then we’ll heal you and we’ll do it again and again and again.” Damon: “You’re creepy.” Rebekah: “Thank you.”
The Hunter thinks so too and explains that Katherine found him while he was tracking vampires in Colorado (where Jeremy once hid out. Coincidence?) and offered to help him find Silas. She knew about the Mark and the cure from her inside source, Haley. Katherine found Haley in New Orleans (where the upcoming spin-off is set. Coincidence?). Satisfied that they know all Vaughn knows, Damon suggests tossing him in the well like baby Jessica. “If he starves to death it’s not our fault.” Then it’s off to find Bonnie. Becky insists that Katherine and the cure should be their priority but Damon knows that getting Bonnie to Elena is job one.