On this episode of The Vampire Diaries, “A Bird in a Gilded Cage,” Elena comes up with a plan to bring Stefan back, Damon travels to 1903 to reunite with his mother and Caroline and Stefan engage in a battle of the wills.
Caroline may be humanity-free, but she’s still Type A all the way. After her showdown with Stefan at the Scull Bar, Blondie is cleaning up the mess. Enzo arrives to find her erasing any evidence of the night’s previous events. Enzo’s a bit confused as to why she would bother, and Caroline explains that she has no interest in drawing attention to herself during this transitional period. She’s still all about the drama, as her major, of course. And she’s not about to have anyone hunting her down or locking her up when she plans to be starring in Whitmore’s upcoming musical.

The Vampire Diaries Recap: Caroline Unleashes the Ripper>>>

Plan, Interrupted

Enzo questions why Caroline took his phone, and she admits her motivation was to get Sarah’s number. This throws a bit of a wrench in Enzo’s plan to use Sarah to torture Stefan. Ripper Stefan isn’t likely to care if Enzo corrupts his only “living” relative.

If Caroline is so obsessed with maintaining her routine, minus agonizing grief, it was short sighted of her to unleash an inhuman Stefan on the college campus. It looks like the bar won’t be the only mess Care Bear will be cleaning up.

A Bad Time for a Humanity Flip

Damon is waiting for Stefan when he comes home, and, thanks to Elena, he knows his little brother is off the wagon. Damon is losing his edge because his attempt to inject Stefan with vervane fails miserably. Stefan stocks up on some of Jeremy’s leftover vampire hunting weaponry and warns Damon to stay out of his way.

Too Many Salvatores

Sarah wakes up at the medical center with no memory of having been a living, breathing cadaver. Jo tells Sarah she drank too much and passed out and will have to stick around while Jo replenishes her fluids. In truth, the only fluid Jo and Alaric are concerned about is the vampire blood flowing through Sarah’s veins. They want to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn’t wind up like great, great, something, something, removed uncles.

Damon finally tells Elena that his mother, Lillian Salvatore (Annie Wersching), is alive and well in Prison World 1903. He also reveals that mama is a ripper. Where Damon sees a problem, Elena sees an opportunity. Turns out, Stefan was incredibly close to their mother. Elena wants to get Lillian and bring her back, so she can bring Stefan back from the dark side. Whose mother isn’t an emotional trigger? And if they can get Stefan to flip his switch, by default, Caroline should be next.

A Peace Offering

Damon visits Bonnie on bended knee asking once again for forgiveness and a favor. Her first reaction is to tell him to piss off, but Damon explains that her working with Kai to rescue Lillian will benefit them all. This leads to Bonnie sitting down with Kai who just so happens to have the right Ascendant. And here I thought those damn things were interchangeable. As the new leader of the Gemini Coven, Kai doesn’t even need a celestial event to make the spell work. His only caveat is that he’ll only go to 1903 if Bonnie goes with him.

You Jump, I Jump

Stefan is a bit put out with Caroline. He’s not about to watch her reap all the benefits of flipping her switch and none of the fallout. If he’s doomed to suffer the consequences of living in the dark, Stefan wants to be damn sure that Caroline emerges from her self-imposed emotional exile with her life in shambles as well. He’s off to a good start. He decapitates the director of the school musical during her audition.


Kai, Damon, Elena and Bonnie travel to 1903. Bonnie and Kai have to find the Ascendant’s mirror image in order to get everybody back. Apparently, the Ascendant can’t travel between worlds.

Damon and Elena poke around his childhood home, and while Elena would like to reminisce about her hottie honey’s childhood, Damon just wants to have a no-fuss reunion. He plans for his time with mommy to be brief. Elena thinks some quality time might be good for Damon, but he’s not up to rehabilitating a deadbeat, ripper mom.

Lillian, “Lily,” did die of tuberculosis. She just happened to have vampire blood in her at the time. Lily’s pretty tight-lipped about why she didn’t drop by and pay her sons a visit or her rambunctious lifestyle previous to being imprisoned by the coven. 

Elena and Damon explain why they’ve come, and Lily agrees to help. Only Lily isn’t alone. She had some “traveling companions,” who, truth be told, aren’t looking so hot. They’ve pretty much depleted all available blood resources, so they resemble the tomb vampires from season 1. Lily, however, has kept herself tidy.

Footloose and Humanity Free

Campus is deserted because of Spring Break which is lucky for Caroline. She and Damon are able to one-up each other in the torture department with no collateral damage. Well, aside from the poor director who Caroline disposed of in a furnace.

She damages dismantles his motorcycle and punches a hole in the fuel tank, he retaliates by bombarding her with a vervane grenade. Stefan keeps trying to get Caroline to cave to peer pressure and succumb to her baser instincts, but all he gets for his trouble is a stake in the gut.

Enzo is determined to put Caroline and Stefan under lock and key and goes to Alaric for help. Alaric questions why Enzo is so determined to help Stefan, and Enzo explains that his revenge scheme is only effective if the person you’re trying to hurt gives a damn. I can’t fully understand why Alaric would participate in rescuing Stefan knowing Enzo only wants Stefan’s humanity restored so that he can be reminded of how much he hates Enzo. My best guess would be because a bad Stefan is worse than a bad Enzo and good Stefan can kick Enzo’s ass. With a baby on the way, Alaric’s treading lightly.

Stefan tries to kill one stray student who happens upon him and Caroline, but Caroline saves her, gives her blood and sends the girl back to her dorm room. The two are forced to call a time out in their war games when they hear Alaric and Enzo.

You’ve Gotta Have Friends

Lily’s friends turn out to be the reason she’s no longer a ripper. She admits she drank with no remorse but being locked in the Prison World gave her time to reflect on her life choices. As rations ran low, the others gave theirs to Lily, and in order to be able to wake them, she controlled her bloodlust. There are a whole lot of holes in this particular storyline like why not find a horse and buggy and head west when the blood ran out? Why would she worry about a bunch of desecrated vamps when there was no evidence to suggest they would be saved or escape? Silas didn’t drink for what? A thousand years? And he had no problem coming back to life. It’s just so very messy.

Damon thinks mother is crazy, and when she goes to fetch the remainder of the blood to reanimate her buddies, he tells Elena as much. Elena also discovers the Ascendant and wonders why Bonnie hasn’t shown up. Damon informs her it’s because Bonnie isn’t looking for it.

Despite his immense power, Kai hasn’t figured out the the locator spell Bonnie supposedly did to locate the Ascendant is total bunk. He’s allowed her to lead him out into the woods where she stabs him. Kai swears he’s changed, but Bonnie goes to finish him off anyway. Kai makes quick use of his mojo and vanishes.

Good Enough to Eat

Enzo and Alaric are rendered unconscious by an explosive gift left by Stefan. Caroline is determined to protect them, so Stefan decides to try a different tact. He retrieves the lone girl from her dorm room and feeds on her in front of Caroline. Kind of like watching somebody binge out on doughnuts when you’re on a diet. The temptation proves too much and Caroline folds. Then they have a hot hook up against a vending machine.

Fall Behind, Stay Behind

The group hurries to catch the last celestial event out of 1903, but mother Salvatore doesn’t want to leave her friends behind. Damon and her scuffle, but he makes it clear that they aren’t tagging along for this ride. As Bonnie performs the spell, Kai stumbles out of the woods but gets left behind.

Enzo wakes up with a new perspective. He visits Sarah and admits he’s been using her as a pawn in a game he no longer feels like playing. It looks like when Ric told Enzo he was kind of a lonely loser, it hit home. Even with good intentions, Enzo screws the pooch. He inadvertently tells Sarah her last name is Salvatore.

Lily tries to bridge the gap between herself and Damon by confessing that she did come to visit her sons after she died. But her desire for blood forced her to leave them behind for fear of what she might do to them. She assures her eldest that she missed them more than they could have possibly missed her. Damon remains unmoved. Lily is also determined to go back and get her friends, something Damon and Bonnie have no intention of doing.

Kai’s situation quickly goes from bad to worse. He had the misfortune of coming across Lily’s companions, one of which she managed to waken before Damon could prevent her from doing more. The very, very hungry vamp has just enough power to make Kai his first meal in ages.

Now that Damon and Bonnie have kissed and made up, she presents him with a little gift, the cure. Yep, she brought it back and now it’s up to him to decide what to do with it.

A new episode of The Vampire Diaries airs April 16 on the CW.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.