On tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries,” I Alone,” Damon and Elena attempt to rescue Bonnie. Stefan discovers Sarah is not who she claims to be. Enzo continues to rub everybody the wrong way. Kai tracks down Liv.

Tasked by Damon with securing the Ascendant from Jo, Alaric decides the best route to take is getting her drunk, having her mention in casual conversation where she keeps it  (in her underwear drawer) and swipe it when she isn’t looking. I’m surprised he didn’t grind up some Tylenol PM and slip it into her glass.

A Compelling Argument

Stefan warns Damon that there will be repercussions when Ric figures out that Damon compelled him, but Damon probably figures he can play the ‘you compelled the love of my life to forget me’ card. After all, Damon did sleep with and then turned Ric’s wife into a vamp, and the guy gave him a pass. Or, he can just compel him to forget the whole dirty business because that works too.

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The Ex Files

Jeremy is on the wagon and off Bonnie, for good. He took the plunge and canceled her cell phone account, cried like a little girl and is ready to get his groove back. Elena decides to tell her brother that Bonnie might be alive and well, and she and Damon and Liv are brainstorming a way to rescue her. Jeremy doesn’t plan on holding his breath.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

Liv has been hiding out in Mystic Falls, far from the reach of her psychotic coven but decides to return to normal programming, starting with helping Damon and Elena. Tyler isn’t thrilled, but Liv knows she can only outrun her destiny for so long. Mind you, Kai showing up is going to throw a wrench into everything, so her fate is far from sealed.

Liv meets Delena in the cemetery where Damon hands over some Bennett blood, courtesy of cousin Lucy, and the Ascendant. Liv is surprised that Jo gave the key up because it’s the only thing keeping Kai locked up, and if he gets out, he’s coming after his twin sis. This is a bit confusing since I thought he had already stolen all of Jo’s power making the merge moot, but what the hell do I know?

Liv does some hocus pocus, and Damon and Elena find themselves in 1994. They have eight hours to track down their girl and get back. Meanwhile, Kai has arrived in the present and discovered the wonder that is skinny jeans. He’s already off to a rip roaring start to what is bound to be a psychotic rampage, killing the cab driver when he can’t pay the fare.

Will the Real Sarah Salvatore Please Stand Up?

Matt arranges for Sarah to meet Stefan, but Enzo crashes the family reunion. He’s still got mad a on for Stefan even though Damon is back, well was back, safe as a kitten.

Matt and Enzo linger nearby while Sarah and Stefan get acquainted. The pleasantries don’t last long. Stefan suggests that they go for a ride, and when Sarah hesitates, he tells her that he knows she’s lying. The real Sarah Salvatore is studying at Duke. Stefan made sure that the real Sarah was adopted by a loving family. That’s a wrinkle this grifter wasn’t counting on. Now that we got all of that out of the way, who the hell is this girl and what is her angle?

Faux Sarah is actually Monique. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks who met the real Sarah Salvatore at sleepaway camp. How many foster kids get to go to summer camp? I digress. Anyway, Monique pulled a Talented Mr. Ripley in the hopes of getting a taste of the good life.

Stefan informs Monique that Damon does not know that he has a living relative matriculating at Duke. Stefan thought she’d be much safer that way. Monique showing up is inconvenient since it’s someone else who can attest to the existence of the only other living Salvatore descendent (that we know about). He compels Sarah to forget everything, leave and never come back.

Matt arrives on the scene, even though nobody summoned a white knight, and for some inexplicable reason, he brought along Enzo. Stefan tells them both that “Sarah” is a con artist, but Enzo doesn’t believe him. When Stefan refuses to divulge any intel, Enzo snaps Monique’s neck. Enzo is determined to find out what Stefan is hiding, so maybe we’ll get to meet the real Sarah after all.

Paging Bonnie Bennett

Delena shows up at the Salvatore mansion only to find a bloodstain and no Bonnie. Damon pages Kai, but it’s Bonnie who returns the call. Bonnie is in Muncie, Indiana, putting her close enough to make it back, but any delay and their return is shot to hell.

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Don’t Hate the Player

Jo shows up at Alaric’s office, and she is pissed. Seems she’s noticed the Ascendant is missing. Alaric swears that he didn’t tell Damon citing the pact they made, but not really, that the Ascendant was off limits. Jo’s a smart girl, so it doesn’t take her long to figure out what happened. Alaric swears Damon would never do such a thing. Jo suggests a little trip across the Mystic Falls border just to make sure.

Jo’s not the only one questioning how Damon got his hands on the Ascendant. While killing time in 1994, Elena comes across a newspaper and sees the article reporting Kai’s grisly crime. Even though Liv already pointed out that it wouldn’t be in Jo’s best interest to hand over the key, Elena raises the question again with Damon. He hasn’t had time to come up with a plausible lie, so he comes clean. Hey, you can’t argue with the guy’s methods. He gets the job done.

Elena accuses Damon of having an ulterior motive for rescuing Bonnie. He thinks it will make her fall in love with him because he’s such a great guy. Little does she know that Damon does genuinely care about and feel beholden to Bonnie. The fact that bringing her back might score him some points is a happy coincidence. But, Damon puts her ego in check when he confesses that he’s there for Bonnie, not for her.

Sibling Rivalry

It doesn’t take Kai long to track down one of his siblings, Liv. He cozies up to the bar where she’s working and behaves like any typical annoying barfly. Too pleased with himself to keep up the charade, he orders a drink, forcing her to ask for his ID. Liv doesn’t make the connection until Kai basically spells it out for her.

A little cat and mouse ensues, and Liv is definitely off her game. It’s not like she isn’t a powerful witch in her own right, but her attempts to ward off her big brother are feeble. It’s a good thing that meathead Tyler is lurking nearby to put Kai down long enough for Liv to make her escape.

There’s Always Next Time

Thanks to the change in plans, Liv brings Elena and Damon back ahead of schedule. It was either that or leave them indefinitely. Liv has to hightail it back to MF and regroup if she has any hope of defeating Kai.

Damon tries to console Elena by telling her that all they have to do is wait for the next appropriate celestial event, and they can go back and get her bestie, as long as they have the Ascendant that is. Cue Kai’s entrance. He manages to destroy the Ascendant and cross the border into Mystic Falls. He may not be able to use magic, but that doesn’t keep him from killing people the old fashioned way.

This was a “compelling” episode for sure, but it leaves me with a few burning questions. Why did Kai have to drain some power from Liv? Isn’t his tank all filled up from Jo’s knife? When did Enzo turn into such an a**hole? Is Matt going to be the new Tripp Fell? And, when is Bonnie going to catch a break?

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm 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.