On tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, Caroline and Katherine join forces to rid Stefan of his PTSD issues once and for all. Elena makes some unsavory discoveries about both Damon and her father. Aaron learns the true nature of Dr. Wes’ work and a whole bunch of other stuff that is bound to put him at odds with the Mystic Falls crew.

Flashback to June 11, 1953, and Damon (Ian wearing a horrible wig) has been lured home by an ancestor named Joseph. It seems as if Joe has sold out his vamp relative for medical experimentation.

Dr. Maxfield, I Presume

Back in present day, Damon finds himself in a similar predicament. In spite of being injected with rabies, Ebola and a variety of other deadly diseases without the benefit of vamp blood as a cure (Jesse burst in), Dr. Wes managed to take Damon captive. This guy isn’t only a genius, he’s survived two intense interrogation sessions. Since Jesse was killed by Elena, the evil doctor is short a lab rat, and he plans on using Damon.

The Odd Couple

A suicidal Katherine is now living under the watchful eye of post-traumatic stress disorder Stefan. She’s not confident in his abilities to help her since he’s hanging on by a thread himself, so she calls self-titled “sober sponsor” Caroline to come and administer her own brand of therapy.

The Search for Damon

Elena goes to see Aaron and has to pretend to both be surprised to hear that Jesse is dead (suicide) and to care, especially since she killed him. Aaron is a bit depressed that during his short time at Whitmore, two of his friends have died. Elena can relate but the shoulder to cry on thing will have to wait. She tells Aaron that her boyfriend went to speak to Wes the previous night, and now they are both missing. With Wes being Aaron’s guardian, Elena hopes he has some ideas of where to look.

Secret Identities

En route to one of Dr. Wes’ possible hangouts, Elena decides to take Aaron into herĀ  confidence. She tells him that she saw Megan’s body the night she died, and she was murdered. She also tells him how Dr. Maxfield forged the death certificate. Aaron wants to find Wes and question him about all this himself.

Elena finds herself standing on the threshold of the Whitmore House. But, she’s able to enter since Aaron is the owner. Yes, Aaron is a Whitmore. Once inside, Elena notices a picture of what appears to be a group of Augustine members, and standing proudly amongst them is her daddy. She barely has time to process this information before Wes shows up and gives her a shot of vervane.

Too Much Information

Aaron is a tad confused about how events are unfolding. He finds out that Elena is a vampire and Wes also just happens to study vampires, research that Aaron’s father pioneered. Aaron questions why Wes hadn’t told him sooner, and he says Aaron never needed to know before now. He hands over what is presumably all the research telling Aaron it is his legacy.

Aaron realizes that his parents’ deaths weren’t the result of an animal attack but rather vampires. Wes says this is why he chose to continue Aaron’s father’s research. He tells Aaron he hopes he’ll join him, and Aaron punches him in the face. He takes a watch Wes just gave him that has some mystical quality that helps repel a vampire attack and a gun from a safe where Wes hid a few of the Augustine society’s treasures.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

Imprisoned in separate cells but reunited, Damon fills Elena in on the Augustine’s history. He explains how he was experimented on and tortured in a multitude of ways. Damon was held prisoner for five years. Elena asks him how he maintained some semblance of sanity, and he tells her he made a friend. The vamp’s name was Enzo (Michael Malarkey) who was kidnapped by Dr. Whitmore during WWII. He had been held captive for 10 years by the time Damon arrived.

Elena’s having a hard time believing that her father would be involved with the work the Augustines were doing. It’s not like her biological father wasn’t enough of a jerk.

Damon takes another walk down memory lane, remembering a discussion that he and Enzo had about women. Of course, Damon was still in love with Katherine at the time. Enzo mentions an assistant of Dr. Whitmore’s named Megan. He says she didn’t know about the nastier aspects of her boss’ research, and once she found out, she quit.

Now while all of this is moderately interesting, Elena finally asks the question we’re all desperate to have answered. How did Damon escape? He tells Elena that he was let out once a year to be put on display at an Augustine shindig. It was at this event that the doctor showed members of the society what strides he was making in his research. Enzo and Damon weren’t a threat because they were so weak from their meager rations of blood. That is until Enzo came up with the plan that one of them should drink all the rations, building up strength for the next New Year’s party. Elena asks if the plan worked, which is a dumb question since she knows he got out, but Damon isn’t keen on providing details.

With Friends Like These…

Caroline manages to convince Stefan to climb back into the safe. Katherine, still looking pretty spry, asks her if she and Stefan have ever done “it.” Caroline, tells her they are just friends. Kitty Kat lets her know she’s missing out, saying Stefan is good in bed.

Caroline is taking a by the book approach. She’s literally reading from some kind of textbook. Katherine grows impatient, and the two start to bicker. Katherine blathers on about Stefan’s hero complex and this apparently sparks an idea on how to help her ex. Meanwhile, poor Stefan is having a freak out inside the safe.

Stefan passes out, and when he comes to, Katherine is in the safe with him. This really sets him off into a panic spiral. Katherine goads him by telling him she believes he’s still in love with Elena and that even though he wants to leave Mystic Falls, he can’t. As unhappy as seeing her with his brother makes him, he still can’t leave her behind. Stefan starts choking her, his go-to move. He asks her why she chose to have this conversation with him under these circumstances. Katherine answers that it’s the only way to get him to see that instead of dealing with his heartbreak over losing Elena, he’s choosing to focus on the physical pain he felt all summer drowning over and over again.

Just when it looks like Stefan’s going to go all Rippery on Kitty Kat, she soothes the savage beast. Things even start to get downright steamy. Too bad Caroline opens the safe fearing something’s gone wrong.

The Revenge Plan

Elena, fearing the return of Dr. Wes, urges Damon to tell her the unabridged version of his escape. He says it’s not a story she wants to hear. Elena reassures him that she’ll love him regardless of what horrible acts he committed. You’d think he’d know that by now. He turned her best friend into a vamp, and that’s just for starters.

Damon divulges all the dirty details which boil down to him killing a lot of people. In the midst of this, a fire accidentally starts and Damon isn’t able to free Enzo on time.

Aaron finds Elena and Damon, but the likelihood of rescue is slim. He threatens Elena with the gun, blaming her for murdering Megan, She tells him she couldn’t have because Megan was murdered inside the Whitmore House, and she hadn’t been invited in yet. Then he tries to pin his parents’ death on her, but Damon confesses that he killed them.

See, Enzo and Damon used to play a little game to pass the time. It consisted of coming up with elaborate revenge schemes for Dr. Whitmore and the Augustine society. Damon decided he was going to kill every member of the Whitmore family except for one. After the lone survivor grew up and started a family, he’d do it all over again. One lone Whitmore left standing generation after generation. You have to admire his commitment to the cause.

Elena asks who the last Whitmore was that he killed, and it turns out to be Aaron’s recently deceased aunt. While Aaron is getting hit with some heavy duty revelations, Elena’s ticked off because Damon killed this Whitmore descendent when they were dating. It doesn’t stop her from getting upset when Aaron shoots Damon. I hear an ‘I told you so’ coming from Caroline on this one.

Trapped and Strapped

Damon wakes up to find Elena missing from her cell, while Elena comes to, strapped to a table in a lab next to a chap named Enzo.

And, while I’m sure many fans will be thrilled with the latest development between Stefan and Kitty Kat, I was a bit grossed out by the reunion, plagued with visions in my head of Stefan making out with an old lady.

The Vampire Dairies airs Thursdays at 8 pm 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.