On tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, “Black Hole Sun,” Bonnie and Damon learn more about the mysterious Kai. Sarah discovers the identity of her parents. Stefan and Elena engage in a day of make-believe that has dire consequences.

Stefan, Elena and Caroline continue their search for Sarah. But, since they are unable to enter Mystic Falls, Sarah’s winning this game of hide and go seek. I’m not sure what their plan of attack is even if they find her except to compel her to stay the hell away from MF.

Starting Over, Again

Stefan tries to sneak off, but is intercepted by Elena. While the remaining members of the crew linger — hoping to be able to return to their home — Stefan wants to start over, again. Elena doesn’t believe that he’s okay with leaving the town and his friends behind. We all know that Stefan can be pretty cold-hearted, and he tells his lovely ex that she’d be surprised how easy it is to forget. Kind of ironic since she’s currently compelled to forget the love of her life. Intentional?

Elena asks him to show her how he starts his life over. He claims to have a system, and she wants to see it firsthand. If Elena believes he’s truly happy, she’ll back off. But, if she doesn’t buy it, she threatens to harass him until he comes home. Not much of a threat.

Jeremy Sobers Up, Matt Plays Detective

Inside the town limits, Jeremy and Matt are supposed to be on the lookout for the enigmatic Sarah, but Jeremy’s barfing into a bag instead. He’s apparently wasted. Not sure that requires a trip to the hospital if he’s awake (he is) and lucid (appears to be). Alaric is babysitting, and Matt is on his way to see Tripp Fell, the closeted vampire hunter. He thinks Tripp trusts him enough to confide in him, if the founding family member has any info on Sarah.

Jo, Elena’s boss, is on duty at the hospital. Alaric asks if she can give Jeremy a sober-up fast cure which is basically an IV of saline. She agrees, but he has to endure a full physical including a very large Q-tip up his urethra thanks to Alaric (STD testing). Can’t hurt, given that’s he’s been a total man whore since Bonnie disappeared.

Matt arrives at Tripp’s office, and the man is not pleased. He’s super bummed that his douchey cohort Jay is dead. He questions Matt about what happened, but all the former quarterback will say is that he offered Jay a ride home from the party, and he declined. Both go to see Sheriff Forbes to give a statement.

A Day That Goes Down in Infamy

Being stuck in the ’90s has had a serious detrimental effect on Bonnie’s wardrobe. She’s taken to wearing overall shorts with one of the straps undone. Please, get this girl back to the present. Anyway, turns out the day they keep reliving, May 10, 1994, is a significant one for Damon. He had returned to Mystic Falls and was living with his brother and Zach at the boarding house. Supposedly, he was trying to mend his wicked ways.

At the time, there were actually boarders staying at the sprawling estate, and Zach was involved with a woman, Gail, who was expecting their child.

Kai is forcing Damon to relive and reveal the events of that fateful day. Kai continues to know everything but is savvy about showing his cards. This gets on Damon’s already frazzled nerves, so Kai says that to get home, they’ll have to harness the power of the solar eclipse and use a mystical object called an ascendant. This object belonged to Kai’s family, and the last time they had it was in the Pacific Northwest. He wants Bonnie to do a locator spell to pinpoint its whereabouts.

As Bonnie tries to do her locator spell, there are flashbacks leading up to whatever horribly naughty thing Damon did. It will take a lot to shock fans. There isn’t much this guy hasn’t done and managed to remain loveable.

Stefan discovers that Damon has been feeding on Gail. He mistakenly thought she was safe because she was on vervain, but Damon found a way to stop her from ingesting it. This all comes to light on the day of the eclipse: May 10, 1994.

Stefan’s pissed, but Damon swears he’s using the snatch, eat, erase method and only doing so inside of the house. In response, Stefan snaps his neck.

Back in the present, so to speak, Bonnie’s spell works, and it turns out that Kai had the ascendant in his pocket the entire time. He claims it was another test to make sure Bonnie’s magic was precise enough for what lay ahead.

Stefan takes his brother’s daylight ring and questions his true motives for returning to Mystic Falls. Damon says he wanted to reconnect with his humanity which meant reconnecting with Stefan. Then he suggests they take off for a bonding road trip. Stefan basically tells his brother off, bringing up how he’s constantly ruining his attempts to be happy. How no matter where he goes or what he does, Damon’s mere existence is a hindrance. Pretty harsh stuff. We all know how well Damon does with rejection.

Kai uses the ascendant to try and figure out coordinates, and Bonnie discovers a piece of the newspaper with a story about a dead family in Oregon. …Obviously placed there on purpose by Kai. Not a very nice guy. He came from a very large family which he slaughtered. He’s a witch with no powers and was part of that Gemini coven. They banished him to Mystic Falls. The town is his hell, not Damon’s. This guy is such a realistic sociopath, I could just eat him up with a spoon.

Bonnie doesn’t want to leave now if it means letting Kai loose as well. Damon, whose moral compass has always been unreliable at best, tends to disagree.

At last, we find out Damon’s big secret. Crushed by his brother’s rejection, and free to roam during the eclipse, Damon kills everyone at the boarding house including people who came for a party to view the aforementioned eclipse. He also killed Gail. His whole reason for returning was to make good on his promise to make eternity hell for Stefan for making him complete the transition. 

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Stefan Spills Elena’s Secret

Elena and Stefan hang in Savannah. They use his meager paycheck to drink beers while he demonstrates to Elena how he chooses a new identity. He takes her daylight ring and decides to stage a very public fake proposal. Elena plays along. In this scenario he’s a bullfighting ex junkie, and she’s knocked up. It’s just that simple.

The two continue to talk, and Stefan warns Elena she’ll have no choice but to reinvent herself every 30 years or so before people grow suspicious that she’s not aging. She talks about how hard it must be to move around with no constant and brings up the subject of Damon. Stefan is almost annoyed at Elena’s reference to Damon and strictly his brother. His ambivalence overrides his desire to confront her but only for so long.

Unable to tolerate her lectures about how to deal with grief, coupled with badmouthing Damon, Stefan lays it all out for Elena. How Alaric compelled her to forget everything good about Damon. She doesn’t believe it. She questions how she could have ever loved Damon. Stefan explains the emotional connections they have with Damon how they can’t live without him. She doesn’t have to anymore, but he does. So, he tells her to do her and he’ll do him.

Moving Forward

Alaric is trying to straighten Jeremy out. All these little side stories pale in comparison to what’s going on in Damon and Bonnie’s alternate dimension. However, we are forced to listen to Jeremy bemoan the fact that Bonnie knew she was going to die and said her goodbyes to him over the phone. He resents the fact that she sacrificed herself for everybody else. Not true, anyway. As the Anchor, she was a goner no matter what.

Alaric ups the ante with his tragic history and tells young Gilbert that they have no choice but to find a way to keep going.

Enzo Lives

On the way back from speaking with the sheriff, Matt learns that Tripp’s wife and Liz were rivals in high school. Tripp also says he left after his wife was killed in a car crash — too many memories.

Matt confesses to Tripp that he thinks there are more sinister forces at play in Mystic Falls, and that’s all Tripp needs. After all, he does need a replacement for Jay. Tripp returned to MF after the gas leak that blew up all of the Travelers. Once he crossed the border, like Sarah, any and all memories that had been compelled came flooding back. His wife didn’t die in a car crash. She was killed by a vampire.

Matt learns that Enzo is alive, and Tripp is going to use him to find other vampires, including the one that bit Sarah.

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Secrets and Lies Revealed

Lots of surprises this episode, but the biggest has to be that Sarah is Gail’s daughter, making her a distant relation to the Salvatore brothers.

How convenient Elena wrote herself an in-case-someone-spills-the-beans letter.

As much as Damon and Bonnie want to be rid of Kai, the fact that he can suck Bonnie dry of her magic and go it alone makes that unlikely. Kind of strange that he wouldn’t just do that anyway which leaves me to wonder what he’s still hiding.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm on the CW.

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(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.