On this episode of The Vampire Diaries, “Prayer for the Dying,” Liv and Luke try to convince their father to let Jo and Kai merge. Caroline enlists Jo’s help to try and save her mom. Damon and Elena grow closer.

It doesn’t take long for Caroline to realize that her blood isn’t a miracle cure after all. The man in North Carolina, Colin, who she experimented died, awakened, fed and is now a vampire. He’s made his way to Mystic Falls where he decided to come to meet his maker (pun intended).

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Sleeping Like the Dead

Kai is still drugged, comatose and resting comfortably at Ric’s place. Ric is off on some secret mission to get something mystical to help Jo out when it comes time for the merge.

The Walking Dead

Unfortunately for Colin, being undead hasn’t cured his cancer. Stefan enlists Jo to see why this guy is in such crap shape, and together they figure out that Caroline’s blood actually sped up the progression of the cancer. Now the guy is perpetually dying. What a bummer. And if someone (Jo) doesn’t figure something out, Sheriff Forbes will suffer the same fate.

Elena gives Stefan a stern face and a serious lecture about his lack of judgement. The crux of it is that he’s old enough to know better; he should have hung around NC a little longer; he should have tried to get Caroline to not act so impulsively.

Stefan justifies his actions by telling Elena that he didn’t want to be the one to dash Caroline’s hopes. He did just get out of the dog house. He also points out that Elena hasn’t exactly acted rationally when people she’s cared about have died (arson, hallucinogenic drugs).

Jo decides to try a massive blood transfusion to clear out all the vamp blood out of Caroline’s mom’s body, but she isn’t overly optimistic it will work. Damon, who just isn’t yet a fan of his bestie’s new girlfriend, is as impressed with her medical skills as her magical ones.

A Deadly Birthday

Liv, Luke and Jo’s silver-haired fox of a dad shows up at Whitmore to celebrate his twins’ 22nd birthday. Liv lied to Tyler and told him her birthday wasn’t for a few more weeks, but the jig is up. Now they are old enough to make the merge. Their big plan to get out of it is to try and convince dear old dad to let Jo merge with Kai instead. Tyler isn’t convinced this will work and wants to intercede, an idea that neither Liv or Luke is keen on. Tyler has a habit of making matters worse, and I’m fairly certain this time will be no exception. He’s not even a hybrid anymore, so he’s no match for a witch like Joshua Parker.

There Are Worse Things Than Death

Colin is not a happy camper. His emotions are heightened, and he’s in physical agony. He keeps trying to kill himself to no avail. I guess nobody broke the news to him yet that, theoretically, he could be this miserable for all eternity. Damon does the guy a favor and mercifully rips his heart out of his chest.

Damon does genuinely care about Liz, and he’s more than a little annoyed at her current predicament. Damon never handles bad news about a loved one well, or rejection, or really any disappointment of any kind. The blood transfusion is a bust, so he’s on a bit of a tear. Damon doesn’t show much mercy towards Caroline in the wake of her monumentally bad decision. He’s not the softie Stefan is, and he warned her that feeding her mom her blood was a phenomenally bad idea.

Caroline goes from one extreme to another. Instead of throwing all her energy into saving her mother’s life, she’s now starting to organize the woman’s funeral. Stefan doesn’t sugarcoat things. Yes, Caroline took a risk and lost, but he tells her she needs to deal with it. Caroline can’t fathom facing her mom.

All of a sudden, we find out that Stefan and Damon’s mom was gravely ill, and surprise, Stefan didn’t spend enough quality time with her before she died. How convenient that he has this little piece of his history tucked away for just such an occasion.

Don’t Think of it as Dying

Liv and Luke are trying to reason with their dad. It’s easy to see where Kai got his insanity. The crazy apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Coven before family is still the stance. If Liv and Luke don’t merge, when Joshua dies, so does the entire coven.

He tries to make them feel better by saying that one of them won’t really die but that their souls will become one. Putting lipstick on a pig, Josh.

Cheating Death

Predictably, Tyler tries to take matters into his own hands. His brilliant plan is to wake Kai up and let him loose to merge with Jo. Damon catches him in the act. As he explains to Tyler why this won’t work, he has an a-ha moment.

After knocking Tyler out, Damon calls Liv, or as he calls her “twinderella.” He asks to speak to Papa Parker. He make a proposition: There is a celestial event that very day, and he wants Joshua to expedite the merge between Liv and Luke. As added incentive, Damon tells the leader of the Gemini coven that Kai will soon be mobile and on the hunt for Jo. Joshua has made it clear that he doesn’t think his psychotic son would be an effective leader.

I don’t see where Joshua needs to be threatened. He is already on the same page.

Kai wakes up, and all that Traveler magic appears to be gone. That was a lot of magic to lose during a prolonged nap. If he wasn’t using it, I would expect it is still in there somewhere. Damon offers to help him get more magic.

Damon’s motive? To get Kai to suck the magic, or vampire blood, out of Liz. It’s a bit of a stretch, but what good is writing for a supernatural TV series if you can’t just pull stuff out of your ass when necessary?

Jo walks in to check on her patient and sees Kai and demands to know the deal. She knows her brother well enough to realize this has to be a quid pro quo arrangement, and Damon confirms that fact.

Kai makes good on his end, but the sheriff can’t catch a break. The whole “siphoning” process sends her into cardiac arrest.

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A Deadly Risk

Joshua Parker lulls Liv and Luke into both an alley and a false sense of security. Then he proceeds with the merge. Kind of a letdown. I thought it would be this big deal back in Portland with the whole coven present. It goes down more like a seedy drug deal.

Luckily for the wonder twins, Tyler and his anger management issues show up to save the day. He beats the crap out of Papa Parker and knocks him unconscious. Luke has a big idea to save the day because that’s been working so well for everyone of late. He asks Liv to trust him and takes off.

Luke decides he wants to merge with Kai. There is that whole pesky problem of them not being twins, but Luke thinks that since they share parents, a bloodline, and “thanks to your (Kai) timeout in the magical penalty box” are the same age. He admits to Kai that it’s a Hail Mary, but he’s willing to take the risk. Kai is a bit reluctant, but after Luke calls him a chicken, he relents.

Kiss of Death

Damon comes to and finds Elena performing shoddy CPR on Liz. Apparently, Jo is the only physician on duty, and she’s unconscious in a park thanks to Luke. Not even one nurse comes rushing in despite all the machines going berserk. Damon saunters out to find to compel one. It’s a close call, and it looks like Liz is about to head to the great beyond, but she makes a comeback. Liz’s near death experience is the perfect catalyst for Elena to decide it’s time to make out with Damon.

Dearly Departed

Jo, who had started the merge with Kai but got knocked out by Luke, wakes up to see her brothers merging. She tries to get Luke to stop, but it’s too late. Both men collapse. Luke comes to at the same time as Joshua Parker. He tells Liv that Kai has won, he can feel it. Sure enough, Luke opened his eyes just long enough to croak off.

Joshua urges Liv to come with him for her own safety, but she refuses and turns to Tyler for comfort.

A Wish Before Dying

Caroline gets more time to figure something out because Liz is less terminal than before. She can also stop beating herself up since Kai mystically fixed her massive boo boo. While Caroline is out getting her mom a well-deserved latte, Liz has a chat with Stefan. She makes him promise to be there for Caroline and help her move on with her life. In other words, “Hook up with my daughter already.”

Kai is officially the all-powerful leader of the Gemini coven. What kind of trouble with that scamp get into next?

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.