The roller coaster that was last week’s Vampire Diaries episode came to an abrupt halt with the revelation that Stefan had lost his memory after Quetsiyah—who was notably absent this week—performed a spell on him. This week, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” gave the mythology and history lessons a break and instead, focused on Stefan’s struggle to become a civilized vampire once again and not return to his old ripper ways. The big question this episode was, if Stefan would be able to feed on a human without losing control. Was he successful? Let’s find out, as I recap this week’s Vampire Diaries.
Previously on The Vampire Diaries...
Matt’s body got hijacked by a pair of travelers. Quetsiyah performed a spell to disable Silas’ mind-control but in turn erased all of Stefan’s previous memories.
The episode opens with Damon and Stefan going for a midnight joyride in a stolen car. Stefan is reading his old diaries in an effort to remember things from his past. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t work. He tells Damon he’s driving too slow and it’s funny to hear him assume that he is the fun brother and Damon is the “safe” one. To prove him wrong, Damon steps on the gas and flips the car over. They both seem to have enjoyed the stunt.
Mystic Falls is back to observing random town holidays. They’re celebrating Remembrance Day, which is supposed to be about remembering those who have passed away. As Damon explains this to Stefan, a waitress comes to the table and Stefan finds himself longing for her vein. He proposes that perhaps the trauma of killing his father and turning Damon into a vampire is what made him become a ripper. He thinks that with those memories gone, he might be able to feed without losing control. Damon isn’t too sure. Elena shows up and you can tell Stefan is drawn to her but he doesn’t know anything about their relationship yet.
Back at the Salvatore manor, Bonnie compares watching Jeremy doing shirtless pushups to watching Netflix. Apparently the girls on the other sides just sit and watch him like a movie or something. He’s already asked Bonnie for help with Stefan’s memory loss but she’s unable to do anything. In that moment, Matt calls him over to his house. He tells him about his time lapses and has even set up cameras around the house to keep track of when he blacks out. Matt’s worried about Bonnie not replying to his emails, he needs her help urgently. This puts Jeremy in a pickle and he knows he can’t hide the fact that Bonnie is dead for much longer.
At the Mystic Grill, Damon and Elena lose sight of Stefan and they realize he’s up to his old tricks again. Stefan goes after the waitress and attempts to feed on her in the back room. Paul Wesley’s acting gives me chills, he’s the perfect combination of scary and sexy and it’s amazing to watch. However, right as Stefan is about to plunge into the waitress’ neck, Damon shows up to stop him. He and Elena take him to the cemetery and to the family crypt in order to keep him isolated from other people. Damon receives a text from Jeremy and takes off, leaving Elena and Stefan alone.
Stefan attempts to get to know Elena a little better and she basically sums up all the deaths in her family, her own death, and becoming a vampire all in one sentence. He wonders how it’s possible to not remember her, complimenting Elena on her looks and her inner strength. When Stefan makes a joke about meeting each other in a cemetery, Elena takes him to Mystic Falls High in an attempt to recreate their first actual meeting. It’s all kinds of adorable to see them this way and you can tell that maybe the one who is remembering a little too much is Elena and not Stefan. For some reason, they jump on the gym’s roof and then TVD recycles Howie Day’s “Longest Night” and it makes for the perfect soundtrack. Stefan deduces that he and Elena had a history but is yet to realize she is now dating Damon.
Back at the cemetery, Caroline and Jesse are on a “study date” actually studying. Caroline sounds off on her relationship with Tyler, admitting that they didn’t have communication, mutual interests or respect. After she tells Jesse that she invited him because he’s nice and wanted to spend time with him, he pulls the oldest trick in the book. He fakes out Caroline to make her turn away and when she turns back, he plants a kiss on her—a kiss she returns. But then it gets a teeny bit awkward.
At the Salvatore home, the truth finally comes out. Jeremy spills the beans, even though Bonnie is begging him not to, and tells Damon that Bonnie gave up her life when she brought him back. Damon is crushed, knowing how much it will affect Elena’s life.
Elena and Stefan are still going down memory lane. She shows him the bridge she drove off that caused her to become a vampire. He knows Elena is just doing all this to make him forget his thirst for blood. Elena tells him that she never viewed him as a monster and touches his face, remembering the first time she ever saw his vampire face. They’re very close to kissing but then she does the right thing and admits that she’s with Damon. The magic shatters and Stefan’s hunger returns. He takes off in search of fresh blood.
Meanwhile, Matt wakes up again from one of his time lapse episodes. He goes straight for the camera to review the footage and the result is even creepier than some of the stuff in Paranormal Activity. Gregor—in Matt’s body—speaks straight to the camera and gives Matt a message: He is to protect the blade until his friends come looking for it, or he will die. Later, Jeremy shows up and tells him the truth about Bonnie.
Elena calls Damon to let him know that she lost Stefan. Perhaps taking him to a cemetery full of people wasn’t the best idea? Caroline runs into Stefan at the cemetery and when Jesse joins them, he threatens to rip his arm off after he smells blood on his hand. Caroline compels Jesse to hide and wait for her, while she takes care of Stefan. He asks for a blood bag but it’s only a distraction because he flees after she turns her back to him. Jesse tries calling Caroline from the Salvatore crypt but Stefan sneaks in behind him and bites his neck. With blood dripping from his mouth, Stefan tells him how great he’s doing for being a ripper. He gives Jesse a speech about there being no point in being good because bad things happen anyway. You can tell Stefan is angry and sad that Damon and Elena are now together, he delivers the perfect man tear. He goes in for another bite but Caroline stops him before he kills Jesse and she feeds him her blood.
When Damon and Elena show up at the Salvatore home, they find Stefan burning his journals. He tells them he doesn’t want to be old Stefan. He also doesn’t want to live there anymore and he doesn’t want anything to do with them; the only person he trusts is Caroline. Elena tells Damon that they need to speak with Bonnie and it’s at this point that Damon finally tells her that one of her best friends is dead.
Caroline meets up with Stefan and tells him that Bonnie is dead. He has no idea how to feel or what to do, but he tells Caroline that he is there for her. He’s noticed that she is a good friend and is always there when he needs her, so he wants to do the same for her.
Pull out the tissues because the next scene really pulls at your heart strings. The group—minus Stefan—get together to memorialize Bonnie. They each set down things that remind them of her into an old truncated tree—Caroline pom poms, Matt a whistle, Elena the feathers with which Bonnie first used magic, and Damon and old book. Bonnie joins them but only Jeremy can see her. Jeremy rings a bell in her honor and she passes on a message to them. Bonnie tells them that she’s not going anywhere and that she’s always been there with them, urging them to go on and live their lives. And there’s a surprise friend who shows up with a rose, Tyler. Caroline is elated to see him and it’s nice to see the group together once again. Bonnie says she will be okay as she holds Jeremy’s hand, even though they can’t touch.
Back at Whitmore, Dr. Maxfield is tending to Jesse. He tells Dr. Maxfield that Caroline took him to a party and he lost track of what happened. The professor knows that there is vampire blood is his system and that he was compelled to forget what happened. Jesse is surprised to learn all this. Dr. Maxfield tells him that having vampire blood in the system is step one to creating a new vampire and then injects him with a serum that kills him almost instantly. And now, we have once more vampire at Whitmore College. Cue title card.
That ending was definitely not as surprising as last week’s but we can’t really expect a jaw-dropping cliffhanger every week, right? Now that Jesse is a vampire, I’m curious to find out if Dr. Maxfield is one as well. It’s possible he was the one who killed Megan and then covered up her death. Or maybe he’s running some kind of underground vampire factory. And speaking of manufactured vampires, what did you guys think of Tyler’s return to Mystic Falls, is he sticking around for good? Tell us what you thought of this week’s episode and don’t forget to come back next week for another round of vampire goodness!