I kind of forgot to recap the last Vampire Diaries episode and I'm short on time for doing this one so it's going to be abbreviated. I'll be back to the exhaustive details next week, promise.
Previously, Katherine got out of the tomb when Elijah was killed. Elijah is indestructibly dead in the Salvatore basement. Dr. Warlock sent Junior in telepathically for a rescue mission but Damon barbecued him which sent Doc on the warpath. That led him to The Grill which was buzzing with activity for live music night and so that everyone could watch Caroline win Matt back by serenading him. It was a million kinds of awesome. That is until Doc attacked Bonnie and set the bar on fire. Chaos ensued and then Caroline tried to help and got an aneurysm for her troubles. Matt ran to her rescue and Doc stabbed him in the neck with a broken beer bottle. I screamed bloody murder. Caroline fed him some of her blood while Doc escaped. Then Doc dropped by Elena's house where they killed him right before he gave Bonnie back her powers and maybe some of his too. Also Caroline told Matt she's a vampire and he wigged, blamed her for killing Vicki and ran off into the night. Jenna continued to be a massive pain in the ass where Alaric is concerned. Then Isobel showed up at the house.
Which is where the action picks up this week. She intros herself as Elena's mom and Jenna does that math pretty fast and then freaks the fuck out and runs away back to college without letting anyone explain the situation.
Here's where the episode starts to twist and turn so you can't tell who is on what side doing what for whom. Isobel insists she's there helping John protect Elena but then she teams up with Katherine who works some of her doppelganger hijinks at the Lockwood mansion. Isobel kills John to create a distraction while Katherine disables Elena and takes her place. Isobel scurries away with an unconscious Elena. Katherine shoots Stefan full of vervain to keep him off of her trail long enough for her to complete whatever nefarious plan she's hatched this week. Oh right - that nefarious plan involves the moon stone which she found because Damon hid it in a bowl full of soaps next to his bathroom sink. Yes, that's right, a bowl full of soaps. In a bathroom that he knows Katherine is using while she makes herself at home in his house. This is exactly why I'm so completely shocked any time a Salvatore hatches a plan that ISN'T impossibly stupid.
Anyway, we never get to see exactly how Katherine's plan would have gone because Isobel has double-crossed her and delivered her instead to Klause's super-powerful yet Caucasian warlock who whips some super mojo at her and incapacitates her. Good times.
Meanwhile, Isobel has been up to something even more tricky than that because she also led Whitey Warlock to Ric. She told him she loved him and then she let Whitey mojo him unconscious and then took him somewhere unknown. If you're keeping track - that's three people she's either killed or handed over to Klaus via Whitey. That's why it comes as such a surprise when she brings Elena to the cemetery where they have a long look at Isobel's head stone and talk a bit until Isobel gets a call from Whitey who says he's got all he needs for now and it's cool if she lets Elena go. Isobel does as she's told, rips off her SPF necklace and goes up in flames. That Klaus compulsion is for real, you guys.
While all this drama is going down, Damon has his hands full with Bonnie, Jeremy, 101 dead witches and John's body. Let's start with the simple part - John is at the Lockwood house, seeming rather dead. Damon arrives and lets the sheriff and Mrs. Interim Mayor know that while he SEEMS dead, his ring will ensure he doesn't stay that way. So, he says, they need to make whatever excuses are necessary to cover up the fact that he'll be up and around again in no time. "We're gonna need a cover story. Epileptic fit, alcohol binge, banana peel - whatever works - but right now, I just have to get him out of here." He brings John back to the manse to await his return to the living. It's when he goes to wash John's blood off of his hands and shirt (requiring that he take said shirt off, hallelujah!) he discovers that the moonstone is no longer tucked away in the soap bowl and he throws a bit of a fit taking it out on the bowl. I don't think he's ready to admit it was his own fault for hiding the something so important in such a right-in-front-of-her-face place to begin with.
The rest of his time was spent showing Bonnie and Jeremy where the Salem witches and Emily died so that she can hocus and pocus and harness their powers. It's semi-involved but here's what you need to know - the witches are not fans of Damon and they prefer he doesn't tread on their resting place. They don't mind Bonnie and Jeremy though they don't really want him interfering with any of her abras or cadabras. They give her what she's there for but they also let her know that if she uses all of that power at one time, it will kill her. She doesn't tell Jeremy that but he finds out for himself and he is less than happy about it. She kisses him to try and take his mind off of it.
Caroline spends much of the episode trying to find Matt to explain the situation and help him see that she isn't the bad, scary monster that killed his sister. I assume that she's not planning to include the phrase "Damon is!" in the story she tells him. In fairness, even Damon isn't really the scary monster that killed Vicki anymore. But Caroline doesn't really find Matt. Instead Matt finds the Sheriff and demands to know how she covered up that Vicki was killed by vampires. The Sheriff is all "wuh?" Next time we see him he's chillin' at the Forbes pad when Caroline arrives. He calmly tells her how he accused her mom of being involved in Vicki's death somehow. Caroline asks if he told her mom about her and he says he didn't. He says that the Sheriff brought him there to "cool down" and then got called away. He asks Caroline to explain, you know, everything. She agrees. We miss most of it but we join them for "so after I hurt you in the woods, I made you forget. And I promised myself I'd stay away from you but I...I couldn't. Because I love you. I do. I love you Matt. So much. God, I'm so sorry about what happened to Vicki." He just sits there, taking it in before he announces that he's all alone. His mom doesn't care, his sister is dead, all of his friends are liars and his girlfriend is a vampire. He tells her he doesn't want to know all of this. He asks her to make him forget again. She doesn't want to. "Please make me forget, Caroline. I don't want to look at you and see what I'm seeing right now." She sadly agrees.
He leaves the house with her believing that he's safely compelled not to know what has transpired the last couple of days and what she is. But he gets into the Sheriff's car and confirms that, just as they planned, he drank some vervain juice and then let her think she had compelled him when really both he and the Sheriff now know everything. If you try to imagine how sad this development makes me and then multiply it by 10,000 you will be 1/2 right.
The Salvatores, now exhausted from all of the stupid shit they've done today, have finally come up with a fairly decent plan. They're signing the title of their house over to Elena so that the only way any vamps can get in the house is if she invites them in. John gasps back to life then and seems genuinely sorry to about the trouble Isobel brought. He and Elena confab, and he acts all concerned for Elena which seems pretty believable. David Anders does a really terrific job of being really hard to figure out in this role.
Somewhere that's else, Katherine is waking up on the floor watching Whitey chant some things over a guy tied to a chair while the guy gets what appears to be an old-world blood transfusion. As the camera comes around, we see that the guy is Alaric and that the chanting and blood have put Klaus's...spirit or consciousness or something into Alaric's body. Seems Alaric even has Klaus's abilities.
I'm not sure how they do it, but shit comes out of fucking nowhere on this show all the time such that it really doesn't matter how much TV you've seen or how familiar you are with vampire story tropes, you just do not see some of these twists coming. Bra-fucking-vo!