This week’s The Vampire Diaries gave us a ton of exposition, with one potentially hard to pronounce/spell name, as well as a reprise of some ongoing fights—some played out in new and different ways, some that just seemed repetitive.
The show opens in a flashback to a year ago when Shane is running through the woods. Or, more accurately, he's running away from something in the woods. He enters a cave and sees something, at which point we flash back to the present where rafts are pulling up on shore. The expedition to find the cure has already arrived at their destination. We learn quickly they’re 200 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, where Elena and Rebekah waste no time almost killing each other.
The different teams start to pair off. Elena and Damon discuss what Damon intends to do with the cure—something he doesn't want to share right away. Bonnie, meanwhile, takes pictures of Jeremy's tattoos and starts explaining the myths shown in them. One of the women depicted in it—Ketzia (I think), is the one who created the cure, but who buried it with Silas, hoping she'd be buried with him. Ketzia's descendants were the ones that created the cure in hopes they'd find it and kill Silas.
Back in Mystic Falls, Klaus is still stuck in the Gilbert house when Tyler comes to visit him. Tyler threatens to bring the cure back and turn Klaus mortal so he can kill him, but Klaus throws back in his face the fact that he drowned his mother.
Back on the expedition, Silas continues to explain the mythology, including a magic well and caves. (I started to drown some of that out since it was a bit too much of an exposition dump.)
We flashback again to Shane trying that magic well out a year earlier to bring back his wife and child that had died. He descends into the well and see his wife, Kaitlin.
In the present time, Jeremy then almost gets attacked by a man with the bow who looks similar to the person that chased Shane in the woods a year earlier. Someone throws an axe into the back of the man, however, saving Jeremy's life.
Everyone continues going however and Damon expresses concern that Elena won't love him anymore when/if she gets cured. But to Elena, everything changes: Jeremy won't want to kill her anymore, they can get rid of Klaus, they can save Bonnie's mom and more.
Back the Gilbert house, Caroline arrives and tries to convince Tyler to leave. Tyler won't leave, but she does help him dispose of Kol's body while Klaus watches.
Klaus tries to sell Caroline on how much he's suffered, but Caroline smartly brings up things Klaus tries to forget like the murder of Jenna. This is why Caroline rocks.
And for her awesomeness, she gets attacked. Klaus grabs her, stabs her and then feed on her, with Tyler powerless to help. Unless she gets blood from Klaus, she'll die from his wolf bite.
Back at the expedition, Rebekah tells Stefan that she hates being a vampire and wants to be human. Stefan then confesses he doesn't want the cure for Elena—he wants it for himself. (Side-note: has anyone considered there might not be enough “cure” to go around?)
Shane confesses his wife was a witch and tried to bring their son back to life after the car accident using a spell called expression—the same spell that inevitably killed his wife and that he also taught to Bonnie. He tells her all of this because it makes his life more valuable—he's the only thing that can keep Bonnie from basically exploding when she casts the spell to help find the cure.
Late that night, Jeremy gets kidnapped by someone that looks like the person who attacked him earlier.
Back at the Gilbert house, Klaus demands Tyler beg for Caroline's life. But when Tyler offers to be his slave again, Klaus says no. After they leave, Klaus looks upset—knowing that he's just damned Caroline.
Damon gets suspicious that Shane is behind Jeremy's disappearance. While questioning him, Shane flashes back again to when he talked to his wife a year earlier. Shane confesses to Damon that Kaitlin told him about Silas, who promised to help anyone who helps him. She is the one that put Shane on his quest.
Meanwhile, Bonnie starts a spell that starts a fire in the woods. It creates a trail that she follows.
Rebekah and Elena continue to fight until Rebekah actually saves Elena's life from a deadly trap in the woods. Rebekah claims she doesn't care what happens to Elena—she just wants her death to be epic. But Stefan's look on his face says otherwise. He knows Rebekah actually might be a good person.
We learn in the flashback that Shane was able to convince the pastor to take his life because he would want to see his wife again. Damon connects that Silas had to complete three massacres—but only two had occurred, meaning he wants everyone on the expedition to die. Uh oh.
Tyler returns back to the Gilbert house with Caroline near death so Klaus can choose to save her or watch her die. He then walks out. Klaus tells Caroline that she's going to let her die.
Back on the island, Damon is about to kill Shane, saying he doesn't care about Bonnie, until Elena stops him and frees Shane. Outside, Damon confesses that he doesn't want Elena to be cured. Even if Elena still loves him when she's human again, Damon doesn't want to stop being a vampire. Elena tells Damon she's certain she'll still love him so much that she wants him to take the cure with her.
"You know I used to miss being human," Damon says. "But now, I can't think of anything more miserable on Earth."
While dying, Caroline tells Klaus that she sometimes had wished she could forget all the terrible things that he's done, because she knows he's in love with her and anyone capable of being in love, "is capable of being saved."
"You're hallucinating," Klaus says.
Caroline starts to die when Klaus changes his mind and feeds her his blood; she comes back almost instantly.
Back on the island, Rebekah accuses Elena of stealing the tombstone that's needed to get the cure. She then accuses Stefan of being in on it, while Elena tries to calm her down and convince her that they're the three of them need to be in it together till the end since everyone else is missing.
Shane meets a friend in the woods who has kidnapped Jeremy, but he was not the one who saved Jeremy's life earlier in the episode. (There are people speculating that Elijiah/Katherine have partnered up to get the cure, and they would seem a likely pair to help Jeremy. It wouldn’t make sense for anyone else, not on Shane’s team, or anyone else to have saved Jeremy’s life.)
The episode ends with Damon getting attacked in the woods by one of the members of the Five (hunters). He gets the better of Damon who he leaves on the ground. That hunter seems like a candidate for saving Jeremy’s life, since Jeremy is on now, but seems like a bit of a waste if it’s a character we never met.
A lot of people expressed their desire to be human in this episode—and one expressed his desire NOT to be (Damon). Who else thinks once the cure is found, Damon is the only one cured while everyone else has to remain a vampire?
That is… if they all don’t get massacred…