Ghosts of the past flood Mystic Falls just in time for the Night of Illumination, another holiday-slash-celebration mumbo jumbo that the town’s founders came up with.
Mason Lockwood comes back and chains Damon to a chair with a hot poker driven through his chest while letting him burn in the sun—his form of revenge, I’m guessing. However, Damon and Stefan both don’t seem to be able to see him, despite his having a physical foothold in their world.
Jeremy is still able to see Anna, who’s always by his side. They’re being flirty and holding hands—but I don’t think he realizes that he looks kind of strange since no one else can see Anna. Elena, still on her path to find salvation for Stefan, goes to Jeremy for help, hoping that he can somehow find Lexi. Since Lexi has always been the one to help pull Stefan through in his darkest times, Elena needs Jeremy to try to contact her. Little does she know, all his energy is focused on Anna. She notices that Jeremy seems distracted and asks if Anna’s there right now, but he lies and says no because Anna asked him to. He excuses himself and goes to the bathroom to figure out what is really going on between the two lovebirds, and he kisses her.
Bonnie’s trying to deal with her boyfriend drama when her Grimoire suddenly flips open to a page with a manifestation spell, which is used to unveil ghosts. She and Caroline go to the old house where she brought Jeremy back to life and she chants the spell. Leaves are blowing and candles are flickering and then bam! Grams is sitting right in front of her.
Turns out, the spell that Bonnie just did allows everyone to see the ghosts and interact with them in their physical world, which means that Elena sees Anna when she walks in on them kissing. Well, that’s awkward.
Grams explains to Bonnie that when she brought Jeremy back to life, she opened a door to the other side. There’s a witch on the other side that took advantage and opened the door wide open when Bonnie sent Vicki back. Now, anyone on the other side has a free pass to go about finishing their business. Bonnie upset the balance of nature and now she has to close that door. Apparently, the old witch draws power from their side using her talisman, which is the necklace that Stefan gave Elena. They need to destroy that necklace in order to send all the ghosts back.
As Elena storms out of the bathroom, Lexi shows up and they go off on Mission Impossible: Stefan. He’s strapped to a chair in a dank dungeon. The first step in saving his life is apparently to slowly kill him. Lexi dries him out using some kind of mind control or something. He quickly escalates from three months without blood to five years and on and on. Again, still confused on how Lexi is going this. Part two of the process is staking Stefan so he feels something. Effective.
Now that all the ghosts are in the open, Damon and Mason finally meet face-to-face, or rather face-to-glass, as Mason slams one into Damon’s face. His way of saying ‘Hey,’ I suppose. Mason wants an apology from Damon in exchange for information he knows about killing Klaus. They meet at the old Lockwood cellar, where they’re digging up an old “Lockwood secret” that’ll kill an original vampire. Of course, there’s a big elephant in the room of whether or not they can trust each other—after all, their species are sworn enemies and Damon did rip out Mason’s heart, literally. They reach a fork in the road and Mason tells Damon to go left, and then stakes galore! Damon’s been hit every which way by a Lockwood vampire trap.
Caroline and Bonnie are looking for the necklace so that they can destroy it, but it’s not where Damon said it was. Caroline also spills the beans to Bonnie about Jeremy kissing Anna so she’s probably even more hell-bent on sending those ghosts back now.
Meanwhile in the “normal” part of Mystic Falls, the celebration goes on, but there are some ghost vampires who have an agenda of their own. As the lanterns light up in celebration, the crowd sees a member of the founding families gruesomely murdered and strung up lynched style for the entire town to see.
Now in even more of a rush to find the necklace, Caroline suspects that the necklace isn’t where it is because someone took it—someone who wants to stay—someone like Anna. Anna denies it, Jeremy defends her, and then she disappears. Guilty conscience much? Elena shows up and talks some sense into Jeremy who says he loves her and that he always has. Elena tells him he can’t hold onto the past and love a ghost forever. Sound familiar, Elena?
Anna shows up, one hand clutching the necklace. She’s ready to hand it over and Jeremy says that just because the ghosts will lose their foothold doesn’t mean it’s goodbye, but Anna says it should be. Elena was right about her holding him back, but she explains that she also took the necklace because she wants to find her mother, Pearl.
Mason helps de-stake Damon, which surprises him as well as the rest of us. As a ghost, Mason just wants to seek redemption, not revenge. They keep going down the tunnel until Damon can’t—literally, because he’s not invited to pass a certain point. Mason just keeps going like it’s nobody’s business and he discovers something.
Now in possession of the necklace, Jeremy rushes over to give to Bonnie, and boy does she look like one pissed off witch. She snatches it and throws it in the fire and starts the spell. She’s joined by her grandmother, and they link hands as they work to destroy the necklace.
Before Mason can tell Damon what he finds, he vanishes back to the other side. In the last moments before Lexi leaves too, she tells Elena that Stefan’s still in there, she just needs to break through. Anna’s wandering alone when she sees her mom. They finally find each other and together they find peace.
Since Damon’s stuck on the verge of a breakthrough, he calls Rick, pretty much his only other human friend—er, friend in general. But Rick’s still pissed about the whole killing him thing and in a rare genuine Damon moment, he apologizes to Rick, and they’re friends again. Hip hip hooray! Rick goes in and he discovers cave paintings on the wall.
Even though Stefan’s strapped to a chair and hungry for blood, he still taunts Elena, asking her if she’s given up yet. Of course, the answer is no, but she tells him that she’s not going to love a ghost forever either.
Bonnie breaks up with Jeremy after he apologizes. After all, he did admit he loves Anna. She’s alone with her tears when the fire surges up and sparks begin to fly. Upon closer inspection, Bonnie sees that the necklace is laying there, all in one piece.
So where has Rebecca been all this time? Can Stefan really be saved? And did Michael-the-vampire-hunter drain Katherine dry?