The Vampire Diaries: "Promised Land" – Recap/Review

WARNING! THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS!

“You don’t have to be strong to survive a bad situation. You simply need a plan.” – Shannon L. Alder

In this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries, Marcos unleashes on Mystic Falls his brutal spell to break the witches curse. Damon sets a trap for Marcos; Bonnie and Enzo race against time to try to stop the demise of the Other Side; Stefan gives relationship advice to Elena; Caroline’s rescue from Tyler ends in a unforeseen tragedy.

As the episode opens at the Salvatore house, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) sprays water on a gagged and bound guy to wake him up. Damon checks a paper in the man’s pocket and sees he is formerly a Mr. Sykes of corporate accounting, now with a Passenger in his body. The man grunts repeatedly through the gag and Damon politely tells him he doesn’t want to hear the migraine inducing Traveler chanting. Damon says his girlfriend (not ex?) and brother have gone poof into thin air and besides a clueless hybrid in his basement, and a cave full of sleeping Travelers, he needs Sykes to tell him where he can find his leader, Marcos. He’s interrupted as Caroline (Candice Accola) walks through the front door complaining that she can’t reach Liv and Luke and stops in her tracks. She tells a surprised Damon she recognizes Sykes. He was the guy who helped her open her first bank account and gave her a lollipop (Seriously? How old is this guy?). Damon informs Caroline that he saw Sykes in the town square with the other possessed towns people the previous week. Damon tells Sykes he knows all about Marcos’ plan to break the ancient witch curse, and it would suck because it would kill off him and his “sexy blond frenemy” (Ohhh, Damon, such a backhanded compliment). Caroline demands that Sykes tell them where Elena and Stefan are as Damon plants a knife in Syke’s leg. Damon removes the gag off the screaming Sykes who says it doesn’t matter where Marcos is, because Damon can do nothing to stop the spell.

Meanwhile, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) are shackled to a wall in separate dark cells. They wake up in agony as their blood drips into a bucket beside them. The door to the cell opens and Elena sees Marcos (Raffi Barsoumian) enter. He puts a glass of blood up under Elena’s nose and watches as she yearns for a taste. He tips the glass as Elena drinks down the blood and then she spits it in his face saying he has enough (Good shot!) and to let her go. Marcos wipes it off and with a knife cuts another long line into her arm as she cries out. He says he will have enough when she can no longer speak, and leaves the room. Stefan, strapped down to a table in another dark cell, is in agony too. Suddenly, someone rushes in and unlocks the padlocks on the shackles holding him. He asks who’s there, and a female voice shushes him, tells him leave and then she runs off. Stefan rolls off the table and staggers out of the cell. The door to Elena’s cell opens and she tries to see who is entering. As she fears it is Marcos again, Stefan says her name as he goes to her. Elena looks at him and says his name before promptly passing out. (Okay, we know who everyone is now, except for the elusive chick who freed Stefan).

Back at the Salvatore house, Damon receives a collect call from Stefan, from a phone booth (Those things still exist?) attached to a dilapidated building in the middle of nowhere. Stefan reprimands him for not figuring out where he and Elena were after Damon tells him they’ve been gone for four days.
Damon accuses him of not being perceptive enough and getting himself dopple mapped (Love the Damon Dictionary). Just then, a window breaks by Stefan’s head and Damon asks what the hell that was. Elena is standing with a slingshot nearby. Stefan tells Damon that the Travelers drained most of their blood so they’ve had go hunting. Damon asks if he’s having Elena participating in squirrel slaughter, to which Stefan says she’s as happy about it as he is. Damon epically responds, “She’ll shoot your eye out” (Hahaha! Elena is Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’ !). Damon offers to pick them up but Stefan doesn’t know where they are and says they’ll make their way back. He reminds Damon that Marcos drained most of their blood for a bunch of spells to which Damon replies, “Find Marcos. Kill Marcos. Save Mystic Falls Land” and that he needs to strap on his hero hair (or is that Stefan’s hair he needs?). He tells them to get home safely and hangs up. A piece of wood flies into Damon’s chest. Looking up, he sees Enzo, the-not-so-friendly ghost. (Michael Malarkay).

Enzo tells Damon he’s forgetting about him, to which Damon yells out for Bonnie. Bonnie (Kat Graham) says Damon promised to bring Enzo back. Enzo says she’s paraphrasing. Damon said he would find a way to bring him back. Bonnie tells Enzo to stop talking to which he replies that he’s going to pester all of them while the Other Side is on the verge of collapse, until he’s back in the land of the living (He’s beginning to sound like a whiny child). Bonnie tells Damon he needs to pencil Enzo in for today. Damon argues he doesn’t have time, that Liz is working on a spell for the Other Side and tells Bonnie to include Enzo in it. Bonnie syas that won’t work, when Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) walks in. Damon tells Jeremy he has an errand for him and Matt to do, and they leave together. Enzo tells Bonnie to get Liz over to the house.

Meanwhile, somewhere on an endless, dusty, country road, Stefan and Elena are unsuccessfully trying to hitch a ride. As a half-cab semi-truck speeds by ignoring their hitchhiker thumbs, Elena admits to feeling embarrassed. She asks Stefan how many more squirrels will they need before they get their strength back. Stefan says a lot more, and asks her to let him know when she sees a buffalo. He tells Elena that Damon had the “Savior of the Universe” voice going on today. She thinks what they’re going through is a sign; that her blood can literally destroy Damon and it’s a sign that they’re in a toxic relationship. Stefan reminds her it’s their blood, not only hers; that vampires are a toxic species. Stefan tells Elena that she and Damon are miserable without each other, so if she wants to be with Damon, she should be with him. When humans have complicated relationships they go to therapy, when vampires do, they get a pass. (Uh, yeah, what?).

In a diner, Liv (Penelope Mitchell) greets her brother, Luke (Chris Brochu) saying she has ordered their last meal, waffles. She tells him that the witch coven is angry because Chris was supposed to hide Elena and Stefan from the Travelers and he practically handed them over on a silver platter. Luke defends himself saying he didn’t know about Casper the friendly British ghost. Liz reminds him that things weren’t supposed to go this far, to be friends with Elena and Stefan. Luke argues they’re nicer than their screwed up family. Just then, the table and everything on it starts shaking. Luke grabs his head in pain, asking Liv what she’s doing. Liv tells him it’s not her; the coven is angry. He says he’ll listen and the shaking stops. She tells Luke they can’t let the Travelers succeed in taking away their magic after they failed to prevent the doppelgangers from falling into Marcos’ hands. They have one move left — they have to kill Stefan and Elena. Luke agrees but doesn’t look comfortable about it.

Back in Mystic Falls, a passengered Sam the mailman delivers a vial of blood to a passengered Pam Douglas at her home. Her husband asks about the mail and she lies that he was only picking up not delivering. She tells him she needs to get to school to tackle college essays. He confronts her about how she’s been acting differently lately; that’s she’s not herself. She tells him she wonders why it’s taken so long for her husband to notice she’s been colonized by a complete stranger. He thinks she’s joking and tells her, he’s serious. Pam tells him so is she. Her name is really Carl, a Traveler that has taken over Pam’s body while his real body is asleep in a cave under the town (His expression is priceless upon hearing this). He tells her she needs help, to which she responds by stabbing him in the neck with a pair of scissors. She looks at him on the floor and says, “This marriage was a disaster anyway.” She grabs her purse and says, “No hard feelings” as she leaves him to bleed out on the kitchen floor.

Meanwhile, back on the desolate country road, Elena is hallucinating about food. She and Stefan agree that if Caroline was with them, they’d have a catered buffet on the side of the road (What? She always has food with her?) and double rainbows. Elena tells him she couldn’t decide what was more annoying about Caroline when they were younger; her control freakiness or delusional positivity. However, they decide to try Caroline’s approach and Elena wishes for something positive to happen, like a block party. Stefan can’t believe he sees a truck approaching behind Elena, and sticks out his thumb to get a ride. Elena thinks it might be a guy, so she stops Stefan, and proceeds to ruffle her hair up, and pull down her top to expose more of her breasts. (Stefan’s face is a hilarious look of what the hell are you doing). Then she sticks out her thumb. When the car stops, she says to Stefan, “See?” and he replies, “I see…” (Yep, he does now). When Elena approaches the truck, to her surprise, it’s a woman driver, Maria, a Traveler (Tamara Austin). Stefan tries to compel her to give them a ride, but to his surprise, she rebuffs him. She asks him who he thinks rescued them last night (from Marcos) and to get in the car because they (the Travelers) are after them.

Back at the Salvatore house, Damon watches as Jeremy and Matt (Zach Roerig) smash an expensive vase as they carry sleeping Travelers into the house. After Damon says they can pay him back over the next thousand years with his salary from the Grill, Matt tells Damon to do everyone a favor and start dating Elena again. Caroline walks in and asks what’s happening and Damon says these are Traveler husks (where does he get these words!) and that they’ve passengered themselves into the citizens of the town, like Sykes. He sends Jeremy and Matt off to patrol the town and report back anything unusual. Caroline asks Damon what he’s going to do with all the bodies. He replies that he hopes Marcos wants them back since he put them there. Caroline doesn’t think it’s a great idea to lure Marcos to the house, to which Damon disagrees. He tells her passengered Tyler is useless. Caroline reminds him that he’s not Tyler, he’s Julian and she’ll figure out a way to bring Tyler back. Damon tells her it’s not shameful to give up, since they’re all sick of Tyler. Caroline doesn’t buy his doesn’t care attitude and blames his mood on Elena. He tells Caroline he doesn’t need her relationship advice. She accuses him of abandoning the people he cares about, unlike her. She walks out, leaving Damon speechless for once (Chew on that one, Damon!).

Meanwhile, Stefan and Elena are sandwiched inside Maria’s truck. She tells them that she released them last night but had to double back so the Travelers wouldn’t suspect her. She asks them if they know where her husband Julian is, that she needs to get to him. Elena informs her they know; he’s passengered inside their best friend, Tyler. When Elena complains of the uncomfortable seating, Maria suggest she sit in her boyfriend’s lap, to which both she and Stefan tell her simultaneously they’re not in a relationship. Maria assumed they were since they doppelgangers — fated soul mates. She tells them that leaving her husband behind is not an option because once Marcos starts the spell the strip away the witch magic, Tyler will go from hybrid to human to dead. And Marcos will want her dead too (They’re thinking of escaping far away from town? Will that work?).

In the basement of the Salvatore house, Caroline tells Tyler/Julian (Michael Trevino) that she cares about him even though Tyler’s a former lover, because he’s worth fighting for. Tyler rolls his eyes in response and says, “whatever”. Caroline asks why Marcos wants Mystic Falls. Julian tells her that it’s not just because they want to break the curse and have a place to settle; it’s revenge for everything the witches stand for. The Travelers see the grimemoirs, talisman, vampires and even daylight rings as a perversion of pure magic. Marcos wants to destroy the perversion and restore the balance. Caroline says that’s just wrong; Tyler disagrees so Caroline asks why all the violence to achieve it. Tyler explains that when it comes to Marcos getting what he wants, he doesn’t have much of a sense of humor (Huh? Maybe he means Marcos doesn’t mess around).

Underneath the town, Marcos wanders through the caves searching for the sleeping Travelers. To his surprise, he finds they are gone, and Damon has left behind a large sign. It reads: “Found. Cave of Wannabe Witches. For More Information Call Damon Salvatore.” (Epic!). Marcos angrily rips it down and crushes it in his hands. (Yep, Marcos has no sense of humor and Damon is about to find this out).

Back at the Salvatore house, Damon is about to crowbar a Traveler when his cell rings, and it’s Marcos. He’s looking for his people. Damon asks what they look like. Marcos describes them as beaten down, desperate, and looking for a home. He goes on to describe the Traveler that Damon is standing next to, and then enters the house. Damon tells him it’s polite to knock.

Meanwhile, at their Whitmore College dorm room, Caroline tells Bonnie that Julian is trapped inside Tyler’s body until he dies and maybe if he does die, that’s how they’ll get him out. Bonnie asks if she wants to kill Tyler. Caroline says that when he dies, he’ll go to the Other Side, so when Liv does her spell to get her and Enzo back, Tyler can come back too. She asks Bonnie why she’s not working on the spell with Liz right now instead of packing up the dorm room. Bonnie replies that there is no spell; she lied. She says when the Other Side collapses, everyone will be gone for good, including her. And Caroline shouldn’t kill Tyler. As she leaves the room with her box of stuff, Enzo the grumpy ghost, is in the corner watching (And no doubt angry over this new revelation of Bonnie’s).

Meanwhile, Marcos looks around the main living room and comments on how well built the house is and what changes he’s going to make when it’s his. Damon tells him the house isn’t in the bargain; just the bodies which are in the basement, kitchen, attic, etc. Marcos says he hopes Damon’s plan isn’t only about hostages since it seems like a small one, like the second bathroom. Damon retorts that he didn’t think Marcos had a sense of humor. Damon points out that he’s doused all the bodies in gasoline and is itching to light a match. Marcos says he’s right about the Travelers passengering themselves inside the residents of the town to help perform his spell. He picks up a cork screw and plays with it (Uh-oh, here is where he demonstrates he has no sense of humor). Marcos says that he’d like for them to have the opportunity to return to their bodies, but it’s not essential to his plan. He casually stabs one of them in the neck. Damon looks disappointed (but thinking he needs a back-up plan now). Marcos tells him that Travelers are all over the world, not only in Mystic Falls, looking for a home, a family, a better life, and willing to die for it while he, Damon, is making a mess of his own. Damon says he understands they want a promised land, but Mystic Falls is not the place for them. Marcos says once the witches curse is broken, the spirit magic will unravel as it spreads until only pure Traveler magic will remain. And those like Damon, will die. Damon attacks him, but Marcos easily body slams him across the room. Marcos says he has transfused himself with doppleganger blood and he’s too strong now to be killed. He says not that it matters anyway, because the spell has begun.

Around town, the passengered town people are taking out their blood vials and breaking them as they chant. Maria, Stefan and Elena drive back into Mystic Falls, unaware of what is happening. As Maria tells them to keep a low profile otherwise Marcos will capture them again, Liv appears in the road, holding her hand out in front of her as if to stop them. Stefan tells Maria to watch out and she brakes hard. Elena wants to know what she’s doing and Maria says Liv is trying to kill them. Maria throws the truck into reverse but brakes as Luke appears behind them. Stefan orders them out of the truck, but they can’t unlock the doors. They’re now trapped in a witches slingshot as Luke magically pushes the gas pedal to the floor and the truck speeds back toward Liv. Maria brakes but the truck hits an invisible wall in front of Liv. Stefan muscles his way out of the truck and Elena checks Maria, but she’s dead. Luke pins Stefan to the back of the truck with magic as Liv breaks Elena’s leg to keep her at bay. Liv tells Elena she’s sorry, but one of them has to die to make the doppleganger blood useless.

Back at the college campus, an angry Enzo confronts Bonnie at her car. He demands to know when she was going to tell him. Before she answers, he knocks the box of her belongings out of her hands (Such a nice ghost). She angrily tells him that there is no solution. He argues that Jeremy, her, and Marcos all came back. Bonnie says that Marcos used doppleganger blood to come back and in doing so destroyed the Other Side. It is unraveling and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. She tells him to accept it, but he says only when the darkness sweeps him into oblivion and not before. As she collects her stuff, Bonnie sees Maria. Bonnie says she knows her; she tells Enzo she is a Traveler that tried to kill Jeremy in the caves. Maria asks that she tell her husband she is dead and then enters Bonnie.

Out in the town square, the passengered towns people are continue to chant while holding broken blood vials and getting nosebleeds (that’s not a good sign; the bodies must be dying). Matt is leading Elena and Stefan through the underground caves to get them outside of Mystic Falls and away from the spell, but it is unraveling the layers of magic in them. Elena spits up water from being almost drowned and Stefan is bleeding from being shot by his father centuries ago. Matt urges them to keep going, to outrun the spell.

At the house, Damon is still dealing with Marcos. He takes him for a tour of the basement wine cellar and as they head back upstairs, Damon slips Tyler the key to his cell. Marcos asks where Stefan is. Damon says he’s probably out of cell range after trying to call him. He asks what kind of game Damon is playing, when Tyler jumps him and tries to bite his neck but finds his fangs are gone. Then Damon screams in pain as the sunlight hits his arm; his daylight ring is not working. (Houston, we have a problem).

In the town square, the chanting towns people who are passengered, are dropping dead. The Travelers are back in their bodies and waking up at the Salvatore house, having completed the spell. Damon feels like he’s been shot (from centuries ago) and Tyler starts choking as Marcos reminds them that as the spell unravels the spirit magic, they’re going to die. He tells them that the sun is setting so they can leave and try to out run the spell for a little while. Tyler high tails it out the front door, followed by Damon who is clutching his jacket. He looks at Marcos and slowly closes the door behind him. (He’s being polite as he’s dying?).

Damon is walking/staggering on the road out of town when Jeremy drives up and tells him to get in the truck. Back at the college, Caroline is wondering what she should pack, like hair products (What? you’re running for your life and that’s what you want to pack?) when she asks Bonnie why she’s just sitting there. Bonnie says she’s thinking. As Caroline rages on about how she needs to pack and realize death is coming after them shortly, Bonnie says she thinks she knows how to get them back from the other side and needs to find Enzo.

Meanwhile, on the grounds of Whitmore College, Matt gives Elena and Stefan all the blood bags he can get his hands on. Stefan said it’s enough for the four of them until they can get a thousand miles away from the spell and regroup. Just then, Jeremy and Damon drive up. Elena runs up to a haggard Damon and asks if he’s okay. He slightly nods and she goes in for a long kiss. She tells him she’s had a crappy day, thought she’d never see him again and couldn’t think of a worse way to die. Damon says it’s her lucky day. Stefan tells Jeremy and Matt to head back and keep their eyes and ears open. Elena and Damon take Jeremy’s car and head out (to where?). Elena promises to call Jeremy in a few hours. A worried looking Stefan says he’ll wait for Bonnie and Caroline to arrive.

Back at the crash site, the ghost of Maria looks at her dead body in the truck. Enzo finds her and says he has a proposition to get them out of there. He asks her if she knows the spell that Marcos used to come back and she says she does, but not a dozen Travelers to overwhelm the anchor (Bonnie). Enzo says to leave the details to us (who, is us? Liv and Bonnie?). Maria agrees to go along with it. But as she does, a strong wind starts and she grabs Enzo’s hand to no avail. He’s not strong enough to hold her and she flies away into the eternal darkness. (And so does Bonnie’s plan, much to Enzo’s frustration). Enzo then meets up with Bonnie as she leaves her dorm room. She asks him what’s wrong and he tells her that they’ve hit a little snag. (That’s to put things mildly!).

Meanwhile, Caroline is with Stefan, waiting for Bonnie and wondering where she is. As Stefan goes to the car, volunteering to find out what’s taking her so long, Tyler/Julian appears and asks if he’s seen Maria, that he knows she brought him back to Mystic Falls. Stefan looks at Caroline and hesitates. Tyler asks if she said where she was headed because she can’t stay in town because it’s completely overrun. Stefan tells Tyler he’s not going to see her again. Tyler asks what’s he talking about. Stefan replies that she’s dead and he’s sorry. He reaches out to Tyler, but Tyler tells him not to touch him and angrily pushes him away. Caroline looks worriedly at Stefan and tells Tyler it wasn’t Stefan’s fault. Tyler retorts that Maria saved Stefan’s “punk ass” (interesting choice of words). Stefan tells him he didn’t kill her, the witches did, to which Tyler responds that someone is going to have to pay for it, and punches Stefan in the gut. Stefan backs away and tells Tyler he isn’t in the mood to fight. Tyler replies that his wife is dead, he’s inside someone else’s body and the Travelers are out to kill him. He had no where else to go. Stefan reassures him that they will find a way to stop the spell. Caroline meanwhile, sneaks up behind Tyler and tries (pathetically) to twist his neck and fails. Tyler turns hybrid, grabs Caroline and starts to choke her, but Stefan grabs Tyler off her. Tyler pushes Stefan up against the car and punches into his chest. His hand emerges holding Stefan’s heart (WHAT?). Caroline is gasps. Stefan is in shock, takes a couple of gasps and collapses to the ground. Still holding Stefan’s heart, Tyler says, “There. Dead doppleganger. Stops the spell,” throws Stefan’s heart over his shoulder and walks away (Holy moley…Did that just happen? Seriously? ) A shocked Caroline runs to Stefan, and cradles his head.

Back at the dorms, Bonnie asks Enzo what happened to Maria, she was the only one who knew the spell. Enzo replies that the Great Beyond happened and they need to find a way out of Mystic Falls, fast. Just then, Bonnie looks over Enzo’s shoulder and in disbelief (like all of us!) sees….Stefan. She calls his name and Ezno turns around, looks, and says to Bonnie, “What?” (Exactly!). Bonnie goes up to Stefan and says, “This can’t be happening” (We’re all thinking that right now!). Stefan asks her to tell him that she’s figured out a way to bring them all back. A crying Bonnie says she lost it and Stefan closes his eyes and sighs. Bonnie tells Stefan she’s sorry. He grabs her arms and disappears as she cries out in agony.

Meanwhile, a crying Caroline, still in disbelief, looks at Stefan’s lifeless body. She runs her hands through her hair and over her face saying “Oh my god, oh my god, no…” Stefan’s face is gray and cracked. She repeatedly screams out for somebody to help as the camera pans up and shows Stefan’s head cradled on her legs.

Well. My jaw hit the floor and has stayed there since this aired. And it’s not even the season finale. The writers really blindsided us. I have become Caroline — in shock, disbelieving what has happened and asking for help with Stefan. If a major death was on the horizon, I would not have picked Stefan. But there you have it. He’s dead. Or is he? No one ever seems to stay dead in Mystic Falls. We even have Enzo the resident grumpy ghost, so anything is possible for Stefan. Let’s be like Caroline and embrace delusional positivity, shall we?

What are your thoughts on this shocking episode?

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