The Vampire Diaries: Man Not On Fire

This episode of the Vampire Diaries is entitled "Man on Fire" even though there is no fire whatsoever on this episode. Almost every episode has fire, but this one? Not so much. Of course, the name is a reference to the fire at Whitmore House in 1958 but there wasn't actually a man on fire in that episode, since Damon escaped and Enzo survived, so... yeah. This should be called the Man who Wasn't Actually On Fire.

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm totally mailing it in this week. I admit it. I might actually be losing interest in The Vampire Diaries. It's just getting too fucking stupid. Maybe if they just gave us more scenes of Ian Somerhalder with his shirt off... but nope, instead we get this bullshit:
Watch this episode "Man On Fire"

The episode opens up with Stefan and Elena at the Grill. Stefan has volunteered to help Elena and Bonnie study for... oh who cares? It's some made-up final that neither of them even really needs to take because Elena can just compel her professors to pass her and Bonnie's about to die anyway. Or... die again, seeing as she's already dead. Elena thinks that Bonnie should be freaking out a little bit more about the Other Side disintegrating because if  the Other Side is destroyed, Bonnie - as the half dead, half alive "key" to the Other Side - will also be destroyed. But Bon-Bon claims that she's totally okay with the threat of her impending death. She agrees to ask Liv for her advice on the subject, meanwhile Damon has been tasked with finding out what to do about the Travelers taking over Mystic Falls.

Damon goes to the Motherless Boy's Club (Matt/Tyler/Jeremy's house) to get the traveler knife, but oopsy, Matt and Jeremy say they can't find it. Oh and they can't find Tyler either. Damon's pissed and rightly so. They say they haven't heard from Tyler in a while and we know why - Tyler's got a passenger (some Traveler dude named Julian) and Markos destroyed the Traveler knife.

At Traveler base camp, Markos speaks to his congregation and tells them what they should already know. This is pure exposition for the audience. 2,000 years ago, the witches put a curse on the Travelers tribe so nature would turn against them should they ever attempt to settle as a people. They've lived without a home since then, roaming like cattle. The prophecy states they can break the witches' curse if they have the power to undo the witches' magic.

One of the Travelers, Sloane, has volunteered to be their "guinea pig". She drinks Tyler's hybrid blood and then Markos slits her throat so he can turn her into a vampire. Meanwhile, Damon is still looking for the Traveler's.
Damon: I've got two braindead teenagers who didn't realize 2+2=1 hijacked hybrid.
Enzo: Don't envy you there mate.
Damon: What do you say? Field trip? I'm sure there's some salvage yard we haven't toured yet. I think it's a little too dangerous to let Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dummer out of the house.
Enzo has to take a pass though because he's got his own business to attend to. He goes to the Grille to chat with Elena and Stefan. He's been searching for Maggie but Sloan gave him a photograph from the Augustine files left behind by Dr. Wes. It is of Maggie - murdered (beheaded actually) - from 1960 in Mystic Falls. Someone tore her head right off her body and well... we know who does that don't we?

Enzo says he knows Stefan killed Maggie, but Stefan claims he wasn't a ripper in 1960, although he's sorry about what happened to his friend. So Enzo calls over Liv who does a spell on Stefan and Elena. Apparently Enzo compelled some dudes from the rugby team (wait, Whitmore College has a rugby team?) to kidnap her twin brother Luke, unless she helps him. Enzo wants Stefan to talk about what he did to the love of Enzo's life. Some of the rugby dudes leave with Luke out (not sure why he was there at all, he couldn't just tell us that Luke was being held, we had to give him four seconds of screentime to show us that? Did someone need a paycheck?) Others tie up Elena and Stefan with vervain-soaked rope. Everyone else in the Grill has been compelled to not even notice what is going on.

Enzo wants Stefan to admit he killed Maggie. He reads from Maggie's diary that was found on the scene at her death. (Really? Another fucking DIARY? Ugh goddddddd let it go.) After leaving the Augustines, she feels lost and listless. Her friends all found love but she felt as though a part of her soul was missing or dead. She decided to move to the city and in her move, she found a box full of stuff that she hadn't seen in years. In it, she found medical journals from 1950, covered in notes about a special patient #12144 (Enzo). When she came back to find Whitmore House burned, she determined that he'd died in the fire.

Stefan claims that in 1960, he was cleaned up and barely even feeding on people, let alone killing them or ripping their heads off. So Enzo calls Damon and asks him to check Stefan's journal for a diary entry from November 8, 1960. Unfortunately, Stefan burned his journals a while ago when he was in a bad mood. Yes, burn all the diaries! Enzo asks Damon how he's doing, since he heard that he had exiled Elena from his life. This piece of knowledge clues Damon into the fact that he's been talking to Stefan and Elena.
Damon: Are you with them right now?
Enzo: Not for long. I reckon one will be dead soon. An eye for an eye and all that.
Damon: Whoa whoa whoa Enzo. You have your murder voice on. I need you to speak slowly and calmly and tell me what the hell the problem is.
Enzo: The problem is that my girl Maggie - the one who got away - she didn't get away for long. Your brother took a bite ot of her neck membrane in the 60s.
Damon: In the 60s? Stefan wasn't even ...
Enzo: Gotta jet mate, nothing personal. Just a bit of revenge, you understand.
He looks up the 1960s on his smartphone (when did Enzo learn how to use a smartphone? It took my mom weeks to learn how to use hers properly and she wasn't locked in a cell for 60+ years). He starts dropping some facts on Stefan and mentions that JFK was running for president. This triggers a Stefan-flashback:

He's outside a campaign site and bites an older woman. He doesn't kill her though. He compels her to forget and leave. Maggie shows up and tells him that he gets a "gold star for impulse control". She knows that he is Stefan Salvatore and refers to him as "another vampire". She says she's been staring at Damon's photo for years and "clearly you got the handsome genes" (you take that back you bitch!). She's been searching for Damon for two years and knows everything about them. She wanted to find Damon because he knew Enzo, her friend who died in a fire. Stefan tells her to stay away from Damon but she says she wants to kill him.

Maggie: I'd be doing the world a favor.
Stefan: It's too bad you're not doing yourself any favors.

He shows his fangs to scare her away. Present day Stefan tells Enzo that he didn't kill her. He just wanted to scare her away. Enzo determines that it must have been the other ripper in Mystic Falls - Damon. He takes Bonnie by the neck and threatens to kill her. Wait - isn't she already dead?
Enzo: Are your lies worth Bonnie's life?
Elena: Bonnie!
Enzo: What exactly happens if you die anyway?
Bonnie: Let go of me!
Enzo: Aren't you technically already dead? Should we find out...?
Stefan: Stop! You're right. I killed Maggie. I tore out her throat and I ripped her head off. I completely forgot about it until now. That's the truth. Now let her go.
He lets Bonnie go, but tells Liv to take her upstairs. Then Enzo breaks off a piece of wood and throws a stake at Stefan's stomach. It's torture time!
Bonnie: You can cut the scared hostage act.
Liv: Excuse me?
Bonnie: Enzo may be using you as his little pocket witch, but if he kills either of them the Travelers can't do whatever it is they need to do with the doppelganger blood and the witches win.
Liv: Very clever. You should be a magic teacher.
Fuck you Liv. I really hate that bitch witch. No I was right the first time - bitch.

Damon calls Caroline because he can't find Elena and Stefan, but she's doesn't answer. Caroline doesn't appear in this episode at all. So Luke gets a 5 second cameo, even though we don't give a shit about him... but Caroline is MIA all episode? What's that about? Sheriff Forbes has brought Damon some files from the 1960s.
Sheriff Forbes: Why the sudden interest in Mystic Falls history?
Damon: You know when you brother kills your only friend's girl and you're stuck in the middle...?
Sheriff Forbes: No.
Damon: Well then don't ask.
According to the file, Maggie James died Nov 8, 1960.  Unresolved homicide, possible serial killer. Damon looks at the files and recognizes Maggie's photo. He declares that Stefan didn't kill Enzo's girl, because he did. Uh oh!

And now it's time for another flashback! This one is Enzo's, the day that Maggie left the Augustine Society.
Maggie: It's the only way to get you out of here. Make me a vampire. I'll save you. We'll run away together. Don't you want to be with me?
Enzo: More than anything in this world.
Maggie: Then I'm ready. Dr. Whitmore's back. You need to hurry.
Enzo: Come closer. Take my hand.
(He rips off her vervain bracelet and begins to compel her.)
Enzo: Leave, Maggie. Leave and never come back. And when you go, forget I ever existed. Forget that I love you.
Well that explains Maggie's diary entries about feeling like something was lost or missing. She couldn't find love because she loved Enzo... she just didn't know it. That also explains why she was looking for Damon. Whatever she read in those old medical journals must have made her realize that she once cared for Enzo in some way and blamed Damon for his death. 

Back in the present day, Enzo stabs Stefan again and again as he yells out in pain. Upstairs Bonnie and Liv are forced to listen on... Bonnie asks her about the Other Side. She knows that although she thought she was doing Liv a favor teaching her magic, she's always been more powerful than her. So she must know what's going on. Bonnie explains to the b/witch that she's less concerned about her own life and more about the friends she has over there, including her Grams. Bonnie believes that there must be some kind of spell they can do to save them. Just then Damon walks into the Grill...
Damon: Well this is depressing. Is stadium seating really necessary? These people are starting to creep me out.
Enzo: If I didn't know any better I'd say that was a veiled attempt to get me to release the hostages.
Damon: Oh I'm sorry. Was that veiled? Release the damn hostages.
Enzo: What side are you on?
Damon: There are sides now?
Enzo reminds Damon of what it was like with the Augustines. How there was one thing they'd cling to... that helped them make it through... to keep them from shutting it all off. Damon get it, but Maggie is gone. She's dead. And Damon is the one who killed her - not Stefan.

And now it's time for a Damon flashback! This is a very flashback-heavy episode. Back in 1960, Damon admits that he didn't know she was Enzo's Maggie because she never told him her name. He confesses that he met her that night because she had sought him out, claiming she wanted to interview him for an article. However after asking him about the fire of 1958 at Whitmore House, she tried to inject him with vervain. Damon recognized the Augustine seal on the syringe.
Damon: Oh an Augustine? How refreshing of you to find me. I usually have to hunt you down.
He kills her by ripping her head off (he doesn't even drink her blood) and leaves her in body in the street. He admits that he made it look like Stefan had killed her because he was annoyed at him. His humanity was switched off, so he did terrible things and didn't care. He didn't do it to hurt Enzo, he didn't even know it was her. He tells Enzo that he can hate him, he can try to kill him, whatever he needs... but Enzo cries. He can't hate him, because if he hates him he has nothing left. Damon is his only friend, who killed his dearest love. He thinks back to Maggie, how he loved her, he envisions her dead body on the ground, he recalls Damon explaining how he turned off his switch so he could leave Enzo (and save himself)... and he makes the decision to turn off his own humanity. He flips his own switch...
Enzo: You're right. I don't have a care in the world.
Back at Traveler camp (geez, it's been so long I had almost forgotten about them)... Tyler wakes up back in his own body and finds himself chained up with the Travelers. (It's for their own protection, since he's a vampire-werewolf hybrid.) Sloane finally wakes up after being killed and Markos is quick to give her a blood bag so she can complete her transition. Markos explains that vampirism originated from the magic of witches and their spell with the doppelganger blood will undo witch magic. He takes the last of the doppelganger blood and pours it into a challice for Sloan to drink from.

Over at the Grill, Enzo has gone on an non-humanity bender. He takes a drink and then smashes the glass.
Enzo: This is fun not caring!  Yep. Emotion free... Bye bye humanity. To Maggie James... for whom I feel absolute and blissful detachment.
Damon: what do you say we get out of here? Cape Town?
Enzo: Cape Horn.
Damon: Even better.
Damon slips Stefan a piece of broken glass so he can cut his ties. Enzo lets everyone go; they have all been compelled to think they spent the day studying. (Wonder if they'll do okay on their finals?) He won't let Liv go though and tries to feed from her. Bonnie goes to her rescue and Damon goes at him, but is stopped. Stefan gets free and hits him but Enzo drenches him with the bucket of vervain water and leaves with Elena.

He wants to hurt Damon in any way he can - and Elena is the best way, always. Damon claims he can handle him but Stefan warns him that he can't save him. Bonnie tends to Liv while Damon goes looking for Enzo and Stefan follows shortly after. Damon calls Enzo's and offers to go with him to Cape Horn and asks him to just please not hurt Elena.

Outside, Elena tries to talk some sense into Enzo but he's not having it. So she grabs him by the neck. He easily overpowers her (he's much older than her, therefore much stronger) but Stefan arrives to save the day. He throws him across the parking lot onto a car windshield. They continue to beat the crap out of each other. Damon finds Elena - knocked out but still alive (or um, "undead" seeing as she's a vampire) - and carries her away while Stefan and Enzo continue to beat each other up deeper into the parking lot. Enzo punches a hole in a car and lets the gasoline spill out. He looks for Maggie's lighter and intends to set the car on fire to kill Stefan.
Enzo: Do we burn together you and I? Perhaps just you?
Stefan pushes his hand into Enzo's chest and grabs onto his heart. Ugh.
Stefan: My brother, he sees something good in you.
Enzo: And you? Isn't there a part of you that thinks I can be redeemed?
Stefan: Not with your emotions off. You wont stop until you kill Damon.
Enzo: Better yet... wouldn't it be a sweet piece of revenge when Damon finds out you killed his best friend? Have fun sorting this out with your brother.
He runs back, leaving his heart in Stefan's hand, effectively killing himself. That's the most original way to commit suicide I've ever seen. Stefan checks Enzo's phone and hears the voicemail from Damon.

At the dorms, Damon lays Elena in her bed and gets a text from Enzo "Cape Horn it is". We have to assume that Stefan sent that text from Enzo's phone. What are you up to Stefan? Elena wakes up in her bed, alone. Stefan comes to the door and tells her that Enzo is dead - and he killed him - but Damon doesn't know yet. He killed his brother's only friend and it's been a tough year for Damon, so he thinks it'd be easier if Damon thinks no-humanity Enzo just left town. He says that he just got Damon back and this would destroy him, so he can't know the truth. Hm... is it really Damon you're thinking of? Or are you just worried about what Damon would do to you if he knew the truth? Yeah, if there's any lesson we've learned from this show... isn't it that lies always backfire?

Back at the Grill, Bonnie helps Liv. They've called to check on Luke to see if he's okay and he is. Liv tells Bonnie that the Other Side is just like any other spell. Remove one component and it all implodes on itself. The travelers let Markos escape and "boom". She should say goodbye to her friends, because there's nothing else they can do to save the Other Side. Jeremy loves her, so he deserves to know she's leaving. She should be honest.
Bonnie goes to the orphanage boys' house to talk to Jeremy. He tells her that Tyler is missing - probably with the Travelers. Bonnie tells Jeremy that the Other Side may go away and if it does... oh wait, let's tell another lie... she tells him that Liv thinks there's a way to save her. Good one Bon. Don't give Jeremy a chance to say goodbye to his girlfriend before she dies again, for good this time. Just then Stefan calls her and asks her to tell yet another lie. He lets her know that Enzo is dead but that Damon can't find out. She says "Yep, I understand" as Enzo's ghost-spirit-whatever listens on. She tells Jeremy that someone is there to pass through to the Other Side, but doesn't admit that it's Enzo. Enzo tells her that she can keep her little secret, but he will see her again... and he's good at revenge.

Meanwhile, the Travelers are still chanting over Sloane. She was lying down but arises again. He wants to see if she is still a vampire or if the doppelganger blood reverted her to her human form. She cuts her hand and discovers that she's not healing anymore. She is human again. This is good news for Markos and his gang of merry Travelers. It proves that the doppelblood can undo the witch's magic. If they can undo the magic of Mystic Falls, they can undo the witch's curse that stops them from finding a home. They will finally be able to settle down. Unfortunately Sloan can't enjoy it with them. As soon as he tells her this, her neck would reopens and she dies... The doppelganger blood removes magic, so without the magic of vampirism to keep her alive, she's reverted to her final human state - dead. Um, what? She was alive long enough to show everyone that she could cut her hand and shit... but once he tells her that she's going to die, then she dies? Talk about a delayed reaction on that loss of magic. That's the stupid shit that pisses me off about this show. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for you, but then you trample all over it with this kind of logic-defying crap.

The whole time Tyler has been watching and everyone seems to have totally forgotten about him - or they just don't care. I don't know. Markos announces that any vampire that tries to live in their new home will meet the same fat as Sloane - death - but they're going to need a lot more blood. Doppeluhoh!

Back at Casa de Salvatore, Damon tells Stefan that he knows what he's thinking. He screwed up and it's all his fault that Enzo is in their lives and wants them all dead. He swears that he'll fix it. Stefan tells him that Elena is alright and Damon admits he took her home but didn't wait for her wake up or leave a note or anything because he's past trying to earn points for good behavior. Stefan tells him that what happened today wasn't his fault. He wants him to leave Enzo alone because he's not his responsibility and he's not worth saving. (And also, he's secretly dead.) Damon disagrees and explains that Enzo was the one who always brought Damon back from the edge while they were in that cell. Anytime he was angry at Stefan for not finding him and saving him, Enzo kept him sane. He reminded him that he had family and envied him for having a brother, even a crappy one like Stefan. Enzo always defended Stefan to Damon, even though he didn't know him, and said it was good that Damon had people he loved who were worth holding onto his humanity for. Enzo stopped him from hating him every time he was ready to give up, so that's why Damon can't give up on him. He owes it to him to help him. They both do. Just then Enzo's ghost appears (probably because Damon was thinking about him)...
Enzo: It's too late to make amends Damon. You know me. Never let go of a good vendetta. And this one is just getting started.
So what happens exactly if a vampire dies with his humanity switched off... he stays without humanity forever in the after life? Wouldn't it be restored upon his death? Does it make sense that Enzo's ghost would still be pissed off? Does it even make sense that vampires have an afterlife? Technically their life as vampires is their afterlife. God this show makes no sense! Oh wait, it's over. Oh well, who cares? This might be the end of my recaps if the show doesn't start to get better.

For now, here's more of what you really want-

Watch this episode "Man on Fire" on Amazon Instant Video. Catch up on past episodes here

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