I can think of worse things than being stuck in "Groundhog's Day" with Ian Somerhalder. Just sayin'.
Damon: That got awkward fast.
This episode opens up four months ago, immediately after Damon and Bonnie walked into the light. They find themselves alone in the cemetary. Upon walking into town, they spot the Grill - which Damon definitely blew up an hour ago - but no people at all. They are in Mystic Falls, but when?
Back in present day Mystic Falls, Jeremy is apparently banging Sarah now (the annoying chick from New York that Elena almost killed, ugh). Matt wakes up to find her in their house with permission to "crash" there for a while since she had nowhere else to go. Matt ain't having it and I agree, you know your sister almost ate her the other day, right? I'll say this: Jeremy was always kind of a d-bag but now he's crossed over into full douche territory. Yeah yeah I know he's grieving Bonnie but been there, done that, how many times have both he and Bonnie died? Get over it already and act like a grown up for a change.
In Savannah, Ivy attempts to make Stefan breakfast because she doesn't know he eats people for breakfast and it's clear that she's super into him and he's just a distant, brooding jerk. Of course, Stefan can't stand to not be the good guy so she invites her over for dinner. Ugh, I really wish everyone on this show would die. Can't we just have a show that's all Damon? (I would totally watch a show that was just Ian Somerhalder sitting around, watching TV, going to the grocery store, etc. MTV pitch this as a reality show right now. It would have to be at least as entertaining as Teen Mom.)
Back at her dorm room Elena is having a Damon Memory Binge, hugging photographs and shirts, showing us flashbacks of Elena-Damon sexy times. Then she packs everything up in a box and prepares to be compelled to forget she ever loved him. Matt and Jeremy thinks it's a ridiculous idea but she begs them for no "spoilers" after the fact. Meanwhile Caroline is fucking pissed to find out that Stefan has given up on trying to bring back Damon and Bonnie. All this time she's been busting her ass to return magic to Mystic Falls and he's just chilling in George like a dick? Turns out someone is still on the case though - Enzo! Thank god they're keeping him on the show because between Jeremy, Stefan and Alaric I was really hurting for someone to give a shit about and Enzo is the perfect character to love and hate and love to hate while we wait for Damon to come back to life.
(I changed my mind about the reality show. It should be Ian Somerhalder and Michael Malarkey and they can be roommates. Like Snooki & Jwoww's show. Only hotter.)
It turns out he's using what God gave him to get information - sexiness. He manages to pull information from a cute coat check girl by hooking up with her until she reveals that there's a coven in Oregon (the "Gemini coven") that found a way to communicate with the Other Side before it went away so maybe they know what happened to Damon & Bon Bon. Probably not, but whatever keeps Enzo on the show for at least another episode is okay by me.
Meanwhile, Alaric, back from the dead and as annoying as ever, suddenly knows all about hypnotherapy and memory reprocessing so he's going to figure out which memories of Elena's are connected to Damon and then modify them. Once they figure out the signature memory (i.e., when she first fell in love with him) he can erase it and then it will act as a domino effect on all the subsequent memories. Um... what? This is just so the writers can drag this out a whole episode right? Even Elena isn't buying it...
Elena: Can't you just compel me to forget everything at once and we can go get a beer?Then we get a happy/sad trip down memory lane as she remembers (and then forgets) her history with Damon one by one as Alaric replaces the good memories with similar but meaningless memories... struggling to find the one that will trigger the rest of them. They both start to get frustrated as he erases memory after memory and none of them do the trick. Neither of them can figure out when exactly she first started to love him.
Meanwhile Damon and Bonnie are apparently trapped in the 90s (May 10, 1994 to be exact). Awesome! It's also the day of a solar eclipse which knowing what kind of importance this kind of stuff has to do with witchcraft on the show, might end up meaning something further down the line. Not this episode, but maybe at some point. Before Bonnie's Grams disappeared from the Other Side she said that she had made a sacrifice so that she could find peace. She thinks that might have something to do with where they are - and since she went there holding Damon's hand, he came along for the ride. Bonnie still can't do magic so they seem to be stuck there for now.
The next morning Damon makes pancakes for Bonnie, while drinking booze and listening to 90's hits (amazing - seriously, this could just be the entire show, Damon making breakfast listening to Salt N Pepa's What a Man and I would tune in once a week). When the solar eclipse happens again, they check the date on the morning paper and realize that are re-living the same day.
Damon: Well that proves it. We're in hell. My own personal, custom-bult hell... and you're in it with me.
They repeat the day for several weeks while Damon refuses to accept the fact that Bonnie doesn't like pancakes and Bonnie tries to figure out how to get her magic working again (and also tries to finally finish 27 Across in the crossword puzzle she does every morning).
Caroline and Enzo go on a roadtrip for answers and end up at Stefan's house where he's reminding everyone that he's Italian by making a delicious dinner for Ivy. He does not seem psyched to see Enzo but since Stefan owns the house, Enzo knows he's got an "open invitation."
They proceed to have the most awkward dinner ever (seriously, the only way it could be worse is if Enzo, Caroline and Stefan all ate Ivy for dinner). Care Bear gets pissed to learn that Stefan has been living there for 2 months working as a mechanic, giving up his "investigative work." Enzo stabs him with a fork and then the two of them fight (causing Caroline to compel Ivy and hide her upstairs, before calling Alaric for advice). Finally Stefan breaks Enzo's neck and comes up behind Caroline just in time to overheard her tell Alaric that the reason they can't figure out when Elena first starting loving Damon is because she doens't want to admit what the rest of them all know -
Caroline: She fell in love with Damon when she was still with Stefan.Ouch. Of course, they don't dwell on this because Caroline has a lot to say. Caroline confronts Stefan for giving up and he admits that he busted his ass for months but every lead was a dead end (no pun intended). He even knows about the Gemini coven. He had to come to terms with the fact that they are dead and there's nothing he can do. He couldn't go back to his old life so he jsut settled in Savannah. Caroline is hurt that he didn't care about her after he left even though she was falling apart without him. He didn't answer her voicemails because he never even listened to them.
Caroline: Let me summarize them for you - you're a dick.Meanwhile, Alaric goes back to Elena and tells her that she wasn't being honest with herself, so he wants to hear her Damon memories about when she was still with Stefan. She gets defensive because she was totally faithful to Stefan, even when he lost his humanity and left a trail of bodies across the U.S. she stuck with him and was devoted to him. She can't admit that she fell in love with Damon while she was supposed to still be loving Stefan, but the truth is that is what happened and until she can come to terms with that she will never be able to pinpoint the memory that will un-do all the other memories and help her find her peace after Damon's death. Alaric tells her that it's okay to have loved them both.
Elena: That's what Katherine used to say. How sad is it that my own evil doppelganger was smarter than me?She finally admits that the moment she knew she loved him was her birthday. They had spent the entire summer looking for Stefan and Caroline threw her a birthday party but she was too sad to enjoy it. Damon gave her a birthday gift - it was the necklace that Stefan had given her that she had lost. She knew that Damon loved her already at that point, but he still gave her something that symbolized her connection to Stefan, because he knew it would make her happy (even if it hurt his own chances of being with her). It was the most selfless he had ever been and in that moment, she loved him, even though she didn't want to and it terrified her. Alaric rewrites the memory - Damon never came into the room or gave her the necklace, the party was miserable and she spent the rest of the night watching movies with Jeremy and eating popcorn. As he compels her to believe this, other memories of Damon are abruptly taken away and she's reminded of the time that he killed Jeremy (temporarily). Suddenly she no longer remembers him as "her boyfriend, I loved him and he died" but rather "he was Stefan's brother, he was a monster, and he died."
The writers did something kind of interesting with this scene by switching back and forth between the flashback of this moment with Damon and Damon, in the "present day" (well, present day stuck in the past) walking through the same setting of Elena's house, probably remembering the same moment. Pretty cool. And sad.
Caroline, still visibly upset about Stefan, speaks to the new and improved Elena who is way too perky and happy, making it obvious that the compelling finally worked. (She's not even grieving Bonnie at all though? Come on.) Before they leave, Enzo returns to Stefan's to show him that he means business. He snaps Ivy's neck and tells Stefan that he's not worth caring about. He tells him that he's not a brother to Damon because brothers don't give up. So any time he sees him doing anything that looks like he's giving up (like starting over with a new life in Savannah with a hot Asian girlfriend) he will make him pay and bring him the misery he deserves.
Back in Mystic Falls, Tripp (the head of the community protection group) tells Matt that Sara's license plates came up as stolen so he should keep him posed if she shows up at his place again. He goes to talk to Jeremy, who has just left Bonnie an angry voicemail. Apparently he's been paying her cell phone bill so he can hear her voice and leave her mad messages every day. He's clearly still pissed that she lied and then told him that she was going to die over the phone. Matt approaches and tells Jeremy that Sara is shady and the plates on her car are stolen. She's still there and admits that she stole her car from her old boss who got a little handsy. Matt says she needs to find somewhere else to say but Jeremy doesn't want to leave her out on the street. She admits she has family in town supposedly - her dad (who she hasn't met) so she'll find him. Matt calls Tripp to let him know what's going on. He says he used to know Jeremy's dad because he actually is from Mystic Falls too. He's part of the one of the founding families in fact (the Fells - yes his real name is Tripp Fell, ha) but he grew up with his mother outside of town. Matt questions whether he knows about "what happens" in Mystic Falls, as a member of a founding family, but he plays dumb. Of course, he really does know because he's got a bunch of vampires chained up in the back of his truck and drives them over the border so they'll all die. Yikes.
The episode ends where it begins, with Bonnie and Damon on the other side of the Other Side in 1994. They've repeated the same day for months now and are sitting down to have a nice little dinner. I have to wonder why he keeps eating real food and hasn't had a hunger for blood (espeially since Bonnie is the only person he's got). They're both technically double dead, so they shouldn't even be eating at all. Bonnie's been doing the same stupid crosswork puzzle for months now but Damon notices that she finally got 27 Across (of course the answer is a Pearl Jam reference).
Bonnie: Are you messing with me?DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN
Damon: No, are you messing with me?
Bonnie: I didn't finish this.
Damon: Well, neither did I.
Bonnie: There's someone else here.
Watch this episode now.