Elena: I'm not sure what to say.HEART. BREAKING.
Damon: Easy, so easy. Just say that you missed me as much as I missed you.
Elena: I remember... pain. I remember all the terrible things that you did to the people that I care about. I honestly don't remember anything good between us. I thought if I saw you in person it might change everything but...
I would almost have been crying after that scene if the scene immediately following had not been Damon visiting Alaric in the hospital, which was kind of hilarious. Watching him poke around all his equipment while they make a list of the terrible things that he's done to people Elena cared about over the years (using Caroline as his "personal juice box," turning Jeremy's girlfriend into a vampire, threatening to kill Bonnie "a couple of times," killing Stefan's best friend at his birthday party, snapping Jeremy's neck, etc.) Damon is very happy that Alaric isn't dead anymore because they're friends (even though he was the one who killed him the first time), but also kind of annoyed that he didn't die (because if he had died as a vampire the compulsion would've worn off and Elena would love Damon again). However Alaric reminds him not to kill him because he will stay dead this time if he does. Dr. Jo walks in to check on Ric and Damon asks if she can repeat her lifesaving skills on some other vampires, but she says it worked because Alaric's wound was treatable, she had perfect timing and well, she had a burst of adrenaline from not wanting to lose the most interesting guy she's dated in a while. Barf.
Dr. Jo: 100% unrepeatable, which is why you'll tell no one.Matt, Stefan, and Enzo have Tripp locked up in the shed where he had been held (ah, comeuppance!) Enzo wants to know what the rest of Tripp's community-watch vampire hunter buddies are up to. He admits they're tracking vampires (like Caroline) so Stefan orders them to get the names of the others and then kill Tripp because he's a liability.
Damon: She's bossy. I like her.
Elena admits to Caroline that she doesn't remember loving Damon, who is totally on board with the idea because Elena's life is great right now. She is a) doing well in school, b) following her dream, c) dating a guy with cute eyes who has never killed her brother. Speak of the cute eyes, Liam approaches as Caroline leaves and is still going on and on about the girl Elena saved in the corn maze. How she doesn't even remember getting hurt that night. She just wants him to get over it and then he asks her to be his date to the hospital fundraiser that evening.
Back in Time Warp 1994 Mystic Falls Kai and Bonnie are both still alive and together. (What, did you think the writers were just going to forget about them?)
Kai: Oh look who's awake. How do you feel?He's annoyed that she somehow managed to shatter the ascendant into a million pieces but is trying to put it together so they can go back during the next eclipse. Bonnie has no intention of taking him back. He's a psycho killer and this is his prison so he deserves to stay there. Plus she thinks he'll just kill her once they get out anyway. He reminds her that all he has to do is grab onto her and he can steal her magic, so she better help him. Instead she stabs him in the neck and runs off with the shattered ascendant pieces.
Bonnie: Like you shot me with an arrow.
Stefan shows up at Caroline's dorm room, but she tells him to get lost because they're not friends anymore. He warns her that Tripp's men know she is a vampire. In perfectly coincidental timing, her mom calls to find out where Tripp is because some of his men ran her off the road and have a gun to her head. Oopsy. They take off to go see if Enzo has already killed Tripp while Caroline frantically tries to reach him by phone. He finally answers (the touchscreen wasn't working because he had blood on his hands, ha. Don't you hate when that happens?) He confirms that Tripp is still alive and she tells him that he better stay that way because his men have her mom. Tripp is defending himself to Matt that he just wants to keep the world safe, when Enzo fills them in on the 411 with Caroline's mom (Tripp calls it a contingency plan).
Tyler is working for Liv at the fundraiser (helping with drinks and serving) for free in order to try to repay her for killing that dude he hit with his car, so he wouldn't be responsible for his death and turn into a werewolf. You know, even as type this stuff out I have to laugh at how ridiculous it all sounds. They're all flirty and it's annoying to me. Dr. Jo and Alaric arrive at the fundraiser with Damon close behind so he can stalk Elena and spend some time with his "once dead now human best bud." He gets jealous when Elena arrives with Liam so he introduces himself as Elena's ex. Liam questions why he isn't, you know, dead. Damon says "dead" was just a figure of speech but they're friends now, then he compels Liam tot find out how freaked out he is. (His answer: he's a little threatened but he thinks he can take him. Ooooh.) He sends him to the bar so he and Elena can dance. He tries to reminisce with her about things she doesn't rememember... like the time he stepped in to replace Stefan when he stood her up at a dance. It's just making her feel bad though.
Elena: You can't just come unannounced and ruin my night.She feels guilty that she doesn't remember loving him. But he does. He never would've erased what they had no matter how much grief or pain he was in. He'd rather have spent every moment in agony than erase the memory of her. Man, I know he's a murderer and all, but who wouldn't want a guy that looks like that to say those things about them? Wowsers. Meanwhile Alaric also feels guilty for erasing Elena's memories but Dr. Jo reminds him that it was Elena's choice. (What he should feel guilty about is not reversing the compulsion immediately after Damon came back.) Alaric and Jo discuss the fact that they both formerly supernatural beings (him a vampire; her a witch). She says that technically she relinquished her magic and "put it away for safe keeping" because she came from a tragically dysfunctional family and chose to remove herself from it. I'm going to take a stab right now (no pun intended!) and guess that she is Kai's sister, the only sibling of Kai's that he decided to let live. Because you can totally survive wihtout a spleen right? Speaking of tragically dysfunctional families, in walks Luke! The wonder twins have a quick convo about the fact that when the coven calls them home, theyw on't care if they're in love or not so have fun, but don't get caught up in antyhing. Um, what? Why are they even still on this show? Just write them off already. They suck.
Damon: Come unannounced? I literally went through time and space to be with you.
Elena finally agrees that she wants to try to remember. She hates that there's a big piece of her memory missing and wants to get it back. She can't undo the compulsion but maybe if they unwind the memories backwards something will trigger something else and it will all come back. He's certainly willing to try. So she asks him to take her to the last place they said they loved each other.
Bonnie rushes to the hospital to treat her arrow wound with painkillers, antibiotics and bandages (okay, I thought you can't die in Time Warp 1994). She attempts to put together the ascendant before the eclipse and before Kai recovers and comes after her. Bonnie is making progress with the ascendent but there is one last piece missing. Just then the lights go out and it's Kai with the last piece! She uses her magic to keep him away and runs off, but there's really only so many places she can go in Time Warp 1994 with a wound like hers and so he easily catches her. They have an hour until the eclipse and he wants to go home. He assures Bonnie that he's not the monster she thinks he is (even bringing her teddy bear to her, so it can go home with them).
Kai: I did murder or heavily maim most of my immediate family but after a long period of self reflection I've come to the conclusion that I could've handled my anger better.
She quotes him as having said he wanted to get out of there so he could give the Gemini Coven an "excruciating death," but he denies it and says he really would give anything to get his family back. He's most scared of trying to figure out how to live in the world again and hopes she's been a good influence. He tells her she is brave, loyal, patient and he wants to be more like her. She doesn't look like she's buying it but she probably realizes she has no choice so she starts the ritual. Bonnie cuts her hand over the ascendant and starts to chant, as Kai holds onto her arm (so she can't leave without him). She touches her foot against her teddy bear and then it all stops working. Kai realizes that Bonnie has lost her magic. Only, oops just kidding, she didn't lose it, she put it somewhere! (Just like what Dr. Jo had done.) He guesses that she put it in her teddy bear but he can't find it and he's pissed. She tells him that it's gone and they're stuck there forever. Yep, she sent that fucking bear back home!
Caroline and Stefan arrive to pick up an unconscious Tripp while they both bicker with Enzo. Enzo tells Stefan that Caroline has a thing for him but she insists he has to pretend he didn't hear that because... reasons. Stefan, Caroline and Matt go to the border of Mystic Falls to meet Tripp's men and trade him for Sheriff Forbes. As soon as they make the exchange, Tripp starts to feel funny and a wound in his neck opens up. They realize that Enzo must have turned him and so crossing over to the no-magic zone is killing him. Matt holds him as he dies and is pissed (even though Tripp was totally going to kill your friend Caroline and have his men kill her mom, he's mad that he's dead now? Really?) What stops Tripp's men from killing them all right now? I am confused.
Elena and Damon go to a different edge of Mystic Falls (I assume it is different because Tripp isn't laying there dying). She doesn't remember being there with him. Her memory is that they had to stop the Travelers and he had a plan but didn't tell anyone about it. He drove his car into the Grille and blew himself up to trigger an explosion. (In the real history, they drove into the Grille together because she said they were "in this together" and wouldn't take no for an answer.) He continues to tell her more stories, especially happy ones like this time they went to see a meteor shower and it started pouring rain, but nothing is working. She gets that they had an amazing life together and loved that he was reckless because it probalby made her feel free. But now when she looks into his eyes, she feels like she's looking at a stranger. She won't ever be able to give him what he wants because she can't remember.
Damon: There are things you can't erase and you know that.She crosses over the border to Mystic Falls and as the magic disappears all of her good memories of Damon come rushing back. Of course, her lungs are also filling up with water and she's dying. He pulls her back over to the safe side. She admits that she was trying to undo the compulsion, but he says the last thing he would ever do is risk her life. Elena tells Damon that she did remember bits and pieces. She remembered the beginning of the story he had told her - they went to see meteors, it started to rain... what happened next? What happened next? He admits that when she became a vampire part of him was thrilled because suddenly there was the possibilty that he could have her in his life for ever. The other part was devastated because she lost the life that she wanted to have. Since he's been gone, she's gotten part of that back - she's happy, thriving, maybe she'd be happy with him too but the truth is she is better off without him. He died, she started over, and now he needs her to live her life and be happy. He tells her he loves her enough to let her go. (Deja vu. Haven't we heard this conversation before? Seriously writers come up with a new fight for them to have! I mean, I know Elena has no memory of this repeatedly happening but we viewers sure do.) She asks again, what happened next after it started to rain. He lies and tells her that it was muddy and she was miserable, so they got in the car and left.
Caroline makes her mom go to the hospital and get checked out, where Stefan asks Caroline why she has/had a thing for him and how was it that he missed it. She says it's a stupid quesiton. She doesn't know why but she thought he was worth having a thing for it, he helped her get through becoming a vampire, he was one of her best friends and she trusted him. He apologizes for not realizing it and for how he treated her. She knows he didn't feel even a tiny bit for her what she felt for him or he'd have never walked away. She doesn't hate him for that and accepts his apology, but she does still hate him because if she doesn't hate him for ruining their friendship then she'd have to hate herself for that and she thinks she deserves better than that. BOOM!
Alaric and Jo go to her house and she changes out of her dress when he notices a gnarly scar on her stomach. She says she lost her spleen as a kid when her brother tried to gut her with a hunting knife. Booyah! Did I call that or what? She's the last remaining sibling from Kai's coven. Then they kiss because being gutted by your brother is totally a turn on isn't it?
Liam shows up to Elena's dorm room. She apologizes for ditching him and he shows her the medical files of the girl she saved at the corn maze. She had an old tennis injury that required her to have her cartilage cleaned out every once in a while. This time they sent her home without the procedure because the injury doesn't exist anymore. It spontaneously healed itself! He said between this and meeting her "dead" boyfriend tonight, nothing adds up except for two facts: she's a liar and she has secrets. Duh. She's from Mystic Falls. That comes with the zip code. She can tell him the truth or he can figure it out on his own. Gee, I wonder what will happen next with this storyline...zzzzzz.
Damon goes to the graveyard to drink and be sad, as he remembers the true ending of that happy memory with Elena (the one about the meteor shower and the rain). The real way it went down is that they kissed in the rain and...
Elena: Promise me this is forever.HEART. BREAKING. AGAIN.
Damon: I promise.
Just then Damon notices Bonnie's teddy bear and realizes that she is still alive. (I assume at some point Damon will team up with Dr. Jo and the Gemini Coven to figure out what to do with Bonnie's bear and magic and get her home from 1994... however, it probably won't be til at least much further along in the season.)