The Vampire Diaries: Nostalgic Pop Culture References

This episode of The Vampire Diaries was so chock full of hilarious pop culture references that it's just begging for its own ironic hipster t-shirt.

Jo and a compelled-Alaric have a little romantic date, while Damon and Stefan wait for him to con the ascendant out of her. It worked (turns out she kept it in her underwear drawer next to her pot) so afterwards Damon compels Alaric to forget this ever happened and be a good boyfriend to Jo.

Jeremy is two weeks sober. He finally cancelled Bonnie's cell phone, cried, got the grief out of his system and is ready to move on. Except - surprise - she's still alive and Damon is going to try to help them bring her back. She tells him it's good news but he's skeptical (obviously). Liv has agreed to help them do a spell to find Bonnie, which Tyler is completely against because he wants her to stay in Mystic Falls where her magical family can't find her. There are only a few weeks left before she and Luke stop being "singular twins" and merge powers/kill one of them. He still wants to find a way. Sarah helped Matt officially disband Tripp's community protection program, so now he has to help her by organizing a little family reunion between her and the Salvatores.

Damon and Elena meet Liv in the graveyard so she can help them do the spell to bring back Bonnie. Damon has Bennett blood (from Lucy apparently) and the ascendant. (Liv is surprised Jo was willing to give it up because if Kai gets out he's coming after Jo which causes Elena to show what I like to call "suspicious face"). She trades them Bennett blood for three vials of her blood which will keep them linked so she can find them to pull them back later. They have 8 hours.

Damon: (tasting Liv's blood) Hm. Bitter. Wonder why.
Meanwhile Kai is riding around in the back of a taxi (uh oh that means he's officially back in the real world!) while he complains about how his skinny jeans are so small and yet his phone is so big. What's the deal with that? Also airport security sucks, am I right? He's a little short on cash for the cab so he strangles the driver with iPod earbuds instead. (Finally another use for those!) You can just barely make out the sign for Whitmore College in the sideview mirror as he walks away. Dun dun dun...

Elena and Damon look for Bonnie in Time Warp casa de Salvatore, but she's nowhere to be found. (We know that she's in Oregon, but they have no idea so they fear she may be dead... especially when they find blood on a pillow.) Damon decides to page Kai to see if he's still around and still with Bonnie.
Damon: Sorry I forgot you were two in 1994. Pagers are an ancient form of telecommunication.
Elena: I know what a pager is.... how does it work?
Damon: We dial jackass's number 555-HIYA-KAI, we leave our number, and then we hang up.
Elena: And now what?
Damon: And now we sit by the phone like a 13-year-old girl... and wait.

Sarah is nervous about meeting one of her only living relatives... but Enzo shows up to remind her that technically he's not living. He starts to hit on Sarah, who is almost into it until Matt lets her know that he's the one who killed Tripp.
Enzo: For the record, he did try to kill me first. You are the most terrible wingman.
Stefan arrives and Sarah introduces herself as Zack and Gail's daughter "Sarah Salvatore." Oh now she's taken the last name? Really?

In Time Warp 1994, Elena checks out a camcorder and finds a video confessional Damon made about being trapped in his "own personal hell." (He tries to pass it off as his audition tape for Real World: London, which is fucking hilarious. This episode is full of awesome pop culture references, both from the 90s and from today.)
Damon: Journals are lame. Especially video ones.
Take that Vampire Diaries! Just then Bonnie calls Damon's number (from a payphone no less, where did she get the quarter? How did she even know how to use a payphone? Has she ever even seen a payphone? How does phone service even work in Time Warp 1994 - if they're literally the only people there, who is running the phone company?) They are psyched when they realize that it's Bonnie and not Kai calling! Bonnie and Elena are so psyched to hear each other's voices. She lets them know Kai left her in Portland but she hotwired a car and is on her way back to Mystic Falls. (She's about 6 1/2 hours away so she better rush - now would be a good time to hang up the phone and start driving again! And no more trips to the "little witch's room.") Their happiness is short lived when Damon realizes that Kai has (had) Bonnie's blood and the ascendant - everything he needs (needed) to get out, what if he's already out? Well he is! He's back and he's looking for his siblings... He shows up at the bar and orders a Zima (ha, nice one) and thinks it's "ironic" that the bartender waiting on him is named Liv. Too bad Liv doesn't recognize him as her murderous brother.

Jo storms in to Alaric's place demanding to know where the ascendant is. He says he has no idea (and he really doesn't, having been compelled to forget). She searches his place but of course, can't find it. They were the only ones who knew where it was - he must've told. He swears he didn't and wouldn't... but she suspects that Damon compelled him. She wants to go to Mystic Falls to find out (when they cross the border the compulsion will go away) and then he'll find out if Damon is really his friend.

Damon and Elena make pancakes - she even gives hers a smiley face and fangs like he did way back in the day, how cute are they? Elena reads the article about Kai and Jo and their family. She fears that he's going to kill Jo, but Damon corrects her and says technically he'll just merge with her and that will kill her. When Elena questions why Jo would ever be willing to give him the ascendant, Damon tries to deflect the question but then admits that Ric stole it after Damon compelled him to. She's totally disappointed in him, even though he's trying to get Bonnie back it was the wrong thing to do. She thinks he just wants Bonnie back so she can convince Elena to fall in love with him again. Who cares who gets hurt in the process as long as Damon gets what Damon wants right? Ouch.

Matt and Enzo are eavesdropping on Sarah and Stefan's conversation thanks to Enzo's super vampire hearing. She's telling him about how she bounced from group home to group home in foster care,when Stefan orders two chocolate milkshakes. The milkshake machine (conveniently next to Enzo) drowns out their conversation just long enough for him to tell her that he knows she's lying and that she better just get up and walk out with him. Enzo suggests it's a little strange that Stefan and Sarah got up and left, but Matt thinks it's no big deal. Enzo is pissed that Stefan can do all kinds of shitty things and is still considered a hero, but he's stuck being a villain.

Matt: Yeah, because you kill people.
Enzo: Oh and Stefan doesn't? Come on, you and I both know that's not true. I'm just up front about it. Stefan.. he knows what he's done. He's just a liar. A little box of secrets. Come on, mush, let's open the box.

Okay I know Enzo is a murderous sociopath, but he's such a cool character sometimes. Speaking of murderous sociopaths... Kai. I know Kai is a murderous sociopath too but dude has got some funny lines this episode. The pop culture commentary this week is just hilarious. Apparently he joined Twitter and his name is @CobraKai1972 ("come on, like Karate Kid?") Liv wants to close up because the bar is kind of dead, but he says he wants a real drink first. He shows her his ID, which says he was born in 1972 (even though he looks about 19) but that's not the most interesting thing on the ID... He tells her to look again and she notices the name and address! Big brother! He sucks away some of her magic and they fight. Now I understand why she didn't recognize him. Their dad  erased his entire existence - no photos or home movies or even a handprint turkey from Thanksgiving. This could be really bad if she dies because then Elena and Damon will be trapped in Time Warp 1994 but luckily Tyler shows up to help at the exact perfect moment in order to help her get away.

Stefan doesn't believe Sarah's story, but she tries to convince him that she is Zack and Gail's daughter. She has the photographs ("that's your big evidence?") but he doesn't believe her because he knows the real Sarah Salvatore. She's at her dorm room at Duke University where she's an art major. She didn't bounce from group home to group home, she was adopted by a great family right away - he made sure of it - and even though she doesn't know him, he knows her. She is his family and he looked out for her her entire life. Now who the hell is this bitch?

She tries to run away but SURPRISE VAMPIRE, he's faster than her. She admits her real name is Monique. Monique/Not-Sarah tells Stefan that she met Sarah at sleepaway camp and she had a great life, so when she found out she had no desire to find her real family, she decided to find them for her.
Monique/Not-Sarah: Couldn't be any worse than what I had.
Stefan: Well considering the fact that my brother killed her mom while she was pregnant... I don't know about that.
Stefan says he let Damon believe the baby died in order to protect her. Even though he's not the same person he was before, it's still safer if he doesn't know because he wants her to have a normal life. With Monique around, now there is a threat to her. He promises he won't hurt her, but makes her take off her vervain so he can erase her memories of Sarah and compel her to leave Virginia and never come back. Just then Matt drives over to check on her but finds that she no longer remembers who he is. Stefan explains that he compelled her because she's a con artist and he just wants to get rid of her. She is about to leave when Enzo shows up too and stops her. Okay how the fuck did both Matt and Enzo know where to find them? They are literally just standing on the side of the road. Did they lojack her or something? Enzo won't let her leave til he gets the full story, so Stefan lies and says that Sarah Salvatore doesn't exist. That baby died and this chick is a con artist, but he doesn't buy it because Stefan is a terrible, terrible liar. He counts down from 5 that he will snap her neck if Stefan doesn't tell the truth and of course, Stefan doesn't so Enzo does kill her. Enzo promises that he will find out sooner or later anyway.

Damon finds Elena sitting on a swing at her old house. He admits to her that he had a shitty shitty day on May 10, 1994 and he killed a lot of people. Ever since then he felt incredibly guilty, so he thought that this was his hell. But Bonnie never did. She had hope for both of them. She's the reason he survived and made it out.
Bonnie: Who knew? Turns out you spend time with someone and don't kill them, you actually become friends. I'm doing this for Bonnie, not for you. And that's it.
Elena: Damon and Bonnie. Who would've thought?
Bonnie: Don't make this any weirder than it needs to be.
Elena says she had so many good memories of that house but after one bad one she burned it down. She couldn't bear to look at it, but now she can't believe it's gone. He tells her to go inside and she apologizes for compelling away their memories.
Elena: They were only half mine.
Damon: We'll make new ones.
Before she has a chance to enter the house, they start to feel Liv pulling them back again. It's too soon! They were supposed to have another hour left! Tyler and Liv tell them that Kai is back so they have to stay over the border of Mystic Falls now... so they can't send them back. Well fuck. Bonnie's going to get there and find no one? Serious bummer. Elena is freaking pissed that they were brought back without Bonnie but Damon reminds her that as long as they have the ascendant they go back for her at the next full moon. Unfortunately Kai shows up and uses what's left of Liv's magic in him to fling the ascendant against a tree (shattering it into several broken pieces). He throws Damon around the graveyard while Elena scrambles to pick up the shattered ascendant until Kai uses magic to set the pieces on fire. Honestly is kind of just overkill. Talk about a dick move. Elena's whole arm catches fire and as she is engulfed in flames he and Damon continue to fight. It finally goes out when Kai gets flung over the anti-magic border of Mystic Falls - oops, now there's a psycho loose in Mystic Falls and no vampires around to stop him!

Stefan apologizes to Matt for letting Enzo kill Monique/Not-Sarah but Matt's pissed. Stefan tells Matt he did the right thing but he's skeptical about why he should just trust him. Stefan says he's nothing like Enzo but Matt doesn't believe that anymore. (The fact that part of the reason he knows he can't trust Stefan is that Enzo told him that is pretty funny, but it's true.) He knows now that no matter how close vampires get to humans, their lives will always be meaningless to them, so when push comes to shove they'll be on opposite sides. Tripp knew this.

After being 2 weeks sober Matt is about to take a drink when Elena calls him to tell him, surprise, they didn't bring Bonnie back after all. Something went wrong and it didn't work. Of course! Jeremy is pissed because he fucking knew that would happen and Elena got his hopes up for nothing yet again. Matt shows up and stops him from drinking. He wants him to become a hunter again because Matt wants to kill Enzo and needs Jeremy's help.

Alaric confronts Damon about compelling him. (Jo drove him over the border and his memories came back and he's pissed.) He tries to defend himself that he needed to bring Bonnie back, but Alaric says that Jo was supposed to be off the table. Damon admits that Kai is out but it wasn't their fault - he got out all on his own - but Alaric is still fucking pissed and it's clear that Damon feels shitty about it. Elena tries to comfort him but it's no use. Damon reveals that he left Bonnie a note saying that they would be at Elena's front porch. As he tells her this, we see Bonnie running over there only to find... nothing. She sacrified everything for them over and over again and they were supposed to be there for her, but she's all alone again and still trapped and hopeless. It's actually pretty heartbreaking because this is like the third or fourth time Bonnie has believed she'd be trapped there forever, only now she's truly alone and that little glimmer of hope is gone. She probably feels the way Jeremy feels, only x1000.

Tyler arrives home to find Kai drinking in his living room. He holds a broken glass to his throat and says he doesn't want to kill him but he will if he has to. Tyler asks what he wants...
Kai: This is gonna sound crazy but I want to save Liv's life. Feel like making a deal with the devil?

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