The Vampire Diaries: A Not So Merry Christmas

So some BIG SHIT is going down on the Vampire Diaries this week.

The episode opens up with Kai kidnapping his (much older) twin sister Dr. Jo. You'd think this would be the worst thing ever, and yeah it is, but there's a silver lining to all this. A few actually. Wait for it...

Don't get too excited. It's just a flashback. You can tell by the terrible fake hair.

The episode keeps cutting back and forth between Bonnie, alone in Time Warp Mystic Falls 1994, flashbacks of Mystic Falls Christmas past, and the present day. I don't need to explain the details. Basically the short version is that in 1994 Bonnie is all alone and it sucks so she lights her own Christmas tree. That's basically it. In the flashbacks, Bonnie, Elena and Caroline obsess over the years about how they always spend the holidays together. OKAY WE GET IT. Bonnie's not here this time... was it necessary to hit us over the head with all this? It's not like we don't know Bonnie's gone. It's not like we don't know it's Christmas. The whole thing just feels like an excuse to give actress Kat Graham something to do.

Anyway, Caroline is bummed that she can't even go home for the holidays so her mom brings Christmas decorations (and Stefan) to her dorm room for her. Caroline is bitchy to Stefan and questions why the heck he's even there. He's trying but she's not having it. Just then Caroline's mom gets dizzy and starts to faint, so Stef and Care take her to the hospital.

Meanwhile Elena and Damon are still trying to find a way to bring Bonnie back when Ric calls to let them know that Jo is missing and it was probably Kai.
Damon: Not to give you boyfriend lessons or anything but if you knew Jo's wackjob brother was out on the loose and after her don't you think keeping an eye on her would've been a smart move?
Damon tells Matt and Baby Gilbert to keep an eye out for Kai, but they're a little too busy secretly hunting down Enzo. Not really liking Matt's new sense of purpose in life. Someone get this dude some therapy. Damon's plan is "find Kai, kill Kai" but over in Mystic Falls, Tyler has a plan of his own. Well okay, it's really Kai's plan but Tyler is totally on board and tries to get the wonder twins Liv and Luke on board too. If they help Kai merge with Jo then they don't have to merge. Luke says that that merging with each other is their duty to their coven; it is why they were born. Liv disagrees. She thinks they were born because their family didn't think Jo was strong enough to beat Kai. She wants the chance for them both to live normal human lives and actually be happy. (Liv happy? I'll believe that one when I see it.) The risk? Kai becomes the all powerful leader of the coven and goes on a killing spree. First and foremost, the twins need to get Jo reunited with her magic.

Kai has brought her to the cemetery and somehow he got the knife she hid her magic in. He stabs her a few times trying to put the magic back in her, but it doesn't work. She explains that she removed her magic by choice, so taking it back is also her choice - and she chooses nah. Oh and maybe she'll bleed to death in the next half hour.
Jo: Wouldn't it be ironic if you accidentaly killed me before the merge ceremony?
Now Kai is really pissed. He goes to get bandages and instructs Liv to find a way to put the magic in that knife back into Jo, so he doesn't have to slit her throat. 

Elena visits Caroline at the hospital to see if her mom is okay and they remind us yet again that Bonnie is missing Christmas with the gang because we totally forgot. Caroline says she thinks it's great that Damon has always been there for Elena when it mattered, good times and bad times - maybe she hasn't given him enough credit. Meanwhile, Damon is busting his ass trying to save Jo. He calls Tyler because he realizes that he has a stake in keeping Liv alive, but Tyler won't help so Damon corners Luke instead. Luke reminds Damon that if he kills him, all that means is that Kai will have to merge with Jo. But Damon doesn't want to kill him, he just wants to convince him to let him kill Kai.
Damon: I get why you don't want to merge with Liv... because no one wants to see that face with her hair... but what makes you think that Kai merging with Jo is any smarter? I heard he killed four of your siblings and that was without magic. Eh it'll be fine, I'm sure when Kai gets all that power he's just gonna mellow right on up.
Matt has lured Enzo to him by claiming he can help he track down Stefan's long lost niece. First he accuses him of being obsessed with Stefan and his secrets. So why is he helping? Because he wants this obsession to take him the hell away from them. He gives him a file but when Enzo looks inside it's all blank. Just then Jeremy shows up with a crossbow! It's a double cross... with a crossbow! What you don't like wordplay? Fine. Enzo is stronger and faster than both of them but together they take him down and drag his unconscious body away. Jeremy wants to kill him (to stop him from killing anyone else) but Matt wants to make him suffer (as punishment for killing Monique/fake Sarah and Tripp and whoever else). Jeremy thinks he's being "a little intense." Understatement! Matt says they've been looking the other way because of their friends being vampires but now they have to accept that vampires also kill people. But Jeremy's like woah dude, those are still our friends... and my sister's a vampire too, you gonna torture and kill her too? He understands the impulse, when he became a hunter he was supernaturally programmed to kill his own sister, but the whole "us vs them" thing will drive him crazy and get him killed. Ah that sounds like foreshadowing to me!

Damon apologizes to Alaric again for compeling him to betray Jo. He's not keen on accepting that apology but he will let Damon help him rescue Jo from Kai (thanks to Luke, they know where he's got her stashed). Jo admits to Liv that her stab wound isn't that bad, she just wanted Kai to go away so that Liv could set her free. But Liv doesn't want to. She says she owes it to the coven to take her magic back and do this for them. Luke is all that Liv has... if he dies and she lives in the merge, she won't be able to bear life without him. And well, if she dies in the merge... she'll be dead. Jo warns her that if Kai merges with her he'll be more powerful than any of them, but Liv wants to know why it never occurred to her that maybe she's strong enough to beat him. She was only 22 when they went up against each other last. Now she's been through a lot, saved lives, all without magic. Maybe she is strong enough to beat him now. It's a nice pep talk but it sounds a lot more like a guilt trip. Just then Kai returns and starts to suck away some of Liv's magic. 
Kai: Isn't it gonna be funny when I kill her using her own magic? Wait, is that funny or sad? I get my emotions mixed up. 
He continues to torture Liv until Jo agrees to take back her magic. He calls her predictable because he knew that threatening Liv would work. Big sis would do anything to save her. Kai walks outside and Damon attacks him, but they cross the no-magic line. Ouch. It burns. Damon returns to the other side, while Kai remains safely across the line until Alaric shows up with a gun to this head. This is why vampires and humans work together! Jo tells him not to kill Kai because it's not fair to make Luke and Liv have to do the merge. She's going to do the merge with Kai because she thinks she can win - but she just needs a little more time to get stronger. She asks them to keep him alive so Ric just knocks him out instead of killing him. Am I the only one who knows this is a terrible idea? He should've just shot him in the head.

Tyler is pissed that Luke told Damon where Jo and Kai were, but Luke thinks Kai is a monster and can't risk him winning. Liv says she thinks Jo can beat him but Luke claims that he's much stronger than her and the first thing he'll do after he becomes the leader is kill everyone in the coven as punishment for putting him away. He's crazy and bored and homicidal. Liv is selfish though and would rather be alive and selfish than a dead martyr who served her purpose to the coven. Luke says people will die and it will be their fault. Aw it sucks when twins can't get along.

Stefan overhears someone at the hospital say "Glioblastoma" about Caroline's mom, so Elena compels a doctor to tell her what's up. Apparently Sheriff Forbes has a lesion on her brainstem, which has metastasized to her spine. It might be inoperable and she has known for a few weeks now. Caroline does not know. Someone has to tell her because they don't want her finding out from a stranger. Stefan decides that he owes it to Caroline to deliver this to news to her himself.

Stefan: There's a 22 year old sociopathic witch running around Mystic Falls right now. That we have a plan for. We have dealt with every kind of evil there is, and we always have a plan. But this-- if Caroline loses he rmom, it'll destroy her. 
Alaric agrees to lock up Kai for a while til the next celestial event so Jo can do the twin merge thang then. They make out in the woods (ew, I so hate him) while Damon kills time by throwing rocks at Kai who is chained to a tombstone on the other side of the no-magic borders. 
Kai: So this whole anti-magic thing, is it like dome or a bubble? Like say you were in a 747 flying over Mystic Falls, would you die? You know that could be dangerous, if you're heading to New York and your pilot re-routes for weather.
He keeps asking about the Travelers' spell and is thinking about how big it was - big enough to take magic out of Mystic Falls - that the spell could "cover every inch of the town." He puts his hands to the ground and senses the Travelers' magic. See.... the thing about Mystic Falls is that it's a no spirit magic zone. But there is Travelers magic and Kai can absorb that from the earth. This. Is. Not. Good. Should've just shot him in the head. The wind is going crazy at the cemetary as Kai continues to suck more and more Traveler magic out of the earth. Then Damon notices that his chains have melted away. 
Damon: You little magic sucker. You sucked up all that magic from the Traveler spell.
Kai: A lot of magic. 
Kai is now way too powerful for Damon and Alaric to fight him. He disappears and as Damon helps Ric up, he realizes that he's on the no magic side of the borders... but he's still alive. At this same moment, Matt was driving Enzo over the border in Tripp's truck. He had started to die slowly, but when Matt opens the door to check on him he's not as dead as he should've been.
Enzo: It's a Christmas miracle!
Enzo admits to Matt that he was right - he is jealous of Stefan. Stefan has everything that he wants: respect, family, girls he doesn't deserve. He throws it all away and still manages to come out winning. He knows he should just kill Matt... but he isn't going to. He just wants him to help deplete every ounce of happiness from Stefan's life first. And then he'll deicide if he lets him life. Now I know Enzo is evil and this is really bad news, but I feel like this is exactly what Matt deserves right about now. Also, I like having Enzo on the show more than I like Matt or Stefan. So if he wants to destroy their lives I'm okay with that. In fact, take Jeremy with you! (Speaking of Jeremy, they decide to show Jeremy at the real tree lighting ceremony and Bonnie at her own little boring time warp tree lighting as they say that they miss each other, so dumb. Then Bonnie lights her tree on fire and walks away and it is just depressing as fuck.)

Stefan tells Caroline the bad news about her mom's brain tumor and she wants to give her mom blood but Stefan claims that vampire blood doesn't cure cancer. Um, why not? It cures everything else. Why don't they just turn her into a vampire? Caroline is understandably devastated so she starts to sob in Stefan's arms. This is also depressing as fuck. Meanwhile Damon is happy to be able to go home to casa de Salvatore in Mystic Falls without dying. Elena calls because she wants to tell him about Caroline's mom so he invites her over. Before she arrives, he hears Stefan drive up in his car! Yes, the car that Damon drove into the Grille that got blown up. It's a "welcome back to life" present. Well, party "welcome back to life" and part Christmas. It's so unfair when your special occasions fall near Christmas. You always get cheated out of a present. They're both so happy to be home at casa de Salvatore and just then Elena knocks on the door to visit.

Damon answers the door but doesn't see anyone there so he closes the door in front of her. Elena doesn't understand why he can't see her until Kai arrives to tell her that, oopsy, he put a cloaking spell on them! So basically, to summarize this episode - things are fucked up. Kai basically did them the biggest favor - brought magic back to Mystic Falls, when the rest of them failed to do so - but now he's the most powerful dude in town.

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