This is The Vampire Diaries that we used to know. We now have our mission for the season: Retrieve Alexander the Hot's sword, read Connor's treasure map tattoo, and find the cure that will allow Elena -- and Stefan?! -- to become human again. Let's dig in.
The episode opened with a flashback to 1100 A.D., when a witch used a goblet of fire to mark five shirtless men wielding large swords with tattoos like Connor's. It's a shame we're only focusing on Alexander and his pecs. At least one of the other Five was dreamy enough to be seen on this show again. In present day, Damon was busy searching for a supernatural handbook among Connor’s belongings when he got a call from his favorite sheriff, Liz, who told him no remains were found in the explosion Connor set. Damon delegated figuring out Connor's current whereabouts to Stefan because he was headed on a road trip with Elena and Bonnie to Whitmore College. (Oh how I wish we'd have seen some of that car conversation.)
Bonnie wanted to see the professor who'd taken over Grams' classes there, and Damon wanted to teach Elena "Snatch, Eat, Erase" and ogle sorority girls. During a pre-trip "hunter defense" class in the woods with Elena, Stefan asked her what we've all been wondering: Why can't Caroline help her learn to safely feed on humans? Because Caroline's too good at it, Elena told him, she doesn't understand how hard it is for her. That's a little bit of a stretch, but okay. Anyone else think we might finally get some vampire sex after class? Nope. Grrr argh. At the Grill, Rebekah tried to buy Matt's forgiveness with a new truck. He's still pissed, but he'll keep it, thank you very much. Klaus thought hearing the words "The Five" would make Rebekah come back to him, but she's not ready to play nice. Yet.
At the college, Elena, Damon, and Bonnie sat in on Professor Shane's class. Damon's eye roll reaction to the girls discussing how attractive the
witchipedia professor is was perfect. Damon and Elena got in trouble for talking, but in his defense, Damon was imparting valuable lessons on choosing victims: Stoner guys are too paranoid and you don’t need the extra buzz, while geeky girls are inherently suspicious of anyone who’s nice to them. You want to go for a pretty blonde girl who's self-absorbed and easily flattered. You just need to separate her from the herd. Elena later tried to snack on one as they were walking across campus -- what exactly was the plan if she'd succeeded, do it right there out in the open? -- but then she saw a photo on the girl's phone of her with her little sister and felt too guilty to bite. That's fine, because a fraternity had a Monster House party scheduled and nothing is as guilt-free as douche frat boys.
While Damon, Bonnie, and Elena bought their costumes offscreen -- Jack the Ripper (ha!) and two prostitutes he'd murdered -- Stefan went to see Klaus. He'd suspected Klaus saving Elena from Connor's werewolf venom-spiked brew had something to do with Klaus' interest in The Five. Klaus had been trying to torture it out of a shirtless Connor, who can't be compelled, but was getting nowhere. Flashback time! Klaus told Stefan that he and his siblings stumbled upon the Brotherhood of the Five, highly skilled vampire hunters, in Italy in 1114. The Originals had followed the Normans as they conquered southern Italy, feeding and turning people along the way. With all the bloodshed came exposure. These flashbacks were almost cruel in how they dangled Elijah in front of us but didn't give us our fill. He was the sensible one, even then, telling Klaus that the story of the Original Vampires was spreading because of his and Kol's appetites. Rebekah fell for the hunter, Alexander, who believed in public executions of vampires. We watched one burn in the sun, and others had already been staked on the stake. Back in present day, Klaus told Stefan that Alexander had shared his secrets with Rebekah, and he wanted to know them now. Klaus promised to share the information with Stefan if Stefan could get Rebekah to come to him. When Klaus said the hunter holds the answer to all of Stefan’s prayers, I knew he meant there was a cure that could reverse vampirism and make Elena human again.
NEXT: A clean slate and a cure