Elena woke up in the cell next to Damon. He told her he'd been there before. Flashback to more torture as he explained that every day, Dr. Whitmore cut into him, took organs and pieces of his eye out to see how they'd regenerate. He'd kept Damon in that very cell -- FOR FIVE YEARS. Damon made a friend -- Enzo, who'd been a soldier in Europe during WWII. He'd been there for 10 years already. He taught Damon how to sip his one tiny cup of blood a day and live for the future, for revenge. And also how to listen to "Walkin' After Midnight" on loop, apparently. I loved how at times, Elena and Damon were lounging in their uncomfortable cells as though they were teens lying on their stomachs on their beds. Elena couldn't believe that her town-doctor dad could have been that cruel as to continue that tradition of torture. Damon apologized for getting her caught up in this but promised he'd get her out of there.
Even though Caroline is a drama major, she's taking psychology. She had a reluctant Stefan in the safe, as she was reading to him about Prolonged Exposure Therapy. Katherine made an appearance to ask Caroline if she'd ever slept with Stefan. Her loss, Katherine said, because he's great in bed. Stefan was too busy having a panic attack to hear that, I suppose. In fact, I think he passed out. "How do you help the guy who always comes to the rescue?" Katherine had an idea. I knew she'd put herself in danger and make him choose not to hurt her.
Damon was having more flashbacks. Enzo's friendship kept him alive and gave him a reason to hang on to his humanity. Enzo liked Henleys -- maybe that's where Damon gets it from. He was partial to Jaguars, the kind of car you take on a drive to impress a pretty girl. For Damon, it'd been more of a horse and carriage-type girl. Ah, Katherine. So Enzo was a player, but he'd had one special lady, Maggie, who worked for Dr. Whitmore. She was kind to him and stunningly beautiful. She just took notes, she didn't torture. When she realized what was going on there, she couldn't bear it. She apologized and she left. Damon told Enzo it would never work -- vampire and human. The relationship was doomed from the beginning. Dr. Whitmore returned to take Damon for tests, but Enzo volunteered instead. Damon could hear him suffer. Ugh. That's when Samantha noticed how clean-shaven the boys were in their cells and I noticed that "Walkin' After Midnight" was playing AGAIN. Dr. Whitmore said he was trying to figure vampires out on the cellular level so vampires could be of use. (Anyone else thinking of Saffron Burrows doing experiments on sharks in Deep Blue Sea to cure Alzheimer's? This would turn out just as well for Dr. Whitmore.)
Damon said he never told anyone about what had happened there, so Stefan wouldn't be able to rescue them. He had escaped once before, obviously: The Augustines let them out of the basement once a year, so guests at a New Year's Eve party could drink from the vamps and see what Whitmore had uncovered. That's how Enzo came up with his plan, Damon said. If one vampire had two cups of blood a day for a year, he'd be ready to fight next New Year's Eve. Damon won the game of rock, paper, scissors. He didn't want to finish that story for Elena, though.
NEXT: It gets worse