“The Vampire Diaries” 5.04: Ripper? I Barely Knew ‘Er!

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries

Damon drives an amnesiac Stefan through the dark Virginia night in a stolen car. Stefan reads his old journals, hoping that it will awaken his memories, obliterated when Tessa used him as a conduit to burn out Silas’s mind control abilities. It’s not working. Although Stefan remembers things like what day it is and the like he cannot recall being the “Ripper of Monterey”.

He also doesn’t remember being satisfied with drinking his blood from bags, which Damon explains is part and parcel of the whole Ripper thing. An annoyed Stefan makes to throw the empty bag out the car window but Damon gives a hoot and won’t let him pollute. Stefan concludes from this that he’s the “fun brother” and Damon is the “safe brother”. Damon puts that one right to bed, punching the accelerator and pulling the parking brake, sending the car into a tremendous crash and rollover.


I have rolled my car before and it is in no way fun. Title card!

Elena’s blowing off more classes but Caroline has returned to the hallowed halls of Dear Old Whitmore. Elena frets about leaving Damon in charge of Stefan despite his assurance that things are “so far, so good”. Which according to Caroline means they’ve probably eaten a troop of Girl Scouts. Lest Elena think she’s not taking the situation seriously, Caroline assures her that she’s boning up on everything from microbiology to “Grey’s Anatomy. The real one and the show.” This is also in hopes of getting Doctor Maxfield to let her into his biology class (despite not having the pre-requisites for an upper-level class) which could then lead her closer to his reason for covering up their dead roommate’s death by neck rupture.

This being Caroline, she also intends to cozy up to new hottie Jesse, who is Maxfield’s TA. She’s dragging him three hours away to Mystic Falls for “Remembrance Day”, which is a thing where townspeople get drunk and ring bells in memory of the dead. Is one day gonna be enough time?

Cut to the Grill, where the Brothers Salvatore hoist shots in the memory of someone’s dead Uncle Steve. Stefan is bemused by the town’s cavalier attitude toward death and Damon explains that it dates back to a cholera epidemic in the 1820s when people would occasionally bury their dead a little prematurely. So the bereaved would sit by the grave for 24 hours to see if the “corpse” rang a bell on the surface by pulling a string from inside the coffin. Which is a real thing that happened.

In the middle of this a waitress stops by to clear away some empties. Stefan is entranced by the vein in her neck, which Damon explains is his blood lust. Stefan, double-checking that he’s not a shrink because amnesia, posits that maybe it’s the guilt from having murdered his father and forcing vampirism on Damon that caused his peculiar affliction. With those memories gone, it may well be that the Ripper persona is too. Damon proposes not testing that hypothesis. They drink to it and Elena slips in. Stefan has to be reminded of her name. Ouch.

Over at Casa Salvatore Jeremy is doing shirtless pushups, much to Bonnie’s and my approval.


Bonnie thanks him on behalf of all the females on The Other Side. Seriously? Five years in and we can’t have any lesbian ghosts? What the hell, show?! Jeremy grows weary of her dead girl humor and the attendant lying to and avoiding of all of their friends. She tells him there’s nothing she can do about Stefan’s memory.


He knows that but no one else does because she’s making him lie. Before they can get any more into it, Jeremy gets a call from Matt.

He meets Matt at the Lockwood place and shows him the strange knife he woke up with that morning, filling him in on his blackouts and missing time. Jeremy wonders if the protecto-ring might be messing with him but Matt is sure it’s related to the something or someone that Silas saw when he tried mind-controlling him. That would be, unbeknownst to Matt, Gregor, placed there by as Matt calls her “that Czech freak” Nadia. Matt’s set up cameras all over the house to catch what he’s doing while blacked out. How very In My Sleep of him! Matt asks Jeremy if he’s heard from Bonnie; Jeremy lies that she’s in D.C. with her mother and Matt explodes, demanding to know what she might have said to Jeremy to indicate she was mad at him. Matt’s starting to crumble but all Jeremy can think to do is leave.

Elena and Damon toss back another shot and discuss the Stefan Problem. Elena makes to call Bonnie but Stefan says he’s already called her ten times. He suggests that until she calls back they “let Stefan be Stefan” and flirt with that cute waitress whose throat he was eyeing earlier and who now, like Stefan, is off the floor.

In the storeroom the waitress washes some goo off her hands, straightening at the sink to see Stefan’s reflection. He compels her not to move or speak so he can test his Ripper theory. He gets his fang on but before he can sink them in Stefan takes him from behind, pinning him against the opposite wall. “Today, I’m the safe brother.”

The graveyard is filled with drunks celebrating Remembrance Day and Elena and the boys head for the Salvatore crypt to minimize Stefan’s exposure to human temptation. Stefan idly wonders if there’s anyone in here who he didn’t kill. Damon mentions Zach (who Damon took out in season one). “But on the bright side, our mother died of consumption!” Stefan: “Oh, good.” Damon gets a text from Jeremy asking to see him alone. He heads off, leaving Stefan and Elena to get flirty over such things as how she’s lost two sets of parents, two guardians a brother and a house in the last three years. It’s both horrifying and adorable.

Stefan asks how they met, which gives Elena the idea of taking him back to Mystic Falls High School, where they first met-cute, to see if it triggers anything. It doesn’t and they get flirty some more until Stefan catches the scent of blood from an injured wrestler. She leads Stefan outside and teaches him about super-leaping. On the roof she mentions him zhooping her to the top of a Ferris wheel once. Stefan: “When we were dating.” She’s surprised he’s figured that out but he points out that he may be amnesiac but he’s not stupid. Which leads him to wonder why they broke up, suggesting that his ripping peoples’ heads off probably had something to do with it. She gives him an “it’s not you, it’s me” saying that she changed upon becoming a vampire.

Caroline and Jesse, having arrived at the graveyard after their three hour drive from Whitmore for a study date, are cramming some random biology facts.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

He’s impressed that she’s learned so much so quickly. She explains that when someone tells her she can’t do something she has to prove them wrong. Jesse wonders if that’s why he invited him here, to prove something to her boyfriend. She says she invited him because he’s smart and nice and she felt like hanging out with him. He distracts her into looking away for a second and when she turns back around he sneaks a couple of kisses. Caroline’s a bit shocked; he apologizes and goes back to the books.

Damon arrives home and demands that Jeremy call Bonnie. With Bonnie begging him not to tell, Jeremy confesses that he’s been lying for months. He tries to explain the price for bringing him back to life. At first Damon’s not getting it but the light slowly dawns. He and Bonnie both beg Jeremy not to say the words aloud but finally Jeremy says out loud that Bonnie is dead. Damon starts to freak out and it seems like he might attack Jeremy. Instead he pulls him into an embrace. It doesn’t make sense for the character but it’s hot so I’ll allow it.

Stefan asks Elena how she became a vampire; that leads them to Wickery Bridge, the site of the accident in which Elena drowned and turned. Stefan wonders why he wasn’t there to save her the second time. She explains that he was but she asked him to save Matt instead. It was something she always appreciated, that he always respected her choices even if they were ones he didn’t agree with. Well, most of the time anyway (*cough* not once in season 4 *cough*). As they stand and talk Stefan tells her that it’s working, not that he’s remembering but that the hunger has subsided. he can understand why whatever kind of monster he’s capable of being, being around her would help him not to be.

She denies that he was ever a monster (having apparently forgotten most of season 3) but he responds that he saw the monster in him in the mirror earlier. Elena tells him of the first time she saw his vampire face, how she placed her hand on his face and told him not to hide. She places her hand on his face, then draws it away. He pulls it back to his face and leans in for a kiss. Before their lips meet she tells him she’s with Damon. Stefan: “Just like that, the hunger returns.” He zhoops away.

Matt comes to on his sofa and spots a nasty cut to his palm. He grabs the memory card out of the camera and watches the recording on his computer. I’m so old I expected him to be popping a tape in a VCR. He scans through until he sees himself getting a phone call. He answers and in response to whatever is said Gregor surfaces. He says a few words in what I assume is Czech, including what sounds like the name “Khristoff”,  then hangs up when he spies the knife. He picks it up and addresses Matt through the camera. He knows Matt has questions but that all he needs to know is that one day friends will come looking for the blade and he has to protect it at all costs. He slices Matt’s palm and warns that it could just as easily be his throat.

Elena’s back at the graveyard; she calls Damon to alert him that Stefan’s missing and hungry. In another part of the graveyard Stefan snags someone’s booze just as Caroline spots him. He recognizes her from studying pictures; “You’re much hotter in person.” She wonders if he’s all right. He insists that he is in a spiraling out of control kind of way.

Jesse joins the party with a couple of beers.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Caroline asks him for a moment alone with Stefan, who chimes in that he can smell the paper cut on Jesse’s hand and wants to rip the whole arm off. Caroline compels Jesse to run and hide before reminding Stefan that eating people doesn’t do well by him. He asks her for a blood bag and when she steps off toward her car for one he zhoops away. He finds Jesse in a crypt (where he’s calling Caroline to report that he’s in a crypt) and bites him.

Stefan pulls back without killing Jesse, who begs for his life. Stefan says he knows he should let Jesse go because he’s the good compassionate one. But he has nothing to show for it. He has no memories, his brother stole his girlfriend and his girlfriend let him. “So you tell me, what’s the point of being good?” He attacks Jesse again.

Jeremy arrives at Matt’s place but before Matt can tell him about his Dark Passenger Jeremy tells him Bonnie’s dead.

Caroline arrives in time to save Jesse’s life. She pleads that Stefan isn’t this person but Stefan leaves. Caroline heals Jesse with her blood and apologizes for getting him involved.

Damon and Elena arrive home to find Stefan burning his journals. Man, all that burning leather is going to reek. Damon asks if he’s sure he wants to do that and Stefan replies he’s sure he doesn’t want to be the person in those journals and he doesn’t want to live in the same house with them any longer. he grabs a bag and heads out. Elena figures that Bonnie will swoop in and solve all their problems but Damon breaks that Bonnie’s dead.

Caroline approaches Stefan in, I think, the Salvatore crypt? Hard to tell. She tells him Bonnie is dead. He doesn’t remember her but he comforts Caroline regardless.

Elena rips through her clothes and finds nothing suitable for a funeral. She begins crying and it feels like she’s about to go on a HEIGHTENED EMOTIONS spinout but Damon comforts her and pulls her back from the edge.

Elena, Caroline, Damon, Jeremy and Matt gather around an old tree stump to memorialize Bonnie. Is this where Bonnie is buried? Where is she buried? Each of them lays something on the stump that’s symbolic of her. I feel like such a bad fan that I don’t immediately recognize exactly what each thing is from. Jeremy sets down a framed photo and a bell. Caroline places what I think is the feathered piece Bonnie wore to the 1920s dance. Matt lays down a whistle, because they were lifeguards together. Elena sets down a handful of feathers. No idea, maybe some that Bonnie practiced magic on? Damon places her grimoire.

Jeremy starts speaking some words of remembrance, ringing the bell in her memory, then Bonnie speaks through him to convey messages to her gathered friends. Caroline weeps until Bonnie announces the return of Tyler. They embrace and then Tyler places a single white rose on the memorial.

Back at dear old Whitmore, Doctor Evil examines Jesse. The good news is there’s nothing wrong with him. The bad news is he has vampire blood in his system. He explains that introducing vampire blood is the first step in creating a new vampire. Doctor Evil initiates step two, injecting Jesse with something lethal.

This season continues to impress me. I particularly enjoyed Paul Wesley’s work tonight. He found yet another variation on the Stefan theme, playing the same character but switching up just the right notes to really sell that he’s a blank slate. I was expecting that amnesiac Stefan would be shoved right back into the triangle and was more than pleased that for now he’s extricated himself. Another good funeral/memorial scene, something this show has always excelled at. And Tyler’s finally back! Let’s hope he sticks around long enough to get naked a few times before he runs off to help another pack of werewolves in Yosemite or whatever.