Warning: Please note that this article is The Vampire Diaries recap for Season 5 Episode 14, which was directed by Michael Allowitz and written by Brian Young. The post contains spoilers and specific scene descriptions. Do not read any further until you have watched “No Exit,” which originally aired Thursday, February 27, 2014 on The CW.
The episode opens with an eerie-yet-humorous scene of Ripper Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) indulging in a casual killing spree. Their victims have it worse than usual because they literally die two deaths: once to be turned into vampires and then again when Damon sucks them dry and tears their heads clean off. Denzo is clearly the perfect tag team, as a poor local farmer-pharmacist soon comes to learn when Enzo turns him and Damon promptly attacks his neck like it’s made out of delicious little gummy bears. Enzo then gives a touching speech about friendship that’s tinged with a hidden message: Please don’t eat me, buddy.
Back at Casa de Salvatore, Stefan (Paul Wesley) is helping “Elena” (Nina Dobrev) study for her history exam. He looks bored as fudge because he’s been too college more times than he can count, but is glad to lend a hand. Elena aka Katherine (Nina Dobrev) paces back and forth rattling out dates and info about the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire. However, when she questions the textbook over what appears to be an erroneous answer about the “Holy Roman Empire” (“Not really an empire,” she points out) and adds in an extra lesson about the Peace of Westphalia, Stefan stares at her. Katherine panics and thinks the jig is up but she can thank her lucky stars Stefan just assumes Elena is book smart and actually wrote papers once upon a time in high school. (Catching liars is not Stefan’s forte. Sorry but it’s true.)
Thankfully Kitty Kat escapes suspicion when Caroline (Candice Accola) pops up with information about Damon’s whereabouts. She hands Stefan a folder and he opens it and – GASP – his brother is a not-so-smooth criminal! (To be fair, Damon’s is essentially copy cat serial killer, when you take Stefan’s dark days into account — like in that movie with Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter in which an agoraphobic psychologist and female detective team up to track down a psychopath mimicking past murders). Stefan understandably freaks out because Damon and Enzo are painting the town redder than Taylor Swift, and, frankly, it’s rude. (Either he’s miffed or secretly envious…we can’t tell.) “I have to find him,” he says. Katherine immediately volunteers as tribute to embark on a 12-hour road trip with Stefan and Caroline’s eyes bug out with ill-concealed jealousy. The two ladies then volley back and forth in the most passive aggressive conversation about study tactics, when really they’re playing a metaphoric tug-of-war with Stefan and his muscles. (No seriously. Have you seen his arms? Those are good arms to have.) Caroline doesn’t have much time to chit-chat though because Tyler (Michael Trevino) gives a call, and despite Stefan’s fatherly look of disapproval, she jets off to see her spurned lover for the first time since the “incident” aka the time he almost made his bid the world adieu.
Katherine takes advantage of her down time to jet off and start packing for her sexy getaway with Stefan. Ever the multi-tasker she also gives her daughter Nadia (Olga Fonda) a call to ask her why in the name of Amara’s unruly hair are Goldilocks and the big, bad wolf going to have a pow wow. Nadia casually drops a major bomb on her mom: no big deal but Matt Donovan knows you went half Freaky Friday with Elena, mommy dearest. Katherine’s jaw drops to the floor and she issues a strict order, “Kill him. Now!” (Um, what? SHUT YOUR PIE HOLD, YOU OLD HAG!) “We all love Matt Donovan. Otherwise he’d have been dead ages ago,” Katherine explains. “But when it comes to keeping my new doppelganger body a secret, nobody is that important.” She then tells her she’s going on a road trip with Stefan and Matt better bitten and buried when she gets back. “And what happens when you get too close? Too comfortable? What happens when you slip up? Will you kill your precious Stefan too? (Using Kat’s words against her? Classic Petrova move, girl!) Like any stubborn daughter who thinks her mom is a raging lunatic, Nadia, who wants nothing more than to “canoodle” (yeahy for learning new words!) with the Mystic Grill bus boy, refuses to get rid of Matty Blue-Blue for good, and for that she suddenly went from #2 to #120 on our sh*t list. Even better? Although she semi ruins his appetite with murder talk, Nadia does give Matt a pancake breakfast – a real FREE meal — so we’re bumping her down to #257. (Go, Nadia! You’re soon going to be the least hated vamp in this entire rustic village!)
Meanwhile, back at the farm house, Damon is stealing all of Ripper Stefan’s moves by propping up his victim’s body. “I didn’t know you liked to play with dolls,” Enzo mutters. Damon sighs when the head rolls off and essentially gives up. He doesn’t have time to be a perfectionist like Stefan, you know? He has important things to do, like guzzle down some more vampire blood. However, just as he and Enzo grab their jackets and get ready to leave, Dr. Wes (Rick Cosnett) and his Traveler cronies appear out of nowhere and trap them inside the house. (Somewhere on the Other Side, Qetsiyah is giving them all a thumbs up.) “You’re my Patient Zero, Damon. I couldn’t let you ride off into the sunset without running a few tests,” Wes reveals, before asking the dreaded question. “How long can you you go before you feed on your best friend?” (Sigh. Scientists and their control studies.) Enzo looks at Damon in horror. Suddenly hanging with a cannibal doesn’t seem all that cool anymore.
Caroline meets up with Tyler, and yes, it’s more awkward than an Academy Awards opening monologue, but they make the best of the situation. He even offers her a cup of coffee like a proper gentleman, before they start dialing 1-800-Matt-Donovan-is-Missing. “I don’t know if he’s missing. He just hasn’t been home in two days — and he’s not answering his phone,” Tyler points out with a worried look. No sooner do the words leave his mouth than Matt comes barreling through the door. Speak of the devil! No literally. Nadia is right behind him!
The two hook-up buddies put on this whole hilarious schpeel about how they thought the Lockwood house was empty and they thought they might indulge in a little afternoon delight (wink wink). “Subtlety is not my strong suit,” Nadia explains. “I felt bad about compelling him. And bad about snapping your neck. Again. Subtlety.” Tyler shrugs as though to say, ‘Girl, you gots to do what you gots to do. I feel you.’ She adds in how she can be very “persuasive” and Caroline’s eyes narrow. Matt chimes in with a cutesy story of how they got drunk and the whole night was a blur. “She’s compelling you!” Caroline interrupts, but Matt just flashes his goofy grin and holds up his vervain bracelet. She orders him to tell her the truth but Nadia intervenes and tells Caroline to worry about how her romantic debacles. Upon being reminded of Klaus sexing up his lady, Tyler races out of the room to try to wash that image out of his head by (probably) banging his head against the wall for the next ten hours and tells Caroline that he believes Nadia and that she needs to get over it. Despite their convincing performances, Caroline doesn”t buy a word they say. Something’s up!
While all this is going down, Katherine is living the dream by riding shot-gun in Stefan’s car. Unfortunately, when she has a tough time squeezing her way out of his vintage clown vehicle, she ruins it all by basically comparing his ride to the Wright brothers’ plane….and by turning into a desperate lady and manipulating her way into a detour. She not only reveals she wants off “the emotional rollercoaster that is Damon’s redemption,” but she proceeds to destory Stefan’s engine by ripping out a random hose when he stops for gas at TJ’s Garage and then in the most accidental adorable way imaginable, rubs grease over Elena’s one decent shirt as well as her face. (The nerve of this chick!) Katherine then coyly suggests that they hit up a nearby motel to wash up and rest before giving their whole “Save Damon” mission another try. (‘And how about some sex on the side?’ she asks, but with her fluttering lashes.)
Back at the farmhouse, a frustrated Damon keeps throwing perfectly good chains against perfectly clear windows and smashing them in. Sadly, there’s no escape. He’s stuck in hell and is on the brink of snacking on his handsome Augustine pal. “Give it up, mate,” Enzo advises. “Those Travelers sealed this whole place up tight.” Damon sinks down to the floor, his beautiful eyes glowing with malice and despair, and tears into his own wrist. Sadly, while Elena found his blood super yummy in TVD Season 4, it doesn’t quite cut it for Ripper Damon. (Blegh! Liverwurst! Blegh!) Enzo, on the contrary, is living large because this joint is a palace compared to the rat-sized lab Damon left him stuck in for years on end. (Alright alright, we’ll let bygones be bygones.) Enzo then suggests a simple yet brilliant idea: call up your brother, dude. Damon refuses to because Stefan gave him the book in TVD episode 5×13. “So my life is not worth your pride,” Enzo states and Damon assures him that he won’t sop him up with cornbread.
Eventually though, Enzo stops asking Damon for permission, chains him up to a wooden chair (worse idea ever, tbh), and makes him fork over his phone. Enzo ends up calling Stefan, but Katherine picks it up and her face falls at the sound of a cute British accent. ‘STOP COCKBLOCKING ME, BOZO!’ she practically shrieks into the receiver. ‘SOS!’ Enzo shouts. ‘Screw you!’ Katherine responds, before remember that she’s Elena. “Where’s Damon?” she demands. ”Oh, he’s here. Salivating. About to chomp into my neck and feed until my head pops off in a grotesque but slightly comical fashion,” Enzo muses. (He has quite the flair for detail. He should consider writing a novel if he lives to see another day.)) No, but really. Enzo is annoyed and doesn’t have time to waste, and indicates so by doing a spectacular impression of Wiress: “Tick tock.” Stefan pops his head out of the shower and Katherine hangs up on Enzo and says nothing about their conversation. She’s got some sexual seduction to attend to, after all.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wes shoots Enzo in the shoulder and a very hungry caterpillar named Damon Salvatore busts looses from his cocoon and sinks his fangs into a carnivore’s dream meal: pipin’ hot gentleman! Enzo screams in sheer agony and begs Damon to stop over and over, but just like any heartbroken girl on a diet who stumbles upon a pint of Haagen Daaz coffee ice-cream in the freezer, there’s no end in sight. Bottom’s up! Thankfully, Dr. Wes’s witch buds raise Enzo’s blood temperature and Damon reels back in horror because hydrochloric acid-esque blood is all sorts of yuck. Wes allows Enzo to leave because he wants him to run an errand, but Enzo refuses to leave Damon behind. Damon howls at him to stop being an idiot and get the hell away from him– and Enzo, who happens to like his head and neck intact, thank you very much — races out there quicker than Nadia can say, “Canoodling!”
Back at the hotel, things are getting steamy. Literally. Katherine takes the world’s hottest shower (which is seriously not good for your skin, but you can’t talk sense into a vampire grandma, you know?) and puts her flirtation techniques to good use. Girlfriend starts plucking tactics from the The Big Book of Seduction. Wet and wild, she asks Stefan to hand her a shirt, and then leaves the door ajar — just enough for him to see her dewy skin glistening under the cheap motel lights and her wringing water out of her long, luscious hair. She even drops her towel like any fierce vixen would and starts applying lotion on her back because she’s KATHERINE FREAKING PIERCE. She does that shit in her sleep. Stefan stares at her womanly curves dumbfounded, and when Katherine emerges and molests his manly arms like she’s trying to rub a genie out of his bottle and makes a brave attempt at snogging his lips right off his face, he moans and gives in to the pleasure…but only for about 2 milliseconds. Despite the currents of electricity pulsating between them, Stefan knows he can’t betray Damon and make out with his best girl. He won’t, no matter how much the waves of frenzied hormones tell him otherwise, as they crash relentlessly against his fast-beating heart. Katherine is disappointed — but not that much. She puts on her best Elena “I understand that this is wrong, even if it feels so damn good” pout and instructs Stefan to pack up the car so they can leave. It’s okay, y’all! In her twisted mind, she has the younger Salvatore eating out of the palm of her hand and, soon, they’ll be licking whipped cream and maraschino cherries off each other’s bodies in no time. You just wait!
Naturally (in bizarro land) when a mother almost gets some action, the first person she dials up is her daughter, which is exactly what Katherine does. Nadia almost throws up because she doesn’t want to reenact scenes from a supernatural-themed Sex and the City spinoff with her super old mom. Ga-ross! She sighs even harder when Katherine reveals her master plan of tricking Stefan into killing his own brother, and then sarcastically wishes Mommy Katherine the best of luck. She hangs up and returns to playing a card game with Matt and complaining how even though her mom is the worst, at the end of the day she still loves her more than meat loves salt. And because he’s so beautifully human and in deep exploration of his feminine wiles like any good man should, Matt appeals to Nadia’s feelings. (Yes, she has loads of those!) “Our moms suck, yada yada yada, our moms are the biggest hoes at a hoedown, yada yada yada, grilled cheese sandwiches forever, yada yada yada, come here and give me some sugar, bebe!” He swoops in for a kiss and suddenly he and Nadia find themselves entangled in the throes of passion. Like her sex-deprived mother, little daughter needs some lovin’ to get through this miserable day. Unfortunately, Matt, whose vervain has run out, decides to send a text to another girl – CAROLINE – during his smooch fest with Nadia and, OMG, she’s hella pissed. “Help. K” he manages to write before she smacks the phone right out of his hand and growls, “Mother knows best. I should have killed you.”
OH NO! #SaveMattDonovan. No need to fret because Vampire Barbie is already on top of it. She corners Nadia as she’s leaving the Lockwood mansion and tells her that she knows she compelled Matt. “And they blondes are dumb,” Nadia angrily muses as she vamp speeds Caroline against the wall in an attempt to murder her ass. Thankfully, Tyler zooms in out of nowhere and tackles Biotch Jr. to the ground. “Young hybrid beats old vampire every time,” he barks. (Is this like paper, rocks, scissors…attack?) Nadia manages to wrangle her way out of the situation and flee, while Matt stands there confused and asks, “Um, anyone want to tell him exactly how this my fault?”
While all this is going down, poor Damon is all by his lonesome at the farm house. He glances up at the doorway and panics because standing before him are his brother and fake Elena. Stefan pops up and demands to know what in heaven’s name happened. “I wanted revenge, got stuck with a vampire virus, nearly killed my last friend. Typical Damon,” he brother admits with a weary shrug. Stefan, however is not there to lay blame, but rather to help him. “We’re not afraid of you, Damon,” he says gently. Damon’s rage subsides for a quick second, but upon remember that he eats vampires for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, he bellows at them not to cross the threshold. “Do yourselves a favor and leave,” he pleads, as wisps of sadness billow across his face. Since she’s Katherine Pierce and she takes orders from no man, she ignores him and enters uninvited (the owner is dead so no worries, guys, vampire laws still apply on the show).
“I’m proving to you that you’re not a lost cause, Damon,”Katherine says in her most saccharine Elena voice. Then, seizing the opportunity rid of him for good, she reaches down and picks up a shard of glass and immediately cuts her palm open. Unable to resist the scent of fresh blood, Damon plunges into her throat and starts slurping away. His veins flare with hunger and Katherine begs Stefan to come to her rescue and tries to make his job easier by kicking a piece of sharp wood at him. However, if she thought Stefan would ever stake his own brother where its hurts the most, she’s gravely mistaken. Instead, Stefan baits Damon by cutting his wrist…and then snapping his neck. A MUCH BETTER PLAN INDEED. (Ugh. It’s #TeamSalvatore4Life! Get gone, girl.)
While, Stefan — in all his Hero Hair glory — is busy not eliminating his brother from the face of this earth, Tyler spends his evening guilt tripping Caroline. She tries to make amends and move on with her life. She’s very much like to maintain a happy and healthy friendship with him, but he hangs the hook-up over her head like a blasted storm cloud. “I said I was sorry. I didn’t say I was past it,” he mentions. “How evolved do you think I am? You slept with Klaus. You slept with the guy who killed my mom. What’s a fair amount of time for me to get past that? A week? A month? Tell me. What sounds right to you,” he challenges. Caroline, however, is tired of bending over backwards for people who always assume she’s wrong and they’re right. She’s tired of playing Mister Nice Guy in a town full of hybrid-sized jerks. “Understood,” she utters, her voice colder than the Polar Vortex, and turns and walks away.
Back at the Salvatore boarding house, Stefan locks up Damon in the cellar. There are more chains down there than in the Red Room of Pain, yet no one ever uses these tools for play and kinks. What a waste! Anyway, Damon regains consciousness and cracks a joke, which we take as a good sign. “”I know you can’t help yourself, but you bring home a rabid animal, you’re gonna get bit,” he teases. He then warns Stefan that one day he’s going to rip his throat out and he’ll be very sorry. Stefan walks up to him with a too-cool-for-school attitude that rivals the Fonze’s and crosses his arms. ‘Oh so you’re a big, bad Ripper now? Tell me all, the Ripper of Monterrey aka the original head tearer-offer, all about it, stud.’ Damon then smirks and points out that Elena wanted him dead and that she set up the entire situation so that Stefan could kill him.
Later that night, Stefan and Caroline convene in front of the Salvatore fireplace to discuss Matt’s cryptic text and Damon’s weird comments about Elena’s kill-kill-kill attitude.” Stefan reveals that, when his car broke down during the road trip, Elena tried to kiss me. Caroline’s eyes grow larger than a teacup saucer and she’s like ‘Oh no she didn’t!’ Stefan shifts uncomfortably on the sofa and goes on to share that they also got a hotel room and there was a shower involved. These sexy details just set Caroline and her fan fiction over the edge, but manages to review her day. Apparently Nadia’s been compelling Matt to forget things and no one knows why. “So Nadia’s up to something and Elena’s been acting strange,” Stefan contemplates. THINK, DAMNIT, THINK! (Where are PB&J Otter to sing, “Noodle, use your noodle. Noodle, do the noodle dance. Solve a problem, it’s no strain. Use your noodle that’s your brain”?) After lots of frowning, drink sipping, and “unless-es,” Stefan and Caroline slowly arrive at the realization that Katherine Pierce pulled off the great heist over: stealing Elena’s body for her own use. EU-FREAKING-REKA. (Don’t worry, folks. From sire bonds to body switches, True Detectives Salvatore and Forbes are always on the case.)
Oh and in case you thought that was the big twist of the evening — surprise! — it’s not. Katherine heads to the Town House Cafe, where she meets up with Nadia for a late night supper. She plops down, a jolly grin plastered on her face, and starts yammering about how Damon is the bane of her existence but that his drama only brings her and Stefan closer. She inquires about the Matt situation and Nadia assures her that her secret is safe and that she’ll get everything she ever wanted. However, Nadia isn’t giggling along; she’s in a reflective, emo state but Katherine doesn’t care.”So I’m in a really good mood right now, which means I kinda don’t want to worry about whatever’s making your all mopey,” her wench mom remarks quite rudely. (Um, inconsiderate much?) Nadia then rolls up her sleeve, shows Katherine her terrible wolf bite, and announces that her lifeline is about to be cut short. “Tyler Lockwood bit me,” Nadia reveals, much to Katherine’s horror. Her daughter is dying and the only cure lies with her main tormentor in New Orleans…NOOOOOOOOO. (Anyone remember when Damon uttered this exact same line at the end of TVD episode 2×21? Tyler seriously needs to visit the dentist and figure out a way tame those chompers!)