Synopsis: The Salvatore brothers kidnap their mother to show her how her relationship with Julian is abusive, just like her relationship with their father. Meanwhile, Enzo and Julian fight a duel for Lily, Caroline tries to figure out if she’s really pregnant, and Matt tries to save the room full of compelled Mystic Falls residents.
Normally flashback episodes feel really lazy to me – they’re a ham-fisted excuse to fill in a character’s development all at once. It’s the equivalent of xeroxing off a printed page instead of taking the time to let the audience draw their own picture.
Luckily, this year’s Thanksgiving episode, though stuffed with flashbacks, was not half-baked.
Flashforward three years from now, Damon grabs Ric to go rescue Caroline. Their rescue plan fails spectacularly after Damon is shot full of vervaine bullets.
Back in the present, Caroline is busy with Ric taking pregnancy tests to confirm Valerie’s spell. The test comes back negative, and Ric is devastated.
Meanwhile, the Salvatore brothers (mostly Stefan) decide to host Thanksgiving! It’s an elaborate ruse to get Lily into the house so Stefan can tell her how Julian assaulted Valerie and convince her to help them kill her boyfriend. The truth didn’t have much effect, so the brothers end up vervaining their mother and tying her up.
For the rest of the episode, the brothers flash back and forth to their experiences with their abusive father (Guiseppe) during Thanksgiving. From forcing Damon to kill and eat his pet turkey (R.I.P. Sammy) to burning Damon with a cigar, Guiseppe behaved abhorrently toward his entire family. Lily, in an attempt to escape with the boys, stole money from her husband and bought train tickets. Unfortunately, Guiseppe caught her, hit her, and forced her to stay silent lest he take her sons away with him.
In another random plot line no one cares much about, Caroline and Matt find tons of compelled people with IV bags at Mystic Falls High, and then another roomful of them at The Grill. Caroline convinces Valerie to siphon away their compulsion so they can escape. Caroline also vomits, which suggests she might be preggers. Shrugging that off, the trio get to work.
In the middle of completing the magic, the mute Beau attacks Valerie. The two tussle, but Valerie stakes him (non-lethally). Valerie then sets to discovering why Caroline’s pregnancy test came back negative. She used the spell to relocate her baby back when she was pregnant (it failed), so she’s sure that she didn’t misinterpret its meaning.
Care gets an ultrasound – still no twins. Valerie suddenly figures it out – the Geminis used a cloaking spell to hide the babies’ images. Val quickly performs the reverse incantation and reveals two little twinsies wriggling around in Caroline. Even with the swelling orchestral music in the background, it’s a little creepy.
Back at the heretic lounge, Enzo takes it upon himself to challenge Julian to a duel. The two get into a swordfight and Enzto lands a few swipes on Julian. At the Salvatore residence, Lily suddenly gets cut corresponding to Julian’s wounds. Turns out they bound themselves together to prevent Damon or Stefan from killing Julian.
Damon ends up going to the house and stabbing Julian (non-fatally) with a mystical sword Bonnie and Enzo found in Oscar’s car trunk. Unfortunately, without the Phoenix Stone, the sword is just a regular blade.
Everyone emerges from the fight unscathed, and Lily and Julian go back to their commune. Lily asks why Julian fought while they were bonded together, and he has no good answer other than ‘boys will be boys, he totally wasn’t going to hurt me. You were never in danger.’ Not buying that, she also asks him about Valerie’s story – which he halfheartedly denies with a flippant comment about ‘wanting to keep his family together.’ Flashback to Guiseppe, who apologizes to Lily after hitting her, saying he just ‘wanted to keep his family together.’
Lily finally realizes she’s in deep with another abuser. She arrives at her sons’ doorstop with a plan to kill Julian.