Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Jamie and Abby Look Intense in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

Tonight we discover that sweet dreams are not made of the stuff that’s in Bonnie’s head. “The Ties That Bind” opens with the top witch of Mystic Falls having a reoccurring nightmare. In the dream she’s trapped in coffin and, just as she’s about to scream away all her oxygen, a mysterious woman opens the lid.

After a few nights of being saved by the stranger, Bon-Bon finally realizes who the woman is: It’s Abby Bennett, a.k.a. the mother she hasn’t seen since she was 3. Bonnie believes that the dreams are telling that her mom “will help me kill Klaus.”

With a revelation like that one, Elena and Co. waste no time using their connections to track Abby down in North Carolina.

Road Trip

Elena and Bonnie immediately hit the road. On the way they girl talk about the Delena kiss and why, for heaven’s sake, Bonnie never mentions her mom.

Unfortunately, the deputy who told Damon where to find Abby also blabs to Klaus. So one of the Big Bad’s hybrids reaches Abby’s house before Bonnie and Elena. [Cue creepy music.]

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Elena and Bonnie Sit at a Table in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

Words Hurt

Jamie ties Elena to a post, but she easily wriggles out of the restraints. It quickly becomes clear that, during his visit, the Klaus minion gave Jamie the loaded gun and compelled him to take out Stefan while not hurting Elena. When Elena realizes that harming her is forbidden, she pretends to be in pain. When Jamie steps in to loosen her rope she grabs the gun and knocks him out. After that she goes to help Stefan. He’s lying on the floor in pain. He tells her she needs to remove the wooden pegs from his chest because one is shifting dangerously close to his heart.

While Abby kidnaps her best friend, Elena digs wooden pellets out of the flesh of her vampire ex. Then in a move that we totally understand, Elena sticks it to the man she still loves. She tells Stefan that she kissed Damon. At first he’s silent. He lets her finish removing the thorns. Then, he rises to leave. When she starts with “I didn’t plan…” Stefan tells her “You’re better than him, Elena. You’re better than both of us.” Then he gets in his car and drives away. Ouch.

Here Comes the Calvary

Back in Mystic Falls, Tyler  can barely live with himself for biting Caroline. So, he calls her father to help him learn how to resist the sire-bond. Ty figures, if Daddy Forbes can fight off compulsion then he can fight off a little ol’ tie to his maker.

As we know, Caroline’s father Bill is always down for a torture session. So he promptly takes Tyler out to the old Lockwood mansion and chains him up. “To break the sire bond you’ve got to make yourself turn,” he tells Ty. “Own your pain then you’ll owe Klaus nothing and you’ll be free.”

Ty gives turning a try. But his change isn’t lightning quick, so he stops after a few bones break. Caroline stands beside Bill, watching supportively,  but Ty’s all angsty and in pain so he asks her to leave. Wrong move.

Daddy Forbes is chill while his daughter is in the room, but as soon as Caroline leaves he starts nicking Tyler with an ax. “Your bond to Klaus is putting my daughter in danger,” he says. “Either you turn or I kill you right here and right now.” Bill’s got that look in his eye. So we believe him. Tyler does too. He makes the change. But the chains don’t hold and he attacks Bill before Daddy Forbes can get out of the room.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Klaus Leans on a Door Jamb in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

The Search Is Over

While Elena was operating on Stefan, Abby drives Bonnie out to meet the Klaus minion. Apparently she has to get Bonnie to tell where the coffins are hidden or newly-compelled Jamie will shoot himself in the head.

Bonnie comes to while Abby and the minion are talking. At first she refuses to tell Abby what she needs to know. But then her mother slips her a phone so that Bon-bon can text Damon for help. Next, to save Jamie, Bonnie gives up the location of the coffins.

Back in Mystic Falls, Damon races over to the haunted witch house. But, it seems, he only has time to move the fourth spell-locked coffin before Klaus arrives. When the Big Bad steps in the room, the witch spirits attack him — much to Damon’s amusement. But just when they get Klaus down on his knees, the O.V. threatens to kill their descendants one-by-one, starting with the Bennett line. Rather than weaken Klaus so that Damon can kill him and make sure he doesn’t fulfill that promise, the witches punk out and show him the coffins.

It’s Bro Time

Unable to prevent the catastrophe at the haunted witch house, Damon tries to keep Alaric from getting involved with a crazy doctor by telling Ric about Meredith’s blood jacking. But the history teacher isn’t really phased.

Alaric heads out to the hospital to talk to Meredith. He arrives shortly after paramedics roll Bill Forbes’ mangled body in. Rather than deny attacking Damon, Meredith shows Alaric why. “I cheat,” she says as she gives Bill a shot of Damon’s blood.

Later Ric takes Meredith over to Elena’s house and shows her his vampire slayer kit. When she asks about his speedy recovery he tells her about the ring he wears and how it prevents death by supernatural means. Meredith coyly tries to take the ring off. But Ric curls his finger. “Are you worried that I’m a supernatural being?” she asks. She moves in to kiss him just as Elena comes home.

Homecoming

Once she was sure that Jamie was safe, Abby tells Bonnie that she believes the witch spirits allowed her powers to fade because she stayed away from Bonnie. She makes it sound like she doesn’t want her powers back, but she will gladly take them back so she can help Bon-Bon take out Klaus. We figure it’s the least she could do.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Persia White Plays Abby Bennett, Bonnie’s Mother in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

Mommie Weirdest

Abby’s not home when Elena and Bonnie arrive. But a hot guy named Jamie is. When Bonnie tells him she’s Abby’s daughter, he invites them in and offers them drinks.

Abby returns a few minutes later. She doesn’t mention the hybrid’s visit but we quickly learn three things. 1.) Abby left town after she exhausted her powers imprisoning O.V. Mikael to keep him from finding her best friend’s doppelganger daughter. That’s right, her best friend was Elena’s mom. 2.) Rather than return to Mystic Falls and be a witch with no powers, Abby stayed away, figuring her only daughter would be more than taken care of by her husband and Grams. 3.) Jaime is Abby’s adopted son. So even though she was not cool with going home, she was cool with raising someone else’s kid instead of her own.

Doctor Doctor

While everyone else obsesses over the Bennett Family Reunion, Damon plays detective with Alaric’s new lady friend. Convinced that Meredith killed the medical examiner he confronts her at the hospital, pointing out how creepy it is that she signed her ex-boyfriend’s death certificate. “Would you rather I say he was staked like a vampire?” she asks.

Meredith goes on to ask why Damon is meddling. Proving that he is officially the new Nice Guy Salvatore, D says that he’s looking out for Ric “and if you’re a psychopath that would really suck for him.” She responds that maybe he ought to find out why Ric miraculously healed from his car crash injuries. This stuns Damon. After all, she’s a council member. He looks at Meredith incredulously, and then turns to leave. At that moment she grabs him and vervains him. While he’s out, she steals some of his blood.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Stefan Looks at Damon in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

In Walks Trouble

Rightfully convinced that Elena lied to him about where she and Bonnie were headed, Stefan tracks her down at Abby’s house. Elena leads him out to Abby’s barn to talk. Mad that she won’t play his game, Stefan breaks a chair. Jamie steps in to protect her. Stefan grabs him and threatens to break his neck if he doesn’t leave. He compels Jamie to leave.

At first pretty boy Jamie does turn and walk away. But then he comes back with a shotgun. “What are you doing?” Elena asks. “What I was told,” Jamie replies robotically. He looks at Stefan. “You’re not supposed to be here,” he says. Then he shoots the vampire with a wooden buckshot.

When Bonnie runs to the window to see what happened, her mother uses a handful of herbs to knock her out. Not. Good.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Damon Smolders in Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 12, “The Ties That Bind”

Hello Brother

When Stefan returns to the Salvatore manse he promptly socks Damon for kissing Elena. Damon lets him have that because, well, he knows he was wrong to suck face with his little brother’s girl. As if it will make things better, Damon shows Stefan an ash wood dagger just like the ones we know to be in the O.V.’s bodies.

Cut to Klaus talking with his minion about his evil family being reunited. The minion rolls the coffins into a room. Then, just as he turns to exit, Elijah snatches his heart out. Yes, hoping to beat the Big Bad Klaus with help from his own blood, Damon has undaggered Elijah. We would cheer if this risky move didn’t make us so nervous.