Say what you will about Connor Jordan (Todd Williams), but know this: That guy is definitely goal-oriented. The hunter does not dwell on the fact that he spent the last two days chained up by an Original vampire. Dwelling is for wussies. Instead, Connor takes the head of the hybrid who held him captive, stuffs it in a pillowcase, and gets right back on task.
The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 5, “The Killer” opens with hunter Connor complaining to sketchy Professor Shane (David Alpay) about his captivity. Apparently, CJ feels like Shane should have told him two things: one, that werewolf-vampire hybrids exist; and two, how to kill them. But you know how professors are. Shane felt like Connor’s lesson would be more solidly learned through discovery.
Connor looks like he thinks the professor needs to be knocked upside his hot head. But he doesn’t go off on the PhD. Apparently the two have a deal: If Connor kills enough vampires to complete his tattoo, Professor Shane will interpret it for him and share the meaning of life. It’s sort of a serial killer’s tit-for-tat agreement — one that sends Connor right back to Mystic Falls to take over the Grill.
Table for one
The hunter breaks into Mystic Grill as Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) prepares to open the restaurant — alone. He easily overpowers Jer. Later, when Matt (Zach Roerig) arrives and promptly gets annoyed that Jeremy is a half an hour late, Connor takes him, too. Ditto for April (Grace Phipps), who foolishly wanders in, looking for Rebekah (Claire Holt). The little innocent thinks Matt and the Original sister are dating. For that she deserves to be a hostage. But whatevs.
The first time we see Elena (Nina Dobrev), she’s narrating a diary entry. (Remember when she used to do that all the time?) Apparently the side effects of newbie vampirism include hopelessness, depression, anger, and fear. “But most of all I’m scared,” she writes. And we feel bad for her. Just a wee bit.
But then we flash across town where Stefan (Paul Wesley) is scribbling too. Only he’s journaling about Elena, his feelings for Elena, and how he will do whatever it takes to find a cure for, you guessed it, Elena. “No matter what lies I have to tell or secrets I have to keep. I’ll do it,” he vows.
Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) not in on this Dear-Diary stuff. He’s more obsessed with killing Connor and finding out why Stefan seems to be avoiding him lately. When his brother fails to answer his phone calls, Damon heads to Elena’s house. When he doesn’t find Stefan there, he borrows Elena’s phone to call. The fact that Stefan doesn’t pick up for her either raises red flags. What is he up to?
Why? Why? Tell ’em that it’s human nature
Back at the Grill, Jeremy, Matt, and April ask Connor why he has taken them hostage. Jer and Matt even try to convince him to let April go because she’s not involved in any of it. The hunter looks at them incredulously; he tells them that April and her father are central to all the vampire mess. But when April says she’s never met him before and Jer gives him a what-you-talkin’-bout-Willis look, the hunter realizes he’s working with erased minds. “You kids need to get some vervain,” he says. “And don’t just wear it as a bracelet where anybody can just take it off.”
April has no clue what he’s talking about. She’s still confused when Matt says that their friends will come for them. Connor replies, “Every vampire that comes for you is another vampire that I get to kill.” But when Connor proceeds to textTyler (Michael Trevino), Caroline (Candice Accola), and the Salvatores from Jeremy’s phone, she just thinks dude has seriously lost his mind.
That’s what friends are for
Minutes after they receive their texts, the gang rallies to plot a rescue. Sheriff Forbes evacuates downtown Mystic Falls and closes it off to incoming traffic, claiming a gas leak. Damon wants to go commando immediately. “We have a plan,” he declares. “The plan is that I’m going to rip Connor’s heart out, then I’m going to feed it to him.” Sounds like a good plan to us. But Stefan, who’s secretly working with Klaus (Joseph Morgan), needs to take a subtler approach — one that will keep Connor, and the hope of salvaging Elena’s humanity, alive.
Of course, Elena and Damon disagree. But that’s only because they don’t know the whole deal. Klaus, who is busy excavating the body of Rebekah’s hunter ex-boyfriend in Italy, forbids Stefan from telling them. What’s more, the OV threatens to kill anyone who discovers that there is a cure for vampirism.
This makes things really difficult for Stefan. But he manages to keep his friends from rushing the restaurant by reminding them that Connor has weapons laced with vampire-killing werewolf venom. This slows Damon a little. He grants Stefan one hour to do recon. In the meantime, the elder Salvatore wants to get a little help from Bonnie (Kat Graham). “Where the hell is the wicked witch of the west?” he asks. Caroline has to remind him, “She can’t do magic.”
Not that Bon-Bon is even in town to help. As it turns out, the witch of Mystic Falls is at Whitmore College, accepting Professor Shane’s offer for free witch therapy. Or so she thinks. “Do you really think you can help me start practicing magic again?” she asks the prof. Shane promises that he can. And he’s probably not lying. But for now, we know that he is really just keeping Bon-Bon out of Connor’s way. For some reason, Bonnie’s really important to him and his big plan and he doesn’t want to risk her getting injured in the battle that’s about to go down with Connor. So he has summoned her to school. To keep her there, he takes away Bonnie’s cell phone for the duration of their “session.”
Professor Shane plans to start the “therapy” with a bit of hypnosis. But first he offers Bonnie some wicked-strong herbal tea that he got from Australian aboriginal spirit guides. “Trust me, it’s better when you smoke it,” he says. “But I’m trying to be a role model.” That makes it sound like straight up dope to us. But Bonnie naively drinks it, without suspecting for one second that she might be getting roofied.
Back in Mystic Falls, Damon, Elena and Stefan raid Alaric’s (Matt Davis) loft for more weapons and for floor plans to the tunnels beneath the center of the city. Again, Elena declares that she is going to go in and fight to free her brother. Once again the Salvatores tell her it’s too dangerous.
And it kind of is. Connor is hardcore. A former Black Ops soldier, he booby-traps every entrance to the Grill. Jer approaches, wanting to find out what they discussed the day before. But Connor doesn’t have time to tutor the compelled-to-forget Jer. He basically says that he’s on a higher mission. “The mark has the answer to the why I am the way I am,” he says. “The more I kill, the more it grows. And once it’s complete, I’ll know my story. And all this will have meant something.” So, it turns out this whole hostage situation is part of his whole self-discovery plan. Somehow that’s supposed to make it better. But it doesn’t.
Across town, Stefan tells Damon that Klaus is sending a hybrid to go through the front door. Damon’s not having it. “Screw your plan, I’ll kill Connor myself,” he says. Then he starts cocky-walking to the door. (He’s so cute when he does that.) To keep his big bro from going buckwild, Stefan darts him in the back with vervain, then lays him out on the couch, leaving Elena to stare open-mouth confused. “Why are you doing this?” she asks. Stefan tells her that Damon is reckless and will not care if Matt or April gets hurt. Technically, that’s true. But when Elena counters by insisting that she go to fight for her brother, Stefan basically tells her that she’s not ready to handle the guilt that comes with killing a human. He promises to protect Jeremy, kisses her, then heads to the Grill.
Meanwhile over at the Mayor’s house, tensions are rising. And it’s all Tyler’s fault. Ty neglected to tell Caroline that a sexy shewolf named Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) was the one who helped him learn to break his sire bond to Klaus. He also conveniently forgot to tell her that Hayley was crashing at his place, while they conspired to help free more hybrids. So, when Blondie finds Hayley in her boyfriend’s living room, well, let’s just say things get weird. “I know all of Ty’s buddies and I haven’t heard about you,” Caroline starts. “So why don’t we cut the crap.” In turn, werewolf Hayley gets dismissive. “I don’t do teen drama,” she says. “So take it up with Ty.”
Caroline would, but Ty’s busy trying to talk some sense into Dean, the hybrid Klaus has tasked to sacrifice himself during the free-Jeremy mission. Ty tries to tell Dean that it is possible to break the sire bond. But when Dean dares him to prove it by calling Klaus and disobeying him, Ty fails. He calls Klaus and gets cocky. But then the OV threatens to tell Caroline about the “little secret” in Appalachia. Car’s standing in the room so she overhears this. Rather than face her wrath, Ty backs down and lets his hybrid brother march off to certain death.
Speaking of death, we’ve gotta give Stefan some credit. He tries to bargain with Connor and honorably cut a deal. On his way to the Grill, he calls the hunter and offers to tell him the history of the Brotherhood of the Five and answer any other questions in exchange for the hostages. But the fact that a vampire knows more about his purpose than he does just gives Connor the rage. He hangs up.
So next it’s Jeremy’s turn to negotiate. “They’re not all bad,” he says of his bloodsucking friends. But the hunter isn’t hearing it. He tells Jer that he had a vampire friend once, but he had to kill her. To make a long story short, “ Vampires kill humans. Hunters kill vampires.”
Klaus’s minion Dean tries to sneak in the front door just as Connor finishes lecturing Jer on the ways of the hunter world. Dean trips one of Connor’s bombs and gets a body-full of werewolf shrapnel. It doesn’t kill him. But the buckshot Connor uses to hollow out his chest cavity does.
While the hybrid distracts Connor, Stefan burrows up through the old wine cellar to free April and Matt. While they scurry out through the tunnel, he stealths into the Grill to face the hunter. “Connor, you don’t have to do this,” he shouts. Connor fires off four rounds. Jeremy tries to run for it but freezes when he accidentally steps on one of the pads linked to a poison bomb. If he moves, he and Stefan are toast.
Across town, Elena hears the explosion and calls Stefan. He doesn’t pick up. And Damon comes to only to discover that Stefan has taken his daywalker ring, forcing him to stay inside. He can’t stop Elena from going to the Grill, so he tells her to be smart. “[Connor] doesn’t know you’re a vampire. So get as close as you can, then kill him,” he advises. This is all E needs to hear. She vamps over to the Grill and barges inside. “Please don’t hurt him,” she begs. “[Jeremy’s] the only family that I have left.”
Connor takes this new information and uses it. He tells Stefan that he will kill Jeremy in front of Elena. He starts to count. Before he gets to three, Stefan moves. Connor fires and Elena attacks. Jeremy takes a bullet in the stomach and starts to fall, releasing the trigger for the bomb. Right before it goes off, Stefan grabs Jeremy and lifts a table in front of them. Meanwhile, Elena tries to beat the snot out of Connor. But the hunter puts up a good fight. He knocks her off and tries to stake her. Before he does, Stefan grabs him and vamps out of the restaurant.
Stunned, once again, by her boyfriends actions, Elena looks around for a bit. Then she runs to Jeremy and feeds him her blood. Her eyes momentarily vamp out at the scent of his hemoglobin. She pulls herself together. She asks Jeremy why Connor went after him. Jer tells her it’s because he can see the hunter’s mark; she doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When she presses Jer for more information, they realize that Stefan and Damon have been keeping secrets. They are not pleased.
While the Gilberts have a family reunion, Damon catches up with Connor and Stefan in the tunnels beneath Mystic Falls. “I don’t know what you’re up to or what Klaus has over you, but even if I have to go through you, I’m going to kill him,” he tells Stefan. And he means it. When Stefan frees Connor, telling him to “Run as fast as you can,” Damon jumps his only brother, slams him into the wall, punches into his chest and starts to literally tug on Stefan’s heart. “Spill it!” he yells.
With his brothers fingers wrapped around his heart, Stefan confesses. “Connor’s tattoo is the key to a cure for her. For Elena,” he says. “If Connor dies, then we’ll lose it forever. I know it’s crazy, Damon, but it’s hope. It’s her only hope.”
Damon lets him go. Just as he does, Connor rounds a corner and runs right into Elena. She bites a chunk out of his neck. “Stay the hell away from my brother,” she says. The hunter falls to his knees. As he recovers, he pulls a stake from his boot and stabs it into our girl — just to the left of her heart. “You missed,” she growls. Then Elena breaks Connor’s neck. Just when we were starting to like him, the hunter dies with his eyes open.
Next we cut to Whitmore College. Sitting across from Professor Shane, Bonnie politely tells him his hypnosis isn’t working. “Bonnie, what do you think we’ve been doing for seven hours?” Shane asks. She looks at the clock. Damn. Rather than immediately do a cavity check to make sure her orifices have not been probed, Bon-Bon is impressed. So much so that she accepts Shane’s challenge to try and magically light a candle. He sets the candle on the table in front of her. She closes her eyes and chants, “You don’t have to be afraid.” When she opens her eyes, the candle in front of her is unlit, but every other candle in the room is. This is all she needs to become a believer in witch therapy.
Back in Mystic Falls, we hate to say it, but Stefan was right. Elena cannot handle the aftermath of murder. Connor’s blood still stains her mouth as she maniacally digs the man’s grave. “I killed him. I should bury him,” she cries. Connor lays on the ground next to her. His eyes are closed now. Maybe she closed them.
Elena rages at Stefan. She knows he cut a deal with Klaus. She accuses him of lying to her about wanting to protect Jeremy. Now in on the secret, Damon comes to his brother’s rescue. “It’s complicated,” he tells her. “No it’s not,” Elena barks. “You told me to kill him, so I did.” Elena then proceeds to lose her proverbial ish. “I killed someone,” she repeats. Yeah, girl, you did.
Back out at the Lockwood Manse, Caroline walks in to find Tyler hugging Hayley, comforting her over the loss of the hybrid Dean. “Caroline, it’s not like that,” Ty starts. Caroline accuses Ty of having a fling with Hayley. Tyler explains that Hayley helped him break the sire bond and that he lets Klaus think they had an affair to keep the OV off the scent of the truth. He and Hayley have come up with a sire-bond breaking program that they’re conspiring to use on Klaus’s minions. “If Klaus found out about what we’re trying to do, he’d kill us all,” Ty says. Feeling a little small, Caroline stares at him, mum.
A few minutes later, in downtown Mystic Falls, Jeremy reunites with Matt and April. He sighs disappointedly when he realizes that Caroline has compelled the truth of what happened that morning out of the new girl’s mind. Before she leaves, he gives April his vervain bracelet. We can’t decide if she’s safer this way.
“Are you ok?” Matt asks Jeremy as they walk away from April. “Yeah, I’m just sick of all the secrets,” Jer replies. Then he feels a twinge on his arm. Jeremy looks down to see the mark of The Five inking up the back of his hand.
Back at Casa Salvatore, the brothers agree not to tell Elena that she killed her chance at becoming human again. Damon even agrees to help Stefan find the cure, even though he will love Elena whether she’s human or vampire. Stefan admits he wants Elena back to being mortal; she was never meant to be a vampire.
Back at the Gilbert house, Elena tries to shower the proverbial blood off her hands. But she can’t. She tries to journal her guilt away. But that doesn’t work either. In fact it worsens. Suddenly blood starts dripping from the ceiling and a bloody trail appears on the floor. Elena follows the stains into the bathroom only to find the room covered with the red stuff and world “killer” scrawled on the mirror in blood. She slips and falls in one of the pools of blood. Blinks. When she stands up the room is clean. And, thus, the madness begins.