(CW)Haven't we seen this before?
The Vampire Diaries spends an hour getting nowhere in "Yellow Ledbetter" -- and that's not just because of the Groundhog Day-like existence that's housing Bonnie and Damon these days. Other plots revolve around an attempt to remove Damon from Elena's memory (complete with clips from earlier episodes), a tense dinner party at Stefan's place, and bickering between Matt and Jeremy.
A few things do get resolved, but we're talking baby steps.
It's probably best to begin by explaining the truly endless cycle of "Yellow Ledbetter," the day of May 10, 1994 in Mystic Falls. That's where/when Damon and Bonnie find themselves after the Other Side went kaplooey. They just get that one day, hanging out for a possible eternity in an empty town.
At least the music is good, despite any complaints about the Spin Doctors or En Vogue. Also there's an eclipse, which is just cool.
Alas, there doesn't seem to be any way out. Bonnie notes that Gram had mentioned something about finding peace, but the young witch can't do magic or anything. She can't even solve 27-across in the one and only crossword puzzle she will ever get in the May 10 newspaper.
In the end, however, this is the only mystery solved before the end of the episode. "Yellow Ledbetter" is the answer -- but neither Bonnie nor Damon solve it.
Someone else is in this weird, alternate version of Mystic Falls. Is it Pearl Jam?
The Moment She Knew
If there is one plot that really resolves in this episode, it's Elena's. With the help of Alaric and his super-vampire abilities, Elena wants to remove all memory of Damon and their love. It doesn't go very well at first. Even though Alaric erases a bunch of specific memories -- complete with flashbacks to those earlier episodes -- Elena can't seem to shake the knowledge that she loved Damon.
Fortunately, there's always Caroline available to save the day. She points out that Elena loved Damon even while she was still with Stefan. Elena is just ashamed to admit it.
This knowledge finally explains that Elena Gilbert fell in love with Damon Salvatore on the night of her birthday, when Damon gifted Elena the present of Stefan's necklace.
Once Alaric has removed this memory, Elena is good to go. Let the collegiate partying commence!
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
Meanwhile, off in whatever car-mechanic haven Stefan has built for himself, it's time for the vampire to show his affection for human Ivy with a home-cooked meal. This would have been a lovely and tender moment between the two, were it not for the unexpected and disruptive arrival of Enzo and Caroline.
You see, these two -- unlike everyone else -- haven't given up on the search for Damon and Bonnie. And they are not exactly thrilled that Stefan has.
Dinner gets increasingly awkward for everyone, leading up to the moment when Enzo slams a fork through Stefan's hand. A naturally distraught Ivy is compelled and led away by Caroline while the boys stab and fight each other over this whole mess. With Stefan's selfish disdain for everything becoming clearer by the moment, Enzo and Caroline eventually have to deal in their own ways. For Caroline, this means yelling at Stefan and sobbing. For Enzo, this means snapping Ivy's throat and threatening Stefan with unending hell if he does not seek out Damon.
Stefan and Ivy really should have gone out for their meal.
Tripp Fell Is the Greatest Name Ever
Back in Mystic Falls, things are as non-magical as ever. Matt remains in boy-scout mode, determined to protect the town and to give Jeremy new meaning to life. Jeremy just wants to have sex, get drunk and leave angry voicemails on Bonnie's phone.
It's not the healthiest relationship. But that works in Mystic Falls, where Jeremy has decided that his girl of the week is Sarah, the girl Elena bit last week. It seems that Sarah is also a car thief and an abandoned daughter of some guy who lives in town.
Could that father be Thomas Vincent Fell III -- also known as Tripp, the head of the town defense committee? They don't look much alike, but there aren't a lot of options. This would also make Sarah all sinister, since it turns out that Tripp is an original-family descendant who gets his kicks by driving a van full of vampires into Mystic Falls and letting them incinerate while listening to REM.
That Tripp Fell (what a name!) may be a problem.