TV Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 509 - 'The Cell'


the vampire diariesThe Vampire Diaries Episode 509
“The Cell”
Written By: Melinda Hsu Taylor
Directed By: Chris Grismer
Original Airdate: 5 December 2013

In This Episode...

Elena pays Aaron a visit. He is mourning the death of Jesse, and Elena doesn’t want burden him, but Aaron’s day “can’t get any worse.” She is looking for Damon and Wes; neither have been seen since the night before. Aaron takes her to Whitmore House, because that is where Wes tends to go when he disappears. Elena hangs back at the threshold until Aaron invites her in. She steps forward tentatively - it worked. (I always thought that the invite applied to houses in which people actually live; not just a house turned into a museum.) Which only leads Elena to question who owns Whitmore House. Aaron admits that he is a Whitmore. The house was left to him in his trust, along with pretty much the entire college. She is distracted by a photo, taken at Whitmore House, that includes her (adoptive) father, so she doesn’t notice when Wes comes up behind her and gives her a syringe full of vervain. Aaron freaks out, and Wes gives him the quick overview of the Augustines. It’s his legacy.

Elena wakes in the cell next to Damon. Splicing in flashback sequences, Damon tells her the whole story of his time with the Augustines.

June 11th, 1953. Damon is summoned to his family home in Mystic Falls by Joseph Salvatore. I don’t know (or remember) how Joseph is related to Damon, but he’s a bastard - he shoots Damon up with vervain because “the money was too good to pass up.” Damon stabs him in the neck as he slumps to the floor and a suited man appears. “I’ll be your doctor from now on,” he says before giving Damon more vervain. This is Dr. Whitmore, Aaron’s grandfather, and he has Damon for scientific study. Which, naturally, means torture of a Dr. Mengele nature. Organs would be cut out since they would be regenerated; pieces of eyeballs were sliced out; blood was drained; it was a bad time all-around.

The one thing that kept Damon sane during what would end up being five years in the cell was Enzo, who occupied the cell Elena is now in. Enzo was a British soldier during WWII. When Whitmore discovered he was a vampire, he was vervained and shipped back to the States in a coffin for study. He had been there for 10 years before Damon arrived. It was Enzo’s friendship that kept Damon sane all those years. He helped him plan his revenge on the Augustines for when they finally escape.

Once a year, Damon and Enzo were allowed out of the basement for the Augustines’ New Year’s Eve party. They were brought upstairs in a cage, where they were paraded out for the partygoers to sample their blood and experience first-hand the amazing healing properties of vampire blood. In addition to being dosed with vervain on a regular basis, Enzo and Damon were only granted a tiny cup of blood every day, keeping them weak and harmless. After one such New Year’s party, Enzo devises a plan. One ration of blood is not enough to give a vampire any strength, but two might be. The boys rock-paper-scissor; Damon wins. Save for a few drops a day to prevent him from desiccating, Enzo slipped Damon his rations. After 364 days of this, Damon would have enough strength to stage an escape. Sure enough, at the next party, Damon is taken from the cage. Before his shackles can be removed, Damon reveals that he has already slipped them by breaking his hand. He heals before Whitmore’s eyes, and the partygoers run in a panic. Even at half-strength, Damon slaughters the entire party. In his frenzy he knocks over a candelabra. He goes back for Enzo, but the cage is coated with vervain and he can’t free him. The fire rages on, and Damon realizes he can’t help Enzo. He shuts off his emotions to make it easier for him to walk out of the house.

Aaron looks through some of Wes’s files and finds the photos of his parents, dead. He finally puts it together that they were killed by vampires. Aaron punches out Wes, grabs his gun, and marches down to the basement. He is dangerously unsettled, and starts making all sorts of accusations against Elena: that she was the one who killed Megan; hell, maybe she was the one who killed his parents. Damon speaks up and finally admits to the final chapter in his Augustine story. His revenge was to kill the Whitmore family... except one. That one would grow up, raise a family... then Damon would kill that generation... except one. He was the one who killed Aaron’s parents, and was still carrying out the revenge to this day. His last kill was Aaron’s Aunt Sarah, just a few months ago (at the start of their “perfect summer together,” Elena is horrified to discover). After her death, Wes took over as Aaron’s legal guardian. Aaron shoots Damon in the head. When he wakes, he discovers he is alone. Elena is no longer there... because Elena is upstairs, strapped to an exam table. There is another test subject beside her: Enzo.

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, no one is concerned with where Elena and Damon are because they are dealing with their own crap. Stefan has Katherine under suicide watch, but she is tired of his PTSD, so she calls Caroline to come help with some immersive therapy: the safe. She makes Stefan get into the safe to face his fears. It doesn’t work, so Katherine kicks it up a notch - and gets in with him. Stefan is worried that in his fear and anger he will kill her. Katherine isn’t concerned; after all, she does have a death wish. Plus the hope is that it will force Stefan to focus on what is really bothering him: the heartbreak of losing Elena. She believes that Stefan is focusing on the physical pain in order to ignore the deeper emotional pain. This does the trick. Stefan releases his hands from Katherine’s neck and quiets down. They are about to kiss when Caroline opens the safe - it was getting too quiet in there. Katherine looks a little embarrassed for almost being caught in a compromising position... but it doesn’t stop her from seeking out Stefan shortly after, cleaning up from an earlier panic attack. She comes on to him and before you know it, they are having sex.

Dig It or Bury It?

Nothing was a surprise in tonight’s episode. It was clear that Damon was responsible for all the Whitmore deaths. It was obvious that Stefan and Katherine were going to hook up. I assumed that Aaron had to have some sort of connection with the college and Wes; otherwise, why would Wes take guardianship? I guess Enzo being alive was a little surprising. But really, it’s not about the surprises; it’s about the awesomeness. 

One thing that I didn’t understand was why didn’t Damon draw the connection between Whitmore College and Whitmore the people that he was exterminating? It doesn’t seem like a difficult connection to make. Did he not recognize the college itself? That was really bugging me throughout this whole episode.


It’s a standoff: Wes has Elena, but Stefan has Aaron. Who will cave first? Also, I suspect we are going to learn more about Grayson Gilbert.