IAN SOMERHALDER MAKES HIS DIRECTORIAL DEBUT — After shutting off her humanity following the death of her mother, Caroline gives her friends an unexpected ultimatum. Not knowing how to handle the new Caroline, Stefan's attempt to intervene sets off a dangerous chain of events, leaving him and Elena in a race against the clock. Meanwhile, after seeking answers from Kai about the prison world, Damon's world is turned upside when he learns some devastating news about his mother Lily. Elsewhere, Enzo finds himself becoming increasingly intrigued by Sarah, and Bonnie begins to struggle with the effects of being back in the real world.
- Antagonist: Caroline Forbes.
- The title refers to Caroline dealing with her mother's death with her humanity switch off.
- Damon digs up his mother's coffin to prove that she is dead but he finds it empty.
- Like his girlfriend Elena, he learns his mother isn't dead but a vampire as well.
- Elena is the fourth character to learn the secret of Sarah Nelson (Salvatore) from Stefan after Enzo, Matt and Caroline.
- It's revealed that rave parties aren't the type of parties Elena likes to attend.
- Caroline gave her ultimatum in this episode, as long as the others do not push her to turn on her humanity for a year, she will not do any terrible things.
- Liam has been compelled at least three times in this episode:
- Twice by Caroline to forget her feeding on him and later to kill Sarah by surgery.
- Once by Stefan to see if he remembers Caroline feeding on him.
- Elena arrives in time at the Medical Center to save Sarah's life, before Liam can cut out her heart as ordered to do so by Caroline. She heals Sarah with her blood and is forced to break Liam's hands to keep him from trying to still remove Sarah's heart.
- Stefan turns off his humanity after Caroline blackmails him that she would kill Sarah, his great niece.
- This marks the first time in the series to have two vampires with their humanities turned off in one episode.
- Lily Salvatore, Stefan and Damon's mother, is discovered to be a vampire and a ripper, hence why she is trapped in a Prison World. According to Kai, she slaughtered and killed over 3,000 people after she was turned. The Gemini Coven found her and trapped her in the Prison World as a punishment for her crimes.
- This makes her the fifth parent and the fourth mother of another character turned into a vampire before their children were turned after Katherine, Pearl (Anna may've been turned at the same time) and Isobel.
- Mikael doesn't count as he was made into a vampire around the same time as his children.
- Bonnie is having difficulty readapting to the world, jumping at the sound of a champagne cork pop and using her magic to burn a man who tried to make out with her at the rave party. When Damon brings Kai to her so that he can apologize, she leaves in anger and later punishes Damon by inflicting the wounds she had suffered at Kai's hands in the prison world.
- Kai confirms that there are only two prison worlds created by the Gemini Coven: his own in 1994 and Lily's in 1903.
- Continues the trend of not featuring Tyler in the 16th episode of each season so far.
- However, in Bring It On, Tyler did not appear but his voice was heard by a voice mail.
- Enzo & Sarah were last seen in Stay.
- Liam was last seen in Fade Into You.
- This episode marks the first time in the series that Stefan willingly turns off his humanity.
Behind the Scenes
- This episode marks Ian Somerhalder's directorial debut in The Vampire Diaries.
- There is a 3 weeks hiatus between this episode and the previous episode, Let Her Go.
- "The Downward Spiral" is a song by Nine Inch Nails released March 8, 1994, on their album of the same name.
- This term describes a depressive state where the person experiencing the downward spiral is getting more and more depressed, perhaps due to causes unknown. It is called a downward spiral because there is no way to stop it, it's just going to get worse and worse... until the person crashes.