I had no magic. I was in a new city, and I realized I had a chance to be somebody else. To be Abby Wilson, the woman, not Abby Bennett, the witch. I'm not proud of what I did, Bonnie. I ran. I know I ran. But you had your dad and your grams, and, ok, let's face it your grams is way better at this stuff than I am. [...] She raised you right. I'm sure she was very proud of you.
Abby reunites with Bonnie

The Ties That Bind is the twelfth episode of the third season of The Vampire Diaries and the fifty-sixth episode of the series overall.


PERSIA WHITE GUEST STARS AS BONNIE'S MOTHERBonnie believes her recurring dreams about Klaus' Coffins will tell her how he can be killed. The dreams also lead Bonnie to a reunion with her mother, Abby, whom Bonnie hasn't seen for 15 years. At Abby's remote farmhouse, Bonnie and Elena meet Jamie, the young man Abby took in years earlier. Bonnie's sudden appearance catches Abby off-guard, but she does her best to explain the past. Tyler turns to an unexpected ally in his quest to regain his free will. Damon is intrigued by Alaric's new friend Dr. Fell, and Klaus continues his bitter negotiations with Stefan over control of the coffins containing his family members.



Bonnie walks through the cemetery towards a coffin above ground. She tries to open it. Klaus appears behind her and asks if she can open it, then he rushes to her and bites her. She wakes up, but her situation has not improved. She's trapped in a coffin, with only the light of her cell phone. She tries a spell, but it does nothing. She hears someone outside and pounds furiously at the lid of the coffin. It opens and she sees a woman looking over her. She wakes up again. Bonnie shows Elena the secret coffins and tells her about her dreams. She thinks the dreams mean whatever is inside the locked coffin, it will help them kill Klaus. She needs Elena to help her find the woman in her dreams: her mom.


Bonnie and Elena go through descriptions of Abby Bennett's around the country from the Sheriff. Damon arrives with the answer: Abby Bennett Wilson is in North Carolina. A little compulsion speeds up the research process. He wants to go, but Elena doesn't want his snarky commentary along for the first time Bonnie sees her mom in 15 years. Bonnie asks what's going on between them. "We kissed, now it's weird," Damon says. Caroline comes home to find Tyler in her living room. He wants to apologize. He thinks he has a solution for learning to resist Klaus' power over him. He called Caroline's dad, who's there now and willing to help teach him how to resist his sire bond since he knows how to resist compulsion.

Caroline Tyler and Bill.png

Ric finishes up lunch with Dr. Meredith Fell at the Grill and makes plans for dinner with her. Damon's sure she's damaged because of her hotness. Ric mentions her ex is the medical examiner and Damon tells him about him being staked dead. Stefan comes home to find Klaus on his couch. He wants his family. Stefan's not negotiating. On the road to her mom, Bonnie wonders what it'll be like to see the woman who abandoned her. She'd rather talk about Elena and Damon kissing. Elena says it won't happen again. Stefan calls Bonnie, she promised to call when she found her mom. Elena takes the call and tells him they're at the lake house for the night. He pretends to believe her, but he's standing in her kitchen holding the info on Bonnie's mom.


Klaus checks in with one of his hybrids to make sure he knows the plan. The hybrid goes and knocks on a house's door. Bonnie's mom answers. Bonnie and Elena arrive at the house. They ring the doorbell, but a young man walks up and says Abby's not home. Bonnie explains Abby's her mom. He's Jamie. He invites them in. He explains that Abby's like his surrogate mother. She dated his dad a long time ago and took him in after his dad bailed. She put him through school. Abby comes home. Bonnie meets her mom. Caroline's dad hooks Tyler up to chains in dungeon and explains that the sire bond comes from feeling a debt. Tyler has to make himself turn then he won't feel like he owes Klaus anything for taking that away. Tyler isn't looking forward to breaking every bone in his body, but is willing to give it a try to have his freedom. He steps away from Bill and starts turning. Back with Abby, she serves Elena and Bonnie snacks.

Abby explains Elena's mom Miranda was her best friend, but she's the reason Abby left. Fifteen years ago a vampire came to town looking for the doppelgänger, Elena. No one could kill him, so she cast a spell to desiccate him in a crypt in Charlotte. It was Mikael. It took all of her power and nearly killed her. Her powers never came back. Bonnie is upset and says it was a mistake to come, since she can't help without magic. Elena goes outside to give them room to talk. She runs into Stefan.


Damon checks out Dr. Fell at the hospital. She signed her ex-boyfriend's death certificate. She suggests the bigger mystery is how Alaric came into the hospital on his deathbed and walked out without a scratch. Damon turns to leave, and she jabs a needle into his neck. While he's out cold, she draws some of his blood. Down in the cellar, Tyler continues writhing in pain and contorting as he changes. He wants to quit, but Bill won't let him. Bill tells him to keep going and Tyler agrees and tells Caroline to leave. After she's gone, Bill picks up an ax and whacks at Tyler to make him angry. He tells Tyler that his bond to Klaus is endangering Caroline so he can either turn now or Bill will finish him. Bonnie asks her mom to just be honest with her. Abby says she ran because she saw a chance for a new life. She thought Bonnie would be ok with her dad and Grams. She doesn't know Grams died. Bonnie tells her. Abby asks how she can help.


Jamie hears Stefan and Elena arguing and intervenes. Stefan grabs Jamie around the neck and compels him to leave, but after a second, Jamie comes back with a shotgun. He's already compelled. He blasts Stefan with wood chips. Inside, Abby hears the noise and dumps herbs into her palm, then puts her hand over Bonnie's mouth. Damon visits Alaric and tells him Meredith vervained him and took his blood. He thinks he helped Alaric by proving she's psycho. Jamie ties Elena up in the barn and she sees Abby dragging Bonnie into her car. Stefan is incapacitated from the gunshot wound. Tyler struggles against his chains in the basement. He tells Bill they're not strong enough and he should run. Bill takes off, but Tyler breaks free. Abby drives up to meet Klaus's hybrid. She tells him she couldn't get Bonnie to talk. Bonnie wakes up and Abby tells her if she doesn't tell them where the coffins are, Jamie is compelled to kill himself.


Bonnie says she can't. With the car door as cover, Abby takes out her phone and types a message for Bonnie to see: "Warn your friends." Elena works to break free from her rope, but Jamie tells her he'll have to shoot Stefan again if she does. He tells her about the man who came by and that he is supposed to kill himself if Bonnie doesn't lead them to the coffins. Elena clarifies what he said about her. Jamie isn't supposed to hurt her. She tells him her ropes are tight and he comes to check. She breaks free, grabs his shotgun and knocks him out with it. She starts digging the wood chips out of Stefan. Damon checks on the witch house and finds Klaus already there. He insults the witches and they punish him with crippling pain. When he says his hybrid is about to end the Bennett line, they release him and show him the coffins. But the fourth is gone. Bonnie warned Damon which gave him time to move it.

Alaric confronts Meredith at the hospital. As they're talking, Bill Forbes is wheeled in, bloodied on a stretcher. Elena finishes digging the wood chips out of Stefan. He thinks she's stronger and tougher. She picks this moment to tell him she kissed Damon. Stefan says nothing and walks away. Bill Forbes is bit over half of his body. Meredith says he's not going to make it. Then she takes out a vial of vampire blood. She tells Alaric she cheats. She hates when people die, so when she can stop it, she does. She injects Bill with the blood. Elena finds Stefan. He says he shouldn't have pulled the stunt with the bridge, but says she shouldn't have lied to him about her road trip with Bonnie. Stefan tells her she's better than Damon, better than both of them. Bonnie tells her mom that Jamie's safe. She still wants to help Bonnie. "You can't. You have no magic and I don't trust you," Bonnie says. Abby explains her magic got weaker when she was away from Bonnie; she thinks Bonnie can help her get it back.


Tyler checks on Bill in the hospital. He knows how he's better, and isn't angry at Tyler. Tyler says he feels a little bit more like himself. Bill tells him it's time for him to turn again, until it's painless. Until he's in control, he's not allowed near Caroline. Alaric shows Meredith his bag of vampire hunting goodies. He tells her about his ring. She slips it off and he flinches. They're kissing when Elena comes home. Meredith leaves. Elena tells him he's allowed to move on after Jenna. Stefan comes home. Damon asks about Elena. Stefan decks him. Damon moves on, showing Stefan a white ash dagger. Cut to Klaus, not planning to open the coffins. Suddenly, his hybrid's heart is ripped out from behind. Elijah is awake. "What'd I miss?" he asks.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast




Body Count


Cultural References

  • "The Ties that Bind" is the title of a song by Bruce Springsteen in 1978. It has been widely used as names for series episodes, movies and books.
  • "Call Shotgun" is to ask to ride in the passengers seat besides the driver. It comes from the expression "Riding shotgun." In Western movies, if the carriage was carrying precious cargo or people, there would be an employee sitting by the coach driver armed with a shotgun or a rifle to deflect possible robbers. There is no solid evidence that this was a common practice during the time of actual stagecoaches.
  • "Heart to Heart" is a private, candid conversation, usually about personal problems or intimate feelings.

Behind the Scenes

  • This episode had about 2.71 million viewers in the USA.


Bonnie: "I know who can open the coffin Stefan." (She shows Stefan a picture)
Stefan: "Who is this?"
Bonnie: "It's my mom."

Bill: "Your sire bond with Klaus is putting my daughter in danger."

Klaus: "I will tear you limb from limb."
Damon: "You want what's in that coffin a lot more."

Elena: "Bonnie!"
Bonnie: (screams) "Let me out, please!"

Bonnie: "What's going on with you two?"
Damon: "We kissed. Now it's weird. Have a great trip!"

Klaus: "I want my family back."
Stefan: "Or what, Klaus?"
Klaus: "Or I will tear your heart out from your chest."
Elijah: "So, Niklaus "
Klaus: "Elijah?"
Elijah: "What'd I miss?"

Stefan: "You're better than him, Elena. You're better than both of us."

Meredith: "I'm not crazy, Ric."
Alaric: "Really, then what are you?"

Klaus: "Ah, right. Crazy Stefan. How's that working out for you? Any friends left?"

Damon: "Insulting a bunch of dead witches? Not smart."

Tyler: "I didn't mean to hurt you. I lost control. Again."

Bill: "To break the sire bond, turning needs to be painless. And from what I saw today, we're still a long way off."
Tyler: "I can't put myself through that again."
Bill: "You will. Because until you're able to act on your own free will, I'm not going to let you near my daughter again."

Bonnie: "Can we talk about you and Damon instead?"
Elena: "I'm not talking about it... He kissed me. It's not gonna happen again."
Bonnie: "I mean... was it good ?"
Elena: "Doesn't matter."
Bonnie: "That means it was."



Last.fm_play.png "Code Red" – The Boxer Rebellion
Last.fm_play.png "Lonely Boy" – The Black Keys

Last.fm_play.png "Money Saves" – Delta Spirit
Last.fm_play.png "Rewind (Acoustic)" – Diane Birch


See also

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