As The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 2 begins, Caroline is working as a news producer and is engaged to someone from Mystic Falls. They have been banished from their home.
In the present day, a couple who believe there is something supernatural and ghostly afoot in Mystic Falls climb under the town's barrier and visit a crypt. Their thermal imaging cameras reveal the presence of something supernatural. When the Heretics attack, Matt Donovan shows up to try and stop them, but they turn on him instead. He wakes up having been fed upon.
Alaric opens a class discussing death and what happens after it. His class is full, largely due to the rumors about Mystic Falls. He advises his students not to go searching for spooks in his former city. He asks Bonnie if she's ever heard of the Phoenix star.
Stefan encounters Beau on a road in Mystic Falls and learns from Lily that someone killed Malcolm. He also learns that the Heretics have taken Caroline with Enzo's help. He ties her up with vervain ropes and she uses her charm to get free only to be stopped by Nora and Mary Louise.
Damon moves into the Lockwood manor. Stefan confronts him about killing Malcolm and sends Damon to make things better with Lily in order to get Caroline back. Damon offers himself up in exchange for Caroline and finds that he's no longer able to enter Salvatore manor. Lily has deeded it to a human.
Alaric and Bonnie examine the Phoenix stone and he shares the story of how he came to be in possession of the stone. Bonnie can't feel any magic coming from the stone but tries to tap into it anyway. She gets a vision of people dying and tells Alaric there's something evil about the stone. She wants to destroy it.
Lily and her children prepare for Malcolm's funeral and she makes it clear that Enzo isn't invited. The sounds of Caroline's screams begin to get to him and Valerie tells him he should stop caring about Caroline.
Damon and Bonnie learn who owns the Salvatore house: Matt Donovan. He was drained of vervain, compelled to sign the deed, refuse to let Damon and Stefan enter, and then he was compelled to forget. The only way to break the seal around the house is for Matt to die.
Valerie offers kindness and help to Caroline, but that only angers Mary Louise. Matt agrees to Bonnie's plan and just as she's about to resuscitate Matt, she has a vision from the Phoenix stone and passes out. Damon crosses the threshold of the Salvatore manor and learns from Enzo that Lily plans to entomb Malcolm there, removing Elena's body in the process.
Stefan arrives to save Caroline and finds that he can't touch her. Something in Valerie's spell has turned Caroline into vervain. Damon arrives at the crypt to find it empty. After hearing how much Malcolm meant to each of the Heretics, Damon begins making a deal.
The brothers realize Lily's plan and come up with one of their own to counter it. Alaric lies to Bonnie and says that he destroyed the Phoenix stone. Instead, he tests the stone's powers on a body in the morgue.
Caroline learns why her skin is laced with vervain thanks to Nora. In the future, Caroline and Stefan aren't together and Caroline finds herself in danger.