Thursday’s Legacies gave us a reason to celebrate, and I don’t mean Alaric’s not-so-surprise welcome back party.

Considering how badly I wanted Ben and Jed to kiss this week, you’d think I’d been ‘shipping them for years, as opposed to the handful of episodes in which they’ve known each other. Maybe it’s the undeniable chemistry between the alpha werewolf and the brooding demigod, or maybe it’s because I’m so relieved that Legacies finally found a true purpose for Jed — and a gay purpose at that!

Jed tried to play it cool around his new crush this week, but when Ben announced that he was leaving the Salvatore School to draw away the monsters (thanks to Hope breaking his cloaking bracelet), Jed knew he had to do something to make him stay. The near-confession was honestly adorable, with Ben making Jed more comfortable by speaking to him in his “parlance”: “What’s up, bro?”

Less cute, however, was the clown monster that clamped down on Jed’s neck from behind. All clowns are bad, of course, but this one was particularly nasty. In short, a bunch of Roman villagers put all of their misdeeds into the effigy of a clown, which they later burned during a harvest festival. So far, pretty chill. But when an exiled witch sought revenge by bringing the effigy to life? Extremely not chill.

The circumstances of its creation meant that the venom from this clown monster forces its victims to relive their darkest moments — which, as you can imagine, is an especially dangerous toxin to be squirting around a place like the Salvatore School. For Jed, that meant reliving the time his father tried to make him fight his childhood friend Trey to the death. Only he couldn’t do it, so he ended up killing his father instead. (“Oh boy, daddy issues? That’s never good, trust me,” Hope quipped over Jed’s sleep-talking body.)

Then came Hope’s turn to clown around: the venom sent her back to the night she killed Landon, forcing her to literally confront her old self — we’ll call her Good Hope. (“This is a clown delusion, and I’m over it.”) Good Hope argued that switching off her humanity was merely a coping mechanism, and that Good Hope is her true self. Before Bad Hope got a chance to rip her head off, Alaric and Cleo killed the clown, causing both Hope and Jed to awaken from their trauma comas.

When Jed finally woke up, everything was clear — and I do mean everything. Not only did he realize that Trey might have been his first crush, but he also explained to Ben that the only reason he became a bully at school was because that’s who his father raised him to be. But that’s not who he is. “That’s why I’ve been wanting to talk to you,” he told Ben. “To tell you that I know how you feel, to tell you how I feel.” Ben got a sense of where this was headed, telling Jed, “It’s alright if you’re not ready…” But Jed was ready, giving Ben one of those classic swelling rock music kisses that you can’t help but tweet about. (Side note: What are the odds that we haven’t seen the last of Trey?)

As for Hope, Alaric made it clear that he and the students are willing to work with her, not for her. She’s OK with that for now, but she’s not OK with the fact that Good Hope showed up in her bedroom uninvited. “You didn’t think you’d get rid of me that easily, did you?” she asked. And, honestly, yes. I did think that.

Also worth discussing…

* Speaking of ever-shifting dynamics, Lizzie and Aurora literally branded a new agreement this week. After reading each other for filth (Lizzie accused Aurora of having an “abusive and toxic” relationship with Tristan, while Aurora pointed out that Lizzie always needs “someone to feel superior to”), they made a new blood pact, that they would no longer believe other people who make them feel broken. And it must be working, because they’ve already located the elusive “Jen.” The question is… who else is in those caskets? (And is anyone else getting major Mikaelson vibes from that whole situation?)

* I don’t have much to say about Kaleb and Cleo, other than I love them. “I do not need a protector or a shield,” she told him after they found themselves at odds for a bit. “In the future, don’t stand in front of me. Fight beside me.” She may not have her muse powers at the moment, but that statement was inspirational enough for an Instagram post. And that’s not nothing.

Your thoughts on this week’s episode? Drop ’em in a comment below.

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