The Least You Need to Know: Good brother Stefan saved bad brother Damon from the fatal werewolf bite at the end of last season, but enslaved himself to Big Bad Vamp Klaus and is totally off the wagon. Oh, yeah. Elena kissed Damon.
Prologue: Ext. Tenessee farmhouse. Night. Cute blond southern girl--you know this because she's wearing Daisy Dukes--is looking for her dog, but finds Klaus instead. Once he compels his way inside the house, he asks the roommate about a Ray Sutton. Sensing their doom, the girls try to run, but uh oh...Stefan’s at the door. After he gets the deets, Klaus has Stefan rip out their throats.
First Act: Int. Elena’s Room. Morning. But you can tell it’s not good. It’s heavy. Wake up Jeremy, you're late for work at the Grill. Guess school hasn’t started yet. Caroline calls to remind about the party she’s planning, and also with some info her Mom got about a possible vamp killing. Could be Klaus. And Stefan could still be with him. Downstairs a pretty-rough (but still cute) Alaric is crashing on the couch cause he can’t sleep in her dead parents’ room, or his dead girlfriend’s room. Happy 18th Birthday, Elena...
Cut to Int. Damon’s bathroom. He’s drinking bubbly in a bubble bath. Compelled GF, News 8's Andy Starr, is getting ready for work. He needs a refill and, fully naked, goes to get it...and comes upon Elena. So predictable. She’s all “Put something on.” He smirks. She informs about the clue in Memphis. He say, eh, probably nothing, but when she’s gone he opens up his closet and he’s got a whole murder board, ala Castle, where he’s been tracking clues.
In other news, Jere and Bonnie are still together, but she’s at her dad's. Good thing cause her boyfriend is still being haunted by the ghosts of dead girlfriends past. Yeah, that being brought to life is a tricky b-tch, Jere. Caroline and Matt are dunzo, so she’s hanging out 24/7 with werewolf bestie, Tyler, but they're not dating or anything--just eyesexing. All.The.Time.
Klaus and Stefan have located Tom-Sturridge-wannabe Ray “Werewolf” Sutton in Florida. Since the Big Bad is now a Vampwolf (Werepire, take your pick) hybrid, he wants to find Ray’s pack. But the guy won’t spill. Klaus gives Stefan the look--gotta feeling the guy’s gonna spill something from his body pretty quick.
The Sagging Middle: In TN, bromancers Damon and Alaric pull up to the farmhouse. (Aside--Alaric, please, lose the douchebag jeans. I love you too much to see that.) Inside it’s a blood bath, and Damon recognizes Stefan’s signature vamp move: He goes into a feeding frenzy, rips their heads off, and blacks out. When he comes to, his remorse makes him put them “back together”. Stefan’s gone full-on Ripper.
Back in Mystic Falls, decorating for Elena’s bday shindig is in full swing. Tyler gives Elena sh-t about the Damon kiss, but she deflects--it was a goodbye peck. He was dying. Also, Ty’s bringing some sl-t to the party cause he needs to get laid. What? It’s a werewolf thing, he can’t help it. (Damn, I'm sure all guys wish they had that excuse when they’re 17.) Uh, it’s also a vamp thing, Caroline tells him. She’s jealous. More eyesexing.
Damon and Alaric set the farmhouse on fire, but in the process find a werewolf hideout under the floor. Ah, so that’s what Klaus is looking for. Meanwhile, Stefan is using said werewolf as a dartboard, and I can’t watch cause it’s really painful looking. But then a girl comes in to inform Klaus that Damon is hot on their trail. Stefan says he’ll take care of his big brother, don’t worry.
Elena’s getting ready for her party in Stefan’s room. Damon comes in with a present, and in the ultimate re-gifting faux pax, it’s the necklace Stefan gave Elena back in Season 1 to hide her vampire-repelling vervaine. Thanks. She thought it was lost forever. The music gets soft and violiny and they have a moment as he puts it on her neck. Snore. (I will give them this--even though Ian and Nina are together in real life and have killed their onscreen sexual chemistry, it hasn’t effected how I feel their characters should end up, which is not with each other. Usually, when I know the actors are together it makes it hard for me to picture their characters with other people. So, kudos!)
Downstairs, the party is raging, keg stands and all. This is not what Elena had in mind and it’s overwhelming. Jeremy’s rolling a j in the other room, and while Matt, who’s ignoring Caroline, lights it for him, Jere tells him that he needs it because he’s been seeing things. No specifics though--like it’s Matt’s dead sister, Vicki.
Andy’s still at News 8, alone after dark. Dundundun. A light flips on. Hello? She gets scared and runs, but wait, it’s only Stefan. Thanks god. No, she shoulda run faster.
Ty’s grinding on the skank at the party and drunk, jealous, Caroline compels her to get lost. Then she tells downer Elena that everyone wants her to get over what happened and move on. But Elena can’t until she knows Stefan’s alive. Wait, what's that I spy with my little eye? Damon’s closet is full of clues to Stefan’s whereabouts.
Said secret-keeper has gone to pick up his GF at the station and finds his little bro instead. Let me go, Stefan says. He can’t. Elena won’t let him. Maybe this will help? Stefan compels Andy to jump to her death. Can Stefan be saved? Damon wonders.
Matt’s drunk. So stoned Jeremy offers him a ride--this is a teen show, right?--but then Jere sees Dead Vicki in the passenger seat, and Dead Anna in front of the car. Maybe they should walk home instead, he decides.
Tyler asks Caroline, What the hell? If she wants him she just has to give him a sign. So, she shoves her tongue down his throat. They go find a room.
Damon comes back to the party, despondent--over Dead Andy or Ripper Stefan, I can’t tell. But Elena’s pissed he’s been hiding his Klaus-capades tracking from her. It’s not Klaus’s victims he's tracking, it’s her beloved Stefan’s. Noooooooo! She can’t believe it, but Damon tells her to give it up, her Stefan’s gone to the dark side and won’t be back in her lifetime.
Jeremy and Matt have the munchies at the Gilbert house. Matt wants to know if Jere is seeing Vicki. Jere says yes, but Matt dismisses that it’s not her ghost, they just really miss her. Because everyone knows ghosts aren’t real. Only vampires, witches and werewolves, right, Matt?
Klaus is still torturing Ray when Stefan returns. He knew Stef would come back, but he also knows that the old, good Stefan is buried deep down still. Good thing gallons of human blood drown that out, though.
Final Act: Alaric moves out--he’s not needed anymore cause Elena’s 18 and he needs to get his own shite together. Ty and Caroline are ripping each other’s clothes off, while Damon throws a frustrated tantrum and destroys a room (his or Stefan’s, I can’t tell).
As for Stefan, Klaus is right--all this killing willy-nilly is destroying the good Stefan and that’s killing him. He reaches out to Elena via Unknown Caller just to hear her voice. He’s silent when she answers, but she knows, just knows, it’s him. I love you, she tells him, and begs him to hang on. Stefan weeps (God, I love it when Paul Wesley cries--is that weird?).
Caroline gathers her things for the walk of shame out of Tyler’s house. Oh, hello, Tyler’s mom--who darts her unconscious with vervaine.