The fog is back, but it goes unnoticed by a couple making out in the woods. They’re camping so they’ll get a good view of a comet that’s going to pass over Mystic Falls in a couple of days. The guy leaves to get something from his car, and the woman leaves the tent because she thinks she hears rain. It’s actually blood dripping down onto the tent – her boyfriend’s blood. She screams and runs to the car, but it’s locked and she doesn’t have the keys. She hears the beeping of a remote opening the door, but before she can get inside, something attacks her.
Elena and Stefan start the next day happy because they’ll get to see each other. Elena hasn’t felt this good in a long time. Jenna stops her on her way downstairs and asks if she looks ready for a parent-teacher conference. She notices that Elena is happy, then accidentally ruins that by saying that Jeremy left for school early to do something in the wood shop. (There is no wood shop.) Jeremy’s actually at the hospital, checking on Vicki.
In history class, Mr. Tanner talks about the comet, which is passing over the town for the first time in 145 years. It’ll be at its brightest the next night, just after the town’s celebration. Mr. Tanner notices Elena and Stefan gazing at each other and just has to comment. Leave them alone, bro. After class, Stefan loans Elena a first edition of Wuthering Heights, which he says has been passed down through his family.
Bonnie has told Caroline that her grandmother thinks she’s psychic. Well, really, Grams thinks Bonnie’s a witch, and she claims they have witch ancestors, which Bonnie doesn’t believe. Caroline asks if Bonnie can use her psychic powers to get Damon’s phone number. She didn’t talk to him at the Grill the night before, so she doesn’t know how to reach him.
Jeremy calls Tyler out for not visiting Vicki in the hospital despite how into her he says he is. He tries to bait Tyler into a fight, then threatens to kill him if Tyler hurts Vicki again. Meanwhile, Matt tells Elena that Vicki’s going to be fine. He called their notoriously absent mother, but she hasn’t given any indication that she’s going to come home.
Stefan uses his vamp hearing to eavesdrop as they talk the two campers, who have been declared missing. He pays more attention when Matt says that Vicki told him a vampire attacked her. Matt thinks she was drunk. He asks what’s up with Elena and Stefan, but Elena knows he doesn’t want to hear about her new love interest.
Jenna meets with Mr. Tanner, who’s concerned because Jeremy’s already skipped six classes and it’s only the third day of school. Jenna confirms that he knows that Jeremy and Elena’s parents died. Yeah, Jenna, this is a really small town. Everyone knows everyone else, and everyone knows what goes on. Mr. Tanner thinks Jeremy is using drugs. He hints that he doesn’t think Jenna’s doing a very good job looking after two teenagers. It’s an impossible job, and Jenna isn’t trying hard enough.
Stefan goes to the hospital, hiding when he sees Matt coming to visit Vicki. She screams and fights her brother when he tries to hug her. As Matt runs off to get a nurse, Stefan zooms into the room and tells Vicki that an animal attacked her and she doesn’t remember anything else. By the time Matt gets back to the room, Vicki’s calm and Stefan’s gone. Matt follows as Stefan takes a wrong turn on his way out of the hospital and winds up in a room with a lot of blood. He jumps out a window to escape, making Matt suspicious.
At the Grill, Bonnie tells Elena and Caroline that according to her grandmother, the comet is an omen that something bad is coming. Its last visit to Mystic Falls led to a ton of death and paranormal activity. Caroline brushes this off as crazy talk from a drunk woman. She wants to hear about Elena and Stefan, though Elena says there isn’t anything to tell. They just spent a few hours talking when he came by her house. Caroline urges Elena to move things along already and get to the sex. Elena decides to do just that.
At Gilbert Gables, Jenna tries her hand at being a disciplinarian. She tells Jeremy she’s no stranger to pot smoking, and she gets wanting to escape reality. Her hope is obviously that connecting with Jeremy on this level will make him want to listen when she tells him to stop using drugs, but it doesn’t work. Jeremy just leaves the house instead.
Vicki doesn’t remember her confrontation with Matt or any details from her attack in the woods. Jeremy comes by, but Vicki tells him not to visit – she doesn’t want anyone knowing about their fling over the summer. Plus, Tyler’s interested in her now. Jeremy points out that Tyler hasn’t bothered to come see her in the hospital. Vicki doesn’t think anyone would approve of her and Jeremy having a relationship, since she’s older and her brother dated his sister. She softens when Jeremy tells her he’s the one who found her after her attack.
Elena goes to Vamp Villa, and since the door is open a crack, she lets herself in. Stefan isn’t home, but Damon is, and he introduces himself as Stefan’s brother. Elena says Stefan didn’t mention having a brother. “Well, Stefan’s not one to brag,” Damon quips. He tells her he’s glad Stefan has moved on from his last girlfriend, Katherine. Elena isn’t familiar with that name. Hon, enjoy this last minute of your life before you get dragged into that mess. Damon hints that Stefan and Katherine broke up recently, and it was bound to happen because all relationships end.
Stefan arrives, tense because Damon is talking to Elena. He thanks Elena for stopping by and immediately sends her away. Elena’s understandably confused, but she should be happy to be dismissed because there’s so much tension in the room, I’m not sure how she’s able to keep breathing.
Once she’s gone, Damon guesses that Stefan just came from the hospital. Stefan says someone had to clean up Damon’s mess. Damon knows he used compulsion to make Vicki forget her attack, though if Stefan hasn’t gotten enough strength from his diet of animal blood, it might not have worked properly. Stefan asks how long Elena was at the house. Damon thinks Stefan’s worried that they’re “doomed to repeat the past.” He accuses Stefan of playing a game with Elena and making himself think he can live like a human. The closest Stefan will ever get to humanity is when he kills someone. Stefan asks what game Damon’s playing, but Damon won’t tell him.
At Gilbert Gables, Elena laments to Jenna that Stefan isn’t a good pick for a boyfriend right now. When Jeremy gets home, Jenna tries again to talk to him, but he’s not interested. She gets so frustrated that she follows him to the staircase and throws an apple at his back. She cuts to the chase: If he keeps skipping classes, he’s grounded. Jeremy’s like, “Your attempts to be an authority figure are adorable. Please don’t throw fruit at me again.”
Back at the hospital, Vicki wakes up from a nightmare and goes into the bathroom to wash her hands. She sees Damon’s reflection in the mirror, but when she turns around, there’s no one there. She wakes up Matt, who’s sleeping in a chair nearby, but he’s really Damon. Ah, the old you-thought-this-character-was-awake-but-she’s-really-still-dreaming trick.
The next day, Bonnie and Elena hand out programs in the town square a few hours before the town’s Night of the Comet celebration. Elena has convinced herself that the timing is wrong for a new relationship, though at least she gave it a shot. Bonnie thinks she’s making up excuses for not being with Stefan. Caroline’s happy to see Damon in the crowd, but he vanishes before she can approach him.
At Vamp Villa, Zach asks Stefan why Damon came home. Stefan thinks he’s just there to make his brother miserable. Zach’s worried that Vicki will tell someone that Damon attacked her. Stefan says he took care of it, though he admits that he’s not as strong as Damon, so he’s not 100 sure it worked. Zach asks if Elena is worth all of this. Well, Zach, you’re going to have to watch the show and decide for yourself like the rest of us.
Vicki’s out of the hospital and trying to rearrange her schedule at the Grill so she can continue recovering from THE BLOODY HOLES IN HER NECK, VICKI’S BOSS, YOU ARE A MONSTER FOR TRYING TO MAKE HER WORK. Tyler watches as she talks to Jeremy, who gives her some painkillers that we’ll just say aren’t normally available without a prescription. She tells him she’ll meet him later to look at the comet with him. When Tyler comes over to chat, Vicki blows him off.
Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, Matt, and Tyler meet up for the comet viewing, which involves all the attendees lighting candles. Elena finds herself lighting one for Stefan. He waxes poetic about the comet traveling through space all alone. Elena mentions that Bonnie’s grandmother thinks it’s a “harbinger of evil.” Stefan says it’s just snow and ice trapped on an inescapable path, and every 145 years, it gets to come home.
He apologizes for the way he acted when she came by the house. He wasn’t himself. Elena notes that he apologizes a lot. Stefan says he has a lot to apologize for. What happened at the house wasn’t about her. Elena says he never mentioned having a brother. Stefan understates that it’s complicated and they’re not close.
Elena brings up Katherine, but all she knows is that Katherine broke Stefan’s heart. Stefan says that happened a long time ago. Elena knows from experience that you don’t really get over losing someone. That loss stays with you and reminds you how easy it is to get hurt again. She gets that Stefan has baggage and might not be up for a relationship right now. “It’s okay. We met and we talked and it was epic, but…then the sun came up and reality set in,” she says. She blows out her candle and walks away.
At the Grill, Vicki recognizes Damon, though she’s not sure where she’s seen him before. She goes to the bathroom to gather herself and take more pills. Just like in her nightmare, Damon appears in the mirror and moves to bite her.
Elsewhere in the Grill, where the rest of the teens have gathered, Jeremy’s looking for Vicki. Tyler calls him a pill pusher and says Vicki must have found someone else to party with. Elena asks if Jeremy’s graduated from taking drugs to selling them. Jeremy ignores her, instead telling Tyler that he and Vicki have hooked up a bunch of times. Consensually, ahem, Tyler. The group splits up to find Vicki while Elena pulls Jeremy aside to talk about whether he’s dealing drugs. He’s sick of his sister and aunt bugging him, but Elena notes that he could get himself sent to a therapist instead and have to talk about every aspect of his life.
Matt runs into Stefan, who’s concerned to hear that Vicki’s missing. Matt wants to know why Stefan was at the hospital. Stefan just says he was visiting someone. Matt warns that he looks out for Elena, even though they’re not together. Stefan leaves as his vamp hearing picks up Damon telling Vicki to be quiet. He spots them on the roof of a building across the street. Even though there are plenty of people around to see him, including Matt, Stefan uses his vamp abilities to jump from the ground to the roof.
Damon tells Stefan that he wasn’t planning to kill Vicki, but Stefan might decide that’s what should happen. Damon tells Vicki to think really hard and try to remember what attacked her. She breaks through Stefan’s compulsion and remembers that it was a vampire – specifically, Damon. Damon uses his own compulsion to make her believe that Stefan attacked her. He pulls the bandage off of her neck, hoping the blood underneath will tempt Stefan to drink from her. After all, human blood gives him the power he needs to be a real vampire.
Damon gives his brother two choices: kill Vicki or let her go, which means she’ll tell someone he’s a vampire. Stefan asks why Damon is doing this to him. Damon wants Stefan to remember who he is, though Stefan isn’t sure why. Is it so he’ll feed? So he’ll kill? So he’ll remember what it was like to be Damon’s brother? Stefan tells Damon to let Vicki go so she can spread the word that vampires are back in town. Even if it leads to Stefan being staked, at least he’ll be free of Damon.
Instead, Damon whispers something in Vicki’s ear, erasing her memory of everything that happened on the roof. She thinks she blacked out from the pills she took. Damon tells Stefan he’s enjoying being home. He might stick around for a while and give Mystic Falls a wake-up call. Stefan asks what he’s up to. “That’s for me to know and for you to…dot dot dot,” Damon replies. He adds that Stefan should give Elena his best.
Matt fixes Vicki up at the Grill and thanks Stefan for finding her. Nearby, Caroline complains that druggies always need attention. Yeah, it’s not like Caroline is ever eager for all eyes to be on her. Bonnie tells Stefan that Elena went home, then gives him her email address and phone number. When she touches his hand, she gets another psychic flash. “What happened to you?” she asks softly. She realizes that was rude and runs off.
At Gilbert Gables, Elena catches Jenna snooping in Jeremy’s room for drugs. Jenna admits that Mr. Tanner got to her. She feels inadequate compared to Miranda, the kids’ mother, who was her sister. She’s worried that Jeremy will continue down this path and it’ll be Jenna’s fault. Elena tells her she’s just scared – they all are. But she’s suddenly gotten a burst of courage.
Back at the Grill, Jeremy’s happy that Vicki’s back…then unhappy to see her kissing Tyler. Outside, Damon stalks Caroline, who’s just happy to see him again.
Elena goes to Vamp Villa (music: “Gravity,” Sara Bareilles) to look at the comet with Stefan. He’s glad she came so they can get past how they left things earlier. Elena says she was going to write in her journal when she got home, the same as she’s done since she was ten. Then she realized she’d rather tell Stefan the things she would have written. She almost convinced herself not to take risks, but she knows she’s just trying to hide from the truth. That truth is that she’s scared she’ll let herself be happy and it won’t work out. She’s not sure she could survive that.
Stefan tells her what he would write: “I met a girl. We talked. It was epic. Then the sun came up and reality set in.” But this is reality – the two of them, standing there, talking. They kiss.
In other, less romantic developments, Damon and Caroline are at her house, about to take things a few steps further than Elena and Stefan. He vamps out and bites her.
Keep in mind: Vampires can use mind control (compulsion) on humans to make them do things or forget something. It works better if the vampire has been drinking human blood.
Etc.: Bonnie’s characterization of Grams here is totally different from what we see when we meet her in a few episodes. It’s also out of character for Bonnie, as we see later – she really respects Grams.
I’ve never thought about this before, but…what does Zach do? We learn later that he ran Vamp Villa as a boarding house in the ’90s, but it’s a private residence now, so does he have another job? Do people think he’s weird for living in that giant house by himself? Okay, this is the most I’ve ever thought about or ever will think about Zach, who’s a nothing character whose complete absence from the series wouldn’t change anything.
Jeremy’s reaction to Jenna throwing an apple at him cracks me up, like he’s half amused and half scared that she’s lost it. I mean, who throws an apple??
Every time someone on this show uses the word “epic,” I die a little inside.