Damon has been locked up in Vamp Villa’s basement for three days, and he’s really not happy about it. Stefan isn’t feeding him, which means after a while, Damon will desiccate – he’ll basically be a living corpse. With vervain in his system on top of that, Damon is pretty much powerless.
Elena starts to write in her journal at Gilbert Gables, but she’s not sure what to say. She goes to get ready for the day instead, and is surprised to see Vicki brushing her teeth in the bathroom. She spent the night with Jeremy, who isn’t worried about getting in trouble, since he’s already been called a delinquent for using drugs. In the kitchen, Elena tells Jenna that Vicki’s there, but Jenna figures this is better than teens sneaking around to have sex.
She tells Elena she’s going out with Logan that night, then asks about Elena’s personal life. Stefan hasn’t been in touch since he called her three days ago to say he had something to deal with. Elena hasn’t called him back, and she’s not going to put her life on hold because a guy is avoiding her.
Back at Vamp Villa, Stefan tells Zach he’s also not putting his life on hold – he’s going back to school. He hasn’t been in touch with Elena because he hates lying to her. Zach points out that Stefan came back to Mystic Falls to live a normal life. He knew that would involve lying.
Over at Fort Forbes, Caroline is having trouble remembering everything that happened at the Founder’s Party. She thinks she must have let Damon bite her. Bonnie, who’s holding an unlit candle, doesn’t think that’s likely. Caroline asks if they can stop talking about Damon. She wants things to go back to normal. Bonnie notices the amber crystal, which Caroline has put on a chain. She’s decided it belongs to her now.
At school, Elena and Bonnie talk about how Caroline is acting like nothing happened. Bonnie thinks she’s in denial. Stefan approaches and apologizes to Elena for not being in touch. He was dealing with Damon. She’s annoyed, so he tells her he’ll explain everything that afternoon at the Grill. Caroline joins them and asks where Damon is. Stefan says he’s gone and isn’t coming back. Elena’s pleased and tries to convince Caroline to feel the same way.
Fast-forward to that afternoon, and Elena goes to the Grill to meet Stefan. Matt invites her to play pool with him until Stefan gets there. At Vamp Villa, Zach checks on Damon, warning that he’s been putting vervain in his morning coffee for 16 years, so Damon won’t want to bite him. That means Zach has spent the past 16 years thinking Damon would come back to Mystic Falls and hurt him. He chose not to start a family so Damon couldn’t come terrorize them. Damon just wants some blood so his body doesn’t shut down. Zach doesn’t see any reason to do Damon any favors. He’s there to say goodbye before Damon shuts down.
But Damon isn’t as bad off as he’s making it seem – he still has the strength to zoom over to his cell door and reach through the bars to grab Zach around the neck. He orders Zach to unlock the door. Stefan arrives in time to make Damon let go. He reminds Damon that if he keeps using up his energy, he’ll just desiccate faster.
At the Grill, Elena tells Matt about Vicki spending the night with Jeremy. Matt thinks that relationship is weird. Elena’s annoyed that Stefan is almost an hour late, but she promises Matt she won’t make him talk about her new boyfriend. Matt indicates that he wouldn’t mind, since they’ve always been friends, so Elena asks if he thinks Stefan is a good guy. It’s not that he’s done anything; he’s just secretive. What do they really know about him? Matt admits that Stefan seems nice, and nothing they know about him hints that he’s untrustworthy. Elena should just talk to him.
Stefan arrives just then and apologizes for being late for what he claims are “unavoidable” reasons. Elena isn’t satisfied with that. Stefan constantly avoids answering questions and is clearly keeping something from her. Before he can respond, a man spots Stefan and announces that he knows him from years ago. Stefan hurries Elena out of the restaurant, pretending he doesn’t know what that was about. Again, Elena isn’t satisfied with that, and she leaves without him.
At home that night, Elena writes in her journal that her instincts are telling her to be careful. What she doesn’t know could hurt her.
Logan and Liz meet up at the Grill to discuss how, despite extensive searching, no one has found any vampires in Mystic Falls. Logan figures they’ll eventually figure out the vampires’ identities, since they can only go out at night. He’s still working on getting the pocket watch. Liz advises him to go to Jeremy, since the pocket watch is passed down to Gilbert men. Jenna arrives for dinner with Logan, only giving him an hour of her time.
At Gilbert Gables, Elena mopes in her room until Jeremy sends her to the kitchen to eat something. Stefan’s there, cooking dinner for her. He’s ready to tell Elena more about himself, including his relationship with Katherine. She was beautiful and had a wonderful laugh and he had a lot of fun with her, but she was also entitled and impatient and selfish. Damon says he was with her first, but Stefan isn’t sure. He doesn’t like everything he and Katherine did together, and he regrets not making everything right before she died. Though he misses her, he’s moved on.
Upstairs, Vicki praises Jeremy for helping Stefan make up with Elena. I’m not sure what he did other than tell her to go to the kitchen, but okay. Vicki found some old painkillers of Elena’s in the bathroom, and she starts to use the pocket watch to crush them. Jeremy doesn’t like that they get high all the time. Vicki hopes he isn’t going to try to change her now that they’re officially together.
Stefan tells Elena about his book, TV show, movie, and music preferences as they cook together. Fun fact: Vampires being repelled by garlic is a myth. Everything is going great until Elena accidentally cuts herself. Her blood makes Stefan start to vamp out. She sees that something is going on with his face, but he’s able to hide it until he can get back to normal. They stop cooking and start kissing.
At Vamp Villa, Damon starts repeating Caroline’s name. At her house, she’s somehow able to hear him, probably thanks to his crow, which is at her window. When Stefan checks on Damon later, Damon invites Stefan to boast that he won. He got the girl and captured the bad guy. “The lies will catch up to you, Stefan, as long as you keep lying to yourself about what you are,” Damon warns. Stefan points out that since he’s free and Damon isn’t, Stefan can just walk away from this conversation.
The next day, Mystic Falls High School holds a car wash. Excuse me – a “sexy” car wash. That just means the girls wear bathing suits and the guys take their shirts off. Bonnie notices Matt watching Stefan and Elena together and tells him to stop pining. She directs a girl named Tiki to wash a car that’s just arrived, but Tiki thinks it’s a junky car and she doesn’t want to deal with it. Frustrated, Bonnie concentrates on the bucket in front of Tiki and is able to make water splash up into her face.
Jenna watches nearby as Logan does a news report on the car wash. Oh, no, she’s falling for him again! Jenna, no! Elena and Stefan wash a car together, and she notes that his ring is getting soapy. She knows Damon has the same ring and asks their background. Stefan says they have the family crest from the Renaissance. Elena offers to keep the ring in her bag if Stefan wants to take it off. Of course, he says no, since taking off the ring would make him go up in flames.
Elena takes over the money table while Caroline goes inside to get more towels. Damon’s crow is watching Caroline, and while she’s inside, she hears Damon asking her for help. The man from the Grill shows up at the car wash, but now he thinks he must have been mistaken about knowing Stefan. Elena asks where the man thought he’d seen Stefan before. The man says he stayed at the Salvatores’ boarding house when he first moved to town. Stefan was there, too, visiting his uncle. That same uncle was killed by an animal in the woods.
Elena’s confused, because Zach is the only Salvatore uncle she’s familiar with. The man says the uncle he’s talking about was Joseph. Tiki approaches and sends the man home; he’s her grandfather, and she tells Elena he has memory problems. Before he gets too far, Elena asks him to confirm that the man he saw at the boarding house was Stefan. The man says yes; he even remembers Stefan’s ring. Oh, did he mention this was in June of 1953?
Trying to act like everything is normal and not really, really weird, Elena chats Stefan up about his family. Specifically, she’d like to know where the rest of them are. Stefan just says they’re spread out. For example, some of them are in the family crypt at the local cemetery, which is where Vicki takes Jeremy to party with her friends. She really doesn’t have any hobbies other than getting high, does she?
Back at the car wash, Elena chats with Logan, who remembers meeting her when she was a kid. Elena needs a favor from him, so in return, Logan requests dinner with Jenna at Gilbert Gables that night. Elena’s favor is access to old news reports from the 1950s. Logan is headed back to the studio, so he lets her tag along. Elena asks Jenna not to tell anyone where she’s going.
Caroline heads to Vamp Villa almost as if she’s being drawn there against her will. Damon tells her to let him out of his cell, but she doesn’t want to free the person who bit her. She’s confused about why she keeps remembering things in different ways. He explains that she’s remembering what he wants her to. The vervain Stefan snuck her is now out of her system, which means Damon can compel her again, then wipe her memory. He tells her to open the cell door.
She starts to do it, but Zach runs in to stop her. He holds the door closed and yells for Caroline to run. Damon makes it out, breaks Zach’s neck, and chases after Caroline. She’s able to kick him down the stairs, slowing him down, and when she makes it to the front door, she’s home free – Stefan took Damon’s daylight ring, so he can’t go outside yet.
Back at the car wash, Tiki, who’s in charge in Caroline’s absence, tells Bonnie to clean the pavement. Bonnie finds this ridiculous since the car wash is still going on. Also, what is there to clean up? They’re only using soap and water. Bonnie takes the opportunity to practice her newly discovered fire-starting abilities, setting a puddle of water on fire. But since she hasn’t gotten much practice in with her new skill, it quickly gets out of control and the fire spreads to a car. Bonnie seems to be in a trance until Stefan shakes her out of it, and the fire goes out. Bonnie asks Stefan not to tell anyone what she did.
Logan gives Elena access to the news station’s archive database, asking her to put in a good word for him with Jenna. In the cemetery, Vicki shares Elena’s pills with her friends, but Jeremy takes them back, worrying that Elena will notice they’re gone (even though they’re months old and she’s obviously not still taking them). He doesn’t want to keep hanging out with “waste-of-space small-town lifers.” Vicki tells him to stop acting out because his parents died. He’ll get over it and move on. Meanwhile, Vicki will still be in Mystic Falls, partying with losers. She’s done with Jeremy. She doesn’t need another guy to make her feel horrible about herself.
Stefan realizes that Elena left the car wash and asks Matt if he’s seen her. Matt advises him to just tell Elena whatever he’s hiding already, because Elena’s going to keep trying to find out what it is. Elena’s definitely a bunch of steps ahead of Stefan right now – she’s found a video clip of the report about Joseph Salvatore’s death. Way in the background is a very recognizable Stefan.
Caroline mopes in her room at Fort Forbes. (Music: “Beauty of the Dark,” Mads Langer) NO, she DOESN’T want to talk about it, Liz. P.S. Caroline, stop ragging on your mother about her (lack of a) love life.
Stefan gets home to find the crow dead (Damon had a snack), Zach also dead, and Damon gone. Elena writes in her journal, voicing over that she doesn’t believe in the supernatural or magic. Caroline goes to bed, the crystal hanging nearby, as Bonnie goes to her grandmother Sheila’s house, worried about what the fire-starting means. Sheila doesn’t seem surprised that Bonnie has been experiencing this.
Logan sneaks into Jeremy’s room and steals the pocket watch as Elena voices over that people are supposed to be who they say they are. Despite not believing in the supernatural, how can she deny what’s right in front of her? Stefan never grows old, he never gets hurt, and his face changes in weird ways. Caroline and Vicki were both bitten. Vicki herself said she was attacked by a vampire.
Vicki and her friends are still in the cemetery, and when the music they’re listening to from a car stereo goes off, the others make Vicki go turn it back on. She finds Damon by the car, trying to regain his strength. He tells her to come closer so he can tell her something. Of course, he just wants to bite her.
At Vamp Villa, Stefan grabs a stake and prepares to go hunting for his brother. Before he can leave, he finds Elena at his door. “What are you?” she demands.
Keep in mind: Without blood, vampires desiccate but stay alive.
With Zach dead, Vamp Villa no longer has a human owner, which means any vampire can enter without an invitation.
Significant item update: Logan has the pocket watch.
Etc.: Like Elena, the way to my heart is also chicken parmesan.
Who okayed a “sexy” school event? Probably the same administrators who put no security measures in place after students start dying.
The crow thing is never explained. It’s from the book series, but it doesn’t get any traction here. Apparently the audience hated it so much that the writers axed it.
For the record, Jasmine Guy (Sheila) was only 47 when this episode aired, too young to be the grandmother of a teenager who wasn’t the child of a teen mother. But the theory I go with is that Sheila is actually much older than she looks (we find out later that she was active in the Civil Rights movement) and uses her magic to appear younger.