We rewind a bit from the end of the previous episode as Elena voices over that she can’t deny the weird stuff that’s been going on with Stefan. We previously saw Stefan finding a stake and preparing to go find Damon, but instead of opening the door to Elena, he opens it to a flashback to Mystic Falls in 1864. He stands outside his house, awaiting the arrival of a special guest, one Miss Katherine Pierce.
In the present, Elena again asks Stefan, “What are you?” He realizes she’s already figured it out for herself and just wants him to confirm it, or possibly tell her she’s mistaken. He warns that everything she knows and believes is about to change. Is she ready for that? Elena repeats her question, and Stefan tells her he’s a vampire. She decides she can’t handle this after all and turns to leave. He zooms out ahead of her and tries to keep her from walking away. When she fights him, he lets her go.
Elena races home, anxiously trying to wrap her mind around what’s going on. Stefan appears in her room and promises that he would never hurt her. Damon was responsible for all the attacks. Stefan himself doesn’t drink human blood and doesn’t hurt innocent people. He says he’ll explain everything, but Elena has to keep it all a secret. Even if she hates him, she needs to trust him. Elena doesn’t want to do this right now, and she tells Stefan that if he really doesn’t want to hurt her, he’ll leave. “I never wanted this,” he says before zooming out the window.
Damon is still out in the cemetery, making a meal out of Vicki’s friends. When he’s done, he starts burning their bodies. He uses one of their phones to call Stefan and demand his daylight ring back. Stefan asks what Damon has done, but Damon tells him that whatever has happened is on Stefan. Stefan warns that the town isn’t going to keep buying stories about animal attacks.
He tells Damon that he gave the daylight ring to Zach, and he’ll need some time to get it back. Damon threatens to go after Elena if Stefan doesn’t return the ring to him. Stefan says he already wants his brother dead, so Damon better not give him another reason to follow through on his desires. After they hang up, Damon starts to douse Vicki in alcohol so he can throw her in the fire with her friends, but she’s still alive. He decides not to finish her off.
Back at Gilbert Gables, Elena has trouble sleeping. Yeah, who can blame her? Stefan’s camped out on the front porch to make sure Damon doesn’t come by. In the morning, Elena meets Stefan outside the Grill so she can clarify what’s real and what’s fiction about vampires. (Garlic: not a problem. Sunlight: not a problem with a daylight ring. Crucifixes: “decorative.” Holy water: “drinkable.”) Vampires also have reflections and can survive on animal blood, though human blood gives them more power.
Elena’s upset that Stefan let Damon get involved with Caroline. Stefan’s like, “With Damon, you don’t really ‘let’ him do stuff so much as you stay out of his way.” Since Damon was compelling Caroline to forget that he was biting her, and he kept going back to her instead of killing her, Stefan thought she was safe. Elena begs to differ, since Caroline was being used and didn’t know what was happening to her.
She asks if there are any other vampires in Mystic Falls. Stefan says no, at least not anymore. Once upon a time, the town was aware of other vampires, and “it didn’t end well for anybody.” Hence why Elena needs to keep this quiet. Elena says she won’t promise not to tell anyone about the Salvatores. Stefan asks for one day to explain everything to her. Then she can decide what to do with all the information. She agrees.
Logan and Liz check out the scene at the cemetery, which she thinks is a cover-up for a vampire attack. They’ll say it was a drug deal gone bad. Logan also mentions that he has the pocket watch. A deputy finds Vicki’s wallet, and Liz hopes she’s not one of the bodies burned in the fire.
Nope, she’s at Vamp Villa with Damon, who’s stuck inside now that the sun is up. He’s bored and impatient, a very bad combination for him. He leaves Stefan a voicemail demanding his ring again. Damon checks on Vicki, who’s weak from blood loss, and feeds her his blood, even knowing he’ll regret this later.
Stefan and Elena go to a spot in the woods that used to be his home. For the first time, she learns that he’s been 17 years old since 1864. She’s shocked, and Stefan hints that the shocks will keep coming. He reminds her that she wanted to know everything. He tells her that he and Damon grew up in the house, best friends.
1864: Stefan and Damon toss a football around in the yard, then turn into gentlemen when Katherine joins them. She grabs the ball and runs off, obviously wanting at least one of the guys to chase her. They both do.
Present: Elena’s surprised that the Salvatores knew Katherine in 1864, since Damon has always let on that Stefan was with her more recently. Stefan says he wanted to make Elena think she was his rebound. Damon’s still bitter that he and his brother loved the same woman 145 years ago. Stefan says she wasn’t just any woman.
1864: Damon comes home from serving in the Confederate Army and reunites with both Stefan and Katherine. She asks for one of them to take her to the Founder’s Party. Both offer, and she wonders how she’ll choose between them.
Present: Stefan tells Elena that Katherine chose him. Yes, that was his name on the registry for the first party. Stefan didn’t care that he won and Damon lost. He just wanted Katherine. The problem is that Damon doesn’t get mad – he gets even.
At Vamp Villa, Damon’s blood has Vicki acting like her usual self. She doesn’t remember everything that happened, so he fills her in. He plans to party until the sun goes down and he can leave the house again. Vicki’s cool with that (partly because Damon’s compelling her) and asks for more blood. She gives him some of hers in exchange.
At the old Salvatore house, Stefan tells Elena that Damon always gets what he wants. Stefan didn’t know it at the time, but after the Founder’s Party, Damon also spent time with Katherine. Elena thinks that means Damon stole Katherine from Stefan, not the other way around. Stefan says that’s not quite accurate.
1864: Stefan and Katherine make out, and he promises he’ll love her forever. She notes that forever is a long time. He doesn’t think it’s long enough. In response, she vamps out and bites him. The next morning, Stefan is freaked out by what happened. Katherine compels him to continue their relationship and not tell anyone her secret. She already has a future planned for them…and Damon.
Present: Stefan tells Elena that Katherine compelled both him and Damon to keep her secret from each other. She wanted all of them to be together forever. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but the Salvatores are basically stuck with each other. Stefan retrieves Damon’s ring and tells Elena he has to give it back. Elena urges him not to, but Stefan knows Damon will retaliate by hurting her.
Liz goes to Mayor Lockwood’s office to tell him about the cemetery attacks. They’ve confirmed that Vicki wasn’t one of the victims. Logan joins them and gives Richard the pocket watch. Richard takes it apart, puts a compass inside it, and gives it back to Logan.
At Vamp Villa, Damon is drinking and Vicki is dancing like she’s high. (Music: “Enjoy the Silence,” Anberlin covering Depeche Mode.) She declares that she’s done with Tyler, then babbles about Jeremy. Damon’s interested in the fact that she’s close to Elena’s brother. Vicki wonders why Damon’s single, since he’s both cool and hot. He says he’s been in love and it’s overrated. They dance all over the house, her in just her underwear, him with his shirt unbuttoned, full of energy. Damon’s mood drops when he finds Stefan’s picture of Katherine.
Later, the two slow dance as Vicki talks about how lonely her life is. (Music: “21 Guns,” Green Day.) Her mother spends most of her time in Virginia Beach with her boyfriend, and her father left so long ago that Vicki barely remembers him. She thinks Matt has it easy because he’s destined to get a football scholarship and have a happy life with Elena. Vicki can’t see anything when she tries to think about her own future. Damon tells her she’s damaged and has zero self-esteem, but he thinks he can help her.
He snaps her neck and lets her fall to the floor.
Sometime later, Vicki revives. After drinking vampire blood and dying, she’s two-thirds of the way through the process to become a vampire. Now she just needs to drink human blood. Vicki thinks Damon’s nuts, so she decides to leave. He warns that she’s going to feel out of it until she drinks blood. She needs to be careful. When Vicki keeps insisting on leaving, Damon encourages her to go. He also encourages her to pay Jeremy a visit on her way home.
Liz sends Logan out into the woods with the pocket watch/compass and a gun full of wood bullets. They won’t kill a vampire, but they’ll neutralize them long enough for Logan to stake them. Meanwhile, Vicki goes to Gilbert Gables, complaining to Jeremy that her head and eyes hurt. He thinks she’s high.
At the old Salvatore house, Elena asks Stefan if he’s ever used compulsion on her. He tells her the vervain in the necklace he gave her keeps her from being compelled. He wanted to protect her from both himself and Damon. No matter how she feels about Stefan now, she should keep wearing the necklace so she’ll always be free to make her own choices.
Jeremy calls Matt over to Gilbert Gables so he can tend to his sister. Vicki’s becoming more unstable, saying she can hear voices. It may just be her vamp hearing kicking in and amplifying the sound of the TV. Logan is on the news, reporting on the deaths in the cemetery. Jeremy realizes the bodies were found in the spot where he and Vicki hung out the day before. He asks Vicki what happened after he left.
Stefan and Elena arrive as Vicki starts lashing out. Stefan quickly realizes that Vicki is in transition and assures her that she’ll be okay. He tells Jeremy and Matt to take her upstairs and close the blinds. He tells Elena that Damon must have turned Vicki. If she doesn’t drink human blood, she’ll die. There are only a few hours left for Vicki to stay alive, and as time passes, her memories of what happened will start to return. She’ll have to choose whether to drink blood and complete the transition or let herself die. Elena notes that Stefan had to make that same choice 145 years ago.
Upstairs, Matt watches as Jeremy comforts Vicki. After he leaves, Vicki is tempted to bite Jeremy, but she stops herself and runs out of the house. Stefan can track her, so Elena sends him off. As the sun goes down, Logan searches the woods, using the compass as a vampire detector. He calls Liz and tells her to meet him at the cemetery.
Elena tries to keep Jeremy calm back at Gilbert Gables while Stefan and Matt look for Vicki. Damon shows up and Elena sends Jeremy upstairs. Damon guesses that Stefan told her everything. He’s there looking for his brother, and since he’s already been invited in, he can enter whenever he wants. He tells Elena he’s not going to kill her right now; that wouldn’t serve his “greater agenda.”
Elena says that Stefan is out looking for Vicki. Damon tells her that Vicki’s eventually going to thank him for turning her. Elena asks if he thanked Katherine. This almost takes Damon down a notch, but he guesses that Stefan didn’t tell Elena everything.
Stefan finds Vicki in the woods as she recovers the memories he and Damon have altered and erased. He tells her he’s sorry that Damon turned her, and she doesn’t deserve this, but if she chooses not to complete the transition, she’ll die. Vicki’s distressed about what’s happened and asks if she’ll be better if she becomes a vampire. Stefan can’t answer that for her. She emotionally asks him to take her home, apparently choosing to die.
Before Stefan can get Vicki out of the cemetery, a shot rings out. Logan’s compass has led him to a vampire, though not the one who’s been attacking people. Logan prepares to stake Stefan, but Damon has just arrived, and he bites Logan to stop him. He pulls a wooden bullet out of Stefan and says people must know who they are. He’s not about to let anyone else kill Stefan, though – Damon wants that honor.
Stefan hands over Damon’s daylight ring, but he suddenly has a bigger problem than Damon being able to go out during the day: Vicki is drinking Logan’s blood, which means she’s now a full-fledged vampire. She runs off. Damon finds the compass on the ground and pockets it, then heads off with Stefan. Not long after, Liz finds Logan’s body and tells a deputy to find the compass.
At Gilbert Gables, Elena is waiting on the porch for news on Vicki. (Music: “Down,” Jason Walker.) Stefan arrives and tells her that Vicki transitioned, then took off. He promises he’ll find her and show her how to be a vampire – the good kind, one who doesn’t feed on humans. Elena wonders what they’ll tell Jeremy and Matt. They’ll have to lie, which Elena hates to do. All Stefan can do is apologize.
Elena reminds him that she gave him the day to explain things, just like he asked. She will keep his secret and trust that he won’t hurt her, but they can’t be together. She goes inside and cries over the horrifying direction her life has taken.
Keep in mind: Vampire blood heals humans.
Becoming a vampire restores memories that were altered or erased through compulsion.
The pocket watch is a device that locates vampires.
Significant item update: Damon has the pocket watch.
Etc.: Ah, flashback episodes. My nemeses. Sometimes they’re informative and even a little entertaining, but for the most part, I could do without them.
It’s very, very interesting to me that Stefan, king of letting people make their own decisions, doesn’t seem to care that Damon was making Caroline do things she otherwise wouldn’t. Doesn’t she deserve the same considerations as Elena?
If you watch nothing else from this episode, you at least have to watch Damon and Vicki’s dance party.
Not to go all English major here but look at the lyrics to “21 Guns” and tell me they don’t fit this series (sometimes literally).