Stefan has definitely recovered from his time with the tomb vampires because he’s strong enough to do pull-ups in his bedroom (while wearing a white tank top – thanks, wardrobe department). Damon hopes he’ll go back to school soon so he’ll stop blasting music and working out. Stefan’s finding different ways to distract himself so he won’t give in to the urge to drink human blood. Elena’s ended his long period of sobriety, and it’s going to be a while before he can stop wanting more of it.
Damon thinks Stefan should just drink blood from a blood bank – he’ll keep up his strength without hurting anyone. Stefan says he has his reasons for not drinking human blood. He just won’t tell Damon those reasons. He insists that he has everything under control. Damon taunts that Stefan makes other vampires look bad. He leaves the room, “forgetting” the glass of blood he was drinking, as a test to see if Stefan will take it. Stefan’s tempted but doesn’t pick it up.
Elena and Jeremy are about to leave for school when they get a visitor at Gilbert Gables. It’s John, their father Grayson’s younger brother. No one’s particularly happy to see him, especially Jenna. She asks John to be sensitive with Jeremy, who’s dealing with Vicki’s death. John’s in town to try to stop Jenna from selling Grayson’s office, though she doesn’t think he has a say in the deal, since Elena and Jeremy inherited the property when Grayson died. John argues that he does have a say, as the trustee of his brother’s estate.
At school, Elena tells Matt that Uncle John is in town. He, like everyone else, doesn’t like John, and he offers moral support, but Elena’s not going to lean on him for that while he’s mourning Vicki. He appreciates the kindness she’s shown in the past couple of days. Caroline is sitting out this episode, so Kelly’s getting a break from her.
Tyler offers Jeremy a peace offering in the stoner pit, but Jeremy’s sticking to his new lifestyle of sobriety. Hmm, maybe he could give Stefan some pointers. The official story on Vicki’s cause of death is a drug overdose, but Jeremy doesn’t buy that, since she wasn’t using right before she died. Also, who buries the body of someone who OD’d? Tyler tries to come up with a reasonable explanation, but he can’t.
Damon goes to Lockwood Landing to meet with the Founder’s Council (which is bigger than just him, Liz, Carol, and Richard, but the other people aren’t important). Liz tells everyone that Vicki’s death is being covered up, and only the people currently in the room will ever know what really happened to her.
Richard welcomes John to the meeting, as he’s a former member of the Founder’s Council. He announces that a blood bank in a nearby town has had some break-ins over the past two weeks. There have also been a bunch of missing-persons reports. Coincidence? Doubtful. Richard tries to argue that they shouldn’t get alarmed, which Liz quietly tells Damon is because he doesn’t want to cancel the upcoming Founder’s Day festivities. John warns everyone that if they think all the town’s vampire problems are over, they’re wrong.
At school, Alaric tells Elena that Jeremy wrote a paper about vampire lore in Mystic Falls. He doesn’t seem to think vampires are real, which Elena hopes is true, because she’s done a lot to protect him from that part of her life. Alaric asks her how she handles keeping something so important from her family. Elena says the risk to their lives makes it worth lying. Alaric tells her that he has no problems with Stefan personally, but he’s a vampire, so Elena shouldn’t be so quick to trust him. She insists that he would never hurt her.
Jeremy, Jenna, and John have dinner together that night, discussing the Founder’s Day kick-off party. Jeremy doesn’t want to go, but since the Gilberts were one of the town’s founding families, John says they have an obligation to participate in town traditions. One day, Jeremy will get how important the family’s legacy is. Jenna mocks John, who tells Jeremy it’s because they used to sleep together.
Upstairs, Elena tells Stefan her concerns about Jeremy being interested in vampires. Stefan’s sure he doesn’t remember anything about Vicki’s death, since Damon compelled him to forget. He thinks Elena should just ask Jeremy about this new interest. She says they’re not as close as they used to be; all the secrets she’s keeping have come between them. She hasn’t even told him yet that she was adopted. Stefan encourages her to open up to her brother again.
Elena asks how Stefan’s doing after his blood binge. He says he’s better and will be okay. They’ve been apart for a little while, since Stefan wanted to keep his distance, and they’ve missed each other. They start making out, then roll around on her bed a little. But he gets aggressive, and he realizes he’s starting to vamp out. He launches himself off the bed to get away from her.
The next morning, Elena calls Damon over to talk to him about Stefan. She tries to sneak him upstairs, since Jeremy’s in the kitchen, but Damon says loudly, “No, Elena, I will not go to your bedroom with you.” Hilariously, Jeremy glances over, then goes back to eating, like he hasn’t even noticed that his sister has brought her boyfriend’s brother over.
Damon tells Elena that John’s hanging out with the Founder’s Council. He notices some destruction caused by Stefan throwing himself off the bed the night before. She asks how long it’s going to take before Stefan’s back to normal. Damon doesn’t know, and he isn’t concerned. He thinks Stefan’s actually been suppressing his true nature. He starts snooping in Elena’s things, telling her that if she doesn’t think there’s another side to Stefan, she hasn’t been paying attention. Elena says that Stefan isn’t like Damon. Damon replies that Stefan doesn’t want to be like him, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t.
At Vamp Villa, Stefan is restless. He starts drinking alcohol to try to quiet his cravings for blood. Back at Gilbert Gables, Elena asks Jeremy to go for a walk, where she tells him (off-screen) that she was adopted. She admits that she was afraid of how he would react because it’s a big shock to suddenly find out that your sister isn’t your sister. But she doesn’t feel like the truth changes anything – Jeremy is still her brother.
She casually brings up Jeremy’s history class and vampire paper. Jeremy just as casually acts like there was no real reason he chose that subject. Maybe he’s just as crazy as his Gilbert ancestors are rumored to have been. He teases that Elena doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.
That night, the Lockwoods host the Founder’s Day kick-off party. (They spell it Founders’ Day; the title of the last episode of this season is “Founder’s Day”; I’m picking one and sticking to it because the inconsistency exhausts me; I’m fully aware that I’m the only one who cares about this.) Damon has dragged Stefan along with him, since they’re from one of the founding families. He knows Stefan’s been drinking whiskey all day, and he doesn’t think it’s helping him with his cravings as much as Stefan thinks it is. Stefan heads off to find Elena, stealing someone’s drink to give himself a boost.
Kelly and Matt have been invited to the party, I guess so the Lockwoods can feel like they’re doing something nice for a grieving family. Because the one thing you want to do after your daughter/sister’s body was found is party! Or maybe Carol feels bad for thinking Vicki was trash. Kelly immediately goes to get a drink. Tyler has snagged some booze, so he and Matt start drinking, too.
Elena finds Stefan, who’s loosened up thanks to his own indulgence. She’s a little worried, though he says he’ll only drink until he’s gotten control of his cravings. They might as well take advantage of his good mood. He invites her to dance, though she knows he hates dancing, and this isn’t a dancing kind of party. He goes to ask the guy in charge of music (what’s the upper-class term for a DJ?) to play something to change that. Kelly warns Elena that that won’t work, since she tried, and Carol has given the guy strict instructions not to stray from her playlist. Of course, no matter how scary Carol might be, the guy’s fear of her is no match for Stefan’s compulsion.
Damon comes in to find Stefan and Kelly dancing. Elena asks if Stefan will be okay. “Eventually…one way or another,” Damon replies. It’s hard to argue with Stefan’s behavior, since the party is now lively and everyone’s happy with the change in music. Alaric arrives and meets up with Jenna, whom he hasn’t been in touch with for a while. Matt invites Elena to dance, and though she resists, he gets her on the dance floor.
Damon chats with Liz, who’s out of her sheriff’s uniform for once. She tells him that when they first met, she wasn’t sure about him, but he’s won her over, as he’s done with everyone on the Founder’s Council. Damon says he likes his life in town and has started to feel like he’s home again. Liz brings down his mood by telling him that she looked into John’s claims, and they need to worry about the combination of missing people and blood bank thefts.
Jeremy approaches, wanting more information on the investigation into Vicki’s death. Liz reminds him that she overdosed, so there’s nothing to investigate. Jeremy can’t let go of the fact that she was buried, so someone must know something. Damon, who was responsible for that burial, tries not to look guilty. Liz tells Jeremy she can’t comment on an ongoing case.
Matt leaves the dance floor, so Stefan takes his place with Elena. He spins Elena around, and she accidentally falls into another guy. (He doesn’t get a name, but the Vampire Diaries Wiki says he’s Duke, so I’m going with that, because why not?) She apologizes, saying she’s clumsy. Duke is much more offended than any reasonable person would be, considering all Elena did was bump into him. Stefan is offended by how offended he is and compels Duke to apologize. Duke does, but Stefan doesn’t think he’s being sincere, so he asks for a second apology. Elena gets concerned.
She meets up with Damon at the bar and asks if he’s been keeping an eye on his brother. Damon says he’s been spending the evening keeping an eye on Elena’s brother. His interest in Vicki’s death might be a problem. Damon suggests compelling him again, but Elena objects and says she’ll handle it. Damon hands her a rose from a nearby flower arrangement and says he warned her.
Kelly busts Tyler for drinking but clearly isn’t going to tell anyone. Out on a veranda, John approaches Damon, and they start chatting like they’re just friendly acquaintances. John asks if Damon agrees that there’s a vampire problem in Mystic Falls. Damon thinks he’s overreacting, but John says they should be prepared to do what the townspeople did in 1864.
He knows more about that story, and as Damon tries to act like he thinks it’s just a local legend, John brings up the tomb. He knows a bunch of vampires were in there for decades, and he knows they’re out now, and that Damon is why. Damon asks why John’s confronting him when he must know a) what Damon is and b) what Damon could do to him. He guesses that John takes vervain, and John invites him to take a bite and find out. Damon walks away, as if John isn’t worth this, then zooms back to him, snaps his neck, and pushes him off the veranda.
Elena finds Jeremy taking a break in a quiet room, where he tells her he doesn’t buy the story that Vicki overdosed. Elena says the coroner’s office confirmed that. Jeremy thinks she was murdered, and they shouldn’t just go with the easy answer. They need to uncover the truth. Elena urges him to let this go; “whatever it was,” Vicki’s dead. Jeremy thinks her word choice means Elena agrees that Vicki didn’t overdose. He accuses Elena of keeping something from him. She promises that if she knew something, she would tell him.
Tyler and Kelly hang out together, though she knows she’s disappointing Matt by getting drunk at a public party. Tyler feels bad for the way he treated Vicki. Since it’s too late to make it right, he feels like he doesn’t deserve to miss her. Kelly appreciates getting this chance to talk to Tyler; she never has anyone to talk to. Tyler says he doesn’t, either.
Elena and Matt meet up again, and since Stefan’s behaving himself, she agrees to step outside with Matt for some air. They emerge right next to where Kelly and Tyler are now making out. Matt quickly separates them, then punches Tyler. Kelly gets pushed aside and hits her head as the guys start pounding on each other. Elena’s ineffectual shouts for the guys to stop fighting doesn’t do anything. Tyler has Matt on the ground and is choking him when Alaric runs out and pulls him off. Alaric’s concerned that Tyler got so violent with his best friend. Richard sends Tyler to get cleaned up as Elena makes sure Matt’s okay.
Damon finds Stefan and says he has bad news and really bad news. First, the Founder’s Council knows they’re dealing with vampires again. Second, Damon just killed John. Stefan’s suddenly sober. He starts to follow Damon, then stops because he smells blood – Kelly’s bleeding. She laments that she ruined everything, like she always does. Stefan touches her wound, then realizes that’s really weird of him. He goes outside to get away from Kelly, but he still has blood on his fingers, so that’s not that helpful. He’s unable to fight his urge to lick it off. Back inside, Damon gets a big surprise: a perfectly fine, not-at-all-dead John.
Richard gathers everyone to talk about this year’s Founder’s Day celebration, which will be extra-special because it’s the town’s 150th anniversary. He welcomes John back to town and invites him to ring the charter bell. John makes a little speech about the town taking care of and protecting each other. He looks straight at Damon to make sure he gets what John’s saying.
Damon finds Alaric in the crowd and tells him to look at John’s hand. He’s wearing the same exact ring as Alaric. Since John just came back from the dead, it’s a safe bet that there’s a connection there. This means Elena’s birth mother’s husband and her adoptive father’s brother have the same ring. And since Isobel specifically sought out Grayson to deliver Elena, it’s entirely possible that John knew Isobel.
Stefan runs into Duke on his way to his car, and Duke deliberately bumps into him and gives him a fake apology. He’s picking a fight with one of the last people he should be antagonizing right now. Stefan warns him off, but Duke thinks that he’s all talk now that Elena’s not around for him to show off for. He takes a swing, but Stefan has vampire reflexes and strength, so he catches Duke’s fist and crushes his hand, vamping out.
Jeremy goes home and takes a look around Elena’s room, hoping to find something that tells him about the secrets she’s been keeping. He hits the jackpot when he finds her journal. He reads her entries about vampires, Vicki’s death, and asking Damon to compel Jeremy to forget what happened.
Elena finds Duke on the ground outside the party, and he tells her he lost his balance and fell because he’s clumsy. Elena knows something’s up since he used the same word she did. Inside, Tyler tells Richard he doesn’t know why he got so violent with Matt. He just lost control. Richard backhands him and says this is the last time Tyler will ever embarrass the family.
At Donovan Domicile, Matt packs Kelly’s things for her and tells her she has to leave town. He’s better off without her. She apologizes for what happened at the party, feeling horrible because she failed her children. She promises she’ll get it together. Matt sticks to his decision to kick her out – she has until the next morning to leave the house and his life.
Damon, Alaric, and John all leave Lockwood Landing at the same time. John proves that he already knows who Alaric is, despite never having met him. He says he knows more about the town than anyone can guess. If Damon’s planning to kill him (again), he should remember that John would be taking a lot of knowledge with him. If he dies, all that information goes to the Founder’s Council, including what he knows about the Salvatores being vampires.
Alaric asks how John got his ring. John says he inherited it, and Grayson inherited the other. John’s wearing Grayson’s because he gave his own to Isobel. He knows Isobel gave it to Alaric. There’s Damon’s confirmation that John knew Isobel, but John isn’t hiding it. He’s the one who pointed Isobel in Damon’s direction when she expressed interest in becoming a vampire. Damon’s surprised, and John asks if he thought someone else sent Isobel – someone like Katherine? Damon asks what John wants. Well, right now, John wants to stop answering questions. He leaves, saying it was nice to meet Alaric. John’s heard a lot about him.
Elena and Jenna go home, lamenting that they still have a month full of Founder’s Day events before the actual day comes. Elena checks on Jeremy, who coolly says he’s fine. Stefan surprises her in her room and apologizes for leaving the party without talking to her. He admits that things aren’t okay like he’s been insisting. He was doing okay keeping it together at the party until what happened with Kelly, then his run-in with Duke. Stefan had to fight hard to keep himself from killing him.
He tells her about the physical discomforts of his withdrawal and how hungry he is. He doesn’t want to keep anything from her, so he wants her to know all this, but he also doesn’t want her to have to see this side of him. Elena promises to help him through this, but Stefan is afraid of what he’ll do to her if she gets too close. Elena promises that she’s not scared.
After they kiss and hug and say they love each other, Stefan goes home for a debriefing with Damon. He starts to tell Stefan about their new problem, John, but he stops when he sees how much Stefan’s struggling. This is different from the other times Stefan’s tried to stop drinking human blood. After so many years not doing it, his hunger has grown. Damon again leaves a glass of blood behind when he leaves the room, and this time, Stefan drinks it.
Keep in mind: John has the same kind of ring as Alaric. They originated with the Gilbert family.
Etc.: I love David Anders (John) but why does he always have to play jerks?
I get Damon wanting Stefan to fall off the wagon again, but taking him to a party full of people he’d be tempted to feed off of is like taking an alcoholic to a bar. You can’t want to give Stefan a nudge to relapse AND want to keep a low profile in town at the same time.
I don’t want to say that Duke deserved to be attacked by Stefan, but…he kind of deserved to be attacked by Stefan. Who doesn’t accept a sincere apology for an accident that was, on a scale from 1 to 10, a 1?
Matt’s right that he’s better off without Kelly, but I can’t imagine everyone in town sees it that way. It’s obvious that he and Vicki were taking care of themselves without any parents around. Does everyone know that? Did they ever have a teacher who called Social Services to make sure they were okay? Why is it considered okay that the Donovan kids live by themselves?
I’ve never understood why John would help Isobel become a vampire by telling her to go to Damon. And since he’s obviously familiar with Damon, and he wouldn’t want him anywhere near Elena, why wait so long to show up in town and try to step in?