Damon is in bed (alone), eavesdropping as Elijah tells Elena and Stefan that there’s a full moon that night, so they should expect Klaus to want to break the curse now. They recap what Elijah told Elena about Klaus’ curse and his desire to become a vampire/werewolf hybrid. Damon joins them and asks why they’re going to let Klaus go through with the sacrifice ritual. They still have Bonnie as a secret weapon. Elena reminds him that she’ll die if she uses all that power. “I’ll write her a great eulogy,” Damon promises. Elena firmly tells him that’s not an option.
Elijah says the ritual is straightforward: A witch (Maddox or Greta; Klaus can take his pick) will channel the power of the full moon to release the spell in the moonstone. Then Klaus will sacrifice a werewolf and a vampire, since he’s one of each. Then he’ll drink Elena’s blood until she dies.
Elijah has an elixir that will revive her, but Damon doesn’t trust that it’ll work. He thinks Elena should wear a Gilbert ring instead. But since the rings only work for humans, and Elena’s a doppelganger, it probably won’t work. He asks Elena what happens if the elixir also doesn’t work. She’s resigned to staying dead. Damon looks at Stefan, whose body language says, “I don’t like it, either, but it’s her decision.” Elena asks if Klaus has everything he needs to break the curse tonight. Elijah’s sure he does, since he’s been waiting 1,000 years for this opportunity. If he doesn’t already have a werewolf, he will by tonight.
At Lockwood Landing, Carol leaves Tyler a message telling him she’s in the hospital and she needs him to come home. She’s confused, since she’s fine. Maddox has made her place the call, and he magically pushes her off a stairway landing so she’ll actually need to go to the hospital.
Damon broods outside Vamp Villa with some bourbon, reminding Stefan that they can’t trust Elijah. Stefan says they can trust Elena, though, and if she thinks Elijah is on their side, Stefan will believe it, too. Elena has stuck with Stefan despite what he is, so he trusts her instincts. Damon says he’s an idiot. Stefan notes that Elena trusts Damon, too. Damon replies that that alone should make him question her instincts.
Inside, Elena recommits to her and Elijah’s plan – Klaus is here because of her, so she needs to be the one to step up and protect her loved ones. Elijah warns that the elixir might not work, but Elena knows the risk she’s taking.
The front door slams and Jenna yells for someone to get out. Alaric has come by, and she doesn’t believe that he’s not still Klaus. To prove it’s really him, Alaric reminds Jenna that the first time he spent the night at Gilbert Gables, Jeremy walked in on them – “Okay, it’s him,” Jenna says quickly. Alaric tells the group that Klaus let him go so he could deliver a message: The sacrifice will happen tonight.
Carol wakes up in the hospital, happy to have Tyler with her. That makes one of us. Meanwhile, Caroline goes to the Grill to see Matt, who’s still fooling her into thinking he doesn’t know anything about the supernatural. After she leaves, he tells Liz that he can’t keep up this act any longer. Either Caroline is also putting on a show or she’s the same person she was before she became a vampire.
Liz insists that she can’t be. She was raised believing that vampires have no soul or humanity. Matt hasn’t seen that in Caroline, so Liz says it must be an act. Damon put on that act, too, and now Vicki’s dead. What other proof does Matt need? Matt asks why Liz hasn’t done anything yet to move against the vampires. She says she needs more information. Plus, she still sees Caroline as her daughter. Matt urges her to focus on Damon instead, since he’s the real threat. Liz tells him she’ll take it from here.
Alaric doesn’t remember anything that happened while Klaus was using his body, so the only thing he can tell the gang is that Katherine is with Klaus (which they already knew). Elena realizes Damon has disappeared and goes upstairs to find him. Alaric asks what he did while Klaus was using his body. Um, let’s talk about that later.
Elena wants Damon to understand why she’s risking her life to protect everyone else. She’s sure that her plan will work and they’ll be rid of Klaus. Damon says that her wanting it to work isn’t the same as ensuring it will. There has to be another way. He isn’t willing to risk the chance that she’ll die and won’t be revived. Elena reminds him that this is her life, so she gets to make the decision. Damon tells her he can’t lose her. She promises he won’t.
That’s when Damon comes up with a really bad idea. He bites his wrist and forces Elena to drink his blood. Now, when Klaus kills her, she’ll come back as a vampire.
Stefan hears Elena struggling and rushes upstairs to push Damon away from her. Damon says he’s saving her life. Yeah, she’ll be a vampire, but it’s better than her just dying. Stefan blasts Damon for taking away Elena’s choice whether or not she wants to be a vampire. Damon tells Elena she’s free to wish him an eternity of misery. She’ll get over it. Stefan attacks him and Damon comes back at him with a bat and the accusation that Stefan wishes he had the guts to turn Elena himself. Stefan punches him a few times until Damon stabs him in the stomach with the bat.
Alaric and Jenna come up to see what’s going on, and Elena tells them to get Damon out of there. Alaric sends Jenna to get some blood bags for Stefan. Elena pulls out the bat and comforts Stefan, who just apologizes. Downstairs, Elijah has heard the whole thing, and he tells Damon that Elena won’t need the elixir anymore. He’ll be back before dark and they’ll continue as planned. Damon says the elixir wouldn’t have worked anyway. Elijah replies that Damon talks a big game but doesn’t know anything. He predicts that Elena will never forgive Damon for this, “and ‘never’ for a vampire, it’s a very long time.”
Now recovered, Stefan thanks Alaric and Jenna for…not really doing anything, honestly. I think he just wants Jenna to feel better. Alaric tells her knows this is a lot to take in, but he should have known she could handle it. He wants to talk about all this stuff she now knows, but right now Jenna just wants to take a moment to be happy that he’s okay.
Elena asks Stefan how Damon could try to force her to turn. Stefan notes that they’ve never talked about what this means. Elena says it doesn’t matter, but he thinks it does. He asks her to take a field trip with him before they carry out the plan that night.
Jules shows up at the hospital to chastise Tyler for coming back to Mystic Falls. They need to lock themselves up before the moon comes up. Caroline arrives as they’re leaving, and Jules gives Tyler a few minutes with her. They have an awkward conversation, and then Tyler says he and Jules are leaving again. Caroline’s annoyed that he left town without saying goodbye the first time. Tyler doesn’t have a response to that. As he’s leaving, he and Caroline both get hit by psychic migraines, courtesy of Greta and Maddox.
Matt leaves a message for Caroline as Damon arrives at the Grill to continue drowning his sorrows. Alaric joins him at the bar, where Damon admits that he screwed up. Klaus finds them and asks why they’re so down. Damon guesses who he is and asks why he’s there. Klaus knows that both Stefan and Damon care for Elena, and he wants to warn them not to do anything they’ll regret.
Damon tries to suggest a postponement of the ritual – Klaus can handle waiting another month after all this time. Klaus tells him he has everything he needs to break the curse, and it’s happening tonight. If Damon wants to live another day, he won’t screw it up. After Klaus leaves, Alaric asks Damon, “You’re going to screw it up, aren’t you?” Damon considers removing the werewolf from the equation, which might help Elena forgive him for trying to turn her. Alaric says it won’t matter, since Klaus will kill him. Still, Damon will have bought Elena at least another month. Alaric thinks it’s a bad idea, but he offers to help anyway.
Stefan takes Elena for a hike, hoping she’ll open up about how she feels about what’s going to happen that night. She admits that she’s not sure how she’s feeling. He’s brought her to the falls, and they pause to take in the scenery. Stefan thinks Elena does know how she feels but doesn’t want to tell him. He’s fine with that, since today is about her. But he wants to climb to the top of the falls, so they have plenty of time if she wants to talk. Elena suggests that he use his high-jumping skills to skip all the walking. Stefan says it’s her last day of being human, so they should keep doing things the human way.
Katherine raids Alaric’s apartment for blood but comes up empty. Alaric shows up with Damon, who now gets an invitation inside. Katherine thinks Damon’s trying to get her killed. He reminds her that he gave her vervain, so she owes him. He dismisses Alaric so he won’t get blamed for what Damon’s about to do. He asks Katherine where Klaus is keeping his werewolf so he can take them out. Katherine warns that Klaus will kill everyone Damon cares about, so she won’t tell him.
Damon notes that this postponement will buy her another month. Katherine reveals that she’s not the vampire Klaus plans to sacrifice. He’s snagged Caroline and Tyler as his vampire and werewolf. Damon guesses that Katherine gave him that idea. He tells her that Elena may turn into a vampire, which means Katherine will have to spend eternity competing with her for Stefan’s love. Katherine gives in and tells Damon that Klaus is holding Caroline and Tyler in the tomb.
Caroline tells Tyler that she thinks the witches who captured them are with Klaus. Tyler’s been gone so long that he doesn’t know who that is. She tells him he shouldn’t have come back to town.
As Stefan and Elena continue their trek, she comments that Bonnie will have to make her a daylight ring. She also says she’ll never be able to watch Bambi again, which I don’t get. She asks him the best part about being a vampire. Stefan says it’s the feeling that you can do anything and be anyone. Everything’s heightened, like beauty and love. The worst part is that negative emotions are also heightened. Grief and loss can destroy you. That’s why it’s easier to turn off your emotions. For a while, the good wasn’t worth the bad for him. He’s still working on handling them both. Stefan invites Elena to ask more questions, but she’s done for now.
Klaus goes back to Alaric’s and demands to know what Katherine’s been up to all day. She plays innocent, but he’s not convinced he still has full control over her. He tells her to take off her daylight bracelet and go stand by the window. Knowing she’ll burn in the sun, Katherine does it anyway to make him think he’s still able to compel her. Klaus lets her suffer for a bit, then decides he was wrong to be suspicious. Now he has a job for her.
Damon heads to the tomb, where Maddox asks if he’s there to save Tyler or Caroline. Damon attacks him, but Maddox is more powerful. Before he can finish Damon off, someone shoots Maddox. It’s Matt, who’s also there to find Caroline. Damon finishes Maddox off, then disarms Matt and knocks him out. Ordinarily he might kill Matt, too, but he decides not to since he’s already screwed up enough today. He realizes that Matt was using wooden bullets, which means he was looking for a vampire – and which means that Matt knows about vampires.
Caroline continues filling Tyler in on Klaus stuff, like the fact that the sun/moon curse isn’t real and they’re about to be sacrificed. Tyler’s been working with Jules to accept who he is, and he laments that it doesn’t matter anymore. Caroline asks why he didn’t say goodbye before he left town. He’s not sure this is the best time to have this discussion, but she’d like the truth if they’re going to die. Tyler says he knew Caroline hated him, and he thought she deserved someone better in her life. Caroline admits that she was hurt that he didn’t help her when she needed him, but she could never hate him.
Damon comes down and tells Caroline that she’ll have to explain some things to Matt, but that can wait until tomorrow. He frees her and starts to take her out of the tomb, but she refuses to leave without Tyler. Damon notes that it’s getting dark, so Tyler will have to hurry to get somewhere and lock himself up before he transitions. Caroline offers to go with him to the Lockwood cellar. Damon reluctantly frees Tyler, too.
Elena and Stefan reach the top of the falls as the sun is setting. He tells her she can say the thing she’s obviously been wanting to say but hasn’t since she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings. Elena notes that nothing she says will change reality. Stefan tells her it could make her feel better. He knows she’s thought about turning before, even before Klaus was in the picture. If it were his decision, he would want to be with her forever. He never brought it up because it would have been selfish to ask her to turn. Stefan doesn’t agree with what Damon did, but he understands that Damon did it out of love.
Elena denies that Damon knows what love is. She’s not sure she does, either. She’s only 17 – she doesn’t know about the big things in life. She loves Stefan, but she doesn’t know what the future holds. She was supposed to deal with things as they came along. She was going to grow up and decide later if she wanted to have kids. She would have had a lifetime of making big choices. Now it’s being taken away from her. Stefan urges her to admit the truth, which she does: She doesn’t want to become a vampire.
The sun must set fast in Mystic Falls, because it’s already dark when Damon, Caroline, and Tyler emerge from the tomb. Matt is waking up, and Tyler’s starting to transform.
Stefan and Elena return to Vamp Villa, where Klaus is waiting for them. He’s pleased that Stefan hasn’t done anything stupid like try to run away with Elena. She tells Klaus she’s ready, but Stefan tries to stop her from going with him. Klaus warns him not to do something that will make Klaus kill him. Elena assures Stefan that it’s okay to let her go. They say they love each other and kiss goodbye. She tells him to close his eyes so he doesn’t have to see her go off with Klaus.
Stefan goes inside, where Alaric has been wondering where everyone is. Stefan calls Damon, who’s still in the woods, trying to get Tyler to a safe transition place. He tells Stefan that Elena can stay put, since he’s saved the day. Stefan says she’s already with Klaus. Damon replies that he’ll take care of it.
Tyler continues transitioning, and he tells the others to run so he doesn’t hurt them. Caroline thinks they can get to the cellar in time, but he says it’s happening faster. He runs at her, but Damon intercepts him and tries to hold him off. He throws Tyler off of him, then tells Matt and Caroline to lock themselves in the cellar.
Klaus goes back to Alaric’s, impatient for Maddox to return. He watches footage of a woman who’s chained up, possibly back in the tomb. Katherine boredly asks where Elena is, and Klaus says she’s with Greta. Damon arrives and announces that the ritual has to be postponed, since he’s rescued Klaus’ vampire and werewolf, and killed his witch. He doesn’t even care if Klaus kills him. He makes it clear that he was the only person who interfered.
Klaus sends Katherine to the other room, then says he’s heard of Damon and his inability to control his impulses. He also knows Damon’s in love with Elena. Klaus knew one of the Salvatores would try to stop him; he just didn’t know which one. He turns up the volume on the footage he was watching and tells Damon that since werewolves travel in packs, he’s already gotten his hands on another. Jules will be his sacrifice instead of Tyler.
After 1,000 years of work toward breaking the curse, Klaus has learned some things. For starters, always have a backup. He has Jules to replace Tyler and Greta to replace Maddox. Now he just needs a replacement vampire. Klaus says he already has that covered, then rushes Damon.
Matt and Caroline make it to the Lockwood cellar with were-Tyler on their heels. Caroline tries to get through to him, but he’s too far gone to care about any humans. Back at Alaric’s, Katherine gives Damon some blood and tells him that Klaus left to do the ritual. She apologizes, saying she had to do it to make him think she was still compellable. He made Katherine call “her” and lure her out so he could replace Caroline. Damon asks who she called.
Greta leads Elena through the woods to her death. Elena guesses who Greta is and tells her that her father and brother were looking for her. Greta says they were wasting their time, since she wasn’t lost. They arrive at the spot for the ritual, where Elena sees Jenna on the ground. At first she thinks Jenna’s dead, but then her aunt wakes up gasping. Greta clarifies that she’s in transition. She’s the backup vampire.
Damon wonders why Klaus didn’t choose him as the backup. Katherine says that Klaus wanted to, but he determined that Damon wasn’t acceptable. He said Damon’s as good as dead. She shows Damon a wound on his arm, a souvenir from his struggle with Tyler. It’s a werewolf bite.
Etc.: Elijah tells Damon he’ll come back before dark, but we never see him again in the episode, and Stefan and Elena don’t get home until after the sun goes down. So where did Elijah go? I don’t think this whole plan was well thought out. Elena’s life was at stake, and Elijah was just like, “Have a good day; see you when I see you.”
I feel like no one told Jenna everything about the sacrifice ritual, particularly the part where Elena has to die. She never mentions it in this episode. Did Elena plan on saying goodbye, just in case? What about seeing Jeremy one last time? Also, it seems like no one told Jenna about Katherine, which turns out to be a huge mistake.
Damon made a good call not killing Matt. Elena would have a harder time forgiving him for that than for turning her.
Elena telling Stefan to close his eyes before she leaves with Klaus is probably another Buffy homage, from when Buffy tells Angel to close his eyes before she kills him. (Uh, spoiler.)
I’d love to know more about the whole Greta/Klaus thing. Was she ever really a hostage? If not, when did she switch to his side?