In Tennessee, a young woman is calling for her dog to come in for the night. Klaus approaches her, using an American accent, and asks to use her phone to call for help with his car, which ran out of gas. She agrees to let him use the phone, but she won’t invite him into the house. Klaus switches to his real accent and compels her to let him in.
The woman’s roommate is already inside, and Klaus asks the two women when their buddy Ray will be coming home. He pointedly says that he knows Ray is there once a month. Klaus threatens to hurt the women if they won’t tell him what he wants to know. The roommate makes a break for it, but Stefan’s at the front door and stops her from leaving. The roommate tells Klaus where he can find Ray. Klaus thanks her, then gets the first woman to invite Stefan into the house. He tells Stefan to kill the woman quickly but make the roommate suffer. Stefan obeys.
In Mystic Falls, Elena isn’t eager to face the next morning, but she does it anyway. She wakes Jeremy up, telling him that Matt called to say he’s late for work. Elena then calls Caroline, who’s shopping for a party she knows Elena doesn’t want to attend. She tells Elena to call Liz, who’s been tracking “animal” attacks and has learned of a third in Tennessee. Elena gets Alaric’s attention in the kitchen as Caroline says three attacks in the same place don’t necessarily mean Klaus is there. Elena thinks it’s work checking out. She asks Caroline to keep the party small, but Caroline won’t make any promises.
Elena and Alaric discuss the possibility that Klaus is in Tennessee and that Stefan is still with him. She asks if he’s sure he’s okay sleeping on the couch, where he’s been camped out for half the summer. There’s a free bedroom, but Alaric doesn’t like the idea of sleeping in the room that used to belong to Miranda and Grayson, then Jenna. He wishes Elena a happy birthday.
At Vamp Villa, Damon’s drinking champagne in a bubble bath. Yes, you read that right. He’s still hanging out with Andie, and she’s still standing up to him when he’s not compelling her to do things. He gets out of the bathtub to get more champagne, not bothering to towel off or put on a robe or anything. That’s when Elena arrives at the house and gets an eyeful. She’s annoyed because Damon had to have heard her come in, so he did this on purpose. (She also makes this face.) “You should learn to knock,” he admonishes. “What if I was…indecent?” She hands him a towel.
Damon is tired of Liz finding possible locations where Klaus and Stefan are wreaking havoc, and of Elena bringing him those locations so they can look into what’s going on there. This has been going on for almost two months now. Elena says she’ll go check it out herself, but Damon reminds her that Klaus thinks she’s dead, so she can’t run the risk of him finding out she’s tracking him. She notes that this is their first new lead in a while. Damon says he’ll check it out and tell her if there’s anything she needs to know.
He goes back to his room, where he’s keeping a map in his closet tracking places Stefan and Klaus might have gone. He’s also been collecting newspaper articles about mysterious attacks. Andie’s been working with him, and she tells him that a victim in Florida had family in Tennessee. Damon invites her on a road trip. She has to work, but she offers to get him an address for the guy’s family.
Jeremy’s working at the Grill now, which keeps him busy while Bonnie’s visiting family for the summer. She’s glad he has something normal in his life. The lights flicker, and Jeremy rushes to get off their phone call. Vicki appears, then disappears just as quickly. Anna appears next and reaches out to Jeremy. Before he can see her, Matt comes in and asks Jeremy to switch sections with him. Caroline and Tyler are in Matt’s, and he doesn’t want to have to deal with them.
Jeremy agrees and waits on Caroline and Tyler, who are at a table outside, talking about Carol. Caroline thinks Carol has been giving her weird looks. She tells Tyler that Matt made Jeremy switch sections because he thinks she and Tyler are dating. Tyler says his mother believes the same thing. It makes sense, since they spend a lot of time together. They both try to laugh off the idea. Jeremy’s like, “The real laugh is how you two have been able to keep your hands off of each other for this long.”
Klaus and Stefan find Ray in the bar where his friends said he would be. They’ve been tracking Ray from Florida through Tennessee, wanting someone whose “type” is hard to find. Stefan has compelled everyone in the bar not to interfere while he and Klaus do whatever they want to Ray. Klaus explains that he’s both a vampire and a werewolf, and he wants to create more beings like himself. Ray is the first werewolf he’s been able to find. Klaus now wants to know where Ray’s pack is. Ray points out that Klaus is unable to compel werewolves, so he can’t force Ray to help. Stefan asks a bartender for a drink, then tells Ray they’re going to play a game called Truth or Wolfsbane?
Damon and Alaric go to the house in Tennessee that Klaus and Stefan recently visited. Damon is dodging Elena’s calls, and Alaric doesn’t like the idea of keeping secrets from her, especially now that he’s been living at Gilbert Gables. He keeps expecting Elena and Jeremy to kick him out, but they don’t. He’s not sure why they let him stick around, since he’s not exactly helping them.
They go into the house (no invitation needed for Damon, since the women are dead) and find blood on the walls and the women’s bodies sitting on the couch. Damon recognizes Stefan’s work. For the first time, he explains why Stefan used to be known as the Ripper – he fed so hard that he ripped his victim apart. Stefan’s signature was to then put the bodies back together because he felt remorse. Damon knocks one of the women’s heads off, which I think makes Alaric wonder if it’s too late to pack up, move far away, and never speak to anyone in Mystic Falls ever again.
Elena, Tyler, and Caroline set up for the party at Vamp Villa while Elena complains that she has to fight Damon every time they get a lead on Stefan. Tyler suggests that Damon doesn’t want to find his brother, since with Stefan gone, Damon has Elena all to himself. Elena disagrees, since Stefan left to save Damon, so Damon will want to repay the favor. Tyler points out that Elena kissed Damon, which probably screwed with his head. Caroline chastises him for mentioning something she wasn’t supposed to tell him.
Elena confirms that she kissed Damon, but she thought he was going to die; it was just a way to say goodbye. She leaves to call Bonnie, and Caroline blasts Tyler again: “Just because I tell you things doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them.” He heads out to change for the party and pick up his date, a girl named Sophie. Caroline thinks he’s ridiculous for wanting to go out with her, but Tyler’s not getting a lot of action, and he feels horny all the time. Caroline says she does, too. Supposedly this is because they’re supernatural, but come on, they’re also 17.
Damon decides to burn the house down to cover Klaus and Stefan’s tracks. As he splashes gas around, he finds a trapdoor leading to a basement with chains on the wall. He realizes that at least one werewolf spends time in the house.
Back at the bar, Stefan has been at Truth or Wolfsbane? for a while, and…I think he’s winning? It looks like the game involves him dipping darts in wolfsbane and using Ray as a dartboard when he won’t answer Stefan’s questions. Stefan just wants to know where his pack will be for the next full moon. Ray won’t tell him, but Stefan says Klaus won’t let him stop this torture without an answer, and Stefan has to do whatever Klaus says.
It looks like Klaus has some spies in the women’s neighborhood in Tennessee, and one of them tells him that Damon was spotted there. Stefan eavesdrops and realizes that Damon is still looking for them. He offers to take care of the situation for Klaus. Klaus isn’t sure Stefan will come back to continue their murder spree, but Stefan says he’s in Klaus’ service since Klaus saved Damon. Klaus wishes Stefan were having fun instead of just seeing this as a kind of business arrangement. Stefan promises to make sure that Damon doesn’t bother them anymore.
Elena gets ready for the party in Stefan’s room, telling Damon (who’s somehow already back in town after his trip to Tennessee) that she’ll keep it together. She’d made him promise not to buy her anything for her birthday, but he wants to give her a gift anyway. Actually, it’s something that someone else once gave her. It’s her vervain necklace, which she thought she lost, but which has been sitting in Alaric’s apartment (I think Katherine was still wearing it when she was first brought there). Elena’s happy to have it back, and Damon’s happy to put it back around her neck.
The party is already underway downstairs, and it’s definitely not small. Damon has to compel one partygoer not to drink from his personal stash of alcohol. Jeremy and Matt light a joint and Matt invites Jeremy to open up about whatever’s making him revert to his old partying self. Jeremy confides that since he came back from the dead, he’s been seeing…things. Things he shouldn’t be seeing. He hasn’t told Bonnie, since he doesn’t think it’s a big deal.
Matt leaves, giving Elena a kiss on the cheek while ignoring Caroline. Caroline thinks his hatred of her has made him turn to drugs. Elena says he just hates that he’s not with her. She catches Jeremy smoking and goes to admonish him. Meanwhile, Alaric tells Damon he’s everyone’s worst nightmare – the “chaperone teacher from Hell.” At least Damon’s having fun. Elena steals his drink and tells him and Alaric that Jeremy’s smoking again. She asks Alaric to talk to him, since Jeremy looks up to him. Damon tells Alaric he’s screwed.
Andie’s finishing up at her TV studio before joining Damon at the party. She’s the only one there, and she starts getting spooked when someone turns on a spotlight and shines it at her. She sees someone standing in the light and starts to leave. Stefan zooms out ahead of her, and at first she’s relieved to see him, but she soon realizes that this isn’t a friendly visit.
Back at the party, Caroline is annoyed to see Tyler and Sophie together. Matt asks her when the two of them got together. She’s surprised he’s talking to her, since he’s barely said anything all summer. Matt notes that every time he’s seen her, she’s been with Tyler. Caroline says Tyler’s her friend, like she thought Matt was. Matt notes that vampires and werewolves are supposed to be enemies. She shushes him, and he realizes he’s not acting like himself. Tyler and Sophie approach Caroline, who compels Sophie to leave.
Damon gets a text from Andie asking him to pick her up from the studio. He tells Alaric to keep an eye on the party, as if Alaric wants to watch his students get drunk and grind on each other. Elena goes to Damon’s room for a break and finds Caroline already there, sneaking some blood. Elena wants to leave the party early. Caroline tells her she can’t move on with her life until she’s acknowledged that a new day is dawning and she’s made a wish and blown out her candles. Elena asks if the gang really wants her to move on with her life. Caroline says they just don’t want to see her like this.
Elena refuses to give up on Stefan, which isn’t what Caroline wanted her to do. But she needs to stop letting life pass her by. Stefan wouldn’t want her to sit around and wait for him. Elena says her birthday wish is just to know that Stefan is alive. As she’s leaving, she spots Damon’s map. Caroline wonders why he’s been tracking Klaus without telling Elena.
Elena calls Damon, who’s at the TV studio but pretends he’s still at the party. He hangs up before she can confront him about the map. He can’t find Andie, but he does find Stefan, who greets him with, “Hello, brother.” He tells Damon to stop following him and Klaus. He’s causing problems. Damon needs to let Stefan go.
Damon warns that if Stefan keeps killing people the way he killed the women in Tennessee, Damon won’t be able to save him. Stefan says he doesn’t need saving. He repeats that Damon needs to let him go. Damon reminds him that it’s Elena’s birthday, and she won’t let him give up on Stefan. Stefan calls up to Andie, who’s standing on a catwalk way above them. He compelled her not to move. Damon’s upset that Stefan’s going this far, and even more upset when Stefan tells Andie that she can move now. She takes a step off the catwalk and falls to her death. Once again, Stefan tells Damon to let him go, then zooms out of the studio.
Jeremy runs into Matt outside the party; Matt’s high and can’t find his truck. Jeremy offers him a ride, but it’s Vicki who shows up in his passenger seat first. She asks Jeremy to help her. Matt hears him say her name, but Jeremy pretends he’s hearing things. When he turns on his car, his headlights show Anna standing in front of it. Jeremy decides that they should walk home.
Back inside, Tyler confronts Caroline for being upset that he brought a date. If she doesn’t want him to see other people, she just has to say something. If she doesn’t, he’s going to keep dating. Caroline gets passive-aggressive, and he reminds her that he let her know he was interested, but she turned him down. He’s not going to pursue her again unless she makes it clear she wants to be with him. Caroline finally does so by kissing him.
They head off to get some alone time as Damon returns. He’s in shock, and he’s definitely not in the mood for Elena to question him about his map. She’s upset that he spent the summer seemingly blowing off her leads and making her feel like an idiot for having hope. He tells her they were both idiots. Elena demands that he tell her what he knows. Damon resists, then says he’s been hiding things from her because the victims he’s tracked were Stefan’s, not Klaus’. Stefan has turned off his humanity and gone full-blown Ripper. Elena needs to stop looking for him and waiting for him to come home. He’s gone and he won’t be coming back during Elena’s lifetime.
Jeremy and Matt have a snack at Gilbert Gables before Matt heads home. He’s still curious about what happened in the car, and he thinks it’s connected to what Jeremy said about seeing things. Jeremy admits that he’s been seeing Vicki. Matt gets it, since he thinks he sees her all the time. It’s just because they miss her so much. Matt doesn’t want to think about the possibility of ghosts on top of everything else in Mystic Falls that’s supernatural.
Klaus is still at the bar with Ray, whom he has plans for. He cuts himself, feeds Ray some of his blood, and kills him. Stefan returns, and Klaus is pleased that he kept his promise to come back. He thinks Stefan still cares about Damon and his old life, though. Stefan says he doesn’t care about anything anymore. Klaus accuses him of putting on an act; he almost believes it. He hopes Damon does. But Klaus knows that every time Stefan feeds, “the blood makes it easier to let go.”
Elena goes home, where Alaric is packing up to leave. (Music: “A Drop in the Ocean,” Ron Pope) He thinks he’s overstayed his welcome. He’s a bad role model and isn’t doing Elena and Jeremy any good. He reminds Elena that she’s 18 now, so she can do this on her own, and better than Alaric can.
Tyler and Caroline go at it at Lockwood Landing, not even bothering to close his bedroom door before they get naked. Guys, Carol doesn’t want to see that! Back at Vamp Villa, Damon trashes Stefan’s bedroom in anger over everything he can’t do for him and Elena.
Stefan leaves the bar and stands in the parking lot. After a pause, during which he must turn his emotions back on, he calls Elena, but her phone is on silent and she takes a little while to realize it’s ringing. When she answers, he doesn’t say anything, but she guesses it’s him. As he fights to hold back tears, she tells him he’ll be okay. She loves him, and he needs to hold on to that. He should never let it go.
Sometime during the night, Caroline tries to sneak out of Lockwood Landing without waking Tyler or alerting Carol. Carol catches her anyway. When Caroline reaches for her purse, she’s burned by the vervain it’s been coated in. Carol shoots her with vervain darts and knocks her out.
Etc.: I need Klaus to compel someone to give Damon a haircut.
“Just because I tell you things doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them” is hilarious and so perfectly Caroline.
The writers must think that since Virginia and Tennessee are next to each other, it must not take long to between them. Guys, please look things up on the Internet.
The kids in Mystic Falls have some unbelievable guts to drink at a party attended by their history teacher.