Andie has gone from reporting the news to being the news, as a reporter is talking on air about her death. Damon’s watching while taking down his map of Stefan and Klaus’ movements. Elena comes over to make him talk to her, since he’s been avoiding her calls. She tells him that Stefan called her last night but didn’t say anything. Liz traced the call to Tennessee. Damon tells Elena that Stefan’s gone, and not just in the sense that he’s out of town. Elena disagrees, since if he were really done with them, he wouldn’t have called.
She next goes to Alaric’s apartment and demands that he tell her what he knows about Stefan and his time in Tennessee. Alaric reminds her that he’s retired from taking care of people. Elena tells him she can’t get any help from Damon, which Alaric thinks is good, because it’s not safe for her to try to find Stefan. Elena insists that he can still be saved. Alaric asks why she has to be the one who saves him. She replies that she’s not like Alaric and won’t walk away from people she cares about. She knows Stefan wouldn’t give up on her, so she won’t give up on him. Alaric finally spills that Stefan and Klaus have been tracking werewolves.
The pair is now in the Smoky Mountains with Ray, who hasn’t woken up yet after Klaus gave him blood and then killed him. Klaus asks if Stefan needs a break from carrying Ray, or maybe some water. Stefan tells him he’s not up for small talk. Klaus mocks him for all his brooding and self-loathing. Stefan says he’s just sick of looking for werewolves. But the search is over, because they’ve found Ray’s pack. Klaus introduces himself and is pleased to see that they’ve heard of him.
Carol has a vervain dart left over from her attack on Caroline the night before, and she pours it in a coffee pot at Lockwood Landing. She waits for Tyler to drink some, but he starts to leave the room without taking a sip. She stops him by telling him that if he wants to have a girl spend the night, she would prefer the girl not sneak out like a prostitute. Or at least Carol’s going to let Tyler think she snuck out. He drinks the coffee but doesn’t give Carol the reaction she’s expecting. He thinks it tastes weird because the cream is bad. After he leaves, she makes a phone call to someone named Bill, telling him that she’s gotten into “a vampire situation.”
At the Grill, Jeremy tells Matt that he saw Vicki again after they talked about how he’s been seeing things. Matt looks uncomfortable and tells Jeremy to talk to Bonnie about this. Jeremy notes that talking to his current girlfriend about seeing his dead girlfriend would be too weird. He’s done some research about making contact with dead people and wants Matt’s help. Matt declines, but Jeremy tells him that Vicki asked for help. He promises he’s not messing with Matt. He thinks if anyone can help Jeremy connect to Vicki, it’s Matt.
Elsewhere in the restaurant, Alaric hangs out at the bar while Elena and Tyler talk about werewolves. Tyler knows that some packs like to find places where they can transition without chaining themselves up. They often go to deserts or mountains. He knows of some places in Tennessee and offers to get Elena a map. She appreciates the help, but Tyler feels like he owes her since Stefan’s with Klaus because Tyler bit Damon. He asks if she’s talked to Caroline today, but Elena hasn’t.
Elena wants Alaric to accompany her on a road trip to the Smoky Mountains. He points out how crazy it would be to look for a pack of werewolves just before a full moon. Elena says they’ll be gone by the time the moon is full. If Alaric doesn’t tag along, she’ll just go by herself. After all, he told her she can handle things on her own now that she’s 18. He meant dinners and the SAT, not searching for werewolves, but her strategy works and he agrees to come along.
Klaus tells Ray’s pack about his hybrid nature and the advantages he’ll have now that he won’t burn in the sun or turn at the full moon. Ray wakes up and Stefan asks if anyone with the pack is human, since Ray needs human blood to complete his transition. One werewolf, Paige, has brought her human boyfriend Derek along, and Klaus bites him to draw blood. Stefan tells Ray to drink, or Stefan will do it himself, and he won’t be able to stop himself. Klaus tells Paige that this is the new order. She needs to join it or die. She says she’d rather die than be a vampire, but she doesn’t really have a choice. Klaus feeds her his blood and says she’ll thank him later.
Tyler hangs out at the Grill, waiting for Caroline, whom he still hasn’t heard from. He tells Matt that he didn’t want his friendship with Caroline to be a problem for him and Matt. Matt brushes that off, probably because he’s realized that Jeremy seeing Vicki is a much bigger problem. He realizes that Tyler needs Caroline right now because there’s a full moon that night, and she helps him with his transition. He starts to offer his own help, but Tyler says he can handle it.
Matt gives him some coffee and Tyler comments that something must be going on with his taste buds, because this brew tastes weird, too. Matt tells him he’s tasting vervain – Liz sometimes has him put it in the coffee. Humans don’t usually taste it.
Bill meets Carol at Lockwood Landing, where she tells him Caroline is a vampire. Carol’s been putting the pieces together for a while and hasn’t told anyone else on the Founder’s Council. She can’t be involved in this, so she needs Bill to handle it. He says that with vampires, they do what they have to do.
Elena and Alaric have found that magical shortcut between Virginia and Tennessee that he and Damon used in the last episode, and they’re already in the mountains. They just have a few hours to get in and out before the moon is full. Elena teases that Alaric must have been a Boy Scout when he was younger. He says now he’s just a lost cause.
Alaric has brought a good amount of weapons, including a wolfsbane grenade. Elena offers him an extra piece of protection – John’s Gilbert ring. Alaric tells her to save it for her future kids, AKA “stubborn, relentless baby Gilberts.” Elena gets him to agree to wear it for at least this adventure. As they’re getting ready to start hiking again, someone runs up and shoves Elena into a nearby lake. It’s Damon, and he’s ticked. Alaric told him where they were going, since there was no way he was going to take Elena to a mountain full of werewolves without backup.
After Klaus has fed and killed all the werewolves, he turns back to Ray, who’s not showing the typical signs of a vampire who’s completed their transition. Stefan asks if Klaus’ master plan is to build an army of hybrid slaves. Klaus says they’ll be soldiers or comrades instead. It’s not that there’s a war going on; Klaus just thinks it’s smart to build himself an army so big that no one will ever try to start a war with him. Stefan asks how he knows the army will be loyal. Klaus says that’s not hard when your team keeps winning. Stefan will learn that once he stops moping.
Stefan asks if Klaus is keeping him around just to see him change his attitude. Klaus replies that Stefan will find out why he’s still there when Klaus wants him to. They realize something’s wrong with Ray, whose eyes are bleeding.
Elena’s still in the lake, refusing to get out because she knows Damon will make her go home. She’s mad that Damon has given up on Stefan. He corrects that he’s just facing reality. He tells her to get out of the water, but she says no, so he joins her. She tells him this is the closest she’s been to Stefan since he left; she’s not going to just turn around and go home.
Damon reminds her that Klaus thinks Elena died when he broke the curse, which is the only thing keeping her safe. Klaus plus full moon plus pack of werewolves equals big danger. Elena says they’ll find Stefan before the moon is an issue. She begs Damon not to make her leave. He gives in, not wanting to risk being “werewolf bait,” unless Elena wants to give him another deathbed kiss.
Ray isn’t getting any better. “Some master race,” Stefan remarks to Klaus. Paige wakes up, and as Klaus takes Derek to her so she can feed, Ray takes off into the woods. Klaus sends Stefan after him, but when Stefan catches up to him, Ray bites him and runs off. That’s when Stefan’s vamp hearing picks up Elena and Damon’s voices nearby.
Klaus joins Stefan, who tells him that Ray got away, then tries to get him to return to the pack before he can see Damon, Elena, and Alaric. Klaus notices his bite and tells Stefan he’ll get his blood as a cure after Stefan tracks down Ray. Klaus returns to the pack, who are all waking up. Like Ray, Paige’s eyes are bleeding.
Tyler goes home and confronts Carol for putting vervain in his coffee. He wants to know why Carol thinks he might be a vampire. Carol reveals that she knows Caroline is one, and since Tyler’s been spending a lot of time with her, it was a fair assumption. Tyler realizes that Carol has done something to his new girlfriend. She sternly tells him that he can’t be with Caroline – she’s a monster. Tyler realizes that Carol doesn’t know that her son is also something she would consider to be a monster.
The sun is starting to set but Elena, Damon, and Alaric haven’t found Stefan yet. They come across Ray, who senses that Damon is a vampire and attacks him. Alaric shoots Ray with a crossbow, but it doesn’t slow him down. Elena saves the day instead, tossing Damon a wolfsbane grenade that he explodes in Ray’s face. The group realizes they’re dealing with a hybrid.
Matt and Jeremy go to Matt’s garage, where he’s kept all of Vicki’s belongings. Jeremy thinks they can use something there to build a stronger connection to her. Matt chooses a picture of him and Vicki as kids at Christmas. He’s still not sure why he’s going along with this. Jeremy says Vicki’s his sister and Matt has a chance to help her. Matt decides he can’t take part in this, so Jeremy starts to leave. As Matt follows, he hears a sound behind him. The picture, which was lying face-down, is now standing up.
Damon, Elena, and Alaric tie up Ray in hopes of getting far away from him before he transitions. Elena thinks that if they can get information out of him, they can just leave without going near the other werewolves. But Ray starts turning, even though it’s still daylight, and Damon realizes the ropes and chains they’ve used to tie him up won’t hold him. Elena decides it’s finally time to leave.
Klaus is done with Derek, so he kills him. The rest of the pack is acting the same as Ray – not so much the hybrid army Klaus wanted as a group of zombies. As Elena, Alaric, and Damon race to leave the mountains, she falls, and before she can get up, Damon tells her not to move – there’s a wolf right next to her. Damon lures it away so Elena and Alaric can escape. Elena refuses to leave Damon behind, since she’s the reason he’s there in the first place. Alaric says it’s really his fault, since he told Damon where they were, and he’s not going to let Elena endanger herself.
Tyler takes Carol to the Lockwood cellar and chains himself up just in time for his transition. He wants her to witness it and learn about the Lockwood family’s curse. She’s horrified to see her son turning into a werewolf.
Ray finds Damon and the two of them fight. It ends when Stefan arrives and pulls out Ray’s heart. He reminds Damon that he wasn’t supposed to come looking for Stefan and Klaus again. Damon tells Stefan that if he doesn’t want Elena searching for him, he shouldn’t call her. Stefan lies that he didn’t call. Damon says that Elena won’t give up on him, and Stefan replies that she should, because he’s never coming back. He tells Damon to take Elena home.
Alaric and Elena wait for Damon in the car, though she hates the idea of Damon having to fend for himself against werewolves. Alaric says his job is keeping humans safe, so he’s going to stick to it. Elena reminds him that he said he was done taking care of people. He tells her not to try to turn this into a lesson. She says he’s better at this than he thinks, and he’s not the lost cause he believes he is. He’s just lost. But so is she, and so is Jeremy. The three of them don’t have anyone else, so they should stick together. Alaric just tells her that in that case, he’s keeping the ring.
Damon finally arrives, eager to get out of there. He won’t even let Elena take a few seconds outside the car to be happy that he’s okay. He leads her back to it as she calls him a caveman. Stefan looks on from a ridge, and Elena thinks she sees him before he zooms away.
Matt goes to Gilbert Gables to apologize for shutting Jeremy down earlier. He went through Vicki’s things and realized that most people didn’t get to see who his sister really was. Jeremy did, though, so Matt wants him to do what he needs to reach her. Jeremy tells Matt that he doesn’t remember Vicki’s death, since Elena had Damon take that memory from him. He doesn’t know what his last moment with her was like. Matt says he doesn’t remember his last moment with Vicki as a human.
Vicki suddenly appears, saying Matt’s name. Jeremy asks her what kind of help she needs. She tells him that she can come back with his help. Jeremy starts to relay this message to Matt, who can’t see or hear Vicki, but before he can, a window breaks. Anna appears and warns Jeremy not to trust Vicki.
Stefan takes Ray’s body back to his pack, who are all dead, some of them because Klaus killed them and some because they bled to death. Klaus’ big master plan to create a hybrid army was a no-go. He’s furious that he did the sacrifice ritual for nothing. When he mentions that he killed everyone he needed to, including a doppelganger, Stefan tries to keep a poker face. Klaus doesn’t notice, just saying that Stefan looks bad. Stefan reminds him that he was bitten by a werewolf. He apologizes for having to kill Ray, which means he failed Klaus. Klaus starts to walk away and leave Stefan to his fate, but he comes back and gives him some blood to cure his bite. Stefan is his only remaining comrade.
Elena’s annoyed to find Damon waiting for her in her bedroom while she’s getting ready for bed. He tells her he was wrong about Stefan being gone. He’s an “insufferable martyr that needs his a%$ kicked,” but there’s still hope that he can be saved. He wouldn’t let Damon die, so Damon owes him the same courtesy.
He asks Elena why she decided to leave the mountains after being so insistent on finding Stefan. She tries to avoid the question, but he keeps pressing her until she admits that she was worried about Damon getting hurt. She asks why he wanted to hear her say it out loud. He replies that when he brings Stefan back from the edge, he wants Elena to remember how she felt when Stefan was gone. He looks like he’s about to kiss her, but instead, he leaves, casually saying hi to Alaric as he moves back into the house. Alaric asks if Elena knows what she’s doing. She admits she doesn’t.
Tyler returns to his human form with Carol still outside his cell, having stayed with him the whole time. She promises she won’t let anything happen to Caroline. She calls Bill to tell him she’s changed her mind, but he reminds her that vampires are monsters. His family has been fighting them for almost 150 years. He knows what his responsibilities are. He hangs up before Carol can protest.
Caroline is being held in a dark cellar, chained to a chair. She hears someone approaching and thinks it’s Carol. Bill comes in to see her instead. “Daddy?” Caroline says.
Keep in mind: Alaric is wearing a Gilbert ring again.
Etc.: Look at Tyler, doing something useful! So adorable.
How is it that after knowing Elena for almost a full year, Damon still thinks she’ll listen when he tells her to do something?
Alaric’s attitude during the mountain trek is basically the same as a parent who’s dealing with two bickering kids. He visibly regrets every decision that brought him to this point.
I love the throwaway moment where Elena pours vervain on some ropes and tells Alaric to use them to tie up Ray. Damon reaches for them instead and burns himself. Elena says, “I said Ric,” like a Damon’s a kid who fell off the bed after she warned him not to jump on it.