Stefan and Elena spent the night in the woods. In a flashback to Vamp Villa the night before, Damon tells Stefan he’s making a mistake by trying to get Elena on animal blood without ever trying human blood (well, other than the taste she had to complete her transition). Maybe she’ll be able to live as a vampire without hurting anyone, which Stefan knows she wouldn’t be able to handle. In the woods, Stefan finds a kills a deer for his girlfriend.
At Vamp Villa, Damon tells Stefan that Elena needs human blood from the vein. Stefan knows that since she’s a newbie, she’ll accidentally kill someone if she drinks from them. Damon says the “bunny diet” won’t last. In the woods, Elena feeds on the deer. At Vamp Villa, Stefan says that Elena will turn off her humanity if she hurts too many people. Damon thinks she’ll get over it. She can’t learn to control her blood lust if she’s never experienced it. It’s cheating to bypass that part of being a vampire.
In the woods, Elena’s emotional about her first feeding. Stefan assures her that the deer will heal. He’s proud of her for doing something so difficult and is sure she’ll be okay as a vampire. At Vamp Villa, Elena finds Stefan and Damon arguing, and Damon tells her that since she’s a vampire, she needs to just be one. It’s natural for them to feed on people. He predicts that she’ll be miserable on Stefan’s animal diet.
In the woods, Stefan teaches Elena how to vamp run. She’s distracted since he’s touching her. He asks what it feels like, and she says it’s like he’s touching all her nerves. He reminds her that everything is heightened for her now, and that includes good things. They forget what they were doing and start making out. They suddenly stop so Elena can run off to throw up. Romantic!
A man we’ll later learn is named Connor Jordan sneaks into Pastor Young’s farmhouse and looks around. He finds the detached gas line and the lighter the pastor used to blow up himself and the Founder’s Council. In the oven he finds an envelope addressed to someone named April.
Liz finds Damon drinking at the Grill, but he won’t let her sit next to him. She shows him a newspaper article about the explosion, which is being blamed on a faulty gas line. She suspects Damon’s responsible. He notes that he likes taking credit for his kills. Plus, if he was going to kill a bunch of people, he wouldn’t blow them up. Connor enters the Grill as Liz says the explosion wasn’t an accident. Damon doesn’t see the downside to the whole council being wiped out. Liz says they were her friends, and he reminds her that those friends tried to kill her daughter. Connor approaches Liz and introduces himself, saying he’s investigating the explosion. He ignores Damon, not that Damon wanted to talk to him anyway.
Matt and Jeremy are picking up a bunch of paper lanterns from school for a town-wide memorial for the dead council members. Matt thinks lighting something on fire to honor people who died in an explosion is a bad idea. He asks about Elena, whom Jeremy says is doing fine, considering her whole life just changed. Matt still feels horrible that she turned because Stefan saved him instead of her. He wants to find a way to make that up to her.
A girl approaches the guys and Jeremy recognizes her as April, one of Elena’s former babysitting charges. Her father was Pastor Young, so she’s back in town to attend his funeral. She’s been away at boarding school but will now be attending Mystic Falls High. She’s trying to figure out how to respond to people’s condolences, and she doesn’t seem particularly sad about her father’s death.
Elena calls Caroline from Vamp Villa to ask for help with some “adjustment issues.” Stefan brings her a bottle of champagne from the year she was born so they can celebrate her first feed. He also felt sick every time he fed for the first month of being a vampire, and he promises it’ll get easier. Elena notes that he’s in a good mood. He says it’s because she’s still around. As they’re about to start making out again, Damon calls.
Elena goes to the Grill and asks Damon if he killed the council. He also won’t let her sit next to him, saying the seat’s taken. She notes that no one’s there, but he says he’s pretending there is because the alternative is too depressing. Aw, he misses Alaric! Elena asks again if Damon killed the council. “Am I wearing my ‘I blew up the council’ T-shirt?” he replies. He swears he wasn’t involved.
Elena confides that she can’t keep down animal blood. She needs Damon’s help. He tells her to pick out a human from the restaurant, but she wants to keep trying to live by Stefan’s rules. Damon takes her to the bathroom, bites his wrist, and tells her that she needs warm blood from the vein. But she shouldn’t tell Stefan that she drank from Damon, since blood sharing is personal. I think he means “intimate.” Anyway, Elena drinks from him, and Damon definitely spends the time pretending she’s his girlfriend.
Now that Tyler’s back in his body, he and Caroline can’t keep their clothes on. She thinks they’re selfish for having sex right after a bunch of people died. Tyler thinks it’s natural. Um, how? He also says that if they stopped having sex every time someone in town died, they’d explode. Okay, fair. Caroline thinks they should be more sensitive. Tyler’s like, “I love you. Is that sensitive enough? Can we bone now?”
Connor comes to Lockwood Landing, but Carol won’t discuss the farmhouse explosion with him. He thinks she and Liz are covering something up. He asks if he can come in, and when she won’t let him, he enters anyway. He asks why Carol wasn’t at the farmhouse with the other council members. She tells him it wasn’t official town business.
Tyler comes downstairs and offers his help (though he’s really just making sure Connor knows he’s there so he doesn’t do anything to Carol). Connor introduces himself and shakes Tyler’s hand. Tyler groans in pain and his hand starts smoking. Connor pulls out a gun and shoots him.. As he starts to reload, Carol screams for Tyler to run. He zooms out of the house and Connor follows. Caroline comes downstairs and sees Tyler’s blood on the floor.
Tyler and Caroline reconnect at Vamp Villa, where Stefan removes the wooden bullets Connor fired into Tyler. They’re specially carved and have a symbol on them. Stefan says that if Tyler were a normal vampire and not a hybrid, they would have killed him. Tyler reports Connor had vervain on his gloves and didn’t hesitate to shoot when they burned him. Stefan can’t touch the bullets with his bare hands.
Matt and Elena help set up for the town-wide memorial service. She tells him that her heightened emotions are going to make this really tough. But she feels obligated to volunteer because people she’s known her whole life just died. She spots April and goes to chat with her. They haven’t seen each other since Miranda and Grayson’s funeral.
April has been invited to say something during the service, but she doesn’t know what to say. She’s worried that if she doesn’t speak, no one will. She and her dad didn’t get along, but everyone deserves to have nice things said about them when they die. Elena tells her to either say what she wants to or say nothing. Everyone in town loved Pastor Young, so April doesn’t need to worry that no one will say anything nice. Elena puts her hand on April’s arm in comfort, but when she feels April’s pulse and hears her heartbeat, she has to leave. She runs to the bathroom and throws up blood.
Stefan goes to Bonnie’s house, where Bonnie’s holed up, depressed about what happened to Sheila. She lets Stefan come in and comfort her. She tells him she feels like Sheila died all over again. Stefan thinks the witches just messed with Bonnie’s head to teach her a lesson, and Sheila’s fine. Bonnie says their methods are working – she’s too spooked to try even a small spell. She asks what Stefan came to see her about, and he offers to wait to talk about it, but she knows it must be important. He shows her the bullets and asks if she’s seen the symbol on them before. She hasn’t, but she says it’s not magical. Stefan tells her there seems to be a new vampire hunter in town.
Elena calls Damon from the church bathroom, where she’s trying to clean up all the blood. Connor’s at the door, and Damon sees him as he arrives with a change of clothes for Elena, who got blood on her dress. She tells Connor she spilled coffee. He introduces himself to Damon, who won’t shake hands because he claims he’s a germaphobe. Connor says he works in environmental cleanup and is in town to help with a “pollution problem.” Elena quickly gets cleaned up and leaves with Damon.
April is in the church’s balcony, trying to come up with something to say about her father. Connor finds her there and stabs her in the stomach with a stake.
Outside, Elena drinks from a blood bag but can’t keep that down, either. Damon wonders if she’s rejecting the transition because she’s a doppelganger. He says again that she needs to drink from the vein. Elena’s worried she’ll kill someone and says maybe she’s better off dead. He assures her that she’ll be fine. Their conversation is starting to look even more intimate than blood sharing, but she leaves to get ready for the service.
Stefan arrives and sees Damon putting away the blood bag. Damon jokes that he brought it as a snack because talking about the blood of Christ makes him hungry. Then he admits that he brought it for Elena. Stefan thinks Damon’s trying to get his way, which Damon says is the only way. Stefan reminds him that if Elena hurts someone, she’ll feel guilty and might turn off her emotions. Damon asks if she might also become a Ripper. Stefan says he can’t let Elena become like him. “God forbid she’s anything like me,” Damon replies.
He thinks Elena will eventually lose control, so they might as well let it happen now and then get her back on track. Stefan disagrees – Elena’s strong, and she’ll be fine if they help her. Damon reveals that Elena hasn’t been able to keep blood down for days, and has hidden that from Stefan. His way isn’t working. Damon also reveals that she drank from him, then pretends he didn’t mean to tell Stefan that.
Inside, Elena sits with Matt and Jeremy, trying to keep it together. Jeremy says April was looking for her, but he doesn’t know where she went. She’s now bound and gagged in the balcony, where Connor’s setting up a rifle. A few rows back from Elena, Stefan asks Tyler why he’s at the funeral when a hunter is looking for him. Tyler doesn’t want to let Connor keep him from his responsibility to be there for his community. “Also, if he shows his face, I’m gonna kick his a%$,” Caroline says. Stefan seems to think that’s good enough.
Carol starts the service by inviting April up to speak about her father. Up in the balcony, Connor loads his gun with wooden bullets that are much bigger than the ones he used on Tyler. April’s obviously not able to speak right now, and no one else offers to say nice things about Pastor Young, so Elena volunteers. Connor aims his gun at her as she goes to the front of the church.
Damon enters, entertaining himself by dipping his fingers in the holy water. He sits next to Stefan, who’s not sitting with the other members of the gang, and they bicker about Elena again. Stefan ends it with, “Oh, bite me.” Good one. Elena tells the attendees that the worst day of loving someone is the day you lose them. She suddenly stops, and Caroline guesses why: She can smell blood. April’s blood is dripping through the balcony floor into the holy water below. Damon quietly tells all the super-hearing members of the gang not to move. It’s a trap.
Elena tries to ignore the sight, sound, and smell of the dripping blood, but she’s not strong enough to keep herself together. Fortunately, it just looks like she’s overcome with grief and can’t continue. Stefan goes up and leads her back to her seat with Matt and Jeremy. The pastor cues up a hymn as Stefan encourages Elena to fight her hunger. Matt tells him to take her out of the church, but Stefan knows that’ll make Connor suspicious. Damon offers to kill Connor, which Stefan thinks will risk exposing all of them.
Elena’s desperate, and Damon tells Stefan that he has ten seconds to do something before Damon kills Connor. Matt announces that Elena can feed from him. From Connor’s viewpoint, it looks like Matt’s hugging Elena and letting her cry into his neck. She drinks from him, and she’s able to both control herself and keep the blood down.
As Tyler goes to the front of the church, Elena says the blood must be April’s, and they need to help her. Tyler interrupts the hymn to say some things about Pastor Young. Connor turns his gun to him as he says Pastor Young helped him understand how important it is to be part of a team and community. You have to give yourself up for –
He doesn’t get to finish, since Connor fires a stake into his chest. Attendees flee the church, as does Connor. The gang runs to Tyler and Caroline pulls the stake out of him. Stefan realizes that Damon’s going to go hunt down Connor, so he goes after him. Elena leaves as well while Carol calls an ambulance, even though Tyler doesn’t need one. She has to make the town think he’s hurt.
Damon finds Connor, who shoots him a bunch of times and tries to stake him. He leaves when he hears Stefan nearby. Stefan starts to help Damon up, then punches him. Damon asks what that was for. “You know what,” Stefan replies. Back inside, Elena finds April and can’t help herself from vamping out. Caroline stops her before she can feed on April, reminding her that April is friend, not food.
Elena calms down as Caroline says that April is an orphan now, like Elena. She’s scared like Elena was. Caroline feeds April her blood and promises that no one’s going to hurt her. She suggests that Elena be the one to compel April to forget what happened. Elena protests, but Caroline says she won’t learn compulsion unless she practices it. She just needs to believe the lie she’s telling. Elena tells April she’ll get through this just as Elena did. Elena will help her. She makes April believe that she watched the ceremony from the balcony so she could grieve alone. People said nice things.
Matt and Jeremy to go the Grill after the service, wondering how the paper will cover what happened. Connor’s there and asks Matt about the bandage on his neck. Matt says his girlfriend went overboard. Jeremy admires the tattoo suddenly covering Connor’s arm, then heads off with Matt. Matt’s confused about Jeremy’s comment since Connor doesn’t have any tattoos. Jeremy insists that he does.
Connor goes to the RV he’s been staying in and reads the note he found in the oven. Pastor Young mentions that this is the first sacrifice of many, and the evil that’s always been in Mystic Falls is about to be joined by a bigger one. His death is just the first in a coming war. He’ll see April again when they find salvation.
At Vamp Villa, Stefan encourages Elena to drink some bourbon to help curb her cravings. He’s upset that she lied to him. She says she didn’t want to ruin his happiness that she was doing well. Stefan tells her that if she’s miserable, he is, too. The fact that she went to Damon for help makes it worse. The blood sharing means something big to Stefan, and he knows it means something to Damon.
Elena starts crying, then gets angry about it – she’s sick of crying. She feels like she hasn’t stopped since her parents died. Her life has become a “never-ending funeral.” They keep burying people, and her grief is heightened like everything else about her now. She feels like the pain is trying to explode out of her. Stefan tells her there’s something they need to do.
The gang (minus Tyler) gathers at the school, where Stefan hands out paper lanterns and says they’re going to finish the memorial. They’ve all lost a lot of people and they need to start healing instead of ignoring their feelings or joking around. They need to let themselves grieve. Damon says they should be focusing on Connor and what he knows about the death of the council members. Stefan replies that tonight, they’re doing this.
He lights a lantern for Zach, Lexi, and Alaric. (Music: “Ungodly Hour,” the Fray) Matt lights one for Vicki, and Caroline lights one for Bill and Richard. Jeremy’s is for Miranda, Grayson, Vicki, Anna, Jenna, and Alaric. Damon refuses to participate and walks away. Bonnie lights a lantern for Sheila, and Elena lights one for Miranda, Grayson, and Jenna, as well as everyone the town has lost. It’s also for herself in a way. They let the lanterns go and they fly up into the night sky. And none for John Gilbert, ‘bye!
Damon goes to the cemetery to drink at his favorite drinking buddy’s grave. He mocks the rest of the gang for lighting Japanese lanterns – a symbol of letting go of the past – when they’re not Japanese. He says they’re children. Lighting candles and saying prayers won’t do anything. Neither will pretending that Elena won’t end up a murderer like every other vampire. “Stupid, delusional, exasperating little children,” he says.
He continues that he knows Alaric would say that they should do what makes them feel better. But what’s the point if it won’t last? When you lose someone, candles and prayers don’t fill the hole where your loved one used to be. He can’t see him but Alaric is there with him.
Damon says all he has is a rock for Alaric’s tombstone, and he’s pretty sure the birthday on it is wrong. He sarcastically thanks Alaric for leaving him there to babysit the children. Damon was supposed to leave town since Elena chose Stefan, but he’s still there, keeping an eye on the kids. Alaric owes him for sticking around. Damon leaves some alcohol in the bottle, as if he’s saving it for Alaric, and walks away. “I miss you, too, buddy,” Alaric says. And I miss you, buddy.
Keep in mind: Connor has a tattoo that only Jeremy can see.
Etc.: I don’t see the point of April. Was she supposed to be a love interest for Jeremy? That never happens. Did they just need another human around? Fine, but there’s such a thing as character development.
Stefan comforting Bonnie is really sweet. And her letting him comfort her is also really sweet. She could have sent him away or let him stay outside. The fact that she even invites him in says a lot about how her feelings about him have changed.
Really, Connor? Hurting a human was your best idea? What were the plans you rejected before you settled on that one?
I love the gang using their super-hearing abilities to communicate while they’re spread out. I wish they’d done that more through the series.
The problem with what Elena tells April is that it’ll only take one conversation for April to realize something’s wrong. She’ll need to mention that, you know, someone was shot in front of everyone.