Bonnie tells Jeremy what happened at the end-of-summer party as we see a replay of Silas killing Rudy. After that, he compelled everyone to forget what he did, so only Bonnie knows that Rudy’s dead. Jeremy wants to comfort her, but it’s hard when he can’t touch her. To make things worse, her father wasn’t supernatural, so he didn’t go to the Other Side, which means Bonnie won’t see him again. She tell Jeremy that Silas has compelled everyone to keep an eye out for Katherine. The gang can’t let him have whatever he wants her for.
Speaking of Katherine, she’s not doing too great, and things aren’t about to get any better. She spent the night hiding out and finally flags down someone who can give her some help. But that person is from Mystic Falls and knows she needs to report Katherine’s location to Silas. She maces Katherine, then starts to call Silas. Katherine attacks the woman, knocking her out, and realizes for the first time that when you’re human, hitting someone hurts. Matt arrives with a gun and warns that being shot will hurt even more.
Stefan hallucinates hanging out by the quarry with Elena, trying to enjoy a simple moment with her so he doesn’t completely lose it. She tells him he’s just distracting himself. She starts coughing up water as the real Stefan briefly revives before drowning again.
At Whitmore, some students have set up a memorial for Megan, which Caroline thinks is overdramatic – no one there actually knew her. Elena tells Caroline she can stop competing with their dead roommate. Caroline is cranky because Tyler isn’t coming to college yet. Since he’s deferring from school and from returning her calls, she’s deferring from ever having sex with him again. Heh.
She’s packing up Megan’s things but hasn’t found any indication of how much she knew about vampires or when she might have met Grayson. Elena managed to get a copy of her death certificate, which rules her death a suicide and doesn’t mention the bites on her neck. Sounds like Whitmore has a cover-up crew just like Mystic Falls’ Founder’s Council.
The person who signed the death certificate is Wes Maxfield, a professor of applied microbiology. Elena has gotten herself and Caroline into his class so they can learn more about him. Caroline protests taking a detour from their plan to have a fun, normal freshman year. Elena reminds her that they need to protect themselves and keep their vampirism a secret. She’s taking a page from Damon’s book to infiltrate an organization that might want them gone. Caroline, who wanted to major in drama, will have to put her acting skills to use.
Damon and Liz go to the quarry, the last place Damon knows Stefan went. He thinks Silas dumped Stefan there so no one would find him. Liz is willing to keep quiet about Rudy’s death until the gang learns more, but she can’t approve a team to search the quarry for someone who might not even be there. Damon says it’s a start. Plus, he feels bad that he spent the summer playing house with Elena while Stefan drowned over and over.
As Liz gets the ball rolling on a search, Jeremy calls Damon to report that Matt found Katherine. “How shockingly useful,” Damon comments. Katherine wishes she’d killed Matt when she had the chance, but she’s a sucker for his blue eyes. Jeremy tells Damon that Silas appears to have used mind control to build an army of spies. Damon’s impressed that “the Gilbert-Donovan brain trust” figured that out. He tells Jeremy to hide Katherine, then himself, since he’s the last person Silas saw her with.
Matt ties Katherine up, which is really the nicest thing he and Jeremy could do to her, considering she made Jeremy crash his car, then left him there to die. She argues that she was protecting herself so Damon couldn’t trade her to Silas for Stefan. Matt asks how many people’s deaths Katherine has justified by saying she was protecting herself. She guesses the guys are still going to give her to Silas. She’s done this before. She’s the leverage, the thing everyone wants: “I’m the fricking moonstone.”
Elena and Caroline go to Wes’ class, trying to convince Jesse that they should totally be there, even though they’re freshmen and one of them is a drama major. He asks if Caroline’s going to the bonfire that night, or if she’s going to get really close and then leave, like she did at the party at Whitmore House. Elena plays matchmaker, telling him she’ll be there. Caroline is annoyed, but Elena reminds her that part of her plan for their freshman year was making bad decisions about boys.
Wes starts class with a history lesson: Whitmore was a hospital during the Civil War. Every week, they burned all the rotting bodies. They should keep that in mind during that night’s bonfire. Caroline thinks Wes is creepy. Elena thinks he’s hot. He busts them for chatting, as well as for being in a class they shouldn’t be in, and kicks them out.
Elena calls Damon and vows to find out whatever Wes is hiding. Damon’s still at the quarry, where a search team is working. Elena can’t compel Wes because she assumes he’s on vervain, since he knows about vampires. Damon suggests violence or torture, which Elena is also not going to try. He’s disappointed that he, a “reformed serial killer,” is dating someone who uses her words instead of her fists. She asks what a hero would do, but he doesn’t know.
Silas appears on the quad, but since Elena doesn’t know what’s been going on back in Mystic Falls, she thinks he’s Stefan. Damon tries to warn her, but Silas compels her to hang up before she can hear anything. He tells her he’s there to apologize in person for not getting in touch with her. She hugs him and tells him not to worry her like that again.
Silas says he needed space after Elena chose Damon. He won’t say where he was; he figures Damon will tell her. Elena’s surprised that Silas already talked to Damon, since Damon didn’t say anything about that. Silas comments that he must have his hands full with Jeremy’s antics, like his expulsion (which Elena didn’t know about). By the way, Silas would like to find Jeremy, so does Elena happen to know where he is?
He’s at a gas station, fueling up so he and Jeremy can continue taking Katherine somewhere far away from Silas. She wants to get out of the car, but the guys refuse to let her, since she’s a flight risk. Jeremy gives in when she asks to use the bathroom. She describes various human ailments she’s dealing with – a headache, a sore throat, a cough – and tells Jeremy to get her some medication from the station’s mini-mart. Jeremy doesn’t want to risk being recognized, so Matt goes in. While the guys are occupied, Katherine tries to make a break for it. The mini-mart clerk recognizes her and starts to call Silas. Matt yells for Jeremy to catch her, then knocks out the clerk when he pulls out a gun.
Damon goes to Whitmore looking for Elena, whom Caroline thinks went to the bonfire to find out more about Wes. Damon tells her about Silas and how he’s masquerading as Stefan. Caroline realizes that Elena was right when she said she had a feeling that something was wrong with Stefan.
Elena lets Silas use her phone to call Jeremy, who doesn’t pick up. Silas says he’s going to hold on to the phone in case Jeremy calls back. Elena asks why Silas is so worried about Jeremy. He says he’s cleaning up one of Damon’s messes, as usual. She’s not pleased that Damon kept something so big from her, but she realizes “Stefan” probably doesn’t want to hear her complaints. He reads her mind and says he knows what she’s thinking. He gets a text telling him that Jeremy was spotted on Route 9, which Elena says is the location of a site where the Gilberts used to go camping.
Damon looks for Silas and Elena on the quad, but Silas spots him first. Damon grabs him by the throat, but Silas compels him to let go. He says he gets why Damon likes Elena – Silas himself has a weakness for brunettes – but not why she likes him. “It’s because you haven’t had sex with me,” Damon replies. Silas thinks he’s scared. He won’t tell Damon why he came to see Elena, because that would ruin the fun.
After the sun goes down, the bonfire kicks off. Caroline joins Damon to look for Elena, concerned that Silas might hurt her to hurt Damon. Caroline notes that if Damon had just told the truth, they wouldn’t be in this mess. They bump into some guy who channels Duke by being annoyed that someone accidentally made physical contact. Damon starts to attack him, so Caroline compels the guy to forget them and leave. She tells Damon to calm down, something Damon doesn’t know how to do on a good day, and definitely not when they don’t know who at the bonfire could be a spy for Silas.
On the plus side, Elena is completely unharmed and is also at the bonfire. Jesse helps her with a tricky keg and is impressed when she chugs her beer. She blames boyfriend drama. He comments that between that and getting kicked out of Wes’ class, she’s having a rough day. Elena asks about Wes, and Jesse offers to tell her all the dirt if she helps him get some more firewood.
She follows him to a storage shed, where he says that Wes is a jerk, but brilliant. There’s a rumor that he’s part of a campus secret society. Jesse doesn’t know anything about it other than that they meet at Whitmore House. Damon suddenly zooms in and knocks Jesse out. “I kind of liked him,” Caroline laments when she joins them.
Jeremy, Matt, and Katherine camp out in the woods, and Jeremy warns Katherine not to try to steal one of their guns. She says she doesn’t know how to use one – she’s never needed to, since she was always a weapon herself. As Matt goes off to get more wood for their fire, Katherine complains that after 500 years of surviving loss and Klaus’ threats, she’s not thrilled that a sinus infection is taking her down. Jeremy gives her his flannel, which is pretty generous considering SHE KILLED HIM.
Silas finds Matt and compels him to stay silent. It doesn’t work, and Matt yells for Jeremy to run. Silas is confused about his inability to get into Matt’s head. He looks into his memories and sees Nadia and her buddy who ambushed Matt. Silas says someone’s already in Matt’s head. “Why are you watching me, Traveler?” he asks. He yells something in Polish, then snaps Matt’s neck.
Matt finds himself on the Other Side, which is just like people have described it: He can see and hear what’s going on in the world, but he can’t interact with anyone and they can’t see him. Bonnie appears and explains that Matt’s Gilbert ring brought him to the Other Side temporarily. He needs to reconnect with his body to go back. Every time he dies, he wakes up farther away from his body and has to search for it (which explains why Alaric took longer and longer to wake up after multiple deaths). Matt asks how Bonnie can see him if he’s on the Other Side. She tells him there’s something he should know.
Elena takes Damon to the Super Suite, not to yell at him but to make out with him. He tries to be responsible and put on the brakes, but she ignores him. Then she forces him to drink vervain water and ties him to a chair. He guesses that Silas got in her head and gave her orders. She confirms that he told her to get Damon alone, weaken him, and kill him.
After a little more vervain water, Elena prepares to stake her boyfriend. He spits water on her to burn her, and she snaps out of it and realizes what she was about to do. She can’t believe she fell for Silas’ act as Stefan. Damon hesitates to tell her that he doesn’t actually know where Stefan is, especially since she’s still compelled to kill him. He thinks her anger is acting like a trigger. Elena doesn’t know how to resist it, so she sits down across from him and impales her leg with a fireplace poker so she’s stuck where she can’t reach him.
Caroline brings Jesse a popsicle since she couldn’t find any ice to put on the black eye Damon gave him. He’s not that sad about the attack, since it led to him and Caroline being alone together. She tells him she has a boyfriend, and Jesse acknowledges that being apart from your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll grow apart. In his case, though, it did; his girlfriend found someone else and cheated on him. Before then, Jesse thought things would be great, even when others said they might not be, so he gets what Caroline’s going through.
Jeremy gives Katherine the keys to Matt’s truck and tells her to keep going on her own. He doesn’t want to leave Matt behind. Katherine chastises him for not being smart like she was for 500 years: She never looked back. He needs to focus on himself to survive. “That’s why people treat you like an object and not like a person,” Jeremy says.
Bonnie tells Matt that the Other Side hasn’t been so bad, since she still gets to see Jeremy and Sheila. She thinks she’ll adjust better once she gets past her grief over Rudy. Matt tells her it’s okay that she’s not okay – she and her father both died. Bonnie says it has to be okay because she can’t do anything. He tells her he’s sorry and hugs her as she cries.
Jeremy finds Matt’s body, which Silas was apparently counting on, since he’s lurking around. He guesses that since Jeremy isn’t sad to see Matt dead, he must not be gone permanently. Jeremy reveals that because he’s a hunter, Silas can’t get inside his head. Silas says that means he’s not useful. Jeremy replies that Silas isn’t much good himself – he’s slower and weaker than a vampire, and he’s facing off with a hunter (who works out).
The two of them grapple a little, and Jeremy gets the upper hand by grabbing Silas from behind to break his neck. But Silas he has an advantage Jeremy doesn’t: immortality. He uses a branch to stab himself, passing it through his body until it also stabs Jeremy. Jeremy lets Silas go, but before Silas can start the fight again, a shot rings out. Katherine figured out how to fire a gun, and she came to save Little Gilbert.
In the Super Suite, Damon has told Elena everything, including that Rudy’s dead. Elena thinks Bonnie must have tried to call her after Silas took her phone. Damon says protecting Jeremy and finding Stefan are more important than Bonnie’s grief. Elena gets mad at him again, and he reminds her that she needs to keep her anger under control. She blasts him for making Jeremy protect Katherine. Also, Stefan’s been suffering for months and Elena’s been sleeping with a serial killer.
She gets riled up again and breaks the gas line in the fireplace. Damon urges her to find a way to break Silas’ compulsion before she kills them both. She starts trying to light matches as Damon seizes on Stefan as someone she can focus on. He tells her to describe the feeling she’s had all summer that something was wrong with Stefan. She says it’s a chill, like she can feel him. He’s trying to reach out to her, and she can understand what he’s trying to say, though she doesn’t know where he is.
Stefan revives in the safe and drowns again as Elena says he’s lonely and in pain. She tells Damon they need to find him, and he promises that they will. Elena’s calmed down, and she drops the matches. Just then, Caroline comes in and takes in the sight of Damon tied to a chair and Elena with a poker through her leg. “I think we need to set some ground rules for when boyfriends come to visit,” Caroline tells her roommate.
Bonnie goes with Matt as he looks for his body, which he feels drawn to. Jeremy and Katherine have loaded it in the back of his truck. Matt guesses that he’ll forget all this when he wakes up – he’ll forget that Bonnie’s dead. He urges her to tell the gang. How can she deal with Rudy’s death if she can’t deal with her own? Bonnie just says it’s good to see him.
He revives, his memory wiped. The group needs to keep moving before Silas comes after them again, but Jeremy spots Bonnie nearby and makes an excuse to go back into the woods so he can talk to her. She tells him she’s not ready to be dead yet. She doesn’t know what to do about Rudy or what will happen when Liz tries to get in touch with her. Jeremy says he’ll tell everyone she’s with family. He can’t touch her or comfort her physically, but he’s still there for her, no matter what she needs.
Silas goes to the gas station Matt, Jeremy, and Katherine stopped at earlier. As he’s making the clerk fill up a cup with his blood, Nadia arrives with a guy named Gregor. Silas knows who they are – Travelers – and guesses they’re mad that he killed Matt, who was Gregor’s host. The Travelers now want Silas back in his tomb. But Nadia has other ideas, starting with killing Gregor. She lets Silas read her mind and learn what she’s plotting.
The next day, Elena packs up to go back to Mystic Falls and find Stefan. Wes runs into her and apologizes for being a jerk in class. He knows she’s Grayson’s daughter; they never met, but Grayson’s a legend at Whitmore, and Wes wants to do the kind of work Grayson did. Elena asks if Grayson also forged death certificates. Wes invites her to chat during office hours the next day, but she tells him she’s working on some other priorities right now. He says the invitation is open-ended.
As he leaves, Damon arrives and asks if Elena’s really going to give up on finding out more about Wes. She trusts Caroline to handle that while she deals with Stefan. Damon gives her Stefan’s daylight ring, which he stole from Silas. He tells her that he’s secure enough in their relationship not to be bothered by the weird psychic dreams she’s having about an ex. Not that he likes them, of course. Elena promises that she’ll love him even after they save Stefan.
They make out for, like, five minutes until Liz calls to tell Damon that the searchers found something. When Damon and Elena get to Mystic Falls, Liz takes them to Stefan’s safe, which was found a few miles from the quarry. Damon opens it, but Stefan’s not inside. Instead, it holds a bloody human corpse. Damon guesses that Stefan had a snack, then moved on to find a bigger meal.
Etc.: I know Silas’ mind control isn’t really compulsion, since he’s not a vampire, but it’s pretty much the same so I’m not going to bother to come up with another name for it.
You’d think Damon would have more respect for Matt now that Matt has literally given his life for Elena. But it’s Damon, so what should I expect?
I would pay a lot of money to trade Tyler for Jesse.
How does Elena, who has dated two undeniably hot guys, think Wes is also hot?
Caroline, when Damon lets himself into the Super Suite: “Damon! Towel! Knock!” Damon: “Caroline! No one cares! No!” Heh.
Paul Wesley (birth name: Paweł Wasilewski) is Polish and speaks the language fluently.
Why would you need a fireplace poker and matches for a gas fireplace?