Welcome back, everyone! It felt like that hiatus was never going to end. I swear the longest part of it was from Monday 'til now, so let's get right to it. We pick up where we left off on November fricking 19th, 2009, in "The Turning Point". Elena ripped off her Vervain necklace, fled Stefan's and ran over something that went bump in the night. Her SUV flipped, but she was still conscious. She looked out the window only to see her victim reset his own bones
He rises and plods toward her, but just as he reaches her wreck, something seems to startle him, because he flees. That something is Damon, who frees Elena from what's left of her ride, and once she's unconscious, he loads her in his car and drives her to Georgia, because that's where the show is filmed. Oh, and also, because Gina Torres a.k.a. Zoe Washburn is some bartender/witch named Bree, from Damon's past, and that's where she's at. Damon wants Bree to tell him how to free Katherine without the benefit of Emily's crystal. Bree says it's impossible; Emily's spell is absolute. She does give him an overly warm welcome, though, and makes it clear to Elena (who doesn't even want to be there at first) that she's not just from Damon's past -- they also have a past. But when Damon's not looking, Bree makes a call to a mysterious stranger to let him know that Damon's at her bar. The guy shows up, grabs a drunken Elena when she's outside taking a call, and uses her as bait to capture Damon. The guy isn't just a guy. He's a vampire, and he's the late, great Lexi's lover. She turned him so they could be together forever, but since Damon screwed that up, he's planning on making Damon a little cocktail -- in the Molotov family. Elena talks vengeance boy down from killing Damon, because he's her ride, and she's wasted -- oh, and because she knows vengeance boy must have a good heart because Lexi loved him. But before they leave, Damon runs back in the bar for a moment, gets a last bit of information about Emily Bennett's grimoire from Bree, and then rips her heart out. For real. Fly. Be free, Zoe. You're a leaf on the wind now, too. Go find Wash. He's so much better than Damon.
In the B-plot, Stefan, who learns Damon is with the missing Elena, asks Bonnie to do a spell to locate them, but Bonnie's mojo has gone AWOL. Grams tells her she's blocked and she has to figure out why. She returns to old church ruins -- the site of her last big magical extravaganza, and the ground gives way beneath her feet. Stefan rescues her and returns her to Grams, who remembers him from the '60s. Grams is pretty cool with Stefan, but does let him know that when push comes to shove, she takes care of her own, first, which makes me wonder if Bree was Bonnie's absent mother. Hmmm.
The episode ends with Elena and Stefan having yet another talk. He explains about her resemblance to Katherine and that he doesn't know if/how Katherine and Elena are related, because when he was stalking Elena in the months before they met (after he saved her from the accident that killed her parents), he discovered a secret about her that even she doesn't know -- she's adopted.
Meanwhile, in the C-plot, Jeremy meets a girl (who resembles Elena a little, I think) and Alaric sees Damon and flashes back to the last time he saw him -- the night Damon killed his wife. I'll catch you on the flip side with the full weecap. Until then, please don't advertise to the vampires that you're loaded with Vervain. It's not so much a deterrent as an invitation to improvise.
NOW: Stefan returns to his room to find Elena gone. Her necklace has been laid atop Katherine's portrait. He tries to phone Elena, but when she doesn't answer, the poor shirtless bloodsucker is forced to leave her an "I can explain" voicemail. It seems crass to eavesdrop, so let's just cover our ears and take in the scenery, dears. Ah, that's the stuff.
We get a brief replay of the accident. A boogedy-boogedy appears in the middle of the road. Elena sees him -- but too late. She hits him and flips over her ride. She's still conscious, but is trapped upside down inside the wreck. Nina Dobrev's skin is so young that being upside-down has a minimal effect on her features. I'm pretty sure I'd look like the Joker. Damn it. Anyhow, whoever Elena hit is still moving. And now he's putting all the king's horses and all the king's men to shame as he resets his own broken bones. Humpty Dumpty rises and plods toward Elena. When he reaches her, he crouches down. His head is all but hidden by his hood. Elena's screams do not stop him, but something else does. He pauses and then zips away at vampyric speed.
Damon appears and frees Elena from what's left of her ride. Holding her like a newborn (I've seen comparisons to The O.C.'s version of the Pietà, but I'm ignoring them lalalalalala la) he asks if she can stand or if anything is broken. He takes her groans as the go-ahead to set her on her feet, but she's unsteady and having difficulty focusing. Finally she looks him in the eye. "I look like her." Damon looks like he'd appreciate the confirmation context provides, but he's not going to get it right now. Elena swoons (but in a faint-y way, not they way we do). He strokes her hair and lifts her back with an "Upsy Daisy," and after looking around the dark Virginia night, he carries her down the road, and a hundred bucks says he's not taking her back to Stefan. My word, Nina's hair is pretty. She must have extensions, right? And yet...if she does, those are the best extensions, ever. I always make much of the male eye-candy in this show, but the women are just as beautiful, and Dobrev leads the pack (and Graham, too).
Oh and now Alaric has caught the DIARY-Ahhh. He and his conspicuous ring journal about his encounter with an actual vampire. "I found one, after years of research and study. There it was, right in front of me. I was terrified. As I stared it in the eyes, I drove a stake through its heart. I was right about Mystic Falls; there is evil here. I can sense it -- feel it. It's everywhere." Alaric's gaze lingers on the picture of his allegedly dead wife. He flashes back to waking her with an early morning kiss. She hates morning people, so she's probably going to LOVE whatever vampire does her in, AMIRITE? They exchange I-love-yous and I wonder when Mia Kirshner started to look like the three-way love child of Katie Holmes, Eliza Dushku and Shiri Appleby (calm down, boys).
As Damon drives an unconscious Elena down a rural road, Zach Roerig and Michael Trevino's names appear in the credits, but... ***SPOILERS***...it's a dirty, dirty lie. Those pretty boys are not in this episode, and boo hiss for that. Anyhow, Elena comes to, and asks where they are. When Damon says they're in Georgia, Elena says they can't be. She's wrong. After Damon reassures her that he checked her all over for broken bones (oh, you know he copped a feel somewhere in there), Elena wants to talk about the accident. "I hit a man." Since Humpty Dumpty put himself together again, Damon, like Elena, wishes he knew who it was. Anyhow, Elena makes Damon pull over in order to give Stefan an opportunity to call her while she's outside with the Georgia sun beating down on her shiny shiny hair. Before Stefan picks up on his cue though, Elena moans and groans her way out of the car and Damon Stealth-Salvatores to her side, because he's nothing if not charming (in that serial killer way). She rants that she can't go to Georgia, because she wrecked her car and people will be worried about her, but Damon reminds her she's already in Georgia, "without your magical necklace, I might add. I could very easily make you... agreeable." When Elena asks him what he's trying to prove, her phone finally rings. Damon reveals he has it, and answers it like you knew the pixie-monster-bastard would. "Elena's phone." When Stefan wants to talk to Elena, she shakes Damon off, so he takes the opportunity to rub this in his brother's face. Stefan gets all puffed up about how Damon better not lay a hand on her. Stefan, relax dude. Her name's in the credits. Even if Damon kills her, it's only going to be a prelude to siring her. Back at Mossy Manse, Stefan throws his phone on the floor and picks up her Vervain necklace to drive home the point that Damon could enthrall her, which would be cool if Damon hadn't just literally driven home that very same point.
Back on the road, Damon cajoles Elena into going with him to "a little place, just outside of Atlanta." Her problems are still going to be there when she gets home. She can step away from her life for five minutes. Elena asks if she's going to be safe with him, because she knows Damon to be an honest soul that she can always trust...what? And she asks that he not enthrall her, because she knows Damon to be an honest soul that she can always trust...what Damon yes-es, her -- that is, until she outright asks if she can trust him, because she knows Damon is...Oh, come on. Even Damon has no patience for her sudden loss of intellect. Rather than answer her, he hustles her back in the car.
Mystic Falls High School Parking Lot: As Alaric rifles through his car, Jeremy walks up and greets him. Alaric is looking for his conspicuous ring, which he explains he took off before going to the gym. Alaric is protected by shade for almost all of this scene, so he could be a vampire vampire-slayer, but the sun does hit on his hands once or twice before he finds the bling, and there's no sizzle, so I'm going out on a limb and saying he's not. He slides it on and blathers about how terrible it would be to lose a family heirloom. Jeremy -- whose suffering was removed thanks to