Out in the hall, Elena wants to know what's wrong, but Bonnie tells her it's not worth talking about. Elena: "Is it Stefan?" In a word? Yep. Bonnie blames Stefan (who, I'll point out, tried to get Elena and the Bennett women to sit tight in Second-Sight Shack) and (more realistically) Damon. There's nothing Elena can do to make it better. Bonnie's not going to put her in a situation where she has to choose sides, but she is having a hard time with it all. Stefan is privy to the whole conversation, thanks to his super-hearing.
MFHS; Exterior: When Stefan exits, the first thing he happens upon is a group of boys in the parking lot. He's mesmerized by the one who is on the ground, bleeding from the shin. Stefan's fangs come out. He buckles and leans against a posting board as he tries to fight off his transformation. Suddenly, someone lays a hand on his shoulder. Before even looking, Stefan growls as he grabs his would-be assailant by the throat. It's Alaric, who somehow manages to free himself from Stefan's chokehold. Stefan apologizes and lies that he was feeling a little sick. He passes by the wounded boy on his way to his car. Alaric, who watches after him, starts to get the picture. Commercial.
Gilbert Gables: Elena opens the door to find Alaric, who cleans up better than your history teacher ought to. He asks her how Stefan is doing, but she still thinks everything is fine and he's bouncing back. Uncle Snark comes out and asks Alaric what he's doing. Alaric: "I'm the chauffeur." Snark thought he was driving, but Jenna disabuses him of that notion, even as she greets her handsome date. She turns back to Snark and tells him he can take the Germ.
Mayoral Mansion or Founders Fort or Somewhere Founder-y: Anna, who also cleans up well, arrives in a cute little black number, with her hair up in a carefully casual/messy updo that works because of her youth. How awesome is Malese Jow, by the way? She totally holds her own in her scenes with Somerhalder and makes you believe her Anna is his Damon's peer. She's also pretty savvy and good about staying in touch with the fandom. She's edited together a "Team Anna" video (to one of her own songs) full of notes and cheers from cast, crew, and fans alike. It's here. Ian Somerhalder starts and ends it, by the way. To those of you who thought the Anna character was too twee when she was introduced -- do you still feel that way?
Anna runs into Damon, and reminisces about the 1864 version of this event. She was going to enter until all the badness went down. Damon laughs that nostalgia's a bitch, so Anna tells him if he's just going to mock her, he can move along. He can't until he tells her that John thinks Pearl stole an artifact from Original Johnathan back in the day. Damon doesn't know what it is, but doesn't want Snark to have it. Anna says she could ask Pearl about it, but since Damon doesn't trust them, why should she. Damon points out that Snark's continued presence is going to make it impossible for Pearl and Anna to stay in town. "Find out where it is. He leaves? You can buy a welcome mat."
Upstairs at the venue, Jenna helps Elena curl her hair, in a very Katherine-esque do. They share a missing-Miranda moment, which Caroline can't help but overhear. When Elena leaves to put on her dress, we see Caroline's reflection in the mirror. She's deeply moved by what she's just heard. I mean, she doesn't cry or anything, because that would ruin her makeup, but you can tell she's actually considering it.
Outside: Snark gives an oil-slick some background on Original Johnathan. Oh, wait. That's Jeremy. The skinny: there are many more journals in addition to the one Jeremy's seen. "He had a lot of...demons." Indeed. When Jeremy asks Snark what he thinks of Original Johnathan's writings, Snark pauses and searches his nephew's eyes. Finally: "Crazy ramblings of a madman, of course." Jeremy wants to say something, but thinks better of it, and then he spots Anna across the way. He excuses himself to go talk to his...friend.
Upstairs: Amber Bradley is having a panic attack over the thought of being the center of attention and tells Elena she needs to go out for some air. Oh honey, as someone who has dealt with those nasty bastards longer than I care to remember, I'd usually tell you to breathe nice and slowly and remember it will pass, but since you're in a town full of vampires, your panic is actually warranted, so I've got nothing -- not even any Vervain.
Once Elena is alone, Damon shows up and squeals that Stefan is still drinking human blood. A month ago, Damon would have rejoiced, but with the Council on the alert, the timing couldn't be worse. When he tells her about Stefan's fridge full of blood bank blood, Elena gasps and sits down. Damon explains that since Stefan has spent so much time fighting his normal cravings, he's never learned to control them. Now that he's drinking the good stuff, he's not going to be able to stop.
Downstairs: Jeremy catches up with Anna who accuses him of trying to use her -- i.e. begging her to turn him. Jeremy plays tit-for-tat, and reminds her that she only befriended him so that she could enjoy the irony of using Gilbert blood to revive Pearl. When Anna asks how he knows that, Jeremy demurs, but he does brag that he knows everything.
Back upstairs, Elena is beating herself up for feeding Stefan her blood in the first place. Before Damon can respond, his brother walks in. Now that he's on full feed, Stefan seems less Zen about the idea of Elena being "their" girlfriend and wants to know what's going on. Damon admits straight up that he just squealed about Stefan's extra-curricular activities. When Stefan plays obtuse, Elena says, "I know about the blood, Stefan." Damon takes his leave. "I'll be downstairs, drinking." Once the lovebirds are alone, Stefan lies that he was going to tell Elena, that he's fine, that nothing's changed. He then plays the blame game. Why would he have willingly told her, considering how she's acting right now? Elena is not going to join in. She calls him on his crap -- stealing blood and lying. Stefan continues to insist he's fine. "Elena, I thought you believed in me." Before she can respond, Mama Mulva knocks and enters. Elena begs for just a moment, but Mulva is firm. "Escorts wait downstairs, Stefan."
Stefan retreats to a bathroom, vamps out, and then breaks a mirror with his fist. Poor Amber chooses that moment to enter without knocking. Use that panic, girl. Run! Nope. Commercial.
The Founders Court is introduced. First up is Tina "DUI" Fell. While she descends the staircase, Mulva asks Caroline and Elena if they've seen Amber. They haven't and Elena can't see Stefan. Caroline looks with her, but all she can see is her boring non-Matt escort. It seems Pudding Pop has to work (read: the CW is cheap) and won't be there in a tux. Boo. Elena decides she's not going through with the pageant. She has to find Stefan, and this just isn't her, anymore. Caroline stops her and reminds her she had her chance to drop out. "You're doing this because it was important to your mom." Aww. Given her (ju