Jeremy is late for work at the Grill. Elena tells him Matt just called for him. Jeremy says, "Maybe they'll fire me. Elena snarks, "Aim high," as she walks out of his room. Caroline then calls Elena from downtown. She's shopping for the unwanted birthday party she's throwing our young Miss Gilbert, and has news of a possible Stefan sighting from her mom, Sheriff Liz Forbes. "An animal attack in Memphis. It's the third one this week in Tennessee." That's our boy. In the kitchen, Alaric is struggling to operate the coffee maker. Elena nudges him aside and just presses the "on" button. Wow, "Ric," that was complicated. No wonder you couldn't do it. As Elena ends the call, she begs Caroline to keep tonight's party small, but Caroline ignores her, says, "Wear something pretty," and hangs up to greet Tyler, who is walking down the street toward her.
Back at Gilbert Gables, Alaric asks about the Stefan intel. Elena says they think they've found three more "Klaus victims." Oh Elena, it's not Klaus, even though the killings are being done at his bidding. Alaric asks if she's certain Stefan is still with Klaus. Elena: "Easy to be certain, when the alternative is that he's dead." As Alaric folds up his blanket on the couch, Elena reminds him he's free to take one of the empty bedrooms, and exposits that he's been crashing on the couch for half the summer. Alaric prefers it to either her dead parents' room or his dead girlfriend's room. And you know, I get why he doesn't want to sleep in Jenna's room. He'd miss her too much. But he didn't even know Elena's parents, and it's not like they died in that bedroom or anything. I don't know. I just think it's dumb that he doesn't sleep in their room, but as we'll see throughout the episode, Alaric feels incompetent and unsettled, so I guess his inability to press the coffee maker's on button, and his couch-sleeping are supposed to be signifiers of this. And they are, they're just a little clunky. As Elena grabs her keys and purse, Alaric calls out a sad little, "Hey, Elena, happy birthday." Elena gives him a wan smile. "Thanks."
Mossy Manse. Damon is chugging champagne and taking a bubble bath in his awesome tub, in his awesome bathroom. I think I've just found my happy place. When the bottle is empty, he tries to get his compelled chew toy/girlfriend, Ace Lady Reporter Andie to get some more, but she's dressed and getting ready for work, and points out she doesn't drink in the morning. "You can get it yourself. I'm not your slave." Well, honey, technically... never mind. It's fun that Damon doesn't have you compelled to the point where you're a zombie. That's very Damon of him. Even when it's not real, he tries to keep it a little real. Damon gets out of the tub and his nekkidness is only barely obscured by his artfully placed bathroom decor. It's hard to decide which appeals to me more. Since my back is so messed up that I can only sit up for a short amount of time, I'm leaning toward the bathroom. I wonder if there are whirlpool jets in that tub. There totally should be. That would make the choice easier for me, too. No offense, Damon. He doesn't care. He doesn't even bother to towel off as he struts out of the bathroom, leaving a trail of water and bubbles behind him. And you know, I really enjoy the view, but I sort of feel badly for the actors when they're treated like everyone's cheesecake. I know it's part of the job, but still... I'm sorry. All I do is lie in bed, lately. I clearly have too much time to think, because I should just be thanking the show, shutting up and not biting the hand that feeds me cheesecake.