My word, everyone is a vampire -- Ben McKittrick, the new hottie tending bar at The Grill; Noah, the pizza delivery guy -- who always gets invited in; and Anna -- the Germ's new stalker. I'm in such a tizzy, I don't know how to summarize this bad boy. Suffice it to say that Matt and Caroline are back and it's tense (some tension is thanks to Elena; the rest is based on social class), but they'll muddle through, somehow. Elena and Stefan are going strong. Jenna comes clean to Elena about her birth circumstances; her mother was a runaway teen named Isabel. Anna keeps stalking Jeremy and she is not twee in the slightest.
After a vamp (Noah/Humpty Dumpty; he's pizza delivery guy, hence it was child's play to get an invite) makes his way into Gilbert Gables in order to terrorize Miss Elena. Stefan and Damon escort her to the MFHS '50s dance, in order to keep her safe. They dance their socks off, and uncover the new vampire in town who is stalking her. Alaric, who has invited Aunt Jenna as his date, is chaperoning. He tells Jenna a little about his dead wife -- Isabel. Sound familiar? Relatedly, Alaric recognizes Damon and gives him the third degree, but covers quickly enough by saying that he's nosy. He piques Damon's interest, but doesn't seem to ring his bell at first.
Meanwhile, Bonnie and Caroline leave the dance and go to the grill. Bonnie takes a shine to fangy bartender Ben McKittrick, and Caroline puts her foot in her mouth as she denigrates washed-up townie jocks to Bonnie, while Matt's within earshot. Meanwhile, back the dance, the Noah vamp gets Elena to come outside by threatening Jeremy, and it's all very Buffy in "Becoming" as she runs down the hallway. The Noah vamp terrorizes her in the cafeteria, but she stakes him with pencils, which does little but slow him down. She then breaks a mop handle and tries that on for size, but he thwarts her and moves in for jugular. Thankfully, Stefan is right there, and Damon's on his trail with a, "Hey, dickhead." Stefan goes all Jack Bauer and tortures Noah with the wooden mop handle to try to get information out of him. Noah is fixated on Katherine (hence his Elena stalkage). He knows about Emily Bennett's grimoire and Jonathan Gilbert's journal, but he won't talk any more so Stefan stakes him through the heart which apparently kills these vampires. Alaric spies the scene from the hallway so Damon goes to lay the whammy on him, and thinks he's successful, but after his, "Forget we had this conversation," and departure, Alaric reveals he's holding a fistful of Vervain.
Denouement: Stefan offers to help Damon get Katherine (but not the 26 other vamps) out of the mystical tomb, and then tells Elena that his offer to his brother is a flat-out lie. Matt and Caroline kiss and make up. And Anna? She makes it clear that the Germ is just a toy and Ben McKittrick is her toothy dreamboat.
So much happened in this episode that it's not really recaplet-friendly, so join me on the flip side for the full weecap. In the meantime, come on over to the forums, and let your pizza delivery guy wait on the stoop.
Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: For over a century, vampire Stefan Salvatore has lived in shadows, but he must know Elena Gilbert, so he takes a flying leap into the sunshine of her love. Elena is a dead ringer for Katherine -- the woman who sired both Stefan and his brother, Damon. Stefan says their love for Katherine wasn't real -- just a product of her vampyric thrall, but Damon knows he is in twu wuv, and is determined to free her from her mystical prison which lies beneath the old Falls Church ruins. Jeremy meets home-scholar, Anna, and they soon discover they're both researching history recorded in their respective ancestors' journals. Alaric meets Jenna and tells her that he fell in love and married young, but alas, his wife died. Elena wanders Stefan's room after their first time together, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and stumbles upon his portrait of her doppelganger, Katherine. She leaves her Vervain necklace lying atop it in a fit of pique and flees Mossy Manse. She runs down a vampire on her way home and flips her car. He puts himself back together again, so we're calling him Humpty Dumpty for now. Just as he's about to move in on poor, trapped Elena, Damon arrives to save the night. Elena confronts Stefan and demands to know why she looks like Katherine. Stefan drops a bomb on her: she's adopted. And some of that is out of order from the "Previously on" sequence as aired, but there you go.
Now: Elena and Stefan made up in the last episode, so we begin this episode with them in deep conversation. Elena wants to know who Humpty Dumpty is. Stefan hasn't a clue, but he does have plenty of Vervain (even though I forgot to send any to Julie Plec to pass out to the rest of the human characters). He says it's for Elena, Jenna, Jeremy (Stefan made him a Vervain bracelet; I think that means they're going steady) and extra for friends. Could it be? Is it too much to hope that poor, abused Caroline will finally get a little bit of this anti-enthrallment herb? I wait with bated breath. Stefan recaps for us that as long as a person either wears or ingests Vervain, that person is free from falling victim to vampyric mind control. He says that since there's another vampire in town, until they know what he wants, they have to be careful. Elena nods solemnly, because like Stefan, she can tolerate Damon, who has been killing people left and right, and has been using Caroline as his butt-monkey since September, but this new guy causing car accidents is a menace.