We ended last week on the devastating note that was Caroline Forbes – the Bambi of Mystic Falls – being made the very unwilling, and more to the point very undead owner of a shiny new pair of fangs, courtesy of the Queen Bee of Conniving herself, Katherine.
Having been left for dead in the hospital, Caroline wakes up with a start in the silence of her room. Wandering out to where the night duty nurse is at her desk, she is at a loss to put all her mental pieces of the last hours of her human life together. But her disorientation is quickly overcome by a sudden and highly intense case of – you guessed it – blood munchies, and quickly she finds herself following her heightened sense of smell straight to the nearest bag of O negative hanging over another patient’s head. Despite being chastised and ushered back to her bed by the nurse, once alone Caroline pulls out the stolen bag of blood and after a few tentative sips, proceeds to devour it with more intensity than can be found in all the wrinkles on Stefan’s worry-mode forehead put together.
Meanwhile, at the Mystic Falls High School Carnival, Elena and Bonnie are quietly discussing the re-appearance of Katherine at the Mayor’s wake, as Elena does her best to set up and organise all the last minute details for the day. Bonnie asks Elena about the possibility that Katherine is out there somewhere pretending to be her. Elena simply responds that that might be the case, she doesn’t know. All she knows is she needs to feel human again. As such, when Bonnie brings Damon up, Elena point blank refuses to speak of him.
Stefan meets up with Jeremy and gives him a vervain bracelet with the same anti-vampire qualities as Elena’s necklace. When the discussion leads to how to kill a vampire, Jeremy half-jokes with Stefan that he must be pretty confident in their relationship to be giving him such a run down on all the different way to kill off a vampire. It also causes him to remember Damon, and for Jeremy’s part he states that no-one deserves one of those possible deaths more than Damon does. Stefan tells him to forget his brother, stating that he’s unbalanced, and that instead Jeremy should focus on just living his life. When Elena shows up and hands him a to-do list, she sends him off obviously hoping it will distract her brother from all the crappy supernatural stuff invading their once normal world. Once he’s gone, Stefan points out that at some point they’re going to have to talk about Damon. She refuses him in this, too, stating that she wants to just take the time to be a normal highschool girl. One who gets taken on a ferriswheel by her boyfriend, is kissed by him in a way that makes her still very human heart flutter. (umm, insert one *seriously* jealous Team Stefan recapper <here> ;))
Elsewhere, Damon is meeting up with Carol Lockwood at the Lockwood mansion, the mystery of the mayor’s being affected by Emily’s device still weighing intensely on his mind. She states that in lieu of her late husband, she will become interim mayor and as such will need someone who knows what they’re doing to take over leadership of the Founder’s Council. Damon’s interest, while piqued by the offer however, is otherwised engaged: Tyler & the enigmatic uncle Mason – who Carol states has no interest whatsoever in the council – have returned from a run; an intrigued Damon uses his superhearing to eavesdrop while Mason asks his nephew some rather pointed questions about his propensity to get angry and provoked into fighting all the time.
Back at the hospital, it’s day, and Caroline Forbes has discovered she now has a serious problem. As she sits up in bed, watching her fingertips sizzle and burn every time they are met with the shaft of sunlight cutting into her bedroom, Matt (aka. the only man in the universe who is as intensely unlucky as he is handsome – seriously, those rescue puppy eyes and killer smile are like my own personal brand of fangirl kryptonite these days) turns up to visit his girl. Caroline’s behaviour to him is erratic to say the least – she’s avoiding light and is desperately intent on leaving the hospital that night rather than the next morning – so he leaves, very perplexed and a bit upset.
At the Salvatore house, Damon pours a drink and offers it to his brother. He is accutely aware that Stefan views him as unstable since Katherine’s return, however when his brother asks if he has seen Katherine, Damon immediately changes topic, stating that he believes there is some kind of supernatural secret running in the Lockwood family. As Stefan dismisses Damon’s new ‘obsession’ in order to once again ask how they will deal with Katherine, the elder Salvatore grins and says that in essence, as Stefan is the brother she chose, she is therefore Stefan’s problem. He leaves his younger brother to mull it over. Which is good. Cause if there’s one thing Stefan’s good at, it’s mulling.
As she is getting ready to leave the hospital, Caroline goes to put on her necklace – a sterling silver one which immediately burns her skin. Taking a sip of blood from a now all but empty bag, she looks into the mirror and is horrified by what she sees. Her eyes are changing dark and veiny, and fangs push out of her gums. She turns to see the night duty nurse, who has come in to check on her. Overpowered by her newfound blood lust, Caroline corners the nurse ready to bite. To her surprise however, she discovers a new rather helpful vampire skill is now at her disposal: mind control. She tells the guard she can’t tell anyone about what Caroline is. A dreamy and agreeing look now in the nurse’s eyes, Caroline proceeds to bite her and feed – anything to stop this hunger that’s driving her mad.
That night, as Bonnie and Elena are wandering around the fair, they run into a random handsome stranger (you know you’re in Mystic Falls when even the random guy is hot) who immediately takes a shine to Bonnie. As you do.
Meanwhile, back at the Lockwood Mansion, Tyler walks in on Mason rummaging through his fathers office in search of something. When questioned, Mason says he’s searching for an old trinket, heirloom thing – a moonstone. Despite saying it’s nothing major, Mason’s actions appear to leave Tyler in somewhat of two minds about his newly returned prodigal uncle.
At the fair, Damon and Jeremy run into each other – it’s the first time they have spoken since Damon..well, killed him. They trade barbs, but Damon has no time for Jeremy’s new found cockiness courtesy of his shiny new magic ring from Uncle John. Twisting him into a headlock in the shadows, Damon reminds Jeremy that the ring might keep him alive, but only while he’s wearing it, something Damon shows he can so easily change when he pulls the ring effortlessly from Jeremy’s finger as he struggles uselessly against Damon’s vampire strength.
Elsewhere, Caroline is polishing herself up to head out into the night to the Carnival, having successfully ‘convinced’ the nurse to let her go early. After apologising once more for the, uh, rather nasty bite she’s left on the nurses neck, Caroline uses her new vampire mojo to make her forget what had happened (as well as invent a ‘my husband likes to get kinky’ story should people ask). As she leaves, one can only think that for all it’s other uncomfortable side effects, Miss Mystic Falls is otherwise sort of enjoying the balancing perks of being a vampire.
Back at the Carnival, Damon – still finding himself mightily intruiged by the potential of a major supernatural skeleton in the Lockwood closet – is watching Tyler take part in an arm wrestling competition. Tyler of course is beating everyone, until his uncle shows up and beats him. Stefan turns up and is once again dismissive of his brother’s interest in the Lockwoods. When Mason stands in need for another challenger then, Damon is only too happy to stick his skeptical sibling in the middle of it. The look of someone naturally expecting an easy victory is quickly wiped off Stefan’s face as Mason puts Stefan’s fist to the mat in a matter of seconds. Annoyed at his brother, Damon quietly chides Stefan for putting in so little effort. Stefan, however – more than a little rattled – says that’s just the thing: he actually did, acknowledging now that there is something more than human behind the elder Lockwood’s strength.
In a little experiment of his own, and despite Stefan’s mild objections, Damon charms the handsome stranger earlier seen with Bonnie, into picking a fight with Tyler. When Stefan asks why, Damon points out that Tyler is for all intents and purposes, nigh on incapable of walking away from a fight. What he wants to know isn’t just who will intervene, but how.
After sending the stranger on his way, Damon is wandering through the night-quiet school halls as he waits for his little plan to take effect. Initially, he is mildly surprised when a very healthy looking Caroline Forbes appears, claiming that she knows who he is and that she remembers everything. It takes only a few seconds for the hideous penny to drop for Damon: it’s only if Caroline was changing into a vampire that all of his memory editing of their time together would come unstuck. Determined, strong, and very annoyed, Caroline takes the time to pass on Katherine’s message: that it’s game on. As she turns to leave, he grabs at her arm, only to find himself tossed on his ass up the hall. He lays there fora few seconds, shocked, as she walks away.
Meanwhile, out in the parking lot, Stefan hides in the shadows as Damon’s plan comes into effect and the stranger picks a fight with Tyler. Just as it starts to get ugly, Mason shows up and – moving with an otherworldly, animalistic speed and strength – he clobbers his nephew’s opponent, but not before Tyler looks up to see his uncles eyes change and blaze gold. As Mason drags Tyler off, the now bloodied stranger innocently asks Stefan when he appears why on earth he picked a fight with Tyler. Stefan, clearly troubled, just tells him he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
At one of the other stands, Caroline finds Matt and for a while seems just like her chirpy, normal self. Matt is happy that she seems okay, and not angry with him like before. When she goes to hug him however, her blood lust returns, and she shoves him away, knowing that if she doesn’t walk away now she could very well devour him. She runs out into the parking lot, distraught at what’s happening to her. Smelling his blood before she sees him, Caroline turns to find the stranger sitting up on a truck bed cleaning his bloodied nose up after his fight with Tyler. Her thirst is too strong, and she apologises before leaping up and beginning to drain him.
Bonnie meanwhile tries to comfort a once again confused Matt, who at a complete loss to explain Caroline’s insaner than usual behaviour.
Damon, shocked by what has happened to Caroline, rushes off to find Elena. Despite the fact that he is the last person in the universe she wants to speak to, she goes with him and there he recounts to both her and Stefan what has happened. He states flat out that the only solution is to kill Caroline. Elena is horrified and tells him absolutely not. Stefan however takes a few moments, and Damon knows exactly where his mind is going. He states that they cannot afford to have another Vicki Donovan on their hands, but eventually Stefan – adamant – says they will not be killing her. All three head out to search for Caroline.
When they spread out and Damon goes alone, he takes the opportunity to pull a wooden tent peg out of the ground, clearly not intending to stick to Stefan’s plan. His plan seems validated when he finds Caroline bloodied and sitting on the back of the truck next to the body of the stranger, and she immediately admits to Damon that he’s dead. Damon soothingly tells her that he is going to help her. When she asks how, he says by doing the only thing he can do: kill her.
Elsewhere, Tyler and Mason have returned home. Tyler demands an answer from his uncle about not just how he could possibly have done the things he’d done tonight, but also about the change in his eyes. While Mason tries to fob him off, Tyler is less than impressed. Once alone, Taylor ventures into his fathers study, kneels to the floor and opens a secret compartment under the rug, removing from it the Moonstone Mason had been searching for. He puts it in his pocket, re-hides the compartment and leaves the office.
Stefan and Elena, who have been out searching for Caroline, finally find her, just as Damon is about to drive the wooden tent peg into her back as he consoles her. Stefan saves Caroline, and Elena puts herself between Damon’s stake and her friend, at which point the elder Salvatore says he washes his hands of the problem: whatever happens now, it’s on them for keeping her alive. Bonnie arrives on the scene to find Caroline covered in blood and the truth hits her like a wrecking ball. Caroline died with a vampire’s blood in her – blood that she specifically told Damon to give. Tears begin to fall as Stefan ushers Caroline into a nearby bathroom away from the chaos to clean her up. In the bathroom, Caroline is losing it but Stefan is intent on taking care of her. He cleans the blood from her face as he reassures her that she isn’t alone, showing her that he too is a vampire. He teaches her to breathe through the hunger until she is able to bury it, showing that the strength to do it comes from caring about the ones you love enough to want to protect them, even if it’s from yourself.
Out in the parking lot, a vengeful Bonnie in a rage over Caroline uses her powers to knock Damon to the ground, turn on a nearby gasoline hose and set him on fire. She tells Elena, who is telling her to stop, that regardless of Katherine having killed her friend, everything still leads back to Damon and therefore he is responsible for all of it. Elena runs in front of Bonnie and distracts her, which lets the fire go out. When Bonnie asks why Elena stopped her from killing Damon, Elena says that that’s not who they are, and she reluctantly leaves a smoking but otherwise unharmed Damon behind.
When he arrives home, it’s to find Jeremy sitting there with a homemade stake waiting to kill him (I guess that’s what optimism looks like to an emo). But rather than behave like a jerk (and retaliate by killing him. Again.) Damon surprisingly meets Jeremy on some common emotional ground. He too gets what it’s like to have a father who hated vampires. Dare I say it? Do I smell a bromance here? Oy. Well, Alaric has been absent a lot this season. As for Caroline, she has returned home now too (speaking of which, how did she get in if she wasn’t invited?? Did I miss something there?). Matt comes to the window, and after a brief hesitation she lets him in. As she stands there hugging him, the hunger makes her eyes begin to change, but as Stefan taught her, she breathes past it and Matt stays. And by ‘stays’ I mean alive. As in a non-meal sense. I think all our hearts did a happy dance there.
Finally, Elena, at home in bed after a long day, wakes to find Stefan hovering over her. He asks her to come outside, where – true to his word – he takes her up for that human girl experience she’d wanted all day. He flies (NB. Ummm, since when?!) her to the top of the ferris wheel and kisses her. But happy as the moment is, they know one thing is for certain. Caroline, Damon’s unpredictability, Katherine? All of it points to one fact: that this is just the beginning.