Flashbacks, revelations, and the truth about how Stefan and Damon became vampires abound this week in Mystic Falls, where we also see the beginnings of puppy (or is it vampy?) love between Anna and Jeremy. We also get answers to some juicy questions: Why has Damon hated Stefan for over a century? Why does Stefan want to die an angsty death? And are you ready to see beloved characters kick the bucket in this shocking episode of "The Vampire Diaries??"

[Full recap of Thursday (April 29) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

Stefan's intervention continues as he has a detox flashback to 1864, when he goes with Damon on Ye Olde Rescue Mission to save Katherine from the vampire hunting townsfolk. The brothers Salvatore are in the middle of breaking Katherine out of a prison truck and unbinding her when Damon is shot from afar. Horrified, Stefan watches his brother begin to die and then is shot himself. As the mortally wounded Damon and Stefan lay on the ground, they exchange glances with the vervain-poisoned Katherine and Stefan's memory bleeds into flashes of Elena telling him she loves him. Or was it Katherine? Outside the cell, Damon and Elena watch over Stefan as he lays awake in a haze.

Still in the past, Stefan awakes in a beautiful quarry. His shirt is still bloody from the gunshot, but Stefan's abs are alive and well. Emily the witch shows up and explains that she made the ring he now wears on Katherine's request (so THAT'S where Stefan's magic vampire ring came from!) and that she had her make one for Damon as well. You're in transition, Emily tells him, revealing that Katherine had secretly been feeding him her own blood for weeks and compelling him to forget about it; Damon had done the same, only he did it willingly. Once they both died with vampire blood in their systems, they began changing into vampires.

Stefan finds Damon sitting on a riverbank, shirtless. Naturally! He'd woken up the night before and watched as Katherine and the others were locked in the church, burned up and presumably killed. Back in the present, Stefan is still trying to figure out the mysterious Johnathan Gilbert contraption. Elena says she'll be back to visit after school, which Damon totally doesn't mind. What a softie Damon's become!

Anna catches up with Jeremy at Mystic Falls High. "Why would you want to go to high school?" he asks his vampire girlfriend. "It blows!" The answer is OBVI -- duh, she's there to be with him. Jeremy thinks that's awesome and the two adorable new lovebirds make-out in the school yard. Anna is totally the Edward Cullen in their human-vampire hookup!

Damon brings the imprisoned Stefan some grub, but he claims he's not hungry. Damon tells Stefan that the human blood should be out of Stefan's system by now, so what's with the sad routine? He throws Stefan a pack of veggie (animal) blood and leaves. He catches up with his new bestie Alaric over the phone. They're teaming up to investigate Uncle John, and Alaric has tracked calls to Grove Hill that he thinks may be coming from Isobel. Damon plans to go with him and check it out.

Elena calls Damon to ask what kind of animal blood Stefan prefers. What a devoted girlfriend! Willing to kill a puppy to feed her junkie boyfriend! She hangs up only to find Uncle John lurking and ear hustling behind a door. Make that Creepy Uncle John. He sits her down for a family chat and shows his cards, asking her what her mother would think if she knew she was dating a vampire. Elena turns the tables right back, letting him know she knows that Isobel is her birth mother. She stalks out. Sassy teenager 1, creepy uncle 0.

Back in the past, things have gotten better: Stefan and Damon are now BOTH shirtless and sitting by the river. They commiserate over the hunger pangs and the strange new changes their bodies are going through. Damon, surprisingly, is the one to say he'd rather starve and die than drink blood, because now that Katherine's dead there's no point to going on living forever. He'd kind of rather just die. Meanwhile, present day Stefan is visited by Elena, who tries to get him to eat. He refuses. Sulky Stefan wants to die!

The whole not eating thing worries Elena. Damon thinks it'll pass; it's just that patented Stefan Salvatore martyr complex, he theorizes. A semi-concerned Damon warns Elena that she shouldn't go down and visit Stefan alone, because she's too trusting and he's dangerous. Damon leaves to meet Alaric.

At the Mystic Grill, Pearl meets with Uncle John. They both know that each of them knows the truth about one another; she tells him straight up that she won't give him the mystery Gilbert gadget. He offers to buy her a drink. He knows she has a thing for the Gilbert men! Ouch. Elsewhere, Jeremy gets the scoop from Anna about Pearl's history with Johnathan Gilbert and why Uncle John wanted to meet her. But Anna doesn't want to talk; she wants to make-out! Jeremy is her weakness. They make-out. They undress! Jeremy pauses because he doesn't want Aunt Jenna to walk in on them and interrupt their teenage sex-having. Luckily, Anna has super vampire hearing and knows that Jenna's far away in the kitchen. Sex-having is officially on.

Alaric and Damon arrive at the mystery house, where Damon is able to enter -- maybe because the house is inhabited by another vampire named Henry, who immediately pounces on Alaric! Damon throws him off, recognizing Henry from the tomb, and they have a nice little chat and catch up. That Henry's quite an affable chap.

Flashback! Still-transitioning Stefan returns to the homestead with his new super vampire hearing, where he eavesdrops on his father, Giuseppe Salvatore, ordering someone to ensure his fallen sons are remembered as good boys and not as vampire helpers.

Downstairs, Elena ignores Damon's instructions -- of course -- and visits Stefan. He warns her away, saying that he could hurt her easily even through the bars of the locked cell door. She defiantly unlocks the cell and walks in to hand him his food, and doesn't flinch when he breaks out his vampire face and yells at her to get out. She knows Stefan won't hurt her and isn't falling for his scary, "get away from me, I'm a monster!" routine. He grabs the blood and retreats.

Back at Henry's, Damon bluffs and says he's in tight with Uncle John. So's Henry! Uncle John's been helping Henry get used to the modern world; learning how to do his laundry, use a microwave, etc. (Because vampires like to drink reheated blood…?) In return, Henry keeps tabs on the other more bitter vampires from the tomb who resent the town founders for burning them up back in the day. Henry's newfangled 21st century cell phone rings -- hey, it's Uncle John! Damon offers to say hello, but Henry begins suspecting something's fishy and turns to attack Alaric. Alaric stakes him in defense, which is too bad. Seemed like a nice kid.

Meanwhile at the Grill, Uncle John tells Pearl that he's read all of Johnathan Gilbert's journals and that in them, he wrote about his regrets over betraying Pearl. She tears up at the thought that Johnathan Gilbert returned her love, until cruel Uncle John's like, "Gotcha! He hated you!" Hurt and angry, Pearl leaves in a huff after telling John she already gave the Gilbert gadget to Damon.

In his cell, Stefan tells Elena the story of when he chose to drink human blood and officially turn. Which means… flashback! Stefan goes inside to visit his father and say goodbye, since he and Damon plan on dying human after all. But the elder Salvatore freaks out, revealing that HE was the one who pulled the trigger and killed his own sons! GASP! Believing Stefan to now be a horrible vampire, Salvatore attacks Stefan, who protests and tries to tell him that he plans on letting himself die instead of completing his change. But Giuseppe attacks; not knowing his own strength, Stefan hurtles his father away in defense, leaving him with a yummy dagger wound that beckons to Stefan's newborn vampire blood lust. Stefan doesn't have the strength to resist, and his very first veiny vampire eyes emerge as he laps up his own dad's blood and seals his transformation. Elena is shocked at the story, but not turned off. She wants to keep talking it out with Stefan. Elena leaves to give him some space and goes upstairs to wait for him to continue their conversation.

At Henry's house, Damon and Alaric bond over their dead end. Alaric's killed a perfectly nice vampire kid, but there's no trace of Isobel here. Alaric still wants to know why Isobel did what she did, but as Damon reminisces over the time she came to him to become a vampire, Alaric stops him. He's done with obsessing over his undead wife, and ready to move on and stop looking for answers.

Anna comes home to find Pearl frantically packing up the house. They can't stay, Pearl insists, because too many people in Mystic Falls know who they are and it's no longer safe. But Anna wants to stay! She wants to build an actual life -- and keep making out with Jeremy! Pearl relents and lets her 160 year-old teenager make her own decision for once.

Damon comes home to find Elena scribbling away in a journal, waiting for Stefan. She tells Damon that Stefan's uber-depressed, and that it might have helped if he hadn't spent over a decade making Stefan feel guilty over Katherine. That gets Damon's goat. There's much more to the story of the brothers Salvatore that she doesn't know, and so he fills her in -- with a flashback!

Back in 1864 Damon is still struggling with his transformation and resisting human blood. Freshly-transformed Stefan brings him a present -- a nice young girl to eat! He admits to eating their dad but tells him how awesome he feels with his new vampy powers! Stefan insists that Damon needs this in order to survive, kinda-sorta bullying Damon into taking a bite. He punctures the young girl's neck and pushes Damon closer to her blood, which Damon resists, then drinks tentatively and tenderly. And then, after his first taste, he really digs in. Elena realizes that's why Stefan wants to die and runs downstairs to find him. But Stefan's gone -- and he's left his magical protective vampire ring behind!

Jeremy Gilbert wakes up in the middle of the night with some dreamy bed head to find Anna laying next to him. She starts telling him about Pearl wanting to leave, but he looks too darn cute and she just strokes his cheek until he falls asleep and hops out the window.

Meanwhile, present day Stefan has returned to the fateful riverbank. He flashes back to Damon, newly vampirized, in 1864. Damon is empowered by his vampire powers but resents his new curse and promises right then and there to make eternity with his bro an eternity of misery. Emily finds Stefan, explaining that she helped him because she owed Katherine. However, she's got bad news: she says he'll forever be cursed because his heart is pure, which will make the whole eating people thing haunt him forever. (She was right!) Back in the present, Elena finds Stefan moping and freaking out as he flashes back and forth between the present and the past. Now that Damon's filled Elena in on ALL the grisly details, Stefan is super weepy, blaming himself for everyone who's ever died. Elena has her own inspirational story of blame to tell -- the night her parents died, they were on their way to pick her selfish ass up from a party. So when they died in a car crash, it was totally her fault! Lucky for her, Elena's gotten over the pesky guilt thing, and tells Stefan he should too. Elena insists that even though he chose to be a vampire, he's also chosen to live as a good person and that's what matters. But Stefan explains himself: it hurts him to be this way. Worse, he's afraid that one day he'll give into his vampire nature and hurt another person -- maybe Elena.

After her inspirational speechifying, Elena presents Stefan with his Ring of Magick. With a tender kiss, she gives him the choice of throwing it away or putting it on to keep on fighting the good fight. Will he let himself burn up in the sunrise? Heck no, we're only in Season One of "The Vampire Diaries!" Stefan calls out to Elena as she walks away, puts his ring on, and they share an emotional kiss. Yay!

Back home, Pearl and Harper keep packing up the house. He's going to come with them when they leave town. For the first time, we learn a tidbit about Harper's back story when he explains that he's been loyal because when he was a soldier Pearl helped him instead of leaving him to die. Pearl opens the front door only to be stopped in her tracks… by a stake to the chest! Harper pulls Pearl's dying body inside.

Meanwhile, back-to-normal Stefan thanks Damon for helping him through his withdrawal. For the first time, Damon tells Stefan he doesn't have to carry Damon's guilt as well; he also reveals that he feels some guilt himself for things that have happened over the years. Awww! Brothers bond! They reminisce about the fateful night, agreeing that Emily never wanted either of them to change. Before retiring for the night, Damon admits that the reason he'd been resentful for -- well, forever -- was because Katherine was only supposed to turn him, not the both of them.

Anna comes home from her sex date at Jeremy's to find both Harper and Pearl dead, stakes through their chests. (Nooo! Not Harper, too!) Outside, Uncle John throws his stake gun into his car and calls Sheriff Forbes to give her an update on the vampire situation. 
 
Over at the Mystic Grill, Alaric is drowning his sorrows in some good old fashioned drink when a woman approaches. "Hello, Ric," she says. Alaric recognizes the voice, and somehow he's not surprised to hear it. He turns around to Isobel standing in front of him, undead and well!

Next week: Isobel hooks up with Damon and demands to meet Elena!