Things are heating up in good ole' Mystic Falls. Hormones are raging. Tempers run high. The delicious promise of boy-on-boy action is in the air, and I'm not even talking about Stefan and his evil (or just misunderstood?) brother Damon having themselves a vampire fistfight and flying through windows. It's football season in Mystic Falls!

But first, the prologue. Unfortunately, whiny, annoying Caroline didn't bite the big one last week when her roll in the hay with bad boy Damon ended with him busting out the vampire face and snacking on her neck. Caroline wakes up the next morning confused, the proud new owner of a giant, bloody hickey. Next to her, Damon sleeps soundly. She recalls her horrible vampire sex attack (which seemed to go straight from foreplay to blood drinking, so she probably didn't even get any) and tries to tiptoe out of the room and to safety while Damon sleeps. But he does that creepy "show up out of nowhere” thing and says a scary good morning to her, which in Damon talk apparently means, let's have breakfast! By which I mean, a breakfast of Caroline.

[Full recap of Thursday (Sept. 24) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]

Elsewhere in Mystic Falls, high schoolers are ramping up for football season. We know this because all the boys are playing catch before class! Elena and Bonnie discuss her newfound relationship with the hunky Stefan, who gives Bonnie the heebie-jeebies, so now Bonnie doesn't trust him. Bonnie tells Elena that maybe she should play the field, but Elena's all, why? He's like, so hunky! Ok, that's what we said. But Elena's not listening to Bonnie, so it doesn't matter.

Meanwhile over in Subplot C, Vicki the ho-ish druggie chick pays a visit to her summer fling, Jeremy. She wants to be friends, so she invites him to a concert for a band appropriately called The Posers, which is highly amusing. Jeremy's not having it since after all he's done for her (and all of those pills he gave her for free last episode) she got back together with Tyler, the school douche bag. Was she just sleeping with him for the drugs, he asks?

Still walking toward class, Elena invites Stefan to have dinner with her and Bonnie so that the BFF and the BF can get to know each other. Far, far away on the other side of the grass, Matt and Tyler are watching them. It's kind of creepy. Tyler chucks a Hail Mary aimed right at the back of Stefan's head, because wouldn't it be funny if it hit him and gave him some litigious brain damage? Jocks are so hilarious. But oh, snap! Right when the football is about to put the hurt on Stefan's dome, he turns around superfast and catches it like a pro! And then, he throws it back to Tyler, just like Thomas Ian Nicholas throwing that baseball back in "Rookie of the Year.” Brooding, journal-writing loners of the world are vindicated!

Elena is very impressed. So much so that she suggests Stefan try out for the football team. She might even go back to cheerleading! They're so much more than a couple of gloomy Guses, aren't they? What a pair!

Over in history class, Bonnie is obsessed with numbers. Specifically: 8, 14, and 22. Hmm, maybe they'll come into play one of these days…

Mean old history teacher Mr. Tanner is talking about World War II. He and Stefan get into another verbal smack down, only this time it's about who remembers historical dates the best. Stefan wins Vampire Diaries Jeopardy, and Mr. Tanner is moted yet again. His face says, "I'll get you, Stefan Salvatore!” The entire class applauds. Elena's googly eyes get even googlier.

After school Stefan sits in the bleachers, debating whether or not to try out to join the Mystic Falls High football team, but he'll have to ask the coach first…who turns out to be Mr. Tanner, history teacher! Why, this might present an entirely unforeseen conflict between previously established adversaries! Stefan, who's learning the benefits of hiding his vampire-ness behind a veneer of human-like humility, eats crow and asks to try out. Tanner relents, hoping somewhat inappropriately that Stefan will get the crap knocked out of him in the process.

Meanwhile, Elena's also decided to try new things. New, meaning being happy and going back to her old life of cheerleading. She shows up to join Bonnie in short shorts at cheer practice and expertly executes a few limber stretching poses, but wonders where Caroline's been? It's so unlike her to be missing from school and from team practice.

Caroline answers that question when she drives up in Damon's muscle car of death, wearing a scarf around her neck to hide her love bites. She prances over to cheer practice, gloating over her new conquest. Elena squints at Damon and wonders if something's not right.

Turns out Stefan's not only good at football, he's the best player Mystic Falls has seen in years. (Maybe 145 years or so?) He's got good hands, he's got jukes, and he doesn't even appear to be cheating with his vampire skillz, which counts for a lot. Our Stefan's no cheater! Everyone's impressed, except for Tyler, who Stefan overhears complaining. Stefan smartly decides to mix things up by missing a pass, allowing Tyler to tackle him – just like a human boy!

Back at the Salvatore chalet, Stefan comes home to find Damon reading his diary. So not cool. Damon says he wants to start over, to play nice, and to try to be, like Stefan, a "non-living living person.” SIKE! He's just kidding. Damon's still all evil and stuff. And he's got a date with Caroline tonight.

Bonnie is telling Elena about the numbers she keeps seeing. She's starting to believe that maybe she is psychic because of those witchy relatives of hers. And she can totally predict what commercials are going to come on the TV! She "predicts” where the serving spoons are, and OMG – there they are! But who cares, Stefan's here.

During their awkward BFF-boyfriend dinner, Elena tells Stefan about Bonnie's family roots, and he wins Bonnie over by calling the Salem witches cool. The doorbell rings, and Caroline and Damon crash the party, which gets off to a fun start with a standoff between Stefan trying to stop Elena from inviting Damon in, and everyone else inviting Damon in, and then Elena finally inviting Damon in. But doesn't she realize what she's just done?? Now that she's said the magical words, his vampire ass can come in any time he wants. It. Is. On.

Over at the Mystic Grill, everyone else who we barely care about are enjoying a typical Mystic Falls night out: Vicki is being groped by Tyler while she works, Matt is playing pool by himself, and Jeremy is moping in a corner. Matt sympathizes with Jeremy. Jeremy almost gets into a fight with Tyler, but they both promise to finish it later.

Back at the teenage dinner party, Damon vampire-catches a falling wine glass to impress Elena. (Why not bounce an apple off of your shoe as well?) He helps her do the dishes, which is more than I can say about lazy Stefan, and they have an intimate conversation. Cute, even. The topic of Stefan's ex, Catherine, comes up. Damon says Catherine died in a tragic fire and that she was beautiful, complicated, selfish, sometimes unkind, and sexy. Elena correctly guesses that both brothers dated Catherine, but she can't figure out who dated her first.

Damon offers Elena a piece of good advice: quit cheerleading, because she looks miserable and it's not worth it. Elena surprises Damon with a revelation of her own: she guesses that Damon loved Catherine as well, and was just as devastated as Stefan when she died. He's caught off guard, because she's right.

In the living room, Damon uses his vampire mojo on Caroline to make her do the impossible: go help with the kitchen chores. The brothers use their private time to argue about what Damon's doing with Caroline. Stefan thinks it's wrong; Damon thinks he can do whatever the hell he wants. He threatens to come back and stalk/harm Elena, because now he's been invited in!

Later that night, Elena and Stefan are sitting on her bed, talking. Which can only mean one thing: make-out time! The lovebirds swap spit, and things heat up real quick. Right when Elena has stripped off her tank top and straddled Stefan, he takes off his shirt – and turns into Damon! Elena screams, and wakes up from her nightmare. Or dream. A black crow is perched on her windowsill.

The next morning, Stefan is journaling, which can only mean one thing: a Stefan voice over. "There must be a shred of humanity left inside my brother,” he writes. He hopes so, at least. Stefan takes something out of an old box.

That evening, it's almost game time. The students of Mystic Falls High are getting extremely rowdy, considering that their football team is supposed to suck. Stefan, wearing his new football uniform, gives Elena the mystery item. It's an old antique pendant, and he wants her to wear it. Like, now. Elena loves the necklace and gladly puts it on, noting an unusual herby smell. They're pinned! They're totally going vampire-steady now!

At the pre-game rally, Coach Tanner is rallying the crowd into a frenzy of school spirit. Out of the corner of his eye, Stefan catches a fight between testosterone-fueled Tyler and alcohol-fueled Jeremy. He makes it over as a crowd starts to form, and stops Tyler from punching Jeremy into oblivion. Tyler, in turn, tries to punch his new teammate in the gut, but finds Stefan's abs to be otherworldly. Jeremy grabs a broken glass and swings it at Tyler, which would have most definitely killed him would Stefan have not stopped it with his hand. In the chaos, Elena sees the bloody cut on Stefan's hand, but it heals itself within minutes.

Damon sneaks up on Elena in the parking lot and makes the moves on her with his vampire mojo. He's surprised when she resists his advances and calls him out for trying to play her to get to Stefan. She surprises him yet again by telling him she's not Catherine, which strikes a nerve.

Matt catches up with Stefan and, like the great guy he is, apologizes for hating him. They shake hands and become friends. Damon mocks Stefan's newfound humanity, and applauds his foresight in giving Elena the magical herbal necklace that makes her immune to his vampire charms. Damon threatens to seduce or eat Elena, but Stefan's had a rough evening and he calls his brother out. "You hate me because you loved her, and you torture me because you still do,” Stefan says. Just to prove Stefan wrong, Damon goes and eats Coach Tanner to death. See, he can still kill anyone he wants!

After breaking up with his BFF Tyler for general douche baggery, Matt discovers Coach Tanner's body outside. Guess the game's off now. As the crime scene gets cleaned up, Bonnie realizes that the numbers she was seeing corresponded to that exact location. She IS psychic! She IS a witch!

Since the game's been cancelled, Vicki finds Jeremy hiding under the bleachers. She tells him that she wasn't into him just for the drugs (although she was probably at least partly into him because of the drugs).

Stefan realizes that his hope in Damon's remaining shred of humanity was misplaced, and that he is a monster after all. But wait – as Stefan journals this, Damon is in Elena's bedroom, watching tenderly as she sleeps! He caresses her gently and then disappears into the night (and into our hearts). There is hope for this bad boy yet, ladies! Swoon!

 

Next week: Elena's grossed out by Caroline's love bites, and she and Stefan go on their first date!