The "Vampire Diaries" folks aren't messing around this week, getting things going with the quickness as Stefan is attacked the morning after fending off the new vampire Frederick in last week's episode. As Stefan finds himself in mortal danger, Damon, Elena, Alaric, and Caroline find themselves headed to Pearl's house in the woods. The heat, as they say, is on!

[Full recap of Thursday's (April 8) "The Vampire Diaries," titled "Let the Right One In," after the break…]

Thunder and lightning.

Elena is awakened by a gust of wind that blows open her window. She gets up to close it, disturbed by the ominous rumblings. Meanwhile in Jeremy's bedroom, the mood is decidedly different: Anna loves storms! She's teaching Jeremy about vamp life -- don't believe anything you read. Though Jeremy insists, she won't turn someone who "learned everything he knows about vampires from Netflix." Elena knocks, and Anna disappears like Edward Cullen into the shadows of Bella's bedroom. Elsewhere, Frederick ominously plays with a knife; he wants to go people hunting with Anna, but Pearl doesn't want to let him out. She wants to keep their vampire army on the DL, and he's too loose a cannon. She plans on taking an "exploratory" trip into town to assess which townsfolk are secret vampire haters; she wants to reclaim Mystic Falls for vampirekind, but wants to do it peaceably. As Pearl leaves, other vampires enter who are under Frederick's allegiance. We see that he's been carving a wooden stake.

At the Salvatore mansion, Damon explains Pearl's plan to amass the old timey vampires to Elena and Stefan. Damon and Elena bicker. Stefan promises to handle the situation with Damon while Elena stays home safe, saying that he'll be fine! I mean, Damon totally has his back!

At the Grill, Jeremy and Anna continue their adorable getting-to-know-you chat. She admires the bracelet Elena gave to Jeremy, which he doesn’t know contains vervain. She asks him to keep her vampireness a secret, and Jeremy offers her his bracelet as a gesture of… friendship? More than friendship? She doesn't quite know. He tells her he likes her (but does he like-like her?) and she tells him to keep wearing the bracelet.

Matt complains about his MILFy mom to Caroline, who assures him that people can change and surprise you. She heads out to drive to a family engagement in the storm. They kiss. They're SO CUTE!

Weakened by the previous night's attack, Stefan goes out hunting for squirrels in the rain. Because remember, Stefan doesn't munch on humans. In the rain-soaked woods, Frederick and his henchmen appear out of nowhere and Frederick stabs Stefan in the gut.

Elena gets a frantic call from Damon, who shows up at her doorstep when Stefan doesn't come home. He suspects that Stefan's been taken by Pearl's people, and when he pays a visit to the house in the woods, Frederick answers the door. His vampire henchmen drag a wounded Stefan out in the hall, but Damon can't enter; he hasn't been invited in, and Frederick ensures that his vampire groupie, the human house owner Miss Gibbons, will never, ever let Damon in the house. Stuck outside, Damon watches as Frederick's people torture Stefan. Frederick promises to kill Stefan out of revenge.

Outside, Damon relays the situation to Elena, stopping her from going in after Stefan. He tenderly tells her he knows they have to save Stefan, but he doesn't know how. Downstairs at Pearl's, Frederick and his vamps string Stefan up on vervain-laced ropes and torture him repeatedly. Harper interrupts them, objecting, but with Pearl away Frederick subdues Harper and ties him up as well.

At the school, Damon and Elena ask Alaric for his help. Since Alaric is pretty un-killable with that magical ring that Isobel gave him, he's the perfect person to go into the house and save Stefan. Or something. Alaric refuses until Damon tells him that Pearl could lead him to his vampire wife, and he agrees to go.

Jeremy's still trying to convince Anna to turn him into a vampire, which she doesn't want to do. His life doesn't feel complete; he doesn’t have anything else. Anna explains that vampires turn humans only A) to use them, B) for revenge, C) out of boredom, and D) if they're eternally in love with them. She's totally into Jeremy and he knows it (THEY'RE SO CUTE!) but she says he doesn't fit any of those categories… yet. Pearl comes in to get Anna to go home, and Anna denies knowing Jeremy very well. They run into Tyler and Mayor Lockwood, who invites Pearl and Anna to join them for dinner because Pearl is smokin' hot. (Hey, Mrs. Lockwood would totally hit it with Damon…) Pearl accepts to learn more about the vampire hunting townsfolk.

Alaric unveils his weapons -- vervain-loaded tranquilizer darts -- to Damon and Elena, and Elena insists on coming along to save her boyfriend. Damon refuses to allow Elena to infiltrate the house with him, because he can't protect her inside. He insists on going in alone in a passionate monologue that reveals his concern for both Elena and his brother. Of course, we know Elena has a listening problem and will find a way to get herself in trouble. The trio leaves for the woods.

Twenty minutes in, and this is the most heart-pounding, thrillingly paced episode of "The Vampire Diaries" yet.

Matt gets a call from Caroline, who is driving in the backwoods of Mystic Falls because the storm closed the main roads. Uh-oh. Is she on the road that leads to Pearl's? Caroline's car gets stuck in the mud, and she has no cell reception.

Ironically, that's the excuse Alaric uses when he knocks on Pearl's door and Frederick lets him in to use the phone. Alaric is led into the kitchen, where Miss Gibbons is chopping vegetables with an alarmingly huge knife. Alaric stakes the henchman and leads Miss Gibbons to the door, but she refuses to let Damon in… so he breaks her neck. Easy as pie! Damon instructs Alaric to get rid of the body and proceeds to look for Stefan, now that he can freely enter the house.

Pearl digs for details from Mayor Lockwood at dinner. She knows an awful lot about his family history. A hot woman and a history buff? What a catch! Anna and Jeremy flirt via text with each other from across the room, and Pearl notices. Lockwood tells her it's Jeremy Gilbert who her daughter is totally sexting with. (Or is it vexting? Vampire-texting?) Busted!

Inside the house, Damon subdues another of Frederick's henchmen. Alaric returns to the car only to find Elena gone, and goes back to the house with his knapsack full of tranquilizers. Elena sneaks into the basement, but before she has a chance to tranq-stab a vampire guard, Damon steps out of the shadows to do the job. Damon and Alaric are both all, (fist shake) "Elenaaa!"

Now it's dark and rainy, and Caroline's still stuck in her car. She decides to get out and look for cell reception, which takes her wandering in the dark through the woods. She falls down an embankment and grabs a tree root to steady herself -- only it's a human arm! Super gross!

Pearl confronts Anna about Jeremy in the ladies' room. She wants Anna to stop seeing Jeremy, and tells her as soon as he finds out she's a vampire, he'll turn on her. Anna reveals that Jeremy already knows and that they're totally in like, and Pearl slaps her across the face. She walks somberly out of the Grill past Jeremy and sends him a text: "I'll do it."

Damon and Elena find Stefan and Harper strung up in the cellar; Stefan instructs Damon to spare Harper because they've totally become torture friends. He has Elena remove the stakes in Harper's legs, and as Damon goes to distract Frederick, Elena helps Stefan quietly limp out. Outside, Elena and Stefan fall, and Elena cuts her hand.

Damon jumps Frederick, and they rassle in the hallway before Frederick's goons interrupt. Frederick escapes, and Alaric shows up in the nick of time to save Damon by shooting the last vampire assailant off of him. Damon runs after Frederick, who's headed outside.

Stefan and Elena make it back to the car (Yay!), only the key is missing (Boo!). Frederick pulls Stefan out of the passenger side window and beats him up, stabbing him multiple times with a stick. Elena jumps in and stabs Frederick in the back, and he drops to the ground, wounded. Elena rushes to the ailing Stefan and wrenches the stick from his chest, but he lays on the ground, unresponsive. Nooooo!

Still inside the house, a vampire attacks Alaric. It bites him on the neck, but he stabs it with a tranquilizer dart. Damon shows up after losing Frederick, and together he and Alaric head out the front door only to see a cadre of slow-moving vampires surrounding the house. (What are they, zombie vampires?) They retreat back inside.

Meanwhile, normal people drama continues at Matt's house, where his MILF has made dinner in an attempt to make peace. The doorbell rings; it's Caroline -- and her mom, the Sheriff. They ask to see Matt's mom. Turns out the dead hand Caroline found was Vampire Vicky's body! The news makes it to the Grill, where Mayor Lockwood, Tyler, and Jeremy exchange meaningful glances.

Pearl and Anna return home to find Damon and Alaric inside. Damon explains that Frederick and his vamps went bat shit crazy (no pun intended), and that he's super not happy about it.

A half-dead Stefan whispers to Elena to run, as Frederick's still-alive body twitches nearby. Elena offers Stefan her wrist to drink from, and Stefan reluctantly takes it. And then, he REALLY takes it. Frederick comes back to life and goes to stake Stefan with a stick, but he leaps up, strengthened, and kills Frederick. Elena approaches to stop Stefan, who keeps stabbing the already-dead Frederick, and he reacts to her with an unexpectedly aggressive expression. Elena freezes, scared, and Stefan comes to his senses, surprised and ashamed. Will this change everything??

Back at home, Elena looks at her own reflection in the window. Stefan approaches, totally back to his metro-sexual normalcy. Things between them are weird. Stefan apologizes for scaring her, and thanks her for saving his life. She's weirded out because she's never seen him in full vampire killer mode. He caresses her cheek, but the weirdness lingers. Elena gets a call from Jeremy with the news of Vicky's body. Everyone gathers at Matt's house for a wake, sitting in somber silence. Matt sits, dazed. Caroline dotes adorably on him, but he tells her he needs to be alone. Which is fine, until Elena arrives and Matt collapses in tears in her arms while Caroline watches from afar. Major burn, Matt. Not cool.

Damon and Alaric grab a post-massacre drink at the bar. Damon attempts buddy talk. Alaric punches Damon, then leaves.

Elena and Jeremy return home, where Jeremy breaks down in tears in the comfort of his room. He starts tearing up his newspaper clippings in anger, now realizing that Vicky is dead, and not possibly out partying it up as a vampire as he suspected. Anna, who's pulled another Edward Cullen appearing act, realizes that Jeremy really wanted to turn to find Vicky and be with HER forever and ever. She takes off before Jeremy can apologize for totally leading her on. The men in this town get so hung up on their exes!

Damon comes home to find Stefan a sniveling mess on the floor, binging on bags of human blood. He's addicted! 

Next week: Stefan's totally not himself. Neither is Tyler, and that has something to do with the full moon…