Relationships in Mystic Falls are going through tough times this week: Stefan’s still holding out on Elena, Damon tried to eat Caroline, and even Jeremy’s starting to question the benefits of dating fellow drug enthusiast, Vicki. Most heinous of all, Damon is locked up for an entire episode and thus unable to take off his shirt! Don’t you people understand that we need our weekly fix of vampire abs in order to keep the faith?
 
[Full recap of Thursday (Oct. 8) night's "The Vampire Diaries" after the break...]
 
We pick up where we left off last episode, when Stefan and Uncle Zach managed to trick Damon into eating Caroline’s vervain-spiked blood. [Thank you, Twitter friends, for informing me that Stefan’s magical anti-Damon herb is called “vervain,” not “verbena” or “verbane” or whatever else it sometimes sounds like they’re saying.] Three days have passed, and Stefan has kept Damon weak with vervain injections and removed his Salvatore family ring so that he is both weakened and unable to go out during the day. Stefan has taken all the necessary precautions, it would seem… or has he?
 
Stefan cites the vampire rules in the olden days, when bad vampires “faced judgment” for their crimes. Stefan is bringing punishment back, and plans to let Damon starve until his skin’s all dried out and he’s a living corpse. Dried Up Damon will have 50 years to think about what he’s done, after which time Stefan will bring him back to see if he’s changed his ‘tude. Of course, we know this cannot happen, because what would “The Vampire Diaries” be without our beloved Somerhottie?
 
Elena wakes up and stumbles into the bathroom, where she finds Vicki brushing her teeth and wearing Jeremy’s shirt. After taking in the evidence, Elena concludes that Vicki totally slept over, that skank! Jeremy doesn’t care that his sister knows and he and Vicki happily snog in bed.
 
Elena marches downstairs to tell on Jeremy, but Aunt Jenna already knows. Does she care that her young drug addict nephew, who is probably 16 years old, had the town slut spend the night? Nope. Jenna has more important things to worry about, like her upcoming date with Logan the News Guy, who we know only asked her out to get into her house to steal the family pocket watch. And probably also to get into her pants. Jenna and Elena begin to talk about Stefan, who’s been M.I.A. for three whole days, but instead of writing about it in her diary Elena has decided she’s not going to be “one of those girls” who gets upset by boys. Yes Elena, you are. And just like that, Jeremy’s underage sexcapades are forgotten.
 
Caroline recounts the night Damon attacked her to Bonnie, who is trying desperately to ignite a candle with her mind. Caroline remembers that Damon bit her and is sort of mad about it, but doesn’t remember much else. She’s still in denial about the whole thing – and so, like any other teenage girl nursing a broken heart and a torn artery, Caroline throws herself into organizing a school fundraiser to cheer up the grieving athletic department. Because nothing says “We’re sorry Coach Tanner was eaten by wild animals” like a “Sexy Suds” car wash!
 
In the corner of her room, Caroline hangs Damon’s mysterious magic crystal, which she’s now fashioned into a tres chic necklace. It glimmers with secret powers!
 
Stefan decides that, despite having a still-dangerous Damon locked in the basement, what he really needs to do is go back to school. He catches up to Elena in the hallway to apologize for disappearing, explaining that he “dealt” with Damon. Perhaps he can tell her the whole story after school at the Mystic Grill? Because the public hang out of Mystic Falls’ teen population is the best place to tell your girlfriend you’re a vampire.
 
Later at the Grill, Elena waits for Stefan. And waits. Ex-boyfriend Matt is there playing pool. Alone, of course. He practically lives at the Grill, forever shooting pool all by himself. And he missed last week’s episode altogether, so he probably misses that pool table even more.
 
Elena joins him in a game for old time’s sake and to complain about finding his skanky sister in her bathroom that morning. Elena is here doubly cruel, whether she knows it or not, because A) no guy should ever know THAT much about his sister’s sex life, and B) no guy should have to hear the ex-girlfriend he’s still in love with complain about her current boyfriend. But since Elena is clueless when it comes to the men in her life, she prattles on. She admits she doesn’t know much about Stefan, and that worries her. Matt – who as I’ve noted before, must be the nicest high school boy ever – tells Elena that he thinks Stefan is a good guy.
 
While Stefan is away, Uncle Zach is in charge. He checks on Damon, which we all know is just a baaaad idea. Zach warns Damon that he’s been drinking vervain for 16 years, so if Damon decides to bite him, he’ll only hurt himself. Slumped over in his cell, Damon is pale and glistening – just like those “Twilight” vampires! Zach gets too close and Damon, even in his weakened state, starts to strangle him through the cell door before Stefan shows up in time to stop him. What Stefan could really use instead of that clunky old ring is a watch (perhaps a pocket watch!), because he is now one hour late for his important date with Elena.
 
Stefan hightails it to the Grill, where he incurs Elena’s female wrath for showing up late without calling. She’s tired of his “non-answers” about everything, but is interrupted when an old black man recognizes Stefan. “You haven’t aged a day,” he says. Stefan plays it off and tells him he must be mistaken. Elena’s had enough of Stefan’s elusiveness and takes off, leaving Stefan alone with the old black guy, who stares ominously at him.
 
Over at the police station, Logan the News Guy is talking to Caroline’s sheriff mama. “How’s the vampire hunt going?” he asks. They’ve canvassed all over town, but the vampires must be hiding out somewhere. “How’s the pocket watch hunt going?” she asks. Logan’s planning on searching the Gilbert house, so Caroline’s mama pulls out some convenient trivia. She tells him that the pocket watch was passed down through the Gilbert men, so it might be a good idea to sniff Jeremy out.
 
Jeremy checks in on Elena for the first time in his selfish, drug-addled life. She’s moping on the bed, miserable. He tells her she should go eat something, which I’ll bet isn’t the first time Nina Dobrev has heard that advice. She marches downstairs, where she finds Stefan cooking chicken parmigiana, her favorite! Which he knows how to cook because he’s-a Italian-o! We also learn that Stefan can make his own mozzarella, which is just weird. This is his way of letting Elena get to know him.
 
Stefan cuts to the chase and tells Elena what she really wants to know: namely, what was the deal with Catherine? Stefan describes her. She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever met. She had good skin. She had a great laugh. Yada yada. But wait – she was also impatient, selfish, and compulsive! Damon claims he nailed her first, and Stefan admits he did do something wrong that he never got to make right.
 
Upstairs, Vicki is back to her pill-popping ways. She’s found Elena’s prescription pain killers left over from the accident, which means one thing: party time! Jeremy dares to suggest that they don’t need to always get high, which Vicki brushes off. She doesn’t want some guy to try to change her; how dare he! And so, Jeremy relents.
 
In the kitchen, Stefan is regaling Elena with all of the things he loves in life: John Grisham novels, “Seinfeld,” “I Love Lucy,” Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.” Uh oh. Elena – who looks like she’s never cooked in her life – starts to help by chopping garlic. Which she slyly asks Stefan if he’d eat…because vampires can’t eat garlic, right? Elena is chopping this garlic with a knife, which can only mean one thing: she is going to cut herself.
 
And then, Elena cuts herself! Conflict! Stefan can’t stop his hungry vampire face from coming out, which Elena glimpses in a reflection in the window. With his back to her (and his face towards us) Stefan fights off his vampire face with the help of some impressively subtle special effects. He convinces Elena that she hallucinated his vampire face, and they resolve the moment the only way they know how: by making out. The kiss ratio, by the way, is deliciously high in these episodes. Thank you, CW!
 
Damon’s looking seriously grody in his cell, and he starts to call Caroline’s name. In her bedroom discussing her slutty high school car wash, she hears him telepathically. Cool! Another vampire power revealed. She sees an apparition of him in her room, which we have to note, reminds us of all those times Boone showed up out of nowhere on LOST. She sees Damon’s crow in her window and shoos it away. After shacking up with Damon for weeks, does she not understand the crow?
 
The next day, it’s time for the car wash! Caroline has planned a “Sexy Suds” car wash fundraiser, which requires high school girls and boys to slut it up for charity. Elena and Stefan are paired up and immediately begin to canoodle. Of course, mopey Matt is watching them from afar while he and Bonnie double team a VW.
 
A beat up car with a scrawny kid in it drives up, drawing the scorn of a tall slutty car washer. Bonnie takes pity on the poor guy, and as the tall slutty car washer is filling a bucket with water with which she will disdainfully scrub his hunk of junk, Bonnie goes all Carrie White on her ass and makes the bucket explode in the girl’s face! Yes! More witch powers unveiled! Bonnie is secretly a little pleased with herself.
 
Meanwhile, Aunt Jenna is watching her date, Logan the News Guy, reporting on the inappropriate “Sexy Suds” car wash. Jenna had a nice time with Logan last night at dinner. They reminisce over the last time they were together in the parking lot, which is when they did it in a mini van. How romantic.
 
Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev are doing a smashing job pretending like they know how to wash a car, when Elena asks about his ring. Stefan explains that it has the family crest – and a lapis lazuli stone – and dates back to the Renaissance. She suggests he take it off while they wash the car. He doesn’t want to take it off. Wonder why?
 
Meanwhile, Damon’s crow is watching. It follows Caroline into the empty hallway. Damon appears to her and asks for help, and she goes running off in her cute bikini and Daisy Dukes.
 
Old black guy is at the car wash having his car washed by slutty teenage girls. (It turns out that the tall rude slutty car washer girl is his granddaughter. Small world!) He tells Elena that he knew Stefan and Damon Salvatore when he first moved to Mystic Falls…in 1953! And that back then, their uncle Joseph was killed mysteriously by animals.
 
Meanwhile, Vicki takes her new boyfriend Jeremy to her favorite place in Mystic Falls: the cemetery. Her loser friends are already there, because apparently the tombs are the Mystic Falls equivalent of the area by the dumpsters behind the gym where stoners hang out in every other city. At first glance, they’re just some lazy dope heads getting high among the tombstones. But would a lazy stoner take the time or have the foresight to bring lawn chairs with them on their druggie field trip? I think not. Vicki takes a toke and blows the smoke into Jeremy’s mouth, which is like the pothead way of saying “I love you.”
 
Logan meets Elena, who has a favor to ask him. He squeezes another date out of Jenna – anything to get back into her house – before agreeing to help Elena do some research in the old newspaper databases. Elena splits before Stefan notices she’s gone.
 
Meanwhile, Caroline has been drawn all the way to the Salvatore mansion by Damon’s voice, and she TOTALLY walked the whole way! That’s devotion. Good thing one of the doors is unlocked. Caroline walks through the house as if in a trance, following Damon’s call.
 
She finds him in his prison cell, where he asks her to release him. She’s a little reluctant, seeing as how he got all mean and bit her the last time they hung out – but she can’t seem to remember everything. He commands her to open the door with his vampire mojo, and just as Caroline unlocks the bolt, Uncle Zach arrives. He tells Caroline to run and she hightails it out of there just as Damon – powerful enough, in his weakened state – muscles his way out and overpowers Zach. A flailing Damon chases Caroline through the house, but just as he’s about to reach her he runs into a ray of sunlight and recoils in pain. (Thankfully, the singed half of his face heals all the way back to pretty within seconds.) As a final insult, Caroline runs awkwardly down the street while being filmed in the most unflattering angle possible.
 
Back home, Caroline mopes in the dark. Her sheriff mama tries to ask about her boy trouble, but Caroline answers that if she wants to talk boys, she’ll call dad – who has more luck with men than mom does. Let me clarify: Caroline’s dad is gay! This hurts Caroline’s mom enough into leaving her alone. Teenagers can be so cruel.
 
After spending his entire day at the stupid high school car wash, Stefan comes home after dark, and Damon is gone. He’s eaten what might be his own crow for sustenance. Stefan finds Uncle Zach dead in a heap on the floor while Elena gives us a voice-over: “Dear Diary: I’m not a believer. People are born, they grow old, and then they die. That’s the world we live in.” Debbie Downer!
 
“There’s no magic, no mysticism, no immortality,” she continues as we see Caroline tuck herself in for the night. Damon’s magic crystal hangs in her room, and as the moonlight shines through it a five-pointed star in a circle is illuminated. “There is nothing that defies rational thought.”
 
Bonnie shows up at her crazy grandma’s house, a crying mess. A single tear runs down her cheek as she tells her grandma she doesn’t know what’s happening to her. We see that her grandma is…Jasmine Guy! Whitley from “A Different World!” Whoo-hoo! That’s promising. (It has occurred to me that if you know who Jasmine Guy is, you’re on the far side of the target demographic for this show and you probably don’t admit that you watch it. But that’s ok.)
 
At the Gilbert house, stupid Jenna breaks out the wine for her date with Logan but he’s sneaking around the house looking for Jeremy’s pocket watch. He finds it and takes it, but Jeremy catches him snooping in his room.
 
Back at the Salvatore mansion, Stefan cradles the lifeless body of poor Uncle Zach. (Here’s an idea: why not make three Salvatore family vampires?) Elena, meanwhile, ponders all the evidence pointing to the truth that Stefan is a vampire: The names in the old town registry. His magically healing wound from the football game episode. The way his face gets all, I don’t know, “vampire-y” when he gets worked up. The bites she found on Caroline last episode. The victims of the “animal attacks” who were drained of blood! Elena is figuring this s**t out! (Nina Dobrev, meanwhile, is emoting her little tush off.)
 
Meanwhile, back in the creepy stoner part of the cemetery, Vicki’s starting to realize that getting high in the cemetery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That strange, familiar fog starts to roll in. Talk about bad timing! She goes to a pick-up truck parked nearby to turn the awful generic rock music back on, only to find Damon, weak, sick, and half obscured by shadows. He pulls the classic “Come closer, I have something to tell you” line. Stupid Vicki falls for it, which is her own damn fault, and he attacks her for the second time.! Damon is invigorated with the strength of her human blood.
 
I think Vicki is stuck in a cycle of abuse. Just when she’s learned to stop hooking up with Tyler, she’s become Damon’s go-to snack. In the interest of not having to see Vicki (short for “Vick-tim”) wearing more revealing outfits with a tacky giant bandage on her neck, I hope Damon has the foresight to turn her into a vampire herself! That ought to give her addictive personality something new to consume, and provide poor Jeremy with some vampire romance of his own.
 
Back at the house, Stefan grabs a sheath from a box and runs out to hunt down Damon. But Elena’s on his doorstep, demanding to know what he really is! How will this all be resolved??
 
Next week: Stefan tells Elena he’s a vampire, and Damon comes a-callin’!