At first I thought this was going to be an episode about the return of Sad Elena. A vampire, even one who's intrinsically good, has to have a cold little center to make it possible for him or her to feed on humans (or, if not, live off of blood bags). But since Elena can't manage to survive off of "juice packs," she has no choice but to go after the warm, beating stuff -- and it's not in her nature. Or, at least, Stefan hopes not. And while this episode is about that, it's also about another Sad Girl -- Rebekah. While we've definitely seen her mushy center and desire to be loved before, tonight's episode may be her most poignant one yet. While it doesn't erase what we know about her capacity for intentional cruelty, it does make her considerably more sympathetic 

Dear readers, just a heads-up before we proceed -- I've had the stomach flu for most of the week and I'm getting on a plane to the East Coast for a set visit shortly after I finish this recap (as well as "Project Runway") so, though I will try my level best, I'm pretty sure there will be stupid mistakes in this recap. If you catch them, feel free to tell me in the comments and I will fix post-haste, promise.

Damon and Stefan are no longer fighting, except they're going to be in a perpetual fight due to Damon letting Elena feed on him. Oh, those silly, territorial boys! Anyway, Damon is looking for a supernatural guidebook. He knows Klaus is all excited about The Five, but what is it, anyway? I'm sure we're going to find out, though Damon may not, at least not right away.

Elena whines to Stefan about her feeding feelings. He suggests she talk to Caroline. No, Caroline is too good at controlling her hunger, and Stefan is too vulnerable to his hunger. So that leaves… Damon. Stefan isn't thrilled about this, but I think we all know Elena, if she has to drink from the vein, needs to work with Damon whether Stefan likes it or not. In fact, they're going on a field trip -- Elena, Damon and Bonnie are visiting the professor who's taken over her Gram's classes. 

Meanwhile, Rebekah can't stop trying to win over Matt. She buys Matt a truck. Matt is unimpressed. Klaus, who conveniently sees Rebekah humiliating herself, tells her he wants to bury the hatchet. He knows the Brotherfood of the Five still exists, so hey, time to join forces, right? Rebekah is intrigued, but it's not enough to make her mend fences with her brother. He did break her neck, after all, and there was all that stabbing and stuffing in coffins nonsense. 

Damon, Bonnie and Elena sit in on the new professor's class. Not only is he hot, but he has a lot to say about how much he likes witches. Not that we hear much, because Damon starts telling Elena which classmates she should try to eat. Elena is intrigued despite herself.

Even without Rebekah on board, Klaus has gotten to work on this vampire hunter business. He has Connor tied to an Inquisition-era rack, which seems quite useful in keeping our determined hunter in one spot. But soon, Stefan drops by to find out what's going on. He needs to know about The Five, and for two guys who don't like each other all that much, it's a very civil conversation. Klaus informs Stefan The Five are highly skilled vampire hunters whom Klaus and his family came across in the 12th century in Italy. Oh, and Rebekah fell in love with one of these guys. And Klaus will tell Stefan all about the secrets she learned from this vampire hunter -- just as long as Stefan gets Rebekah to get on board with his plan.

And if Stefan isn't feeling all that motivated, Klaus informs him that he should get to work, because the vampire hunter "holds the answer to all your prayers." It seems odd that a vampire hunter would be helpful to a vampire, but I'm guessing that tattoo is the key. 

At the Mystic Grill, Rebekah meets with April for a hot minute, but then Stefan busts in. He tells her he needs to make a fake-peace with her for Klaus' benefit. They'll both learn what they want to know, plus Stefan will sweeten the deal by getting Matt to forgive Rebekah. She's in. 

At the college, Damon guides Elena toward a delicious victim, but when she sees a cute picture on the girl's phone, she can't drink her blood. "I care because I'm still me!" she cries. "Sorry if that spoils your master plan to turn me into a super vampire!" Damon, to his credit, does not roll his eyes. 

With a tentative truce called, Klaus invites Stefan and Rebekah to dinner, and the story of The Five and Rebekah's roll in all of this ancient history unspools, mostly in flashback. So, what's the deal about the hunter Rebekah fell in love with? Alexander revealed that he and The Five had "the ultimate weapon which no vampire can survive." 

"How is a weapon the answer to all my prayers?" Stefan asks, not unwisely.

But wait, we're getting to that. The tattoo all of The Five have? It's a map leading to a treasure. And because vampires can't see that map, Klaus produces Jeremy. Connor glowers at Jeremy, but these two will have to spend some time together, as Jeremy has to sketch the tattoo. Connor, who is apparently pretty bored hanging from a metal bar, admits to Jeremy that his tattoo showed up one day and has spread a little bit with each vampire he's killed. 

Back at the college, Damon promises Elena that she'll find good eats at the Halloween frat party, which promises lots of douchebags and blood that's probably more beer than plasma. Professor Shane is at the frat party Damon, Elena and Bonnie go to, which is a little odd, but we need to get all these characters together so I'll let it slide. It turns out Elena just needed really jerky people to feed from so she could turn off her guilt, and she is pretty good at sucking dry frat boys who try to roofie their dates. 

Meanwhile, Stefan, Rebekah and Klaus continue their chat. Rebekah, it seems, learned from her boyfriend that his vampire hunter tattoo is actually a map, one that could only be read by incorporating the icon from a sword. And he just happened to have a very special dagger for very special vampires -- which, in the flashback, he abruptly jams into Rebekah. Her entire family gets stabbed, and it's up to Klaus (who could shake it off, due to his werewolf blood) to kill The Five. But when Rebekah wakes up, he has questions. 

"WHAT DID HE PROMISE YOU?" he bellows while Alexander's dead body hangs on the wall behind him.

"The cure. He said there was a cure," she admits. And there you have it -- a cure for vampirism; what Stefan wants for Elena, Klaus also wants for Elena. He gets more hybrids and Stefan gets his happy,  mortal girlfriend back. It's a win-win, if they can pull it off. 

Of course, there's no real win for Rebekah, and she's the one who knows where the sword -- the key to deciphering the map -- is hidden. It doesn't help that at dinner, Klaus takes the opportunity to insult Rebekah for being weak, for falling for every wrong guy she can, and for generally being a thorn in his side. Oddly enough, Rebekah isn't sold on helping him out.

Bonnie meets with the Good Professor Shane at the party. He's a true believer. He tells her there are other ways to practice magic. He's a guy with a "very open mind who's seen a lot of things, and he's willing to pass some of those along… if she's up for it." I suspect his offer is too good to be true, and not just because he's sounding like a drug pusher. 

After eating the dirtbag frat boy, Elena turns a corner. She wants more. She grabs a chick on the dance floor and bites into her right there in front of everybody. It is a Halloween party, so it isn't all that odd, but a little brazen. She's dancing with Damon, having a great time -- until Bonnie spots her and gives her the Big Judgey Face of Disapproval.

Jeremy's long gone, and Connor, looking frustrated, bites one of Klaus' hybrids. It seems like a futile act, but it isn't -- he manages to pull out the guy's piercing. It's the perfect lock pick, so I'm guessing Connor isn't going to be held up for long. 

Elena, chastened by Bonnie, feels horrible. She should be going through all of this with Stefan! Unfortunately, Damon hears this and gets into an argument with Bonnie about the fun or lack thereof in being a vampire. "She's acting like a different person!" Bonnie yells. Well, she is, because she IS a different person, and Damon, ever the pragmatist, tries to make the point. She needs to revel in drinking blood, and she needs to turn off her humanity -- even though that's the key to who she is. 

Stefan invites Rebekah over to talk, apologizing for the unpleasant evening they had with Klaus. She asks Stefan if he'd take the cure if he could. He doesn't answer the question, instead talking He  about how Elena is driven by love and compassion, and if she turns off her humanity, "we'll never get her back. So I'll do anything to save her."

Rebekah envies the love he and Elena have. She really loved Alexander. She wants to help Stefan, but she can't do anything that lets her brother get what he wants. 

Stefan pauses, then admits he didn't answer her question about taking the cure. "If it meant I'd be able to be with her, have children and grow old together, die together and be buried together?" Then, yes, he'd take the cure. Rebekah admits she buried Alexander, laying him to rest in the place where they were to be married. "What kind of hopeless fool does that?" she asks, admitting he buried him with his sword. 

Klaus walks around the corner, and Rebekah realizes she's been set up. Incensed, she tells Klaus to dagger her, though I can't believe he will. But he does, because we (and even she) knows she's more of a liability to him now than anything else. 

Klaus, who is getting pretty used to daggering family member, shakes it off, then gets on to business. He hires a jet and is off to get the cure, and warns Stefan not to tell anyone about it -- and that means not even Damon. Considering how badly Stefan wants this for Elena, you can bet this is a secret he can keep. 

Damon drops Elena off at her house after the awkward college visit. She apologizes for things getting heated at the party. She admits that she doesn't want to be like him, and Damon is pretty much done. You can tell  he thinks Elena is fighting the inevitable, as he doesn't know that the inevitable may not be after all. When she steps towards the door, Stefan opens it, effectively shutting Damon out, yet again.

Back at Casa Klaus, Connor makes his escape, beheading (yes, beheading) a hybrid in the process  -- and his tattoo fills in. Then, he goes to visit a friend… Professor Shane! Oddly enough, Professor Shane has a copy of the map. And he apparently sent Connor to Mystic Falls. WTH?

Do you think Bonnie will work with Professor Shane? What did you think of Rebekah's story? And do you think Elena will get her mortality back?