Of all the scripted dramas on television, "The Vampire Diaries" may churn through more pure plot than any other. More happens in one episode of this show than several weeks worth of, say, "Nashville" or, say, "Criminal Minds." It's never less than exciting, but man, don't blink. 

 As we learned last week, Stefan and Elena broke up. Sigh. And guess who gets the rundown on the sad turn of events this week? Damon! "Don't pretend it's not the best day of your life," Stefan mutters to his brother, and Damon doesn't argue. Yes, he's too busy to woo Elena right at the moment -- he needs to hunt down Professor Shane to find out what the heck he's doing in town other than hanging out with co-eds at frat parties -- but I'm pretty sure he's going to get around to it.  

Caroline also gets the details about the breakup from Stefan, and she is SO mad at Elena! "I'm going to shake some sense into her diseased brain," she growls to Stefan over the phone. Stefan doubts it, but he's just as busy as Damon anyway. He has to go find some vampires for Jeremy to kill so that hunter's mark grows. This seems simple enough, but as we know, nothing is ever simple on "The Vampire Diaries." 

Oh, you know what else is going on (because there's always something going on in Mystic Falls -- this place has more activities planned than your average cruise ship)? It's time for the Miss Mystic Falls pageant! Caroline is the reigning winner, so she's in charge of bossing people around -- which, as we know, is truly within her wheelhouse. Someone else who'll be there? Professor Shane! He'll be one of the judges. As Caroline points out, his involvement with the youth of the community is starting to border on the creepy. In any case, the whole gang will be at the big event eventually, I can feel it. 

Jeremy helps Matt unload kegs for the pageant, and he decides to show off a new trick he can do -- carry two kegs at a time without breaking a sweat! "Ever since I was woken as a hunter, I have all this energy all the time," Matt explains, as if he'd just gone on a vegan diet plan or started Pilates classes, not found his inner killer. Understandably, Matt is less impressed than freaked out. He suggests Matt talk to somebody, just so that he doesn't, oh, kill his SISTER. You know, Elena? The vampire? Jeremy doesn't exactly roll his eyes, but he clearly doesn't think this is a possibility. 

Caroline, still hurting from her break-up with Tyler, is going stag to the pageant -- or she was, until Klaus shows up and demands she honor her promise of going on a date with him. Caroline sighs and rolls her eyes and generally tries to act like she doesn't think Klaus is INSANELY hot, but come on. She might not be human, but that doesn't mean she's dead. Okay, actually, she is dead. But that doesn't mean Klaus isn't hot.  

Tyler, who's also hot, will also be attending (see? Everyone's going to the Miss Mystic Falls pageant!) because Hayley wants him to be her date. Hey, it's a good way to perpetuate the myth that they're dating! And it will be held at his house, so he might as well show up. This conversation takes place as a hybrid in the process of being broken writhes in the background, "Guys, take it outside!" she howls. "Like this isn't torture enough." And the best line of the episode goes to Kim the hybrid! 

Jeremy and Matt continue their discussion about Jeremy's hunter status while getting dressed for the pageant. Jeremy thinks it's mighty weird that he had a dream about killing his sister, then woke up with a knife in his hand. Crazy, right? Maybe he's been wearing Alaric's ring too long or something. Matt manages not to slap some sense into Jeremy, but tells him emphatically that he has a hunter problem. "You either tell Elena, or I will," he says. Spoil sport, Jeremy thinks.

Meanwhile, Damon crashes a chick moment during which Caroline and Elena try to counsel April on which dress to wear, as she'll be competing in the pageant. Blue, definitely blue. Until Damon comes in and suggests red, causing Elena to flip-flop like a bad politician. Caroline is so irritated with this new Elena. "What happened to safe is good?" she whines. She's talking about the dress, but she isn't. Elena responds by running after Damon because, um, they need to talk. Possibly naked in a coat closet. Just kidding, but Elena is clearly thinking it.

She asks Damon if he knows why she and Stefan broke up. "I'm sure it had something to do with you acting weird," Damon says with that snarky, sexy half-smirk of his. 

Wrong. Correct answer? "You." Damon blinks. Elena looks at him meaningfully. This will be addressed at greater length later, I'm sure.  

Damon doesn't let the fact that the woman he most desperately wants is now available and into him distract him from the job at hand -- talking to Professor Shane. He hints that he was in close contact with April's dad and might have had something to do with the entire town council going up in smoke. "Did you just accuse me of mass murder in the middle of a high school pageant?" Professor Shane sneers. Yes, he did! Don't you love Damon? Later, Damon reveals his vampire-ness to Professor Shane (who probably knew about it already, as he seems to know everything) and manages to get him to reveal that finding even one hunter in a lifetime is practically impossible, so he's stuck with Jeremy. Not that it matters. Even if he figures out the map, there's still a spell that needs to be broken by a special kind of witch. You know, like Bonnie. 

Jeremy will be a bit late to the pageant, as Stefan needs him to kill the convicted murderer he picked up at the hospital and turned into a vampire. Stefan does more in one day than most people do in an entire weekend! Jeremy doesn't want to kill, though. Stefan forces his hand, so to speak, and once Jeremy gets started he finds he quite enjoys it. Stefan may want to take note of this, but instead he demands that Jeremy describe his fresh invisible tattoo instead. When Jeremy balks, Stefan compels. And then Jeremy stabs him. "I guess I can't be compelled anymore," Jeremy says, before dashing out. 

Meanwhile, the pageant is underway -- and Matt steps in for Jeremy, because that's what Matt does. April, for the record, does not seem the least bit displeased to have Matt as her date.

Caroline and Klaus giggle and talk about being vampires. Klaus wouldn't dream of taking the cure, but Caroline isn't so sure. Klaus teases her by reading her application for Miss Mystic Falls, which devolves into a game of cutesy keep away. This makes Klaus want to alternately throw up and kill Klaus, neither of which happen. Thankfully. Later, Klaus gives a very poetic speech about how a moment spent thinking about hummingbirds made him very briefly want to be human, but he got over it. 

This year's Miss Mystic Falls? April Young! I'm kind of hoping for a "Carrie" moment, but no such luck.

Elena is desperate to find Jeremy. Where is he? What's happened? But then she finds him, and maybe she shouldn't have, because he is all fired up to kill himself a vampire. In fact, he's kind of stabbing himself to prevent that from happening, and the blood makes Elena go a little vampire-y herself, and that incites Jeremy to stab her in the neck. Yeah, that happened. Things do not look good for Elena, that is until Matt and Stefan burst in and save her. 

Elena is, of course, grateful to Stefan -- until she realizes he has her brother killing people to someday, in theory, help her. "This is who I am now," she says. "The old Elena died when she went off that bridge. Let her go." Stefan blinks. She's right, of course. But this scene might be even sadder than their actual break-up. Elena turns to go, and, hey, there's Damon! It's like a sign, just a sad, sort of depressing, and yet infinitely intriguing sign. She's moving on. And out.  

Even though Jeremy rushes home to pack his stuff, he finds Matt there. Elena's already left, and she's asked Matt to move in. "I'll keep an eye on you, and we can keep this hunter business in check," Matt promises Jeremy. I keep wondering if Matt wouldn't like to move to another town, or study, or just do something non-supernatural, but he is very reliable.

And where does Elena go? To Damon's. And Stefan's. Oh, this is so awkward. "Pick a room," Stefan says, heading out the door as soon as Elena walks in. "I'll crash somewhere else." 

Now, it's time for surprises! Hayley is talking to… Professor Shane! 

"I want to leave Tyler out of this when it all goes down," she tells him. Ah, so it wasn't a complete accident they both joined the show around the same time after all.  

 "We'll talk when you've broken the last one," Professor Shane responds. Oh, I don't like that at all, do you?

Meanwhile, Elena and Damon are alone. She whines a little about how much she sucks at being a vampire, but Damon argues he rather likes her this way. "I wanted to dance with you today," she tells Damon. I think dance might be a euphemism. But they actually dance -- very, very slowly. And closely.  

So, Stefan left -- and he went to hang out with Caroline. "You can't give up on her!" she squeaks."You and her, epic! Damon? Ugh!" We now intercut between Caroline coming to a conclusion and Damon and Elena tearing off one another's clothes. While I know it's important that Caroline come to this conclusion, really, I'd rather just see the hot and heavy without so many distractions. 

Let's just say that, even if we are constantly going to be interrupted, I don't think Damon and Elena are. Yeah, they're gonna do it.  

But what does Caroline conclude? Elena couldn't drink from an animal because Damon said she couldn't. There's not a vampire in the history of vampires who can't feed from blood bags, but when Damon said it wouldn't work for her, it didn't! Damon's blood made her a vampire… so, maybe she's sired to him!

I'm not quite sure how this happened, as neither of them are hybrids, and even Caroline says it's very rare. I'd like a little more explanation here, because maybe I did blink and miss exactly what made her conversion difference (because she's a doppelgänger? Because her blood creates hybrids? That could work, sure). But really, this isn't my main concern. Because oh my Lord & Taylor, Elena and Damon, after many, many weeks of flirting and making eyes at one another, have finally crossed over into previously uncharted terrain. And I am very, very curious to see what happens to Damon -- will he continue to be a snarky lothario, or just melt into a devoted boyfriend? Or something else altogether? In any case, I feel terrible for Stefan -- but you can't say this won't be interesting at the very least.

 

Are you glad Damon and Elena are together, or disappointed? What do you think Professor Shane really wants? And do you think Caroline and Klaus have a chance?