Poor Caroline! Not only did she just wake up from Katherine (successfully) killing her. She’s got the rudest nurse in the hospital. The girl is hungry. Why can’t she have a snack? If the nurse won’t get one for her, she’ll have to just manage. Hmm…there’s a tasty blood bag. You can see the confusion on her face. Why does that seem so appealing? The nurse finds her wandering around and sends her back to bed, but Caroline’s vamp speed is no match for the nurse. She just grabs the bag and does take-out.
Carnival time… I’m a little foggy on the timing of this. If the big Founder’s Day festival was on a Saturday, shouldn’t this be Monday? If this is how the kids in Mystic Falls do school, how do they ever get into Duke?
Bonnie is discussing Katherine with Elena – who is in serious denial mode right now. Bonnie is pressing the “she didn’t just look like you, she was you” issue, but Elena isn’t going there. (Honestly, I don’t blame her. She’s seriously overwhelmed, but I do worry that blocking what happened the night before will lead to a bigger breakdown later.) Elena is focused on making sure the carnival is running smoothly, which, apparently, was supposed to be Caroline’s job. Bonnie presses the “have you talked with Damon” button, and it is abundantly clear that even though Elena told Bonnie about Jeremy – she hasn’t spoken to Bonnie about the attempted kiss. If Elena hasn’t told Bonnie, she hasn’t told Stefan.
Stefan chats with Jeremy at his locker while giving him a vial of vervain extract. This must be a school day. Mystic Falls High school must rock – no classes…just hanging out at lockers. Of course, the graduation rate must be a little low due to a high mortality rate. I like this improved Stefan. Jeremy’s do-it-yourself vamp attempt two nights ago has clearly raised red flags for Stefan. He seems to be trying to build a big brother-ish relationship with Jer.
Jeremy doesn’t know how to move on from Damon’s attempt to kill him – only to be saved by the Gilbert anti-supernatural-death ring. Stefan has the perfect solution…Elena’s keeping them all busy readying for the town carnival.
Stefan is playing along with Elena’s “nothing’s wrong” game. I think he senses how overwhelmed she is. Whether or not this is in her best interest – we’ll have to see about that.
Damon’s having tea with Mrs. Mayor. Touching. I had to crack up when she appointed him head of the anti-vampire circle. Just glad there wasn’t any vervain in that tea.
Mason and a shirtless Tyler arrive home from jogging. Apparently, Tyler’s not overly fast – or Mason just likes teasing his nephew. Is he trying to get Tyler angry? I think so… Damon takes advantage of the banter in the hall to try to get some idea of exactly what the Lockwood secret might be. Tyler has “episodes” where he blacks out when he’s really mad. Mason certainly seems to have some good suggestions as to what might trigger Tyler – almost like he’s been there. Hmm….
Caroline’s still in the hospital. Not only does she find the blood donor bags a tasty snack, she’s sizzling when her hand hits the sunbeam. Awww…here’s Matt. Sheriff Mom called him to say Caroline’s not eating. Matt stoops to kiss her but the sunbeam keeps them apart. Caroline says she needs to leave tonight – not tomorrow morning. Matt thinks she’s stressed about the carnival. If he only knew.
Damon and Stefan are having a brotherly bonding moment in the Salvatore living room. Damon offers Stefan a “drink,” but Stefan says he just ate. Damon utters one of the best lines of the episode, “Are you worried that one day all the forest animals are going to band together? They must talk.” Stefan waves off the attempt at the joke.
Damon’s still prodding Stefan. He’s clearly aware how much Stefan is trying to avoid setting him off, and he’s enjoying toying with his younger brother. He suggests that he must be the topic off all of Stefan and Elena’s conversations. Stefan’s lack of response further proves my earlier point – Stefan knows about the attack on Jeremy, but not the kiss. He might be able to excuse his brother’s actions by assuming he saw the Gilbert ring, but there’s no excuse for forcing a kiss on Elena. When this comes out (and I predict it will be a slip up on Damon’s part), that’s not going to sit well with Stefan.
Stefan wants to talk about Katherine. Damon is obsessing about the Lockwoods. The brothers have different priorities right now.
Caroline is getting dressed, and she attempts to wear the vervain necklace Elena gave her. That’s a no go. Caroline’s on blood bag number two. She begins to vamp in front of the mirror and gets totally freaked out. The nurse (still the one from last night, do they work 24 hour shifts at Mystic Falls General?) comes to check on her. Caroline accidentally discovers her ability to compel others. Just in time too…she needs a snack. She vamps out (her fangs look totally fake – why aren’t hers like the brothers’ or Kat’s) and the annoying nurse is standing temptingly close.
We’re back at the carnival. Bonnie is trying to get Elena to relax and enjoy the night for a few minutes. (Book nerd moment – love the reference to borrowing stuff from the science lab.) Now, I understand that apparently Bonnie and Elena have taken over Caroline’s job of running the carnival, but where is Stefan. Elena is trying to be “normal” tonight and that seems to be distancing her from him. I know they don’t have to be attached at the hip, but his absence is noticeable.
Mason’s at the Lockwood house – digging in the former Mayor’s office. Tyler catches him and wants to know what he’s doing. Insert mysterious family heirloom moment here. Mason needs a moonstone – Mr. Mayor had it. (Did Emily spell a stone for the first Lockwood werewolf? Is that how Mr. Mayor kept himself human? Personally, I think Mason is working with Katherine – or Katherine is holding something over him. Can’t wait to find out how everything weaves together. There’s never a dangling plot on this show.)
Damon and Jeremy meet up at the fair. Jeremy, seriously dude, lose the chip on your shoulder. Yes, you have a ring of anti-death, but still… Damon shares my point of view. He grabs Jeremy by the neck, issues a very effective threat, and shows him he’s pulled Jer’s ring off his finger. Yes, this looks like harsh treatment, but with Kat in town, Jeremy needs to understand he’s not invincible.
Caroline’s checking herself out of the hospital. Her exchange with the nurse is hilarious – her cover story is so Caroline. “My husband likes to get kinky…”
Ooohhhh – arm wrestling at the carnival. Boys. Muscles. Yeah, this is a CW show. Tyler can’t beat Mason. Damon sends Stefan in to try. Damon’s annoyed that Stefan didn’t really try, but Stefan (in serious deep voice mode) assures him he did.
Damon’s worried. What are the Lockwoods? Stefan suggests zombies, Ninja Turtles, werewolves. Damon laughs him off. He has another idea. Compel Mr. Hot Carnival Worker to pick a fight with Tyler.
Caroline is at school – and she’s mad at Damon. Very mad. She remembers everything Damon did to her. Where’d she get that outfit? Those boots are awesome -very Katherine-esque. She throws Damon down the hall, and he’s seriously worried.
Damon seeks out Elena. They need to talk. She blows him off. He repeats himself, and she follows him.
Mr. Carnival Dude picks a fight with Tyler, who honestly seemed to try to restrain himself. Stefan watches from behind the bushes. Mason jumps into the fray and sports a pair of wicked looking eyes.
Caroline’s ready to play some carnival games. She shatters a section of bottles at the ring toss. When she hugs Matt, she starts to vamp out. Overwhelmed, she has to leave.
They’re in Alaric’s classroom. Does Damon have a key? Hey, where is Alaric anyway? Is he hanging out with Jenna somewhere? Damon breaks the news to Stefan and Elena, and Elena is broken. Why Caroline? Damon wants to kill Caroline, but Elena isn’t going to let that happen. Elena literally reaches out to Stefan and says Caroline’s her friend. They can’t kill her. Stefan is silent until he makes his decision. He’s going to side with Elena. Caroline’s going to stay un-dead.
Caroline sobs as she leaves the carnival. Oops, Mr. Carnival Dude picked the wrong spot to take care of his wounds. She can’t help herself. After apologizing to him, she leaps on him and feeds.
Matt and Bonnie have a heartfelt conversation. Matt can’t figure out what he’s done wrong. Bonnie doesn’t have a clue.
Damon isn’t going to listen to Stefan. Convinced they’re doomed to repeat the “Vickie episode,” Damon grabs a stake from the ground and heads into the fair. Stefan is angry – and not really talking with Elena. He punches the side of the ticket booth as Elena presses the subject…does he agree with Damon? Elena needs to talk with him. Yes, he agrees with Damon, but he won’t let Katherine control another person’s destiny. Elena thinks Katherine’s doing this to her. Stefan disagrees – Katherine’s after him. (Gotta say I disagree with Stefan here. Kat’s going after those who are close to Elena. She doesn’t like someone else moving in on her man.)
Tyler and Mason arrive home and argue about what happened in the parking lot. Tyler saw Mason’s eyes, but Mason doesn’t want to talk about it.
Elena and Stefan wander through the carnival. Stefan smells blood. We cut to Caroline sitting on the back of the truck bed. Damon finds her and tells her he can fix everything. He’s just going to kill her. Caroline argues (and begs). She doesn’t want to die…again. Just as Damon makes a move to end Caroline, Stefan arrives and pulls her away. Caroline sees Elena and freaks out – thinking she’s Katherine.
In one of the most pivotal scenes of the episode, when Damon tries to overpower Stefan and kill Caroline, Elena jumps in front of Damon and stares him down. She knows how Damon feels about her, and she’s prepared to use it. (Doe eye powers activate!) Damon says whatever happens because of Caroline…it’s all on Elena. Damon, really? Elena doesn’t need anything else on her shoulders right now. She’s protecting her friend.
As Stefan leaves with Caroline, Bonnie arrives. She can’t believe what she’s seeing. Why is Caroline’s face covered with blood? Yes, that’s guilt you feel Bonnie. Now you understand why Elena said no to Damon’s blood plan. Bonnie still doesn’t believe it. She grabs Caroline’s arm and now she can’t deny it.
Stefan leaves with Caroline. This is such a touching scene. The depth of Stefan’s compassion is evident as he helps clean her up in the restroom. Emily was right – as much as I didn’t like the “your heart is pure” line – how else can we describe Stefan? He washes Caroline’s face. When she freaks out over vamping, he spins her around and shows her his vamp face. He tells her she can control herself. She just can’t give herself over to the feeling – no matter how good it is. He shows her how to bring herself back under control. (Caroline’s story must really resonate with him. Both turned unwillingly…feeding without understanding what they were doing.) Outstanding work by Candice Accola and Paul Wesley in this scene.
While things are calming down in the restroom, they’re heating up outside. Bonnie has seriously lost it. She decides to take everything out on Damon and keeps her promise. I don’t think Elena was ever aware of the “I’ll take you down” discussion based on her reaction. With Damon screaming it wasn’t his fault, Bonnie witch-migraines him before setting him aflame. Elena may hate Damon, but this is too much. She shrieks at Bonnie to stop and when she won’t, Elena jumps through the flames to break Bonnie’s eye contact. (Sorry – so not sure of how Elena stopped Bonnie here…whatever she did, Bonnie wasn’t pleased.) Bonnie doesn’t understand why Elena saved Damon – after all, he tried to kill her brother. Shaking her, Elena stresses to Bonnie that “that’s not us.” Well, attacking vampires might not be Elena, but I think it is Bonnie. I’m not sure how their friendship is going to keep going.
Elena and Stefan have met up at the lockers again. Elena’s had too much. She shaking and running her fingers through her hair. She’s so defeated as she says she just can’t have one normal day. Her “I’m fine” protests remind me of her coping mechanisms in the pilot – even she said she was lying to herself. She’s not fine. She’s keeping secrets from too many people – including Stefan. Just saying she doesn’t want to talk about the “D Word” doesn’t make it go away. She brushes Stefan off, saying she’ll call him tomorrow.
Mason and Tyler reconcile. Mason heads to bed while Tyler ventures into his dad’s office. He knows about the safe (and the combination). He pulls the mysterious family heirloom from a box that looks strangely familiar and takes a glance at the door.
Damon pours himself an evening beverage. Jeremy’s waiting for him. He put vervain in the drink, and they have a conversation that reminds me of Damon’s interaction with Alaric. Jeremy questions what good killing Damon would do. Damon has an oddly transparent moment when he reveals his father hated vampires as well.
Caroline’s at home asleep…she’s had a long day. Matt climbs in her window. He can’t handle having her upset. He can’t lose her too. They kiss and embrace. Caroline feels herself letting her new vamp nature take over, but, drawing on Stefan’s advice, she calms down and is able to stay in control.
Elena’s asleep in her room. A shadow moves over her. No worries – just Stefan stopping in. He reaches out and tells her to come with him…to the carnival. Elena never got her Ferris Wheel ride, and Stefan isn’t going to let the night pass without that happening. He’s compelled the ride operator to go away so he can whisk her to the top – and she can have her kiss. Stefan’s so intense here. “I came back to this town to start a life with you. We can’t forget to live it.”
Elena melts – as she should.
For just a minute, Elena’s a normal teenager. She laughs and smiles. They kiss. For an instant her problems are gone. Until they’re back. Elena realizes nothing is going to get any easier. Stefan sadly agrees.
While this episode didn’t have the intensity of the premiere, it set so many plot lines in motion. I think we need to hang on for a wild ride.