Esther returns to finish what she started, Ric gets pushed over the edge and Elena has to face her feelings for Damon.
Elena goes down to the basement to bring Alaric some toothbrushes and books. He's sure being there is what's best until they find out where his alter-ego hid the stake. They worry about what Klaus will do if he doesn't get it back and then she explains she's going to Denver with Damon to get Jeremy. She admits the trip is to figure out her feelings for Damon. Meanwhile, the Salvatore brothers are discussing the situation. Elena comes up and has an awkward moment with Stefan. He goes downstairs to see Ric. They drink and discuss the Elena situation. Stefan insists she has to sort out her feelings or chasing after her is pointless. The topic turns to Ric and his alter-ego. "What drives him is me," he says. Stefan says he's just the darker part. Klaus crashes the party and demands his other stake. Stefan fills him in about the bloodline issue. Klaus expedites things by killing Ric. He's wearing his ring so he should wake up as his evil self.
Damon and Elena track down Jeremy in Denver. They want him to help get in touch with some ghosts. Kol pops up and splits a baseball bat on Damon, who grabs one shard and stakes him with it. Damon and the siblings drive off to some motel. The vampire tells them about Rose's last day and the dream he gave her. Jeremy can sense her presence. He mediates between them. Rose doesn't know what's been going on with the bloodline mess but will ask around. When Damon slips out, Jer tries quizzing his sister about the vampire. Damon returns. He walks around shirtless and drinks all night. Elena watches him from bed. They stare at each other until he lies down with her. She asks him about what he did for Rose. She wishes he would let people see the good in him. He doesn't want anyone to expect that from him. They hold hands and she starts hyperventilating. She runs outside and he trails after her. They start kissing under blinking fluorescent lights. Jer spoils the mood and tells them that Rose found the vamp who sired her, Scary Mary. The three of them drive out to Kansas and the home of Mary. When they find her, she's already been staked. The lights come on. Kol did it. "She was a bit of an original groupie," he says before pummeling Damon with a baseball bat. He has a chuckle and walks off. Damon snaps his limbs back into their joints. He's already distracted by how weird Elena is acting. She admits she doesn't know if she has feelings for him. He refuses to screw things up and tells her she'll actually have to make up her mind herself. They go back to Jeremy and drive through the night. Rose's ghost appears and urges Jeremy to give Damon a chance. She's sure that his sister could bring out the best in the vampire... or the worst.
At school, Caroline is irate to discover that the decade dance theme has been changed from the 70s to the 20s. It was Rebekah's idea. The women bicker. Matt says Rebekah's idea was cooler. Caroline flounces out and Matt chases after her. It turns out that their little argument was just to throw Beks off. Caroline is going on a trip. She goes out to the woods and meets Tyler. He's missed her. They have sex in a cave. After that, he tells her that he's feeling a lot freer of Klaus than when he left. She fills him in on the bloodline problem. If Klaus dies, so does he. They go back to her house. He's allowed to sleep on the couch. "I'm not losing you again," she says. He finds one of the drawings Klaus gave her and this leads to some awkward questions. He decides to find somewhere else to sleep.
Matt drives Rebekah home. She wonders what he's up to. He's not explaining. When she goes inside, she finds her mom. Beks wants to kill her. "I'm dying," Esther says. Her daughter isn't sympathetic. When her mom tells her that no one should live a thousand years, that doesn't help. As they hold hands, she convulses and keels over. Klaus returns and sees his dead mum.
Ric wakes up in the basement the next day. He's still just regular Ric. He takes off his ring to see if his evil half will kick in to save his life. Stefan's reluctant but starts pounding the crap out of him anyway. When he sees the blood, he starts backing off. Ric challenges him. After he gets thrown into the wall, he finally snaps. Ric spews insults and Stefan beats him until he reveals the stake is in the cave where vampires can't go. When Stefan goes upstairs, Klaus and Beks are waiting. She drags Ric off to the cave to get the stake. Klaus fills Stefan in on Damon's latest failure. He urges him to let his 'ripper' side come out again. Stefan claims he has that under control. "Why don't you get the hell out of my house," he says. Meanwhile, Beks takes Ric down to the cave. He gets the stake but refuses to give it up. She steps up, revealing that she isn't really Rebekah: she's Esther and she's taken over her daughter's body.
Cryptic commentary: Were those scented candles in the cave for the sex scene? It was a strangely over the top episode, but in a good way. Good balance between humor and horror and it was all in the action instead of snarky remarks. It was nice to see Tyler again. I'm eager to see he and Klaus competing for Caroline. Shooting the much hyped Damon-Elena kissing scene like it was some kind of low budget fragrance commercial was a nice touch. But bringing Esther back? I don't like it at all. Bonus of the night: Kol beating the crap out of Damon.
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