Welcome back, readers, and welcome back show! It was a long, hot summer, and while fall is in the air here at TWoP’s Boston satellite, The Vampire Diaries isn’t ready to let things cool down yet. It’s Elena’s birthday, but she’s hardly in the mood for a celebration, since she hasn’t heard from Stefan since Satan Klaus brought out his inner ripper. Elena’s been trying to track him all summer, but every time she brings a lead to Damon, he tries to make her think her cause is hopeless. That’s because Damon is also tracking Stefan, and what he has found is disturbing. From the trail of bodies up and down the Eastern Seaboard, it seems Stefan is so deep in ripper mode he may never break free of either Klaus, or his own demons.
Now that Klaus is a true hybrid, he’s man with a mission. He and Stefan hunt down and torture a werewolf and get information on his pack, who they plan to use to build Klaus his own little army of hybrids. Klaus knows Stefan still retains some humanity though, and that it’s all wrapped up in his love for Damon and Elena, so, as a test of loyalty, Klaus makes Stefan send them a message. And Stefan does just that. He returns to Mystic Falls, and compels Damon’s girlfriend/chew-toy, Andie to leap to her death at the news station, right before Damon’s pretty, pretty eyes. The message is clear: back off, brother, I’m not coming back.
At the big, unwanted birthday bash that Caroline’s throwing for Elena at Mossy Manse, Matt is cold to Caroline and Tyler’s getting hot with another girl, so Caroline retreats to Damon’s room for a bag o’ blood. Elena needs a breather too, and finds Caroline there. It’s not long before the girls stumble upon Damon’s map and stash of articles about “animal attacks” that prove Damon has been tracking Stefan all along. When Damon returns from watching poor Andie die, Elena confronts him about his secret search and demands to know why he didn’t let her in on it. The reason is simple, that long trail of victim’s aren’t Klaus’s kills. They’re Stefan’s. Damon tells her that the Stefan she knows and loves is gone, and will not be back — at least not in her lifetime.