The episode opens with a hiker walking through the woods.  He hears a noise and turns to see what it is and sees an African-American man standing behind him.  The man asks him what the day is. He’s told “Saturday”.  He then asks what year it is and is told, “2010”.  The hiker asks the man his name and he replies, “Harper, sir.”  The hiker asks him about his clothing.  Harper apologizes and tells the hiker that he seems like a nice person before he drains him and takes his clothing.  The hiker’s cell phone rings as Harper is dressing and he tosses it on the ground near the hiker’s corpse.

Elena is sitting on the porch swing leaving a message for Bonnie, telling her that she misses her and hopes that she’ll come home soon, when Jenna comes home.  Elena asks her if she was able to do some digging about her adoption and Jenna tells her to come inside.  She shows Elena all of her dad’s medical records and a note about Isobel Petersen.  Jenna then shows Elena what she found online, including a Trudy Petersen who lives in a nearby town…complete with an address.  She was unable to find anything about Isobel, however.  She also tells Elena that Alaric’s wife was from near Mystic Falls and that her name was also Isobel.  Elena picks up on the past tense and Jenna tells her that Isobel died.

Elena tells Stefan about having the address for Trudy and that she’s unsure whether she wants to talk to her – or if she could handle it if her birth mother is dead.  Stefan asks her what Jenna told her about Alaric’s wife’s death.  Elena tells him that she knows that it was an unsolved murder.  Stefan confesses to her that he knew about her death and tells her that he doesn’t believe that it’s possible for her to be Elena’s mother.  He offers to go meet Isobel’s friend with her, but Elena is still unsure about going.  Stefan leaves to go deal with Damon, who is dealing with what happened in the tomb in his own way.

Stefan gets home to find a drunken Damon partying with three scantily-clad college girls, drinking from them as well.  They talk and Damon tells Stefan that he’s “fine” and that it’s “liberating not having a master plan” because he “can do whatever [he] want[s].”  Damon tells Stefan that the girls will end up back in their dorm rooms and that he won’t kill them.  Stefan asks Damon if he remembers anything about Isobel. Damon tells him that it’s like a “needle in a haystack.”  Stefan tells him that it’s important that he remember and Damon tells him that “nothing is important…not anymore.”

Matt and Caroline are on the couch at Matt’s house watching TV with no one else home. Caroline tells Matt that she’s bored, noting that they have the entire house to themselves, and suggests that they do something more “bachelor pad.”  They begin to kiss and just as the clothes start to come off, Matt’s mother interrupts them.

Alaric and Jenna are hanging a banner outside of the grill for a bachelor auction.  They kiss and then Jenna tells Alaric about Elena’s search for her birth mother named Isobel.  Alaric tells her that his Isobel never had a baby.  Jenna shows him a photo of Elena’s Isobel on her iPhone.  Alaric looks at the photo, stunned.  He tells her, “she never told me,” and leaves, shocked.

Elena walks up to a house, checking the address that Jenna gave her and hesitantly knocks on the door.  Trudy Petersen opens the door.  Elena introduces herself and tells her why she’s there.  Trudy tells Elena that she hasn’t heard the name Isobel Flemming in years and asks how she knows her.  Elena asks Trudy if she knows whether Isobel ever gave up a baby for adoption.  Trudy asks Elena if she’d like some tea.  Elena walks into the house and Trudy closely watches Elena as she crosses the threshold of the doorway.  Elena babbles about her struggle to come over and Trudy tells her that the last time she saw Isobel was 17 years ago.  She tells Elena that they kept in touch for a few years.  Elena asks if she has any idea of who her father is and Trudy tells her that she was never able to get her to ‘fess up (with a rather frightened look on her face).  She tells Elena that Isobel was smart and that she pulled herself together and went to Duke on a scholarship.  The tea kettle starts to whistle and Trudy excuses herself to go get the tea.  While alone in the kitchen, she sends a text to an unknown recipient that states, “She’s here.”

Matt and his mom are talking in their kitchen.  Matt asks her where she’s been and they talk about Caroline.  Their conversation becomes confrontational as his mother pours a glass of vodka.  Matt asks if she’s heard from Vickie and she tells him that she hasn’t and that she’ll be back when she needs something.

Stefan and Alaric meet on the town square and talk about Isobel being Elena’s birth mother. Alaric asks him what Elena knows.  Stefan tells him that she knows what he is and that Alaric knows about the vampires.  He tells him that she doesn’t know about Damon and Isobel and that he wouldn’t tell her until he was sure.  He also tells Alaric that Damon doesn’t remember it and that he’s not stable right now.  Stefan tells Alaric that he will handle it and asks him to “let it go”.  They have a confrontation when Alaric brings Elena into things and Stefan tells him to “leave Elena out of this.”  Alaric tells him that he needs to know what happened.  Stefan tells him that he needs more than a name and Alaric gives him a photograph of Isobel.

Alaric has another flashback where he wakes up in the middle of the night to find Isobel typing away at her laptop.  He begs her to tell him what she’s up to.  She finally relents and tells him about her research has turned up a small town in Virginia riddled with mysterious deaths that have been passed off as animal attacks.  She’s sure that they are really because of vampires.  Alaric jokes about it, comparing her to Moulder from the X-Files, and Isobel tells him that it’s not a joke and she will prove it as she returns to her laptop.

Elena and Trudy are looking through Trudy’s old photos of Isobel and Trudy comments that Elena hasn’t touched her tea.  Elena takes a sip and asks her what it is.  Trudy tells her that it’s an herbal mixture and Elena responds, “Vervain?”  Trudy gets a freaked out look on her face and Elena realizes that Trudy knows about vampires.  Trudy urges Elena to leave.  Elena heads to her car and there’s a man standing in the middle of the road watching her.  She looks at him and drives away.  The man begins walking in the direction of Trudy’s house.

At the grill, Alaric is at the bar having a drink and Damon sits down to continue drowning his Katherine-induced sorrows.  They exchange a few sarcastic comments and then Alaric makes a comment to Damon that raises his suspicion.  Alaric leaves and then Sheriff Forbes comes up to the bar.  Damon asks her if she’s ever had her heart ripped out and she reminds him that she was once married.  Damon responds by recalling her “gay husband.”  Sheriff Forbes brings up the bachelor auction and how they need another bachelor, asking him to help and telling him how he’s a “hero” and a “catch”.  Damon agrees to it, saying that it “sounds tasty”.  Damon asks her for some information on Alaric, telling her that there’s something off about him.  Sheriff Forbes agrees to pull what she can find.

Trudy’s doorbell rings and she opens the door to find a the man from the middle of the road standing there.  He thanks her for the text.  Trudy tells him that she didn’t tell Elena anything and that she kept her promise.  She also tells him that Elena knows something and asks if they are done.  He tells her that they’re done and she starts to close the door, but he blocks it.  She tells him that she won’t invite him in and he tells her that he’s not a vampire.  He busts his way in and throws her down the stairs as she tries to flee from him.

Harper is standing in the town square, shocked and awed by what he sees – cars, people talking on phones, the sounds.  As he looks around, he sees an African-American woman sitting on a bench who gives him a knowing look  and he gives her a look of understanding.

Elena goes to Stefan’s room to find him before the auction and finds a shirtless Damon instead.  She tells him that he looks “wrecked” to which he replies that he’s one of Mystic Falls’ most eligible bachelors.  She asks him how he’s doing and he replies that he’s never been better.  She tells him that she and Stefan are going to the fundraiser and ends up helping Damon with the buttons on his shirt.  She tells him that she found out who her birth mother is and he replies, “who cares?”  He reminds Elena that her birth mother left her and that she sucks.  Stefan enters the room and Damon leaves.  Elena tells Stefan about meeting Trudy and that Trudy has vervain.  Stefan doesn’t believe that it’s a coincidence and shows Elena the photo of Alaric’s wife.  Elena confirms that it’s the same Isobel.  Stefan tells her that Alaric learned about vampires from Isobel and he believes that she was killed by one.  He asks her to hold off on talking to Alaric and Elena nods in consent.

At the auction, Jenna and Alaric are talking and they exchange apologies for the uncomfortable situation over Isobel earlier in the day.  Jenna suggests that Alaric and Elena talk at some point and Alaric tells her that it’s not a good idea  – not for a while.

Back at the Salvatore house, Stefan shows Damon the photo of Isobel, asking if he remembers anything.  Damon asks him who wants to know.  Stefan tells him that he does. Damon asks him “who else” wants to know and then tells Stefan that he doesn’t know her.

Elena, Matt, and Caroline are at the grill and Caroline is talking about all the cougars hitting on Matt when Matt’s mother walks up.  She snubs Caroline as she falls all over Elena, commenting on how Matt said that she broke his heart, but he found his rebound girl and giving a snide look to Caroline.  As she walks off, Elena and Alaric spy one another and then he walks away.

Damon is describing the date that he’ll take his winner on to Mrs. Lockwood  and she flirtingly suggests that she should buy a ticket.  Damon points out that she could rig it since she’s in charge of the event.  Sheriff Forbes enters and Damon excuses himself to look over the report on Alaric.  She tells him that he checks out, aside from a few speeding tickets.  She also mentions how his wife went missing a few years back in North Carolina and that her name was Isobel.

The auction is underway and the Mrs. Lockwood is interviewing the bachelors.  Damon talks about himself and his travels to Los Angeles, New York, and North Carolina…near Duke.  He asks Alaric if he went to school there and then mentions having had a drink with his wife once, commenting on how she was a great girl and “delicious.”  Elena’s eyes go wide and she runs outside for some air.  Stefan is hot on her heels as Elena realizes that Damon killed Isobel.  Stefan tells her that they never found the body, so he’s not sure.  Stefan tells her that Damon doesn’t know about the connection to her and she asks why he keeps protecting Damon.  Stefan tells her that he keeps hoping that he’ll change.  Elena notices a man on the sidewalk behind Stefan and tells Stefan that she saw that man outside of Trudy’s house.  They go back inside.

Matt’s mom ended up winning one of the bachelors in the auction and when she goes to Caroline to check out, Caroline congratulates her.  Matt’s mom tells her to cut out her fake routine and that she doesn’t like her.

Elena and Damon run into each other and Elena confronts him about rubbing it in to Alaric and tells him that her birth mother’s name is Isobel.  Damon’s face changes from a smirk to a look of shock.  Elena storms off and Stefan follows her outside.  The man from the street tells Elena to stop looking and that “she doesn’t want to know [her]”.  Elena asks if she’s alive, realizing that he’s talking about Isobel.  Stefan tells her that the man is under compulsion.  Elena tells the man that she understands.  He looks to his right and then back to Elena and Stefan and tells them that, “I’m done now.”  As he starts to walk away, he’s hit by a truck.  Stefan and Elena flee the scene, but not before taking his cell phone.

The raffle continues inside and Jenna wins Alaric and Mrs. Lockwood wins Damon, who has disappeared.  Alaric tells Jenna that he’ll call her later and he leaves.  He has another flashback as he starts to leave.  He is asking Isobel why all of her “vampire crap” is so important, telling her that it’s like an obsession.  He tells her that he just wants to be normal and she tells him that she wants more.

Matt takes his drunk mother home and she tells him that she is sorry that she was gone for so long.  He asks her why she’s really home and she tells him that Pete’s gone and that Matt is all she has left.  She begs him not to leave her.  He tells her that he’s not going anywhere.  She curls up on the couch to go to sleep and he covers her with a blanket.

Damon returns home and as he pours himself a drink, Alaric approaches with a stake.  Damon asks him if he’s really that stupid before tossing him across the room.  He asks Alaric if he’s going to put down the stake and Alaric doesn’t back down, asking Damon where Isobel is.  Alaric tells Damon that he saw Damon feeding on her.  Damon owns up to that in addition to turning her, and sleeping with her.  He tells Alaric that Isobel begged him to turn her.  Alaric charges after Damon with the stake, only to end up being staked instead.  Damon leaves him lying in the floor to die as he watches from the couch, sipping his drink.  Stefan comes in, asks what happened, and goes to Alaric’s side near the fireplace.  Damon told Stefan the truth – Isobel didn’t want Alaric anymore and that Alaric attacked him.  Damon tells him that Isobel came to him and pondered that if Isobel is related to Elena, then she’s also related to Katherine.  Maybe Katherine sent Isobel to Damon?  Damon doesn’t seem to think that it’s a coincidence that Isobel sought him out and Stefan tries to discourage him from thinking that way.  Damon gets up, telling Stefan that “I assume that you’ll take care of this,” and leaves the room.

Stefan sits by Alaric’s dead body by the fire and sees Alaric’s hand twitch and then Alaric raises up asking what happened.  Stefan asks Alaric if Damon turned him and the theorizes that someone must have slipped him vampire blood. Alaric denies both scenarios, looking at his ring and saying, “Isobel.”  He has a flashback of Isobel giving him the ring and telling him that it would protect him “from all the things that go bump in the night” and asking him to promise to always wear it.  Alaric tells Stefan that the ring protected him.  A shocked Stefan tells him, “that’s impossible.”

Elena is in her room, looking at a photo with her parents.  She then picks up the cell phone from the mystery man and calls the last number dialed.  A woman answers asking if there was a problem and “did you find her?”  Elena responds, “Isobel?” and the line goes dead.

Harper goes up to a house and the woman from the bench in the square answers the door.  She calls for Pearl.  Pearl and Anna come to the door and Pearl calls for Mrs. Gibbons.  She tells Mrs. Gibbons that the man is a friend and asks if he may come in.  Mrs. Gibbons invites Harper into the house.  He enters and Anna closes the door.

Wow! As annoyed as I was with the hiatus (again), this episode was so worth the wait!

I’m curious about where Bonnie is with her aunt.  For her family to have such a long history in Mystic Falls (at least back to Emily), I’m surprised that she’s not in town.  I also wonder if there are any other practicing witches in the family.

Once again, I am failing to see the point of the Matt & Caroline storyline.  It just seems like fluff to have some thing other than vampire drama in the show.

So…what do you think is the deal with the ring?  How in the heck did it bring Alaric back from the dead and where did Isobel get it?

Do you think that Isobel and Katherine are in cahoots with one another as Damon hopes?

What else would you like to discuss about this episode?

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