[Spoilers contained within!]
First off, I can’t believe the show is spending so much time in Tennessee and still not one reference to Dolly Parton. C’mon, writers, you must have had some reason for picking this state! We begin with Klaus and Stefan, who are carrying a dead Ray to his pack. They are generally alarmed. Klaus is identified as a hybrid, and he doesn’t exactly win over the pack by demanding that they all join his hybrid gang. He tosses a human to Ray, who begins to revive, and explains that they will need to drink blood after they transform or they’ll die. When this cheery speech still doesn’t produce volunteers, Klaus forces each werewolf to drink his blood before he snaps his or her neck.
Back in Mystic Falls, a sheepish Tyler searches in vain for Caroline. It’s the day of a full moon, and he relies on her to help him through his transformation. Plus they just got supernatural with each other for the first time. Uncomfortable conversations must be had! Tyler’s mom makes a cryptic call to handle her “vampire situation,” otherwise known as Caroline. Elena convinces Alaric to come searching for Klaus and Stefan (and the werewolves, too!) with her in the Smoky Mountains, where Tyler has directed her. Jeremy and Matt plan to communicate with Ghost Vicki, but Matt balks when he is overcome with grief.
On the werewolf road trip, Elena gives Alaric her father’s magic eternity ring. Damon surprises Elena by appearing in Tennessee and demanding she return home. Klaus still thinks she’s dead, after all, and appearing alive will certainly ruin that ruse. It sounds logical to me, but Elena convinces Damon to stay with her and find Stefan as long as they leave before the full moon. Somewhere in the same woods, Klaus kills and converts the whole pack in order to build an army of “comrades.” Stefan is still trying to find out why Klaus is keeping him around. Things are a little tense and only get worse as hybrid Ray begins to bleed out of his eyes. He panics and runs off, Klaus sends Stefan after him, and Ray bites Stefan in the ensuing struggle. Stefan hears Damon, Alaric and Elena in the woods but plays it cool. Klaus will only give Stefan his healing blood if he finds Ray and returns with him. One by one the hybrids reawaken and begin to bleed from their eyes. “Hey, you guys…?”
Tyler confronts his mother, suspecting she has done something to Caroline. “You don’t know about me, do you?” he demands. She is unaware of the werewolf curse since it comes from his father’s side of the family. She thinks vampires are freaks and tells him he can’t be with Caroline, someone she deems unnatural and unclean. This is why supernatural stories resonate so deeply with some of us. This is what it comes down to: this fear that people will see something terrible and freakish in you and label you a monster, unworthy of being called human. It makes the triumph of Tyler owning his own freakish werewolf self and standing up for his vampire friend all the more awesome and empowering.
Ray stumbles upon Damon, Elena and Alaric in the woods and attacks Damon. After a struggle they chain Ray to a tree, where he begins to change even though it’s still daylight. Elena and Damon run for it. The hybrid army isn’t turning out the way Klaus imagined – they don’t treat him as their alpha. Ray and Damon fight in the woods ,and just when it seems Damon is cornered, Stefan appears and rips out Ray’s heart. Damon tells Stefan that Elena won’t give up on him; Stefan responds that he’s never coming back. Alaric and Elena have a heart to heart chat while waiting for Damon to return and she asks him to stay in their house again. Stefan watches from afar as the three leave.
Matt comes to Jeremy with beer and opens up about Vicki. Both realize they don’t remember her dying, and she appears again. She tells Jeremy she can come back with his help, but then Anna appears, telling Jeremy not to trust Vicki. Stefan returns to Klaus with dead Ray – the rest of the hybrids have bled out. Klaus can’t understand why their hybrid transformation didn’t work, and almost pieces together that the doppelganger isn’t dead. Damon tells Elena that he saw Stefan and that Stefan can be saved, because “even in his darkest place my brother can’t let me die.” He vows to help Elena save Stefan. After Tyler’s mom witnesses his painful werewolf process, she promises to make sure nothing happens to Caroline. She tries to call off the mysterious outsider, but he hangs up the phone. We finally see Caroline in a sort of basement prison, and the outsider is revealed to be her father.