Spoilers ahead!

Mystic Falls is a town full of beautiful, young people, and nothing excites this lady like beautiful people in period costumes.  Thank goodness for tonight’s episode, then, which takes us to Chicago in the 1920s!

Katherine tips off Damon that Klaus and Stefan are in Chicago, a place that holds lots of bloody, fond memories for the two.  I’ve always been more of a Damon fan, but the sight of Stefan in a dapper tuxedo feasting on flapper girls certainly piqued my interest.  Klaus isn’t just there to reminisce; he’s also hunting down Old Gloria, his favorite witch.  How does one get to be a favorite witch?  Surely something dastardly.  Damon recruits Elena to join him on the hunt for Stefan.

Caroline is questioned by her father, Bill.  He wants to know how she survives the sunlight, then takes her ring after she motions to it (DUMB!).  The jail she’s being held in is custom built for vampire torture…complete with vervain in the ventilation, and a sunny window, which he uses to burn his daughter.  He tells her he’ll break her of her need for blood.

Old Gloria still runs a bar where the 1920s club was.  She tells Klaus that she can help him with his inability to create more hybrids, but she needs help from Rebekah (“Rebekah who?” I asked) to find the original witch.  Stefan is unsettled by a picture he finds in the bar of himself and a 1920s Klaus, looking chummy.

Mr. Forbes continues to torture the vampire out of Caroline.  It’s not particularly graphic, but still quite upsetting as Caroline screams and begs her father for mercy.  Damon takes Elena to Stefan’s former homes, where he kept lists of all his victims written on the walls.  Stefan presses Klaus for details of their former friendship.  Stefan had taken a fancy to Rebekah, an original vampire and Klaus’ sister.  It is her locket that later becomes Elena’s vervain locket.  Klaus then reveals that he’s been keeping Rebekah with them, in a coffin and with a magic stake in her heart to keep her undead, but still together.

Stefan won over period Klaus ( who went by “Nik” back then) with his cruel antics.  He compels a man to drink the blood that Stefan drains from his wife.  Present day Klaus brings Stefan to his old home, where Elena is hiding.  While looking at the list of his victims, Stefan sees Elena.  They lock eyes in a moment filled with longing, then Stefan leads Klaus out of the apartment and away from his lady.

Damon returns to Elena, promising her a few minutes with Stefan at Old Gloria’s bar while he distracts Klaus.  We are treated to another flashback of Stefan playing wing-man to Nik.  After the club was shot out with a hail of wooden bullets by a mysterious someone, Nik compelled Stefan to forget about the brother and sister, which is why he remembers none of his time in Chicago.  Stefan realizes that Klaus is still running from the unknown person.

Bill tries to fix Caroline by associating the blood she craves with the pain of torture.  Sheriff Forbes arrives with Tyler (I’ve never been so happy to see him!) and together they free Caroline.  If teenage vampires and werewolves are a metaphor for the outcast, then this moment is particularly powerful.  Caroline’s dad wants to fix her and make her a perfect human again, but her mother and Tyler free her because they already accept her for what she is.  Think it over, friends.

Stefan and Elena have their moment alone, but when she tries to inject him with a syringe of vervain, he gets angry and tells her to leave.  Elena, who has been reading Stefan’s old journals, reminds him that his BFF Lexi was able to bring him back from the Ripper edge before, but Stefan points out that it took him 30 years to recover, and she’s still on human time.  Inside the bar, Klaus stabs Damon with his toothpick umbrella, which seems silly and funny until you realize it is wood and could kill him.  Damon does not deserve to die from a wooden umbrella!  Old Gloria stops Klaus, telling them she doesn’t allow fighting in her bar.

Tyler consoles Caroline as she sobs, “He hates me.  My dad hates me.”  Rebekah wakes up in present day and threatens to stake Klaus.  Another flashback to Rebekah waiting outside the bar for Stefan. Nik makes her choose between the two men, and when she picks Stefan, he stakes his sister.  Back to the present, Klaus presents Stefan to Rebekah and erases his compulsion to forget.  For her, literally no time has passed, and now Stefan remembers the love he had for her.   Now he’s torn!  Does he return the love of a long-dead lady vampire who won’t understand pop culture references?  Or does he fight his way back to Elena, who is pretty but also looking delicious these days?

Rebekah is the key for Old Gloria and Klaus to figure out the problem with the hybrids.  In a panic, Rebekah clutches for her locket, which is now in Elena’s possession.  Apparently this is what she needs to contact the old witch.  Katherine is revealed in a flashback, coming into the trashed club as a bewildered Stefan wanders around.  He is questioned by a mystery man who carries portraits of Nik and Rebekah.  This is clearly who Klaus and Rebekah are running from, but why?  Who could possibly hold something over Klaus?

Caroline, a character that started out extremely unlikeable in the books, has really evolved into a major strength of the show for me.  No longer the whiny party girl, she struggles with who she is and how she can survive.  Tyler, too, is changing from the bullying jock into someone who is compassionate and loyal.  While Elena is the center of the show, I hope she gets some plot-lines that are more interesting than pining over Stefan.  He’s got some decisions to make, and with Damon waiting in the wings, so does she.

If you missed last week’s episode be sure to read our ‘The Vampire Diaries – The Hybrid’ recap to catch up.