This recap contains spoilers!

Tonight’s episode starts off with Rebekah trying to kill Elena but Elijah intervenes.  It seems Rebekah has not forgotten about the whole knife in her back.  Back at home, Elena tells Damon and Stefan that Esther was in the last coffin.  Elijah told Elena that Esther has declared that no one in the family is to hurt any town members.  An invitation arrives for Elena to attend a ball hosted by Esther that very same night.  Did someone say FANCY COSTUMES?!  On the back is a note from Esther wanting to meet Elena.

Tyler leaves a message for Caroline that he’s completing the work her father started, and that he loves her.  Who knows how long it will take Tyler to break his connection with Klaus?  All I know is I want to see fancy dancing at a fancy ball!  Caroline receives an invitation from Klaus, along with a very expensive looking dress.  Later at the bar, Caroline and Elena watch as Rebekah hand delivers an invitation to Matt.

FANCY BALL!  Kol introduces himself to Damon and Mayor Lockwood, making sure to slight Damon.  Kol has proved himself to be a bit of a fop, and he doesn’t take kindly to another handsome party-goer.  Elena enters in a crazy beautiful dress and Damon is overcome.  He can’t tear his pretty, pretty eyes away from her.  Stefan is also there, and both offer their arms to escort Elena in.  Caroline arrives at the ball, looking stunning in the dress that Klaus sent her.  Finn introduces himself to Elena and says if she wants to meet Esther, she’ll have to be alone.  Damon distracts Elena with a dance as Stefan grumpily looks on.  Magically, everyone knows the steps to the waltz they perform.  Caroline dances with Klaus.  She is also wearing the bracelet he gave her for her birthday.  As the partners change, Elena ends up with Stefan.  Caroline is with Matt and she grills him on why he’s there with Rebekah.  Elena says she needs to talk to Stefan away from everyone else while Damon dances with Rebekah.

Elena tells Stefan she needs to find out if Esther is an ally.  She coolly asks for Stefan to distract Damon so she can meet the Original mother.  I’m not often saddened by Elena and Stefan, but this is a sad moment.  I’d almost forgotten the way they used to relate to each other, but seeing them discuss their plans like business associates made me miss the old days.  Inside, Rebekah tells Kol that she intends to kill Matt to hurt Elena and asks Kol for his help.  Elena lures Damon into a spare room where Stefan knocks him out.

Elijah conveys his concern to Elena that his mother is up to something with her claims of forgiveness.  He asks Elena to share with him everything that is said in their meeting, and she agrees.  Finn leaves them alone.  Esther is burning sage so they won’t be overheard.  Esther says there’s a way to undo the evil she did in making her children vampires.  She’s there to help kill Klaus.

Klaus, unaware of any plots to kill him, finds Caroline outside with the horses.  He fancies her because of her strength and beauty.  Caroline tells him she’s still with Tyler, which isn’t entirely true since they are currently broken up.  Klaus tells a story about Mikael killing his favorite horse, and Caroline quickly leaves him outside and reenters the ball.  It’s understandable – when I’m all dressed up at a fancy ball, the last thing I want to discuss is murdered pets.

Elena asks Esther how she plans to kill Klaus, and the response is that it will take time, magic, and Elena’s assistance.  She needs a drop of the doppelganger’s blood to put in the champagne toast.  Once all of the siblings have drunk the champagne, the spell links them so that if one is killed, they’ll all be killed.  Esther considers it her duty to destroy her children, which made me think of the Bill Cosby line “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”

Kol wants Rebekah to kill Matt on the staircase in front of everyone to cause a big splashy spectacle, but instead she lures Matt into the parking lot.  It’s cold and gets his coat from his car, but puts it around Rebekah.  She’s charmed and changes her mind, bringing Matt back inside.

Elijah asks Elena about the meeting, and Elena lies, saying Esther just wanted to apologize.  Champagne is handed out and the toast is made.  Everyone drinks; the spell is cast.  Only the essence of Elena’s blood is supposed to be in the drink, but I’d be more than a little creeped out to see everyone drinking booze tinged with my blood.  Of course, Elena has seen plenty of people taste her blood, so maybe this is just another Tuesday for her.

Caroline asks Klaus to release Tyler from his sire bond, and Klaus gets angry.  He was trying to impress her with his art collection, but she throws her birthday bracelet at him, telling him he can’t buy her affections.  (Klaus, you can try to buy mine!  Single.  Right here.)

Kol confronts Rebekah about not killing Matt and she shrugs him off, telling Kol to leave Matt alone.  He has a twinkle in his eye, though…  Damon tries to strongarm Elena out of the ball, angry that she’s putting herself in danger.  She tells Damon that his love for her is a problem, and he’s clearly hurt.  Kol lures Matt out to the balcony (there’s a lot of luring in this episode), breaking his hand and drawing Damon’s attention.  Damon tosses Kol off the balcony and punches him over and over, lashing out because Elena’s words have hurt his feelings.

Caroline is back at home, calling Tyler when a present appears.  It’s a sketch of her with a horse signed by Klaus.  I knew Klaus had feelings for her!  Though I’m still not sure why.

Finn knows of Esther’s plans to kill the siblings and encourages her to continue, saying he will be ready to die when the time comes.  They are linked through a neat little spell that makes a family tree out of blood on a parchment listing their names.  Stefan takes Elena home.  She asks him how he can act like he doesn’t care or feel anything, because she still feels love for him.  Stefan is ashamed of what he has done to her and says if he lets himself care, all he’ll feel is pain.

Rebekah meets up with Matt at the bar to buy him an apology drink.  He’s in an understandably rotten mood and tells her to leave him alone.  Damon arrives and starts to drink with Rebekah.  Next scene we see is Damon and Rebekah rolling around together, ripping off clothes and rubbing up on each other.

There wasn’t a lot of action in this episode, but there was plenty of plotting and set-up.  That’s most likely why there was also a ball thrown out of nowhere, to keep our eyes entertained while our brains were processing.  It was still a fine episode.  I would love for Stefan to stop brooding and either make a move or go away – his lovelorn angst is starting to grate on my nerves a bit – but tonight was the first time all season that I rooted a teeny tiny bit for Stefan instead of Damon.  With all the new vampire love triangles springing out of every corner, I’m eager to see the direction next week’s episode takes!

If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘The Vampire Diaries: Bringing Out The Dead ‘ recap.