If you missed last week, you can check out that recap here. If not, read on!
The new vampire hunter Connor has arrived – and he is not to be taken lightly. He goes straight to Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood [I guess they both got their positions back once everyone on the council got blown to pieces] and accuses them of doing a cover-up with the Pastor’s home explosion. He brings some cool weapons into town, albeit with a bit sketchy morals.
Sporting some gloves doused in vervain, he finds his first supernatural creature when he shakes hands with Tyler. Realizing he’s a vampire [I don't think Connor knows about hybrids, as he kept trying to kill him like he would a vampire], Connor wastes no time pulling out his gun and shooting Tyler up with some specially made wooden bullets – with some sort of symbol carved into it.
Fortunately, Tyler gets away, and manages to make it to the Salvatore Boarding House, where Stefan is kind enough to pull the bullets out of his body. It turns out, Connor is so good that, had Tyler been a vampire and not a hybrid, he would have died from the gunshots. Noticing the strange symbol, Stefan wonders if they’re spelled, so he takes the bullets over to Bonnie so she can look at them.
Stefan finds Bonnie hiding out in grief, but she willingly invites him into her house [hello, Bonnie's living room!], where he provides her with some comfort. After, they talk about the bullets, but Bonnie tells him that the symbols carved into them are not magical, and she has no idea what it means. Bonnie also tells Stefan that her magic is blocked [having been scared so badly by the spirits after watching them tourture her Grams].
Meanwhile, Elena, Matt, and Jeremy have all volunteered to help with the memorial for the council members who died in the explosion. Pastor Young’s daughter April – whom Elena used to babysit – is back in town for the funeral. Her job this season is quite obviously to be a love interest for Jeremy [though couldn't they have gotten a person with a slightly different personality than Anna? Anna left so he could move on, but it seems like he's moved on to an Anna reincarnate]. Anyway, April also turns to Elena for guidance, still looking up to her for advice after all these years.
Connor has his own ideas about April‘s purpose, stabbing her and letting her bleed out in the balcony of the church to try and draw out the vampires. Fortunately, Damon sees it for the trap it so obviously is and advises them to stay put. Elena, being a new vampire and hungry, struggles the most with the lure – but Matt comes to her resuce, letting her feed off him so that she wouldn’t lose control. [Can someone please buy Matt a bus ticket out of that town? Honestly, he deserves so much better than the way he's treated around there - regardless of how thankful Elena was. He is such a sweet friend to all of them.]
Tyler, having showed up to the memorial despite the danger of Connor knowing he’s a vampire, decides to take one for the team – putting himself in the line of fire so the gang can find a way to get to Connor and hopefully save April. Connor takes the bait and shoots him – straight through the heart with a carved stake [and can we take a second to talk about the fact that no one in the choir noticed a stranger with a sniper rifle sitting in the balcony? Come on, people.]. In the chaos that ensues, Damon goes after Connor but fails to take him down. [How different things are with this hunter. Remember when it took Damon all of five seconds to kill the last vampire hunter - R.I.P. Alaric?]
While Stefan and Damon are off trying to take care of the new vampire hunter, Caroline is left to take care of Elena. Elena takes off to try and help April, but loses control at the sight of April’s blood. Fortunately, Caroline gets there just in time to stop her and bring her back under control. Caroline heals April, and takes the opportunity to give Elena a shot at trying compulsion. Elena successfully compels April to forget what happened to her, and promises to take care of her.
Later, at the Mystic Grill, Jeremy and Matt are getting dinner, I guess, where Connor shows up to have a drink. He notices Matt’s new neck injury [hate to say it, but the gang has got it coming to them - did no one have the foresight to heal Matt of that bite knowing that there is a vampire hunter on the lookout?] and asks him where it came from. Matt tries to play it off, telling him a lie about his
Fast Tube by Casper girlfriend, but you can tell Connor doesn’t believe him.
As they’re leaving, Jeremy comments on Connor’s cool tattoo – that somehow only Jeremy can see. Matt tries to tell him that the guy didn’t have a tattoo, but neither realize that Jeremy’s the only one who could see it. Of course, Connor understood why Jeremy could see it [though we're still kind of unclear on that - it has to be something to do with his ghost-seeing abilities or else his semi-vampire hunter status]. Either way, it’s probably not going to bode well for Jeremy – and now both Gilberts are on Connor‘s radar.
Throughout all this, Stefan and Damon argue over what is best for Elena, Stefan advocating her going straight to the animal blood diet, and Damon asserting that she has to have human blood or she won’t survive. Elena agrees with Stefan, so the two go off on a camping trip, have some cozy scenes in the woods, and partake of some Bambi blood. Unfortuantely, Elena has a bad reaction to the animal blood – and ends up vomiting it up.
Elena, not wanting Stefan to know how much she is struggling, turns to Damon for help. Of course, he wants her to drink human blood – straight from the source – but, when she turns that option down, he offers his own blood instead. Elena accepts his offer, not knowing what that means to vampires [which is something almost akin to vampire sex]. Regardless, that method fails, too.
Naturally, Stefan is very unhappy when he finds out what Damon did, and also upset with Elena for thinking she couldn’t tell him the truth. [It is a bit of irony from Stefan's struggles with keeping control of his bloodlust and not wanting to tell Elena.] They get into an argument, Elena ends up crying. She tells him she’s frustrated and tired of crying, and Stefan thinks up a plan to help the group as a whole. He invites them all up to the school, and they light some Japanese lanterns in honor of all the people they’ve lost [though I was kind of surprised that Elena didn't mention Uncle John - he did give up his life for her, regardless of how much of a jerk he was before].
Damon shows up but refuses to participate, walking off when they try to get him to light a lantern. As it turns out, he left, but he went off to grieve in his own way: a bottle of bourbon, talking with his best friend [well, his best friend's gravestone - I guess those Mystic Falls grave diggers work pretty quick. What's it been - two, three days - and they've already got Ric's body in the ground and his stone placed?] in the graveyard. In one of the best surprises this show has pulled off, Alaric in ghost form is shown to be sitting there next to him, listening to Damon talk about the whole in his heart left behind now that Ric is dead.
All around, it was a pretty good episode, and you can’t help but appreciate having a new threat in Mystic Falls that is actually a threat to these guys. As much as I dislike Connor for trying to kill everyone we like in that town, I love the excitement he’s brought with him. Now I’m just hoping these guys can make it out alive.