Bob Mahoney/The CW
Mandi Bierly
October 17, 2014 AT 03:55 AM EDT

We live in a world where Caroline has now acknowledged that she “had” feelings for Stefan—a world that Damon and Bonnie could possibly return to now that she has her magic back. This episode has the Vampire Diaries pace of season 1: boom, boom, boom. Here we go.

Stefan shows up at his sanctuary/garage wearing a badass crewneck and tells his dick boss that he’s a vampire who was trying to live a normal life until his friends showed up yesterday and killed his girlfriend. He compels his boss to take his car, bury Ivy (who’s in the trunk) in the woods, and forget everything—except that he’s going to give Stefan a raise when he returns from killing Enzo. It’s not as good as Silas at the bus stop, but it’s one of the show’s better in-episode recaps.

At Whitmore, Caroline can’t get out of memory-swiped Elena’s dorm room fast enough, but she agrees to come to the swimming hole party that afternoon so the gang can all be together. Caroline is right when she phones Matt to tell him that Elena is not herself—and it’s not just because Alaric has made her forget Damon was ever anything but a soulless homicidal maniac. The Elena who hasn’t been tortured by her love for two Salvatore Brothers is one who likes Jell-O shots and calls Liam, the hot guy who also volunteers at the hospital, “Cute Brag.” (Groan.) Be careful what you wish for everyone: Sullen new vampire Elena is almost preferable to this.

While Matt falls for Tripp’s “red mulch” story when he catches him and young Jay hosing Tripp’s van of death down, Sarah is busy raving about Salvatore Mansion’s “dirty” four-head shower. Get in line, lady. We’re reminded she’s looking for her dad and learn that her dead mother lived in Mystic Falls for years before she had her. Jeremy drinks bourbon, as one does in that house, and is otherwise worthless. More fun, however: Tyler asks Liv if he can grab kegs from the bar she works at for the party, and Luke knows that Liv is only being a bitch to Tyler because she likes him. Luke approves, of course: Partly because Tyler is working on his anger issues, but mostly because Tyler’s hot.

Stefan meets Elena at Whitmore and is all smiles, but Damon and Bonnie are all scowls as they do grocery shopping. Won’t you be a bit sad when these two have to join the others? Seeing them argue over who’ll push the cart and whether Bonnie “sleep crosswords”—all while Ace of Base’s “The Sign” is playing—is pure comedy. Bonnie knows Damon doesn’t want to have hope and risk disappointment. He still refuses to believe they aren’t alone even when she notices both a lack of pork rinds in the grocery store and the tiny carousel outside running. (If that’s the sound of hope, none of us want it.)

Elena and Stefan find an empty classroom and catch up. She’s totally cool with him having a new job and a new girlfriend. She invites him to the swimming hole, and he decides to come when she says he can help convince Caroline that Enzo is not best friend replacement material. Caroline and Enzo are now close enough to eat off the same plate but still have very different ideas of what’s on the menu (RIP, Shirley).

NEXT: Bonnie is badass again

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