The scene opens with Elena kicking the daylights out of a punching bag, and Damon enjoying a shower. Elena tells Alaric that she is worried for him. A hybrid’s sniffing around the Witch House as Bonnie is shown chanting incantations and trying in vain to open a mysterious coffin. Damon manages to rip the hybrid’s heart out through its back before it can cause any trouble; Stefan’s convinced that this means war. He’s prepared to do just about anything to get Klaus’s minions out of town. At Mystic Falls High—things are no less tense. Bonnie is angry with Elena after learning that Jeremy’s been compelled to leave town; she doesn’t feel much better after approaching him to ask if he was planning on telling her about the move. Meanwhile, Caroline and Tyler have a sad encounter—he tells her there’s nothing he can do about his desire to serve Klaus, and she glumly accepts his words. The conversation ends when Tyler hands Caroline a small gift—it’s a charm bracelet—and walks away.
Stefan goes to Klaus’s residence for some good old confrontation, and makes it abundantly clear to Klaus how much he dislikes his hybrid friends. The gist: Klaus wants his coffins. Stefan wants the hybrids gone. He even goes ahead and decapitates one right in front of Klaus just to make his point. These actions obviously help to escalate things. Klaus summons Tyler and says he needs him to give Caroline a little nibble.
Tyler’s horrified—he knows that a bite from a hybrid will kill a vampire. He says Klaus can’t force him to hurt Caroline; Klaus just seems amused by Tyler’s futile defiance. A glum Caroline arrives home to find Bonnie, Matt and Elena waiting for her. They’re all set to celebrate their friend’s 18th birthday, but Caroline makes it clear that she isn’t in the mood for celebration. This owing to the realization that she isn’t going to age anymore; and hence shall never shall never have a real birthday again. After hearing this, Elena comes up with an idea to cheer up her friend. She leads Caroline and co. to a crypt, saying that what Caroline really needs is to say goodbye to her old life. So the gang holds a makeshift funeral for their dearly departed human friend, with Caroline ending up enjoying the experience.
While the kids are up to their shenanigans, Damon and Ric travel to a council meeting that doubles as a town fundraiser. All seems to be going well—Alaric even has another encounter with cute Dr. Meredith Fell, who’s clearly up to something—until the guys realize Klaus is in the house. He’s got Carol Lockwood in his thrall; Klaus is offering to have his hybrids protect the town in exchange for being left alone. Meaning unless Damon does something about Stefan, there’s going to be hell to pay. Stefan, of course, has no intention of leaving the hybrids alone. In fact, he’s all set to kill another one in cold blood when Damon stops him in the nick of time. They argue; Damon wants Stefan to think about the rest of the town, not to mention Elena. But Stefan is single-minded in his need for revenge: “To beat the villain, you just have to be the better villain,” he tells his brother.
There’s also some more business with Ric and Dr. Fell—he overhears a man telling Meredith she’s putting her career in jeopardy, then steps in to see if anything’s the matter. Dr. Fell’s adversary stalks away—but not before telling Ric that Meredith is a psycho. As he leaves, we learn that new guy’s name is Brian, and he’s a medical examiner who also happened to dump Meredith on prom night. Back at the Fell tomb, the party’s just about over. Bonnie lashes out at Elena, saying she had no right to have Damon compel Jeremy, then leaves. Then Tyler shows up; he tells the birthday girl that they need to talk. The former couple walk out into the woods, where hybrid tells vamp that he won’t let Klaus control him—at least not where Caroline’s concerned. Though Caroline’s hesitant at first, once Tyler tells her that he loves her, she falls into his arms. It seems like things just might work out between these two… until he bites her and she falls to the ground. And then Stefan swoops in out of nowhere and grabs Elena. He’s got a new plan: Threaten to turn Elena into a vampire so that Klaus can’t use her blood to make more hybrids.
He’s barreling toward the bridge where Elena’s parents died, totally ignoring Elena’s incredulous questions and pleas. Stefan gets Klaus on the phone and forces the Original to listen to him feed Elena his blood—if she dies now, she’ll turn into a vampire. Initially, Klaus thinks Stefan’s bluffing; he would never hurt Elena. But as time wears on and her screams grow louder, Klaus changes his tune. Finally, the Original agrees to get the hybrids out of town—but it’s not until a few heart-stopping seconds later that Stefan finally stops the car. When he does, Elena staggers out; she can’t believe what’s just happened. She and Stefan have a heart-wrenching conversation with Stefan telling his former True Love, “I don’t really care what you think about me anymore, Elena,” and drives away. As Elena’s heart breaks yet again, Caroline’s life is hanging in the balance. Though Matt’s managed to get her home, the wound is getting worse—until Klaus appears, saying that his blood can heal Caroline. Matt doesn’t want Klaus anywhere near his ex-girlfriend; Sheriff Forbes, though, would rather have a vampire daughter than no daughter at all, so she invites the Original inside.
The surprising fact here is Klaus’s interaction with Caroline, which turns out to be more than civil. First he apologizes and tells her the bite was nothing personal. Then Klaus says that she shouldn’t be sad for losing her human life; she should embrace the freedom she has as a vampire. After a long pep talk, Caroline tells him she doesn’t want to die. In a touching gesture Klaus holds out his wrist so she can drink. Damon walks Elena back to her house; they share a charged moment but don’t kiss again. The episode ends with several scenes of characters moving on. Jeremy takes his leave after Bonnie finally wishes him a proper goodbye; Caroline awakens to a new life and a beautiful bracelet, courtesy of Klaus; Elena asks Matt to help her let go of her own past as a normal girl, and he obliges; and Ric ends up inadvertently having a drink with Dr. Fell. Brian, the medical examiner has been found dead in a forest. Killed via a stake through the heart, and the policewoman investigating the case confirms to Damon that it’s a murder. The episode ends.