'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Don't you forget about me

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"The Vampire DIaries" -- "Graduation"

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"Graduation" -- Candice Accola as Caroline, Nina Dobrev as Elena, and Kat Graham as Bonnie

A "Breakfast Club" homage is almost like a rite of passage for television shows featuring students. We've seen it on "Dawson's Creek," "Lizzie McGuire," "Degrassi: The Next Generation," "Community," and more.

Bottling up characters gets them to open up; in the case of "The Vampire Diaries," Elena and Stefan have to confront each other and the wounds left behind by their breakup. They both finally speak the truth, and it isn't pretty.

As Rebekah observes, this once epic love affair is over. As much as every acknowledgement of that drives an (emotional) stake through our hearts, we can't avoid the truth any longer.

And neither can Stelena.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

Rebekah is back. And pissed.

In the winter finale, April discovered her BFF's body and it seems that she promptly unstaked the Original. They're partners in anger: Rebekah wants to get the cure for vampirism and shove it down Klaus's throat, while April wants to find out what really happened to her parents.

[Related: Miss the winter finale of 'TVD'? Catch up with our recap]

Elena, Caroline, and Tyler are all in school for a memorial for Carol Lockwood. Tyler storms out, but Elena spies someone … Rebekah! She goes to investigate, but promptly gets her neck broken. She wakes up in the library, wondering what's going on. .

Well, what's going on is that Rebekah compels her to stay in the library, then uses that to lure both Stefan and Caroline to the scene. The tension in the room tips Rebekah off -- just what, she wonders, is going on with Elena and Stefan. Under compulsion, Stefan admits they broke up … because Elena slept with Damon. (Caroline!)

When Stefan mentions that Elena is sired to Damon, she finally speaks up. "I didn't sleep with Damon because of the sire bond," Elena says in defense of her actions. "I slept with him because I'm in love with him." Ouch.

When Rebekah asks how she can find the cure, Stefan points her to Professor Shane.

Meanwhile, Bonnie's dad, Rudy Hopkins, has become the new mayor of Mystic Falls after Carol Lockwood's death. He can talk all he wants about how he wants to protect her, but we wonder what his real reason is for suddenly becoming an active part of the community.

Bonnie goes to vent to Shane about her dad's abrupt desire to be, you know, a real dad, when he tells her that she's "graduated" and ready to regain her magical powers. As she's leaving, she passes someone in the hall … it's Cole! And he took Shane.

Guess Rebekah can count on at least one of her brothers.

Good Jeremy hunting

At the lake house, Jeremy is training with Matt under the tutelage of Damon. He listens (but doesn't respond) to a voicemail from Elena pleading to return to him. So he amps up Jeremy's training: None of the pizza brought by the cute delivery girl until they run around the lake twice.

Then Klaus shows up, and as usual, is impatient to get what he wants. He needs Jeremy to kill a lot more vampires to complete his hunter's mark, so what exactly has Damon been doing all this time?

Damon argues that Jeremy needs to train so that he isn't killed while hunting, but Klaus has a different idea: Turn a bunch of people into vampires, then have Jeremy kill them just after they transition. First up: cute pizza girl. She shows up with "car trouble" (seriously, guys, haven't you ever watched a horror movie), then attacks Matt. Jeremy is forced to kill her to save his friend. The hunter's mark grows a little more.

Back at the high school, Rebekah lures Tyler to join their little party, and when he arrives, compels him to turn into a werewolf. She wants to play a little game: Set Tyler off after his friends, see which one of them he kills.

He tries to fight it, but the compulsion is too strong. Stefan, Elena and Caroline all flee. The "Breakfast Club" has turned into a teen slasher movie!

Forget her not

When Rebekah joins Cole and his captive Shane, they discover he's immune to compulsion. Oh well, there's always torture! Bonnie gets to the school, where she runs into April. She decides to test her reawakened skills by casting a protection spell over Shane, but somehow it ends up tying him to April. When he's being drowned, she can't breathe and spits up water. And then when Cole impales him, she starts to bleed.

Rebekah's super pissed, since Cole killed her only chance at finding the cure. But after they leave, Shane opens his eyes, sits up, and seems totally fine. Wha?!

Caroline discovers Tyler has returned to human form. He breaks down in her arms over not being there to save his mom.

Rebekah confronts Stefan and Elena, and he's still trying to protect her despite their drama. Maybe it would be easier, Rebekah suggests, if she compelled Stefan to forget Elena, forget their love, forget the pain of their breakup.

And Stefan agrees. "Do it," he says, as a shocked Elena watches.

But no, that's just too easy, Rebekah says. She wants Stefan to feel as much pain as she did when a loved one betrayed her.

He leaves, with Elena calling out his name to talk. But Stefan doesn't want to talk. He leaves without looking back.

What a hard pair we will be

Bonnie confronts Professor Shane about the botched spell. He "miscalculated" -- which an angry Bonnie says nearly cost April her life. He explains that the kind of magic he's teaching her isn't governed by nature and the spirits, and that she is the "key to everything." Creepy! Run, Bonnie, run!

At the Salvatore mansion, Stefan has a guest … Rebekah! Sure, she just sic'ed Tyler on him, but whatever, that's in the past. He notes that he hates his brother, and she hates hers … why not become partners in finding the cure?

Elena calls Damon. The day's events made her realize something. "It's the most real thing I've ever felt in my entire life," she tells him. "I love you Damon. I love you."

Finally, the thing he's been waiting to hear for so long! But is it real? Is it the sire bond? He needs that cure just as much as Stefan. He needs Jeremy's mark to be finished.

The lakehouse boys go meet Klaus at a bar and are horrified to learn that he's killed/turned all the patrons. What Klaus wants, Klaus gets … and he wants that mark.

What Damon wants, Damon gets … and he wants Elena to love him, without the sire bond.

But Damon -- sometimes what we want isn't what we get.

Check out what "Vampire Diaries" fans said about the episode on Twitter; then post your own thoughts in the comments below!

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 PM on The CW.

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