The Vampire Diaries recap: Brotherly bonding on Bourbon St.

Dec 7, 2012 at 10:32 a.m. ET

Is love an action, an emotion, or both? How do you know when you really love someone? Elena and Damon are forced to face these difficult questions when they discover the sire bond, and it may lead to the end of their brief love affair.

The Salvatore Brother's in the 1940's

After a steamy night, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) pick up right where they left off last week — in the bedroom. The two are so intensely focused on each other and finally "happy," but the new couple have no idea that bad news is just around the bend. Enjoy your brief moment of bliss while it lasts, folks. Things are about to get a lot more complicated.

It makes sense that Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Caroline (Candice Accola) want there to be a sire bond between Elena and Damon because neither one can handle the thought of Elena having real feelings for the evil Damon. For Damon, however, this is his worst nightmare. When Stefan brings him the news of the sire bond, he's pretty devastated.

But, this isn't his first carnival. He was in a similar boat 70 years ago on Bourbon Street. There was a woman who fell for him, he turned her into a vampire, and then she obeyed his every command to the extreme. A part of the sire bond is you want to make your master happy, and she stopped at nothing to do so. But when he got tired of her, he attempted to break the bond.

A witch who practiced the darkest and most dangerous form of magic, Expression, was his only hope of breaking the bond. She told him to kill 12 humans, but then bailed before the spell was complete. He had told his vampire lady friend to meet him at the corner of two cross streets. He never heard from her again.

Now, 70 years later, the Salvatore brothers venture to Bourbon Street and find Damon's vampire is still waiting at that street corner for him. She has been pining for him all of these years, confined to that one intersection because that was his last command.

Damon and Stefan meet the witch's daughter, who tells them there is no spell to break the bond. A sire bond is only formed in vampires when there were already romantic feelings before the human became a vampire. Kind of good news for Damon and bad news for Stefan. She tells him the only right thing to do is let the girl go and tell her to move on. I personally don't see the harm in letting things just go on as they are. Elena smiled for at least half an episode. Can't they just be happy for 5 minutes?

While on the hunt for answers, Damon and Stefan actually do some brotherly bonding. Despite their awkward love triangle, they seem ready to put the past behind them. They recall the last time they were on Bourbon Street in the 1940s, when Stefan was recovering from being the Ripper and asked Damon to leave with him to go to war. Damon wanted to because he needed to be around his little brother, but he knew his influence would weaken Stefan and he would turn into the Ripper again. He was capable of making a selfless choice then — can he do it again?

While Damon and Stefan are gone, Elena spends some much needed time with her girlfriends. But, things get a little out of hand when Caroline won't stop insulting Damon and accidentally breaks the news about the sire bond. She, as well, is devastated, but Tyler explains that a sire bond controls actions, not feelings.

When Damon returns home, Elena tries to tell him she knows her feelings for him are real and begs him not to end it with her. He gives a wonderful speech about never being the guy who does the right thing, but he can't be selfish with her. It seems like he's actually strong enough to follow through and be the "good guy" for a once, but then Elena puts his hand over her heart and says, "Does this feel wrong?" Was there supposed to be a heartbeat there? She's dead. Either way, the moment weakens him, and he can't go through with it. Will he ever be able to?

Another key revelation: Professor Shane practices that oh-so-evil dark magic, Expression, and has been teaching it to Bonnie. This isn't going to fair well for the citizens of Mystic Falls.

Photos Courtesy of CW