Stefan is lying in the middle of the road with a school bus on fire. He busts into the bus and saves a few cheerleaders, but doesn’t save them all. The EMT shows him his ID, which says his name is Marty Hammond. Stefan doesn’t understand what this hellscape is and what lesson he is supposed to learn.
Valerie leaves Damon behind and finds Rayna and finds out the stone has been destroyed with every soul in it released. And because Rayna burns the bodies of her victims this means that vampire souls are inhabiting random bodies, both vampire and human. Which means Stefan could be anywhere and anyone.
We find out he is in Arkansas and his name is Marty. Stefan is handcuffed by the cops for driving the bus and causing the accident because he was drunk, he looks at himself in the mirror and takes off for the woods.
Damon thinks Valerie took Stefan’s body until he finds him on the side of the road. Damon thinks Stefan has lost his memory so he gives him his journal to remember.
Matt calls Alaric warning him that he sent some people his way. He opens the door and finds Valerie and Rayna. Alaric wants nothing to do with the paranormal, but Valerie reminds him that Caroline will care if Stefan dies. Rayna is more concerned with hunting down the most evil vampires, but Valerie makes it clear that Stefan is their top priority.
Stefan finds a cabin in the woods and breaks in. He is suffering withdrawal and is human. He watches the local news and realizes he’s Marty Hammond, a known drunk.
Search For The Real Stefan
Damon takes “Stefan” to a diner and realizes something is off with “Stefan” when he drinks the waitress’ blood without ripping her head off. He calls Alaric about the situation, but Alaric shares the news that when a vampire inhabited Jo, her body broke down. They have 3 days to find the real Stefan. Valerie uses magic to channel Rayna’s visions to see where Stefan is. They realize he is in the body of Marty.
Stefan hot-wires a truck and reveals he was starting to enjoy being tied to Rayna. Having an end date was about as close to being human as he would ever get, but now he remembers how much being human sucked.
Back in Damon’s car, “Stefan” puts on his best impression, but Damon reveals he knows the truth. “Stefan” is disappointed his cover is blown and asks how long it will take to get to Memphis. Damon jokes with him, but “Stefan” jumps out of the car window. Damon calls Alaric and Valerie and they agree to track Stefan’s body while Damon goes to Arkansas to save him. Rayna realizes which vampire is in Stefan, snaps Valerie’s neck and leaves determined to kill them.
Stefan runs out of gas and asks the woman on the side of the road to use her phone. She is listening to the radio and hears about a male fugitive on the loose, so she leaves.
Damon is in Arkansas and is at the police station posing as Matt Donovan. He compels the officers and Damon learns they are going to let the weather do their job. The woman who Stefan tried to use her phone shows up at the police station. Damon compels her to lie to the cops about Stefan’s location and when she mentions she dropped her phone, he calls it.
Stefan is shivering inside the truck when he hallucinates Damon. He realizes he’s reached the delirium phase of withdrawal and doesn’t have much time. The phone rings and Stefan finds it and answers it. Damon tells Stefan to walk even though he can’t feel his legs.
Stefan tells Damon all the ways this is his fault. Damon tries to defend his decision by saying he was trying to prevent more mistakes, but Stefan doesn’t understand why it is so difficult for him. When Stefan woke up, his first instinct was to save the people on the bus. Damon admits that he is selfish and it wasn’t until Elena came along that he was interested in doing the right thing for anyone. Stefan included. Damon tells him to get up and come kick his ass. Stefan gets up and starts walking.
Damon asks about the worst part of being human, Stefan admits he would really love to compel people. When Damon mentions playing by the rules, Stefan brings up how they used to play hide-and-seek as kids. Damon claims Stefan cheated by hiding in father’s office where they weren’t allowed to go in. Damon admits he wouldn’t go in there to find Stefan because he was scared. Not for himself, he was scared that their father would punish Stefan. Damon asks why he brought that up. Stefan responds that Damon isn’t going to find him and then collapses.
A few moments later, Damon rolls up to his brother’s rescue. Stefan wakes up in the car and Damon gives him some donuts. They have 48 hours to get him back in his body.
A Serial Killer On The Loose
Valerie and Alaric are in Memphis where they discuss Stefan and Caroline. Valerie says she hasn’t fooled herself into thinking her and Stefan were forever, but Alaric put a ring on it. Alaric knows Caroline did it for the kids. They track “Stefan” to a frat in Memphis. Alaric remembers an old story about a serial killer in the 1880s. He targeted sororities and frats, where he would force victims to murder each other. And when no one would believe their story, it would drive the survivors crazy. They never caught the murderer.