SPIRITS AT THE NIGHT OF ILLUMINATION — As Mystic Falls prepares to celebrate the traditional Illumination Night, the town is invaded by spirits of the dead. After a particularly violent encounter with an angry spirit, Damon asks Bonnie to find the reason behind the ghosts' surprising power. Elena convinces Jeremy to use his connection to the other side to help her find a new way to reach Stefan, leading Jeremy to a terrible choice. Finally, Alaric discovers a long-hidden clue to the past.
Damon is seen tied to a chair with chains, and a poker in his chest. He notices his ring is on the ground, and tells Stefan that's a low blow; Stefan comes in, telling him he didn't do any of that. Stefan plucks the poker out, and rips off the binds on his hands, but leaves him chained. Mason, standing in the shadows, opens the curtains and lets Damon burn for a while.
It is the Night of Illumination in Mystic Falls and everyone is helping out, hanging paper lanterns. Carol Lockwood introduces Tobias Fell, who gives a history lesson. Jeremy asks Alaric what they are doing there, where Alaric explains Tobias is the head of the history department, and why he's there. Elena joins them and asks what she has missed, Anna (who is tethered to Jeremy still) gives a witty reply which Elena can't hear, but Jeremy said she missed nothing.
He laughs at something Anna says, which confuses Elena. Anna smiles, and takes Jeremy's hand. Caroline asks Bonnie whether the spell she did would make Anna disappear too, which she replies no and explains Jeremy still has a direct line to the Other Side, and could see Anna whenever he wished. Bonnie says she took a risk bringing Jeremy back, and was now paying the consequences for it. Damon arrives in his car, and tells Bonnie that she messed up during her spell because Mason Lockwood is now after him for revenge.
At the Mystic Grill, Elena asks for Jeremy's help with Stefan, wondering if he could contact Lexi—an old friend of Stefan's that always had a way to bring him back from his ripper ways. Jeremy said he's not sure if she's even on The Other Side and he had no previous connection to her whatsoever. Bonnie asks Matt whether he's contacted Vicki again, and he swears he hasn't. Caroline asks why she thinks it's Vicki and not Mason, to which she replies that if any other ghost has a foothold, something is very wrong.
Bonnie grabs her bag, but her grimoire falls out, and it flips open to a Manifestation spell, used to reveal veil matter – ghosts. Alaric is not too comfortable with the idea of bringing back dead vampires, seeing as they already have enough vampires as it is. Anna silently tells Jeremy that not all ghosts go to the other side, that some find peace. Stefan joins them at the table, picking up his diaries, wondering how he could have cared so much. Stefan tells Elena it would be better if she moved on and let go of her feelings for him.
At the place where the witches were burned, Bonnie and Caroline start setting up to do the Manifestation spell. Jeremy questions Anna why she didn't want Elena to know that she was there, and Anna replies that she wouldn't like it, seeing as Bonnie is Elena's best friend. Jeremy is extremely confused with his feelings, tells Anna he always loved her, and kisses her.
Bonnie does the spell, and Grams appears to her, holding her hands – all over town, ghosts of previous vampires start to appear. Elena walks in on Jeremy and Anna kissing, finally being able to see her again. Lexi appears to Stefan who's shocked. Mason appears to Damon and Alaric at the Grill, and knocks him over the head with a glass. Lexi tells Stefan he's off the rails, and that while she's materialized in the real world, she'll help him out of his mess. Lexi knocks Stefan unconscious after he refuses her help.
Bonnie is emotional at seeing her Grams. Sheila tells Bonnie that the Original Witch unleashed everyone who had unfinished business – she has to close the “door”, by destroying the talisman of the Original Witch. Anna overhears Caroline and Elena on the phone talking about the necklace, and she disappears. Elena walks out and bumps into Lexi, where she thanks her for thinking about her that day, bringing her back. Lexi tells Elena to come with her, as she could help Stefan.
Mason tells Damon he's not after revenge, but an apology. The truth is he's there to help Tyler. Mason heard of a way to be able to kill an Original, and that the secrets are in the old Lockwood basement. In the City Jail, Lexi has tied Stefan to the torture chair. Lexi looks at Stefan in the eyes and gets inside his head, making him hallucinate. Damon goes to the basement where Mason is waiting for him, and they break through a wall, which reveals a tunnel, which they start to climb through.
Stefan is starting to struggle, screaming to get out and Lexi starts to count the total years he's been without blood as he's hallucinating. Caroline calls Elena and tells her the necklace isn't where Damon said it would be. Elena says they should hold off on stopping the ghosts, and they need to help Stefan. Jeremy is shown to be searching for Anna. Frederick walks over to where Anna is standing in the celebrations, saying they have some unfinished business with the Founding Families. A scream erupts and Tobias Fell is shown, dangling from a tree, dead.
Stefan is starting to beg Elena to release him, he's sorry and that he loves her. Lexi warns her that he'd say anything to get out of there. She goes on to say that he's now getting past the blood and he could feel things – she demonstrates this by stabbing him on the arm. Elena rushes off, not being able to handle it. Walking around the corner, she is greeted by ambulance lights and a body being taken away.
Caroline and Bonnie are still searching for the necklace, but can't find it anywhere in the Salvatore house. Caroline gets a suspicion that Anna could have perhaps taken it, and asks Jeremy about it. Anna tells him no. Back in the caves, Mason is leading Damon through the tunnel. Damon walks forward and is struck by stakes, puncturing him in the sides.
Elena confronts Jeremy about Anna being missing, and that she was the only one who knew about the necklace being needed to send the ghosts away. Jeremy fesses up and tells Elena he can touch Anna, and that he loves her and always will. Elena asks him whether he will love a ghost for the rest of his life. Anna reappears and Elena tells her she's holding Jeremy back. Anna holds up the necklace for them to see, and Elena instructs Jeremy to call Bonnie with the news that they have the necklace and can send the ghosts away.
Mason comes back to Damon and breaks off the stakes. Damon can't believe that Mason isn't after revenge, but redemption. Mason only wants to help Tyler. Bonnie and Caroline drive back to the Witch House, but see Carol Lockwood's car and the tomb vampires approaching it. Caroline gets out and attacks.
Jeremy tells Anna that they will still be able to see each other afterwards, and that they have nothing to worry about. Anna says that it should be the end, and that she is holding him back from his life. She is sorry she took the necklace, but hoped that with the tomb vampires out, maybe she would get to see her mother.
Lexi repeatedly stabs Stefan with a stake – Elena enters and tells her they are running out of time, and the necklace will be destroyed. Lexi uses the necklace as determination, telling Stefan to focus on that as it once gave him hope. Damon cannot get into the small cavern, as it somehow looks like he has to be invited in. Mason goes on ahead of him to look at the cave walls.
Bonnie starts to recite the spell, and her Grams joins her, resulting in the necklace being destroyed in the fire. Caroline is seen fighting off the tomb vampires. Frederick gets a hold on her neck, but he disappears, along with Mason in the cave and Lexi at the city jail. Anna sees her mother, Pearl, and they embrace, disappearing together, finally able to rest in peace.
Grams is the last to disappear, telling Bonnie she is very proud of her. In the caves, Alaric arrives to help Damon out. Damon again gives the same apology he gave Mason Lockwood, but genuinely meaning it.
In the city jail, Stefan asks Elena what she's gonna do now and if she's gonna wait till he dries out. Elena says that she'll go home and be the support her friends need right now. She's is headstrong and still has hope for him. Elena comes to stand right in front of Stefan, telling him to fight for it, to feel something, because if he doesn't, he will lose her forever. “I won't love a ghost for the rest of my life,” she says to him.
Jeremy goes to Bonnie, telling her he is sorry. She sends him away, not being able to handle his betrayal. Noises and sparks erupt from the fireplace, and on closer examination, Bonnie sees the necklace's quality is restored. In the cave, Alaric finds drawings on the wall, yet doesn't know what they are.
- Antagonists: Esther and Ghosts.
- This is the final episode of the first chapter of Season Three, The Ghosts Chapter.
- Tyler and Klaus don't appear in this episode.
- Ghost World marks the least amount of screen time that Matt has had in an episode all season.
- This episode marks the first appearances of Sheila and Lexi as ghosts, and the only appearances of Frederick and Pearl as ghosts.
- This episode had about 3.28 million viewers in the USA.
- Bonnie and Jeremy break up in this episode after Bonnie finds out that Jeremy kissed Anna.
- Lexi uses the power vampires possess that is similar to telepathy in that allows them to share memories and create illusions and hallucinations in the minds of humans and (weaker) vampires to make Stefan believe that he had been starved from human blood for up to five years. This is the strongest demonstration of this vampire ability that has been shown in the series, as most vampires need to either be much younger than the user or need to be in a vulnerable state, such as by being asleep, injured, or otherwise weakened. In this case, Stefan had only been briefly knocked out prior to experiencing the illusion, but Lexi did have the upper-hand by being older than him by several centuries.
- Lexi was last seen in The Dinner Party via a flashback to 1864.
- Frederick was last seen in Let the Right One In. He was killed by Stefan in Let The Right One In.
- Pearl was last seen in Blood Brothers. She was killed by John Gilbert in Blood Brothers.
- Sheila Bennett was last seen in Season One's Fool Me Once. She died from overuse of magic in Fool Me Once.
- Carol Lockwood was last seen in Disturbing Behavior.
- Mason tortures Damon the same way Damon did to him in Plan B. This time, the majority of the torture was shown off-screen.
- Bonnie and Grams both mentioned "the consequences" of bringing Jeremy back to life, which occurred in As I Lay Dying.
- The order in which the ghosts who appeared were: Sheila Bennett (Grams), Anna, Lexi, Mason Lockwood, Frederick and the tomb vampires, and lastly, Pearl. The order in which they disappeared is: Frederick and the tomb vampires, Mason, Lexi, Anna and Pearl, and Grams.
- This is the only episode this season to not feature any member of the Original Family.
- Bonnie, Caroline, Matt, Damon, Alaric and Grams mentioned the events of Smells Like Teen Spirit.
- The witch burial ground was last seen in As I Lay Dying.
- Mason Lockwood tortures Damon in the same manner that Damon tortured him in Season Two's Plan B.
- Another example of 7th Episode Twist: This is the end of the "Ghost Chapter," in which Jeremy has to deal with the ghosts of his past.
- Also, the ghost of Lexi uses her vampire powers to psychically make Stefan hallucinating that he's been starved of human blood for up to five years in order to start the process to bring him back from Klaus' influence.
- Several characters that were Killed for Real came back in this episode—a nice example of The Bus Came Back.
- Damon (as an apology to both Mason and Alaric): "I do a lot of things I don't have to do."
- Damon: "Greetings, Blondie. Witchie. I think you got your voodoo wires all crossed when you got rid of Vicki Donovan."
- Bonnie: "What do you mean? Why?"
- Damon: "Because I'm pretty sure I just got spit-roasted by Mason Lockwood's ghost."
- Bonnie: "What?"
- Caroline: "And why would you think that?"
- Damon: "Maybe because he chained me to a chair and shoved a hot poker in my chest. Let's just say I'm having déjà vu."
- Caroline: "I thought you said ghosts couldn't physically interact with people."
- Bonnie: "They can't."
- Damon: "Yeah, well, I don't have time for a vengeful Lockwood. When I kill someone, they're supposed to stay dead. Whatever you screwed up, fix it."
- Elena: "I've been going through Stefan's old journals. Every single time that he's gone off the rails in the past, his best friend Lexi's been the one to bring him back."
- Alaric: "So, where is she now that we need her?"
- Jeremy: "She's dead. And you want me to try to reach her, don't you?"
- Elena: "I thought if I knew how she did it, maybe I could help him."
- Jeremy: "Look, I don't even know if she's on the Other Side."
- Elena: "Is that what it's called?"
- Jeremy: "That's what Anna calls it. There's not like an official brochure or anything."
- Alaric: "So, what is it? Like some sort of supernatural purgatory?"
- Jeremy: "Anna said it's, it's like being here with all of us, only we can't see her or hear her. And she can't interact with anyone. She's all alone."
- Lexi (to Stefan): "You know you say that every time? (She begins to mock him) I don't want your help, I don't want to get better, leave me alone.'"
- Grams: "Witches talk. Even on the Other Side."
- Bonnie: "What do you want me to say, Caroline? I went against the balance of nature when I brought Jeremy back to life, and now I'm paying the consequences."
- Caroline: "I want you to say you're not okay with it."
- Bonnie: "I'm a thousand times not okay with it. I just don't know what to do about it."
- Stefan (looking at his journal): "Oh, wow. All these words. I forgot how much I used to care."
- Anna (to Jeremy): "I'm only here because you want to be with me as much as I want to be with you. Send me away, Jeremy. It's that easy."
- Damon: "All right, which way?"
- Mason: "I don't know, flip a coin."
- Damon: "Aren't you supposed to be all-knowing?"
- Mason: "I'm a ghost, not God."
- Mason: "I don't need revenge, Damon. I need redemption."
- Jeremy (about Anna): "I can touch her, Elena. I can kiss her again. And I know it's wrong, and I know that I shouldn't feel this way, but I do. I love her. I've always loved her."
- Bonnie (to Jeremy): "Matt let go of his sister before you let go of Anna. His sister, Jeremy! You know what you owe me? The respect of not making me listen to you explain yourself."
- Alaric: "You know, I've had enough vampires today, thanks."
- Damon: "Oh, come on. Have a drink with me. We got troubles."
- Alaric: "No, you've got troubles. See, we're not a team. You tried to kill me. All right? We're not friends, I don't like you anymore."
- Damon: "Ah! But remember back when you liked me and we conspired to kill Uncle Werewolf, Mason Lockwood?"
- Alaric: "Yeah. And?"
- Damon: "I think he's still a little pissed."