50's DANCE THAT WILL LEAVE YOU BREATHLESS —- As Stefan and Damon try to figure out the identity of the new vampire in town, Stefan gives Elena jewelry filled with vervain to protect her family and friends. Hurting for money, Matt takes a job at Mystic Grill, where former a high school football-star, Ben, works as a bartender. Ben comes to Bonnie's aid when he notices Damon is bothering her. Stefan and Damon accompany Elena to a school dance with a 1950s theme, where Alaric introduces himself to Damon.
|Stefan gives Elena jewelry filled with vervain that he made for her to give to her family and friends to protect them. At the same time, the doorbell rings, Jeremy opens the door and a delivery guy is at the door. He invites him in and calls Elena to pay him. As the delivery guy walks away, he pulls his hoodie back on revealing that he is the vampire Elena hit with her car. Damon looks for their dad's journal when Stefan gets in and tries to find out why Damon wanted to go to Atlanta. He asks him what Bree told him but Damon won't tell. Stefan later gives him their dad journal trying once again to find out what Damon's after. He tells him that he'll help him to free Katherine but Damon declines his offer.
Jeremy gets an A for his history paper while Alaric tries to see if Jeremy believes in the stories about vampires. He then asks if he could read the source Jeremy used, the journal, and Jeremy gives it to him. Elena gives Caroline a necklace with vervain and asks about her relationship with Matt. Caroline feels awkward and tells her that they are just friends but Elena reassures her that she is fine if she wants to date him. Meanwhile, Matt gets a job at the Grill as a busboy and Damon approaches Bonnie trying to make amends since he is gonna need her for his plan. Bonnie warns him to stay away from her and the bartender Ben comes to help her get rid of Damon.
Meanwhile, Elena gets a phone call from a stranger. Elena realizes who he is (the guy she hit with her car) and when she spots him across the street she drives away. She informs Stefan about the phone call and Stefan gives her the Gilbert watch explaining her how it works. Anna finds Jeremy at the Grill and he thanks her for her help regarding his history paper. Anna keeps talking about vampires but Jeremy still doesn't believe in the stories and tries to get away. Anna tries to ask him out but Jeremy leaves for the school dance. She later goes to the school dance herself and finds him, asking him for Jonathan's journal. Jeremy says that he lent it to Alaric, something that makes Anna upset and her face change, revealing she is a vampire. Jeremy notices but she tells him it's nothing and she walks away.
At the Gilbert house, Elena faces Jenna and asks the truth about her adoption. Jenna tells her that her parents helped a teenage pregnant girl to give birth but she then disappeared. Her parents were trying for a long time for a baby and they decided to keep her as their own. Her father made all the necessary paper work and when Elena asks if she knows anything more about her birth mother, Jenna says only her name; Isobel.
While Elena is getting ready for the dance, the watch is activated meaning that a vampire is close. Elena freaks out and calls Stefan immediately. Damon answers letting her know that Stefan is on his way but he forgot his cell. Elena calms down thinking that the watch was activated because of Stefan but she gets attacked by Noah. Stefan gets there in time and saves her with Noah running away.
Damon joins Stefan and Elena trying to find out what Noah wanted. Damon suggests to use Elena as a bait at the dance to find him before he comes back at the house. Elena agrees and they all leave for the dance. Elena catches up with Bonnie and Caroline and then the two girls leave the dance because they are not having fun and go to the Grill.
At the Grill, Bonnie decides to take the first step and approaches Ben asking him out. Caroline tries to do the same with Matt but he is upset with her regarding something she said to Bonnie earlier and he overheard it. Caroline apologizes but Matt tells her that he doesn't know if he got over Elena yet and that's why he doesn't want to ruin what the two of them have at the moment, their friendship. Caroline says he already did and leaves. Matt changes his mind and follows her with his car. He stops her and he finally kisses her.
Back at the dance, Elena and Stefan keep dancing while Alaric approaches Damon and introduces himself. He starts asking questions until Damon gets suspicious and Alaric backs off. In the meantime, Noah got into the dance and Anna spies him. They seem to know each other while she warns him to stay away from Elena since she is not Katherine and the Salvatores are with her. Noah doesn't hear her and continues his play with Elena. Anna tells him that she didn't get the journal yet but she knows where it is. Elena finally spots Noah and tells Stefan who goes after him but Stefan is following the wrong guy since Noah gave his hoodie to a teenage boy. He realizes that he was tricked to leave Elena alone and runs back to her. Meanwhile, Noah calls Elena and asks her to exit through the side door, otherwise he'll kill Jeremy, so Elena follows his instructions. She tries to run away but Noah catches up to her in the cafeteria. The two of them struggle and the moment he is about to bite her, Stefan and Damon arrive.
Noah tries to escape but Stefan stakes him in the gut to make him suffer but not kill him, while he starts asking him what he wants. Noah explains that he is after Elena because he looks like Katherine and Damon and Stefan are surprised to know they were not the only ones Katherine played with. They don't remember Noah but he remembers them and he also gives them information that they need the "Grimoire" to get into the tomb. They can find more info in Jonathan Gilbert's journal. They ask him who he is working with but he won't tell, so Stefan kills him. Anna watches the whole scene between the brothers and Noah but she hides as she hears Alaric approaching. Alaric sees the moment Stefan kills Noah and he walks away like he knows nothing. Damon follows him and compels him to tell him what he knows. Alaric, even compelled, lies to him and Damon walks away. It is revealed that Alaric, who's stunned after the confrontation, was holding vervain in his hand. Damon and Stefan discuss what happened and suspect that Noah is not alone. Stefan tells Damon that he knows he is looking for Emily's journal (the Grimoire as Noah said) to reverse the spell and he repeats his offer to help him free Katherine as long as he is there and the other vampires will stay behind. Damon trusts him and accepts his offer. Stefan tells Elena about his promise to Damon later at home but he informs her that his promise was a lie.
Meanwhile, Alaric walks Jenna home and asks her out for a date which Jenna accepts. While they are talking, Alaric mentions his wife's name was Isobel and that she was from not far away from Mystic Falls. Jenna looks at him in shock, realizing that his wife is Elena's birth mother.
The episode ends with Anna stalking Ben while he is closing the Grill and walks home. She attacks him but he fights back revealing that he is also a vampire. The supposed to be fight turns into a play and it is revealed that Ben also works with Anna and Noah and his job is to get close to Bonnie. Anna and Ben kiss before they walk away together.
Special Recurring Guest Star
- Antagonist: Noah.
- Elena drives Jenna's red Mini-Cooper in this episode since her car was totaled in the previous episode.
- It is mentioned that Elena's dad, Grayson Gilbert, was a doctor.
- Elena learns that her biological mother's name was Isobel.
- Jenna learns that Isobel was Alaric's wife.
- Stefan tells Elena that pictures of him in his past were burned/buried after she asks him what he looked like in the 1950s.
- Stefan drives a stake through Noah's heart in this episode; making this the first time Stefan is seen staking a Vampire.
- After Damon and Stefan learn that Noah, the vampire who had attacked Elena, had been unknowingly invited into her house, the brothers make a plan to find and kill him.
- Stefan is unhappy that Elena quickly agrees to Damon's plan to use her as bait at the '50s Decade Dance.
- Matt is shown to drive an old, blue truck.
- Matt kisses Caroline in this episode.
- Elena displays some knowledge of self-defense when fighting off Noah. She also stabs him multiple times with a pencil, confirming that vampires can be wounded and weakened by any wooden weapon.
- Dillon Casey, who played Noah, also starred alongside Nina Dobrev in the Lifetime movie Too Young To Marry, in which the two played teen lovers who got married after high school graduation.
- Though Damon and Stefan don't remember him, Noah says he remembers them. He finds it funny they thought Katherine had only been interested in (and turned) the two of them back in 1864, and suggests that he, and possibly other men, had also been seduced by her.
- Noah tells Stefan, Damon and Elena the reason he wanted to kill Elena was because it would be fun, because she looked like Katherine.
- This is the last time we see the Gilbert compass in the series present day. It would return in a 1864 flashback in Season 2 that would be it's last appearance in the series.
- One of the songs in from the '50s dance, "My Boyfriend's Back," was actually released in 1963.
- Episode Title:
- The title, Unpleasantville, is a reference to the movie Pleasantville, in which two teens were transported into a 1950's sitcom. Turning the title of that movie on its head juxtaposes an outwardly carefree, 1950s-themed school dance with Elena's decidedly unpleasant encounter with a vampire named Noah.
- Pleasantville, a 1998 motion picture.
Behind the Scenes
- This episode had about 3.71 million viewers in the USA, which was 0.03 million more than the previous episode.
- Damon: "You're pathetic when you're fishing."
- Stefan: "And you're transparent when you're deflecting."
- Damon: "Don't you have school?"
- Noah: "Hello, Elena."
- Elena: "Hey, who's this?"
- Noah: (spying on Elena from nearby) "You hit me with your car, is that a new one? You got away from me... you won't next time."
- Caroline: "Since when are you a busboy?"
- Matt: "It's a job. You know, some of us have to work, Caroline. With my mom in and out, things are tight. So..."
- Jenna: "Your dad was about to leave the office one night, when this girl showed up. She was sixteen, a runaway, and about to give birth. He delivered her baby and gave her a place to stay, but a few days later she disappeared... and there you were. Your parents were trying so hard to have a baby... it just wasn't happening. All Miranda ever wanted was to be a mom."
- Stefan: (talking about Damon) "I'm really sorry that it won't be of any help with your diabolical plan: the sequel."
- Jenna: "Okay, I'm a sucker for the decade dance. I went to school here, you know. They do the 60's and 70's too, FYI."
- Alaric: "Oh, can't wait. Can I get you a drink? I hear the punch is real boss."
- Caroline: "So, what, is this like a threesome now? You and the Salvatore brothers?"
- Elena: "No, but if I'm going to be with Stefan, then I have to learn to tolerate Damon. It's not like I can kill him."
- Bonnie: "There's a thought."
- Caroline: "Mmm, I'll help."
- Anna: "She's not Katherine, okay? Katherine is in the tomb."
- Noah: "I know. But until we open that tomb, I have her to play with."
- Anna: "Don't be stupid, that girl is with the Salvatore brothers."
- Noah: "They don't scare me. They never have."
- Noah: "Hello, Elena. Here's what your going to do, there's a exit door behind you. You have 5 seconds."
- Elena: "No."
- Noah: "Or your brother dies. I can snap his neck so fast, I bet there's not even a witness."
- Damon: (attempting to compel Alaric) "Why are you in Mystic Falls?"
- Alaric: "I got a job as a teacher."
- Damon: "Do you know what I am?"
- Alaric: "You're my student's brother."
- Damon: "Is everything you're telling me the truth?"
- Alaric: "Yes."
- Damon: "Then forget we had this conversation."