Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Rebekah Comforts Klaus in The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 8, “Ordinary People”

Vikings in the hills of Virginia centuries before Columbus could be born, let alone discover America? Yes, tonight’s episode of The Vampire Diaries weaves the tale of the Original Vampires, and how the blood-lusting beings came to be.

“Ordinary People” opens with Alaric, Elena, and Damon spelunking in the caves beneath the Lockwood property. The history teacher has figured a bunch of stuff out — most importantly, that the names on the wall belong to the members of Klaus’s family clan: Elijah, Niklaus (a.k.a. Klaus), Rebekah, Mikael, and Esther. Turns out, as the first flashback scene reveals, the list is the graffiti etched by rebellious, pre-vampire teen Rebekah.

But Alaric isn’t sure how the symbol for werewolf, original witch, and vampire fit together. So he leaves it up to Elena to get all the good stuff — straight from Rebekah. Told in a series of flashbacks, the origin story of ‘Bekah’s bloodsucking brood gets a bit convoluted. But stick with us.

Credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/The CW Photo: Rebekah Looks Distressed in The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 8, “Ordinary People”

It all starts back in the middle of Medieval Times (the era, not the restaurant). ‘Bekah says her parents, who just happen to be original witch Esther and cranky Mikael, flee a famine-ridden homeland. They come to the country that will become America because another great witch told them to go to a “mystical land where everyone was healthy.” So they hop the pond and move to this village that just happens to be populated by friendly werewolves. The only humans around, they live among them peacefully for 20 years. The only weird thing was that, once a month, the family had to hide out in the caves beneath the village to keep from becoming their neighbors’ dinner.

But you know the peace can’t last. Problems start when, one night, Klaus sneaks out with his little brother to watch men become beasts. One thing leads to another and the werewolves kill the kid. Filled with rage, Mikael asks his wife Esther and her witch friend to come up with a way for their family to be bigger and badder than the werewolves — strong enough to exact revenge. The witch will not do it. But then we find out that Esther has a little secret: She’s a witch too. Don’t ask us why Esther knows how to work some vampire magic when no such creature ever existed before, but to save her family she does.

Esther pulls power from the sun and the ancient white oak tree, “one of nature’s eternal objects.” Next, everyone in the family (except her) drinks wine laced with blood, then their father, Mr. Anger Management Issues, stabs them all to death. “And he wasn’t delicate about it either,” Rebekah tells Elena. (Why she’s set on sharing her family secrets is beyond us. But, anyway…)

Credit: Annette Brown/The CW Photo: Rebekah and Elena Face off in The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 8, “Ordinary People

Rebekah and Klaus wake up dead. Then their father brings them a neighbor to drink. (Which they do.) But Klaus doesn’t just turn; he becomes a hybrid. He isn’t Mikael’s son. He’s the result of an affair with one of the werewolf neighbors. His mother tries to hide it by putting a curse on him to suppress the hybrid side. But it is too late. Papa Original Vamp gets the rage, drinks half the village, then kills his wife. Talk about a family with issues! “He said she broke his heart so he would break hers,” Rebekah tells Elena. “He tore it from her chest as Nik watched.”

Wow. That explains so much about Klaus. If only it were true.

Elena realizes one of the cave drawings reveals that Klaus, not Mikael, was the one who killed Esther. So the Big Bad offed his mother, blamed his father, lied to his brother and sister, then ran away with them? No wonder their dad becomes a vampire hunting vampire. When Elena tells Rebekah this, the thousand-year-old vampire breaks down and cries.

While Elena gets the details on the Family Klaus, Damon is busy trying to drink some sense back into his little brother. After freeing Stefan from the town dungeon, Damon takes him to a bar in the middle of Nowheresville to mix whiskey shots with waitress blood chasers while he tries to get Stefan to rebel against Klaus. Apparently, it’s not that Damon can’t handle seeing his good little bro being a crazed binge-eater. He feels guilty because Stefan indentured himself to Klaus to save his life. “I owe you,” he tells Stefan.

Credit: Annette Brown/The CW Photo: Elena Takes a Call in The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episode 8, “Ordinary People”

Before they can have a mushy bro moment, Mikael shows up. Using his super vampire senses, he tracked them down to ask them to help him catch Klaus. When Stefan refuses and Damon runs his smart mouth, Mikael sticks his hand inside Damon’s chest, grabs his heart, and threatens to rip it out if Stefan doesn’t help him find Klaus.

Mikael squeezes. Damon winces. And Papa O.V. is just about to end our boy when Stefan breaks free from the whole Klaus spell jut long enough to cry, “Wait! I can bring him back. I can lure Klaus back to Mystic Falls.”

Satisfied, Papa O.V. leaves. Outside in the parking lot, Damon teases Stefan about saving him. The junior Salvatore comes back with, “You better be careful brother. You’re humanity’s showing.” And D’s jovial mood turns dark. Damon sucker punches Stefan, then kicks the butt he almost died for and heads home to tell Elena.

Rather than be mad at Damon for freeing Stefan, Elena thanks him. Her interactions with Rebekah have made her realize she’s not number one on Stefan’s speed dial. Damon is. The two share a tender moment as Elena climbs into bed next to him and they engage in some pillow talk. (Yes, you read that right, Delena fans — in bed together. But these two were keeping their hands to themselves tonight.) “You’re going to be the one to save him from himself,” she tells Damon. “It won’t be because he loves me. It will be because he loves you.”