She goes off to make the call while Danny, left alone with Vlad, falsely declares him as his "new dad" to let his guard down.
Successfully tricking Vlad by setting back his clock to make him think the Plasmius Maximus hadn't yet worn off (when in fact, it had), he wraps the Specter Deflector around Vlad, which weakens him considerably for a fairer fight.
Danny ultimately defeats Vlad by convincing the ghosts of the animals that Vlad had killed to turn against him, as well as disabling his powers with the Plasmius Maximus.
Vlad's next plan has him traveling into the Ghost Zone in search of the Skeleton Key, an item that enables him to open "any door, travel to any realm, and free any prisoner." When Behemoth, the guardian of the key, appears, Vlad easily overpowers him, but this is only an initial success and Vlad is soon defeated as Behemoth throws him out of the Ghost Zone back through his portal, and back into his manor without the key.
Danny (as well as his sister Jazz) are dragged along, and the boy immediately has decidedly mixed feelings about the well-off man.
That night, Danny's ghost sense alerts him to the presence of a ghost who introduces himself as "Vlad Plasmius." They end up fighting, but Danny is easily outmatched by the stronger, more powerful ghost.
Danny ironically blackmails Vlad by threatening to expose the both of them to his parents unless they call a truce, to which Vlad agrees, though he vowed to return.
Despite their failure, Vlad invites the Fentons to a college reunion at his mansion in Wisconsin.
However, it was really just part of a plot to humiliate Jack and to get his wife Maddie, the woman of his dreams, to leave him.
On the night of the reunion, Vlad casually asks Danny to go down to the lab to get a present for Jack, but when Danny does so, Skulker captures him with the spectral energy neutralizer.
Vlad enters and reveals to Danny who he is, ultimately offering Danny the chance to join up with him and help him further train and hone his powers in exchange for renouncing his father.