As Elena and Damon dealt with their toxic relationship, a new doppelgänger entered the story

By Mandi Bierly
Updated March 21, 2014 at 03:25 AM EDT
Annette Brown/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S5 E16
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I have to say, I was skeptical that I’d want to continue seeing Enzo (however hot he is), or ever find the Travelers less than annoying and the witches actually interesting, but…this episode might have done it. I mean, I could still do without the Travelers chanting for hours, but I’m up for anything that gives Paul Wesley more screen time (read: another doppelgänger). Now that Liv and her brother Luke seem to have a plan for Bonnie, I’m even willing to sit through that. And watching Caroline and Enzo fight might be highly entertaining. Let’s dig in.

Elena woke up in her dorm room having a dream that I’m very glad was a hallucination because she shouldn’t be doing tequila shots at a college bar with her underage brother. P.S. You’re all still underage, Hallucination Elena. Clearly, she’s harboring some anger that her friends didn’t recognize that Katherine had taken over her body sooner.

She went downstairs, and Stefan told her Whitmore had cleared out for spring break and she’d been in and out since she first came to. Turns out, they had Bonnie’s new witch friend Liv seal Elena in the building because she has a lot to catch up on — like about three weeks’ worth of drama — and an appetite that she can’t control. Caroline was out looking for the antidote, they had a plan to keep Elena’s thirst satiated, and oh yeah, she was asking to see Damon.

He was still in the Salvatore Manson cellar receiving his rations, this time from Jeremy and Matt, who reminded us (and Damon) that Elena still doesn’t know he killed Aaron. Elena called Damon from the dorm pay phone since Katherine had locked her out of her cell phone. Elena said she still wants to fight for Damon; Damon was looking forward to hunting her down and giving her “the most mindblowing night” of her life after they’re cured and no longer want to feed on each other. When the subject of things she needs to fix came up — like however Katherine had been handling school — Damon had a chance to tell her he’d killed Aaron and didn’t. Stefan showed up with a new cell phone for her, along with four ounces of his blood in an adorable tiny water bottle. She wanted more. Badly.

Meanwhile, Caroline and Enzo both ended up at Wes’ makeshift lab. After they exchanged jabs (she does have a thing for accents), he claimed to have the antidote. She called Stefan and told him about the Ripper virus now having werewolf venom added. She told him there was good news, but to get it, he had to meet her at a location that the Travelers don’t want any witches to know about. Before Stefan left, Elena asked why Katherine had stayed in Mystic Falls and guessed it had been for him. He told her they had kissed and he’d pulled away.

NEXT PAGE: Elena realizes she’s trapped in crazy town

Ugh, cocky new witch Liv is just as boring as old competent witch Bonnie (or so I thought!). Maybe having Liv try a fire spell atop a wooden bar wasn’t the greatest idea, Bon Bon. Good thing she couldn’t do it (faker!). Elena left Aaron a message asking him to call her, and then she discovered that Katherine had been writing in her journal. She read about Katherine trying to seduce Stefan in the hotel room and hallucinated her own hot version of it, which ended with her pushing Stefan away and, just like in the opening dream, asking why he didn’t recognize that it wasn’t her sooner. When Hallucination Elena went to leave the hotel room, Damon was at the door and started a verbal tiff with Stefan. Elena stopped them by saying even dead, Katherine is getting what she wants — a wedge driven between them. She came to after Hallucination Stefan hinted there was something bad Damon wasn’t telling her. Her nose was bleeding.

Enzo, Stefan, Caroline, and the Travelers (led by hot Sloan) met at an abandoned train yard. One of the things Wes had done when he took Enzo from the farmhouse was to make an antidote to the original Ripper virus. The Travelers have that, and since Elena is valuable to them, they were using Wes’ resources to make an antidote to her virus as well. But first, they needed to find another Stefan doppelgänger.

Elena called Damon and told him what I hadn’t even considered — the werewolf venom in the virus was slowly killing her. That’s why she’s been hallucinating her worst fears. He wanted to go to her, but he couldn’t. After a failed attempt at phone sex, Damon told her about Caroline and Klaus having hooked up. That distracted her until she started coughing up blood. Then she just wanted to know why Stefan wasn’t off hunting Wes and forcing him to make the antidote. Damon admitted he’d killed Wes, but again he didn’t mention that Aaron was also dead. Saved by his lunch delivery.

Enzo explained to Caroline and Stefan that Marcos, the leader of the Travelers, needs the blood of the last remaining pair of doppelgängers, which he already has. Only it’s not “special” until Stefan’s the only version of him left. Intriguing.

Elena hallucinated a conversation with Aaron in which he eventually appeared to have been bitten. She figured it meant that he was dead, but she assumed she’d done it. A cute young guy — real! — showed up at the dorm and got Elena to her feet. He’d befriended “Elena” at the Bitter Ball, he said (because yes, Katherine would have a best gay). This gentleman, Luke, had broken up with his boyfriend in Mexico and come back early (he said). Elena wanted to turn him and feed on him, but then she saw fang marks on his neck already, which meant Katherine had been feeding on him while telling him all about Stefan apparently. So Elena sent him to get Bonnie and Liv instead.

NEXT PAGE: Elena makes bad decisions

Elena called Damon and wanted him to confirm she’d killed Aaron, and when he didn’t want to have the conversation, she had a serious attack of paranoia that ended with her throwing her phone. Damon got his hands on Matt, took off Matt’s ring, and threatened to kill him if Jeremy didn’t let him go to Elena. I believed Damon when he said he’d never hurt her.

Caroline suggested that she, Stefan, and Enzo could take the Travelers, but Stefan was fine doing whatever linking spell they wanted to do to him to save Elena and Damon. He said he’d do it for her, too. Ah, Stefan. Caroline wanted to stay with him, so Enzo said he’d take the antidotes to Damon and Elena. That’s a lot of trust. He left, and Stefan sat down. This time, Stefan’s blood was needed to link him to the doppelgänger. Sloan looked like she was enjoying the spell a little too much.

Bonnie and Liv arrived at the dorm to find Elena burning everything Katherine had touched. Bonnie told Elena she was letting Katherine win and she couldn’t be let out in public like this. Elena pretended to agree, but then threw a makeshift stake at Liv’s gut. If she didn’t let Elena out to feed her blood, she’d die. Damn, Elena.

Sloan and the Travelers chanted for a long time because it was dark when we went back to Stefan. “Why is this taking so long?” Caroline asked. Because y’all needed multiple takes? Through the connection, Stefan and Sloan saw that the doppelgänger was an EMT in Atlanta. (Ah.) Sloan wanted to continue and kill the guy right then and there, but afraid what that would do to Stefan’s mind, Caroline put a knife to Sloan’s throat and offered to negotiate.

Elena was free and roaming campus when she hallucinated Aaron again. In reality, it was Damon, who fed her some of Stefan’s blood then listened to her ramble about Katherine winning because she had killed Aaron and was a monster. Finally, Damon told her he’d done it the night he thought she broke up with him to prove to himself that he was a monster. Before she could process it, Enzo appeared with the antidotes.

One of Stefan’s Top 10 moments ever? When he awoke, looked at Caroline, and said, “Rebekah… hi… I’m kidding… Lexi, right?” FUNNY. To save Stefan from having his brain fried, Caroline had volunteered to help Enzo go kill the doppelgänger. Stefan wanted to come, but Enzo said the Travelers needed him to stay. Very sweet that Stefan was concerned about Caroline road-tripping with Enzo, whose extended hand Caroline left hanging. Shouldn’t Caroline and Stefan feel more guilty about having to kill a do-gooder doppelgänger?

HOLD EVERYTHING. This witch story is about to get interesting: After Liv told Bonnie she wanted to continue learning magic from her, Liv went into her dorm room and magically lit all the candles herself. There sat Luke. He is really gay, but he’s also Liv’s brother who can’t be compelled. They know Bonnie is the anchor to the other side, so they’re using her. At least HE’S using her. Did Liv look a little surprised when he said that Bonnie won’t think her mentor program is cute when she realizes her friends are in danger? Gulp.

Back at Salvatore Mansion, Elena was finally ready to talk to Damon about what had happened while she was sleeping. HE should’ve been the one to notice Katherine was inside her, she said. He knew that. If only he’d seen through her, everything would be better — no virus, Aaron would be alive. To his credit, Damon took responsibility for it all. He, not Katherine, had killed Aaron because of his reaction to losing Elena — that’s how much power Elena has over him. And Elena’s still there with him — that’s how much power Damon has over her. They agreed their relationship is toxic. She acknowledged that he put her in yet another position where she has to go against everything she stands for because she loves him. So she should stop loving him, he said. She can’t, she said. That’s the moment in the promo where they kissed. But twist! In the show, it’s the moment they decided they don’t work and technically broke up. It was over for about 20 seconds. Then they kissed. Shirts were torn. The mindblowing night commenced. (Complete with a broken bed, according to the promo for next episode.)

But what happens in the morning? That’s the question…

Episode Recaps

The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.
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