‘The Vampire Diaries’: Stefan’s surprise headlines tricky episode

Damon was the one played this time.

At this point in “The Vampire Diaries,” we may as well admit that we really don’t have any idea what is going on. Alaric is living a double-life against his will, Rebekah is trying to figure out who to keep her family alive, and Stefan is battling his own demons more than anyone else. The biggest issue here? There are so many characters that are wrapped up in the show’s universe, the show feels almost like the living room of a hoarder desperate to keep everything — and this is with both Tyler and Jeremy being gone for weeks (minus a brief cameo from Jeremy at the end of this episode). Klaus has also been missing in action as of late, and some of these absences are getting hard to justify in the midst of new characters popping up all over Mystic Falls.

While we really see didn’t much in the way of the “stop the Originals” plotline until the final 30 seconds in this week’s episode, the show did at least work to resolve a bit of what is going on with Alaric. With his psychosis finally settling in, he staked his next target in the one person who tried to save him in Dr. Fell. Did it work? Not entirely. Vampire blood was able to save Meredith from her fate, but this was a cruel wake-up call that they had to keep Alaric under close lock and key until they can find a better way to deal with him.

Meanwhile, the other major plotline of the week involved Damon getting himself tricked by Sage — who arrived in the present-day and ended up working in some ways with Rebekah to find out what was going on in his head. What did they learn? Let’s just say Sage found out that Damon has a plan to kill the Originals — which includes the love of her life in Finn. Unfortunately for Sage and Rebekah, Damon wouldn’t be played for very long — the final thirty seconds showed Stefan unveiling to him a sign made out of the same oak that could kill the entire First Family of Vampires, and no one knows about it other than them.

This episode did mark the return of Caroline and Bonnie after the transformation of Abby Bennett earlier this year, but most of this story was largely based on Abby running away from Bonnie (again!), which put her at the top of the list of “awful television parents.” We wish there was really more for them to work with in terms of time.

Overall, this episode was really just all foundation for something intense to come in terms of the Originals — there were some great moments, but in cramming so much in it at times felt like an unnecessary scatter-shoot.

What did you think about this episode, and do you think that this season has stalled a little bit without so many key players in Mystic Falls?

Photo: The CW

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