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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: Key Moments from ‘While You Were Sleeping’

Annette Brown/The CW

After a week off, The Vampire Diaries returned last night and delivered a pretty great episode. Season five has had its good moments and its bad moments, but the show continues to find ways to surprise me, which isn’t easy after 100+ episodes.

While You Were Sleeping” brought Elena back into the mix and she had a lot of catching up to do once she learned she’d been gone for several weeks. Throughout the hour, there were dream/nightmare sequences where Elena imagined what it must have been like to have Katherine in control and she also used them to tell off her friends for not realizing that it wasn’t her.

On the one hand, she has a point. There were times when Katherine was downright terrible at impersonating Elena. I had secondhand embarrassment for her when she was trying to seduce Stefan by spilling oil on herself. But at the same time, Elena is pretty self-involved so it seems fitting that she finally sees what it’s like not to be everyone’s number one priority. Will she learn a lesson? No. But it was fun for the audience…or at least for me.

Missing time was hardly Elena’s only problem. Katherine’s parting gift had been to inject her with the enhanced virus that not only made her want to eat her loved ones, it was also killing her. These scenes were super fun to watch because Nina Dobrev is amazing and she did a fantastic job alternating between Elena being sane, Elena falling into a fantasy (and playing Katherine playing Elena again) and Elena growing weaker from the werewolf venom.

But as big of a story as our main character losing her mind and dying would be on a normal show, this is TVD and there were several other major things happening in the episode as well. Let’s break down the big moments:

Awkward Times for Stefan and Elena

Since Damon was still chained up (more on him later), Stefan was tasked with supplying Elena with his blood and filling in some of her memory gaps. It didn’t take long for Elena to put two and two together and realize that Katherine had stuck around because she wanted Stefan back. That was when things got awkward and Stefan told Elena part of the story: they kissed in the motel room and he stopped things because he knew it wasn’t her.

Okay, this isn’t the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but it’s close enough that I’m not going to be mad at Stefan (although, when am I ever mad at him?). Seriously, he might not have realized that it was Katherine, but he did pull away because he knew it wasn’t the way Elena would normally behave right after a breakup (sire bond nonsense aside). Then Caroline called and Stefan took off (more on them soon).

Bonnie Bonds with Liv – Who is a Lying Liar Who Lies

While Elena was trapped in the dorm, we got to meet a new character, Luke. He’s a fellow classmate and apparently a friend of Elena’s – when Katherine was in control. Elena was desperate for more blood so she planned to turn him into a vampire, but then spotted bite marks on his neck so she assumed Kat had been using him for food. She compelled him to forget and ordered him to go get Bonnie. Once Bonnie and Liv arrived, Elena promptly stabbed Liv and forced her to release her so she’d give her blood to heal.

Up until that point, Liv had been working Bonnie’s nerves (and mine). But after her ordeal, she agreed to let Bonnie keep teaching her magic and it seemed like she was going to be a halfway decent person to Bonnie. But then (here comes the surprise!), it turned out that not only is Liv not a newbie witch, she’s Luke’s sister and Luke was faking it when Elena compelled him. I did not see either one of these things coming so bravo, show. I’m super curious what these two are hiding and what they want with our favorite characters.

Annette Brown/The CW

Annette Brown/The CW

Stefan and Caroline Meet the Travelers – and a New Doppelganger

Thanks to Enzo (who was slightly less annoying in this episode, but I’m still not a fan), Caroline summoned Stefan to a train yard to meet with the Travelers. They wanted to make a deal – they’d cure Elena and Damon if Stefan submitted to a spell that would help them locate another Stefan doppelganger. Caroline basically side eyed the whole idea since the last time Stefan had undergone something like that, it fried his brain. But he convinced her it was the right thing to do and pointed out he’d do the same for her (aw). Caroline promised to kill them if they hurt him (again, aw) and Sloan set to work.

She found Stefan’s doppelganger working as an EMT in Atlanta, but that wasn’t enough. I think she was trying to kill him through Stefan? Caroline was not having that and put a knife to her neck and ordered her to step. It was then decided that Caroline and Enzo would head to Atlanta to kill the doppelganger (For some unknown reason, the Travelers want Stefan and Elena to be the only ones left. I’m dying to know why and what their ultimate endgame is). Stefan was worried about Caroline going off with Enzo, but she promised she’d be fine and wouldn’t trust him. I loved all of these scenes so much. Stefan and Caroline are constantly a bright spot on this show.

Damon and Elena Declare Their Relationship Toxic

Elena kept having visions of Aaron and somehow jumped to the conclusion that she killed him while Katherine was in control. When they were on the phone, Damon admitted that he took out Wes, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell Elena the truth about Aaron. Once Elena really started to lose it, Damon leveraged Matt’s life to force Jeremy to let him out of the basement and he tracked down Elena on campus. She was a mess and he finally told her the truth – he’d killed Aaron and he’d done it to prove that he was the bad guy and she was right to turn her back on him.

She was just processing that when Enzo showed up with the Travelers’ cure. Once Damon and Elena were no longer a danger to anyone (this Augustine plot was the absolute worst, but I’m glad they just gave them the cure and we can all move on now), they put their cards on the table. Elena was willing to forgive him, but she hated that she was compromising her morals (oh, honey) and making excuses to her friends and Damon told her to stop and she couldn’t because she loved him and he told her they were toxic together and they both knew it was the truth so they were done and broken up for real…and then they started making out and tearing each other’s clothes off.

These scenes really worked for me. Elena and Damon are drawn to each other and they love each other, but the relationship isn’t really good for either of them. Then again, they’re vampires and immortal and they don’t have to live by the same rules the rest of us do. Now that they’ve finally acknowledged that and still got naked together anyway, I think this is the most real their relationship has ever been and that’s a good thing. Yes, it’s toxic, but none of these people are innocent. As long as they’re being honest and they still want to be together, I think they should be.

Next week, we’re going to see more of EMT Stefan and Caroline’s mission to kill him. The promo shows Liv going after Elena and apparently Liv wants the opposite of what the Travelers do. Of course, we still don’t know what that is so at this point, I don’t know whose side we’re supposed to be on. Maybe Liv and Luke are the good guys? Or maybe they’re bad guys and the Travelers are doing the right thing. I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

It’s your turn. What did you guys think of the episode? Were you happy the new doppelganger was of the Stefan variety (I’m sure Ms. Dobrev was). Did you enjoy Stefan and Caroline’s ride or die friendship? What’s your take on Enzo? How did you feel about Damon and Elena breaking up? And then getting back together? Hit the comments and share your thoughts with us!

Mandy Treccia
Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that.

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