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'The Vampire Diaries' 'No Exit' recap: Hungry for what they want

The Vampire Diaries -- "No Exit" -- Pictured (L-R): Paul Wesley as Stefan and Nina Dobrev as Katherine
The Vampire Diaries -- "No Exit" -- Pictured (L-R): Paul Wesley as Stefan and Nina Dobrev as Katherine
Bob Mahoney/The CW

"The Vampire Diaries" returned after the Olympics break Thursday, Feb. 27, with "No Exit," in which Stefan and "Elena" took a road trip to try to help save Damon/for Katherine to try to win Stefan back, Damon had to fight the urge to kill his only friend left while also listening to the annoying Travelers chants and Nadia got a wake-up call from Matt.

A sexy road trip After nearly slipping up while Stefan was helping "Elena" study, Katherine did a poor job of covering by declaring she wrote a history paper in high school (the same high school Stefan attended about as much as Elena did) and then jumped at the chance to be in a car with him for hours to track down Damon. While stopped for gas, she did a good job of playing Elena worried about Damon but refusing to get her hopes up after all the lines he's crossed, and then she decided to take advantage of the situation and reached into the car and just broke a hose and then wiped grease all over herself to convince Stefan to get a hotel room to clean up.

Before getting cleaned up, however, they sat down for a drink, and Stefan explained that he knew what Damon was going through; he too had been in love with her, and it was a love that could change your whole life, so when it stopped… When he went to get cleaned up, Enzo called his phone to update him and Katherine answered, but when Stefan poked his head out of the bathroom, she said it was nothing, and he didn't see her holding his phone and tossing it aside, so Katherine was happy.

After Katherine showered, she couldn't have played it more perfectly, from asking Stefan to get her shirt for her to leaving the door open while she changed to kissing him and then agreeing he was right that they shouldn't have gotten caught up in the moment. Nina Dobrev was so good at playing Katherine playing Elena in these scenes, and that smirk when Stefan left was just icing on the cake.

Give him blood or…there is no "or" This episode opened up like a scene out of a horror movie, slowly zooming in on a seemingly abandoned house and right to where Damon and Enzo stood over the dead owner. It had been eight hours since Damon last fed, and since Enzo didn't want to be his next meal, they made him a new entrée. "You're a vampire, congratulations," Enzo greeted the guy before force-feeding him a bag of blood and then practically hand-delivering Damon food on a platter. However, their plan to maybe head to the very crowded New York was ruined when Wes showed up with the "obnoxious theme song of the Travelers" and trapped them in the house. Damon may have been craving a blond, but all that was at his disposal was his old friend.

Damon refused to call Stefan and Elena, but while he said they wouldn't come, Enzo knew he didn't want to risk hurting them. So all Enzo did was wait until he had chained Damon up before calling Stefan's phone, but since Katherine answered while Stefan was in the bathroom of their hotel room, sending her their address didn't mean immediate help, Wes had time to shoot Enzo in the shoulder and Damon had time to break free and feed from him. But since Wes had raised the acidity of Enzo's blood, Damon began choking and Enzo really had no choice but to agree to do something for Wes and leave.

When Katherine and Stefan found Damon, Katherine put her latest plan into action. She figured that she'd get Damon to attack her and leave Stefan with no choice but to kill him, so she cut her hand with a piece of glass and kept tempting him even as she said that he wouldn't hurt her. When he began feeding from her, she oh-so-casually kicked over a convenient piece of wood to Stefan, who instead sliced his own arm, distracted Damon and took him down long enough to get him chained up good and vervained in the basement of their house.

Damon tried threatening him, but of all people, Stefan was not going to be afraid of a Ripper. He was never going to give up on his brother. But Damon said that Elena had and brought up the fact that Elena had wanted Stefan to kill him. Even craving vampire blood and chained up and starving and vervained, Damon was smarter than everyone else at that moment.

Matt Donovan is the best Fortunately for Caroline and Tyler, Matt showed up about two minutes after they sat down awkwardly to discuss whether they should be worried he hadn't answered his phone in two days, but Nadia was with him, and they had a story all worked out. That was because Katherine had called Nadia and ordered her to kill Matt, but like everyone else, Nadia had a soft spot for the human. "We all love Matt Donovan, otherwise he would have been dead a long time ago," Katherine conceded, but she didn't want to risk her secret getting out. But since Nadia knew that Katherine wouldn't kill Stefan in the same circumstances – Nadia, a Petrova, through and through – she instead had fun watching him flinch as she reached for syrup at the diner table. "Relax, I'm not going to syrup you to death," she assured him, though how exactly that would have worked…

Matt and Nadia spun a story about Nadia feeling bad, them traveling to Atlantic City and him losing his phone before the conversation devolved into Nadia throwing Caroline's recent romantic choices in her face and Tyler then bringing up Matt in Europe with Rebekah while also taking a dig at her and Klaus when Caroline tried to get him to be on her side.

Nadia and Matt then sat down to play cards while she was "still working on" killing him, and they started talking about their less-than-ideal mothers. When he told her that Katherine would never choose her over a guy, especially Stefan, Nadia decided enough was enough and checked to see if the vervain was out of his system yet. It was, and he kissed her, claiming he'd forget it once she compelled him. But he was really just trying to distract her so he could use her phone to send a text to Caroline because Elena was his BFF and he'd always protect her. Nadia caught him and compelled him, so when Caroline confronted her, he had no idea what was going on. Tyler joined the fight, and Nadia ended up running off.

Caroline's attempt to talk to Tyler failed because while she just wanted them to be good again, that wasn't happening anytime soon after she slept with Klaus of all people. But did she really expect him to be past it already given his history with the Original?

When Katherine joined her daughter at a café (presumably one none of Elena's friends would ever go to so they wouldn't be seen?) and was all high on Stefan's reaffirmed feelings for Elena, i.e. her, Nadia ruined her chipper mood when she showed her that Tyler bit her.

The best friendship remains the best – and the smartest Stefan and Caroline may not have been able to find any "good news" in their "bad news/good news" chat near the beginning of the episode, but they were able to piece everything together by the end of the episode and realize that "Elena's" bizarre behavior, along with Nadia's original plan when Katherine was dying and Matt's text ("Help K," which, frankly, if it had been anyone else who figured it out, would have been a stretch, but Stefan and Caroline's conversations lead to revelations like this all the time), meant that Katherine was in Elena's body.

"The Vampire Diaries" season 5 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 14 "No Exit"?

© Meredith Jacobs 2014

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