The Thursday, March 20 episode of "The Vampire Diaries," 516, "While You Were Sleeping," sees Elena get caught up on what she missed while Katherine was in control of her body and deal with the effects of the virus, while Stefan and Caroline deal with the Travelers to get antidotes for Damon and Elena.
Welcome back, Elena This week's "TVD" episode seemingly opens up with Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, Jeremy and Matt having a good time at a bar, only for it to turn out to be one of several hallucinations Elena has throughout the hour as she deals with not only a virus that Dr. Wes made fatal by adding werewolf venom to it, but also the fact that none of her friends could tell that she wasn't herself for the past few weeks. Poor Elena. To make matters worse, when she wakes up, the dorm's deserted, but don't worry, nothing's wrong; everyone's just gone for Spring Break and she's locked inside so she doesn't go all Ripper on everyone.
Elena doesn't remember the last three weeks, and while she insists she feels fine, she proves that she's not when she lunges at Stefan when he opens his wrist to test her. Elena has to rely on those around her, specifically Stefan and Damon, to find out what Katherine did, and that includes the motel room kiss. It falls on Damon to get her up to date on the virus via phone – payphone for Elena, since Katherine put a passcode on her phone, and oh no, what about her Instagram photos? (Let's just skip the part about a working payphone in a dorm). Damon may have been playing the breakup on a loop in his head, but fortunately for him, they make plans for him to hunt her down in a very good way once they don't want to eat each other to death for a mind-blowing night. Also, Elena may actually pass her classes because it's very likely that Katherine compelled someone to do her homework for her.
Elena's hallucinations get worse throughout the episode, from her imagining what happened in the motel room between Stefan and Katherine to seeing Aaron bleeding in his empty dorm room, to the point that she thinks she was the one to kill him. She needs vampire blood, and Luke almost adds a broken neck to his broken heart when he returns from Spring Break after his boyfriend accused him of cheating thanks to the bite marks on his neck, courtesy of Katherine, as Elena realizes in time to compel him to send Bonnie and Liv to let her out.
When Damon realizes Elena's losing it, he forces Jeremy to unchain him by tricking Matt and taking off his ring, while Elena's busy forcing Liv to take down the barrier by throwing a broken sports stick into her stomach. Yes, Elena may be completely losing it, but Nina Dobrev is bringing it. By the time Enzo finds the virus-infected exes-maybe-not-exes-we're-not-quite-sure with the antidotes, Damon has confessed to killing Aaron. "From the looks of it, you'd both rather be dead," Enzo comments.
Another doppelganger?! Caroline goes through Dr. Wes' stuff, hoping to find something about a cure, but all she finds out is that he made the virus more lethal with werewolf venom and they have to rely on Damon's killing buddy for an antidote, thanks to the time he spent with the Travelers. Enzo let Dr. Wes experiment on him, and the Travelers took his results. They're working on a cure for the new virus Elena's infected with as well, because she's important to them. So on the one hand, it's a good thing she's a doppelganger because they need her, but on the other hand, she's a doppelganger and they need her. They also need another Stefan. Yes, there's another Stefan out there.
The last pair of doppelgangers is special, and the Travelers' leader, Markos, wants their blood, but until this other Stefan is dead, Stefan's blood with Elena's does nothing. It's time for another linking spell, but don't worry, they'll be careful. Sloan takes Stefan's blood, paints her fingers with it and touches the side of his head before the Travelers begin chanting, and the chanting goes on for so long that day becomes night and Caroline gets more and more frustrated and worried.
They do find the other Stefan, and he's an EMT in Atlanta. However, when Sloan wants to continue pushing, Caroline puts a knife to her neck until she agrees to go about this another way, one that means Caroline and Enzo going to Atlanta to take care of the other Stefan so this one gets to live. After waiting to make sure Stefan's mind is fine (Rebekah? Lexi? The joke's not funny, Stefan), Caroline and Enzo leave for Atlanta.
And the newbies… So you know how Liv is all proud of herself for locking Elena in the dorm and then unable to perform a simple spell making Bonnie think she has a long way to go? Well, after making plans for a Levitation 101 course, Liv goes into her room and finds Luke waiting there, and it turns out that he's her brother. Oh, Luke. We had such high hopes for you. And how's their anchor? Liv's letting her think she's teaching her magic, which she finds cute. Well, she won't think it's so cute anymore when Bonnie realizes her friends are in danger.
It's still not over Once they're virus-free, all that's left is to discuss the mess that is the Elena and Damon show, and while Elena blames Katherine, Damon argues, "Katherine didn't do this, I did." The fact that she's looking to blame someone else just shows that they're in a toxic relationship. That doesn't stop her from loving him – and she can't stop loving him. They agree that they don't work and it has to end, which obviously really means, "let's kiss and rip each other's clothes off and fall into bed together."
"The Vampire Diaries" season 5 airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 16, "While You Were Sleeping"?