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The Vampire Diaries Recap: Stefan vs. Damon, Round 17 — We’ll All Be Okay

Bob Mahoney/The CW

Last night’s The Vampire Diaries was Throwback Thursday at its finest. Stefan had his memory wiped and in an attempt to help him get it back Elena took Stefan (us all) through what can only be described as Stelena’s Greatest Hits (literally, we got their original soundtrack). From the rooftop, to the bathroom where they first bumped perfectly defined shoulders, to the bridge, to actual lines of dialogue — it was basically my birthday. Thanks, writers!

There are episodes of this show that are so infused with shocking plot twists that I can barely exhale once in an hour — but that was not what last night was. The Vampire Diaries is in its fifth season and the show is smart enough to know that sometimes you have to go back to go forward. I honestly have no idea whether there will always be a love triangle. I have a feeling things might be moving in a different direction very soon. But it’s nice to know that however far we get, we’re never too removed from the emotional center. And I think that no matter what team we’re on, we can all appreciate that.  

Note: I’m not saying our emotional center is Stelena — I’m just saying …

Put down your pitchforks. Let’s debate!

Stefan Has Amnesia But He’s Not an Idiot

Stefan reading from his journal was amazing. Remember the scene from season one of Damon and Elena driving and Damon reading that exact same passage? “Stefan’s not a virgin?!” Plus 6.

Ha! Stefan thinks he’s the “fun brother.” Best twist this show has ever pulled. Plus 10.

“Is this town always so upbeat about dead people?” Stefan is so tuned in. Plus 2.

It was pretty amazing to hear Stefan recounting his history with Damon when Elena showed up because, yeah. She is a REMARKABLY SMALL part of their 150 years together (time-wise). Plus 4.

Stefan compelling that waitress was pretty sexy but I still felt unclear on what his actual deal was. Don’t all vampires want blood? Isn’t that a thing? So why would Stefan wanting to suck that girl’s neck automatically mean he was the Ripper? Minus 7, I guess. I don’t really know.

“I surround myself with amazing people who help me through it. Like you.” Plus 8. Aw.

Elena’s idea was pretty stupid, let’s get real (re-creating their meet cute?) but it felt exactly like something an 18-year-old would come up with, so Plus 17. Stefan seemed to be enjoying playing along.

“I’m a 164-year-old vampire who went back to high school. I’m guessing that had something to do with you.” This rooftop scene was just … look, I know you guys think I’m biased when it comes to Stefan. And you are 100 percent correct. But I really have to know — did this episode not do ANYTHING for you Damon people? Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley have amazing chemistry and it is always so fun to watch them engage in this particular love story. I also dug the callouts to hard-core fans, like music from two of their key scenes and “every ounce of strength that you have.” It was an awesome little montage of Stelena moments and it reminded me so much of why I fell in love with this show. But all happiness is short lived so let me just give points while I can. Plus 30.

It was great when Elena confessed to not falling out of love with Stefan when he ripped a million people’s heads off. She was all, “Nah, it wasn’t really that, specifically?” Plus 3 for their love or whatever, but I guess also minus a ton of points for her judgment.

“Oh, got it, so I’m an idiot.” Eh, sometimes, Stefan. Plus 2.

“It’s working, you know.” Stefan and Elena by the bridge almost-kissing was beautiful and tragic (as was the song "Gravity" that was playing — you’ll remember it from their first kiss in episode two). It has been a while since I’ve thought about how terribly unfair it is (to all of them) that Elena is in love with Stefan’s brother. Plus 7, though. The music cues just got me.

Stefan called Caroline his best friend. And then he called her hot. I would be totally cool with this being the series finale, FYI. Plus 20.

Minus 15 for Stefan trying to kill Jesse. I like that guy. But this was powerful: “My brother stole my girlfriend and my girlfriend let him.”

Stefan burned his journals. And was pissed at Damon. And sorta condescended to Elena. Our memories do not create our identities, is what we learned here?  Minus 7.

I felt exactly like Stefan did when Caroline told him Bonnie died. I am really going to try to pretend I care. Plus 10, though, because his genuine want to make Caroline feel better trumped all. Um, plus, THEY HELD HANDS.

Total: 90

Damon’s Mr. So Far, So Good.

Did Damon really need to get them in a big car accident to prove he was “fun?” Was that fun? No points but — Christ.

The car accident thing aside — Damon was doing a pretty good job of being a great brother to Stefan. Plus 10. One really nice thing about this season has been seeing those two get along. No sarcasm, all love. And let me just take a moment here to say I am so happy we didn’t have to see Damon convincing Stefan he was a vampire. Although just try and get that mental image. Hilarious, right?

Damon was being kind of precious about this “remembrance day” until he said: “Now it’s just a really kick-ass excuse to get hammered.” Plus 10. Aren’t all holidays on this show? (In life?)

“Hey, I never said I know what I’m doing.” Plus 8 for the obvious.

“Let’s just let Stefan be Stefan.” This was actually one of the sweetest things Damon has ever said. Plus 7. True love is letting someone be completely themselves … or something. Also I know I rarely talk about this because I rarely feel it but I was kind of digging Damon and Elena’s interaction, here. I like that he called her “sister” and referred to the waitress as “cute” in front of her. I guess what I’m trying to say is — I like when Damon and Elena are normal. In fact, I think they are way better at being normal than Stefan and Elena ever were. I don’t really buy their epic-ness, but I’m actually totally okay with that. I don’t need them to be epic. I think their relationship works because they’re not.

If I were Damon I would have kissed Elena on the way out of that tomb, brother or no brother. Just saying. Minus 2.

“I have a hungry vampire who forgot that he’s the hero of this story.” Plus 12.

When Jeremy told Damon that Bonnie was dead I really felt for the dude. I know some of you think I give Damon a hard time but I just have no idea what his motivation is this season. Seriously, none. His plotline basically consists of being Elena’s boyfriend and that’s fine, I guess. It’s just not really all that interesting. But when he held Jeremy I was totally moved. I’m growing to really love the relationship between these two. Plus 12, Damon, I love you, too.

Minus 5 in the Damon category for the IMMENSE amounts of flirting his girl was doing with his brother but then plus 15 for her not kissing Stefan and confessing the truth. Although couldn’t it have waited another minute? Would a little lip-locking have hurt? (I’m kidding. Sit down).

It occurred to me when Damon was telling Elena that Bonnie died that this was always Stefan’s job — delivering the bad news to her. Minus 4 because that cannot be easy. She is such an intense crier.

Total: 48

Bonus Points:

Caroline is totally in love with Stefan. She studied for him. That is basically a marriage proposal on this show. Plus 12.

Jeremy shirtless doing push-ups! Plus 20.

“You working out is my main source of entertainment” — Bonnie. Us, too. Plus 10.

Can someone help Matt out? Immediately? Minus 5.

“Whenever someone tells me I can’t do something I prove them wrong.” — Caroline. Love her. Plus 10. Also that kiss was pretty cute, too.

Why does Matt have an accent when he becomes that guy? Of all the things that make no sense on this show this one is realllly bugging me. Wouldn’t he have Matt’s voice if he’s wearing Matt’s face? Do souls come with sound effects? Minus 9.

I just want to say something real quick about the people behind this show. They are brilliant and amazing, we know. But it’s episodes like this one, where longtime viewers are really rewarded, that make me love them even more. The Stelena stuff was woven in so beautifully — and then Bonnie’s death was handled in a way that felt really familiar and yet forward-moving all at once. We know how these characters react to grief. We know that Elena gets manic, and Caroline tries to keep it together. We know what they look like when they cry. But it also felt like now was not the time to stop and mourn the way they did for Jeremy. Now they have to keep on keeping on — and that’s exactly what Bonnie told them to do. Plus 50, guys. Nailing it.

The funeral was sad but I’ll be honest with you — it was really hard to get me down after all of that Stefan action. Plus I just really don’t buy that Kat Graham is going anywhere. No points, out of respect, but c’mon.

Matt cried. Minus 100.

Tyler came back!!!! Michael Trevino for-EVER — Plus 100.

Some weird crap is going down with the professor. I’m kinda pissed he killed Jesse, honestly, but at this point I just see that dude as a roadblock on the way to Steroline, so I can’t get too involved.  Plus 1. 

Total: 89

Stefan won this round. I’d be delighted to start giving some to Damon — but he’s going to have to earn it.

Season five is honestly the best this show has ever been. I’m loving it — you guys? If you want to chat, I’m here: @RebeccaASerle

See you next week!

Photo: Bob Mahoney/CW