Remember when Stefan was the Ripper? It was terrifying and heartbreaking and even a little bit fun? Well, Ripper Damon is none of that. Sure, he’s somewhat terrifying — but mostly, he’s just broody and defeated. We thought his ripper-fication would spark his snarky side. However, it only seemed to make him more depressed about things. So it shouldn’t come as too much of surprise when we say this episode of The Vampire Diaries (Season 5 Episode 14 — “No Exit”) was a bit of a downer.

There were some highlights, thanks to Katherine (duh), but “No Exit” was a rather lackluster return for TVD. Perhaps it had something to do with Katherine’s shenanigans as Elena. We love Katherine, but we have a hard time believing she could continue this charade for this long. Or maybe it’s because everyone is miserable — except for Stefan, which is a first! Damon is a vampire-blood-lovin’ mopey mess, Caroline and Tyler are going through a rough phase in their relationship — somewhere on the “post-relationship, pre-friendship timeline” — and Nadia is beginning to realize her mom is just using her to babysit Matt (although, they do make an adorable “canoodling” duo). See? Everyone needs a hug… or a shot.

So let’s start from the beginning. Enzo and Damon are on a bloody bender — mirroring Klaus and Stefan’s Ripper binge at the start of Season 3 — turning people into vampires so Damon can feed off them and not off Enzo’s pretty face. But their gory road trip gets stalled when Dr. Wes and his Traveler friends cast a spell around their latest victim’s house that seals Damon and Enzo inside. It seems Dr. Wes is doing a little experiment: how long can you go before you feed on your best friend?

Despite Damon leaving him to burn in a fire all those years ago, Enzo refuses to leave Damon’s side. He doesn’t want to give up on his friend. Honestly, this is the first time we’ve really liked Enzo. Clearly, he cares about Damon. And right now, Damon could use a friend. We were sad to see him go when Dr. Wes revealed he had poisoned Enzo’s blood and had the spell lifted so he could escape. Here’s hoping Enzo finds his way back to the Salvatore mansion.

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, Stefan has enlisted Sheriff Forbes’ help in finding Damon. Once he catches wind of the murdering spree up North — in which the bodies had been decapitated and desiccated — he sets out to find Damon. But he’s not going alone. His study buddy Elena (read: Katherine) is determined to go along. Of course, we know Katherine could care less about Damon. She wants to seduce her “true love” Stefan! So what’s her plan?

Step 1: Sabotage the road trip by pulling one of the engine plugs from Stefan’s car when he’s not looking.

Step 2: “Accidentally” get car grease all over your favorite shirt so you would have to conveniently take a shower at a nearby motel.

Step 3: Ask Stefan to bring you your shirt while you’re dripping wet in your towel. Then, leave the door open (accidentally, of course) while you undress and lotion up your naked body.

Step 4: Make out with Stefan in said motel room.

Luckily, Stefan came to his senses before anything went further between the two. Katherine wasn’t too bummed because she came up with the perfect plan: put herself into a dangerous situation where Stefan would have to decide who to save — Damon or “Elena.”

So when Stefan and Katherine arrive at the house to save Damon, Katherine very selflessly offers herself to Damon — “You’re better than this, Damon,” she said in a very Elena-ish way — to prove that Damon could resist her. But… he can’t. And when he bites into her neck, she kicks a stake in Stefan’s direction. Now, that is something Elena would never do. Stefan, being the perfect person that he is, slices open his own wrist to lure Damon to him just long enough so he can snap his neck. However, Katherine’s damage has been done, and Stefan knows something is up.

Damon, however, is more broken than ever. He believes Elena wanted him dead. Stefan doesn’t deny it, but he does try to get Damon to come to his senses: “You think I’m afraid of a ripper? Who do you think invented the word?” Damn right, Stefan.

The experience still has Stefan shaken, though. So when he has a heart-to-heart with his bestie Caroline (seriously, why don’t these two have their own show by now?!), it doesn’t take them long before they put two and two together. Because having spent the day with Matt — who was clearly being compelled by Nadia — Caroline now has a few suspicions of her own, including a half-written text from Matt.

In an effort to alert Caroline of Elena’s condition, Matt, who had yet to be compelled by Nadia, seduced the Petrova daughter and tried to send Care a text. But all he was able to send was “HELP. K” before Nadia caught him in the act. Instead of killing him, however, Nadia just compels him to forget everything. Nadia may be Katherine’s daughter, but she doesn’t have her survival instincts just yet. Then again, even Katherine would have a hard time killing Matty Blue Eyes. But Nadia doesn't get too far because when she tries to leave the Lockwood mansion, Caroline stops her. She wants to know why she's compelling Matt. Nadia, however, is in no mood to deal with a baby vamp, so she goes for the kill. Before she can kill Caroline, though, Tyler rushes in to the rescue and — yikes — bites Nadia. And since we all know Klaus had sworn never to come back to Mystic Falls, it doesn't look like Nadia is going to be able to survive this one. Then again, neither will Katherine. 

Back at the Salvatore mansion, the Kat is out of the bag. Given Elena’s weird behavior lately — breaking up with Damon, kissing Stefan, and trying to get Stefan to kill Damon — and Matt’s text, Caroline and Stefan are able to put the pieces together. But how are they going to save Elena? If only they had a witch to help them...


$#*! Vampires Say

Enzo: “Do you think they fell in love milking cows?”

Caroline: “Good news, bad news. Bad news: when this happened to Jesse, we had to kill him. Good news: ...usually, there’s good news.”

Caroline: “It’s time we move to the next phase in our post-relationship, pre-friendship timeline.”

Katherine: “Goldilocks and the Big Bad Wolf are meeting to pow-wow.”

Katherine: “We all love Matt Donovan. Otherwise he would have been dead a long time ago."

Nadia: “What’s canoodling?”

Damon: “It’s the obnoxious theme song of the Travelers.”

Nadia: “You’re not exactly winning friends with your romantic choices.”

Tyler: “Angry hybrid beats old vampire every time.”

Stefan: “You think I’m afraid of a ripper? Who do you think invented the word?”

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, March 6 at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things The Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!