Grr. The Vampire Diaries fell in the ratings with Season 5, Episode 17 (“Rescue Me”). Only 1.71 million of you tuned into watch Delena deal with their breakup, Caroline try to kill Stefan’s doppelganger, and the witch twins join Team Mystic Falls. We break down the ratings below.

Inexplicably, TVD dropped 36 percent in the ratings, earning itself a new series low. This was after the previous week’s solid ratings performance — especially promising in the female demographics. Season 5, Episode 16 (“While You Were Sleeping”) garnered a total of 2.24 million viewers, with a 1.0 in the key 18-49 demographic. Episode 17, however, earned a 0.7 in the same demographic, down four tenths from last week’s 1.1, and only a tenth above freshman drama Reign, which followed in the 9 p.m. ET time slot. TVD saw a slight increase with the addition of same-day DVR viewers, rising to 1.73 million viewers and a 0.8 key demo rating, but this still represents a significant drop.

Perhaps, the drop had something to do with the NCAA Sweet 16 basketball tournament coverage, which gave CBS top viewing numbers for the night. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see how TVD does when it returns with new episodes on April 17 with Season 5, Episode 18 (“Resident Evil”) after a two-week hiatus. Were the ratings for Episode 17 a fluke, or is it indicative of the beginning of a sustained drop in the ratings? Only time will tell…

Are you surprised by the drop in the ratings? Do you think it will continue? Sound off in the comments below!

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!