'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes'... and choose Damon?

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"The Vampire Diaries" episode "We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes" had all the usual twists we've come to love the series for, including two surprise break-ups. Our favorite supernatural crowd hallucinated, stabbed, killed, and angsted their way through heaps of drama, and emerged a lot worse for wear.

The last "Vampire Diaries" episode ended with Elena suffering gruesome hallucinations. It turns out that killing a hunter created by a witch has consequences, including being haunted by hallucinations that insist suicide is the only way out. Klaus kidnaps Elena so he can lock her in a windowless room for her own safety, informing her that he suffered the madness for 52 years before it finally went away on its own.

Despite Klaus' warnings, Elena's friends do their best to bust her out. One of the hybrids Tyler and Hayley helped to break his sire bond, Chris, distracts the two guards at Elena's door and gets Stefan in to save her. This doesn't go so well, as a hallucinating Elena stabs Stefan and escapes alone before he can recover.

Meanwhile, Bonnie asks her new friend, Professor Shane, for information on hunters. He passes along his research, which reveals that the torment Elena's facing will only subside when a new hunter takes over for Connor. They speak in hypotheticals, of course, but we can see Shane quickly realizes that his own personal hunter has met his demise.

Caroline, who was sent to distract Klaus, is then forced to tell him Elena has escaped. His good humor is only restored when he's told that Jeremy just needs a vampire to kill -- to complete the hunter transformation that will free Elena.

Stefan tells Damon to go find Elena. He stays to help Jeremy get to his first kill, the hybrid Chris that Klaus offers up. Tyler and Hayley try to take the blame for Chris' part in Elena's escape, but it's no use. They watch, horrified, as Caroline remorselessly take part in the killing of their friend.

Damon finds Elena standing on the bridge where she's already met death twice, and she's ready to finish the job by throwing away her ring and burning up in the rising sun. Damon manages to talk her through her hallucinations, keeping her occupied until their brothers' plan works its magic. The sun's just starting to singe Elena's flesh when Damon plunges them both into the safety of the river.

Elena wakes up at home, her rescued ring back on her finger. She and her hero share an emotionally intimate moment, but Damon painfully takes the high road and lets her know how Stefan's only been working with Klaus because of the vampire cure. Elena talks to Stefan, and he expresses frustration that only Damon seems to be able to get through to her lately.

She's forced to confess that since changing into a vampire, she's not the person she once was, and her feelings for Damon have intensified. Stefan tells her that he understood it when he was in his ripper phase, but he can't accept it now. Elena doesn't argue, and we know that she really has changed, because she isn't fighting to win him back.

It's not the only break-up, as Tyler finds he can't forgive Caroline for valuing one friend's life over another. He flies further into a rage when she confesses she offered to go out on a date with Klaus in exchange for giving up Chris. Somehow we can't help feeling Klaus has this in mind all along.

In other news, after April remembers that her father knew the professor, Matt does a little digging. He lets Damon know that Pastor Young phoned Shane regularly for a month, and 10 times on the day the council went up in flames. At the same time, Bonnie finally gets a bit spooked when Shane tells her, "When your new hunter, and I know you have one, when he completes his mark, you're gonna want to come to me. 'Cause I'm gonna be the only one who can help." Looks like Jeremy's new tattoo won't lead Elena to a vampire cure without Shane's help -- if you believe him, that is. Who is this guy, really?

More from this contributor:

'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Elena fights a 'Killer' and becomes one herself

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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Elena becomes 'The Rager'

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