First off, kudos to Paul Wesley for his directing debut. This was an episode with a lot of feels for Elena and Stefan, so it couldn't have been easy bouncing back and forth behind the camera to check the shot. But let's move on. I'm still reeling a bit from all the dream sequences, visits to the afterlife and, of course, Markos.
Did anyone else feel a little wrecked by Elena's dreams of a perfect life with Stefan? Seeing the two of them happy together brought back bittersweet memories, but the image of them as a normal, married couple with two cute kids underscored how far Elena has been pulled from the life she knew — and how cuddly Stefan can be when he's not on a killing spree. The dreams may have been a bit cliched — and I really don't think Elena ever wanted to become a mom straight out of a toilet paper commercial — but dreams that can never be realized often are.
When they sat down together at the end of the episode after Markos reversed the spell, Stefan and Elena's conversation about love and fantasy and the challenge of being friends after heartbreak was mature and level-headed — and made me wonder if the door to Stelena is truly closed. The affection is clearly there, but with so much water under the bridge, it might be hard to trump the animal magnetism Elena has with Damon.
Speaking of animal magnetism, I was thinking that Elena was opening the door to Delena in this episode, but go figure — just as she's gushing about how what she and Damon have something messy and complicated and real (which I thought was more or less a good thing), he's grumping about how they're bad for one another and he never wants to speak to her again. I think he missed an opportunity, honestly — and in his wounded state, he didn't realize she might have been trying to explain why messy worked for her more than she previously realized.
Of course, this episode wasn't a group therapy session, and the issue of the Travelers was the big elephant in the room drawing people together (Stefan and Elena) and pulling them apart (Bonnie and Jeremy). Too bad for Elena her one hot sex “dream” with Stefan was the only one to yield information on the Travelers (and embarrass the crap out of her with Damon sitting by her side).
Damon and Enzo pop in to visit Markos, who just wants to make it clear he needs a sprinkle of Stefan and Elena's blood so he and the other Travelers can settle down. Given that Damon sees that the Travelers have already settled down into the people of Mystic Falls as parasitic Passengers, I think he might not be entirely down with helping out the new guy. As we later discover, Tyler has been taken over by a Traveler and is now in cahoots with Markos, whose plan isn't as benign as it seems — and it doesn't seem all that benign in the first place.
I'm not sure when Tyler got transformed, though Liv's plot to have her three amigos stab themselves with one of the few Traveler's knives would suggest it was at some point closer to the end of the episode. Still, I feel as if this arrangement between Liv and the fellas is more or less an excuse to keep three characters we like — Jeremy, Matt and Tyler — involved in the storyline even if it doesn't feel entirely authentic. Liv and her brother Luke swear they're just trying to keep the Travelers at bay, but I'm not entirely convinced they're the good guys, either.
Bonnie certainly didn't get much reason to trust Jeremy in this episode, as Liv's order for him to keep their Traveler hunting secret seemed a little petty. I'm hoping this part of the storyline starts to feel a little more integral to the show (perhaps Tyler's passenger status will do the trick), as right now it seems stapled on and, unfortunately, disposable.
Still, I'm willing to let it go for the two great scenes — one between Elena and Stefan, the other between Damon and Elena — that made this episode so bittersweet, as well as Matt's brief reunion with his sister Vicki (and hey, cameos from Kol and Grams!). Now let's hope Markos doesn't turn everything into “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (although really, that wouldn't be so bad after all).
Do you think there's still hope for Delena? Do you trust Liv? Were you excited to see Vicki again?