'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Season 1 Damon returns while the Klaroline fallout destroys Tyler

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After the mind-blowing epic-ness that was "The Vampire Diaries" 100th episode, expectations were honestly pretty low for Thursday's (Jan. 30) all-new episode, "The Devil Inside." After all the nostalgic returns, game-changing reveals and hot Klaroline sex, how could anything after measure up? But it's easy to forget. This is "TVD." There is no such thing as a boring episode of "TVD."

And oh boy, "The Devil Inside" was one crazy ride. We knew that Katherine was going to work with Nadia and a Traveler (who seemed to have traveled from the '90s because um crimped hair? Seriously?) to get ahold of her body so they could finish the spell and make Katherine a permanent fixture in Elena's body. One problem: Damon hid her body (in the tomb, because that's just poetic) as a final middle finger to Katherine. He was still taking his breakup hard.

That meant Katherine had to pretend to be Elena while in Elena's body to find Katherine's body. Confused yet? Just imagine how Nina Dobrev felt. Give her all the awards, please.

Katherine smartly realized she needed a quick cram sesh in Elena 101 so she could fool everyone, so she turned to Matty Pants (once she ripped off his vervain bracelet). This whole scene was the bomb dot com, but would Katherine seriously trust a boy's opinion on a girl's party outfit? And would a boy like Matt seriously have an opinion on whether or not Elena would wear a black dress and boots other than, "Yeah you look hot!" 

Also: Points to Katherine for finally getting rid of the pink streak in Elena's hair. That was fun when it first debuted, got old a few eps later, and a whole season later was just cringeworthy. Hair trends are trends for a reason: They're not forever. 

But you know what is forever? Bromance. Bromance is forever. Especially the bromance between Tyler and Matt, and thank goodness because Tyler reallyyyyy needs a friend right about now (even though he wouldn't talk about what happened). He went through more emotional and physical trauma down in New Orleans than anyone should have to in their entire lives, but it didn't stop there. 

Thanks to Katherine's "Mean Girls" move at Tyler's homecoming party (genius but horrible, but awesome, but awful), Tyler overheard Caroline talking to "Elena" about sleeping with Klaus, and while Dobrev should be the MVP of the episode, the honors go to Michael Trevino. Look at the mixture of hurt and shock and horror and anger on that face:

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And then Trevino slayed us all once again:

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Put all those emotions in a blender with a ton of hard alcohol and you get one of the most emotionally devastating scenes yet: Tyler basically slut-shames Caroline for sleeping with a mass murderer. It was necessary though (not the slut-shaming, because you should never do that ever, but reminding Caroline and us of all the horrible things Klaus has done). 

While Klaus can be charming, it's easy to forget he ruthlessly killed Aunt Jenna, 12 of Tyler's hybrid friends and Tyler's own mother, plus thousands more innocent people. So yes, while the Klaroline sex was hot (and oh, yes ... it was), it was time for all of us to take a theoretical cold shower. Caroline deserves better than Klaus and needs to make some better decisions for her life in the future. 

And the scene didn't just serve as a harsh reminder of how bad a person Klaus really is, but it also gave Stefan another chance to be a hero. When Stefan stepped in to stop a drunk Tyler from attacking Caroline, Tyler tried to get Stefan on his side by throwing what Caroline did in his face. 

But instead of ganging up on Caroline, Stefan punched Tyler, telling him no matter how drunk or angry he was, Caroline didn't deserve that kind of treatment. Stefan FTW! He also talked her down from beating herself up about her decision to sleep with Klaus. It was the perfect BFF thing to do, which probably means a romantic Steroline relationship isn't the cards for a while, but that's okay, because this friendship is even better. 

And if you thought your heart was done being ripped to shreds, oops, sorry about that: The pain was nowhere near being over. After Matt's house party was over and the house was (trashed but) empty, Tyler finally opened up to Matt about what happened down in New Orleans. 

He told Matt that Klaus destroyed him. The Original killed his mom, ruined his relationship with Caroline, and then when Tyler thought he couldn't hurt him any more, the love of his life slept with his nemesis. He doesn't even know what to do with his life now -- and his life lasts forever, once again thanks to Klaus. He broke down, and Matt didn't know what to do or say to his best friend. So he just sat there with him, and this just drove the knife even deeper:

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What will Tyler do next? Will he leave Mystic Falls again, for good this time? The only thing holding him there is Matt, but will that be enough? We hope so. 

Once Katherine was satisfied that she had held up her facade of being Elena, she left the party to finish up the spell. But Elena regained control before the Traveler could finish her brutal spell (seriously, watching her hack open Katherine's corpse was one of the most graphic scenes on "TVD" yet, right? Besides the hybrid that got a hole blown through his chest in the Mystic Grill, of course), and tried to run away. That's when things got intense.

As Elena tried to run for help, Katherine kept pushing through her consciousness, and we got flashes of Katherine's life (and callbacks to scenes from past seasons, which was just so cool. Way to keep the nostalgia up, "TVD" writers!) which slowed Elena down. She reached Damon just as the spell was finished, meaning that Katherine was here to stay and no one had any clue. Goodbye, Elena. 

Do we think Elena is gone for good? That would be a risky move, but it could yield so many cool stories going forward. Plus, Katherine is just the best character, so more of her is always good news. At least now Dobrev won't have to work twice as many hours. 

Now that Katherine was here for good, she got down to business. She -- as Elena -- told Damon they were over for good, after he poured his heart out to her, telling her she was the only good in his life and he needed her. Heavy, honest stuff that would have brought tears to Elena's eyes but Katherine wasn't feeling it. She crushed Damon while sounding very Elena-like, and that would have some pretty big consequences later. 

But first, Katherine went back to her daughter, and told her she wasn't leaving Mystic Falls. This was the first time in over 500 years she was safe and didn't have to run anywhere. She wanted to stay and pretend to be Elena, and win Stefan back because he's her "one true love." Didn't expect to hear that! And neither did Nadia, but Katherine kept the mushy speech going: She told Nadia to stay with her, and she would try to be a good mother to her. Something tells us this mother/daughter duo is going to cause a lot of trouble for our favorite characters going forward.

But the person who is going to cause the most trouble right now? That would be Damon. Spurred by "Elena" dumping him, as well as Enzo pushing him to kill Aaron to finish their revenge on the Whitmores together, Damon regressed. He regressed all the way back to Season 1 Damon. And we're talking early Season 1, like the pilot and episode 2. Before he fell in love with Elena. Before he regained some semblance of humanity. Back when he would do anything and kill anyone to get Katherine out of the tomb. 

Damon taught Enzo his "lay in the middle of the street" trick to get cars to stop, knowing where Aaron would be driving, and the two corner him. Damon then kills him -- without hesitation and with joy -- ending the Whitmore line and rebuilding his "friendship" with Enzo. 

Seriously, this scene was chilling:

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While we're horrified to see Damon murder Aaron in cold blood and with no remorse (goodbye, Shaun Sipos), we're a little ashamed to admit we're excited to see the return of the original Damon. 

This was the guy we loved to hate and hated to love back when "TVD" first premiered. He was the ultimate bad boy, the villain, the monster. Thanks to Elena, he's softened to the point where he was hardly recognizable (his speech to Elena tonight would have made Season 1 Damon rip Season 5 Damon's heart out instantly), so to get back to his original, fun-loving, impulsive self is going to be a thrilling ride.

So what did you think of the episode? Are you excited that Katherine's sticking around permanently? Do you think Elena's gone for good? How insanely awesome would that be? 

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

Photo/Video credit: The CW