'The Vampire Diaries' Season 5, episode 17 recap: Another doppelganger bites the dust in 'Rescue Me'

the-vampire-diaries-rescue-me.jpgLet's sing this together now, shall we? Dun dun dun ... another one bites the dust!

Yes, "The Vampire Diaries" said goodbye to yet another doppelganger on Thursday (March 27), as Tom Avery, an Atlanta EMT with some questionable hair and who looks exactly like Paul Wesley, was unceremoniously killed in a deal made with the Travelers. So did Caroline really kill an innocent, nice guy to save Stefan's mind and memories? Read on for the recap of "Rescue Me" ...

Even after Caroline made Sloan promise to stop "psychically doppel-bombing" poor Tom Avery through Stefan to save Stefan from being memory robbed again, she keeps on keeping on, searching for more information that could help Caroline and Enzo find the guy -- while on what's got to be one of the most awkward road trips ever. They've been searching all around Atlanta with no luck, so Sloan continues to go deeper into the connection and sees that he works at Atlanta Metropolitan Hospital. Caroline seems confident in her ability to kill Tom, even going so far as to get Enzo to call her a "pearly blonde angel of death." Of course, everyone's got their doubts that Caroline can actually go through with it, but she knows it's the only way to save her friend. So off to the hospital they go.

When Caroline and Enzo get there, they find out from a doctor that Tom -- one of the best, nicest, most talented EMTs he's ever worked with -- disappeared four months ago and no one's heard from him since. That's all it takes to convince Sloan to dig deeper into Stefan's mind more, and in an extremely, surprisingly powerful scene, Caroline talks him through the pain over the phone. Watching her suffer empathetic, emotional pain over hearing Stefan go through physical, psychic pain was so touching, and for a moment, it was believable that Caroline would actually kill an innocent person to save him. They have one of the strongest friendships on this show, and to think, at the beginning they didn't even know each other.

the-vampire-diaries-tom-avery.jpgSloan's psychic probing uncovers a memory -- seems like there's a delay on the doppelganger frequency by about four months, huh? -- where a girl named Hazel asks Tom out to dinner as a thank you for saving her friend's life earlier that day. He agrees to meet her at her house, and Stefan relays the address Hazel tells Tom to Caroline and Enzo. They arrive at the house, notice a ton of mail piled up, and force the door open. They see Hazel -- a witch! -- kneeling on the floor in some kind of a spell/trance, and Enzo breaks off the doorknob and throws it straight at her head, killing her. 

Caroline's pissed off that he would just murder someone, but he's got a point: They can now enter the house since the owner is dead, and they're one step closer to accomplishing the goal they promised they would achieve. Anyone else get the feeling that while Caroline might not have the wherewithal to go through with killing Tom, Enzo would be more than happy to take up the charge? Tom's odds are going down, and fast.

Back in Mystic Falls, Elena wakes up in Damon's bed after their night of break up sex. In the grand old tradition of the walk of shame, she tries sneaking out of the room without waking up Damon, but hey ... he's a vampire. That's kind of impossible. Plus, it turns out he's been awake for three hours and was just enjoying lounging naked in bed with Elena. She tells him that the last night was a mistake, and Damon being Damon, he suggest that they keep "making mistakes." Employing some serious will power that not many women would have in that situation, Elena declines. "Your loss. I make one hell of a naked breakfast," Damon tells her, standing naked in all his glory as she runs out of the room.

Elena then heads to the high school for Jeremy's parent-teacher conference, and while she waits in line she calls up Bonnie for a little girl talk. Bonnie's chilling in their dorm and sees Luke, and tells Elena that she wants to get to know Katherine's BFF to find out what he knows and if they can trust him. Plus, she thinks he's a suitable guy for Elena to date now that she's "broken up" with Damon. But as we all know, Elena tells Bonnie that Damon is more Luke's type. "That'd be cute too," she quips. Yes, yes it would, Bonnie.

But the mood of their fun phone call gets ruined when Elena tells Bonnie that Jeremy didn't sleep at the Salvatore house last night. Since he wasn't with Bonnie, where was he? Everyone's thinking it: He's cheating again. That seems especially likely when Damon, Matt and Tyler see Jeremy meeting Liv for a bottle of gin at the Mystic Grill that morning. What are they up to?

It's not what everyone thinks, though. No hanky-panky going on here. Liv does a silence spell to ward off Tyler's hybrid eavesdropping, and then warns Jeremy that all the witches are talking about how the Travelers are heading to Mystic Falls for something to do with Elena. In Liv's own words, the world literally revolves around her for something. LOL. Welcome to "TVD," right?

When Elena tries to check in as Jeremy's guardian, she's in for a rude awakening, since she's not listed as his primary contact. That would be ... Damon. Cue: Damon walking up, plopping himself down right next to Elena, ready for a day of fake-co-parenting with his now-ex. Awwwwwkward.

The day is made even worse by a super judgey counselor, who can tell that things aren't exactly what you'd call "stable" in the Gilbert/Salvatore household. She tells Elena and Damon that Jeremy is skipping school, failing classes, starting fights (duh), and even has been caught cheating twice in math. He needs a more stable home situation, which is kind of hard when your sister's a vampire, you're living in the mansion of her two ex-boyfriends who are brothers and also vampires, and you're a supernaturally gifted vampire hunter with a half-alive, half-dead girlfriend who acts as the anchor to The Other Side. Oh, and you're constantly fighting to save everyone's lives, because this is Mystic Falls. Yikes.

Back at the Whitmore dorm, Bonnie tries to play things cool with Luke to find out what his deal is. But his whole cover is blown wide open when Hazel's ghost shows up to pass through Bonnie, and gives her a message to tell Luke of all people: She failed to conceal the doppelganger and the Travelers are coming. Hazel passes through Bonnie, and Luke's got some major explaining to do. He tells Bonnie that he and Liv are twins and witches, and they're basically trying to stop the Travelers from doing something. He texts Liv -- still at the Mystic Grill with Jeremy -- about what Hazel said, and she tells Jeremy she's moving on to Plan B. Having Jeremy protect Elena was Plan A, so what does Plan B entail?

Back at the school, Elena tells Damon that the judgey counselor was right: Their situation isn't stable. She tries to end things again, but he pushes her up against a locker and gives the single most sexy speech in the history of "TVD." Like, seriously, whoa. HOT. We're not even going to write down any of it here because it's way too sexy to be repeated. BRB, fanning ourselves. We don't even judge Elena for daydreaming during the chemistry teacher's speech about the students because yeah, Damon's chemistry is way more interesting. When she leaves the classroom to get some air (in the wood shop of all places?), Liv randomly shows up and attacks her with her full-on witch power.

tvd-rescue-me-liv-damon-elena.jpgLiv tells Elena that she'll make the Travelers too powerful now that Luke "failed to keep her safe" (by keeping Tom hidden), and almost stakes Elena with a piece of wood, but Damon knocks Liv out. He tortures her, and she reveals what we already know: If there is only one Elena doppelganger and one Stefan doppelganger alive in the world, the Travelers will come to Mystic Falls to use Elena for ... something, and the witches can't let that happen. But Damon says that he can't let Liv kill Elena, and almost kills her, but Jeremy runs in and stops him.

Back in Atlanta, as they're walking through the now-dead Hazel's house to see what she was up to, Caroline figures out that four months ago, Tom was hidden as soon as Silas died, meaning the witches knew that Tom was the only doppelganger left standing in the way of what the Travelers want. Caroline and Enzo find Tom under sedation in the basement, and she wakes him up, knocks Enzo out, and tells Tom that she's going to save him. Uh oh ...

Predictably, Caroline doesn't go through with killing Tom. Instead, she takes him out for a hearty brunch and compels him to tell her his life story. She wants to see what kind of person he is, and she says Tom is one of the nicest people she's ever met in her life. She can't kill him now. She compels him to get on a train, leave town, meet a pretty girl and settle down for a nice, long, happy life. But before he can ride off into the sunset, Enzo finds them and kills him. Turns out, Enzo also cut a deal with the Travelers, since they told him they know where his Augustine love Maggie is. If he kills Tom, they'll tell him where to find her. So Tom was doomed from the start. Enzo tells Caroline that for the sake of her friendship with Stefan, she can take credit for killing Tom to save Stefan, and they part ways.

Back at the high school, Jeremy yells at Damon and Elena for trying to kill Liv, and they try to tell him that they know what's best for him, like doing better in school. But Jeremy rightfully explains that he's doing poorly in school because he can't care about classes and homework when he's constantly fighting to save everyone's lives. He says he can make his own decisions, and they need to trust him. He promises that he can get Liv and Luke to save Elena, not kill her, and Elena realizes that she needs to trust him like he's always trusted her.

Jeremy get Luke and Liv to team up with him to thwart whatever the Travelers are planning, and they agree to work together because they know that Jeremy's hunter skills are a huge asset. He also enlists Matt and Tyler too, and they all form some kind of a dream team that we never knew we wanted and yet all of a sudden cannot live without. Instantly on board with this. Also, Jeremy moves out of the Salvatore mansion and into Matt and Tyler's house, and seriously, we are ON BOARD WITH THIS. Can we go live with these three? A human, a hunter, and a hybrid, all with bartending experience? This is going to be one big rager like 27/7.

After Jeremy leaves the mansion, Damon and Elena finally have that adult conversation they've been avoiding for a long time. They keep doing bad things to each other and for each other and with each other, because they don't work together. Even though they clearly love each other and want each other, they can't be with each other. Quick, say "each other" five more times fast! All jokes aside, Elena tells Damon that she has to leave for her dorm on her own, since she knows if Damon drives her they'll just end up back in bed together. She says he has to let her go for real, and in a surprisingly mature move, he does. He kisses her on the forehead and leaves. This is it ... the real, official end of Delena.

tvd-rescue-me-steroline-cuddling.jpgCaroline makes her way back to the Travelers camp, and tells Stefan that Tom is dead, but confesses that she couldn't go through with it. Enzo made the actual final move. She apologizes, knowing that she just admitted she couldn't kill even to save his life, but Stefan reminds her that she could have, but she chose not to, and that's because she's a good person. He also knew all along she wouldn't do it, because that's how good of friends they are. They share one of the sweetest friend snuggles in the history of ever, and is it wrong to want to slide on in between them to join in on the platonic and in no way romantic friend snuggle? Because that looks mighty comfy, just sayin'.

Their Steroline snuggle sesh is ruined, though, when the Travelers make their move. Sloan has all the Travelers drink the mixture of Stefan and Elena's blood, and then lights them all on fire while they chant and scream horribly, suffering slow and agonizing deaths by being burnt alive. Caroline and Stefan watch on in horror, and then vamp-speed away. All the Travelers then materialize next to Bonnie to pass through her all at once, and she passes out from the sudden onslaught of pain. Her shadow then pulls itself away from her unconscious body, forming a figure that gets up and walks away. Meet Markos, the leader of the Travelers.

Where did he come from? Was he on The Other Side, and the Travelers mass sacrifice gave him the power he needed to come back? Or was he on The Dark Side, and that's why he needed the group suicide to come back? Or was he somewhere else entirely? And what are his plans? If Elena and Stefan's blood was used to call him forth, what else does he need with them? So many questions!

What did you think of "Rescue Me?" How adorable was Tom, and how sad was it to see him die so suddenly and so soon after meeting him? How sweet was the Steroline cuddle sesh? How freaking epic will the Jeremy/Tyler/Matt trio be? Let us know in the comments!

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Photo/Video credit: The CW