'The Vampire Diaries' Season 5, episode 18 recap: The sun and moon curse all over again

the-vampire-diaries-resident-evil-recap.jpg Before we dive in to this week's recap of "The Vampire Diaries," let's all give Mr. Paul Wesley a huge round of applause. His directorial debut was a smashing success, filled with crazy twists, major reveals, relationship shakeups and more than a few surprising returns. "Resident Evil" was one of the season's best so far. So give yourself a pat on the back, Wesley, you did good.

There is one major gripe, though the criticism is out of Wesley's hands as a director. Thanks to Markos' explanation, we found out that the whole doppelganger prophecy -- that the universe will always draw them together and they're fated to be together -- is just another sun and moon curse. Remember how Elijah and Klaus made that up to motivate others to do their bidding? That's exactly what Markos did thousands of years ago. He cast a curse that will draw the doppelgangers together by making them believe they're each others' true love, but only because the Travelers need the doppelganger blood to undo a curse the witches put on them. Stefan and Elena aren't actually fated to be together. The universe wasn't against Damon from the start.

While we love twists just as much as the next "The Vampire Diaries" fan, this just felt like a retread of old plot. And as soon as we found out the truth, it was over. Markos undid the curse to prove to Damon that he wasn't their enemy. All this buildup to find out it didn't mean anything? Just as with the sun and moon curse, we felt a little cheated.

But at least we now know the truth about the Travelers' agenda. Thanks to a little exposition (we weren't as bored with Markos' storytime as Damon was), we learned that when Silas and Qetsiyah cast their immortality curse, it created a schism that gave rise to the witches. Those witches then cursed the Travelers they came from, making it so that they could never settle down in one place as a tribe or else disaster would strike, wiping them out. The Travelers need the doppelganger blood to undo this curse, allowing them to finally live in one place and make a home for themselves, and to reach their true potential of power. That's why Markos was drawing Stefan and Elena together with visions of happiness at a certain house address -- where Markos was holed up waiting for them. Of course, Damon and Enzo were the ones to show up, so Markos still doesn't have what he wants.

Even though Stefan and Elena knew their visions weren't possible -- they were seeing each other as humans, with Elena's family still alive, dating and getting married and having children and living happily ever after -- they were still majorly affected by them. They were both heartbroken seeing the life they could never have, feeling that joy and contentment and love and then having it ripped away from them when Markos ended his spell. But it lead to Stefan and Elena having a powerful heart-to-heart about how they'll always love each other and what they had was real. It wasn't perfect, but it was real. Stefan also helped Elena realize she can't be friends with Damon since they're still in love with each other -- unlike Stefan and Elena, who are no longer in love with each other. Cue yet another Delena breakup scene where Damon tells Elena he can't even look at her let alone be friends with her. Sorry Delena fans, looks like it might be a while before your ship of choice shares the screen together again.

Markos didn't just give and take away visions, though. His mere presence in Mystic Falls is causing some major problems in more ways than one. First of all, according to Grams, since the Travelers overwhelmed Bonnie with their mass suicide, he was able to slip through and escape the Other Side. That act alone is causing the Other Side to fall apart. Souls are able to see and talk with each other, which would be good except they're also starting to disappear. We found this out via Matt, who was killed by a passenger inhabiting Sheriff Forbes and journeyed to the Other Side for a temporary visit. There he was greeted by none other that Original vampire Kol!

That's right, we finally got a glimpse of the fan-favorite Original who tried to warn everyone about the dangers of raising Silas way back when, before Jeremy killed him. Ah, memories. Looks like his time on the Other Side has softened him a bit, though, since he pleaded with Matt to fix the Other Side since everyone is in danger of disappearing. Before Matt headed back to the real world, he found his sister Vicky (yet another familiar face returned!). He tried to bring her back with him, but she got sucked away and Matt had to suffer losing his sister all over again. Even though she was already dead, Matt took that loss hard. And things are so screwed up on the Other Side that when Matt woke back up, he remembered everything that had happened and was able to let Bonnie and Jeremy know what's been going on over there. Will they be able to fix whatever the problem is before everything falls apart?

Destroying the Other Side isn't the only issue Markos is causing. He also had all his Travelers passenger themselves into the heads of the townspeople of Mystic Falls. Since they're unable to gather together physically, they can do so mentally, and now they've quietly taken over the town. Liv was trying to prevent that from happening, and even had Matt and Tyler stab themselves with the Traveler killing knife to prove they're still themselves. Side note: How weirdly hot was it watching Matt refuse to let Liv stab him? His stubbornness and "manliness" was just ... wow. Weirdly hot.

But when Tyler stabbed Sheriff Forbes to rid her of her passenger, another Traveler got to Tyler and passengered into his head. Now "Tyler" gave Markos the knife, and he destroyed it, meaning the only thing that can de-passenger all the townspeople is gone and "Tyler" is working for the enemy. Uh oh. At least Caroline has her mom back!

Other notable moments from the episode:

- Enzo clarified the reason he's been searching for his long lost Augustine love Maggie. Even though she's going to be roughly 70 years old, he's not looking to date her. He just wants to thank her for being the reason he clung to his sanity during his years of torture and captivity. That's actually super sweet.

- Enzo was just on his game all around in the episode. From teasing Damon, to flirting with Caroline, Enzo was clearly the MVP. Please please please don't kill him! With Damon heartbroken and Stefan finally in a good place again, we need a new dose of snark, and Enzo keeps on supplying it. 

For his directorial debut, Paul Wesley did a phenomenal job with an extremely complicated episode. It's also interesting to note that we learned that Markos isn't exactly a villain ... he's just trying to help his people finally be able to settle down and live happy lives by undoing a curse. Is that really so bad? Well, obviously the Other Side disintegrating isn't good. But really, why shouldn't Elena and Stefan help the Travelers? 

We'll probably find out exactly why they shouldn't in the next episode.

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