The Vampire Diaries: The Dead Doppelganger Paradox

Last night's episode of the Vampire Diaries "Promised Land" was a race against time! The Travelers used the doppelganger blood to cast the spell that would undo all witch magic (including the existence of vampires) so everyone is literally trying to out run death.

Watch This Episode "Promised Land"

The episode opens up with Damon torturing and questioning Mr. Sikes, Head of Corporate Accounts from the bank. (Of course it's not really him. It's a Traveler passenger inside Mr. Sikes's body.) Caroline enters as Damon is asking where the Travelers' leader Markos is hiding. He knows they're planning a big flashy spell to break "some old boring witch curse", which sucks for them because it will undo all witch magic (i.e., kill all vampires).
Mr. Sikes/Passenger: It doesn't matter where Markos is. Nothing you do can stop him now.
Cut to a gross gross grosssss scene of Stefan and Elena being bled. Markos feeds Elena a little bit of blood, in order to keep them alive - and therefore capable of continuing to be bled. Elena begs him to let her go, claiming that he has "enough".
Markos: I'll have enough when you can no longer speak.
Just then someone sneaks into Stefan's room to free him. It's a black woman - possibly the Traveler Maria from last week, though it's too quick and too shadowy to tell for sure. He promptly finds and rescues Elena and they escape into the woods. They call Damon from a payphone somewhere (a  payphone? really?) They have no idea where they are, so they can't really tell him how to find them, but they're going to try to make their way home. In the meantime, they're hunting squirrels for blood to stay alive.
Damon: Maybe if you'd been a little more perceptive you wouldn't have gotten yourself doppelnapped.
Just when I thought I was getting tired of everyone adding "doppel" to everything, they drop "doppelnapped" and I'm suddenly back on board. I am doppelpsyched!

Just as Damon hangs up the phone, ghost Enzo throws a knife or something at him, just in case Damon - or the rest of us - forgot about him. Bonnie "translates" for Enzo, who wants to remind Damon that he promised to bring him back from the dead. Damon's got a little bit of his own shit going on in case you haven't noticed, so he doesn't want to prioritize bringing Enzo back. However Enzo promises to continue to wreck havoc on their lives (or at least throw shit around the house) until he does. He asks Bonnie to figure it out, since Liv supposedly is working on a spell to bring her back from the Other Side before it goes kaboom, so she can just include Enzo with that spell.

Damon: Just hitch a ride with her, see? There. Delegating. 
It seems as if Bonnie is about to tell him the truth (that there is no spell to bring her back and she will probably disappear soon, once the Other Side disappears) but just then Jeremy walks in and so Bonnie keeps her mouth shut. Damon needs a favor from Jeremy and his "Xbox friend" (Matt).

Elsewhere (we still don't know where and neither do they) Stefan and Elena walk down a deserted road towards home. How exactly have they been gone so long without Markos finding them again? It took the Travelers almost no time to find them once Luke's cloaking spell was broken, so why exactly do they have so much time to themselves right about now?
Elena: Maybe this whole thing's a sign?
Stefan: A sign of what?
Elena: My blood can literally destroy him. If that's not a sign that we're in a toxic relationship...
Stefan: Our blood, alright? Our blood. Don't hog the blame.
Stefan explains to them that they are a toxic species (vampires) to begin with, so it doesn't matter if they blame it on magic or biology. It's just who they are. He thinks Damon and Elena are miserable without each other, so if they want to be together they should just be together.

At some shitty diner Luke and Liv have ordered waffles. The coven is pissed at them because they didn't do a good job of hiding the doppelgangers from the Travelers. They were never supoosed to let things get this far. They got sucked into a stupid "let's be friends trap", according to Liv but Luke says that they're nice people, which is more than they can say for their screwed up family. Just then something comes over him - he grabs his head in pain; the table vibrates. It's not Liv - it's the coven and they are pissed. Basically that was a "don't talk shit about our family" warning and a reminder that they need to step it up and do their fucking jobs. They were supposed to keep the doppelgangers from falling into Markos' hands and they failed, but they can't let them succeed in taking away their magic. There's only one option left: kill Stefan and Elena.

The scene switches over to Mrs. Douglas's house (Remember her? Jeremy's teacher who has a passenger in her now? CW you don't we can't really care about all these minor characters who we've only seen once or twice...) Mrs. Douglas gets a "special delivery" from Sam the mailman. I know that's probably the start of about a dozen adult films, but he really does have a special delivery: it's a vial of blood and we can only assume it's doppelganger blood (or doppelblood). Her husband asks what's going on, something is wrong and she's been "different" lately. She lets him know that it's really messed up that it took him this long to notice that his wife has been "colonized by a total stranger". She introduces herself as Karl and stabs him in the neck with a scissor. (Oh look, another person of color dead. What else is new?)

Stefan and Elena are still walking. They still haven't gotten their strength back because squirrels aren't very nourishing. They talk about Caroline - debating what's worse about her: her controlfreakiness or her delusional positivity. However they both agree there's no one else they wish was there right now but her. Stefan says that if she was there, they would both be laughing. So when are they going to admit that Stefan and Caroline are in love with each other? No? It'll happen... Just then they see a car coming down the road. Elena adjusts her boobs and tosses her hair in prerparation of hitchhiking and sticks out her thumb. The car stops and it's Maria, Julian's wife (a.k.a. the Traveler in Tyler's body). Stefan tries to compell her but she says that won't work and lets him know that it was her who freed him last night. She instructs them to get in the car because the Travelers are coming for them.

Back at Casa de Salvatore, Jeremy and Matt are helping Damon move bodies around. So that's the favor Damon needed from Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumber. Of course, because Matt has no other useful skills other than maybe bartending. There are Traveler bodies strewn all over the place and it looks like the morning after a really terrible frat party. Um, not that I know what that looks like or anything.... ahem... anyway... Since Damon knows Markos stashed the bodies in a cave for a reason, he assumes he will want the bodies back at some point, forcing him to have to come to Casa de Salvatore looking for them. Caroline warns him to keep his torture-happy hands off of Tyler while she figures out what's going on, even though there is no more Tyler. Tyler is gone and he's 100% Julian on the inside now.

Maria explains to Stefan what's going on. She knows the Travelers will kill her if they find out she's helping them, but she wants to find her husband, who just happens to be permanently in control of their best friend's body. She refers to Stefan as Elena's boyfriend, and they both immediately correct so fast her that it's almost embarrassing. She apologizes and says she thought the doppelgangers were "fated soul mates or something". Now, if they doppelgangers weren't actually fated to be together and it was just Markos' spell drawing them to each other (like we learned a few weeks ago), why wouldn't Maria - a Traveler - know this? Continuity! Markos is focused on breaking the curse so the Travelers can settle permanently, but she'll have a head start to get away if she can find Julian before Markos starts the spell. They remind her that Julian is in their BFF and they're not just going to let her take Tyler. She reminds them that Tyler is gone. There's only Julian now and he belongs with her. Once the spell starts, magic will be stripped away little by little... and sooner or later Tyler (as a hybrid) will be dead anyway but so will Julian so she needs to get him back before that happens. Why does everyone keep reminding us that Tyler is gone for good? They were able to bring Elena back even after Katherine had "permanent" control over her body so I feel like the repetition of "Tyler is GONE FOREVER" is a little bit overkill. No pun intended. Speaking of Julian/Tyler... back at Casa de Salvatore this shit is happening:
Julian/Tyler: Quit hovering. it's weird.
Caroline: You're permaently inhabiting the body of the former love of my life. Let's debate the levels of weird.
Julian/Tyler: If he's former, why do you care?
Don't piss Caroline off bro, she's still obviously got feelings for Tyler (even if she's also kind of got feelings for Stefan... Enzo... Klaus... and well, anyone and everyone). He's a person and his life matters. She wants to know why Markos and all the other Travelers can't just find somewhere else to live. Julian/Tyler explains that basically Mystic Falls is nice. And it's not just about settling down... it's about getting revenge against the witches. They see all witchcraft as a perversion of pure magic and they want to destroy it and restore the balance. When it comes to getting what he wants, Markos has no sense of humor. He wants it and he wants it now! He's like the Veruca Salt of Travelers.

And speak of the devil... Markos goes to the cave to pay a visit to his Traveler buddies' bodies and finds it empty. There's merely a sight that says: "FOUND Cave of Wanna Be Witches. For More Information Call Damon Salvatore".

Okay, I have two serious logistical question about this so-called Traveler curse. They can't gather and settle as a tribe because the curse will cause disasters to occur whenever they do all get together in one place. But the whole passenger thing makes it possible for them to cheat the system and gather without fear of repercussions. Bad things happen when they all get together, so they have to get together in other people's bodies. So here's what I don't understand... they have all left their bodies so they can gather together in other people's bodies, but in the meantime their original bodies are gathered together in a cave somewhere! Doesn't that qualify? How exactly is it safer for them to have a pile of their inanimate bodies all in one place than it is to have their living bodies all in one place? And if their bodies and their consciousnesses are both in the same place - passengers in Mystic Falls, empty bodies under Mystic Falls, doesn't that also sort of qualify as "gathered together"? Come on CW, you've written yourself into a corner here. You can't just keep creating rules and then breaking them. Explain yourself! How does this not trigger the curse?

My other question is... if the above scenario really is somehow a magical loophole, then why don't they just live forever as Passengers? Their magic still works when they're in other people's bodies so why not just pick your favorites and live like that forever? But I digress. Back to Casa de Salvatore, Damon's got a very important phone call.
Damon: Salvatore Boring House.
Markos: I'm calling about my people.
Damon: Hey you found my note! Now listen, dont be offended. But I can't just give them to anyone. So what do they look like?
Markos: They're ragged, beaten down by the world, desperate for a home.
Damon: You just described homeless people, aging hipsters and Matt Donovan.
Markos: One of them is 5'10", wearing a black coat. you're standing next to him.
(And then there he is! Markos walks into the house.)
Damon: I know the concept of a home is new to you bu tit is polite to knock.
Back at the dorms, Bonnie is packing up her shit to move out of the dorms while Caroline complains that that isn't exactly a priority right now. And it really isn't, why do you need your stuff Bonnie? You're going to be gone soon and your entire family is dead, so who gives a shit if you left some clothes at Whitmore College. Caroline suggests a solution to Bonnie for how to save Tyler. Julian will be in control of Tyler's body until he dies, so why don't they just kill him? Maybe that's how they get him out. They kill him and then when Liv does the spell to bring back Bonnie and Enzo, they bring back Tyler too. Wow, a lot of people seem to be counting on this alleged spell that Liv isn't doing. Talk about putting all their dead bodies in one basket. Bonnie finally admits that there is no spell. She made it up and the Other Side is collapsing and everyone in it - including her - is going away for good. So no she doesn't think she should kill Tyler.

Meanwhile, Markos compliments Casa de Salvatore (which I am from now on probably going to call Salvatore Boring House). Damon admits that he doused Markos's "Salvation Army" in gasoline and he's ready to light a match. His bluff is no good though - Markos says he would like to give them the opportunity to return to their original bodies but it's not essential to his plan. To prove this he stabs one of them in the neck with a cork screw. Yikes.
Markos: Did you really think you'd found the whole of my people? Travelers are everywhere. They're the faces that surround you every day the world over. The ones you don't notice because you're too busy making a mess of all that you have. They want those things too: a home, a family, a better life -and they're willing to die for it.
Damon: You want a promised land. I get it. But look off the record, I mean, Mystic Falls is kind of a dump. Bad schools, terrible traffic and forget about ever getting a decent cup of coffee.
Markos: Mystic Falls is a means to an end. Like a small pebble dropped into a very large pond.
Damon: Very poetic. No idea what it means.
Markos explains that once they destroy the spirit magic in Mystic Falls, the witches' curse will finally be broken. From there, the spell will ripple outward, unraveling spirit magic as it spreads. Only pure magic - Traveler magic - will remain. They will be free to settle down and go wherever they please. Oh and one more thing, once spirit magic is gone from the earth, Damon will be gone too and so will all vampires (and any other supernatural creatures that exist thanks to witch magic). Markos has completely transfused himself with doppelganger blood, so he's too strong be stopped anymore and it doesn't matter anyway because the spell has already begun.

All across Mystic Falls people are cracking vials of doppelganger blood in their hands and chanting.

Still driving, Elena asks Maria if she'd mind if she drained her carotid artery of a few ounces of blood. Maria reminds her that she just saved her life so maybe she could hold out a few more blocks until they gets home. She tells them to keep a low profile because Mystic Falls is the last place Markos wants them to be right now. Just then their car is stopped short by Liv. Maria suspects she's trying to kill them and oops there's Luke behind them! They're trapped between the witchy twins as the car crashes in on itself. Maria is dead. (Another person of color dead on The Vampire Diaries!) Elena and Stefan get out of the car but the wonder twins use their powers to thrash them around. Liv apologies but says she needs to make the doppelganger blood useless. At least one of them needs to die and it doesn't matter which one. I vote to kill Stefan!

Speaking of dead vampires, Enzo confronts Bonnie outside the dorms for lying to him about being able to bring him back from the dead. He's pissed. She brought Jeremy back from the dead, she came back from the dead, Markos came back from the dead - why can't he!? No fair! She tells him that when Markos used doppelganger blood to come back he literally destroyed the fabric that was holding the Other Side together. She tells him to accept it but he says he won't accept shit until the darkness actually pulls him away into oblivion and he no longer exists. He spent 50 years in a cell being tortured with no hope of getting out, but he clung to it and did get out, so he will not "accept it" for even a minute until it's completely over. Just then dead Maria comes to Bonnie. She recognizes her from the Travelers' cave as the one who tried to kill her boyfriend. Bonnie asks her to please tell her husband that she tried and then passes through her.

Just then we return to Salvatore Boring House, where Damon is having a drink while Markos brainstorms how to redecorate the place once he makes it his own. Downstairs Julian/Tyler is eavesdropping (using Tyler's super hybrid hearing).
Damon: I'd invite you to stay for dinner but I'm not very familiar with the Traveler cuisine. Although I'm sure it involves lots of trail mix and gruel.
I think I'll take this wall down. I love an open floor plan. 
Julian/Tyler: Damon, he doesn't know I'm here. Use the element of surprise. Not sure you're clever enough to pull it off... but just though I'd put it out there.
Damon: Well all I can ask if that you leave me with a couple of bottles of wine.  I spent half my life shoplifting the stuff. I assume you'd want to see the wine cellar.
Really? If Markos actually bought this charade then he's a fucking moron. He asks where Stefan is, hoping he'd find him there, and so Damon suggests he search the basement. As he passes by the dungeon, he slips Julian/Tyler the key to his shackles.

Back at the witchy showdown, Liv apologizes but says she's just following the coven's orders. Just then their powers sputter out. It's starting. More and more Travelers continue breaking their blood vials and chanting and they come together. Stefan and Elena start to burn up in the sun - because their daylight rings aren't working anymore. They rush to get inside the Grill where they tell Matt what's going on. He takes them to the stockroom so they can escape through the tunnels.The Travelers are still chanting and apparently all getting nose bleeds. Um, gross. What kind of wacky side effect is that?

Down in the tunnels, Elena and Stefan start to relive their deaths. The witch magic is unraveling and the spell is spreading, so they are reverting to the state they were in before they became vampires (i.e., death). Elena starts coughing up water and we see a flashback of her drowning. Then a flashbak of Stefan being shot as a bullet wound in his stomach opens up and starts bleeding.
Stefan: Without the magic I'm just someone who was shot by his dad.
They had to remind us what terrible terrible parents everyone on the show had right? Matt suggests they keep moving and try to stay ahead of the spell. Is that really how it works? If it's already hit them isn't it too late? Can they really out-run it? What are they going to cross the town lines to another city where there's still magic? Come on, how long can that work? Also, Liv and Luke pretty much gave them the solution to breaking the spell (one of them has to die) but neither of them is willing to let that happen so instead they'll just let them both die, along with all of their magical friends. Good plan guys! Wait a second... if the doppelganger blood makes the spell work and killing the doppelgangers makes their blood worthless... but the spell is killing the doppelgangers... haven't we reached a paradox here? But can we still kill Stefan, just for funsies?

Back at Salvatore Boring House, Damon tells Markos that Stefan's not answering his phone (cause he's, you know, dying and out running magic) when suddenly Julian/Tyler jumps on him and starts to eat away at his neck. Growwwwwwwwwl! Why exactly is J/T helping Damon? I really don't understand why he's suddenly on their side. I get why he was helping them originally - he wanted them to stop torturing him and wanted to get back to his wife. But now he's literaly fighting his fearless leader and for what? So he can help Damon break a spell that he specifically came to town in order to help cast? Or is it so that the body he's stuck in won't die (and him die along with it)? I'm so confused. Unfortunately Tyler loses his fangs. The spell has reached them... Damon starts to burn every time he passes into the sunlight. Um, they have a problem!

Meanwhile, more chanting, more bleeding, and then one by one the Travelers start to collapse. The pasengers are leaving their Mystic Falls bodies and reawaking in their true bodies (which all just happen to be in Damon's living room).

Meanwhile Julian/Tyler and Damon both start to revert back to their dead selves. Markos refers to J/T as a traitor (yep) and says they should go say their goodbyes and maybe even try to run out the spell for a little while, but they're not long for this world. No bueno.

After the commercial break, it is evening and Damon is doing a death walk (literaly) down the road. Jeremy pulls up to him and tells him to get in. He tells Little Gilbert that he has never been so happy to see him. I've never been so happy to see Jeremy either.

Meanwhile at the dorms, Caroline is flipping out. She doesn't know what she should pack - photos, clothes, hair products - none of it will matter when they're all dead. Seriously Caroline shut the fuck up! Her character is so stupid. Meanwhile Bonnie just sits there thinking. Death is literally on it's way. It's moving past Mystic Falls and they need to get ahead of it. Just then Bonnie gets an idea to bring them all back from the Other Side - but she needs to find Enzo.

Jeremy and Damon pull up to Stefan and Elena out in the woods (presumably a few miles past town, a few miles ahead of the spell?) Elena runs to them and kisses Damon right away.

Damon: What was that for?
Elena: I had a really crappy day and I needed it. I thought I was never gonna see you again and I couldn't think of  a worse way to die.
Damon: Well I guess today is your lucky day.
Aw a throwback to last week's episode. Cute. Stefan tells Jeremy to head back to Mystic Falls with Matt and keep them posted on what's going on. Um, how exactly is Jeremy safe from this shit? He's been dead like a ton of times and he's only alive thanks to witch magic. Shouldn't he should be outrunning the spell just like the rest of them? Seriously Matt's gonna end up being the only last citizen of Mystic Falls still standing if they don't nip this shit in the bud soon.

Somewhere on the Other Side, Enzo approaches Maria as she looks on at her own dead body. Relaying the message that Bonnie has probably sent him with, he offers Maria a proposition to get them both out of there.
Enzo: Markos managed to Houdini his way back to the land of the living w/ some crazy spell. Any chance you know it?
Maria: I know the spell but I don't know 2 dozen Travelers willing to overwhelm the anchor.
Enzo: I think you understimate how resourceful we are. Just leave the details to us. What do you say? Interested?
She is. But in the worst stroke of bad timing in the history of bad timing, just then a strong wind comes to pull her away. He tries to hold onto her, but she is blow away into oblivion and he's like "oh fuck" basically because there goes that plan. Back at the dorms Bonnie is still packing (Really? You're still packing?) when Enzo arrives to let her know the plan hit a little snag.

Outside Caroline and Stefan are waiting for Bonnie when Julian/Tyler comes looking for Maria. He heard that she brought the doppelgangers back to Mystic Falls, but can't find her anywhere. Stefan admits that Maria was killed. J/T is pissed. His wife's dead, he's stuck in someone else's body, a body that is going to die soon and his own people are trying to kill him too. That's what you get for being a traitor dude. Someone has to pay for this! They fight and J/T rips out Stefan's heart. He starts to dessicate and drops dead.
Julian/Tyler: There, dead doppelganger. Stopped the spell.
Caroline looks on in shock just repeating "oh my god oh my god". I'd be happy about Stefan's death or maybe even feel a little bad, if I wasn't 150% sure that they'd find a way to bring him back before too long. There's no way they're killing off one of the Salvatore brothers, as much as I'd love to eliminate Damon's competition. And did that really break the spell? Like I said, if the spell kills the doppelganger, but the doppelganger dying breaks the spell, how do we not get caught in a magical paradox circle?

At the dorms, Bonnie's upset because Maria was the only one who would help them and now she's gone. Enzo says it's gonna keep happening and they need to find a way out fast. Just then Stefan's ghost appears.
Bonnie: This can't be happening.
Stefan: Please tell me that you found a way to bring us all back.
Bonnie: I lost it. I'm sorry.
Her eyes fill with tears and he passes through her and the music swells and elsewhere Caroline is still crying over his body and it's supposed to be the most powerful moment ever but it's just too obvious that he's not dead for good so we can't really care.

Next week on The Vampire Diaries: Stefan comes back to life! SURPRISE! Just kidding. They don't show that, although I'm sure that will happen. But first they're going to blow up the whole town! Next week is the Season Finale which means I will finally get a break from the ridiculousness of this show. Hopefully they will hire some new writers before Season 6.

Watch this episode "Promised Land" on Amazon Instant Video. Catch up on past episodes here.

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