The mad scientist plot finally comes to an end

The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 16 (“While You Were Sleeping”)
Candice King, The Vampire Diaries

Elena is finally back to herself, sort of. She is free of Katherine but now she is infected with the ripper virus that also has werewolf venom in it. So she is actually losing her mind. She doesn’t remember anything from the past three weeks and is relying on others to fill her in as well as reading Katherine’s version of events in her diary. But no one is giving her the full truth, she reconstructs versions of what happened when Katherine was in her body, but they aren’t exactly what happened. She can tell that people are keeping things from her which leads her to believe that she did something terrible, like kill Aaron Whitmore.

Of course we know that Damon is the one that killed Aaron and he struggles to tell Elena this all episode. He eventually has to to calm her down. Finally being able to talk to each other, they start the episode out wanting to get back together and they talk on the phone a lot in their respective isolations. But by the end of the episode they realize that their relationship is toxic to both of them. Elena has to constantly defend and forgive him for doing the wrong thing, compromising her own morals. His love for her is too much and it caused him to go off the rails when she broke up with him. To further prove that their relationship is toxic, after they decide to breakup for real, they have sex.

While Damon and Elena are in isolation, Caroline and Stefan go with Enzo to get the antidote from the Travelers who had been funding Dr. Maxfield. Their price for the antidote is Stefan’s help in finding and killing his other living doppelgänger, an EMT in Atlanta. This leads me to a lot of questions about the doppelgängers. How often do they occur? Is it once in a generation? Once in 100 years? We don’t know of any between Katherine and Elena and they were born 500 years apart. Stefan was born ~170 years ago and there is another full grown version of him in present time. Also was it coincidence that multiple doppelgängers appeared in the Petrova bloodline? Or was that special? My understanding is that Esther specifically did a spell to make the Petrova bloodline important for breaking Klaus’s curse, but when we learned that it was implied that she was the cause of the doppelgängers existence. So it could be an inconsistency in the origins of the doppelgängers.

The Travelers want him dead because that would result in there only being one of each doppelgänger alive and that makes the combination of their blood extra powerful. They use a similar tactic to Qetsiyah to link Stefan to his doppelgänger and find him. Caroline is afraid they will hurt Stefan so she volunteers to go with Enzo to track him down and kill him. They have been planting the seeds of a potential romance between Stefan and Caroline for a while now and in this episode it starts to feel elevated. I don’t think either of them are aware of it yet but they have such a solid friendship foundation that it isn’t a big leap. I have no problems with the idea of a relationship between them but I have always enjoyed their friendship and wish that shows had more purely platonic relationships between straight male and female characters. But I also want what is best for both of them.

Enzo once again proves to be a good friend to Damon. He let Dr. Maxfield experiment on him again so that he could make the antidote. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Enzo as a character and have never really been able to figure out if I like him or not, so I am taking him episode by episode for now. The writers clearly like Enzo and want to keep him around even if it isn’t necessary. We don’t yet know anything about his backstory before he got locked up by the Augustine Society and tortured for 70(?) years. But the fact that he was willing to be experimented on again to help Damon, someone who abandoned him when he had the choice, says a lot about who he is. He should be much more scarred than he seems to be after that much torture and isolation, but he has a knack for staying positive. He also doesn’t really have anyone or anywhere to go, so he may as well stick around with the one friend he has.

This episode was fine as a transition between two plots but I felt like I really had to search to find things to say about it. It wraps up the evil scientist storyline, and now that they are free of the ripper virus we will never have to talk about it again. It also sets up some new things. The Travelers have been in the background of the entire season but their time is coming and we will finally figure out what they want. We are also introduced to Liv’s brother Luke, and they are both advanced witches. Liv is only pretending to be a newbie so she can get closer to Bonnie for some sinister reason that is not revealed.

Episode Grade: 7/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Jeremy and Matt really enjoyed the very little power they had over Damon.
  • I was surprised Elena’s dorm had a pay phone considering this aired in 2014. The dorm does look old though. I lived in an old college dorm and I think it had a pay phone but it didn’t actually work.
  • How did Dr. Maxfield get the antidote to the werewolf venom in Elena’s virus? Did he find a cure? Are they just not going to look into that? Without Klaus around they might need it. They also should have gotten a stock of it from Klaus before he left. I’m sure Caroline could have convinced him.
  • Body Count: None!

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