On this episode of The Vampire Diaries, “Woke Up With a Monster,” Caroline heads to North Carolina for a second opinion about her mom’s diagnosis. Enzo uncovers the secret Stefan has been keeping. Damon embarks a rescue mission with Jo’s help. Kai tortures Elena.

Delena fans are probably still irked that their reconciliation was aborted by Kai. But now that the Traveler spell has been lifted by Kai sucking up all the magic, things are about to get really, really interesting.

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Practice Makes Perfect

It turns out you can get too much of a good thing. Kai has all this Traveler magic and no idea how to control it. Worried he may jack up the merge with Jo by turning her into a pile of goo, he wants to practice his control on an immortal, Elena.

At the Salvatore mansion, Stefan has a full house. Jeremy, shirtless, is still there. Enjoy it while you can, girls, since he’s blowing Mystic Falls very soon. Also hanging out are Liv, Jo and Ric. Apparently, Kai isn’t the only one having trouble controlling his magic. Jo’s a bit rusty and Liv is tutoring her in preparation for the merge. Damon has allowed he and Stefan’s home to become, according to Damon “Hogwarts,” in an effort to patch things up with Ric.

To Drink or Not to Drink

In typical Caroline fashion, she is throwing herself full-force into a project — helping her mom beat cancer. She also hasn’t abandoned the idea that vampire blood will cure her mother. Damon, like Stefan, tells her that he’s never heard of a case of cancer remission resulting from drinking vamp blood in 170 years. Naturally, Sheriff Forbes doesn’t want to give it the old college try because nobody knows what might happen. I would think the worse thing would be nothing.

I do recall Elena learning back in season 5 that her daddy, Grayson Gilbert, performed experiments on sick children using vampire blood with stellar results, but the diseases in question escape my memory. Anyhoo, Liz wants to go with traditional medicine.

Caroline decides to get a second opinion, a world-renowned expert by the name of Dr. Moore, who happens to be at Duke University. This is also conveniently where Sarah Salvatore is attending college. Upon learning that Caroline is planning a road trip there, Stefan decides to tag along.

Extra-curricular Activities

Kai drags Elena to the high school to continue his experiments because it better suits his needs. He tries to turn Elena’s blood into acid and melts her daylight ring in the process. She manages to get away from him long enough to place a call to Damon and let him know her whereabouts.

More Bad News

Caroline and Stefan arrive in North Carolina, and Caroline is able to immediately schedule a consult without the use of compulsion. Because world-renowned specialists are so easy to get an appointment with, while I have to wait two months to see my family doctor. I’m willing to let the TVD writers get away with a lot because most supernatural-themed shows are just making it up as they go along. But if they are going to tackle a storyline like cancer, they might want to aim for a little more realism. Just sayin’.

Caroline finds out that there is no feasible medical solution to her mother’s illness. Dr. Moore tells Caroline she’s been trying to treat a patient in nearly identical condition and no treatment has worked. Now the poor sucker is just waiting to die. Bad news for that guy but good news for Caroline. She has a guinea pig to find out what happens to a cancer-ravaged person when infused with vampire blood.

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Enzo Discovers Stefan’s Secret

Stefan stops by an art exhibition where his relative, Sarah, is showing her work. Of course, she’s been blessed with the Salvatore family’s good looks and is also a talented artist. Not surprisingly, Enzo shows up as well. Always resourceful, Enzo followed Stefan to find out what he’s been hiding. Enzo threatens to tell Sarah: Enzo threatens to tell Damon: Enzo wants to be in the know. Realizing he now has no choice, Stefan admits that Sarah Salvatore, now Sarah Nelson, is he and Damon’s great-niece, four generations removed. He calls Enzo’s bluff to narc him out to Damon and Enzo seems to back down.

The Force is with Luke

Damon takes Liv to the high school to get her to perform a cloaking spell, so he can dip in, grab his girl and get back out without having to confront Kai. Damon can’t catch a break because Luke shows up and uses his own hocus pocus to whisk himself and his sis away. Time for Plan B. Jo offers her help, but Ric isn’t confident in her ability and doesn’t want her anywhere near her brother. Ric forgets that Kai needs Jo to remain alive and well for the merge, so she’s almost as safe as a kitten. He’ll use up this Traveler magic eventually, and his endgame is till to become the leader of the Gemini Coven.

Liv and Luke have a heart-to-heart convo back in her dorm room. Luke has tattled to their Looney Tune dad about what’s been going on, and surprise, surprise, the guy is pissed. He wants both their asses back in Portland, pronto. And while we’ve all been laboring under the assumption that Liv is the stronger of the two, that isn’t the case. Liv tells her brother she knows he’s the more powerful one. He was able to stop her from bringing half the cast back from the Other Side before it imploded, and he cloaked her to get her away from Mystic Falls, Delena and Kai. She knows if they merge, she’ll be the loser.

A Swing and a Miss

Jo’s a quick learner, and her cloaking spell gets them past Kai and find Elena. Since Elena has no daylight ring, they are taking to some tunnels that run under the school. Jo starts to look not so hot. If she gets a nosebleed from one cloaking spell, this does not bode well for her showdown with Kai.

Jo is no Bonnie Bennett, that’s for sure, and her magic peters out before the three can make a clean getaway. Damon sends her on her way and faces down down the pork-rind-loving psychopath on his own. Elena’s of no use because Kai has cloaked her. An excellent TVD drinking game for this episode would be anytime anyone uses any variation on the word “cloaking.”

Damon Gets a Little Help From His Friends

Kai is a formidable adversary. As he’s been from the beginning. He’s just a way bigger pain in the ass now. Kai manages to use his juju to trick Damon into impaling Elena, not in the heart, with a wooden mop handle. Then Kai pulls the brain burst that all the witches use when they want to temporarily neutralize a vamp. Next, he turns his attention to Jo. Luckily, Damon brought reinforcements, Alaric and Little Gilbert. A little crossbow action and a heavy sedative take witch boy down to Chinatown.

From Bad to Worse

Caroline feeds the guy her blood, and not long after, he’s raiding the vending machines and looks to have made a miraculous recovery. Even with the evidence standing in front of him, Stefan remains dubious. He has his pensive face, so you just know Caroline is not going to get the happy ending she’s so desperate for.

Caroline returns home to tell her mother about her triumph, but what she doesn’t know is that cancer guy’s improvement was only temporary. Now that Caroline has convinced her mom to drink up, what does the future hold for the good sheriff?

Nothing like a terminal illness and a homicidal maniac to bring people together. Stefan is working his way back in Caroline’s good graces. Damon has not only won back Elena but Ric as well. And Luke told his dad to piss off and is supporting his sister.

On a less positive note, Enzo is scheming, and it looks as if Sarah Nelson will factor in somehow.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm on the CW.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.