With Kai (Chris Wood)'s unexpected return last week (and, ya know, the fact that the clock is winding down on the show at breakneck speed at this point), it seemed like we might be in for an eventful episode of The Vampire Diaries this week... but that wasn't exactly the case.

Instead, it's a soul-searching extravaganza of sorts for Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), our newly-minted human, as all of his surviving victims' memories are starting to come back enough to ID him as the mass murderer that he is — or was. It'll be up to Caroline (Candice King) and Matt (Zach Roerig) to play clean-up crew on that note. Well, for the most part.

Stefan will have to handle his own mess when it comes to Dorian (Demetrius Bridges), who's been criminally backgrounded so far this season, but, as it turns out, saw Stefan kill his father and sister during his Ripper binge with Klaus a few years back. Stefan had compelled Dorian then to forget all about the grisly scene which went up in flames before his very eyes, which he did until now. Remembering it all, though, Dorian's ready for revenge, an eternity in hell be damned, and now that Stefan's human he can easily overpower him. Especially when Stefan's not willing to put up too much of a fight.

Meanwhile, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) wants to take Kai up on his offer to resurrect Elena (Nina Dobrev), above Alaric (Matthew Davis)'s understandable objections, but it's not going to be as simple as some witchy *poof* maneuver, you see, so Damon's little road to redemption is going to have a major detour thrown in the mix. And Bonnie (Kat Graham) will get her wish to make contact with Enzo (Michael Malarkey) once again, but at the cost of surrendering some control to Cade (Wolé Parks), who's become mightily intrigued by her newly-discovered power set. Speaking of which... what the what is going on with Alaric's girls right now?!

Let's walk through what happened on this week's new edition of The Vampire Diaries.

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The Vampire Diaries, The CW

Not surprisingly, we find out that the way Kai made his way back to the plane of the living is through the same little loophole opened up by Matt's eleventh ring of the Maxwell Bell a few days before. He was thrilled to hop back to the Mystic Grill at first.... until he realized most of his human senses weren't whole, which indicated that he was still at least partially stuck in Hell. Kai wants Damon to help him escape from Hell for good, and in return, he offers to awake Elena once and for all and help Damon kill Cade.

Alaric wants nothing to do with this plan because this is the man that killed his wife and tried to murder his children in utero, but he agrees to step aside and let Damon handle it on the condition that after Elena's awake, Kai gets promptly sent back to the underworld where he belongs. In the meantime, Ric's gonna take the twins to a safe location until the coast is clear because that's the responsible dad move. Right? Right.

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Problem is, in order to fully rescue Kai from the trenches, he's going to have to pull a Siren move and fill the void he's left behind in Hell with fresh souls. And he's gonna need Damon's help to do it, too. Damon doesn't want to increase his kill count any more on account of Elena not liking her boyfriends to be maniacal murderers and all, but Kai assures him that a few more notches in his death-belt aren't going to change anything.

At the same time, though, we get to see just how much these deaths do impact the living when Stefan's criminal history starts to piece itself together by all of his compulsion victims suddenly remembering everything he's done. Matt and Caroline do their best to spearhead the investigation of all these crimes — with Caroline compelling them to forget again and promising a fat check from Stefan to cover their losses in the only way he can.

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But one cat they forgot to herd was Dorian, who's suddenly remembered a visual of Stefan going full-on Ripper on his dad and sister once upon a time. Quite a coincidence, that, especially since this all supposedly happened a few states away. If you've got any suspension of disbelief left on The Vampire Diaries, though, you haven't been paying attention. Dorian, in a fit of anger, blindfolds Stefan and takes him out to the woods. Nothing Stefan can say or do will make up for the pain he's caused — even if he does still have a list of his victims' names committed to memory --and it doesn't matter that he wasn't himself at the time that he did all this. He deserves to die, and, eventually, Stefan agrees ... but only after the first bullet is lodged in his belly.

Dorian has a change of heart before the second round can fire, though, and decides to try to save Stefan by calling Matt and having an ambulance (and Caroline) brought to the scene. It seems it might be too late, though, when we see Stefan having an out-of-body limbo-style experience in which Cade tells him he should let go for Caroline's sake. He could spend the rest of his life trying to make up for his evil deeds and still never succeed, and why should Caroline spend the next 60-odd years watching him grow old doing so and ultimately fail anyway? She's only got an eternity to live after that, yo!

But Stefan's stubborn and decides he wants to live it out anyway and die trying, so, gasp! He awakens and is treated just in time to make a full recovery. No trip to H-E-double-hockey-sticks on the agenda for him today.

However, he does take part of Cade's little diatribe to heart; he decides to break it off with Caroline, without saying exactly why, and leave Mystic Falls for his journey of self-betterment solo. She's obviously upset, but she has other things to deal with right now. Alaric has called and wants to bring the girls over for a visit with her while he asks for her help dealing with a parental crisis: chiefly, his daughters have been raging out at each other and others with some dangerous glow-hands business for the past few days, and you can bet your bottom dollar it has something to do with Kai's return to this realm. Elena's revival effort just got dangerous for her own kids. Conundrum! And to think, Caroline used to reach her top crisis mode when the dance-planning didn't go precisely her way back in the day. Those were the halcyon days indeed.

Speaking of other planes, it turns out that when Bonnie's ripple scream happened at the moment of Enzo's death she magically created a hideaway plane for him to lurk around in which was unreachable by even Cade. Cade is amazed at her gift, but also obviously threatened by it. He wants Enzo's soul for his own, so he racks her brain for answers as to how she's done this. Which means she's now priority number one in his devilish games and, perhaps, his biggest threat on Earth. Go on and raise your hands right now if you just knew Bonnie wasn't done being the MVP of Mystic Falls. It's always been her who makes things better from the very beginning, folks.

We can probably expect to see the big Cade-Bonnie showdown commence sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, she just wants to enjoy these little stolen moments she gets with half-Enzo whom she can now summon with a few candles and channeling her feelings at the exact moment of his death. Oh, and she'll need Kai's help figuring out her witchy resistance, to boot.

Problem is, Kai unsurprisingly can't be trusted to act on his word. When Damon figures out that killing evil people isn't going to solve Kai's little half-existence problem — and their time spent pontificating the answers with selfies and racking up dead bodies is time wasted — he decides that Kai needs to instead make a grand gesture of goodness to make up for so many misdeeds. Considering how they'd left things off last time they were near each other ...

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It's not terribly surprising that when Damon takes Kai to Elena's coffin to wake her up as his ultimate do-gooder deed, he decides instead to take Damon out. We know from the look-ahead that Damon's not gonna be dead for long, and we also know that Elena is going to return in time for the finale but still. Cheap shot, Kai.

The Vampire Diaries airs Friday nights at 8/7c on The CW.

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