It's possible we'll grow to love the Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals with the same mixture of straight-up love and ironic love that we have for the parent show — but a lot depends on whether The Originals is ever able to make our heads spin as much as last night's TVD episode did.
Seriously, there were a few jaw-dropping twists in "She's Come Undone," that we absolutely did not see coming. Chief among them: that final reveal of Elena's emotional magic bullet.
This episode also wins points for bringing together all of its plot strands in a clever way towards the end. The two big questionmarks in this episode are: What's going to become of Matt? And will Elena ever start having feelings again, and does anybody really want her to? We get answers to those questions, and they're delightfully sardonic.
Matt Donovan, almost the last remaining human in Mystic Falls (we'll get to Caroline's mom in a sec), is questioning what he wants to do with his life. All of the vampires are heading for a glamorous immortal party, in which they will travel around the world and compel or take whatever they want. Matt, meanwhile, is broke and failing all his courses, and his only escape route is to go to college — which doesn't seem likely at this point. Rebekah offers to use her vampire mind control to make Matt's life easier, partly because she has the hots for him and partly because she feels guilty for almost killing him (and killing Elena) last season. To which Matt responds by singing a couple of verses of "Common People" by Pulp, more or less.
Rebekah points out, quite reasonably, that Matt is in this situation because he's been carrying water for all the vamps and their friends all year, worrying about their crap instead of studying — and they're just going to keep on using and abusing him. "You need better friends," she says. Exhibit A: Damon uses Matt as a last-ditch ploy to get Elena to turn her humanity back on, first letting Elena almost kill him, and then killing Matt himself. (But luckily, Matt has Jeremy's magic ring, which means he's now 1/8th of a serial killer or something.)
But meanwhile, Elena gets her humanity back at last — and throughout the episode, we're teased with the question of, which brother will she choose? Whose love will anchor her back to her emotions? Blah blah blah. But instead, when Elena is shocked back into feeling emotion and Stefan tells her to find the one thing in herself that makes her strong, she reaches for hate instead. For Katherine, her doppleganger, who really is responsible for a large wedge of all the shit Elena's had to deal with — although not by any means all of it.
The reveal that Elena regaining her humanity doesn't fix her, because she's still a totally screwed up person with terrible priorities, is kind of awesome. And unexpected, although when you consider what a conniving psycho Elena was the last time she had emotions, it shouldn't be.
And in the episode's "C" plot, Caroline gets distracted in the middle of worrying about Elena and Matt by Silas, who threatens to kill Caroline's mom unless she finds Bonnie. Who is, indeed, plotting something against Silas with the help of Katherine. And Silas actually does go through with it and kill Caroline's mom — although Caroline brings her back, just barely, by giving her some blood. (But is Caroline's mom still human? It was hard to tell.)
A goodly amount of the misdirection in this episode had to do with love triangles — Caroline thinks Klaus is coming to see her about the ongoing Caroline/Klaus/Tyler thing, when in fact it's Silas coming to fuck with her. And then the thing where you expect Elena to choose Stefan, because he's the one telling her to find her emotional anchor — and instead, she finds strength in being a psycho bitch. It's like the show is letting us know that these people are too damaged, and their world too treacherous, for love triangles — and the writers are going to keep yanking the rug out from under us until we get that.
There's even a scene where Elena and Caroline play spin the bottle, but nobody else is there and nobody gets kissed.