Not everyone loves the holidays. There's a reason why suicides spike at this time of year; the lonely feel a little lonelier, fragile relationships crumble. While they may be vampires and hybrids and witches (oh my!), in many ways our Mystic Falls residents are all too human, their problems played out on a larger-than-life scale. This week, more than a few of our intrepid immortals are going to be feeling a lot more isolated and alone, and another relationship is going to hit the skids. Worst of all, we have to wait until Jan. 17 to find out what happens next. Bah, humbug.

Elena and Damon wake up in bed together… fully clothed. That was Damon's decision, because, as we know, Damon is Riddled with Guilt these days. He wants Elena, he loves Elena… but now that he knows she's sired to him? He feels too terrible to, let's say, snuggle. Add to that the issue of Elena being Stefan's girl, and Damon's id has turned all super-ego, and I'm halfway expecting him to ask Elena if she shouldn't be wearing a scarf while slipping a multivitamin into her pocket. 

Elena challenges Damon to invoke the sire bond, but he just can't do it. It looks as if they're going to throw caution and guilt and clothing to the wind, when they're interrupted by a ringing cell phone. Elena has to run off to meet Bonnie, who is teaching Jeremy how not to kill her up at the Gilbert lake house. Damon decides to tag along, mostly because he just wants to be close to Elena. You know, to torture himself. 

Meanwhile, the quest to find the vampirism cure continues, and just gets more and more convoluted. Stefan realizes they have some of the elements -- such as new hunter Jeremy -- but others are missing, such as the completion of Jeremy's tattoo and that ancient sword. Stefan asks Klaus if he has it, and Klaus not only admits to having it, he pops it out of a locked vault and shows it off. Stefan is delighted in his quiet, dour way -- but not for long. 

In related news, Tyler tells Caroline he intends to get a powerful witch to create a body jumping spell in order to trap Klaus in another body, then encapsulate said body in concrete and bury it. But whoever will they dump Klaus into like a bag of gizzards? That would be Tyler, which irritates Caroline to no end. She does NOT want her boyfriend encapsulated in concrete! How will he find a tux for senior prom? Geez! Anyway, when Stefan calls Caroline to tell her about the sword, she tells him he'd better get it, ASAP, so she can stop Tyler from turning himself into a concrete block later that evening.

Alas, Stefan can't find the sword -- clever Klaus, he didn't put it back in the vault. On to plan B! Stefan begs Tyler to wait before he unleashes his plan on Klaus, as he's pretty necessary to sorting out this whole vampire cure business. Tyler will not delay! And for the record, he couldn't care less about Stefan's stupid plan. A hybrid that is cured of vampirism, after all, is just a werewolf, and who wants to turn once a month? It's like having a period, but with fur. Stefan and Caroline are held hostage (sort of) by the hybrids, theoretically until Tyler can put his plan into action. 

Oh, holiday music alert! The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping"! Best holiday song ever! 

And now we resume regular programming. Elena and Damon drive up to the cabin and see Jeremy, who just happens to be chopping wood. And looking angry. While holding an ax. This seems problematic. Even more problematic? Elena has invited Professor Shane over. But maybe Professor Shane, though his motives are clearly evil, might come in handy, possibly as a witness available to talk to the police, because once Jeremy invites Elena into the house, he tries to kill her. So, yes, this would not be a relaxing vacation at the cabin.  

Professor Shane ties Jeremy to a chair as part of his effort to create a middle step for him between see vampire, kill vampire. Think of it as a detour, during which he will recognize Elena as someone he loves. We know he's going to use hypnosis, because the house is littered with pretty, burning candles. Okay, yes, I know Professor Shane is really using dark magic and it's not hypnosis and the herbs are bad, bad, bad, but still, isn't anyone else in that room thinking the mood lighting might be a sign he's not doing what he says he is? On the bright side, if hypnotism/dark magic/whatever he's doing doesn't work, they can toast marshmallows. 

Professor Shane invites Elena to remind Jeremy of important moments in their lives together. It's all very heartwarming and sweet, until Jeremy informs everyone that Elena isn't his real sister, she's the reason everyone he's ever known as died, and he will kill her even if it means dying himself.

So… happy holidays, everybody!

Needless to say, Elena is crushed. She seeks comfort with Damon, who is increasingly treating Elena like a big ball of vampire Kryptonite or a groupie. Scurrying away from the girl he wanted to toss into bed that very morning, he finds Jeremy and Bonnie. He suggests to Jeremy he find someone other than his sister to attach his warm and fuzzy detour feelings to, as "it's like dangling a cheeseburger in front of someone on a master cleanse" to ask him to bond with a vampire. Excellent point, Damon. Conveniently, Bonnie is available. 

Does anyone else think it's odd that Jeremy seemingly has no desire to kill Damon? I mean, he's as good of a vampire to kill as any, isn't he? Not that I want that, of course. 

Professor Shane chats with Elena. She wonders if he can help her break free of Damon. If he knew that method, he'd use it himself. He misses his dead wife and son, and nothing will cure him of the pain. This is our waving red flag that Professor Shane won't be a one-note villain, just as Klaus kind of won us over, and we will reluctantly feel bad for him if he's ultimately thwarted. Or maybe not. Poor Professor Shane. 

Tyler bumps into his mom at yet another Mystic Falls shindig (I want to move there because man, it's party central!). He tells her about his plan, and, stunned, she sighs, "You'll miss graduation!" I think it would be very, very hard to be a parent in Mystic Falls. Still, she gives him her blessing. She's trying to channel his father, and she tells him he'd be proud of him. It's a sweet moment, so why am I tensing up for something bad to happen? 

Back at the cabin, Damon confronts Professor Shane. He doesn't understand why he wants the vampirism cure. He doesn't, actually -- but he knows where his new friends can find it. He shows Elena his big rock (that's not a euphemism -- he literally shows her a big rock) and tells her the story of the witch Silas. He loved a girl, created an immortality spell with another witch, but that witch got jealous and killed Silas' girlfriend before he could make her immortal. Cursed to eternity without his one true love, he finds a way to reverse the immortality spell. But then, the jealous witch buries him underground, leaving him -- and the cure -- to rot. All I can think is that this jealous witch has a lot of spare time on her hands. "You dig up Silas, and you've got your cure," Professor Shane says. 

Damon asks Professor Shane to reveal where Silas is buried, but no dice. "You've threatened to kill me, what, three times this week? The location is how I'm going to survive your bad moods." He's right, of course, in that I think Damon would much rather kill Professor Shane than look at him, as he doesn't trust him -- and, as we know, really shouldn't. Even Elena can't quite figure out why he's helping them. Professor Shane squeaks about wanting to have a kick ass paper and be the guy who discovered Silas, blah blah blah but Damon still has a healthy skepticism. Thank goodness. 

Unfortunately, no one feels that same skepticism about Hayley. When Caroline (who wasn't exactly held hostage, I suppose) corners Tyler and suggest he use Rebekah instead of himself for the body jumping plot, Tyler thinks she's brilliant. Hayley, however, lets Professor Shane know via text that there's trouble afoot, and he texts back for her to take care of it. And what does that mean? Breaking Caroline's neck. 

Back at the cabin, Damon tells Elena Professor Shane was chatty with Pastor Young before his death. The professor talks about offering counsel and so on, but no one has time to question why a pastor would be asking an academic for help because Bonnie is dragging Jeremy into the room to see if he can manage not to kill Elena. He walks toward his sister and… they hug. Well, that's a relief. 

Stefan (who also wasn't really held hostage) talks to Klaus at the big Mystic Falls party of the week. There's some chitchat, but this scene is really about giving Klaus an opportunity to talk about loneliness, and memorializing the dead, and how they're left empty after killing someone. "But in the end, we're left infinitely and utterly alone." Even if this scene is shoehorned in, it's still lovely. Klaus is, in his way, a great romantic antihero, desperately alone and so desperate to create a family of his own he actually makes a fleet of hybrids to do his bidding. His definition of family is hugely messed up -- if you love something set it free is not in his vocabulary -- but that yearning is poignant and, yes, humanizing. 

April finds Caroline looking deadish on the floor, and proceeds to freak out -- then freak out more when she abruptly appears behind her, looking just fine. She "compels" her to forget everything she's just seen -- not realizing she's wearing a vervain bracelet. 

Hayley tells Tyler there is no witch -- she needed 12 for the sacrifice, and she let Klaus do the dirty work. We watch as Klaus destroys all of Tyler's pack, staggers away from his killing field.  

Bonnie, Elena and Jeremy sit around and reminisce by the fire while Damon watches from a distance. When Elena walks over to him, she tries to convince him in the Delena concept. But all he can think about is how good it was to see her looking happy and normal with her friends. He wants that for her. And he wants to do the right thing by her and the right thing by Stefan. 

And then, Damon breaks the sire bond. "I'm setting you free, Elena. This is what I want. This is what will make me happy."

Well, I doubt that. I still don't understand why Delena had to be torn asunder this quickly -- especially when their very brief affair is going to cause just as much hurt for Stefan as if it had gone on for months. 

Caroline and Stefan take a break from looking for Tyler to talk about how guilty they feel about conspiring against Klaus, and Stefan concludes that the difference between them and Klaus is that they have family they can trust. Caroline sighs. "Trust is everything," she says, before hinting that Damon and Elena are together. As in, together-together. 

Elena leaves Damon, and Stefan breaks furniture, and no one is happy. And definitely no one is having hot vampire sex. Tyler sees his sad, empty wolf lair. Everyone is sad and alone this Christmas season, and the only bright spot is that Jeremy didn't kill his sister, which seems like a pretty feeble cause for celebration. 

April, who can't be compelled, somehow stumbles across Rebekah's grave, and I'm thinking she must be having a pretty crappy day. As if her Christmas wasn't going to suck enough.  

Mayor Lockwood needs a ride. She's a little drunk, and she'd like her son to be her designated driver. Before we can question that, Klaus shows up -- and drowns her. While "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" plays. Happy holidays, everyone! 

What did you think of the holiday episode? Were you sad to see Delena crumble so quickly? And do you think Stefan will ever forgive them?