The theme for tonight's episode of "The Vampire Diaries" seems to be hot vampires trapped in small spaces. I'm not kidding, either. First, we have to deal with Damon's entrapment by the truly loathsome Wes. It turns out Wes comes from a long line of sadists, I mean, scientists who love poking and prodding vampires to see how they tick. And, as we know, Damon has been through this before.

We start off by flashing back to 1953, when Damon was a cool greaser (of course; did you expect anything else?) and some guy named Joseph Salvatore owned the palatial digs we associate with Damon and Stefan. Joe, unfortunately for him, was a crappy relative who sold out Damon to Doctor Whitmore. It would have meant a nice payday if Damon didn't kill him first, but really, that's what you get for crossing a vampire. 

Meanwhile, Elena is looking everywhere for Damon, so logically she heads straight to… Aaron! Really, this does make sense, as he's the only clear path she has to Wes. It does entail listening to Aaron whine about how death is all around him (I had thought Aaron might be a nice fill-in for Damon on the romance front, but I now suspect Elena finds him as boring as we do). Still, he eventually takes her to the Whitmore House, where she learns that, oops, Aaron's last name is Whitmore. She doesn't have much time to absorb this, though, because before she knows it Wes has arrived, sunk a syringe of vervain into her neck, and he's giving Aaron the lowdown on how his parents were killed by vampires. 

This is, honestly, a lot to take in, so Aaron punches Wes in the face. I was hoping this meant he'd free Elena from Wes' lock-up, but no dice. After all, Elena needs to wake up in the cell next to Damon so he can tell her about his five years spent as #21051. Cue flashback!

It turns out that Damon survived five long years of this jackass Whitmore gouging him in the eyes because he made a friend in the cell next door -- Enzo. Enzo encouraged him to focus on his revenge, and then came up with a master plan to break out. He would give his blood ration to Damon each day so he could gain the strength needed to bust out on the one day a year when Whitmore allowed the vampires out of their cages -- to provide amusement to other members of the Augustine Society. 

It's a great plan, and it should work -- except, when Damon goes on a wild attack killing Whitmore and his snotty party guests, a candelabra gets knocked over, a fire breaks out -- and Damon can't get Enzo out of his vervain-coated cage. So, he turns off his humanity switch and walks away, leaving Enzo to burn. Clearly, Damon feels more about this than he says he does, and Elena is properly horrified, but I suspect this is not the last we'll see of Enzo. They wouldn't have bothered to cast someone so cute only to kill him off this quickly, would they?

But back to Aaron, who isn't freeing Elena or Damon from their cells. No, he's waving a gun at both of them and losing his fool mind. He babbles that Elena has been essentially stalking him, and maybe she killed his parents, and maybe he should shoot her. Instead, Damon tells Aaron he killed his parents, which initially seems like a chivalrous way to get the gun off of Elena -- except he did kill his parents. Remember that revenge plan? Damon swore he'd kill every member of the Whitmore clan except one per generation, then slaughter the next batch (except for one), and so on, and so on. Oh. Anyway, Aaron shoots Damon, as you might expect. 

When he wakes up, Elena is gone -- dragged off by Wes for prodding and gouging, it seems. And who's on the table next to her? Enzo! Yay! Except not so yay, as he seems pleasant enough but might be a little insane from being locked up this long. Can't wait to see what happens when Damon gets a load of him!

But let's move on to our other hot vampire in a tight space -- that would be Stefan. Because Katherine thinks he's become an annoying granny vampire while watching over her, she recruits Caroline to come over and help him with his PTSD. Caroline, who has apparently read an article or two on the Internet, brings with her the vault in which Stephan drowned and drowned and drowned some more. Stephan, needless to say, does not like this idea.

When locking him inside the vault doesn't have the hoped-for results, Caroline ups the ante -- and tosses Katherine in there. And guess what? Katherine may be dying, but she has a knack for therapy and tells Stefan he has to stop finding reasons to stay in Mystic Falls, because he's just trying to distract himself from the pain of watching his brother with his ex-girlfriend. Ding!

Stefan is so grateful to Katherine! She's a miracle worker! So, she and Stefan do what dopplegangers do and make out. At least that's what we see. What we (and Caroline) hear later sounds like more than making out. 

Surprisingly, I get the impression that Stefan will be coming to Elena and Damon's rescue during the midseason finale, which is something of a surprise. Doesn't Stefan get his blissful, romantic summer with a hot chick while his brother suffers? I mean, fair's fair, right?

 

Do you think Aaron is as big of a threat as Wes? Do you think Katherine and Stefan are just having fun or is this something serious? And what do you think about Enzo