It's not goodbye, it's more like, until we find a way.
Though the race to find the cure is still in full swing, the group has already encountered its fair share of problems. Damon has been taken prisoner by the hunter Galen Vaughn (also a member of the Brotherhood of the Five) and Shane has taken Bonnie and Jeremy to open Silas's tomb. Back in Mystic Falls, Tyler and Caroline are trying to help Stefan, Elena and Rebekah find Silas's tomb by getting the answers from the sword Klaus has been keeping, which happens to be written in Aramaic. Guess who is the only person around that can speak a dead language from biblical times? Once Klaus translates the text, they learn that there is only one dose of the cure; meaning this isn't going to be a happy ending for everyone. As it turns out, Galen Vaughn has been watching the gang for quite some time in Mystic Falls and plans on using Damon as leverage against Bonnie in order to get the cure (so he might not be the smartest hunter we have seen). In another twist, when Damon mentions how Vaughn took out the guy that was trying to kill Jeremy, Vaughn is at a loss because it wasn't him so there must be someone else on the island. Shane has taken Bonnie and Jeremy through the mine but after he has the two of them open Silas's tomb, there is an accident that leaves him stranded with a broken leg. After learning that there is only one dose of the cure, Rebekah betrays Stefan and Elena but even so, they need to get the sure to make Klaus human and stop him from killing all of them. Just as Bonnie and Jeremy finally reach Silas's resting place, an all too familiar face has plans of her own. Katherine has returned and she has reawakened Silas and taken the cure for her own reasons, leaving a dead Jeremy in her wake and possibly spelling the end for everyone when Silas returns.
Down the Rabbit Hole took almost every character in the show to the darkest reaches they have been to yet. As each of them made their way towards the cure, they were met with nothing but betrayal and apathy as they all struggled to find a way to get it for themselves. Of all of the revelations that have occurred throughout the seasons, I can't say that I am especially impressed with there being only one dose of the cure. There are a number of characters like Caroline, Tyler (hybrid, I know) and even Elena, that have become vampires/hybrids for the sake of making them more interesting but that hasn't worked out the way it was planned. Caroline has never been an interesting character and has always been on the fringes of the story. Becoming a vampire was only a temporary boost for her but then she became mature and boring. Tyler was more interesting when he was a werewolf and becoming a hybrid didn't help him either. Lastly, Elena's love for both Stefan and Damon was palpable when she was human. Elena was a young girl that was torn between two brothers and never knew if she was making the right choice by being close to either of them. When she became a vampire and the question of the sire bond was raised, it reduced all of her emotions into a primal instinct rather than a relatable emotion. The point is that having more supernatural characters isn't always to the benefit of a story and this one has lost a lot of its humanity, both literally and figuratively.
While it made sense that some were willing to take more drastic steps to get the cure, like Rebekah, the motivations of others weren`t as clear as they could have been. After all of his scheming last week, what was the reason for Shane to betray the others? Considering that his intentions to raise Silas also coincided with everyone else to find the cure, he never had to betray any of them. Both Stefan and Damon were willing to give the cure to Elena and didn't care about Silas. It may seem like Shane simply didn't factor that in but I don't buy it. This is the guy that has plotted his way into the lives of a number of characters for most of the season and for him to not account for that is disingenuous to the character. David Alpay has done a fine job of playing Atticus Shane, if a little over the top at times, but it's disappointing that his character was compromised in a way just to drive the story forward.
I can't say that Katherine's big return had the same impact that it did when she made her first appearance. As soon as Elena said, "It's you!" and she saved Jeremy, the answer was obvious. The only question is whether or not this is the right time for Katherine to make her return? Galen Vaughn is still alive and now that there are two hunters and Silas, it's already quite crowded. Speaking of hunters, Jeremy's death is no doubt temporary but it should be permanent. Jeremy has no desires or purpose for being a part of the story besides being the last tether for Elena's humanity. As it is, his death can have more of an impact on the show than his life ever could.
Down the Rabbit Hole has not left anyone in a good spot. Katherine has the cure, Silas is free and Jeremy might be dead. Hopefully this is the point when The Vampire Diaries turns up the dial on the excitement because the past few weeks have felt like they are setting up a huge event. We'll see if that happens in next week's Stand by Me.