Just when things seemed quiet in Mystic Falls, Klaus has returned and is determined to find his family since Stefan took them. Even though Elena doesn't know where they are she is forced to learn the hard way that Klaus has methods of getting what he wants.
After the attempt to kill Klaus failed, Elena and the others were left with an uneasy calm as neither Klaus nor Stefan had been since; that all changes when Klaus shows up at the Mystic Grill. Klaus presses Elena and Damon for answers but after he doesn't get them he almost has Jeremy run down by a car. By almost, I mean Alaric is there in time to push Jeremy out o the way, get hit by the car in his place and almost die when his ring doesn't seem to work like it used to. This dramatic turn puts the pressure on Elena to track Stefan down right away and luckily, Bonnie has already found him taking refuge in the abandoned home haunted by the dead witches that gave (and took away) her power. Regardless of the danger Jeremy may be in, Stefan is unwilling to help Elena but after Damon stakes him a few times, the two of the may finally be able to turn the tables on Klaus.
After a long hiatus, The Vampire Diaries has returned with a good, albeit slow paced episode. The New Deal was focused on the essential characters, lending itself to a tight story but its slow pace lacked the excitement that we are used to seeing after a long break. What this episode did well was reunite the Salvatore brothers on some level against a common enemy. In previous seasons it was Stefan and Damon against whatever threatened the ones they loved (Elena) but it hasn't been that way for half a season and it will be good to see the two of them working together again.
Jeremy in harm's way has become a staple of the story but his sudden departure from the show, probably temporary, was the biggest surprise yet of the season. Jeremy often feels out of place in The Vampire Diaries and I think this will only bring more focus to the show. Having one character be the distraction/damsel in distress has become largely one note for Jeremy and until the writers are ready or willing to take him in a different direction, it was past due to give us a break from one Gilbert.
In brief moment of human emotion, Klaus's scene with a mostly deceased Rebekah stood out as the heartfelt moment of The New Deal. Even though it lasted less than a minute, his decision to keep his sister dormant showed fear and shame when he is afraid of being alone. His actions contradict his own desires but his reasons were understandable and gave his character much needed pathos.
In similar fashion to the third season premiere, The New Deal set up the remainder of the season opposed to giving us the flash or excitement I expected. Whether or not this eventually pays off is anyone's guess but after two failed attempts to kill Klaus, I'm curious to see what surprises The Vampire Diaries has in store for the remainder of the season starting in next week's Our Town.