Annette Brown/The CW /Landov
Lanford Beard
January 23, 2015 07:35 AM

The Vampire Diaries‘ midseason premiere, “Woke Up with a Monster,” certainly gave fans a lot of options as to who might meet an impending and untimely end in the near future.

As the series begins its sprint to the season finale, characters both beloved and brand new stared down death.

Star Paul Wesley directed the episode, which picked up directly after Kai (Chris Wood) abducted Elena (Nina Dobrev) and as Caroline (Candice Accola) struggled to accept her mother’s cancer diagnosis. Even amid those merciless circumstances, Elena and Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre) weren’t the only folks in Mystic Falls whose lives were in peril.

But who looks most likely to say goodbye sooner rather than later?

Sheriff Forbes
Steroline fans got plenty of satisfaction this episode as Stefan (Wesley) kicked into caretaker mode for Caroline’s mom. But his nurturing instinct really benefited Caroline, from their road trip to Duke to consult a top oncologist until he – gasp! – grabbed her hand to soothe her stress-spiral over her mother’s health. (Shippers will be replaying that image in their mind for the next six days.)

Alas, Sheriff Forbes is ostensibly on a path for certain doom next week. Ironically, it was a desperate move by Caroline herself that set up the dominoes for her mother’s demise. At Duke, Caroline compelled a doctor to reveal the name of another patient with the same diagnosis. Seeing his comatose condition, she fed him her blood, even though vampire lore offered no proof that vamp blood could cure cancer. The guy immediately rallied, so Caroline and Stefan returned to Mystic Falls without a pause to observe how the guy’s seemingly miraculous recovery played out.

Fewer than 12 hours later, as Caroline optimistically offered her blood to her mother, the guy at Duke was going full 28 Days Later, convulsing, spitting blood across the glass pane of his door and ultimately dying an incredibly painful death. As we learned in next week’s previews, Caroline’s blood had actually sped up the cancerous cells. Yes, that very same blood Sheriff Forbes just drank while bingeing on Friends.

We’ve seen Elena (almost) die how many times now? Yet “Monsters” offered true anxiety at the sadistic hands of Kai. Drunk on magic, he spent as much time this episode testing out his spell-casting aptitude (sample query: “Do you mind if I try to turn your blood into acid again?”) as he did stalking down random hallways at Mystic Falls High School, where he was holding Elena captive. When Kai’s aforementioned acid-blood enchantment began melting Elena’s daylight ring, she ripped her shackles out of the ceiling and called Damon to rescue her. When Kai caught up with her in the science lab, she stuck her hand in the sun until it burst into flames, then used a nearby gas nozzle to hurl a fireball at Kai. It was a legitimately badass gesture that proved utterly futile since she was trapped in the school until dark. Enter

Despite her witchin’ skills still being very imperfect, Jo (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) realized she was the only Parker family member who could help Damon (Ian Somerhalder) take their black sheep, Kai. Damon and Jo snuck into the high school under the guise of a cloaking spell, which would have been a lot more cloak-y if they weren’t incessantly yapping. Regardless, they got to Elena and cloaked her as they headed for the exit. But Jo’s powers started flagging quickly. A nose bleed, a fainting spell and about two minutes later, Kai once again held the power…

Elena (again)
All Kai’s practice (read: torture) had paid off. He taunted Damon by cloaking and uncloaking himself and Elena. Just when it seemed Damon had outplayed Kai by snapping a broomstick and hurling it into his torso at vamp speed, it turned out Kai had performed an illusion: Elena had actually been impaled. Alaric (Matt Davis) and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) suddenly appeared and tranquilized Kai, but Elena was looking rough. She thought she had a splinter in her heart. Or did she? In fact, she was pulling the most obnoxious trick ever on Damon. (Apparently she’d picked up a little bit of Kai’s sadistic sense of whimsy by osmosis.) On the upside, Elena claimed she’d “never felt more alive,” and next week’s previews show that Delena is most definitely back on.

Over in twin town, Liv (Penelope Mitchell) wanted to help Team Elen-extraction, but Luke (Chris Brochu) cloaked them both and absconded with her. This was the final sign for Liv that her brother was the more powerful twin and that he would be destined to kill her if they ever merge. Other than giving a touch of momentum to Liv’s relationship with Tyler (Michael Trevino), this subplot was boring. The twins are boring. Also? Expendable. So, if Kai gets his way, Liv will most certainly be a goner.

More Diaries Details:
– The softer side of Stefan isn’t reserved for Sheriff Forbes. He also revealed that – many years ago, after Damon killed Zach Salvatore’s pregnant wife Gail – he had secretly convinced doctors to save his niece(-ish) Sarah Salvatore (Tristin Mays) via an emergency C-section. He hoped she would have a chance at a normal life. But, given that promising artist Sarah is only in college yet has a style even Enzo (Michael Malarkey) called “dark,” signs aren’t great that everything will work out for her.
– Speaking of things not working out, PSA: Never accept a job at the Mystic Grill. No cloaking spell can make up for the amount of torture Kai put the poor manager through (spine-breaking and internal combustion, for starters).
– Elena (but presumably Kai) sent Damon a “cold shower emoji” when she was supposedly standing him up but was actually abducted. Brilliant.

In summary (courtesy of Damon):
“Here’s to women who make crazy, screwed-up decisions and loving them more for it.”

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