Bob Mahoney/The CW
Mandi Bierly
February 22, 2013 AT 06:00 AM EST

Okay, everyone, we’re going to need some time to process this one. I love that this show is more than the love triangle, but I can’t remember the last time I rewound as much to follow exposition. (I miss Elijah and the fake Curse of the Sun and the Moon.) But it was, I believe, worth it in the end for the big show-changing twists.

1.) Jeremy is really dead. According to an poll after last week’s episode, only 22 percent of viewers were certain we were kissing our white tanks goodbye. So I’m guessing most of us are only now mourning the loss of those biceps. I’m sorry to see him go, but…

2.) Damon telling Elena to turn off her humanity so she would survive her overwhelming grief was brilliant. It should have hit me sooner that that’s where we were headed, but I gasped when he said it. It led to a beautiful scene between the brothers, which rightfully took place on the porch where Elena and Damon had some of their best scenes that divided the brothers. They made peace there now…

3.) BEFORE IT WENT UP IN FLAMES! Elena still burned down her house, with Jeremy’s body in it. Again, I should have seen that coming: Her emotions were off, it probably is the best cover story (even though April should know the fire wasn’t reported until long after she’d called the house phone and Elena said Jeremy was dead). This is as great a loss as Jeremy. Goodbye, porch. Goodbye, Gilbert Kitchen of Death that I was surprisingly fond of.

4.) Silas seems to be masquerading as Shane? That’s where I’m still confused. But the bottom line seems to be that Shilas, as he shall now be known, has Bonnie brainwashed into thinking it’s okay for her to kill 12 people to bring back Jeremy and EVERY OTHER SUPERNATURAL CREATURE THAT HAS EVER DIED. If they all return and end up in New Orleans, where the Originals start a supernatural detective agency to hunt the bad ones, that could be fun. Angel 2.0! (A girl can dream.)

Let’s dig in.

So Stefan was the first to figure it out: Because Jeremy was one of The Five, he’s supernatural, so the resurrection ring would no longer work. Stefan told Damon, and Damon said Elena won’t survive this. He asked Stefan to take Elena off the island, and he’d look for Bonnie, who’d gone missing.

Stefan and Elena arrived home with Jeremy’s body, and truth be told, he had more color there than he did in Silas’ crypt. I’m just saying. Stefan shook his head at Caroline, who’d been trying to clean Kol’s burn mark, so she knew Jeremy wouldn’t be coming back. Upstairs, Elena covered Jeremy in his bed, held his hand, and waited. Heartbreaking.

On the island, Damon’s witch hunt was interrupted by a noise in the woods. “Unless you’re blonde, a Bennett witch, or a doppelgänger, I suggest you steer clear,” he said. Who was it? We don’t know. But Rebekah appeared shortly there afterward. He told her about Katherine’s return and Jeremy, and I believed what Rebekah said: She’s not heartless. She won’t miss Jeremy, but she knows he was Elena’s only family and she understands loss. She wanted to find Katherine, but Damon said she’d be gone. They had to find Bonnie. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Silas is up and about.

Bonnie awoke to find she was pretty much healed from that stab wound to the back. And damn it, Shane is alive. He said he treated her with herbs and berries from the island — WHAT? — and that Silas healed his leg. DOUBLE WHAT? He congratulated her on raising Silas and said Silas was going to bring back the dead. Bonnie said that was unnatural, but Shane told her she might change her mind. Either she hadn’t remembered Jeremy dying or she blocked it out. Was Shane just brainwashed himself or was he Shilas already?

In the Gilbert Kitchen of Death, Stefan and Caroline turned on the faucet so Elena wouldn’t hear them discuss how her denial was the only thing keeping her sane until they could get Damon back there to sire bond her through this. Elena had come downstairs and heard them though, and she’s right, she’s not in denial: Technically, Jeremy’s Hunter’s mark, the spell that opened the passage to Silas, had left his body, so maybe he wasn’t supernatural at the time of his death after all. She’s holding on to hope. I’ll grant her that.

NEXT: “What’s that smell?”

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