'The Vampire Diaries' Shipper-cap: Elena Learns About Damon's (Bad, Bad) Past With the Augustine Experiment

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Michael Malarkey as Enzo and Ian Somerhalder as Damon in "The Vampire Diaries"
Michael Malarkey as Enzo and Ian Somerhalder as Damon in "The Vampire Diaries"

How well do you really know the ones you love?

As Elena discovers this week on "The Vampire Diaries," not as well as you think?

Elena has always known Damon is a bad boy, a complicated guy, a vampire with a sordid and bloody past. But now that their relationship is in full-on serious mode, she's discovering more about him — and much of it isn't good.

This week, she learns all about his past as an Augustine vampire — how he was captured by Dr. Whitmore, how he held on despite painful torture, and how he brutally murdered not only the entire Whitmore family but left his compadre, Enzo, behind.

Damon might be the reformed bad boy, but let's face it … when he was bad, he was really, really bad. And as much as Elena loves him, can she accept even the darkest parts of him?

Let's jump to the various relationship statuses from this week's episode. It was pretty much an A-B story week, meaning no Bonnie/Tyler, no Caroline/anybody (well, not really), and no Matt/flavor of the week:

Elena and Damon

Status: In love, but getting complicated

With her boyfriend MIA, Elena goes on the hunt to find Damon and starts with Aaron. Since Damon was last with Dr. Maxfield, and Aaron is his ward, it's a natural place to start. But this leads Elena right into Maxfield's trap, and soon, Elena is in a cell next to Damon in the bowels of the Augustine experiment.

There, Damon slowly reveals his past there: He was captured, tortured, and kept there, alongside another prisoner named Enzo. They plotted a way to escape (Enzo gave his daily ration of blood), but when the time came, Damon left Enzo to the fires. Not only that, afterward, Damon executed almost all the members of the Whitmore family, including Aaron's aunt Sarah just that previous summer. Meaning, in between sessions in the sheets with Elena, Damon was carrying out cold-blooded vengeance.

Elena is shocked and appalled, but doesn't have time to talk this out with him as he's shot with a wooden bullet. Then, she wakes up in a lab ... next to Enzo! (Come on, is anyone on this show really ever dead?)

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Elena and Aaron

Status: Cloudy with a chance of a connection

Sure, Elena still seems head over heels in love with Damon (despite his Whitmore-murdering confession), but still, she does have a connection with Aaron. They've both lost so many family members, and to vampires, to boot. Of course, the fact that he doesn't break her out of the cell, but leaves her to be taken to the lab for "testing" with Enzo says a lot. But then again, Aaron doesn't seem totally on board with what Dr. Maxfield is doing. He's a wild card for now.

Stefan and Katherine

Status: Bonding

After her aborted suicide attempt last week, Katherine is trying to write in her journal about her feelings. Of course, she hasn't really had feelings for the last couple of centuries, so it's superhard. Caroline shows up at the mansion with a plan to heal Stefan's PTSD: Put him back in the safe he was locked up in all summer. Yeah, um, great plan, Care.

At first, it doesn't go well, at all. Surprise. But then, Kat comes up with an idea — climb in there with him! It's a bit crazy, since she's still human and all Stef wants to do his rip her neck apart. But soon, Katherine helps Stefan realize that his issues aren't with the physical pain of being locked up, but rather the emotional pain of his breakup with Elena (and her subsequent relationship with Damon).

After Stefan emerges from the box, Kat gives him a saucy "I told you so" speech. Stef admits he doesn't really know what he's doing, but neither does she. So, why not hook up again? They start making out like the teenagers they once were.

Stefan and Caroline

Status: Still in the firiendzone ... ugh

Look, even Katherine can't figure out why these two aren't together! Maybe they claim to be "just friends," but who else would go to these lengths to help Stefan? And when he gets out of the safe, he gives Caroline this incredibly brilliant smile and warm hug. And she did seem perturbed after overhearing him make out with Katherine (even if it was seemingly for Elena's sake). Whatever, maybe we're delusional, but these two have crazy chemistry. The end.

Check out Twitter reaction to the episode, and then sound off in the comments below.

"The Vampire Diaries" airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.