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'Vampire Diaries': They Did WHAT With Elena's Body?

This week's episode was heart-stopping. Literally.

Ian Somerhalder teased all summer that Damon Salvatore would be getting back to his early antics in Season 7 of "The Vampire Diaries," and lo, he did indeed return to form when it comes to making a giant mess out of things for everyone else in town. Classic Damon, right?

Thanks to his murderously impulsive behavior from last week's episode -- R.I.P. Malcolm, we barely knew ye -- Stefan (Paul Wesley)'s lady love Caroline (Candice King) found herself bound and trapped in the torturous web of a family of vengeful heretics. You know, just another typical day in Mystic Falls.

With Elena (Nina Dobrev) safely tucked away for the next 60 years, the rest of the O.G. squad has plenty of time to run around on a rescue mission to retrieve Care Bear. Oh, whoops, JK. Even in lifeless form Elena's still a damsel in distress right now because Lily kidnaps her body and this means WAR.

Mission #1: Resurrect Jo.

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Status: TBD.

Alaric (Matthew Davis) wants his savagely murdered wife Jo back. He's not even toeing the five stages of grief just yet because he's got her body on ice, and he does not intend to bury it.

While he's all smarmy teacher man around the kids about steering clear of danger and insists that "The reality of death is actually the most unbelievable thing," behind the scenes he's been consulting soothsayers about the possibility of pulling a "Pet Cemetery" with his fallen spouse. Yikes.

Mission #2: Stop Matt's heart.

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Status: SUCCESS.

Yeah, so, Bonnie (Kat Graham) killed Matt (Zach Roerig) this week. NBD.

Damon and Stefan needed access to the Salvatore Manor to rescue Care, and since Lily's little minions drained his vervain supply and spelled him into signing the deed, Matt had to die. And it was almost a problem when some evil slayer visuals hit Bon post-heart-stoppage and she passed out before she could revive Matt. (Quick question about that, BTW: Why TF would she text Damon before bringing Matt back? Seriously, WHY.) But 6 minutes later, he's back and fine. Phew.

Mission #3: Destroy the evil stone.

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Status: FAILED.

But of course Alaric didn't handle this. Of course he didn't. Hydrochloric acid would probably do the trick to destroy the horrific vision-inducing Phoenix Stone, but 'Ric's too attached to the allure of its magic dead people-raising-properties -- evil or none -- to take it down. Because he's done a little experimenting and knows it'll (probably) work on his wifey. What she'll wake up like, however, is yet to be seen. Dun dun dun...

Mission #4: Rescue Caroline from Lily's lair.

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Status: FAILED.

After Matt sacrificed himself to open the property up for uninvited vamp entry, and the house is empty of heretics, Damon's able to distract Enzo (Michael Malarkey) while Stefan tries to save Caroline. And while he's able to get her down from her cruel ceiling bindings, he can't touch her.

See, Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore) said she was doing her a solid by spelling her to be untouchable via vervain skin -- because her heretic sisters are so awful -- but she's even worse and SURPRISE! She has kind of a thing for Stefan, which is evidenced by his journal entry from over 100 years ago which called her "the most wonderful girl" he'd ever met. Yuck.

And it turns out that even Lily's maid Lucy has the powers of compulsion because C's literally dragged by the air back into the house -- and Damon's not there to help Stefan save her either because he's got a new problem to attend to.

Mission #5: Protect Elena's body from Lily & Co.

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Status: FAILED.

Lily considered Malcolm her real son, so of course he got prime placement in the Salvatore crypt. Which meant Elena's body was just right there for the taking. And take she did.

Lily instructs her crew to dump Elena's non-corpse into the river where she can spend the next 60 years underwater as punishment for Damon's crime against her real eldest son. But he doesn't know where she's been sent -- and since Lily sees this as a taking his toys away sorta justice exaction, she's not gonna tell him.

Mission #6: Fight back against the Heretics.

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Status: TBD.

Both Bonnie and Matt are sick of the heretical bullsh-t and so are Damon and Stefan. Bonnie and Matt are ready to take up arms against the squad that emptied their town of humans, while the Salvatore brothers are down to beat her at her own game.

They figure the reason she's taken both of their lady loves away from them is to divide and conquer them, so why not pretend that they've been torn apart and send Stefan running to Mommy while Damon works his charm behind-the-scenes to find the missing sixth member of her family and propose a trade? Could work. We'll see.

As with the previous episodes, this week we got to jump ahead three years to whatever madness is going down that made Stefan wake Damon from his restful waiting-for-Elena slumber. And this time, we learned that Caroline is a hotshot news producer who's engaged to someone (decidedly NOT Stefan) who's in-the-know about the steer-clear sitch in The Falls. But the walls all fall down when she gets shot with a stake through the gut on her set.

To be continued...