It all starts with the pair agreeing to go on a road trip to see Jeremy - the Salvatore brothers, if you remember, still trying to find out whose Original bloodline they belong to. Jeremy, of course, can speak to dead people, and so uses his power to speak to Rose (Lauren Cohan) who says she was turned by Mary Porter.
This brings us to a scene at a motel the trio are staying at. Elena asks Damon: "Why don't you let people see the good in you?" Damon responds, clearly directed at Elena: "Because when people see good, they expect good. And I don't want to live up to anyone's expectations." So good. It's not often we see the vulnerable side of Damon.
Elena leaves the room but Damon follows, and they share a hugely satisfying and passionate kiss. It goes on for a long time (yay!) until Jeremy interrupts disapprovingly (boo!). However, by the end of the episode Rose seemingly got Jeremy to stop being judgemental about the possible romance by saying that they're good for each other.
Unfortunately, Elena and Damon's search for Mary Porter didn't amount to much, as she was already dead in her residence. Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic) got their first, and proceeds to beat Damon with a baseball bat to get "even". With one Original-slaying stake out there, Damon and Stefan still don't know if they can end Klaus.
While all of that is going on, back in Mystic Falls Stefan is trying to get the stake's location out of Alaric by drawing his evil alter ego out. Stefan is initially reluctant to go to extreme brutal measures to force the dark side out, and while it was rather uncomfortable viewing for a morally pure man like Stefan to throw punch after punch like that, Alaric states that it's absolutely essential to get what they need.
Evil Alaric does emerge and reveals that he hid the stake in the cave where no vampires may enter - pretty much the perfect spot to stash away the weapon that can kill them. Rebekah (Claire Holt) volunteers to drag Alaric to the cave to retrieve it, only for a shocking twist to reveal itself - Esther is actually possessing Rebekah!
I love Rebekah, so I was initially worried that Alaric would kill her right there. But the twist interestingly presents a brand new antagonist for the Salvatore brothers. A character with good intentions and has been perceived to be someone who's not a threat is now thrust into villain territory.
Her motives are easy to sympathise with and could be argued to be morally good, but the fact that she wants to kill all of her Original children and in the process wipe out vampires completely makes it not that tricky to root against. The way everything is plotted out is pretty brilliant. It's not as simple as black or white - there are multiple delicious layers of complexity.
'Heart of Darkness' continues to drive the overarching plot along in a fascinating way, but it also more than delivers on the relationship front. It has been a long, long time since we were treated to such a significant romantic development as Elena and Damon's kiss, but for Elena/Damon fans, the tantalising wait has surely made the moment more than worth it.
Caroline and Tyler get under the sheets, too, but they're in a rocky place towards the end when Tyler reacts badly when Caroline fails to tell him about Klaus's obsession with her. Did Tyler completely overreact? And does that mean Klaus's obsession with Caroline might be reciprocated?
What did you think of the episode? Leave your comments below!