This is not to put down the rest of the characters on Vampire Diaries, who are mostly lovely and interesting, or the show's talented cast. (Still wowed by Nina Dobrev's Elena/Katherine act.) But at this point, the standout character on the show is clearly Caroline Forbes. And last night's "The Downward Spiral" just proves it.

Until last night, I would have said the main reason why Caroline is the show's MVP at this point is because she's still got some sweetness and decency to her. She's murdered people, sure, including a dozen witches at one point — but she still cares, and she's a genuinely good person.

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But no — it turns out that with her humanity "switched off," eliminating any remorse or kindness or compassion, Caroline is still the best character on the show. Even better, if anything.

The clip above pretty much says it all — especially my favorite line of the night: "I compelled a STUDENT to perform SURGERY on Stefan's niece, and you found a way to make this about you? God, you truly have a gift, Elena."

Wearing an holy amount of mascara and frosted white eyeshadow, Caroline snickers, cavorts, sashays and sprawls her way through this episode. The best part is, Amoral Caroline is still Caroline. She still loves a party and is kind of a control freak and really wants to pressure everybody into going to the warehouse rave with her so she doesn't get bored. She's still smart and perceptive — she just doesn't give a fuck any more.

And I bet she makes a mean margarita.

Basically, it's still right after Caroline's mom's funeral, and she no longer feels anything except how uncomfortable the funeral shoes are. She gets blitzed on tequila and puts the moves on Liam the cute med student that Elena almost dated (remember him?) and then nearly kills him. When Elena, Stefan and the newly returned Bonnie get all intervention-y, Caroline offers them a deal: she won't kill anybody if they just leave her alone, with no humanity, for a year.

That sounds like a pretty good deal, and if anybody could stick to it, it would be Caroline.

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Unfortunately, Stefan feels guilty because if he had just come out and talked about his fucking feelings when Caroline asked him, she wouldn't have gone and done this. (Actually, it's really Damon's fault, as usual.) Stefan screwed up, so he has to "fix" this — by going to Caroline at the awesome rave where she's bouncing around with mostly naked go-go dancers, and telling her that he really does have a romantic thing for her. He won't use the "L" word, but he does say it's more than friendship.

And it almost works:

Which is why what happens next is all Stefan's fault, honestly. Caroline is pissed, so she goes and hunts down Stefan's niece Sarah, and then gets Liam the med student to do some bad surgery on Sarah — and the only way to stop it is for Stefan to turn his own humanity off.

(So many questions here. Is this something you can fake? Why can't Stefan just say, "OK, humanity off," and she'll believe him? Also, I'm still wondering why Caroline needed to break Elena's neck before turning her humanity off in the previous episode. Maybe because Elena would have kept her grounded to humanity? Unclear.)

Anyway, Elena saves Sarah, but not before Stefan goes through with it. And Stefan asks Elena to bring him back, suggesting that Elena is still Stefan's anchor, the thing that can return him to feeling stuff, the way Stefan is for Caroline. Which sucks! Or maybe you can have more than one anchor, and Stefan can't use Caroline as his anchor because she's already de-humanized.

In any case, how excited are we for the remorseless Stefan and Caroline duo?

So fucking excited.

Anyway, it's nobody's fault that the central Damon-Elena-Stefan romantic stuff has sort of run its course on this show — it's what happens after six years and a billion reconfigurations. But the real shame is that Klaus is kind of busy on The Originals, and thus we can't get the Klaus-Caroline-Stefan triangle that is basically the platonic form of television.

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In the episode's other memorable subplot, Bonnie is also going kind of "bad," although not as extremely as Caroline. She's back from the dead, with a LOT of issues. She's kind of pissed and not taking people's shit any more — when a guy tries to grope her at the rave, she burns him with her magic. And when Damon forces her to have some kind of "moment" with Kai, now that Kai is allegedly less of a psychopath post-merge, she threatens to melt Kai's face off. And she says she never wants to see Damon again — because like Elena, Damon has a way of making everything about him.

Oh, and Damon finds out his mom was a vampire, too, and she didn't die back in the Wig Days, the way he always thought, but instead went off and became a "Ripper," slaughtering her way across Europe until Kai's coven imprisoned her in a prison world. (Why couldn't they just stake her, like any other vampire? Unclear.) Kai refuses to help free Damon's mom from purgatory, but this show being this show, she'll be out in a couple weeks, and she'll be dating Tyler in a month.

Anyway — more Caroline, please!


Contact the author at charliejane@io9.com.