'The Vampire Diaries' recap: Elena needs Damon more than she knew, plus -- did Tyler cheat on Caroline?

Is it just me, or does "The Vampire Diaries" feel like a whole new show this season? After the heavy melodrama we were dealt at the end of Season 3, with Alaric's death and Elena's choice looming, last week's Japanese lanterns almost gave our characters permission to breathe again. Of course, things aren't easy by any means, and there are still plenty of burdens to bear. But there's a certain refreshing lightness to the show right now. Part of that is because things have been simplified to a degree. At this time last season, we were dealing with Klaus, the unknown factor of his family, the ghosts being manipulated by Esther, and Stefan's ripper side, which was a threat in itself. Right now, there's one key villain in Connor and one key mystery as we look for answers about Pastor Young and the council. The back-to-basics dynamic allows the writers to embrace the fact that...


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