I see this show really hasn't changed much since I gave up watching it.
Stefan is still Mr. Ping-pong, Damon is still "pushing everyone away" (why doesn't everyone see through this act by now to the inner neediness and just tell Damon to cut it out, he stopped fooling everyone ages
ago?) Elena is still whining about how she can't choose between them blahblahblah...
It's amazing that people who've lived for 150 years aren't more just plain sick of themselves by now. If I were Stefan or Damon, I'd be changing my habits 180 degrees just to keep from going out of my mind with boredom. (Hmm, maybe that explains Stefan's ping-pong routine?)
The twist of having Alaric's magic ring make him psycho just smacks of a show desperately trying not to be sick of itself. This really shows the limitation of broadcast series, that get stuck into their premise and can never make any really big changes that upend that premise.
How about Elena deciding that she's over all vampires for good, marrying Matt and living happily ever after? How about Damon giving up the callous cynic routine and devoting his life to humanitarian causes? How about Stefan committing suicide and being off the show forever? How about one of the vamps deciding to tell the world that vampires exist, and offering themselves as medical proof of that fact? (After centuries, I can't believe that not one of them has done this, out of boredom if nothing else.) Anything that would upend the status quo would be preferable to this stagnation.
It's impossible to watch cable shows like The Walking Dead
, which really do have the guts to make fundamental changes to the characters and story that can't be taken back, and then tolerate a show like this one, which just spins and spins and goes nowhere.