I don't know exactly how The Vampire Diaries does it, but episodes like "Disturbing Behavior," in the "cram everything into an episode" format, are pretty awesome. It's a testament to the show that it regularly does episodes like this. Every character has something interesting they can do outside of the main plot of the season.
From Damon going on a rampage to Bill Forbes being immune to compelling to Jeremy's ghost adventures, there was a lot of good things happening in the episode. The episode also builds tons of momentum going into the next episode. Inside a room with the coffins, Klaus reveals that he and Stefan are actually in the back of a truck in Mystic Falls. WTF? Katherine also shows up, swipes the necklace, and gets Damon to take a road trip with her. The Vampire Diaries is never a predictable show and I can't fathom what happens next.