I must admit, I was dreading this episode. The previews led me to suspect an entire episode of Elena being tortured by her ex-boyfriends. Unappealing, to say the least. But the torture was just a tiny part of the interlaced stories VD does so well, and we’re definitely moving towards a great, crazy finale.
With Elena’s ooey-gooey rich center of humanity gone, Caroline has moved to the fore. Ever since she became a vampire, she’s been one of my favorite characters (especially when she’s not mooning about Tyler). She got to do it all this week: she was a powerful vampire while talking to Elena, an overwhelmed and frightened young woman when pursued by Silas, and a loving daughter when rescuing her mother. Silas (nearly) killing Caroline’s mom made me cry—as did Caroline’s phenomenal efforts to save her. What a great confirmation that vampirism does have some perks.
Not so much for Elena, though. The torture was hard to watch: I couldn’t forget that Damon compelled Elena to turn her humanity off, and was now partnering with Stefan to pain her into turning it back on. Even with Caroline’s blessing and Katherine’s participation, the torture scenes felt manipulative, and I had to keep reminding myself that the boys were doing it to stop Elena from continuing to murder.
Ironically, it’s murder that got her to flip that switch. Matt was willing to sacrifice himself, with Jeremy’s ring as a backup. I hadn’t realized the ring was that transferable, although it makes sense: Alaric received his from Isobel, not a relative. Hopefully Matt will keep wearing it despite the side-effects—either that, or go to college in someplace without so much supernatural activity. Mystic Falls does attract trouble, and there are only so many mortals left in town.
And that number might keep dropping if Silas continues to cause trouble with wild abandon. Did we know that he could appear as anyone—not just anyone dead? Or am I forgetting Matt’s history: did he die and come back at some point before this episode?
Bonnie is playing a dangerous game, and she seems to be getting colder and colder. She followed Silas out of Caroline’s house with barely a glance back, and she’s negotiating with Katherine (which never ends well). She wants to pull back the veil between worlds before Silas is expecting it for good reasons: to kill Silas. But the veil itself—can it be raised again? And what will it mean for Bonnie’s struggles with her own powers to do something so massive?
There was also a lot of set-up for a supernatural spin on the rite of passage known as high school graduation. Elena reminded Caroline that her obsession with the trappings of prom, graduation, and good grades is a little silly for an immortal, and Matt is clearly struggling with finishing school at all. (It was nice to see someone acknowledge that they’ve missed a few classes this past crazy year.) With Elena, Caroline, Bonnie, and Matt all poised to graduate, I wonder where VD will go next year. Leaving Mystic Falls would be weird, but fun, at least for a while.
Might not happen, though. Caroline would be the character most likely to go to a top-notch school away from home, but she might not be willing to leave her mom if any supernatural risk remains. Elena doesn’t have the tie to her own home or family, and seeing Stefan and Damon regularly might be rubbing salt in wounds. Now that she has her humanity back, Mystic Falls might be a terrible reminder of all that has happened. Maybe all next year will be Elena traveling the country in an RV, hunting down Katherine.
• Elena: “Might be nice to have a bad boy ruffle those perfect features.”
• Caroline: “We don’t have a motto.” They should.
• Rebecca: “You dated that?”
Matt: “She likes projects.”
• Matt: “I’m calling Caroline. There’s no way we’re letting that psycho in there with Elena!”
• I thought it was hilarious that Damon had the fire extinguisher ready to hand during the torture scenes.
• I apologize for the lateness of this review. Work took me out of town this week, and will take me out of town next week, too, so next week’s review might be late as well.
• Thanks to Billie for her great review of last week’s Originals spin-off!
Three and a half out of four fire extinguishers.
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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