Vampire Diaries: Death and the Maiden

“Stupid universe.”

Since I know the wheels and gears of genius grind slow, I’m not embarrassed to admit that it took me about six hours after watching this episode to realize that I’d gotten exactly what I wished for last week: closure. And since I know I’m fickle, I’m not (too) embarrassed to admit that I’m not sure I’m happy with what we got.

Don’t get me wrong: hooray! Silas is done! Although the fourth season got bogged down by the Silas stuff, the show improved in the fifth season once Paul Wesley got the opportunity to flex his doppelactor muscles. I’ve enjoyed stone-cold bastard Silas almost as much as I enjoyed stone-cold bitch Tessa (especially when she was holding her own with Ian Somerhalder’s patented snark). It was the sense of picaresque melodrama that was starting to get to me.

Now: problem solved. We’re moving on, presumably to college just in time for midterms. But was it worth it? I had the same issue with Silas and Tessa that I had with Klaus: because I always expected them to be defeated, I never got invested in their drama. I saw them as obstacles our heroes must deal with, rather than as the heroes of their own stories.

Is that my fault, or the show’s fault? I really can’t tell. When Nikki and Paolo joined the Losties on the beach, a collective groan was heard across the fandom. We all knew that wasn’t working: even Darlton agreed. But Klaus was popular with many fans. Maybe some other fans were hoping Silas would get his own Cajun spinoff sometime soon. But I wasn’t, no matter how much fun it was to watch Paul Wesley do his thing.

I mention all that because the epic bitter end of the Silas/Tessa/Amara triangle felt like it was supposed to feel epic. Silas got his comeuppance for being a sly jerk: as a supernatural being, he is doomed to spend eternity on the Other Side. He will live that unlife without his love Amara, who died as a human and therefore went to the Great Beyond (directions not available on Google maps). He will live that unlife with Tessa, who died a witch and therefore will spend eternity with Silas and, I guess, Bonnie’s Gram.

Tessa’s suicide was like a public service announcement warning us to never fall in true love. Amara’s betrayal was a fascinating glimpse into the doppelganger tendency to fall madly in love with Silastefans and then choose something else. Silas dying at Stefan’s hand felt like lovely karma. It was a huge ending to a 2000-year love affair. And yet my predominant emotion was wistful: I’m going to miss Tessa’s brand of evil deadpan. That girl has wit.

In other news: the show isn’t completely rebooting, of course. Bonnie is now the anchor, which seemed like a good idea at the time. Katherine is once again MIA and still a candidate for the AARP. Nadia is going back to Prague, which leaves me a bit confused about whether or not Matt still has a Gregor in his head.

Stefan has regained his memories, and for him the Stefan/Elena betrayal is still fresh—and still painful. Not as painful as his traumatic memories of drowning over and over again, though. Drowning is #1 on my list of Ways I Really Don’t Want to Die, so I wholeheartedly support his panic attacks, and I hope he figures out a way to deal with that trauma, because I don’t think I could.

Being near Elena and Damon might make it worse, though. Tessa harassed Damon about the whole “fated by the universe” thing for quite a while; can Damon get past the destiny-sized chip on his shoulder to be a good boyfriend to Elena? Or is Tessa right, and the universe really wants to get those two kids together? It seems to me like Amara’s choice of death over love means that the universe likes to play the game, but the final moves are always up to the players. It’ll be interesting to see which side The Vampire Diaries choose: Team Fate or Team Free Will.


• Stefan: “Why do you think I’m crazy? All I’ve wanted for the last 2000 years has been to be reunited with the love of my life. How is that crazy?”

• Stefan: “I’m in Philly? Oh, God. It’s even worse.” I’ve been to Philly. It had more buildings then.

• Bonnie (about dying): “It won’t hurt, will it? It would suck if it hurt.” Oh, irony.

• Dr. Enfield: “Patient is irritable. Not sure if it is a symptom or just…personality.”

• Damon: “This is not the time to have an everyman crisis.”

• Damon: “I got doppelgangers coming out of my ears!”

• Tessa: “So you live in this giant mansion with two doppelgangers who are destined to end up together. I swear there’s a sitcom in there somewhere.”

And Pieces:

• Decent explanation for Amara knowing English: she learned it on the Other Side.

• I thought it was the cure that made Katherine resurrect after Silas sucked it out of her, so I spent a few minutes wondering if Silas would resurrect after Stefan killed him. I guess not. Or are they leaving that door open?

Three out of four How I Met Your Doppelganger, a new sitcom from CBS.

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


Billie Doux said...

It just doesn't feel like the Silas/Amara/Tessa story is over, does it? Maybe I don't want it to be over. Not so much for Silas and Amara, but couldn't they bring Tessa back somehow? :)

I'm still confused about how the doppelganger reincarnations worked with vampirism. Did Katherine have a Silasstefan? Who was it? Is Elena Stefan's Amara? How could she be if he's over a hundred years old?

rebecca_s921 said...

I thought someone or somewhere it was mentioned the Katherine's vampirism threw the whole cycle off kilter, but I'm not sure if it's just me rationalizing an already confusing show. I kept wondering if Silas is really dead, even when we saw the body (re: rule #10) ... presumably Silas died before Bonnie became the anchor so it might be logical we didn't see Silas pass through Bonnie. Or did they leave room for Silas' return? I really hope the Silas arc is done so we can move on.

I liked the development of using Bonnie as the anchor, bringing her back without a true resurrection. Even when I know the moment is coming, I still got chills and misty eyed when I saw Bonnie, Caroline, and Elena embrace. Caroline is just so cute and true to form as she was planning on Bonnie moving back in and going to school. It filled me with anticipation for their college hijinks the rest of the season.

topher darling said...

The snark alone made this episode worth it which is a good thing because I'm having a hard time caring about this other-side/veil storyline.

Damon: "You remember Amara right? Brunette, brown eyes, I'm surprisingly not in love with her."

Katherine: "The cute one's here."

Damon: "Electricity's out in the whole house. What happened?"
Elena: "Silas is here."
Damon: "Well, Silas owes me a fuse box."

Silas: "You haven't seen the love of my life running around here by any chance, have you?"
Tessa: "Nope, maybe you shouldn't have turned the lights off, genius."

What does strike me is the fickleness of our "heroes" in this story. They wanted Silas dead, then they wanted to partner with him against Tessa, then they partnered with Tessa against him. They're really kind of a self-serving lot, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Damon/Elena is Team Free Will? Their relationship is based on Elena's mind being altered by a sire bond.

Josie Kafka said...

I thought TVD had established that the sire bond was broken.

Billie Doux said...

Yes, the sire bond is broken. And Elena was into Damon before she became a vampire.

TheShadowKnows said...

I was getting a little tired of the whole "massive-retcon-Silas" storyline anyway, so I'm glad to see the back of it one way or the other (assuming we really have seen the back of it).

The question now is: who will be the new villain on the show? I think it's a tossup between the Initiative - cough, I mean "the Augustine Society" - and Stefan going postal in a big way. Or both.

Anonymous said...

Julie Plec herself has said that the sire bond was the only way to get Elena to move on from Stefan. It doesn't matter that the bond was based on her already existing feelings for Damon. She would never have acted on those feelings if she hadn't been sired (again Plec's words, not mine). The sire bond changed the way Elena thought and felt which seems gross and brainwashy to me.

Billie Doux said...

Of course, the sire bond was a thing that happened and I completely get that it was used as a plot device to finally get Elena over to team Damon. But unless I imagined the end of last season, it was also established that Elena's feelings for Damon are genuine.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they were always genuine, but they were magnified by the sire bond. Siring Elena was the only way to get Elena to choose Damon. Plec admitted that in her interviews. Elena was affected by a supernatural force all season and as a result of that she picked Damon. To me that screams lack of consent/brainwashing and that's why I can't get on board with Damon/Elena.

Plus the sire bond seems like lazy writing on the writers' part.

Billie Doux said...

Anonymous, and I am assuming this is the same Anonymous, your original comment was "Damon/Elena is Team Free Will? Their relationship is based on Elena's mind being altered by a sire bond."

The thing is, they may have gotten together because of it, but their current relationship has nothing to do with it. Elena is with Damon now because she wants to be.

But if the whole thing makes you uncomfortable, hey, then it does. Personally, I was shipping Elena and Damon back in season one, and if it took the bond to get them together, it's fine with me. If it were the reason they were still together, it would make me uncomfortable, too -- but it's not.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was me as well :)

It just makes me so uncomfortable that Elena wasn't herself all season four (with the exception of the last couple of episodes). It seemed like the writers didn't care that Elena's mind was being altered by the sire bond. They just needed a plot device to get Damon and Elena together. Besides, the whole "Elena being sired" arc revolved around Damon's manpain and his insecurity about whether Elena would love him without the bond or not. Not about how Elena mind was being controlled. And that will forever taint Damon/Elena for me.

It doesn't matter that Elena is with Damon now because she wants to be - it's still a result of supernatural brainwashing.

My point is: I wish the writers had done something else and made Damon/Elena hooking up more organic. The whole sire bond storyline reeks of dubious consent. And I'm kind of baffled the writers didn't realize that.

M said...

Interesting. I never actually thought the sire bond was responsible for Damon and Elena's relationship, since it was heading that way anyway and because Elena confirmed their relationship was not due to the sire bond once it ended.

I hear what you are saying about the Julie Plec interview, Anonymous (although I haven't seen it), but everything in the actual story seems to convey that Elena's choice was her own.

If anything, I think the writers were trying to find a way for Elena to break up with poor Stefan without us hating her for it. I agree with you it probably wasn't the best choice, since trying to make it "not Elena's fault" made it look a a lot like "not Elena's decision".

As for this week's episode, I sort of hope we haven't seen the end of Silas. Other than the gut liquifying, he was kind of fun during that bus stop scene.

Anonymous said...

"Everything in the actual story seems to convey that Elena's choice was her own." That's because the sire bond gave her the "illusion of free will" (a quote from Julie Plec's tweet on how the bond works). Yeah, I'm not kidding. Plec actually said that.

Elena's agency was compromised in season four; I don't see how it's possible for anyone to deny that. She went from loving Stefan to suddenly not being in love with him anymore, thinking about their time together as "a distant memory". The sire bond did that to her.

I get that The Vampire Diaries has never been a particularly feminist show, but altering their heroine's mind in order to get her to be with another love interest is the worst thing the show has ever done. I understand that the writers did it so Elena couldn't fully be held accountable for her actions, but it's such a gross way to do it and I wish more people would call them out on it.

Samantha Gomes said...

(Oh, we're back there at that discussion again; oh,no, please!)

What a heavy episode. oh my, very strong-emotion-filled and fast paced, wow...I'm not sure what comes next, but I'm really eager to see the next episode.

By the way, how could you miss Damon's line about the: castaways who got into an island and talked about golf - what a great reference to Lost. I laughed out loud! I surely deserved to go into the "Bites" section.
Poor Stefan, he's broken. Can he be fixed?

M said...

I do understand why it upsets you, Anonymous. To me, the worst thing that ever happened on the show was when Damon killed Jeremy. It still really bothers me that Elena is dating a guy who tried to murder her brother. When you really think about it, pretty much all of the characters are horrible people who do unforgivable things. Murder, rape, mind control...and those are the heroes!

Billie Doux said...

It's the nature of the genre. We're talking about a television show in which our heroes are literally monsters, aren't we? It's fantasy. If I were actually dating a real life human guy like this -- well, I wouldn't. No matter how cute he was.

M said...

Samantha...good catch on the LOST reference. I totally missed that one.

Topher darling...the quotes you listed were my favorites! This was a very funny episode.

M said...

Totally :)

Patryk said...

I think there is more of a danger for Amara to ressurect thatnks to the cure since she was the one having it in her system at the time of this episode. Silas already "used" his possible ressurection when Amara bit him in the previous episode. When side-effects are concerned Silas should be aging fast like Katherine, but now we won't have the opportunity to see that.