Most of TVD’s titles are drawn from pop culture: books, songs, movies, etc. This week’s title, “Gone Girl,” is no exception. And while I suspect it’s just a cute title with no more relevance to Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best-seller than last week’s title had to French existentialism, it’s interesting to consider how a story of two sociopaths attempting to outwit each other has some relevance for our current arc.
I refer, of course, to Damon and Katherine. I don’t think anyone would argue that Katherine is at least mostly sociopathic (if such a qualification can exist). Damon is more complicated, of course: he feels genuine guilt in a way a sociopath wouldn’t. But he’s also scheming, and it’s no coincidence that he realized Katherine had figured out his ruse just as she figured out he had figured out hers. They were a pair, that's for sure, although I'm not sure they were a good pair.
Damon/Katherine wasn't the point of this episode, though. The point was the aftermath of last week’s cliffhanger, in which Stefan and Caroline realized that Elena hadn’t been very Elenic lately. It was fun to see that play out. I especially enjoyed everyone putting the puzzle pieces together: Oh, she’s why Tyler knows about Caroline and Klaus! Oh, that’s why Kelena was seducing Stefan! Oh no, Caroline lent her toothpaste!
That might be a more appropriate set of goodbyes than the maudlin-yet-funny scenarios in “500 Years of Solitude.” Is this really goodbye, though? Katherine didn’t get a chance to go to the other side: instead, she’s been whisked off to some…other other side, I guess. I’m glad the PTB are willing to sideline Katherine but not kick her out of the game entirely, and I’m incredibly curious about where she might have gone. Did someone specific do the whisking?
There is something incredibly sad, too, that both mother and daughter died in the same episode. Nadia’s spent half a millennium tracking her mother, only to find her and then die because of her willingness to fight a werewolf to protect her mother’s passenger-doppelganger secret. (That sounds rather soapy, doesn’t it?)
But the saddest part might be that Nadia’s death was completely preventable, if Katherine were willing to break her Elena-cover by asking Klaus for help. Luckily, TVD knows it can’t go to the werewolf well too often: the prolonged death and difficult cure are a recipe for schmaltz (when done wrong) or genuine emotional zaniness (when done right). “Gone Girl” does it right, in no small part because “No Exit” made Nadia so much more sympathetic, thanks to Matt’s patented Likeability Generator©.
I assume that Klaus will return in the next episode, since Elena can’t die of a werewolf bite. That will make Nadia’s sacrifice even more pointless, except to illustrate that even at her best, Katherine is never one to give into the doppelganger martyrdom that Elena likes so much. As far as going to a well too often, though, I’m tempted to say that the TVD masterminds might want to consider retiring the “Elena in peril” plot.
Why? Because as much as the characters might have realized—finally—that Kelena wasn’t the Elena they were thinking of, I didn’t miss Elena much these past few episodes. Things tend to happen to her, which is basically the TVD definition of plot, but she’s not much of a plot-starter. And while I’m curious to see how Elena reacts to Damon’s reinvigorated bloodlust, I’m more interested in this show moving past the love-triangle elements. (Granted, that might just be a sign that I’m getting old.)
Speaking of love triangles: this new Bonnie/Jeremy/Newbie Witch Liv has some weird potential, especially since Jeremy seemed completely bemused by Liv’s attentions. Bonnie, on the other hand, just seemed angry, and rightfully so. Maybe she’ll get more screen time—and her spa day—in the next few episodes, possibly as a way to explore wherever it is that Katherine went off to.
• Damon: “Caroline?!”
Stefan: “Relax. She used a calculator.”
• Damon: “Long way off the tenure track, eh?”
• Damon: “I’ll see you in hell, Katherine.”
• Katherine: “This truly has been the role of a lifetime.” Nice meta-moment there, and not wrong: Nina Dobrev once again knocked it out of the park.
• Dr. Max said there was no Augustine society. There was just him. Now that he’s dead, does that mean the vampire-experimentation plot is over? Whew!
• I loved Katherine putting her hands on Bonnie’s shoulders again and again, like she was smacking a TV that’s getting a fuzzy signal.
Three out of four werewolf venoms.
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?)
- Next episode
- Vampire Diaries season 5
- Vampire Diaries home
- Watch this episode or the entire season now