This rather disjointed episode seems to have reset a few missteps and set us up for the fifth-season race to the finish line. Although it had a few delightful scenes (especially Tom’s), the cumulative effect was whiplash-induced achiness.
Remember Katherine’s last-gasp attempt to curse Elena by forcing the werewolf-venom Ripper virus on her? All done. Enzo, who appeared with vaccine in hand at the end of the previous episode, lived up to his promise and cured both Damon and Elena of that
Part of my resistance to the Elena/Damon friends-with-benefits arrangement is the way it emphasizes how all-consuming their relationship is. Elena and Damon have both been through hell lately, but they don’t seem to see their activities as a form of coping with trauma. It’s all irresistible lust, much like Caroline’s earlier Klausex. The coupling is plot, rather than a reaction to plot. I guess that’s a resistance to how their relationship is portrayed rather than the relationship itself, but that’s splitting hairs: how it’s portrayed is how it is. Nature of fiction and all that.
I’m also struggling with the sudden arrival of a Jeremy plot, or more specifically, a Damon/Elena parent plot. I would be more sympathetic to Jeremy’s apparent struggle if the show hadn’t expected us to see these teenagers as essentially adult for years: although Damon playing big brother back in the season premiere was touching, what little we’ve seen of Jeremy has been as an equal player in the usual Vampire Diaries shenanigans.
Jeremy is right, anyway. He is doing the best he can in an impossible situation, and a “doppelganger invasion” is not a valid excuse for missing World Civ. Living with Matt just might be the best thing for him, since Matt is the closest thing we have to a stable Alaric figure these days.
Maybe Matt can remind Jeremy that conspiring with mysterious blond witches isn’t the best thing for his relationship with Bonnie. I can’t understand why Jeremy would keep Bonnie in the dark about his activities with Liv. To be honest, I can’t entirely understand what Jeremy is up to with Liv. (Where did he spend the previous night?) The Liv/Luke A, B, and C plans were covered so quickly that I’m not clear on what plans A and B were.
Plan C appears to be focused on the incoming Travelers invasion. Since the world actually does revolve around Elena, her blood and Stefan’s allowed the Travelers to die gruesome fiery deaths, overwhelm the Bonnie-server, and steal her shadow to turn it into their leader Markos. I know this will make you all laugh at me, but I’ve always been freaked out by the idea of stolen or missing shadows (childhood trauma), and that last scene was effectively frightening (to me) in a way that this show rarely is.
Hopefully, now that the Travelers are all dead, Stefan can stop being doppelbombed. Maybe, someday, he can even attain the breezy optimism of his pancake-eating doppelganger Tom. I said it during the Silas arc, but it’s worth mentioning again: Paul Wesley is good at this whole acting thing. I’m impressed.
Caroline seems to be impressed, too. The shot of Caroline and Stefan sleeping together reminded me of a shot from Angel’s “Provider." It seems apparent that the show is setting up a Caroline/Stefan relationship, and that makes me uncomfortable. Not because I think they’re wrong together—actually, as two of the most well-adjusted people on the show, I think they’re suited. No, it’s because a Stefan/Caroline romance would be so drama-free and boring that the only way to raise the stakes would be to put one of them in serious mortal peril. Dear VD: Don’t hurt Caroline!
Bites and Pieces:
• Damon: “He had an affair with a ghost. The only thing that was missing was a sappy love song and a pottery wheel.”
• Elena to Jeremy: “You haven’t exactly been making the best decisions.” Pot, kettle.
• I enjoyed the Atlanta jokes about bad drivers and every other street being named Peachtree.
• Is Tyler just going to hang out in the bar for the rest of the season?
• Elena talking about having post-break-up sex with Damon within 8 inches of other Mystic Falls “parents” was a little weird.
• I like Luke, but I like him a little less for calling Matt, Tyler, and Jeremy “townies.”
• Example of this episode being clumsy: Elena needs to take a minute to get some air, and so she goes to the shop room. Not the bathroom or the outside. Why not? Because there are cooler props in the shop room.
• Another example: Both Caroline and Elena had vivid daydreams within about 5 minutes. One daydream is interesting. Two, from two different people, in one episode felt really weird.
Although this episode left me unsatisfied, it set up some interesting new conflicts. I'm curious to see how the last few episodes of this season play out, so:
2.5 out of 4 doppelganger invasions.
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?)
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