Vampire Diaries: Promised Land

“Let’s debate the levels of weird.”

Another interesting episode from The Vampire Diaries, which is to say, another episode that I’m a bit unsure of. Some of that uncertainty comes from the pacing and tonal shifts, but some of it also comes from those last few moments and the big oh-no of this run-up to the season finale.

I’m talking, of course, about the death of Stefan. Last season, I didn’t believe that Jeremy was dead until the show made it completely clear that he was. Then, he came back. This season, Bonnie was dead for episode upon episode—until she wasn’t. But characters have died: Vicki, Jenna, and Alaric are the three that spring immediately to mind. And death doesn’t have to mean the end. Even when Bonnie was dead, she was still around. Enzo’s still around, too.

So what do I with this episode? With nearly five full seasons behind us, we know death is not a permanent thing, especially for someone in the main cast. But it does feel a bit like a goodbye episode: Stefan and Elena laughing on the road, Stefan giving Delena his blessing, even the wacky complexity of the Travelers’ plan just might be leading up to a big moment that actually sticks. I guess we’ll find out in the season finale.

In the meantime, some complaining. First: Calling an episode about a diaspora-ed people looking for a place to live despite millennia of persecution “Promised Land” just seems like a weird political statement. Second: I’m not really connecting with Liv/Luke and the Travelers as villains or unlikely alliances. Third: couldn’t Stefan and Elena have tried a bit harder to figure out where they were? Addendum: why did Traveler-girl unchain them, let them wander freely, then pick them up? Why not give them a ride right away?

And fourth: what was up with the long amount of time spent with Elena and Stefan on the road, and with Markos and Damon in the house, talking interior design? This episode could have easily been condensed into a half-hour as a lead-in to the finale, especially considering how irrelevant Luke/Liv have turned out to be except to provide Julian motivation to kill Stefan out of grief for his wife.

I did sort of like the idea of magic that has a geographic effect, rippling out through Mystic Falls. It’s impossibly silly, but I’m okay with silliness. I’m also okay with Julian’s logic. Killing Stefan make sense from Julian’s point of view—he has no investment in Stefan’s life, and no knowledge that Stefan is the star of a TV show who likely won’t die permanently.

I am excited to see what happens next week, who lives, who dies, what happens to the Other Side. A tiny part of me is still holding out some silly hope for Alaric to return. But, as I said, I’m okay with silliness. Beyond that, I'm not sure I have anything else to say.

Bites and Pieces:

• Damon: “Seriously? Collect calls are still a thing?”

• Damon: “Aren’t we all a little sick of Tyler?”

• Caroline: “You’re, like, inhabiting the former love of my life. Let’s debate the levels of weird.”

• “Found: Cave of Wannabe Witches. For more information, call Damon Salvatore.”

Two out of four mailmen.

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?)

5 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Yes, exactly. I didn't know how to take such a major death, either. If the actor is leaving, you'd think we'd have heard by now -- but then again, maybe not.

I was also hoping for Alaric. :)

J.D. Balthazar said...

If that was Stefan's final death, it felt a bit anti-climatic. So of the characters that are supposed to die permanently, he doesn't strike me as one of them. Also, why build up the Caroline/Stefan thing at all, was it just to give us a bit more feels when he dies in her arms? If that's the case, I'm a bit pissed at the blatant manipulation.

It would be nice if they brought Stefan, Lexi, and Alaric back. I'm not holding my breath, but it'd be cool to have some of the casualties of the series return for next season. Lexi in particular, she never really had a chance and became retroactively important to Stefan and Damon.

topher darling said...

Shocking but like you said, I'm hesitant to be shocked cuz I'm afraid I'll just feel like I was duped if/when Stefan returns.

I thought the Wonder Twins crashing the car between them was pretty cool but it was too little, too late for characters I have yet to care about.

The Damon snark was fabulous this episode with Markos.

Markos: “They’re ragged, beaten down by the world, desperate for a home.”
Damon: “You just described homeless people, aging hipsters, and Matt Donovan.”

As always, thanks for the great review, Josie!

LaureMack said...

Stefan is definitely coming back.
100%.
Without a doubt.
Right??

This has been the thought process on a loop that I could think about this episode, but I will try to form more words here.

If they do bring Stefan back, it makes NO SENSE why Lexi and Alaric and Kol (and whoever else we have lost to the other side) couldn't hitch a ride with him. Unless of course, they were all already sucked into the black hole thingy. That plot device is starting to make sense.

I feel like this would make a good poll question. "Who would you want TVD Powers that Be to bring back to Mystic Falls and why??"

Also, while I agree that the travelers don't make the most believable villains, I think it deserves to be said that not a villain before them has sent our vamps on the run before (if I remember correctly).

I can't wait to see who, if anyone, Stefan gets to catch up with on the other side!

Liz Haley said...

Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease bring back Alaric when Stefan comes back! Lexie too, though if he can only have one "plus-one" it needs to be Alaric. Sigh...

I'm excited for the finale!