Vampire Diaries: What Lies Beneath

“If only this wasn’t totally avoidable.”

I wondered last week if the new TVD normal was a 2:1 ratio of good-to-awkward episodes. I think I am on to something: although there was nothing particular wrong with this episode, Damon’s line about how all of the drama in this episode could have been avoided pretty much sums up its biggest flaws.

The death of Enzo continues to provoke almost-chaos among our group. Although Ghost Enzo is still around, thanks to the increased permeability of the Other Side, Stefan’s role in his death lurks over his interactions with Damon, Caroline, and Elena. It would be too simple, of course, for Stefan to explain to any of them what actually happened, especially since it’s not unbelievable. But why quibble over details?

Why quibble at all? Stefan didn’t want Damon to hate him for killing Enzo (which Stefan didn’t do, but I’ve just got to let that go, don’t I?). So he kept a secret, but an unnecessary one. Damon seems to be a-okay with Enzo’s death. The ease with which that story was resolved made this episode feel weirdly unnecessary.

And, although the cabin-in-the-woods plot had some fun horror potential, the writers have visited this well too many times. Sticking a couple of people in a confined space for their own protection in order to force them to work out their problems—we’ve seen that at least two other times this season.

The most interesting parts of this episode were the emotional beats. Elena and Stefan seem to have a solid friendship in the works, which is a nice change from the awkwardness of months past. Caroline’s sudden jealousy didn’t seem too sudden: Candice Accola did a good job of conveying Caroline’s confused reactions to her own surprising interest in Stefan. Is that a love-interest, or just Caroline struggling to find somebody to love? By TVD standards, she has been single for a very, very long time.

Caroline has nothing to worry about, though. Elena still has a thing for Damon, even though they continue to struggle with how “bad” they are for each other: Elena called for Damon when Enzo tried to drown her, and that reaction definitely speaks to which brother she is more oriented towards these days. And, following the TV rule of “If someone has dirt on his or her face, and another character wipes the dirt off, they will kiss within two episodes” rule that I just made up: Stefan and Caroline are apparently a thing-to-be.

Meanwhile, as Caroline and Damon tried to suss out what lay beneath the apparent Stefan/Elena rekindling, Jeremy, Matt, and Bonnie chained Tyler to a wall and tortured him with herbs. Beneath his Tyler-exterior lurks a Traveler. Only, now, that Traveler has taken over Tyler’s body entirely. Does that mean Tyler’s soul is in the Traveler’s now-immolated body? Or can he get it back?

Questions like that—or about whether Enzo is really gone or just temporarily gone, sort of like being “almost dead” in The Princess Bride--are impossible to answer until we figure out what is going on with the Other Side. With only two episodes to go, a Traveler chained in the Salvatore basement, an Enzo on the Other Side, and Bonnie’s Grams all a-twitter, I assume we’ll start to see some movement on that plot soon.

Bites and Pieces:

• Caroline: “Our theme is secrets that people thing they’re getting away with.” Thank you, Caroline, for doing my job for me.

• Enzo: “Wash the guilt straight down the drain.” Guilt for what? Ghost Enzo is not as much fun as Alive Enzo.

• The game of Never Have I Ever was weirdly reminiscent of Sawyer and Kate playing I Never in “Outlaws,” a Lost episode.

• I tried to work a mention of Luke into this episode, but all I can say is that I think it’s hilarious they made him sit on the porch to do his spell and then completely forgot about him, as did I.

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?)

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

It may have been an obvious plot device, but I loved the cabin scenes and the "never have I ever". Probably because we know these four characters so well and they have such a complicated relationship.

I've been waiting for a Stefan/Caroline thing to take off for a long time. I like them together. They're good for each other. Caroline apparently can't help being jealous, so maybe -- season finale?

What's happening with the other side again feels like a way to bring back characters, as they did with Jeremy. I don't have strong feelings about who they should bring back on VD, but I'm now hoping that the Supernatural spinoff doesn't get picked up and they resurrect Kol on The Originals. I didn't know that I could like Nathan Buzolic that much.

Liz Haley said...

I vote they bring back Alaric! One hundred times yes! Then Lexie, because she kicks ass & is good for Stefan. But Alaric is 100% for me. :D

Anonymous said...

I kept waiting for Alaric to show up in this episode. I'm hoping that when Damon figures out how to bring Enzo back that Alaric shows up out of the blue and then he's like "Enzo who???"

Now one thing that's really bothering me with this episode is that I seriously don't think all the dead-dead vampires would just sit back and watch their entire kind get wiped out when they could easily mess with the travelers from the other side. Could it be the travelers that are sucking the vampires (Vikki) into the big dark void to eliminate that threat?

Marianna said...

This episode annoyed me because there was a lot of "Bad guys are going to get here any second now, but let's hang around and talk about our feelings." Seriously Damon/Elena and Stefan/Caroline, have the conversation in the car. Same goes for Bonnie/Jeremy.