Although Elena is the soft, chewy center of The Vampire Diaries, I’m more and more inclined to think of Caroline as the true heroine, and this sixth season premiere really cemented that idea in my brain. (Which is painful: cement-brain is worse than ice-cream freeze-brain.)
This episode began and ended with voiceovers: Elena’s peppy “everything is awesome” speech to Damon, which we now know to be proof that she’s the queen of denial, and Caroline’s long voicemail to Stefan, which showed that she’s the one member of Team Mystic Falls who is seriously working on solving the big problems of Damon’s and Bonnie’s disappearance and death, and the mystical barrier that prevents our supernaturals from entering their hometown.
Elena’s actions throughout this episode prompted I09 reviewer Charlie Jane Anders to declare her “the villain” of The Vampire Diaries: “Everything bad on Vampire Diaries happens due to Elena Gilbert, the self-centered main character who nobody ever holds responsible for anything.” Anders is talking about Elena’s drug-induced killing spree, but also the way that Caroline (and, probably eventually, everyone) tends to cut Elena an awful lot of slack.
Should they? That’s a good question, and it’s one that I had in the back of my mind for most of the events in this episode: should our characters keep doing what they’re doing?
Take Caroline: she really wants to reunite the group, return to her hometown, and “hold on to what’s familiar,” as Sheriff Forbes explained. Caroline’s struggle resonates more with me, and probably with most people who ever transitioned from high school to college. Caroline is worried that her group of friends will become “just pictures in a yearbook in a drawer somewhere.”
That’s a very real fear—but it also raises the question of whether or not it’s time for Team Mystic Falls to disband. Perhaps Mystic Falls is better off without a bunch of vampires. As Elena pointed out: “On the plus side, the crime rate is way down.” Perhaps Stefan should move on. Perhaps Alaric should find more grown-up friends and work on his flirting skills. Perhaps it is time, in fact, to end this show. Not because it’s bad, although this episode lacked the mile-a-minute pace of most TVD eps. But before it becomes bad or, worse yet, stagnant.
Like Jeremy, who has decided that girls, games, and gluttony are the ways to enjoy his post-high-school, post-hunter life. Or Alaric, who is doing exactly the same thing he was doing before his resurrection, but with blood cravings, a new discipline, and even less game than he ever had. (I was still insanely delighted to see him again.) Or Tyler, who is clearly going to lose it in some creepy way soon.
Matt seems to be the only one of our heroes who is really using the events of the fifth season finale to make something of himself: a community volunteer in a program run by
All that would make this episode odd enough: our characters are stuck, Caroline is unable to figure out a solution, Stefan is off being a mechanic, and the show seems to be aware that what we’re supposed to want—for everyone to return—might not actually be worth rooting for. I like the thoughtful ambiguity of this episode, but I’m also curious and a little confused about what will come next.
That curiosity is due, in no small part, to the weird epilogue with Damon and Bonnie. The Collective Soul song playing in the background—plus the fact that Damon and Bonnie appeared to be reading hardcopy newspapers (OMG!)—led TVLine to speculate that they were pushed back into the 1990s. I can’t top that explanation. But I can offer you a screenshot of Damon-made pancakes with little fangs:
Bites and Pieces:
• Imaginary Damon: “Can we go back to the part where Ric came back to life to be a college professor?”
• Luke: “You’re asking if there are side-effects to the ancient psychedelic herbs I’ve been giving you? Because there haven’t exactly been clinical trials.” I like Luke.
• Alaric: “Occult studies.”
Professor Jo: “I didn’t know that’s an actual thing.”
Professor Jo: “Not that it’s not a thing.”
Alaric (on the phone to someone, maybe Stefan): “Okay, so when I lost my human nature, I also lost my game.”
I’m not sure. Maybe three out of four pancakes?
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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