Vampire Diaries: Let Her Go

“It never ends well. Somebody inevitably gets hurt, or dead.”

An episode so crammed with Big Emotional Moments runs the risk of turning into a saccharine disaster, but first-time director Julie Plec did an excellent job of grounding each big moment in a sweet and honest interaction between characters.

Caroline’s song at the funeral was a great way to honor her mother. (Who knew Candice Accola could sing?) Caroline was a wreck throughout the episode, but she held it all in—which is exactly what Caroline would do. Not cry and sob and hide under a quilt, but make lists, delegate tasks, and accomplish heroic funeral duties before turning off her humanity switch.

The humanity switch, which sometimes comes to the fore of this show, and other times disappears completely, is an interesting decision. It does seem to fit Caroline’s nature: it is a solution to the problem of control. Caroline cannot control her grief through any other means, and self-control has always been one of her top priorities. I’m curious to see where the show goes with that idea.

Alaric proposing to Jo was equally wonderful. Kai, using a combination of scheming and real vulnerability, took Jo’s magic, and identified the cause of her illness as pregnancy. (This reflects Juliette’s addition to Billie’s Ten Rules of Television: that any time a woman vomits on screen, she must be pregnant.) Will she have twins? Will it affect the Gemini coven? Dear showrunners, please do not hurt Jo and Alaric in any way. They are too cute.

So was Bonnie’s reunion with Damon. Their hug was perfect. After “phesmatoing” the heck out of a Quetsiyah rock, Bonnie finally, finally, finally returned to Mystic Falls. It’s been almost a year! Thirteen episodes! I wonder how Bonnie will react to all the changes, from Jeremy leaving to Alaric finally finding a girlfriend, to Damon and Elena fizzling out and reigniting, to Kai’s role in the gang’s troubles, to Caroline turning off her humanity…This list could go on.

For a moment, I worried Bonnie would be stuck in a weird Sliders situation, flitting in and out of alternate prison worlds for the rest of the season. But, no: Kai’s illness just caused the boundaries to slip, and Bonnie got a camcorder glimpse of Mama Salvatore.

That Damon’s (and Stefan’s) mom is important is no surprise: Damon has talked about her quite a bit recently. She would have died before the Civil War, so—assuming her journal includes her keeping track of how much time would have passed in the real world—she has been trapped from about 1859-1903. That’s at least forty-four years of solitude. No wonder she had such a neat dress; what else would there be to do all day?

And, in what is, I suppose, the D-plot, Matt found his purpose in life, and bro-handed that purpose off to Tyler. Matt as a deputy sheriff makes perfect sense. Tyler as a deputy sheriff makes…well, I don’t know. Sure, it makes sense, as much as anything he does makes sense.

But the real standout of this episode might be Elena, who put aside her personal drama and took care of Caroline. Elena’s basically got a PhD in grief-management, and she did an excellent job of being present, providing useful advice (I loved the idea of her categories of people and what to say to them), and being the only one to realize what Caroline was about to do. And what does all that insight get her? A broken neck. As Alaric said, it never does end well.

Four out of four eulogies.

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?)

3 comments:

Alec R. said...

I believe we already knew Candice could sing, she did a compelled moment in the spotlight in an earlier season. I honestly can't remember the episode though.

I'm totally not surprised that Mama Salvatore finally showed up. She's been conspicuously ignored for most of the series. We knew she died, that both of her sons loved her. But beyond that very little was ever mentioned. I wonder how long the writers have been sitting on the Mama Salvatore plot?

Caroline shutting off her humanity switch should be interesting, because in a way it is the one thing that betrays her mother's memory. Of course it is dramatic separation so we don't get a full fledged Caroline/Stefan romance too soon. They need to work into that.

I am sooo glad Bonnie is back, and I love how close Bonnie and Damon have become. I'm also very glad Alaric and Jo got some happiness. I hope it is isn't just a high moment that comes crashing down by season end. Perhaps this is the nice way of writing Alaric out since the writers don't seem to know what to do with him.

Now we have to wait until March.

Billie Doux said...

Another terrific episode. Candace Accola was wonderful. She's mostly wonderful, actually. Turning off her humanity switch makes perfect sense, although I don't believe she has thought it through.

I was so happy that Bonnie finally got out of time travel hell and her hug with Damon was adorable. I was also wondering if Jo would be pregnant with twins.

And while Matt as a cop essentially taking Liz's place is pretty much perfect, Tyler as a cop would be bad. What if he had to shoot someone in the line of duty? More werewolf drama! I want Tyler to leave, not take up more screen time with werewolf drama.

Nick said...

Didn't mama Salvador die when Stefan was a kid? So did the locket have a picture of grown Stefan?