The best part of this episode was the relationship between the Salvatore brothers. Last week, Stefan was Damon’s excuse, his deferral of catharsis. This week, we saw how Damon is Stefan’s raison d’être—or, if not that, his reason for being a moody, broody, savior. (Not a bad thing.)
At the end of last week’s episode, Damon had killed or maimed most of his friends. Their resurrection was swift; their forgiveness, swifter. Stefan’s experience working through PTPSD (post-traumatic Phoenix stone disorder) gave them the savvy they needed to realize that Damon wasn’t any eviler or crazier than before. He was just confused and prone to hallucinations.
Those hallucinations, centered on his comrade-in-arms from the Civil War, were interesting enough. But I was most drawn to what they led to, or what they appeared to lead to: Damon burning Elena’s body in an attempt to rid himself of his past sins. It’s a fascinating confluence. It’s also a fascinating conflagration. Elena probably isn’t really dead or charred to a crisp, right? We know from the first flashforward this season that Damon is still waiting for her resurrection.
As of right now, though, Damon believes he has killed Elena, and he can’t tell Stefan about it. Is it just too much grief? Can he simply not process the emotions? Reducing it all down to the simple statement that they were out of bourbon was a lovely writing choice; bourbon has so often been the vehicle for the brothers bonding (and occasionally throwing glasses against the wall in a vampiric rage).
Stefan probably couldn’t handle the news, anyway. His own experience in the Phoenix stone was fascinating; it echoed him letting Elena die (and thereby taking an unwitting part in turning her into a vampire), as well as his time trapped in the quarry when Silas was wearing his face. That he still sometimes hallucinates Damon, and that he thought he was revealing his fears to Damon in the car, was poignant.
Caroline’s support through all of this is unsurprising and wonderful. Even as she’s been dealing with a sudden unplanned pregnancy, she’s found the time to help her boyfriend deal with his trauma. Is there nothing she cannot do? She and Stefan still seem so close; I wonder how on earth they break up (as we know they do from the flashforwards). Is the allure of motherhood enough for Caroline to leave behind her favorite Salvatore?
Although at times they feel shoehorned in, the scenes in which the writers indicate how future love interests (Bonnie/Enzo, Caroline/Alaric) happen have all had a great deal of spark. Caroline and Alaric talking about onesies, parenting books, and Dallas had all the comfortable repartee of a longstanding relationship; they’ve had a special sort of rhythm ever since Jo’s death. I loved Alaric and Jo, I liked Caroline and Stefan, but I have a soft spot for Caroline and Alaric.
Speaking of which: The battle for Mystic Falls and Damon’s soul is interesting enough, but I’m sort of anxiously excited to see more of the future than just brief flashforwards each week. Does Matt wind up dating that deputy? Does she die? Is that why he works for the Huntress? (And how happy are we that she has a name?) What does happen between Caroline, Alaric, and Stefan? Why is Bonnie in the institution? At the halfway point of this season, there are more questions than answers piling up each week.
Bites and Pieces:
• Remember Enzo? I wonder what he’s up to these days and how his captivity is treating him.
• Bonnie and Matt got matched by “matchsingle.com,” which sounds like Tinder.
• Why were all the vampires in Mystic Falls dressed up like bikers? When they’re not drinking blood are they slaughtering cows and curing their hides for leather jackets?
• Honorable Mention: Tyler returned. So there’s that.
Three out of four headless diapered baby dolls.
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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