Let’s take a minute to talk about suspense. Remember when people died on this show? And how now, they don’t? (Tyler doesn’t count.) If Elena’s Sleeping Beauty spell is basically a metaphor for this show’s pacing, this episode’s opening shocker is a metaphor for suspense. The episode started with Stefan’s voiceover about how it may be his last day on earth, reminding us of everything at stake.
Then, Damon walked in the door. Totally not dead, thus rendering last week’s cliffhanger moot. The mootiest.
As Stefan said, “It’s a little hard to be sympathetic about your death when you’re standing right in front of me.” And it’s a little hard to wonder about what will happen when the show seems so committed to not letting anything happen. Even Caroline seemed more amused than bemused by the “Damon’s alive, Bonnie and Enzo are late…” Christmas dinner disaster, although that may have been the white wine talking.
With few actual stakes in the present day, TVD is mining the past: in his Ripper days, Stefan encountered Seline in Monterey. He made her so remorseful that he ruined her for Cade. That situation—Stefan’s contagious remorse—makes him more desirable to Cade. Because good-turned-evil has a higher carbohydrate load than just regular, gluten-free evil. Or something.
Sybil’s death and Stefan’s promise are the big events of this episode. Will Sybil stay dead? Damon should have taken the heart with him and put it in a blender, but maybe his memories of Elena put him in a good mood. Will Stefan uphold his commitment to Cade—one year of terror for eventual freedom? I suppose we won’t find out for a while. A year, or possibly the span of the mid-season hiatus.
Other than that, not a lot happened. I felt bad for Matt discovering that his father was absentee for no good reason, but since we haven’t seen their relationship develop, it didn’t have much impact. Seline severed her psychic link with the twins, but since I didn’t know that was a problem, I wasn’t dying for a solution. And while the dinner was awkward, it was more painful than either funny or scary.
Bites and Pieces:
• Stefan put up an excessive amount of garland. And that’s coming from someone who spent this episode wishing she could type a review and piece her nine-patch Christmas quilt simultaneously.
• Cade described the separation between earthly reality and the Dutch-angle dreamworld Stefan slipped into as “the veil,” which is reminiscent of the Other Side.
• Alaric had a sort of Jimmy Stewart look going on, didn’t he?
• If Seline helps Alaric just to earn redemption and avoid hell, is she really doing good? Or just being as selfish as always?
• Bonnie was affected by the tuning fork. I wonder if that’s a sign she may get her magic back soon.
Two out of four T-shirts. Because I suspect Enzo appreciates them, and at this point I’m grading on a curve.
Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, 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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