Vampire Diaries: The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch

“Don’t forget to smile. Not because society tells you you have to, but because you’re excited to be at such an illustrious town event.”

Watching The Vampire Diaries is like running into a former flame gone to seed. There are glimpses of what you used to love, but most of your attention is taken up by noticing how far they’ve fallen and how maybe the signs were there all along.

It was a nice treat to see the Miss Mystic Falls pageant again, even though Our Heroes are now way too old to bother with such nonsense. Caroline is always in her element at town events. She and Bonnie looked gorgeous. Everybody did, in fact. Stefan and Damon always look good in their skinny-tie tuxes.

But there’s a lot of backing and forthing in this episode, and I still can’t get a clear sense of where we’re headed. Caroline accused Stefan of hanging out at an event for hormonal teenagers (something he deserves, since he went to high school for, like, a century) while he accused her of trying to relive her “glory days.” Their snark is interesting, as Caroline seems convinced that her “deep and real” love (a phrase she used to describe Damon and Elena) can outlast Stefan’s Ripper phase. So do they both get a free pass on anything that happens in the meantime?

Caroline is committed to him—and she has a plan, of course, to keep his Ripper murders in check—but a one-sided relationship with an inhuman immortal doesn’t sound very promising. There was a nice contrast between her conversations with Stefan and the way Caroline mentored the blonde newbie vamp, just like Stefan used to mentor Caroline. I miss those carefree days.

Bonnie, meanwhile, came back from Paris with a vial of Enzo’s blood: never before has an accessory made me think simultaneously of Angelina Jolie, Billy Bob Thornton, and Chekhov’s infamous shotgun.

Bonnie said she would become a vampire for Enzo, which is…um…not quite what I wanted to hear. Maybe she could become a vampire for her own personal reasons? Or to find a loophole in the whole dead Bonnie/alive Elena thing? Could that work—Bonnie dying and coming back to life to revivify Elena? I don’t even remember.

That could solve Damon’s problem: that he can’t let go of Elena. Stefan accused Damon of letting Elena’s memory manipulate him, which is the sort of wooly-headed evil thinking that leads to a big whopping comeuppance at some point. After all, TVD has pushed the idea that Elena made Damon want to be a better manpire for a while now. It looks like his humanity came back at the end of this episode, so cue the tortured flashbacks and pain next Friday night.

Meanwhile, Matt Donovan found the bell. Hooray?

Bites and Pieces:

• Caroline ended the Miss Mystic Falls pageant by claiming there was a gas leak. Isn’t that the excuse they used to empty Mystic Falls a few years ago?

• So, about this Armory Intern who randomly popped up a few weeks ago. How much does he know? Does he know everything? Is getting extra college credit for having what must truly be the worst internship in the world?

• Would Enzo take the cure? (It’s inside Elena, right?) Hmm…

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

4 comments:

Thomas Ijon Tichy said...

It certainly isn't a good show. That said, I find myself enjoying this season more than the last, which really felt off on so many levels. Maybe it's the nostalgia. Maybe it's something else. It feels like the actors are closing on the final line and they deliver better performances. Paul Wesley is always enjoyable as the sadistic "Ripper".

I really had a lot of trouble even getting through season 7. This string of episodes I have been able to watch as mild popcorn entertainment no problem. However, it's nothing like the show of seasons one and two, where I sort of loved it.

Billie Doux said...

Everyone did look gorgeous, and like you said, I was having little frissons of remembrance of those glory days way back when when I was really into this show. I'm glad that Damon is going to stop being evil, because I reached my limit with him last season -- here's hoping it won't be too late. I was also grossed out by that love trinket that Enzo gave Bonnie, mostly because it was hideously ugly. Which I guess is appropriate for jewelry containing a body fluid.

It would be okay with me if Bonnie changed her mind about her own personal vampirism so that she could be with Enzo for a really long time. The one thing about vampirism on TVD that is better than BtVS is that you get to remain yourself and you can choose to never actually kill someone. You just live forever and stay pretty, and keep getting involved in strange life or death situations with mystical objects. I've always thought too that Bonnie becoming a vampire would resolve the Elena situation and she'd wake up, although they're now suggesting that might not be the case. Surely all of these smart people (like Alaric, the smartest :) could figure out how to make that happen?

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

I've fallen a bit behind, so I only watched this today. I don't really mind falling behind on this show, because I marathoned through the first few seasons thanks to this site's recommendation, and it's a great show to binge-watch. I actually think this is one of the better episodes this season, so I'm glad it fell on the day the finale airs. (And on Buffy's anniversary, since the Stefan/Damon relationship is so Angel/Spike.)

Glad that Damon is FINALLY breaking free of Sybil's mind-control. I loved all the callbacks to early seasons. Caroline was wonderful as always, and it was nice to see things come full circle for her.

The intern has actually been around since the beginning of the season, though rather ignored.

Marianna said...

Bonnie reminded us in this episode, which I too had forgotten about and had been wondering, that Kai said "no loopholes" when he cast the spell. So if Bonnie or anyone else tries to use magic to kill herself and then bring herself back to life so that Elena and she could live together it wouldn't work. Bonnie has to be dead for good. Being a vampire counts as being alive for these purposes, potentially for eternity.