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Vampire Diaries: The Downward Spiral

“It’s like she’s Caroline, but she’s not.”
“Oh, Bonnie. How we all missed your commentary.”

Many years ago, I didn’t care for Caroline. Then she became a vampire, and I loved her. And now? I love her even more, because her brand of inhumanity is well-planned, vindictive, and funny as all get-out. I’ll bet she even has an evil to-do list. And that she writes on it with a sparkly pen…but they’re, like, dark sparkles. Evil sparkles.

Caroline flipping her humanity switch is most interesting in the way it creates chaos in those around her. Stefan, in full savior mode, blames himself. Elena keeps thinking of her own mistakes. Bonnie is bemused and—as always—selflessly trying to help others while letting her own emotional wellbeing suffer.

Caroline herself seems to be the correctest of them all. Her plan to take a year-long emotional vacation, but not kill anyone was, of course, a perfectly solid plan that is, as Elena points out, “very thorough.” She’s Caroline. Did we expect anything else? But Elena and Stefan pushed and manipulated to the point that Caroline went into Phase Two: bloody murder and poetic justice.

Inhuman Stefan and Caroline on a soulless tequila-fueled rampage throughout Mystic Falls sounds delightful. They can be laconic and snide. They can cause trouble. And everyone else can try to save them…when, usually, they’re the ones trying to save everyone else. I can’t wait to see where the show goes with this idea.

I’m also curious to see what’s up with Damon’s mommy drama. She’s a Ripper (a term I’ve always hated on this show), so I guess we know where Stefan gets it. But Damon is also working through his grief for Sheriff Forbes: I wonder how much of his desire to find his allegedly-long-dead mother is just transference? (Or projection? I always get those confused.)

His willingness to rope Bonnie into his quest was a nice character beat, too. Bonnie is working through some serious post-traumatic stress, and Damon makes it all about him. So does Kai, for that matter: his desire to apologize to Bonnie reminded me of what Oz says to Willow at some point in Buffy: it’s not about Bonnie. It’s about Kai’s need to apologize, and is inherently selfish.

It’s the tertiary, human characters who suffer when Team Mystic gets out their baggage and starts to unpack it. Sarah Salvatore was tortured. So was Liam, for that matter. Can Elena compel all of that trauma out of them? I’m sensing an emotional disaster heading our way, and if TVD keeps up this pace, it’ll be a brutal one.

Bites and Pieces:

• Liam, “the boy [we all] totally forgot existed.” Nice shout-out there, Caroline. I forgot he existed, too.

• Caroline: “Elena, I shut off my humanity. I didn’t turn into an idiot.”

• Caroline: “It’s okay. The whole vampire thing is over, anyway.”

• Really, Caroline had a bunch of decent lines that she made great with her sharp delivery.

• A rave? People still do those?

• Ian Somerhalder directed this episode. He did a good job.

Four out of four uncomfortable funeral shoes.

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


  1. In stark contrast to your reaction Josie, I spent the entire episode upset and frustrated. Maybe in retrospect I'll enjoy Caroline's foray into inhumanity, but for now I absolutely hate how utterly evil they made her. I mean compelling poor Liam to cut out Sarah's heart while she was awake, was beyond awful. At first I kind of liked how Caroline she was, but wow. The lack of humanity on her is like Angel/Angelus. Calculating, malevolent, evil with a capital E.

    It was funny that even Enzo didn't care for her this way. There is something kind of perfect about Caroline's humanity. She's the best vampire there is, controlled to the point of being able to share that control with others. To have her sullied by doing such horrible things, it takes away from her character a bit. I can't explain why it matters so much, but this just hurt watching her be like this.

    Otherwise though, I did kind of enjoy everything else. Good review too!

  2. I'm wondering if maybe Stefan faked turning his humanity off.


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