The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 4 review: For Whom The Bell Tolls

Review Caroline Preece 27 Oct 2013 - 18:45

The Vampire Diaries says goodbye to a character this week, well, sort of...

This review contains spoilers.

5.4 For Whom The Bell Tolls

I’m going to start this review for Vampire Diaries episode four with a disclaimer – I really hate Bonnie. I never have liked Bonnie, I hate her even more now that she’s a ghost and I don’t even buy that the other characters (besides Jeremy and sometimes Elena) care much about her either. Having told you this, you can imagine my bemusement at the sob-fest this episode ended with and, along with Tyler’s return, it was not my favourite sequence in Vampire Diaries history.

In contrast, the storyline I thought I was going to hate this week – Stefan’s amnesia – has actually improved the season for me. Without his memories, Stefan has a pleasing no-bullshit attitude towards his crazy life, his bad friends and the constant quelling of his bloodlust. This isn’t quite the Ripper Stefan we were promised following his escape from the quarry, but it’s good enough. It’s fresh and different, gives Paul Wesley something new to play and, as far as I can see, removes nothing from the show other than his relationship with Elena. The dynamic between him and Damon felt largely the same to me.

Without the centuries of guilt to hold him back, of course, Stefan doesn’t really understand why he can’t just go around tearing people’s throats out for the fun of it, and I find it hilarious that Damon can’t really find the words to deter him. We’ve suspected it for a while but, without that weird relationship with his brother, Stefan would just be a douchebag all of the time. It’s how I like him best, if I’m honest, and cutting Damon and Elena out of his life might be the best thing that ever happened to him. Now he and Caroline can possibly make a go of things. It’s not the way I saw this going, and I’m pleased.

Poor Elena wasn’t so pleased and spent the hour trying to jog Stefan’s memories, which mostly involved dragging him to places they’d been during the first couple of seasons. This was undoubtedly fun and nostalgic for Stelena shippers, but a bit tedious for everyone else who had been looking forward to at least a couple of episodes of Elena and Damon being happy without interference from the ever-recurring love triangle. She ultimately shot him down, before he threw a latent hissy fit about that fact his ex-girlfriend was now sleeping with his brother. Even Stefan with no memories thinks that was harsh.

Meanwhile, Caroline was attempting to get over Tyler (communication, mutual interest and respect are good rules, Caroline – remember them) with new guy Jesse and, by now, we all know that any outsider is either a threat or destined to die within three episodes. Caroline made it clear that the second applied when she invited him for a study date in Mystic Falls and – what do you know? – it wasn’t half an hour before Stefan tested out his moderation theory on Jesse’s throat. She healed him, but then Dr. Maxfield killed him again. We’ll have to wait until next week to see what that was all about.

Matt was actually being the smart guy this week, as he’s responded to his extended blackouts by setting up cameras around the house, telling Jeremy the facts and requesting help from Bonnie (because they only want to see Bonnie when there’s magic to do). The cameras were helpful, even if the other two weren’t, and he’s now on the same page as the audience. There’s a dead traveller living in your head, Matty, and he’s given you a fancy knife to take care of. I love how, whenever someone else has an issue everyone rallies around, but Matt’s pretty much been left to take care of this himself.

And that just leaves Bonnie. Her death was finally revealed to the rest of the characters this week, and almost no one’s reaction felt like it would have been their actual reaction. Jeremy was a bit indifferent to the whole thing given that he’s been talking to her from beyond the grave, Elena was torn up about it because she can’t have her bestie magic Stefan’s memories back, Caroline doesn’t like change and Matt was probably just crying because he was the only one at the funeral not coupled up. We were even supposed to believe Damon was upset by Bonnie’s passing – I think he just wanted an excuse to hug Jeremy.

I’m truly sorry if there are any Bonnie fans reading this – you probably cried buckets – but the whole thing just seemed ridiculous to me after years of her being a non-character/plot device. And she’s not even off the show! If you’re going to have a tear-filled memorial for a main character, at least have the decency to not have them attending it as a ghost. It seemed so self-indulgent – watching your friends crying over your death with a big, contented smile of your face is not endearing. Then Tyler turned up with a flower and made it even worse. Either resurrect her or send her into the afterlife.

Next week, Damon wants to make a deal with Silas to bring Bonnie back, Caroline’s set for more heartbreak and Elena starts sleuthing with Dr. Maxfield. See you there!

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Original Sin, here.

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