The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 18 review: Resident Evil

Review Caroline Preece 21 Apr 2014 - 18:04

The Vampire Diaries is back, and Elena's love life is more complicated than ever. But that's not really a surprise, is it?

This review contains spoilers.

5.18 Resident Evil

There’s another dead only guy with a mysterious evil plan in Mystic Falls? It must be Tuesday (or Thursday, whatever). Yep, The Vampire Diaries is back from its hiatus and ready to get going on yet another fight for survival between our gang and whichever unkillable beastie has decided to take up residence in their town. This, of course, is balanced with a lot of chatter about love, friendship and letting go with some false finality for fans in both sides of the shipper war, as well as a week where both Matt and Tyler get something useful to do – novel.

Starting, as the episode does, with the Stefan and Elena drama, this is one of those instances when I could completely understand if an angry gang of Stelena fans were going to get all uppity. By revealing that the Doppelganger 'curse' to find each other again and again is actually false, engineered by new baddie Markos, in the same episode where sweet, sweet dream sequences of Stefan and Elena playing happy families were offered on a silver platter, the yo-yoing with shippers’ hearts starts to feel a little cruel. Disregarding the final scene where the restate their desire to be friends, the doppelganger curse was all that gave them hope.

That’s assuming that anyone still cares, of course, and hasn’t scurried off to support an entirely different relationship. Elena and Stefan are still friends but, fresh off their almost-official breakup last week, the same can’t be said for Elena and Damon. These two, as predicted, only got a couple of weeks together as a happy couple after four seasons of pining and, if this had happened earlier on in the series’ life, then maybe more people would care. Elena’s love life, the mission statement of the show though it might be, has become the least interesting thing about The Vampire Diaries, and I wish we’d spend less time on it from week to week.

Moving away from that, then, the conflict introduced in this episode involved not just Markos, but also the effect his resurrection had on the other side. It’s good that we’re using the idea of a supernatural purgatory for something other than cheating us out of poignant character deaths or inviting back guest stars (this week: Grams, Kol and Vicki), and seeing Matt return to his role of accidental ghost whisperer also gives him a much-needed purpose. For a moment there I thought he might actually die – a weekly nightmare of mine since the pilot – but his knowledge of that blue-tinted forest actually makes him more useful than he’s been in years.

Jeremy, Matt and the twins are on the purgatory squad, with their task now figuring out where both Katherine and Vicki went when they were sucked into the sky. Does this mean we might get Katherine back before the end of the season? It may well do and, as much as we actually get to see Vicki, it’s always nice when the person who can talk to her is devoted brother Matt. Aside from his connection to Elena, which gets forgotten as long as there’s enough Salvatore drama to fill episodes, and Rebekah, the show has been largely disinterested in giving Matt any relationships on the show, but this is one that has been around from the start.

Then there’s Tyler, who has felt equally like a spare part since his return from New Orleans, and he’s been possessed by an evil spirit yet again. It’s easy to think that the showrunners just like having Michael Trevino around since he has gone through almost every supernatural change or infection the universe has at this point. As much as I’m uncomfortable about Tyler’s presence on this show (and now The Originals, where he was wasted), having him evil instantly makes him less irritating and, by giving Markos the dagger, he’s also made the Travellers seem much more dangerous as villains.

But next week will probably ignore the new threat of the Travellers and focus instead on everyone’s new favourite recurring character – Enzo. See you there!

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Rescue Me, here

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