Something about the Vampire Diaries turns me into a supremely inarticulate thirteen year old girl. About ten minutes in I’ve usually already devolved, transforming into a creature who can only clutch at her own face while wailing “I can’t even with this you guys!” No other show on television takes itself so seriously, no other show manages to convey the angst and extremis of being a teenager half as well (especially for a show with no actual teenagers on it), and no other show has done the painstaking work of creating a universe founded on the interconnectedness of its ensemble. I basically just kissed Julie Plec’s naked butt, and you know what, I AM FINE WITH THAT, because she gave us a truly exceptional episode of television tonight and it well-rewarded with some tender naked butt kissing.
After laying the groundwork last week, tonight’s installment was all about emotional payoff. The show is brilliant that way. Just when you feel them eking into the territory of “too much story” they pump the brakes…just like Elena’s parents should have that terrible night on Wickery Bridge. Last week we got Stefan’s humanity switch fully flipped into the ‘on’ position, and reintroduced Lily to Enzo so that this week we could watch Stefan try to drag a desperate Caroline back to a world of pain and grief (and potentially sexy times with Stefan), and Enzo and Lily’s relationship grow into something warped and dark that could change the fabric of life in Mystic Falls forever.
It’s no surprise that it would be memories of her mother that brought Caroline back, but the way Stefan handled this return to reality was great, in that it was so flawed! Destroy the letter her dead mom wrote, leave her feeling guilty and confused about the crimes she’s committed and the future, Caroline has returned to the world with a vengeance. Now she just needs seven or eight years to cry about shit and move forward. Steroline becomes more real with each passing week as Caroline’s emotional journey mirror’s Stefan’s. The difference there is that Stefan still hasn’t quite figured out how to help other people with reflecting his own pain in their direction. It will be a curious thing to see where they go from here.
Let’s talk briefly about the co-dependent relationships that emerged this week. Damon and Elena found themselves in a familiar situation: Elena wants to be human, there is a cure, but Damon doesn’t want to break up. I was surprised and impressed with the strong choice the writers made to handle this problem — having Damon ask to take the cure with Elena! Does this mean Somerhalder’s departure from the show is also on the table?! INQUIRING MINDS (it’s me, guys) ARE DESPERATE TO KNOW! While those two are getting a little too unhealthy, so are Lily and Enzo. He’s forgiven his maker after learning that she didn’t abandon him but was in fact jailed. Lily’s addictive behavior has her draining a motorist to quell her mounting panic about her trapped friends, and Enzo’s penchant for evil and a pretty face aligns with Lily’s loneliness perfectly. I smell a truly killer baddie duo!