When I figured out that this week’s installment of The Vampire Diaries was going to dedicated yet again to death of Liz Forbes, I wasn’t sure how to feel to about it. Sure, I mourn the loss of Mystic Falls only adult worth mentioning at least as much as her fictional daughter does, but another part of me was tempted to follow the title of the episode’s advice and, you know, let her go. Thankfully, it only took roughly three minutes for my skepticism to be banished completely. This episode wasn’t about Liz’s final chapter, it was about Caroline second, and my god what a chapter that is going to be. Chills I say, chills!
This week Enzo and his ilk took a back seat. What little we needed of the relative newbies this week in an episode that was dedicated to the original ensemble members in a huge way we got with Kai and Jo. They were their own self-contained telenovela and it was perfect. Kai’s dying! He’s better now! Jo’s puking! It’s a baby in there! Now Alaric is proposing! AND THE HITS KEPT RIGHT ON COMING. If this had been any other week, the plot points would have felt absurdly heightened. Thankfully, “Let Her Go” was the Christmas of the season with gifts galore.
But unto every Christmas, a squalling toddler who was overly enjoyed the celebrations must fall, tumbling onto his knees, howling and covered in peppermint candy and excess. In the case of this particular Christmas, that filthy tyke? It’s totally Caroline Forbes. While every other character on the show was walloping us in the face with presents, she was holding a shiny box behind her back. That box was full of spiders, hilarious, troublesome, and frightening spiders. Before we get to those eight-legged wonders, let’s unwrap the rest of our haul (I am so not letting going of this whole Christmas thing).
We had Matt and Tyler deciding to be cops! I hope they make a movie about it, and cast Elena as the sassy waitress at their favorite restaurant. GET IT? I made a “Lets Be Cops” joke, and it was brilliant, and also you loved it. Damon eulogizes the balls out of Liz! And we get to see flashbacks of baby Stefan in the process and it is hilarious! Bonnie comes back! Mama Salvatore is alive and also apparently she is Mary Poppins! At this point I was deeply chuckling and looking quietly aghast at the sheer delicious volume of my gifts. This made me slightly stupid, which is the only reason I have for not jumping up, pointing at Caroline’s wonky, wonky fake eyelashes and screaming “YOU GUYS SHE IS HOLDING A BOX OF SPIDERS”.
You see, every piece of delicious Christmas-ness that the other characters were handing our way they were doing solely to distract us from Caroline’s end-game. She must have uttered “I just have to get through today,” roughly eighty times. But did I heed this? No, not until Dobrev gave one of her patented pensive head-tilts. With her mother dead, and Stefan being all “feelings are hard”, it’s no small wonder that she would decide to turn off her humanity. It’s also such a perfect writing choice.
I would have been content with this massive shift in the Caroline we know even if she hadn’t snapped Elena’s neck. I would have continued on, blissfully excited for next week’s episode even if Stefan hadn’t eventually been all “wait, feelings AREN’T that hard!” and returned to profess his grown-up love for Caroline a moment too late. But the fact that both of these things happened made the payoff that much greater.