This review contains spoilers.
5.11 500 Years Of Solitude
Did The Vampire Diaries just kill off its main character? I might be confused about that particular outcome of this fantastic milestone episode, but I don’t think I’m wrong for celebrating what might have been the most engaging hour of the show for at least a year (maybe two). This was everything a 100th episode should be, from the ghost party at the end to the focus on Katherine and the brief return of the Originals to Mystic Falls. I went into the hour expecting it to be a cheap farewell episode to the show’s best character – aka a bad decision – but instead we got a solid hour of Vampire Diaries that celebrated everything we’ve always loved about it.
The focus of the episode was Katherine’s apparently imminent death, which lingered on right until the final moments and provided us with lots of group bonding moments and flashbacks to the character’s unfortunate beginnings. It was useful to get another look at those scenes given how much more we know Klaus, and that Nadia is now an integral part of the show, and having Damon and Stefan take it in turns to crash in through her fragile mind was fantastic. Frankly, this episode couldn’t have been less about Elena if it tried, and the fact that I barely cared says a lot about my feelings on the future of the series.
There was a nice balance between characters toasting to Katherine’s demise because of the awful things she’s done, and toasting to Katherine because of her much she had affected all of their lives. Damon and Elena alone have legitimate gripes with her, and it was a little annoying to see the rest of the characters dig for apparent crimes she had committed (Caroline is definitely better off since she became a vampire) and come up kind of short. Matt toasting to his sister’s death with Damon like old drinking buddies was especially weird, and demonstrated for the first time in too long that the writers actually remember their hero has murdered half of the departed cast.
Speaking of, Klaus, Rebekah and Elijah were allowed a day pass to Mystic Falls to commemorate the occasion and, probably because they were still contracted to Julie Plec inc., the show managed to include them without overwhelming everything else. It’s a wonder they achieved what they did in just 41 minutes, to be honest, and all scenes between both Rebekah and Matt and Klaus and Caroline were absolutely perfect. These relationships had been wrapped up before The Originals began but, with Caroline and Klaus especially, I get the feeling it will never be over. She might have asked him to leave her alone for the time being, but the outdoor sex that followed muddled that message in a wonderful, hopeful, way.
As was the case when the show ‘buried’ Bonnie (I just remembered what a low point that was), however, Vampire Diaries’ fondness for resurrecting old loved ones whenever they can find a way to work it into the narrative – and often when they can’t – has become so commonplace now that I was literally waiting for Alaric to pop up with a drink in his hand and a homoerotic quip for Damon. Other, more surprising cameos included one from Jenna, which was nice, and another from (not dead) Tyler. Having preferred him on The Originals and preferred him even more off the show entirely, Tyler’s return was probably the worst thing about the episode. I’ll forgive it as long as he goes nowhere near Caroline.
The best thing about the episode came at the very end, of course, when Katherine finished Nadia’s body-snatching spell on Elena and left her own dying body to expire. Blimey. After learning that such an incantation existed, and being aware that, as different as she plays them, Katherine and Elena are both creations of the same actress, it seemed like the obvious choice, but that doesn’t make it any less enticing. Even if Elena is still trapped inside, Katherine is most certainly in control right now and, if nothing else, that makes the love square into something pretty hilarious. Will they take it in turns with each Salvatore brother? Oh, I can’t wait.
This was a fittingly great episode of the show and, at a time when that’s become a rare commodity, that’s even more of a pleasant surprise proving that Katherine has actually overtaken Elena in most people’s affections. At this point, I’d be fine with Elena just fading away under the weight of her doppelganger’s soul but, even if that doesn’t happen, we can still revel in the fact that, rather than forge ahead with whatever new twist in the love triangle they might have been planning, the writers has chosen to look at what’s actually working and push it even further to the forefront. Let’s toast to 100 episodes, and cross our fingers for the next 100!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, 50 Shades Of Grayson, here.
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