This review contains spoilers.
5.13 Total Eclipse Of The Heart
So it seems as though The Vampire Diaries is keeping with this body-snatching Katherine storyline and, while I personally find it hilarious that a show in its fifth year can write out its protagonist without anyone really noticing or caring, it’s also proving to be a pretty nifty way of wringing more life out of the perennial love triangle. With Elena out of action, Damon off the rails and Stefan doing his best to avoid any of the usual drama that comes with the pair of them, we get to watch Katherine manipulate the boys into positions that suit her and her quest to live the life she always wanted.
The only problem to deal with in Total Eclipse of the Heart is the fallout from her rejection of Damon last week, and he certainly lives down to expectations. As Stefan tells him early in the episode – could he be any more predictable? It’s disappointing for the audience, too, as all of the wonderful character development we’ve been able to enjoy, especially this year after his unrequited affections were finally requited, seems to have gone entirely out of the window in the pursuit of slightly rejigged dynamics. I’m all for evil Damon resurfacing every once in a while, but without a hint that it’s all a front or a mask for his pain, or that a glimmer of hope still exists once Elena returns, it stops being fun and starts feeling like a massive cheat.
Kidnapping Jeremy for leverage over Bonnie is nothing new, and is a nice reminder that Damon hates Bonnie (despite funeral scenes to the contrary), but are we supposed to just accept that the same character who tenderly embraced Jeremy when he found out his girlfriend had died is now standing by and facilitating his murder at the hands of a volatile old cellmate? It’s not just annoying – it doesn’t make sense. Compare it to the moment when Damon snapped Jeremy’s neck at the beginning of season two, when it had real weight and drama behind it. There were genuine, well-written character motivations behind it then, but somewhere along the way that’s been lost.
The Whitmore Bitter Ball – standing in for the Valentine’s Day-ish timing of the air date – was the thing bringing our characters together this week, and Katherine pounced immediately on her opportunity to get Stefan in a tuxedo and on to the dance floor. I find it amusing how, though slightly perturbed, Caroline isn’t remotely surprised that Elena might be going after her ex-Salvatore mere days after she broke up with the last one. It’s what Elena does best, after all. It’s actually an interesting choice to have Katherine pretty much master Elena 101 (with a little help from a compelled Matt) and fool everyone and I wonder, with only one of her friends having worked out the conceit, whether we’ll even get Elena back by the end of the season.
Which brings us to our very own Zeppo (shameless Buffy reference), who may just be the only thing that can set things right while his self-involved friends go about their business and ignore the doppelganger issue right under their noses. Admittedly, it would be easier for Nadia to compel information out of Matt if he was ever kept in the loop, but I love that the show has finally remembered that, aside from Jeremy, Matt is the person who knows Elena the best. They shared a crib together and, with Katherine having had the forethought to involve his Elena knowledge in her master plan, he’s been put in harm’s way yet again. But the important thing is that he worked it out, and the rest of the characters (aside from possible Tyler) would never guess.
The Vampire Diaries is going missing for a few weeks to make time for the Winter Olympics but while it’s away we can look forward to things getting worse for Damon as he deals with his new Augustine urges, a “horrifying realisation” for Stefan and Caroline, and a potential team up between Matt, Caroline and Tyler to save Elena. See you there!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Devil Inside, here.
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