The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 2 review: True Lies

The Vampire Diaries' college plot is working well, but who else wants a return to the days when this show actually killed characters off?

This review contains spoilers.

5.2 True Lies

It’s looking like we’re finally over the Stefan-in-a-box phase of season five, and now we can get to whatever phase comes with two evil Paul Wesleys and two nice Nina Dobrevs occupying Mystic Falls. The end of the episode saw Elena and Damon, before they could even properly look for Stefan, discover his box in the woods occupied by an unfortunate deputy. Yay! Ripper Stefan is so much better than normal Stefan, and now Elena’s in no position to beg for his redemption, given that she’s sleeping with his brother and is probably the reason he’s given up anyway. We might get more than a couple of weeks of evil Stefan goodness.

Other character arcs are getting less interesting as the season progresses, and I just wish someone behind the scenes would remind the writers that a large portion of the audience hate Bonnie. Making her a whiny ineffectual ghost instead of a judgemental witch for hire isn’t going to fix that and making Jeremy start another romantic relationship with a ghost is more than slightly ridiculous. Remember when this show actually killed characters off? With Jeremy and Bonnie currently eating up screen time with no consequence whatsoever, I’d like to get back to that.

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With Damon more concerned with the college-bound portion of our cast this week, Jeremy and Matt were left to deal with Katherine on their own. It’s true – Matt is proving more useful this year than he’s been since he killed that Mikaelson brother (just a reminder in case Rebekah’s sleeping with her sibling’s murderer made you forget), and quite easily apprehends Katherine on the side of the road. With the whole town compelled to catch Katherine too, it takes the combined skills of a human and a human with slightly enhanced skills (and he works out) to keep her from being snatched by Silas’ army.

All of this was pretty great, with dynamics we’ve not seen before – ones we don’t see enough of – and a whole new Katherine to boot. Katherine has always been a popular character, but I can see human Katherine becoming the star of season five – kudos to Nina Dobrev for portraying yet another version of the character. I like this trio very much and it almost makes me glad that Jeremy isn’t dead anymore. Katherine’s patheticness over a sinus infection was absolutely hilarious and, though Matt’s gypsy-possession storyline seems to have been short-lived, the writers are still allowing him to contribute to team-supernatural. Best of all, Katherine got a redeeming moment saving Jeremy from Silas with a shotgun – awesome.

We also got to see what happens on the other side after Matt died again – you have to listen to your dead friend whinge about her problems until you come to, apparently. Even though they forget once they wake up, anyone who dies wearing the ring heads over to the other side temporarily, waking up further and further away from their body each time. This begs the question – does the ring ever stop working, or is it just that at some point you start waking up half way across the world? That would drive anyone crazy, I guess. No matter what, having this established to us must mean we’re going to explore the ring’s powers this season.

Meanwhile, up at college, Elena has found a new mystery to solve and, quite rightly you might argue, Caroline doesn’t want to get involved. She wants to take drama, get drunk at parties and make bad boy decisions – the full college experience. But, then again, that photo of their roommate with Elena’s dad must have piqued her interest, and she wants to question the creepy far-too-young biology professor, Dr Wes Maxfield, about a faked death certificate. They don’t get very far, given that Elena would rather go back to Mystic Falls (that didn’t take long) and take care of Stefan business right now – priorities.

But first the show felt the need to throw another emotional obstacle in Elena and Damon’s way. Thank god that compulsion to brutally kill Damon whenever he pissed her off has apparently been overcome – that might have been tricky given how often Damon seems to piss everyone off. Elena assures him that, even though he had to resort to love triangle tactics to get his girlfriend to calm down and stop force feeding him vervane water, she’ll still love him once they find Stefan. The way Stefan’s probably feeling, looking and smelling, she might be able to keep that promise.

Next week we’ll be wallowing in Ripper Stefan, Elena and Katherine start sharing dreams (cool!) and Matt is put in another life-threatening situation. He might be constantly on the verge of dying, but at least he’s doing something this season. See you there!

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, I Know What You Did Last Summer, here.

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