The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 6 review: Handle With Care

The Vampire Diaries is becoming more Buffy-influenced by the minute. Here's Caroline's review of Handle With Care...

This review contains spoilers.

5.6 Handle With Care

I hope they’re paying Nina Dobrev a lot on this season of Vampire Diaries – not only is Katherine more of a presence than she’s ever been (arguably more than Elena right now) but now we have a third Doppelganger in the mix. Yes, Buffy fans, this show decided to make the anchor (aka Key) a person, not a thing, which begs the question – where’s Matt and what the heck is that knife? Handle With Care performed that charming trick of moving the story a couple of steps forwards just before taking it a step back but, with Amara making the Petrova Doppelganger count to three, I’m inclined not to care.

Katherine has her own stuff to deal with, after basically being murdered last week while our heroes looked on. She’s no longer the cure, given that Silas drained her of all that blood, but she is slowly decomposing now that she’s a dead human – is this where Vampire Diaries delves into zombies? I sure hope so and, with Katherine blackmailing Dr. Maxfield into helping her figure out why her hair’s turning grey and her teeth are falling out, I guess we’ll find out what kind of mixed-up creature Katherine has become pretty soon. I really hope she’s a zombie, because that would be awesome.

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Elena and Damon, apparently not caring that they just fed a human being to their mortal enemy, have a moment’s cuddle time before heel descends on the Salvatore manor once more. This hell comes in the form of a now-mortal Silas, who agrees to bring Bonnie back to life in exchange for their help finding the anchor and destroying the other side (still with me?). As Stefan later says, we still need to be drunk to understand this story. With the addition on an anchor, the original Doppelganger and the involvement of travellers, this just got a little too complicated for my taste. It’s not just boring now – its borderline nonsensical.

Because Elena currently looks like absolutely everyone’s ex-girlfriend, Silas stops her from coming to New Jersey with him, Damon and Jeremy, so she goes to Katsia’s cabin to find Stefan instead. I really hated how she used Damon’s jealousy against him over the phone. The trouble is, because Silas doesn’t want Katsia to meddle in his plans, he’s made her cabin into a magical prison and the three of them become trapped there. With Elena now a bargaining chip, Katsia asks Damon to kill Silas before he can destroy the other side, and he and Jeremy argue about who’s life is more important – Elena’s or Bonnie’s? FYI, Jeremy, its Elena’s.

As all of this was going on, we got to see an unusual team up between Katherine and Caroline. Because Katherine is both desperate and a heck of a lot more proactive than Elena, instead of doing a runner from college, the two of them confront Dr Maxfield, drain him of vervane blood and ask him useful questions about his secret society and vampire experiments. This was probably responsible for the episode’s best moments simply because Katherine got to be the scheming supervillain she was always meant to be, and I hope she leads Caroline astray more often. At least they got something done!

Information we learned – the Whitmore secret society is called Augustine, and they have their own vampire. This Augustine vampire is what killed Caroline and Elena’s roommate in the first episode and Maxfield faked the death certificate to cover it up. This will be the new villain now that Silas has been slain and Katsia’s life’s work has been completed, and who bets this vampire is some sort of uber-vamp that’s come about through the experiments of the Augustine society? Do I smell another Buffy rip-off? With Silas basically being The First last year, Stefan being thrown to the bottom of a lake and the anchor being a person, it’s just getting silly now.

Silas and Amara’s romantic reunion was short lived mostly because Amara hasn’t particularly enjoyed her two thousand years in a box and has gone pretty crazy. Is this another part of the Doppelganger curse that we don’t know about – that the Paul Wesley-face is way more into it than the Nina Dobrev-face? Anyway, that’s the case yet again, and Amara quickly proceeds to drain Silas of his cure-blood so that she can also be mortal. She’s now essentially the same being as Katherine so, being that much older, maybe we’ll get to see what it does to them at a faster rate? Let’s face it – they can’t ask Nina Dobrev to play three characters forever.

But Paul Wesley now only has one character to play and, as Katsia has given him his memories back as a weird form of torture, we’ll get our male lead back at last. I was kind of enjoying amnesia Stefan, and hoping his lack of memories would bring his latent feelings for Caroline to the surface, but this works too. Next week we’ll be dealing with that, along with Katsia’s new master plan, Bonnie’s ghostly presence and the new “crazy pants” Doppelganger in town. And still nobody cares about Matt. Way to be a good friend Jeremy. See you there!

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Monster’s Ball, here.

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