The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 9 review: The Cell

The Vampire Diaries delivers a flashback episode. Here's Caroline's review of The Cell...

This review contains spoilers.

5.9 The Cell

Let’s be honest, the first half of this fifth season of The Vampire Diaries has been more miss than hit and, now that the misjudged Silas story arc seems to have been thrown out, now is the time to judge whether the show can recover from an uneven couple of years. Is the Augustine mystery the way to do it? After this episode, I’m willing to give it a chance and, by switching gears from elaborate fantasy with its mythology and weekly ‘destiny’ speeches to science and it’s collision with our established world, at least it offers something different to watch from week to week.

Another masterstroke was to include Damon in said mystery, and this week went one step further by having him still be directly involved in the present-day goings on. The Cell was essentially a standard flashback episode that served, as always, to introduce a new character and explain their relationship with one or more of the Salvatores – this time Enzo, who was an Augustine prisoner at the same time as Damon and has probably been cooking up his own crazy revenge mission since the 1950s. While we were revisiting the past, Damon was explaining the previously unknown chapter of his life to the also-trapped Elena.

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We find out that, after being sold to the Augustines by one of his family in the 50s, Damon was experimented on for five years alongside Enzo and, after deciding that one of them should take the other’s food in order to build up strength and escape, Damon killed the Whitmores and essentially left Enzo to die in captivity. The torture scenes were graphic enough to please fans who like that sort of thing, but these flashbacks were for two things – making us like and feel sorry for Enzo and providing a reason for Elena and Damon to break up in a future episode.

We knew it would happen and, after Damon admitted to systematically murdering the Whitmore family once a generation – once only a few months ago to Aaron’s parents – we can assume Elena will take the moral high ground and go running back to Stefan (more on his romantic situation later). Or maybe she can have a brief human fling with Aaron? They certainly have a lot in common given that their entire families have both been murdered one way or another and, with the show comparing their experiences at every opportunity, we’re supposed to pair them even if it’s just as kindred spirits.

Meanwhile, Caroline and Katherine had their own little adventure as they attempted to help Stefan with his PTSD. Any episode with Caroline and Stefan sharing scenes is a good one in my book, even if her plan to lock him back in the box was a pretty dumb one. It all led to Katherine locking herself in there with him and talking him through his not-well-hidden issues with Elena leaving him and, when they came out of it, sparks were most definitely flying. Most of us called it last week – with Elena off with the other brother, Stefan could still fulfil his Doppelganger needs with Katherine. Some of us have been waiting for this for a while.

It’ll at least give her a reason to go on living, and that lends some urgency to her quest to stop the ageing process. Will the solution have something to with Nadia? Probably but, as Katherine is currently hiding out from the travellers, asking her for help might be a bit tricky. A more pressing matter is whatever’s going to happen to Elena next week, as while Damon was out from the bullet Aaron quite justifiably put in his head, she was taken up to the lab and introduced to Enzo. God only knows how his mental state is after 70-years in that basement cage. See you next week for mid-season finale shenanigans!

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Dead Man On Campus, here.

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