This review contains spoilers.
As with all past examples of beloved characters on The Vampire Diaries turning their emotions off, it seems like a good idea at the time. The prospect of Caroline doing this straight after her mother’s death was deeply intriguing, especially following her impassioned speech to Elena right before but, after several weeks of dealing with not one, but two emotionless bad guys, it’s time to welcome back the old Caroline Forbes.
Really, the great part of these storylines is what happens to the characters afterwards – the guilt they feel, the lessons they’ve learned. Caroline’s journey starts now, with the knowledge that the good things in her life – her compassion, her morals and her relationship with Stefan – are all in the rubble of her former life.
How she got there was very affecting, too, even if most of this episode was water-treading until we got to that climactic moment. Seeing her be mean to other characters just for the sake of it is no fun for anyone, especially when it’s in the form of heavy-handed hints that Elena wants to be human again, but seeing that heartbreaking transition from evil monster to grieving daughter was perfectly played.
And we didn’t even need gratuitous torture scenes (remember the dark Elena saga?) to get there! There was talk of putting Caroline through hell until she ‘breaks’, but really all Stefan, Elena and Damon had to do was wait her out until something sparked that little bit of humanity left inside her.
A mixture of Stefan and her mother, that remaining piece of the old Caroline had, quite rightly, everything to do with those things she always loved the most, and the thought that she may never know the last thing her mother wanted to tell her. I imagine it was something similar to what she said to Damon, and was read out at her funeral, but that doesn’t change what happened to the letter.
When Stefan and Caroline burnt it, I was expecting one last save but, like everything that’s been done with Liz’s death, we’re being shown that sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy, and there’s nothing magical or mystical that can change that. Every element of that, including Caroline’s walk on the wild side, has been magnificently handled.
Another of the season’s strongest elements was Bonnie and Damon’s surprise friendship, but it appears that too is being left in the dust. I can’t imagine that, seeing the fan reaction to this pairing, the writers are planning to permanently separate them again, but right now they’re on very opposite sides of the fence. Except now, after everything they’ve been through, it appears that Bonnie knows Damon better than anyone else.
She correctly identifies that, despite having the cure on hand, Damon would much rather live an eternity with a half-happy Elena than actually have her turn human again. The whole thing’s proof that ‘Delena’ can be interesting with the right storyline, and it’s all helped along by the fact that we know Elena won’t be sticking around past the season finale.
But Damon’s plan for them to both take the cure doesn’t make any sense, not least because it’s never been established that it can be shared between two people. Surely if this had been the case last time around it wouldn’t have been such an issue? And even if he does take the cure, wouldn’t Damon quickly die of old age in the same way Katherine did? These are questions I need to see addressed, but I know they probably won’t be.
The Enzo flashbacks from last week were given a purpose in this episode, for good or for ill, as he has now teamed up with Lily Salvatore after her ripper ways returned. Is it going to be him that helps retrieve her ‘family’ and Kai from the prison world? We know one thing – they’re coming back one way or the other, and whatever they do will most likely play into Elena’s exit somehow. Whether that’s as a human or a vampire, we’ll have to wait and see.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, I Could Never Love Like That, here.
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