The Vampire Diaries season 6 episode 7 review: Do You Remember The First Time?

The Vampire Diaries has improved greatly since it started paying attention to things that aren't Damon and Elena's lovelife...

This review contains spoilers.

6.7 Do You Remember The First Time?

The return of Damon to The Vampire Diaries’ A-plot two weeks ago brought with it the return of Delena, but this time with an added complication that meant the show’s former golden couple wouldn’t be able to enjoy the happy reunion a certain section of fans were hankering after. The good and bad thing about this is that, while they were separated, Vampire Diaries got good again, and there’s so much more to the show in its current form than love triangles and tired romantic pining.

I say that’s a good and a bad thing because, while the non-Elena parts of these past few episodes have provided a nice distraction from the same-iness of the Delena plotline, they’re also getting less time devoted to them. We’re back to characters going missing for weeks at a time – this week it was Jeremy’s turn – and that’s not good for a series currently juggling a lot of interesting ideas.

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Matt was always the primary victim of Vampire Diaries’ frantic storytelling, rarely getting his own plotline and often just not appearing for around a third of the season’s episodes. Season six has so far taken pains to rectify this, and given his character not just a storyline, but a real arc. Tripp’s death in the episode brings the already-sinister bond the pair had to a head, and maybe seeing Matt as a pseudo-villain this season wasn’t just a pipe dream.

By going against the group, he’d actually be doing the ‘right thing’, and it would introduce a lovely moral dilemma to a show so set in its twisted, nefarious ways. As he says, Matt’s side is “really freakin’ complicated,” and it might be time he started to question his position in this world.

The catalyst for his turn is how terribly Stefan and Enzo have been behaving this season, which is again pretty interesting given that a) Stefan used to be the hero of this story, and b) the two of them are currently the love interests for Caroline. I do wonder whether revealing Caroline’s crush to Stefan in this episode was Enzo throwing in the towel or just a way to remind us that this is actually a love triangle, not the build-up to a clear-cut Steroline romance. Either way, neither of them has a chance with her right now.

Another romance that isn’t going smoothly is that between Damon and Elena, with their dorm room rendezvous not helping to trigger any of her compelled-away memories. The only thing I like about this right now is how Ian Somerhalder is playing it, as there’s a really a sense that he’s being propelled back to those dark seasons 1-3 days, but not reacting in the way we might expect. He’s matured, and so Katherine/Elena-fuelled emotional anguish no longer triggers him in the way it used to.

One of the reasons for this may be his unexpected friendship with Bonnie, which got a wonderful little reprieve in this episode when he found the magical teddy bear. Said magical teddy bear has been sent from 1994 in order to keep Kai from using her powers to send them back to present day. It’s another case of Bonnie self-sacrificing for the good of her friends, but at least now Damon has confirmation that she’s alive. Maybe now he can finally start looking into a way of getting her back, after hopefully telling Jeremy that he can cheer up.

Oh, and Jo has been confirmed as Kai’s sister, which immediately makes her more interesting but also makes the audience more worried about Alaric. Isn’t it time the guy got a girlfriend who wasn’t mixed up with evil things that might kill him? First his wife – killed by Damon – then Jenna – killed by Klaus – and now the possibly evil Jo, who’ll probably be targeted by Kai as soon as he finds a way out of 1994.

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And we may find that, aside from Matt and the human threat from Mystic Falls, witches are going to be the antagonists this season. Not only do we have Jo’s twisted family, but also the prospect of Luke and Liv’s coven coming to town. She may be engaging in some admittedly compelling flirtations with Tyler right now but, according to Luke (hello again, Luke), that’s going to be short-lived.

The Damon/Elena storyline is still a frustrating mess, but it’s also not the only thing on the show anymore – and that gives viewers no longer interested in Elena’s love life a reason to come back. Just that simple thing is what fans have been asking for and, now that we have it, it’s glorious.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, here.

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