This review contains spoilers.
6.8 Fade Into You
The Vampire Diaries does twisted magical families really well – the last one they gave us are now living it up in New Orleans on their own show, and Fade Into You introduced us to another – the Gemini coven. It’s hard to be more dysfunctional than the Mikaelsons, but they might actually give them a good run for their money.
But first, ‘Friendsgiving’, the uber-organised yet pretty half-arsed on the guest list (where the heck were Jeremy and Matt?) Thanksgiving dinner set up by Caroline on one of her post-argument fits of separation anxiety. Vampire Diaries doesn’t usually theme its parties around a particular holiday, oweing to the fact that only about two years has passed since season one, so it was safe to assume that this would be a party more filled with trauma and murder than most.
No murder, unless you count Jo’s father, but a lot of familial angst came out as soon as we realised that Liv and Luke are actually Jo’s siblings, and thus also Kai’s brother and sister. We read in the newspaper article that four kids had been killed and Jo left maimed, but we never assumed that it would be a family of eight! It turns out that twins are seen as the next in line to lead the coven and, realising that Kai was insane, their parents just kept procreating until another set came out.
But that’s not all – when twins come of age at 22, they are forced to merge together, creating one super-witch but killing the weaker of the two in the process. This is obviously a bit harsh, but once we meet these guys’ dad it makes a little more sense. Family loyalty isn’t his thing, maybe because he’s known about this deal since they were born, and it’s clear that he’d think nothing of forcing Luke and Liv to merge once their birthday has passed.
First they all have to keep Kai from returning and merging with Jo, as his power-sucking abilities would ensure his survival over hers. But he’s getting dangerously close to escaping 1994, with Bonnie now magic-free after transporting Cuddles to 2014. At least Damon is now actively looking for a way to save her, taking an annoyingly sceptical Stefan and Alaric to the Gemini coven’s base and confronting their father.
The trip yields a magical knife, and the knowledge that Jo, Luke and Liv are now directly in the line of fire. It’s quite nice to have a threat on this show that isn’t targeting Elena, so she can be a bit more active and a lot less whiny when Kai inevitably returns. In the same sort of way, it’s lovely to see Damon really, really care about someone’s fate outside of the romance with Elena, and it’s refreshing for him to be leading to charge.
He’s the only one of the main group to have met Kai, and he has more of an emotional connection to Bonnie than we’ve ever seen from anyone else (maybe Jeremy aside). I’ll say it again – I never thought I’d be rooting for a Damon/Bonnie friendship, but here I am.
One friendship I’ve always loved is that between Stefan and Caroline, and thankfully he saw fit this week to apologise to her in a way that she’d appreciate. Telling her that she’s his most special friend was always going to work and, whether it was heartfelt or not, it felt like closure on their fight. Whether it evolves again into romance depends on the whims of the writers, but I might be okay either way.
Like with Bonnie, I never, ever, ever thought I’d be interested in something Tyler was doing but, with the stop and start storyline with Liv already established, he actually has a purpose going forward in season six. That’s the beauty of this season so far – some of the most useless characters are now attached to newbies, and so automatically involved in the season’s overarching plot.
Add in Sarah Salvatore with Jeremy and Matt, and we have the dual prospect of the group both coming together for a common goal and breaking apart over their different agendas. We’ve already seen it with Damon compelling Alaric to betray Jo, and I can see Tyler butting heads with the other guys when they suggest Liv and Luke actually go through with the merge. It’s exciting, and these guys are the best characters the show has introduced in years.
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