This review contains spoilers.
7.13 This Woman’s Work
Oh hey, Vampire Diaries, welcome back. After half a season of slow boringness with only occasional jolts from the flashforwards, it feels like the show has reclaimed its mojo for the first time since Elena’s departure.
To be fair, the show has been flailing a little since the Mikaelsons left, and was then dealt another blow when Katherine was written out for good. This year, the writers clearly noted this charisma gap and introduced the Heretics, obvious stand-ins for Klaus, Rebekah, Elijah and Kol (and Finn, I guess), and now we have Rayna.
A bad-ass warrior with a grudge against our heroes and a tragic backstory? She’s as close to Katherine as we’re gonna get without Nina Dobrev on the payroll.
But that’s not entirely fair to Rayna, and the work Leslie-Anne Huff has done with her so far. She may be ancient and awesome, but she’s also a fair bit different from character’s we’ve met before. That is precisely why I like her and, as with Kai last year, makes me hope she survives the season.
Tying her into the Brotherhood of the Five, which I’ll admit I had to go look up in order to remember the details, was also smart in that it makes her feel a lot less random. The same goes for her connection to Julian and the other Heretics, although she’ll have to get to the back of the line if she wants revenge.
Damon has to spend the hour delivering the Huntress’ sword, after Enzo threatens to tell Bonnie about what he did to Elena. Then, before he can do any such thing, Enzo tells Damon that Elena is, in fact, alive and well and being kept in New York. It’s cheap, but hey, the point was to drive a wedge between Damon and Stefan, rather than to have us actually mourn our former heroine, and in that it succeeded.
My big question here is what the hell happened to Tyler after Damon smashed his head into the pavement, and why didn’t he tell anyone about the decoy coffin?
This episode spends a lot of time introducing a new player but, alongside Rayna’s backstory and present-day shenanigans, there’s also the matter of Caroline’s labour. It turns out Alaric’s babies aren’t the most cooperative of children and, during an emergency C-section, Valerie and Stefan discover they’d rather stay inside where there’s an endless supply of magic to siphon.
This, of course, can’t happen, and they enlist the rest of the Heretics to help provide enough magic outside of Caroline to draw the babies out. It’s more exciting than it sounds, even if it’s one of the less entertaining threads of an otherwise very good episode. Really, it’s an excuse for Candice King to lay down for a while in her very pregnant state, which is fair enough.
And the weirdest love triangle ever is becoming more of a thing, with Stefan forced to leave Mystic Falls after being marked by Rayna and Alaric stepping in as the supportive partner. He even named one of the babies after Caroline’s mother, a move I’m sure was just designed to make me tear up.
Then again, when Stefan headed for the hills I felt for sure that it would be this abandonment that led to their break-up and Caroline’s future engagement to Alaric, but the final phone call scuppered that theory. Instead we got a very intriguing tease that, along with setting up Stefan’s visit to New Orleans in next week’s crossover episode, revealed that three years in the future Caroline is also heading there, to “see mommy’s friend” no less.
Now, even if said friend isn’t Klaus, this is still a major spoiler for The Originals. If the Mikaelsons aren’t in New Orleans in three years, doesn’t that kind of put a time limit on the spin-off? And, if they are, then we’ll get to see what the future has in store for those guys before their own show has even gotten to that point.
Either way, this is an exciting way to end an episode that’s really firing on all cylinders. It could be false hope, but it feels like The Vampire Diaries has finally settled into a new groove.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Postcards From The Edge, here.