This review contains spoilers.
7.2 Never Let Me Go
The promise of The Vampire Diaries’ seventh season was perhaps too high. A show without Elena, a show refocusing on the Salvatore brothers’ relationship, and a show with a dark, post-apocalyptic Mystic Falls got all of us excited for what could be. Sadly, now we’re just watching a show relying on its weakest elements.
Of course, its only week two, and things are far from a done deal, but Never Let Me Go was paint-by-numbers Vampire Diaries right down to the episode title. Seriously, I had to go and look up if there had been an episode called that already and, for all the surprises it delivered, there might as well have been.
We have Caroline being tortured by badly-written lesbians (I point that out because, quite simply, the show needs to do much, much better with its Queer characters), Damon mooning over Elena (please don’t let this be a thing), Stefan reacting to everything around him instead of driving the story himself, Bonnie doing convenient magic, Matt getting pissy about being repeatedly used as the token human, and Enzo being petulant.
Worst of all, none of it makes any sense. How can this be the same show that made us invest in an alternate dimension permanently stuck in the 90s, with one of the least-loved characters on the show no less? Now, pushing Enzo to the forefront just highlights all the weird directions he’s taken since his introduction, and short-changes the other characters we’ve known and loved for years.
This was a chance for the show to get creative, offer new viewpoints and mix things up. But instead we’re dealing with the worst collection of villains since the Silas days framed with nonsensical side plots that either defy all logic (why do the Heretics even want to stay in Mystic Falls? New Orleans looks fun), or are frustratingly retro (Alaric’s plan to bring back Jo as an evil zombie witch).
At one point we’re watching Caroline getting tortured into offering fashion tips, and another we’re dealing with a Blair Witch-style found footage sequence where Matt comes to save the day. It’s weird, and not in a good way.
Also: Damon moved into the Lockwood Manor (where does Matt live?) instead of rooming with Bonnie, because we can’t have nice things.
Adding further insult to injury, the Enzo/Lily romance is just a really bad idea, removing any original element from his search for home and family and replacing it with the boring idea that he’s just in love with her. And really, it’s all a cover-up for his undying love for Damon, which couldn’t be clearer to me. Sleeping with someone’s mother because you’re so closeted is just the kind of subtext I can jive with.
In that scene between Damon and Enzo – a rarity these days – we think they’re talking about family loyalty and evil plans, but really they’re discussing how they were once in love and how Damon broke Enzo’s heart.
I’ve been watching this show for seven years, recapping for five, so there’s little I hate more than the feeling this season so far has left me with: the sense that it’s run out of ideas and is making things up as it goes along. The creative resurgence of season six gave me such hope, and now that hope is starting to seem foolish.
But – but! – there are the flash-forwards, which are so enticing. Are we going to have a massive time-jump at some point? Why does Caroline hate Stefan? Who the heck is she engaged to (Matt, Klaus, Tyler?)? Who is this awesome girl taking down our heroes one by one? If this had been what welcomed us back to the show post-hiatus, and we learned about Lily and the Heretics through a throwaway line, I would have been overjoyed.
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