This review contains spoilers.
7.11 Things We Lost In The Fire & 7.12 Postcards From The Edge
Do we really believe that The Vampire Diaries would kill off Elena? I mean, they wrote out Nina Dobrev at the end of last season, but they stopped short of actually disposing of their leading lady entirely and I, along with I suspect everyone else, didn’t think they’d ever make it permanent. She would return for the final episode of the show, right? Bonnie would die in a self-sacrificing blaze of glory and she and Damon would be reunited.
At least, that’s how it was supposed to go. In the early days, this show killed people all the time but, as the seasons have gone on, that’s become a less and less frequent occurrence. This looks like it might stick.
Of course, the previous ‘oh no they didn’t’ moment of Damon waking up from his pink moonstone coma and murdering all of his friends (plus Matt) was immediately reversed once he realised where he was, so it’s likely that the episode was attempting to unseat its audience in as many ways as possible. Anyone who’s watched television before probably guessed that the occupant of the coffin Damon thought he was burning wasn’t real, but having your hero burn the love of his life alive is a pretty ballsy move.
Yet, watching Damon spiral isn’t really that interesting anymore, even if the reasons for his breakdown hold a lot of weight. We were promised a season seven that went back to the central relationship between Stefan and Damon and, while we haven’t really gotten that so far, this wrinkle certainly snaps the show into focus. The Vampire Diaries started as a show about two vampires in love with one girl, and now that girl is gone.
So it’s Stefan’s reaction that hits home, and I suspect whichever side he lands on will dictate what goes down in the three years between now and the gang’s future lives. Is this why he and Caroline split up, because he stands by Damon? And is Elena the friend Bonnie was talking about in the group therapy session?
Stefan and Valerie finally figure out a way to kill Julian without ending up dead themselves, and this was yet another emotionally strong moment for the younger Salvatore brother. There will be those who feel for Damon here but, truthfully, at least Stefan isn’t moping around and lying in the road. He’s being proactive, and channeling his anger in useful directions.
The big question is what the show is going to do with all this. As previously mentioned, Elena had already been written out of the show, so the fallout from this will be entirely focused on the remaining characters. As we witnessed in her farewell episode, she meant something to every single one of them, so the knowledge that Damon has accidentally killed her won’t go down too well.
All of this leads us to the flash-forwards, which are finally reaching a crescendo of their own. We now know the identity of the mysterious vampire slayer they’ve all been running from and, instead of it being someone we already know, the show hands us a different twist. Despite Bonnie, Mary-Lou and Nora finding an old lady in the hospital, a quick bit of cremation from Enzo returns her to her young, hot, deadly form.
So Enzo knows more than he’s saying, which makes very little sense. Last we saw of him, shady guys were loading him into the back of a van and, as he tells Bonnie, that’s where he’s spent the last few weeks. Does Matt have something to do with them, and is that why he’s answering to the Huntress in the future? He still has loyalty to people like Caroline, but it appears he couldn’t care less about what happens to Damon.
Which is nice, because the show’s been building up Matt’s intolerance for vampires for years now. It’s a long game the writers have been playing and, with a potential love interest now in his orbit, my guess is that her death along with Elena’s will be what truly pushes him over the edge.
The flash-forwards are still the most interesting part of the show right now but, by playing their best card and removing Elena from the equation, at least now there’s some recognisable emotion mixed in to present day storylines. With this knowledge, watching how the two periods come together should be fascinating, and I’m finally excited to see what season seven has up its sleeve.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Hell Is Other People, here.