If you thought this week’s installment of The Vampire Diaries had a certain special, giddy charm to it this week, you were absolutely correct. Or at least, I happen to agree with you and since I am always right about everything we’re going to go ahead and apply the transitive property. Caroline Forbes going to humanity-free zone is definitely to account for a fair chunk of this awesomeness. It’s easy to forget that Caroline of season one was a creature who even existed. Remember her affair with Damon and her passion for cheerleading? Ah, glory days. But Candice Accola brought her back in a major way in her manic, brittle, and deeply hilarious portrayal of a Caroline who is finally savoring being bad and having not even one care in the world.
But that’s only half of the equation (I’m using a lot of math in this review, especially for a person who still uses her fingers and some light prayer when figuring out how to tip at restaurants). The rest of the credit goes to Ian Somerhalder. While watching the episode I was mildly miffed to find Caroline’s A story so compelling (vampire pun unintended but, I think we can all agree, a delight) but Damon and Kai’s B story (Kai making amends with a PTSD-having Bonnie) so limp. It all made sense though when I discovered that Ian was the director of this week’s episode. I maybe went “oooooohhhhh” for forty-five minutes which I’m sure was nothing if not deeply charming. I’ll ask my roommate later.
Personally, if I’d been directing the episode I probably would’ve seen that I had zero acting duties that week if the alternative meant an unbalanced episode as was the case here. That said, I will never not love a cut to Damon Salvatore swigging scotch in front of a blazing fireplace. It’s kind of my happy place. That makes me sound like I’m 1.) dangerously into Damon as a character and 2.) being overly critical of what was a pretty great episode. Only one of those things is true.
Watching Caroline inhabit the world of a humanity-off’ed vampire was a treat. It was just as entertaining to watch her free from the worry, sadness, and pain that have consumed her for over a season now as it was to see that her type-A personality still triumphed. Of course Caroline wasn’t going to kill people willy-nilly, and OF COURSE she would use the threat of murder to get the guy she liked to join in her in some margarita fueled Sid and Nancy type romps! Somerhalder painted some truly beautiful pictures of Caroline’s journey this week – Caroline shot from the back underlit as she sat on the bar sweetly threatening Sarah’s life, the closing shot of her prone on the bar as Stefan calmly sipped his cocktail – it was decadent and beautiful!
I wish some of this excess had been directed towards Bonnie’s storyline! Obviously it’s hard to do that when you’re in every scene with her, I understand that, but Bonnie’s return was really swept aside in favor of Caroline’s breakdown. The intimations that Bonnie’s rocking some hardcore neuroses after her time in the prison world were interesting, but hopefully they are just the beginning of a conversation and not all we’re going to get.