The Vampire Diaries as a show is adept at feeding us, its viewers, one rich bite of plot after another rich bite of plot leaving us full, sated, happy, yes, sometimes loosening our belts buckles in mild discomfort (go with it) but never retching. It’s an impressive feat when you do something like break down an episode such as this week’s, where, if I’d been keeping notes like a good little reporter, I’m sure I would have had roughly eighty bullets of different actions to share and analyze.
Even at its most content-heavy, the show knows it can afford to bombard us with information and story developments because they never stray far from the heart of what makes the entire show work: Elena, Damon, Stefan, and Caroline. In recent weeks, the show has been tricky to watch. Damon was trapped in 90s hell, and Stefan and Caroline seemed doomed to the fate of the insane: Repeating a behavior over and over again all the while expecting an entirely different outcome each time.
The breaks were fully on lock when it came to both duos for the first five episodes of the season. There was nothing more frustrating than watching Elena try to be all, “YOLO NO DAMON”. Wait, yes there was: Caroline continually weeping and doing nothing with Stefan let her down time and time again. This week, the breaks were removed. It wasn’t surprising but it was intensely satisfying to see Caroline be the one to take decisive action in her relationship with Stefan. After dicking her over (and several other vamps) yet again, Caroline makes it clear that they can’t be friends anymore. It’s no less than what Stefan deserves. It was not what he expected from his little lady friend, and you can bet it will light a much needed fire under his behind in weeks to come.
My feelings about Damon’s return and Elena’s reaction to it are less cut and dried. The show is essentially trying to breathe life back into something that was never dead to begin with. Oh sure, the will-they-won’t-they of Elena and Damon was appealing, but Damon and Elena together are their own living, breathing, walking, talking (sort of) conflict. You never had to worry about getting bored with them as a couple because they are so fundamentally different as characters. Elena’s decision to try and avoid Damon and keep Alaric from helping her remember him is a weak ploy to try and make something already interesting even MORE interesting. It’s not fair to the viewers and it isn’t fair to the characters the writers have spent season turning into three dimensional beings. That said, Damon and Elena will always be more interesting than Trip, Enzo, and dead, dead Ivy. THAT’S RIGHT, I SAID IT.