It feels as though the middle point on the first arc of the season has reached its peak. A blanket attempt to refresh Stefan’s life is permanently put on hold as Ivy has become the ex-girlfriend vampire who is stuck in a nauseating time warp, living through the woes of new vampirism and making light of it all too much. I officially don’t like her character and Trip can drive through Mystic Falls all he wants with her captured in the back of the van. This marks the second time Caroline has lost a vampire under her supervision. I don’t really want to count Enzo, but a vampire is a vampire.
Through the course of the episode we’re treated to a few more fashionable developments between a trio of pairings. The first and quite literally “least” interesting is Elena and Liam. While he’s been showing heroic form and decent conversationalist the one thing keeping him from being an able being for Elena is that he’s still a human. Vampire females seeking male human counterparts can be a workable construct, except in this case. Liam still counts as the filler relationship until Damon returns which just so happens to be now.
Alaric and Jo were set up to be a complete disaster until Alaric tried to compel her to see him as a loser. Yet, it didn’t work and Jo played it off as though it was a cute attempt and still kissed him. This changes a few things and makes me wonder if A) She has vervane in her system at an Nth amount and/or B) She’s a part of a witch coven, like the Gemini. Either way, she became interesting quite fast.
Liv saved Tyler from becoming a werewolf again by killing a man that Tyler ran through. He’s also the same guy Ivy snacked on and failed to compel, but that’s not important. I almost want to believe there’s a chance for these two to genuinely get together, but the delivery on both parties continues to be wrong on a variety of levels. Tyler is whining too much about how becoming a werewolf will be the end of him. Considering all his training in the past with Hayley, I don’t understand why he’s so afraid of it. Liv has the right demeanor but she’s visually beating herself too much over liking him and the only reason Tyler doesn’t see it is because he’s too busy whining about his condition. It’s only going to get more depressing for Liv when Tyler fails to kill someone else in the future, mark my words.
All those relationship debacles aside, we’re witness to the event all the Damon fans have been waiting for. Bonnie sacrificed herself to see that Damon returned home while suffering an apparent fatal injury from Kai who has survived a number of suicide attempts and can’t stay forever dead in limbo. Does the same rule apply to Bonnie? I’d like to think so since that seems like a cheap way to end her character too soon on this season. There might be a little mini adventure in Damon gathering everyone to help save her including a hornball Jeremy who will probably start aching at the guilt for how he’s been treating her departure. I certainly don’t see Damon just getting on without at least trying to save Bonnie from Limbo. That would just be rude if he did.
The biggest surprise in this episode is Stefan’s relentless plan to ditch town and start over. His near apathetic approach has been costing all of his friendships left including a strained relationship with Caroline and hateful scorn from Alaric who blames Stefan for giving up on finding Damon. All of this I can mostly understand, yet I agree with Caroline that Stefan dumping Ivy off like a child at daycare is a complete douche approach to the situation. At least with Vicky there were trials and tribulations. With Ivy, as much as I despise her vampiric personality, didn’t deserve Stefan’s treatment. Now that Damon is back we’re likely going to see a resurgence in Stefan’s interest in the gang and probably a few apologies to match. It’s too forced. Stefan needs to make decisions not based on getting what he wants, but handling his situation as an old vampire needs to. In fact it would make more sense if he still decided to skip town even with Damon returned. Not sure that’s going to happen though.
The episode does conclude with the brothers reuniting in what I feel was a genuine heartfelt moment. Damon will have several of these in the next episode I’m sure if everyone runs into him. Elena is a different story and I expect Damon to laugh at Liam the moment he sees him, I’m mean we’re talking dueling eyebrows here. Still, Damon’s back and he’s got a lot of catch up on. Does he save Enzo? Does he save Bonnie first? Does he make Alaric give Elena her love of Damon back again? Does he go on a drinking bender for no reason at all?
I was actually taken in by how Liv decided to kill the wounded man in order to save Tyler. As much as I liked the seen, I’d say the final scene of “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” was my favorite moment. Stefan talks to the dead and on the verge of smashing a bottle, Damon catches it in convincing arrogance and embraces his brother after months apart. Their relationship is almost if not more important than any relationship Elena has and it showed how much Stefan needed that hug.
Tonight, the award goes to Bonnie. She remained headstrong, deductive, and sacrificed herself to save Damon, which is something I never thought I’d write on this show. I don’t believe she’s gone, not with Kai’s storyline a bit unresolved. Magic is the answer to all impossible situations, which means It’s just a matter of figuring out how to locate and find Bonnie. I’m sure it’ll happen. Liv can help, while she rolls her eyes.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Will Alaric and Stefan patch things up now that Damon is back, or will there continue to be bad blood between them?
Will Trip continue to collect vampires including a few more we know before someone decides to stop him? Can’t we just consider Trip to be a good guy?
The interest in seeing Caroline and Stefan get together is dissolving fast. Either do it and get it over with or just do away with it completely. It’s getting Steril…line.
The obligatory party scene didn’t bug me as much as I thought it would. I liked the lore behind the party and the part where it was disrupted by a launching truck. Plus it was Halloween themed even though I doubt they’d let a college girl prance around a maze of corn with a lit torch like she’s starting the Olympics. Safety first, people!
Damon will have to somehow answer to Sara who just found out she’s a Salvatore by blood. Does this mean anything else other than a blood relation or will Damon simply pass her off as an accidental heir of the household?
This was a strong 6 out of 10. Many of the relationship quirks and moments had no payoffs and Stefan came off and more reluctant to take any ownership of the problems that were right in front of him. As justified as he feels, there’s still accountability he should be at least seeing through. Damon return was the highlight but it was only at the end. I anticipate next week’s episode to hold more merit now that we can reconnect him with everyone still on Earth. And he’ll be drinking like a fish too, I imagine.
No more words