A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×09 (Why would Damon care about revenge if he turned his emotions off?)

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The odds are beginning to stack against Damon in his ongoing relationship with Elena. It’s not much, but his confession might have begun to set a chain of events between the two. Will she remain true to her words and not judge Damon for what he’s done since 1958? For what could be considered a “filler” episode, The Vampire Diaries stuck to their roots and realigned the Salvatore brothers, each gracing their natures and dealing with past suffering. Like the taijitu symbol, each brother, at different time periods, dealt with their mental and physical scarring, setting them on past and present paths.

There’s a bit of simple poetry mixed with some shifts between doppelgangers and for once, both brothers have a Nina to embellish. If Damon and Elena can escape their captors, time will tell if their long-standing love will prevail. We are also introduced to a new vampire catalyst who’s distant sure-grabbing accent will likely keep him neck and neck with Damon’s wide-eyed glare. Thank goodness for female doppelgangers.

(RECAP)

THE PAST

In 1953, Damon returns to the Salvatore home where Josef Salvatore tries to inject Damon with vervane, only to be killed. Whitmore finishes the job and captures Damon. Damon is dissected partially and then placed in a cell where he meets a neighbor inmate, Enzo, who Whitmore captured five years prior in Europe during WWII. Whitmore experiments on both vampires for years as they plot their singular revenge. Every year at new year’s eve, Whitmore throws a party where he displays both vampires and showcases their healing blood by cutting guests and having the, drink the vampire blood.

Enzo devises a plan to escape by having one of the two drink both rations of blood for a year straight allowing for the one vampire to have enough strength to break out and free the other. Damon wins a Ro-Sham-Bo contest and drinks both rations for year. In 1958, Damon has enough strength to break his bonds and he kills Whitmore and several guests during the party. A fire breaks out and even though Damon tries to save Enzo from the vervane-laced cage, Damon realizes he’ll regret leaving and turns his emotions off to be free from the guilt of abandoning his friend. Enzo seemingly is consumed by the fire. Damon’s vengeance from then on included killing all members of the Whitmore bloodline, save for a single member throughout each generation.

THE PRESENT – DAMON AND ELENA

Damon wakes in his old cell where Wes plans to take his research to the next level.

Elena goes to Aaron’s for help in searching for Wes who was with Damon before they disappeared. When they reach the Whitmore house, Aaron explains that he is a Whitmore and technically owns the house. Wes surprises Elena and knocks her out with an dose of vervane.

Elena wakes in a cell next to Damon who says he’s been there before.

Wes reveals to Aaron that Elena is a vampire and that vampires killed his parents. He shows him a watch passed down to him as well as a book of clippings and his Whitmore legacy. When Wes asks for his help, Aaron knocks him out, steals a pistol and searches for Elena.

Damon reveals most of his past when he was captured and how he escaped including when he turned his emotions off. Aaron finds them and prepares to shoot Elena, believing she’s the vampire who murdered Megan and possibly his family. Damon confesses that he was the one who killed Aaron’s parents and the entire Whitmore bloodline including his aunt Sarah only a few months ago. Elena realizes that this was at the start of their summer together. Aaron shoots Damon in the head and leaves.

When Damon wakes, Elena is gone from her cell. When Elena wakes, she is strapped on a table and sees another man strapped and humming next to her. He introduces himself as 12114, Enzo.

THE PRESENT – STEFAN, KATHERINE, AND CAROLINE

Katherine tries to write her thoughts and feelings in a journal but is frustrated. She questions Stefan’s mental and emotional state as Caroline arrives with the safe Silas locked Stefan in. Together, Caroline and Katherine try to rehabilitate Stefan by returning him inside the safe.

Stefan begins having similar panic attacks as before and pleads to be released. Katherine realizes that he’s more likely to recover if he’s forced to help/save others so she locks herself inside with him. When Stefan realizes what’s happening he again pleads to be released as Katherine confronts his emotional turmoil in dealing with Elena’s love for Damon and how he’s stayed in Mystic Falls because of her. Stefan tries to choke Katherine but she consoles him and he’s able to fight through the pain. As they are about to kiss, Caroline opens the safe and Stefan has returned to normal.

Later, Stefan admits to Katherine that he has to move on from Elena. Katherine goes to him and they embrace in kisses. Caroline leaves a message for Elena and hears what Stefan and Katherine are doing and is mortified.

(END RECAP)

As much as a lot of fans want to see Damon and Elena continue their struggle together, I’ve been waiting for the moment when I felt they would begin to fall apart. It’s little but it’s a start. I think Damon does better when he’s forced to care but retains his complete and utter disdain for all things with sarcastic retort and bitter loneliness. Could any of this be a sign that Damon’s emotions will eventually be turned off again? It’s happened to Stefan over the last few seasons, it could be time to switch to the other brother. It’s a theory, but a distant one at best. I think I’m more surprised that after all these years, Damon has stuck his vengeance and continued to kill the Whitmore bloodline even after getting together with Elena. It goes to show that he’ll always be a sneaky, self-absorbed character, and that’s not saying it in a negative way. I think those are his strengths as an enduring vampire. Being thoughtful and caring all the time is not the best thing for Damon and any lasting development. It can come in spurts, but not consistently.

Stefan’s emergence from Elena’s shadow will hopefully solidify his growth and he can finally move on….back to Katherine. Hey, it’s a step away even if it’s a step back. I don’t mind Katherine and Stefan reuniting through sloppy lip-lock. They’re designed to need each other now, and it’ll be awkwardly awesome to see Elena and Damon handle their coupling. Caroline’s reaction was priceless and appropriate and I’m also glad Katheirne shoe-horned the question with whether Stefan and Caroline ever did it. That seed had been planted a bit last season-ish and I think it was high time someone tried to call them, on it. Of course they didn’t, but now Caroline’s thinking about it. They made a movie once about these inception things.

Of course Enzo was going to still be alive. What surprised me is that he’s still strapped up and maintains the same hair length. Did we establish vampires don’t grow hair? I guess they wouldn’t since they’re dead. Never really thought about it. He seems like a decent guy, but naturally he’ll hate and want to murder Damon for subjecting him to more experiments for another 50 years. What’s another Damon hater amongst scorned vampires? Maybe he can be Elena’s new crush when Elena’s heart begins to crack over Damon’s secrets. He’s bound to have more than one.

A lot of missing cast this episode, Jeremy, Bonnie, Matt, Klaus, Elijah, Reb–oh wait. I do wonder if any Original cast members will bounce to VD for a cameo or two. Crossovers should go both ways. If anyone should show up and wreck house, it might as well be Rebekah, Matt would appreciate that.

Overall, the inclusion of Enzo and Stefan’s therapy were good parts to the episode. Katherine isn’t manipulating Stefan beyond her need to survive. They’ve officially helped each other “suck it up” and they’re appreciative for it. Is Katherine truly doomed with her mortal shell drying up? I hope not. Damon is going to have to face some serious demons soon, but not before somehow saving Elena. If Enzo were to instead, will that put Damon in a bad spotlight with her? Will Aaron come to his senses and save Elena. I’m not so sure of that. He’s painted to be a sympathetic character, but if he continues doing what Wes says, he’ll be nothing more than vampire cannon fodder and a tragic end to the Whitmore family name.

And, is there another vampire running around that isn’t Enzo? If Megan was killed by a vampire, was it Enzo that did it? Is he the “Augustine” vampire? You’d think yes, but then, why would Enzo ever be let out? Wes likely created another vampire, but then, why would that vampire be let out? Something else hasn’t been revealed yet and we have only one more episode until the holiday break. Let’s hope our answers come next week.

No more words

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