Presto-chang-o, we have a new lead on the show and her name is Nina Dobrev. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but when you have a character like Katherine Pierce, you can’t just write her out without one hell of a fight. “The Devil Inside” continues Katherine’s quest to permanently solidify her place within Elena’s body as Damon discovers what life without Elena will do to him.
Many right choices were made in this episode adding to a delightful yet chaotic template of things to come. The players who needed to make an impact were present and the rest were properly fitted away until likely the next episode. What stood out the most is how several characters dealt with their shame or fear in the presence of friends. Damon, being the odd man out, could only deal with his heartbreak by turning to an old ally. These are well defined moments that can make or break a person’s sense of self when dancing on the thin string of moral values. They ask for support and, if the compassion is real, can often save a guilty conscience from diving deeper into depression and rage. In the wrong hands, they can be exploited to the worst degree. Let’s recall the events.
Katherine manipulates and compels Matt to tell her everything he knows about Elena and her friends as Nadia watches. Together, with the help of Traveler, Mia, they conspire to find Katherine’s body to perform a spell that will allow Katherine permanent control of Elena’s body. Nadia keeps her handcuffed in a hotel room in case Elena wakes up while Nadia tries to find where Katherine’s body is located.
When Nadia attempts to ask the Salvatore’s where Katherine is buried, Damon refuses to answer.
Meanwhile, Matt convinces Tyler to throw a party in honor of his return. Tyler agrees with the hope that Caroline will show up.
After Aaron tells Caroline that Wes will no longer be a problem for Elena, Enzo finds and kidnaps him. Caroline gets a call from Stefan who needs help fixing Elena and Damon’s broken relationship.
Elena awakens in her body and escapes her restraints as Nadia returns and chants a word for Katherine to reemerge. Katherine devises a plan to pretend to be Elena at the party and find where her body is.
After refusing help from Stefan and Caroline about Elena, Damon returns home and finds Enzo with Aaron’s unconscious body. He wants Damon to finish what he started to prove he’s still the man Enzo once knew, but Damon refuses in fear of Elena’s reaction and breaks Enzo’s neck. After Aaron wakes, Damon compels him to leave town.
Katherine arrives at the party and speaks to Stefan who mentions Damon’s cryptic message that Katherine’s body is where it was always supposed to be. Katherine realizes the body is buried in the tomb and tells Nadia this outside the party. She then runs into Caroline who confesses that she slept with Klaus. Katherine sees Tyler nearby and passively mentions the event and how it was making sure Tyler can hear. Tyler does and stares angrily at Caroline before leaving.
Caroline finds Tyler, who lashes out at her as Stefan intervenes. Tyler replays what he heard but Stefan punches him anyway saying Caroline doesn’t deserve being yelled at.
Meanwhile, Nadia and Katherine observe Mia cutting Katherine’s body to perform the spell. Elena wakes in the middle of Mia’s chant and watches until she realizes what’s about to happen and knocks Mia out. She flees and tries to use her phone but Katherine set a password lock on it. Mia wakes and resumes her spell as Elena runs back to the party and finds Damon. They hug just as the spell is completed and Katherine regains control. Damon tries to tell her that she’s the best influence in his life but Katherine says he was right to let her go and forces the break-up to be permanent. As she leaves with a smile, Stefan watches while Damon mocks him saying he must be enjoying what happened.
Later on, Matt consoles Tyler who is lost about what to do with his life now that Klaus has ruined so much of it and Matt suggests the two leave town for a while.
Mia expects payment from Nadia for her spell but Katherine arrives and kills her. She tells Nadia that she plans to stay in Mystic Falls and win back Stefan but will try to be a good mother if Nadia stays as well.
Stefan consoles Caroline over her guilt and the two share a laugh over their indiscretions.
Aaron is driving out of town and finds Enzo’s body on the road. Damon is with Enzo and reflects on his conflictions but feels clear now with is direction in life without Elena. He bites and kills Aaron while Enzo happily watches.
I’ve always believed that Damon operates at his best when he’s left to his evil devices and without Elena around to guide and “influence him” he’s back to being a senseless murderer. I’m fine with that. He openly admitted that he needs support to be a good person, and Katherine perfectly exploited that weakness. This is opening up a lot of creative doors here for Katherine to subtly manipulate her way back into Stefan’s life. We know it won’t last, but for the mean time, she’s going to have some serious fun.
The Travelers who took Elena and Stefan’s blood will probably have or know what’s necessary to reverse Mia’s spell. Otherwise, Katherine is left to her own cognizance in remaining the stronger mind of the two. I would have liked Katherine to remain a character in another body, but this allows Nina to continue being sinister, and she does well with the part. Question remains, who will spot Katherine’s flaws and oust her first?
It was also high time that Tyler was given enough screen time to deal with Klaus’s impact on his life. Nothing irks an ex like finding out their worst enemy slept with the person they love. His anger was poorly exposed and both he and Caroline needed friends on their side to give them the support they needed. This is a shining example of how friendship works. It doesn’t matter who was in the wrong, if that even has to be classified. Stefan empathized with Caroline over his recent situation and Matt offered Tyler a way to leave the mess behind for a time. One can argue how Damon would have reacted if Enzo wasn’t there to assist in his hatred with the Whitmore bloodline. Will those two go on a murder spree? Tough to say. Enzo is losing a lot of credibility with staying classy, so moving forward after the Whitmore vengeance will determine where his placement lies. When vampires accept what they are, there’s a lot of havoc to be had, and Damon is back to not caring again.
Nadia plays a part in this support as well. She simply wants her relationship with Katherine to continue positively and to her, it doesn’t matter what acts Katherine performs as long as they do things together. Will Katherine stay true to her daughter in that regard while simultaneously attempting to reignite Stefan’s love for her? It’s going to get confusing for her that’s for certain. I’d like to see if Katherine can last the entire episode without Elena making a single appearance. The spell should allow for that.
It will also be interesting to see how Katherine deals with Jeremy and Bonnie as they’ll be returning very soon I imagine. Former ghosts have to stick together. I’m still weary over their relationship lasting too long, which means Katherine will need to do something to keep everyone on edge.
Two things I wonder though are:
1. What’s the deal with vervane watches and bracelets? Do they somehow fill the body and prevent vampires from biting them? Clearly on both occasions a vampire can rip them off with little more than a sting for their troubles. I might have missed the usefulness of those things somewhere in a previous episode.
2. It seemed significant at the time that Katherine ask Matt what made Elena break up with him. At first I thought it was the same excuse she used to break up with Damon at the end, but Matt didn’t have the same problem as Damon did. I suppose in the end it doesn’t really matter how one interprets their own internal struggle with co-dependence, unless you really nitpick at it. Maybe there’s nothing really overt to dive into here, but it seemed more relevant at the time when Katherine was talking to Matt.
Overall, I liked Damon returning to being a jerkface and Katherine maintaining control of Elena’s body. Those were the highlights of the episode and give us plenty of speculation on tragedy to come. When Katherine eventually gets expelled, I worry that all the forgiveness and humility she may have felt will be forgotten and discarded and I still think Katherine deserves an end that isn’t laced in Damon’s laughter. Will Enzo continue to drive Damon down a darker path? My initial guess is yes, but we’ll see. Whatever next party gets thrown will likely be killer.
No more words