A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×16 (Vampires calling a relationship toxic is like saying a burrito is spicy)

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The virus inside Elena pushes her into a state of manic madness as the crew confine her in the empty college dorm through a seal. After several hallucinations and jaded thoughts of Katherine’s subterfuge, she escapes by injuring Liv and forcing Bonnie to get Liv to bring the seal down. Damon escapes from his cell and finds her only to tell her he was the one responsible for Aaron’s death after she blames herself. Meanwhile, Caroline encounters Enzo who lures her and Stefan to a trainyard where Sloan and other travelers reveal they have cures for both Elena and Damon. In exchange Stefan allows Sloan to perform a linking spell to find another of Stefan’s dopplegangers living as a paramedic in Atlanta. Her leader, Marcos, wants the doppleganger dead. After Enzo delivers the cures to Elena and Damon, Caroline leaves with Enzo to find and kill the doppleganger while Stefan stays behind with the travelers. After they are cured, Damon and Elena agree they are in a toxic relationship but continue to be sexual toward each other.

I consider this the “catch Elena up” episode which provided some variant but clever expositional moments for her. The entire focus was her belief that her friends, Damon especially, should have seen through Katherine’s ruse much quicker than how it actually happened. I’m glad Aaron’s hallucination didn’t provide her with the answer to his murderer and saving that for Damon to reveal. Unfortunately, it didn’t have quite the impact I was expecting. There was a soft connection between Aaron and Elena, according to her, and Damon’s self loathing seemed to masque Elena’s overall freak out mode. Agreeing to declare their relationship as toxic was probably the most intelligent choice the two of them could make…then the sexy time happened immediately after. It makes sense. Elena isn’t ready to separate from Damon and if she did, it’s another reason to blame Katherine and subconsciously Elena won’t let that happen. It’s going to psychologically damage her more than Damon, because he can handle the torment, but eventually, she will crack. Whether it’s due to more of Katherine’s ghostly interventions or not, who knows.

The arrival of another Stefan doppleganger feels a bit tired. I thought we were passed the doppleganger twists, but that’s not the case as there’s one in Atlanta. At the moment, I’m guessing he’s human, which would make it easy to kill. Caroline will have second thoughts. It’s too easy if she and Enzo have a singular path and there needs to be friction as Enzo is already hitting on her, big time. I don’t think she’ll buy into it unless he does some seriously heroic things to earn his place. Caroline has turned into a decent judge of character, at least from a supernatural standpoint. Still, she needs a new romantic interest and it appears Enzo is going to be that vampire.

Another reveal is finding out about Luke and Liv and their secret agenda against our main characters. Liv is a capable witch and her brother isn’t affected by compulsion. Beyond that, I’m in the dark on what their plans are. The set up so far is interesting, so I’ll bite and see where it goes, but I hope it gets explained in the next episode or very soon. Are they aligned with any other familiar enemies? Now I’m completely expecting Liv to makes moves on Jeremy without a doubt.

My only real complaint about this episode was how easily the viruses were shrugged off. In fact, it all happened off screen. Granted, we had a single episode to not only catch Elena up, but also to have her suffer from the effects of the elevated virus which only proved to make her psychotic and sick. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but I guess it was a climactic battle of Damon versus Elena, in a knockdown tear em up fight. But, I guess the sexy time will do.

No sign of Rebekah yet, but Stefan did tease Caroline with the name. I want to say that was our hint, but then again, it could be a red herring. An original would do some good on TVD and she and Matt I think have obnoxiously good chemistry together. Matt gives Rebekah some of that youth she’s always craving for and if anything, she can be a force for good on the show’s remaining episodes. Just a thought.

Overall, the plot was decent and there were a couple of good moments that Nina shined on. I give her credit, she is a mirror of a thousand faces. I miss the evil-licious Katherine tone a bit more than I do the Elena pouty-complainy tone. All in all, her expressions can tell mountains of stories alone. Damon still stares with wide eyes. I wonder if he learned that on Lost. Stefan feels a bit faded at this point, and by faded,  I mean bored. His doppleganger has the same tone and personality that Stefan has leaving any chance to give his acting credit a blank slate. I’m not convinced he’ll die in the next episode, unless he dies in the next episode. And who is Marcos? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

No more words

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