Just when you think Damon’s evil antics were all but revealed, we’re given one more dark chapter in his life that defined an era of Mystic Falls. “Black Hole Sun” is full of character revelations and tattered feelings that carefully resonate for everyone in the right direction. It’s a theme of self diagnosis for our major protagonists as Elena, Stefan and Damon assess their compass in life, two looking forward and one looking back. A lot of elements went right in this episode and I’ll be diving into those details in this review starting with Damon and his self professed “Worst thing I ever did.”
I’m actually surprised he used a line like that when many of his past evil deeds centered around Stefan and by proxy Elena and could be argued as worse. Damon is also known for being overdramatic and may have settled on that memory as his worst action because it was more recent than the others. In any case he slowly tells the story about returning to the Salvatore house when Zach was still alive and near the time he was to become a father. Damon, in a Sabretooth-esque moment promises to continue griefing Stefan for not joining him and slaughters all of the guests in the house on the date that Bonnie and Damon are stuck in, including the mother of Zach’s child. Little did Damon realize that the child would survive and grow to become Sara, our resident newcomer who returned to town looking for answers to her mother’s death and past.
My first impression was a bit disjointed because I’m no longer interested to seeing how Damon used to be evil. I’ve been seeing that every season for years. It’s like I’m being handfed a new reason to dislike Damon even though he’s “supposed” to be the most likeable character on the show. In fact, it was Bonnie who realized that Damon is silently punishing himself over the event and finds that as hope for him. I wish it was Damon who admitted to that, but I suppose realization from Bonnie is better than no realization at all.
I’m also satisfied at Kai’s storyline and I think it’s an interesting take on a witch plot. However, I still don’t think his personality fits the profile, but he’s not longer a dismally unfitting character. He’s just a terribly acted character.
Stefan attempts to convince Elena that starting over is a good thing for him and proves a point by pretending to propose to her in a bar where he explains how fresh starts are easy and necessary for him. Elena buys it until she witnesses a man beat Stefan up as Stefan let’s it happen. He too is punishing himself but insists he needs to do what he has to on his own. This is about as much character development as we’re going to see from Stefan this season, I’m calling it now. With a resurrected Ivy now back in his life, we might see him connect and fall in love again, but I’m not expecting him to break new ground over what’s happened. He’s a cautiously pessimistic character who dawdles over opportunities but settles on mentally self-inflicted pain. He’s once more dodging his vampire instincts by trying to live a human life and human rules and will quickly find, he just can’t.
Elena worked out a very important, yet overly cliché character trait. In most situations of fictional drama, a character suffering from amnesia or a lack of pertinent memories will more than likely refuse or denounce their past in order to move forward what their new personality. It’s extremely disassociate but proves that humanity can and will turn away from old paths when presented with the same choices again. Elena decided not to gain her memories of love for Damon back and that was the right move. The event itself was a cop out and I’ll always believe that, but now that’s she’s aware of it and still decided not to regain those memories shows she’s thinking for herself in a way that makes sense. Who knows, maybe her trained disgust for Damon now will always propel her from knowing the buried truth, but I’d like to think she wants to have her fresh start just like Stefan does.
Alaric and Jeremy trade complaints about their emotional states and I’m left wondering how Jeremy could recover so fast from an apparently massive hangover. They shouldn’t have made it seem so bad by taking him to the hospital. Truth be told, that entire seen was filler and unnecessary. Alaric having a love interest is great and all, but now just seemed an awkward time to start it, at least in this episode.
We’re also given a sympathetic background for Trip who revealed he was compelled to believe his wife’s death was his fault, but now knows a vampire was involved. Was it Damon? Yeah, probably. But in the meantime, he has Enzo locked in a room where Matt has seen him. Best part, Enzo didn’t say a word, and I’m thankful. I think Trip could have interrogated any number of vampires he’s previously killed but he’s taking his time with Enzo for his benefit of finding other vampires to capture. Nobody else will understand that Enzo isn’t bringing anyone else positive vibes. True, he turned Ivy into a vampire which was a smart move, but it isn’t enough to want me to have him saved.
I think the mock wedding proposal was done in good humor and just barely poked the top of this episode. I wasn’t expecting that kind of scene and it’s ironic because it calls back and makes light of the fact that Stefan and Elena were once fitted for that kind of future. Not by any audience standards but by a concept that those two were supposed to be soul mates. Now that we know they’re not, it’s easier to digest this kind of scene in its basic humor and for that I think it worked for the point Stefan was trying to make. Plus Elena adding she was pregnant was good too. Definitely threw Stefan off guard.
Elena gets this week’s MVP. She indulged Stefan’s explanations with why moving on is necessary and in the end let him go while at the same time taking the effort to continue choosing to leave Damon in the past as well. She made two important decisions that meant not being tied to either brother which is something she should be doing until the inevitable return of Damon. The show has trained us to believe and root for one of the two brothers keeping Elena until the end. I think there’s room for her to grow without pursuing either character and it could make her stronger for it.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Was Elena’s dad the one who delivered Sara as a baby?
Will Matt speak for Trip when the vampires eventually get their hands on him?
That’s twice now the Gemini coven have been referenced. How much power do they have and will they be a malicious group?
Kai’s hell doesn’t fit with the date and is too much of a coincidence that it’s the day Damon thinks he did the worst thing ever. If the murders done by Kai were already in the paper, why put Kai in an empty world a few days after the fact? This hell doesn’t really make any sense. And does this mean that Kai traveled from Portland to Mystic Falls even though the days reset every morning? Was he not bound by any borders?
Bringing Ivy back as a vampire does help Stefan’s case but it doesn’t excuse Enzo as any less of a chauvinistic and self righteous character.
Tonight’s episode gets a 7 out of 10. Most of the major characters were able to reach a pinnacle in their woes and a few are readily able to move onto their next arc. The reveals were decent but had one major flaw. With Kai and Sara, they may be interesting characters now that we know where they’ve come from, but they weren’t interesting characters before those facts were revealed and when new players come onto a show, we need to have investment in their current personalities and now how their past effects them or the characters we know. Beyond that it was a very decent episode and look forward to see how the developments turn out. Hopefully Damon and Bonnie aren’t stuck in limbo for too much longer or it still start to drag. My thought is Damon will convince Bonnie to let Kai back into reality with a promise he’ll somehow try and kill him once they return. Not that I think it’ll work as a plan, but it’s how Damon would act considering the situation.
No more words